If you or a family member has been in a car wreck in Maryland or Washington, DC, you probably have many unanswered questions. At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, Baltimore car accident lawyer, we have helped clients injured by drunk drivers, distracted drivers, drowsy truckers, irresponsible trucking companies, and others whose negligence caused injury or death on the highway. We hope the following answers to frequently asked questions will be helpful to you. For more information, feel free to call Steve Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” at (410) 625-4878.
What should I do after being involved in a car accident?
- Step # 1 – WRITE DOWN THE OTHER DRIVER’S TAG NUMBER. The simple fact is that failure to do this one thing could be fatal to any future claim you may want to pursue against the responsible party.
- Step # 2 – CALL THE POLICE. Not only do the police direct traffic and call Emergency Medical Services if necessary, they also make sure both parties exchange information. A responsible party is less likely to give you inaccurate information when an officer is standing right next to him. If the accident is more than a fender-bender, the police write a police report, which will contain crucial information about the driver, how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
- Step # 3 – GET OTHER DRIVER’S INFORMATION. Copy the name, address, date of birth, and license number off the driver’s license. Then ask to see the other driver’s insurance card. Get the name of the insurance company and the policy number.
- Step # 4 – GET WITNESS INFORMATION. A witness’s account of the accident is vital to proving your case, especially if the other driver disputes your version of what happened. Be sure you get the name, address, and as many phone numbers as possible from all witnesses (home, cell, work). Get an e-mail address and find out where they work.
- Step # 5 – SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. If you are experiencing ANY type of bodily pain you need to notify the police officer right away. Even if the pain is minimal, it is imperative that you get checked out as soon as possible. You do not know how serious the injury is. The proof you need to collect damages is contained in the medical records from your hospital or doctor visit.
- Step # 6 – CONSULT WITH A LAWYER. An attorney who has experience handling motor vehicle accidents will be able to answer your questions about insurance coverage, liability, recorded statements, proof and many other areas you may be confused or concerned about. The initial consultation is usually free and doesn’t obligate you to hire the lawyer for further services.
- Step # 7 – NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY. The sooner you call your insurer, the sooner you can have your car repaired. And if you have PIP coverage, you’ll be able to proceed with medical treatment and therapy.
If I don’t seek medical treatment right away but start to hurt later, is it too late?
No. Even though it’s always best to get checked over immediately, if you later begin to experience pain or other symptoms, such as dizziness, you may still seek compensation from the negligent driver who caused the crash.
What should I do when the insurance company contacts me?
Please don’t give a recorded statement to an insurance company before discussing your accident with a personal injury attorney like Steve Heisler. If it’s right after the accident, you could still be dazed, or your memory or judgment could be impaired by pain medication. Additionally, you may not yet be aware of the extent of your injuries. Further, the insurance adjuster will ask you about your medical history. Remember, the insurance adjuster is looking to pay you as little as possible, if anything at all.
The best thing to do is to refer the insurance adjuster to your attorney, who has experience in such matters and will protect your interests.
Should I accept an insurance company’s offer to settle my claim?
You should never sign anything from an insurance company before consulting an attorney. It’s likely that they will assign a “low ball” figure to the claim and hope you will take it, but if you do, they’ll want you to sign away your right to file a lawsuit. And that could keep you from obtaining the full and fair amount of compensation you need and deserve. Let your attorney handle the negotiations with the insurance company. If and when they make a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney will advise you.
Will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Many personal injury lawsuits settle before a trial commences. Steve Heisler will aggressively pursue your right to compensation whether it’s in negotiations over a conference table or in a courtroom setting.
If I’m injured in a car accident caused by someone else, what am I entitled to?
The damages you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Compensation for disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning ability
- Pain and suffering.
Is this true even if I live in a no-fault state?
No-fault laws vary from state to state, and they can be confusing. That’s why you should call Steve Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” at (410) 625-4878, to discuss the details of your particular accident.
If I was injured in a car accident, do I have to be worried about a statute of limitations or deadline?
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action, including a motor vehicle accident, is three (3) years from the date the cause of action “accrues,” that is, when the injured party knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged wrong. This may seem like a long time, but those who are injured in a car accident are well advised to contact an experienced lawyer long before the deadline approaches. In the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the accident as well.
Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of recovering damages in a personal injury legal action?
Obviously, seeking the services of a lawyer who has experience in personal injury litigation is going to improve the likelihood of success on your claim. Since 1988, Baltimore car accident lawyer Steve Heisler has focused on making a difference for those who have suffered an injury because of the negligence or reckless behavior of someone else. There are other things you can do that could prove helpful in obtaining compensation from the responsible parties:
- Keep records and receipts of all of your medical expenses and the time spent and miles traveled to get medical care.
- Keep estimates or receipts for auto repairs or other property damage that happened as a result of the accident.
- Keep a record of all time you had to take off from work and the wages you lost.
- Record your observations, as well as those of your loved ones, about the physical, emotional, mental and financial problems caused by the accident.
How much money could I be awarded in a lawsuit?
Every claim is different, just as every accident is different. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But at the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we give our best effort to every client’s case. You can read about some of the verdicts and settlements we have obtained. Call (410) 625-4878 to see how we can help you.