There were nearly 2 million registered automobiles in Maryland in 2020. Motor vehicles play important roles in the lives of Maryland's citizens.
Sadly, wherever there are cars, there are car accidents. Maryland is no exception.
Have you been injured in an auto accident on Maryland's roads? You may be eligible for financial compensation if your accident resulted from the negligence of another driver. Learn more by discussing your case with a Maryland car accident attorney.
What Should You Know About Maryland Car Accident Attorney
Maryland uses the "at-fault" or "tort" approach for compensating victims of motor vehicle accidents. This means a victim of an accident resulting from someone else's negligence or actions can pursue financial compensation by filing a claim with the insurance of the negligent party.
It's sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit and seek damages in court after an accident. This might be an option if the driver who caused an accident is uninsured. It's also an option when an insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement.
The process of filing a claim and recovering compensation can be very complex. Victims often benefit from hiring lawyers before filing claims.
A Maryland car accident attorney can assist you after an accident by:
- Investigating the accident.
- Identifying the liable parties.
- Contacting witnesses.
- Gathering evidence of negligence, such as pictures.
- Adding up your losses.
- Handling all negotiations with the insurance company.
Hiring a Maryland car accident lawyer relieves you of certain burdens after a collision. This allows you to focus on making a full recovery.
The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) tracks motor vehicle accident rates in the state. MDOT MVA data indicates an average of 110,745 crashes occur every year in Maryland. Additionally:
- An average of 30,993 crashes leave victims with injuries every year in Maryland.
- An average of 514 annual accidents in Maryland result in loss of life.
- An average of 79,238 accidents cause property damage every year.
- On average, 6,632 annual Maryland accidents involve drunk drivers.
- Approximately 3,840 accidents every year involve speeding or aggressive driving.
- Nearly half of all yearly motor vehicle accidents in Maryland involve distracted drivers.
Distracted driving accidents may be increasingly common in Maryland due to smartphones and other such devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases yearly accident reports covering this issue. They show that more accidents are happening as a result of drivers using electronic devices on the road.
Other factors also play a role in rising accident rates in Maryland and across the country. For example, some experts have found serious accidents became more common during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fewer drivers were on the road during this time. However, some drivers might not have been doing so safely.
It appears that many of the bad habits drivers picked up during the pandemic haven't gone away. Also, drivers who were not on the road during the pandemic might now be relearning how to drive safely.
You can boost the safety of yourself and others by obeying the law and being cautious while driving. What you can't do is control the actions and choices of others.
You'll hopefully never be injured in a car accident because someone else is negligent. If this has happened, though, help is available.
Contact a Maryland car accident lawyer for more information. An attorney can assist you in recovering the compensation you may deserve.
This won't change the past. What it will do is help you move forward from your accident. With help from a Maryland car accident attorney, you can hold the liable parties accountable. You can also avoid absorbing the associated costs, including medical bills.
Ordinary Negligence and Maryland Car Accidents
Negligence in a legal sense is defined as failure to exercise a reasonable level of care that one is expected to exercise in a given situation. You may have grounds to seek financial compensation for various losses if you've been involved in an automobile accident in Maryland resulting from another party's negligence.
The four essential elements of negligence are:
- Duty: A party must have had a duty of care to you to be found negligent. On the road, motorists all have a legal duty to guard against harming other drivers and pedestrians. They must obey traffic laws and exercise caution in an attempt to minimize the chances of causing an accident.
- Breach: A breach occurs when someone disregards their duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, etc. A breach of duty can also take many forms. Perhaps a driver gets behind the wheel after drinking too much. Or, a motorist is paying more attention to their phone than they are to the road. Maybe a driver simply fails to check a blind spot before changing lanes when another motorist is beside them.
- Cause: The fact that a breach occurred doesn't immediately guarantee an accident victim is eligible to recover compensation. There must be proof that said breach caused them to be injured. A Maryland car accident attorney can assist in gathering the evidence necessary to prove that another party's breach of their duty put you in harm's way.
- Damages: After meeting the above criteria, you must also show you incurred losses for which you may be compensated after being injured in an accident caused by a negligent party.
The following example illustrates how a Maryland car accident lawyer might account for incidents of negligence.
You're driving on a moderately busy highway. You have a duty of care for nearby motorists and pedestrians, as they do for you.
You apply your brakes and stop when a light turns red. A vehicle behind you rear-ends your car because the driver of the vehicle behind yours didn't stop in time.
If you braked suddenly and for no apparent reason, the driver who rear-ended you might be able to prove that you caused the accident. However, perhaps witnesses, surveillance camera footage, or cell phone data records indicate that the driver of the car that struck yours from behind was texting when the accident occurred.
This proves a breach. The driver breached their duty by texting while driving. Your Maryland car accident attorney will now work to show that the driver would have spotted your vehicle and not caused an accident, had they not been texting.
Finally, your lawyer will need to show that your accident left you with financial losses for which you could be compensated. Perhaps you were injured and incurred medical expenses.
If your injuries were severe enough to prevent you from working, paying your medical bills will be especially challenging. In this case, your Maryland car accident lawyer can cite both your medical bills and lost wages as damages for which you may be compensated.
Some accident cases are far more complex. Discuss your case with a Maryland car accident lawyer to learn your options.
Negligence Per Se: Its Role in Maryland Auto Accident Cases
A Maryland car accident attorney may prove you incurred injury because of the negligence of another driver if that driver was breaking the law at the time of the collision.
The legal doctrine of negligence per se applies when a defendant broke a law designed to prevent the type of accident or harm sustained by you, the plaintiff. If you were harmed as a result of another individual breaking the law, that individual is considered to be negligent.
