Maryland Car Accident Lawyers
We hear about car crashes all of the time. However, no one really ever expects to be involved in a crash themselves. Even the most careful drivers can find themselves injured in a car collision due to the negligence of another motorist, dangerous road hazards, construction debris or any number of other causes.
Should it be found that the car crash could have been prevented if the proper precautions had been taken, the injured individual may want to consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether they have a case.
Car crashes can range from slight fender benders to devastating collisions that alter the lives of those involved forever, be it by catastrophic injury or the wrongful death of any of the individuals involved. Auto collisions are the leading cause of death for people under 35, and remain the leading accidental killer for Americans of all ages. According to the federal Department of Transportation, drinking and driving contributes to a shocking 40% of those fatalities each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported that 547 people were killed in auto accidents in Maryland with thousands more injured in 2009. Some injuries that can be sustained in a vehicle accident include:
- Bruises and scrapes
- Head trauma and brain damage
- Broken bones
- Tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injury
People who are injured in collisions don't only suffer the physical effects of their injuries, but the mental and financial effects as well. Depending on the type of injury that the individual suffered, they may not be able to return to work for an extended amount of time, if ever. If the injured victim is the sole income provider for their family, the expenses incurred as a result of the auto collision and subsequent injury can skyrocket in a relatively short amount of time, placing even more stress on the injured individual and their family. However, with the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer, the negligent person whose decisions or actions played a contributing role in the crash can be held responsible and fair compensation can be garnered for the injured party.
Car crashes can happen in a split second and can oftentimes leave the injured person feeling utterly overwhelmed, scared and perhaps wondering how they'll ever make it through this difficult time. A good course of action that the injured party can take is to hire one of the dedicated attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC. Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers have the experience and resources needed to help you understand your legal rights and choose the best course of action to take for your situation. We know the laws surrounding car collisions in the state and while no amount of money can reverse what happened, it can help you move on with your life and begin the healing process.
Avoiding an Accident
If you are confronted by an aggressive driver, the NHTSA recommends that you take the following actions:
- Get out of the way: first and foremost, make every attempt to get out of his or her way.
- Put your pride aside: do not challenge the aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
- Avoid eye contact: eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
- Avoid gestures: ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
- Report serious aggressive driving: you or a passenger may call the police (but, if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location).
As with other types of accidents, figuring out who is at fault in a traffic crash is a matter of deciding who was negligent. In many cases, your instincts will tell you that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rule or rules that person violated. Fault issues can be complicated, and an experienced attorney will look to a number of sources, such as police reports, state traffic laws, and witnesses, to help you determine who was at fault for your collision.
Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- disobeying traffic signs or signals;
- failing to signal while turning;
- driving above or below the posted speed limit;
- disregarding weather or traffic conditions;
- failing to drive on the right side of the road; and
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Injured by a Drunk Driver
Every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, over one million people were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes. In a lawsuit arising from a drunk driving accident, (in addition to the intoxicated driver being held liable for the injuries he or she caused), a bar or social host may be liable for damages if they served an obviously intoxicated guest, who then drove and caused a crash. The fact that the person who served the intoxicated driver alcohol may be held liable does not relieve the intoxicated driver of liability, however.
If your crash involved an intoxicated driver, you may be helping out with a criminal prosecution already. But while criminal prosecution holds drunk drivers responsible for their debts to society, it cant hold them responsible for the injuries, pain and financial costs their irresponsibility caused to you. You may be left with serious debts caused by unexpected, sky-high medical or funeral bills, a wrecked car, and the sudden and irreversible loss of an income. Your family may be facing life without the love, care and domestic help of a parent, spouse or child. Victims who live may face years of surgeries or therapy before they can regain the independence they had before the collision. Experienced attorneys are aware of the laws governing legal responsibility and can help you identify who might be held responsible for your injuries, including people or businesses you may not have considered.
Causes of Automobile Accidents
A driver may also be liable for an accident due to his or her intentional or reckless conduct. A reckless driver is one who drives unsafely, with "willful and wanton disregard" for the probability that such driving may cause an accident. A driver could be found reckless, for example, if he or she drives in a threatening or harassing manner out of "road rage" and causes a crash. (Criminal charges can also stem from such behavior). Road rage is defined as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger on another motor vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway."
According to a recent NHTSA survey, more than 60 percent of drivers consider unsafe driving by others, including speeding, a major personal threat to themselves and their families. About 30 percent of respondents said they felt their safety was threatened in the last month, while 67 percent felt this threat during the last year.
Traffic safety and law enforcement organizations are renewing efforts to identify and penalize aggressive drivers-those who speed, tailgate, zip from lane to lane, flash headlights in frustration, and engage in other dangerous driving practices. The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as a progression of unlawful driving actions such as:
- speeding-exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions;
- improper or excessive lane changing;
- failing to signal intent;
- failing to see that movement can be made safely; or
- improper passing-failing to signal intent, using an emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder.
Accidents that are Not Caused by the Drivers Involved
In certain cases, accidents are caused by factors unrelated to the conduct of any particular driver. For example, an automobile crash may occur due to a defect in someone's automobile. In such a case, an automobile manufacturer or supplier may be responsible for injuries caused by a defect in the automobile under the law of product liability. A product liability suit is a lawsuit brought against the party responsible for a defective product that caused physical injury to a consumer or user. If a manufacturer of a product creates a defective product-either in designing, manufacturing, or labeling the product the manufacturer may be liable for any injuries the product causes.
A driver may not be at fault for an accident where a mechanic fails to properly repair a vehicle, and the failure causes a collision. In such a case, the person who improperly repaired the automobile, and his employer, may be liable for the injuries sustained under the theory of negligence.
Other factors, such as poorly maintained roads and malfunctioning traffic control signals can contribute to cause a collision as well. Improper design, maintenance, construction, signage, lighting or other highway defects, including poorly placed trees and utility poles, can also cause serious accidents. In cases such as this, government entities may be potential defendants. Special rules apply to claims and lawsuits brought against governmental bodies, however, and good legal advice is critical to preserving and winning such claims.
Compensation for Your Injuries
If you've been in an auto accident, you know that they often cause serious financial pain as well. Even if you have good insurance, it can often be a nightmare to negotiate the company's bureaucracy and get all of the claim payments you're entitled to. When other peoples insurers are involved, they often seem to look for any excuse at to deny your claim. Furthermore, without a functioning car, it may be impossible to work, especially if your injuries limit your ability to walk. Some recovery expenses that you may be entitled to include damages for pain and suffering, coverage for medical bills, property damage, loss of income, funeral expenses in the event of a wrongful death, physical rehabilitation and more. If you're facing these costs because of another persons carelessness or an insurance company's greed, you have the right to sue for fair compensation.
Call Us Today
If you or someone you care about was hurt in a collision, Alpert Schreyer, LLC can help. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience investigating, prosecuting and litigating car crashes. Partner Andrew Alpert is a former prosecutor who has investigated hundreds of vehicular homicide cases and is experienced in DWI/DUI cases involving intoxicated drivers. Our experience in Maryland vehicle laws, and relationships with those skilled in crashes, has helped us recover significant compensation for our clients, even those who were told by other lawyers that their cases couldn't be won. If you have been involved in a car crash, please call the law office of Alpert Schreyer, LLC today at (301) 932-9997 or (800) 489-1577 to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case to discuss how we can help you.
Recent Case Result
The Maryland auto accident attorneys of Alpert Schreyer, LLC recently obtained a $2 Million Settlement in a commercial vehicle collision case in which there was a passenger fatality, as well as other serious injuries sustained by victims.