FAQs Your Friends That Defend

Personal Injury FAQs

Learn More about Obtaining Fair Compensation for Your Losses

If you were involved in a serious accident, your first priority needs to be a full and complete recovery. Unfortunately, there are many times when obtaining fair compensation becomes difficult due to insurance companies fighting to avoid a settlement. With over 50 combined years of proven legal knowledge, Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake is the team you need on your side. Our Howard County personal injury lawyers can help you build a case to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Dial (410) 927-5137 today to get started on your free consultation with Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake. We work on a contingency fee, so we don’t collect a fee unless you reach a settlement.

Below you will find some answers to questions we hear from many of our clients. Our firm offers free consultations, so if you want to know more, do not hesitate to call us.

  • After a car accident, how is responsibility determined?

    Often times, there needs to be an in-depth investigation to find out who is at fault. In some cases, such as a rear-end collision, are fairly simple and do not require witnesses. Sometimes the at-fault party will even admit their responsibility in causing the accident. However, there are times when witnesses need to be interviewed and then possibly subpoenaed for litigation purposes to determine the at-fault driver. The attorneys at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake have access to trained investigators which include former police officers and/or state troopers to help gather evidence to have support as to the identification of the at-fault driver.

  • What is personal injury protection (PIP)?

    PIP is often referred to as “no fault” coverage. PIP is insurance you pay on your policy to provide payment of medical bills and lost wages for anyone injured while driving or riding in your vehicle. PIP can be utilized by an individual regardless of the determination of the at-fault driver. Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake strives to notify the PIP provider immediately that payment should not come out of the PIP funds to pay medical bills until any lost wages are paid. Lost wages are generally paid at 85% and are then not taxable, but it is advisable to check with your tax adviser concerning this issue. Our firm does not take a percentage of any lost wages recovered within the PIP claim. Since PIP coverage is considered “no fault,” your insurance rate should not go up by initiating a PIP claim. PIP can provide anywhere from $2,500 to approximately $10,000 for medical bills and/or lost wages.

  • What is a slip and fall claim?

    When someone slips and falls due to the negligence of another party, that person may have a premises liability claim. Most often these claims are generated in commercial establishments, such as supermarket or restaurant. To be successful, a plaintiff must usually prove that the owner of the property had notice or knowledge of the condition—such as a spilled gallon of milk—and failed to clean it up and rectify it within what is considered a reasonable amount of time. In addition, it may be considered assumption of the risk if the injured party knowingly encounters the dangerous condition. In that case, the claim may not be sustainable.

  • If I feel injured as a result of the accident, should I obtain medical treatment?

    In a majority of cases, immediately after the accident, the client is not brought by ambulance to a hospital. Instead, the client is brought home by a friend or family member and the following day experiences pain through their body in any given area. It is important to obtain prompt medical attention so that injuries are documented as close to the accident date as possible. It is also important to receive prompt medical attention so that the injuries sustained as a result of the accident are not further exacerbated.

    Large gaps in time from the date of the accident to when one is treated are one of the key points that insurance adjusters and insurance companies’ attorneys argue when litigating personal injury cases. The attorneys at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake strive to refer to competent treatment providers if necessary.

  • If the at-fault driver is uninsured, how may I collect?

    Often times the at-fault driver is either not licensed, insured, or even legally in the country. In addition, the at-fault driver may flee the scene, leaving their identification unknown. When this occurs, the injured party should look to his or her policy to see if they have uninsured/under-insured coverage. Nowadays, this form of coverage is crucial, and every driver should have this type of coverage to help guard against not being able to recover from an at-fault driver without insurance or an at-fault driver who has not been identified. The attorneys at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake can review your own policy and declaration page to determine if you can recover in such a situation from your own insurance company.

  • Do I have to pay for representation in my personal injury claim?

    The personal injury matters that Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake accepts for representation is generally on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney is paid a percentage, usually 33.33%, of any recovery obtained from the at-fault driver. If there is no recovery, the attorney is not paid a fee.

  • How long can I wait to file a law suit against the at-fault driver?
    Maryland generally provides a three (3) year statute of limitations, or time with which an action must be filed in court from the date of the accident. If the three (3) year time limit falls on a weekend or holiday, then the statute of limitations would fall on the following court day. Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake documents its calendars to ensure that limitations has been satisfied. When a minor is involved, the statute of limitations may toll or stop until the minor reaches the age of 18, at which time the statute of limitations begins again. It is in the injured party’s best interest to immediately hire an attorney, and not wait to do so.

Why Are We the Right Choice?

Reasons to Choose Our Firm
  • We approach every case as a team.
  • Every initial consultation is free and no-obligation.
  • We are available for you 24/7.
  • We are a team of former prosecutors and know how the other side thinks.
  • We have in-house payment plan options on qualifying cases.
  • We are highly recommended and awarded by various associations.

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This Isn't a "Paycheck" - This Is Our Calling

At Shapiro, Zwanetz & Associates (SZA) we believe in thinking differently from most lawyers and law firms. We help our clients understand and accept their legal situation; we work with them to confront and improve that situation, while seeking the best outcome available at law. We recognize that each client is a unique individual, each deserving of the highest client/customer service; and we just happen to get our clients excellent results while we deliver that exceptional service.