Steven H. Heisler: Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
When it comes to split-second reflexes and the actions of other drivers, all the experience and training in the world cannot protect a driver from becoming involved in an vehicle accident. However, knowing what to do after a collision can help protect against even further damage or losses, particularly when dealing with insurance companies or a responsible party that is unwilling to take responsibility.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident, contact car accident attorney, Steve Heisler. For 25 years, Steve has focused on helping car crash victims and their families pursue fair and just compensation. You’ll find that he isn’t arrogant or stuffy and is easy to talk to. He genuinely cares about each and every one of his clients.
Protecting Your Rights
Immediately after an auto accident, it can be easy to unknowingly forfeit your legal rights by admitting fault or signing a statement that releases the other party from liability. Unfortunately, any information you volunteer may be used against you, so it is important to consult with a Baltimore car accident lawyer before discussing the accident with anyone else, even the insurance company. Call Steve at (410) 625-4878 for a free consultation and answers to your many questions.
Our Car Accident Results
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Steve represented a 33-year-old single mother of one whose vehicle was struck head-on by a construction truck in 2002. The client suffered life threatening injuries and was in a coma for six weeks. She required two months of brain injury rehabilitation. The client currently has serious permanent disabilities as a result of the accident including short term memory loss, impaired speech, double vision, and right side paralysis.
She is unable to return to her occupation as a dental hygienist or any other occupation. Steve Heisler and his associate Keith Kauffman negotiated a $5.5 million structured settlement at mediation. Should the client reach her life expectancy the payout increases to $9.5 million.
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Steve represented the family of a 15 year old Anne Arundel County boy who was killed when the vehicle he was a passenger in failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree. The defendant driver was also killed. Another passenger survived the crash. The defendant driver had a $300,000.00 liability policy. Steve negotiated a $250,000.00 settlement for the family. The remaining $50,000.00 was tendered to the surviving passenger.
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Steve’s client, an elderly lady from West Virginia, was seriously injured when the car she was traveling in was struck by a negligent driver in Garrett County, Maryland. The lady suffered a broken back and detached retina. Steve negotiated a $100,000.00 settlement with the defendant driver’s insurance company and was successful in getting his client’s West Virginia insurance company to “stack” an additional $100,000.00 for a total settlement of $200,000.00.
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Steve represented a five year old Eastern Shore boy who was struck by a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road while the boy was riding his bike. Steve’s client suffered a traumatic brain injury and serious fractures which required him to spend an extended period of time in a rehabilitation center. The boy now has permanent brain damage. The case settled for the driver’s policy limits of $100,000.00.
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Steve represented a 36-year-old Cecil County man who was rear ended while stopped at a red light. The force of the impact was severe and his client’s vehicle was totaled. Steve’s client suffered a cerebral concussion, a C5-6 disc herniation, and a L2-3 disc protrusion. He received a 30% whole-body permanent disability rating. Steve settled the case with the insurance company for $95,000.00.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident?
- Call 911. You’ll want to notify the police and request medical treatment.
- Get to safety. Make sure you are not in traffic or in a dangerous situation.
- Gather the name and insurance information of the other driver.
- Never admit fault without knowing the true causes of the accident.
- If possible, get the contact information of witnesses and take pictures of the scene.
- Keep copies of all bills that stem from the accident and your injuries.
- Call an attorney.
Importance of Seeking Medical Attention
The excitement, anxiety and trauma of an accident can leave a person unaware of the fact that they’ve been seriously injured. In some cases, injuries don’t become apparent for several days or weeks after the accident occurs. Always seek medical care after an accident. It’s the best move for your health and your injury case if you choose to pursue one.
Deadly Roads In and Around Baltimore
Those who travel the highways in Baltimore and surrounding counties are accustomed to seeing accident sites. Three routes in particular, though, account for a disproportionate share of motor vehicle accidents: the Beltway (I-695), Maryland Route 2, and I-83. If you or your loved one has been involved in a car or truck accident on one of these heavily traveled roads, you may need the assistance of an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer on your side.
How Do I Know if I Have a Claim?
Ask yourself these three questions…
- Were you injured?
- Have those injuries been costly?
- Was another person or persons responsible for the injuries you suffered?
If you answered yes to these three questions, your case has the three most important elements of a personal injury lawsuit.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Depending on the circumstances of your or your loved one’s accident, you may be entitled to considerable coverage for damages that may include the following:
- Medical Expenses – Doctor visits, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and psychological counseling.