For example, speed limits exist to protect motorists and pedestrians from being involved in dangerous collisions. Negligence per se would apply if you were hurt in an accident when a speeding driver ran into your vehicle.
That said, a party may still be considered negligent even if no law was broken. A qualified Maryland car accident lawyer will carefully review the details of your accident to gather sufficient evidence proving you were a victim of negligence. This is how a Maryland car accident attorney demonstrates to an insurance company or court that you might deserve to recover financial compensation.
Compensation Available to Maryland Car Accident Victims
Many factors affect how much compensation a victim may receive after an accident. A Maryland car accident lawyer can more thoroughly discuss the types of damages available to you.
Claimants can typically seek compensation for economic losses that include:
- Medical bills.
- Lost income, if severe injuries prevent a victim from working.
- The cost of home health equipment.
In some cases, a claimant can seek compensation for future economic losses as well as past and current losses. If you were seriously injured in an accident and your injuries require you to undergo long-term care, you could be unable to work indefinitely.
A Maryland car accident attorney will account for this possibility when working on your claim. They would not merely ask for compensation for losses you've already incurred. A Maryland car accident lawyer could also estimate the cost of future losses. This will affect your total settlement amount.
In some instances, victims can also recover compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The pain you suffer after being harmed in a motor vehicle accident may not have a specific monetary value. Regardless, you might be able to receive compensation if the impact of the pain on your quality of life is significant.
No attorney can guarantee the specific dollar amount you'll receive when your case is settled. If you are eligible to recover compensation for non-economic losses, a Maryland car accident attorney can help determine the dollar value of such losses.
How Maryland's Contributory Negligence Law Can Impact Your Case
Sometimes, a single party is to blame for an accident. In some cases, though, a victim's own negligence can play a role in their collision and the resulting injuries.
Perhaps you stopped at a red light and proceeded through the intersection upon the light turning green.
Initially, it doesn't appear you're at all negligent in this scenario. The green light has given you the right of way. It's therefore legal for you to proceed through the intersection.
However, maybe it's clear that another speeding driver is approaching. Based on their speed, it doesn't appear they're going to be able to stop even though they now have a red light.
The negligence per se doctrine holds that this driver should be considered negligent if they strike your vehicle when you drive through the intersection because they're breaking the law by speeding. But, maybe it's proven that you didn't see them approaching because you were checking your phone immediately before proceeding. You technically had the right of way when the light turned green, but you weren't paying sufficient attention and were thus harmed in an accident you could have avoided had you not been using your phone.
In many states, under these circumstances, you would still have grounds to collect compensation. The degree to which you were to blame for your accident and injuries would simply impact the amount of compensation you receive.
In some states, perhaps you would have recovered up to $20,000, if the speeding driver was the only liable party, but it's determined that you are 10% liable for the collision. In this case, you might only receive a maximum of $18,000.
In Maryland, however, you may not even be able to recover that much. This is due to Maryland's contributory negligence law. Currently, when someone is even 1% to blame for their accident occurring in Maryland, they have no right to recover compensation.
This exception highlights the importance of seeking legal representation after a motor vehicle accident in the Old Line State. A Maryland car accident lawyer will investigate your accident to ensure all details of the incident are accounted for and documented.
Car Accident Statistics in Maryland's: Top 5 Cities
There are more accidents in Baltimore each year than in other parts of the state. This isn't surprising given Baltimore's relatively higher population.
Baltimore is Maryland's most populous city. Data from the United States Census Bureau indicates it had an approximate population of 585,708 in 2020.
According to MDOT, 17,888 motor vehicle accidents occurred in Baltimore in 2021. Of these accidents, 5,259 resulted in injury.
MDOT's findings also show that accidents in Baltimore are most common in May. They're less common in January, February, and December.
This trends with national data, which shows car accidents in the U.S. occur most often during warmer months.
It's possible to navigate many sections of Baltimore on foot, which may be convenient for some. It's also more eco-friendly and health-friendly than driving a car; however, pedestrians should be aware.
Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable because they don't have a car's safety features to protect them in the event of a collision.
Frederick is Maryland's second most populous city, recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau with a population of 78,171 in 2020. While much smaller than Baltimore, it is the largest city in Frederick County. A total of 3,357 car accidents happened in Frederick County in 2021, with victims sustaining injuries in 962 of those crashes.
Gaithersburg's population was 69,657 in 2020. It's located in Montgomery County, where 11,181 motor vehicle accidents occurred in 2021. Data shows that 3,370 of those accidents resulted in injury.
Also in Montgomery County, Rockville had a 2020 population of 67,117. Again, 11,181 accidents occurred throughout Montgomery County in 2021. Victims sustained injuries as a result of 3,370 of those accidents.
MDOT currently only offers data at the county level. There are no official numbers regarding how many motor vehicle accidents occurred specifically in Rockville in 2021. It's therefore difficult to determine how the per capita rates of motor vehicle accidents in cities like Gaithersburg and Rockville compare to that of a more populous city like Baltimore.
As of 2020, Bowie was home to approximately 58,329 people. Located in Prince George's County, Bowie had a total of 19,961 crashes, with injuries resulting from 4,124 of those collisions.
This data indicates Maryland is a state in which a large number of the state's annual motor vehicle accidents occur in one particular city. In this case, that city is Baltimore.
That's common in small states. When there is one major population center, accident rates will be significantly higher in that city compared to accident rates in other areas.
Still, motor vehicle accidents can happen anywhere in Maryland. You may now be facing medical bills and other such challenges if you've been hurt in an accident.
You don't have to go through this alone. A Maryland car accident attorney can represent you in filing a claim. Their understanding of the law will help you navigate the system. Get started by searching for a Maryland car accident lawyer today.