Car accidents can be a traumatic and confusing experience, especially when dealing with the aftermath. Maryland has specific laws and regulations regarding car accidents and insurance that you should be aware of. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the complex world of car accident laws and insurance in Maryland, providing tangible and useful tips to some of the common issues you may face.
Maryland Car Accident Laws
Maryland is a no-fault state, meaning that each driver's insurance company will cover their own medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, Maryland also follows a contributory negligence rule, which means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you may not be able to recover damages from the other driver's insurance company. This makes it crucial to understand the following aspects of Maryland car accident laws:
- Filing a police report: If there are any injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceeding $1,000, you are required to report the accident to the police.
- Statute of limitations: You have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit or a property damage claim. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your chance to recover any compensation.
- Comparative negligence: In some cases, the fault may be shared among multiple parties. Maryland follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning that the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
All Maryland drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance to cover potential damages in case of an accident. The minimum insurance requirements in Maryland are:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage: $15,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $15,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection (PIP): $2,500 per person
It's essential to have adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself financially in case of an accident. If you're found to be driving without the required insurance, you could face fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Maryland
Knowing what steps to take after a car accident can help you protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome. Here's what you should do:
- Check for injuries: Assess your own injuries and those of any passengers. Call 911 if anyone needs medical assistance.
- Move to a safe location: If possible, move your vehicle off the road to avoid blocking traffic and prevent further accidents.
- Exchange information: Collect the names, contact information, insurance information, and license plate numbers of all involved drivers.
- Document the scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals.
- File a police report: As mentioned earlier, a police report is required for accidents involving injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process.
- Consult an attorney: If you've been injured or are facing potential legal issues, it's crucial to consult with an experienced car accident attorney to protect your rights and interests.
At Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake, we understand the complexities of Maryland car accident laws and insurance regulations. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you navigate the aftermath of your car accident.