- Property Damage – The cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle.
- Lost Wages – The amount of wages you are unable to earn if you cannot work for a period of time, or indefinitely.
- Pain and Suffering – The non-economic damages associated with emotional or physical trauma, such as anxiety, scarring, disfigurement, or chronic pain.
- Loss of Consortium – The non-economic damages associated with the loss of partnership and services provided by a loved one due to injury or death.
- Punitive Damages – The penalties possible if the responsible party was driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or even failed to maintain his or her vehicle.
It can take months, if not years, to recover from the physical, financial, and emotional impact of a car crash. If someone else is responsible for causing you or a loved one to face such a difficult time, a car accident attorney will fight on your behalf to hold the reckless parties legally accountable.
A contingency fee means that an attorney’s fee is contingent on the success of the case. At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, you pay us nothing unless we win your case.
When the two sides of an injury claim agree on the amount the plaintiff (the injured party) should be paid, they have reached a settlement. If no settlement is reached, the case goes to trial.
This process varies in length depending on the specifics of the case. The more parties involved, the lengthier the process can be. While a quick resolution is often desired, a skilled attorney knows that patience can lead to a more satisfying settlement.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The value of your claim depends on the extent of the damage you’ve experienced. Factors that an attorney uses to determine the amount of damages that should be pursued include costs of medical care, lost income, property damage and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Costs of an Attorney
Each attorney has their own preferred method of payment. Because the costs involved in handling a personal injury claim can be high, some attorneys may choose to receive something on the front end of handling a case. Others might charge a rate for their time.
However, many personal injury attorneys choose to be paid on a contingency fee.
Tips for Dealing with The Insurance Agency
Report your injuries to your own insurance company and cooperate with them to the best of your ability. If they offer you an amount that you are satisfied with, then you can accept that offer. However, you are not required to accept an offer that doesn’t reflect your needs. If you are offered less than you deserve, your attorney will intervene on your behalf.
When dealing with another person’s insurance company, the rules are very different. You are not obligated to speak to a representative of another insurance company. It is in your best interest not to make a statement or correspond with their representative. They could potentially use what you say to lessen an offer they make or deny payment altogether. Instead of corresponding with another insurance company, refer them to your attorney.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Even though each motor vehicle crash has unique characteristics, some types of injury are common in Maryland highway accidents:
- Whiplash: Figures compiled by the National Safety Council show that 20% of all people involved in rear-end collisions — the most frequently occurring type of collision — suffer a whiplash injury. Pain and spasms in the neck are common, but the force of the crash can also cause back injury.
- Head and brain injury: Even though all modern vehicles are equipped with seatbelts, many people still do not buckle up, increasing the chance of a traumatic brain injury. Impact with parts of the car, like doors and seats, as well as with objects inside the vehicle can cause head injury even to occupants who are restrained.
- Blunt force injury: The impact of collision and the strain of seatbelts can damage internal organs such as spleen and kidneys.
- Fractures: Broken legs, hips and pelvis are common injuries when the front seat is crushed into the dashboard and engine compartment. Broken ribs may puncture the lungs. Facial fractures occur when a driver is thrown against the steering wheel and may even be caused by the propulsion of airbags.
Common Types of Car Accidents
- Rear-end: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25 to 30% of all collisions are rear-end accidents in which a following vehicle runs into the back of the vehicle ahead of it. This frequently occurs in congested traffic, where a driver is not paying attention and cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
- Head-on: This is the most dangerous type of crash. Even though they account for only 2% of the total number of accidents, head-on collisions account for 10% of the fatalities. Head-on collisions are commonly caused by a driver who is drowsy, distracted or drunk.
- Side impact or T-bone: These collisions have features that make them more dangerous than you might expect. For one thing, side-impact accidents are likely to involve multiple vehicles because the impact may push the original vehicle into oncoming traffic. Airbags deploy only upon the initial impact, leaving occupants unprotected in the subsequent collisions. Additionally, most vehicles on the road are not equipped with side airbags.
- Roll-overs: Whether the accident involves only a single vehicle that leaves the roadway and flips or two or more cars that crash and then roll over, this type of collision typically causes major injuries. There may be a delay in extricating and treating injured vehicle occupants, and there is a risk of fire.
Common Causes and Fallout of Auto Accidents
Why You Need an Attorney
Infographic: Common Crash Causes
When you discover what it takes to build a successful injury claim, you come to appreciate the need people have for attorneys. In addition to the process of filing a claim – handling documents, correspondence, research – there’s also the importance of knowing the law. Without an attorney, one would need to do so much work just to get up to speed on the basics of personal injury laws and the essential procedures that need to be followed.
In addition to the day-to-day grind and familiarity with the laws and legal system, a good attorney knows what it takes to give their client an even greater advantage. They will go above and beyond the basics by consulting expert witnesses, preparing presentations, dedicating hours of their time to depositions and looking for little ways in which they can get the most out of the resources they have available.
Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer
The aftermath of a vehicle collision can be life-changing for the accident victims and their family members, and often takes years of patience and dedication to overcome. If you believe another party was responsible for the injuries or losses you have suffered in a car crash in Maryland, Steven Heisler has the experience necessary to successfully help you get your life back on track.
With a record of successful settlements and verdicts, an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer can provide outstanding legal representation — but more than that, his approachable manner will make you feel comfortable about seeking reliable guidance in making the best choices for your circumstances.
FAQs: Baltimore Car Crashes
Common Vehicle Wreck Questions – Answered.
What Makes a Good Attorney?
A good attorney thoroughly prepares their client’s case, conducts a great deal of research and possesses the knowledge and skill to make sure their client gets the payment they deserve. As we discussed above, a good attorney does more than the bare minimum required in a lawsuit. They go the extra mile for their client. A good attorney is a fighter, and they won’t be stopped until they get their clients a result that meets their needs.
How Does a Settlement Work?
Attorneys of the plaintiff and the defendants will negotiate the amount of money the injured person is owed. If both sides reach a factor that is satisfactory, then a specified amount will be paid to the plaintiff.
How Does a Trial Work?
If a settlement isn’t reached, a case goes to trial, where both sides’ attorneys present the case of their clients. A jury will hear both arguments and determine whether the defendant owes the plaintiff money. A jury will also decide how much money the plaintiff will be awarded.
What Leads to a Successful Lawsuit?
A successful case is one that clearly demonstrates how someone was injured and who was responsible. When this is done effectively, it requires a great deal of time and preparation by the attorney. If an attorney and his staff are prepared, patient and persistent, a lawsuit will be positioned for a successful outcome.
Who Can Be Sued?
In general, anyone whose negligence contributed to your injures can be named in a lawsuit. While there are a few rare exceptions to this rule, it is typically the case that you can file a claim against one or more persons or organizations who you feel might bear responsibility for the accident that caused your injuries.
Should I Feel Bad About Suing Someone?
No. If you choose to file a lawsuit, you should remember that you are only doing so because another person’s actions have caused you serious harm. You are not claiming anything about another’s character, only that they contributed to your injury and, thus, should pay for their role in causing the suffering you’ve faced.
How is fault determined?
Fault is a key element in an injury claim, particularly in Maryland, which has a contributory negligence rule. This means that fault must fall squarely on the party you name in the lawsuit. Determining fault is a process handled by an attorney. The process involves extensive investigation and information gathering. A skilled attorney has been through the process many times and knows what it takes to demonstrate fault.
I was involved in a single-car crash. Can I still file an injury claim?
Even if your crash was not a collision with another vehicle, you might still be able to file a legal claim for compensation. For example, if another driver’s negligence made you swerve and strike an object, you can hold them accountable for the damages you’re facing. If a defective vehicle part caused your crash, you can hold the manufacturer responsible for your injuries through a product liability claim.
Accidents: Featured Article
Car keys are the key to independence. They do more than turn on the engine — they turn on the spirit of adventure, the feeling of freedom, the security of engagement at will. From an adolescent’s anticipation of obtaining driving privileges to an elderly person’s dread of surrendering the car keys, motor vehicles are a central component of the American experience, both emotional and physical. America’s love affair with the motor vehicle is easy to trace through statistics: In 1899, there were 8,000 motor vehicles in the United States; by 1910, there were a half-million; and in 2014 almost 253 million vehicles rolled across more than 4 million miles of roads between our borders. Continue Reading
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Maryland is three years. This means that you have three years from the time you sustained your injury to take legal action.
Laws related to car accidents
If you have questions about Maryland’s specific driving laws, why not go directly to the source?
Maryland Driver’s Manual from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration – this document covers everything from the appropriate following distance behind another vehicle to defensive driving tips for motorists.
Steven is a great lawyer and I would highly recommend him if you are injured in an accident!! Brian D. The Injury Lawyer
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