Types of Cases in Maryland

Personal Injury Attorneys

You may never think about a serious vehicle accident until something happens to you, or someone you love. Unfortunately, there is a potential for serious injury all around us. The things we do every day can lead to an injury, or in the worst case, death. It is important to remember that when an accident does occur, it may not be your fault. Even if it seems like a freak accident, there may be someone else who was responsible for your injury, and they should be held accountable. Your personal injury attorney will help you seek compensation for your injury, so that you don't have to pay the price for someone else's negligence.

Motor Vehicle Injuries

Considering how much time all of us spend in our cars every day, it is not surprising to find out how many injuries occur in or around motor vehicles. Cars are, by their very nature, deadly weapons. We may not think of cars as deadly weapons, but any object traveling at 65 miles an hour down the road carries the potential for serious injury or death to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. While most accidents involve a negligent driver causing the accident, some accidents are caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or other negligence not connected with the driver.

There are many ways people are injured involving motor vehicles. Injuries can come in many forms, including:

  • Auto Accidents
  • Auto Defects
  • Unintended Acceleration
  • Rollover Accidents
  • Airbag Malfunctions
  • Defective Seat belts
  • Defective Recline Mechanisms
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Head-On Accidents
  • Side-Impacts
  • T-Bone Accidents
  • Pedestrians Hit By Cars
  • Multiple Vehicle Accidents
  • Hit and Run Accidents
  • Parking Lot Accidents
  • Minor Collisions
  • Fender Benders

Automobile Injuries

Injuries in an automobile accident can be caused by driver error or a vehicle malfunction. Even if an accident was caused by another driver, your injuries may be made worse due to a vehicle malfunction, or design defect. It can be difficult for an individual to know if their injury was made worse due to a design defect. Talking to an experienced automobile injury attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim so you can seek compensation for your injuries.

Malfunctions and Design Defects

As technology has advanced over the years, automobiles have gotten more and more complicated. Cars now have multiple computer systems in the vehicle. Every year, a car manufacturer may change their vehicle design. With all of these changes, design flaws and defects may not be readily apparent. Unfortunately, drivers may be unaware of a defect in their car until it results in an injury. There have been numerous recalls and warnings related to automobile defects, some of which can cause serious injury or even death.

Unintended Acceleration involves the unexpected acceleration of a vehicle, which can lead to a car crash. A number of Toyota and Lexus vehicles were involved in unintended acceleration accidents, resulting in many deaths. It was later determined that driver-side trim on certain vehicles could come loose, preventing the accelerator from being able to return to a full closed position. Electronic control systems and floor mats also created dangerous unintended acceleration.

While Toyota denied there were any defects, the company was fined $1.2 billion after it was discovered that Toyota knew about the problems, but had misled drivers while continuing to manufacture the defective vehicles. Toyota has also privately settled almost 400 wrongful death and personal injury cases related to unintended acceleration.

Airbag malfunctions are another common cause of driver and passenger injury. The recent Takata airbag recall affects millions of vehicles in the U.S., from a number of automakers. The Takata airbags have a safety defect that may cause their inflators to explode, sending metal shards into the driver, causing serious injury or death. Exposure to hot and humid environments can cause the airbag inflator to rupture.

Other airbag malfunctions may cause the airbag to suddenly deploy. This can cause minor injuries to the driver or passenger. However, an airbag deployment can temporarily make it impossible for the driver to see, which could lead to an accident. If the driver does get into an accident after the airbag deploys, the airbag will not be able to deploy again, which could result in the driver sustaining additional injuries.

Seat belts are one of the most useful safety features available in just about every vehicle. Seat belts are intended to secure the driver in the event of a collision or accident. This is intended to limit the movement of the occupant, so they are not ejected from the car, and don't collide with the interior of the vehicle. Unfortunately, seat belt defects may fail to properly restrain the occupant, resulting in serious bodily injury.

There are a number of ways that seat belts malfunction. A seat belt can tear or snap during a crash. The seat belt can also detach from the locking mechanism. A seat belt may fail to lock up, or allow the occupant to slide out from under the restraint, resulting in injury. Seat belt defects can be related to defective materials, design defects, or manufacturing defects. A number of vehicles have been recalled over the years due to seatbelt defects. Recently, more than 1 million GM trucks were recalled due to a seat belt defect.

Another way automobile defects can lead to a serious injury involves defective recline mechanisms. Most people don't really think about their recline mechanism as a possible cause of an injury, but when the recline mechanism fails, drivers may be unable to control the car, resulting in a crash. A few years ago, Ford was forced to recall thousands of cars and SUVs for a serious safety defect involving the front seat recliner mechanisms. Saturn, Tesla, and other vehicles have also had to recall vehicles for similar defects.

Defect Injury Claims

When an injury or accident is caused by a vehicle malfunction or other design defect, it may seem like the accident was a one-of-a-kind freak accident. However, often times the vehicle manufacturer or product design company is aware of the defect. Rather than take the steps necessary to make sure that the product is 100% safe, the company may just consider the costs and benefits of saving a few dollars by putting a potentially dangerous product on the road.

For many people, it is difficult to comprehend how these companies can reduce the cost of injury, disfigurement, permanent disability and death to a simple dollar amount. If their risk analysis makes it more profitable, companies may leave a defective vehicle on the road, and hope that the cost of injuries and death does not exceed their cost-savings. When someone is injured as the result of a manufacturer's defect, the company should be held responsible for the damages, pain, and suffering they caused.

Automobile Accidents

Some accidents may be caused by a vehicle malfunction; however, most accidents are still caused by other drivers. Even if the other driver blames the accident on another driver, an object in the road, or the weather, if they were not safely operating the vehicle, they are responsible for causing your accident. If you were involved in an accident with another driver, then they should be responsible for covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle damage. If the other driver does not want to pay up, or lies about the accident, you may need to contact an experienced automobile accident lawyer to make sure you get compensated for your injuries.

There are many types of vehicle collisions, from minor fender benders to major, multiple vehicle accidents. The extent of your damages and injuries may depend on the type of accident, vehicles involved, and speed the vehicles were traveling.

Minor Collisions

Minor collisions, fender benders, and parking lot accidents can appear to cause very little damage, usually due to vehicles traveling at a low rate of speed. However, even low-speed accidents can cause serious injuries. Many times, those injuries are not readily apparent to the injured individual. The drivers may get out of their cars, see there was little damage, and decide not to deal with the insurance company, and forget that the accident happened.

However, a day or two later, the driver may feel a sore back or stiff neck, and realize that they were injured as a result of the crash. They may have to seek medical treatment, and miss days of work without the ability to find the driver who was responsible for the accident. Even after a minor fender bender, consider seeking medical treatment.

Rear-end collisions are some of the most common types of vehicle accidents. Whether the driver in front suddenly slammed on the brakes, or the driver behind was not paying attention to stopped traffic ahead, a rear-end collision can lead to serious neck and back injuries. A rear-end collision often causes what is known as ‘whiplash', when a person's neck is suddenly extended and distorted due to the impact. Symptoms may take a couple of days to develop, but can include aches and pains in the neck, back and shoulders, sensory disturbance, and headaches.

Major Car Accidents

Major car accidents include rollovers, head-on collisions, side-impacts, T-bones, and multiple vehicle accidents. Serious accidents often involve vehicles traveling at higher speeds. When a 3,000-pound vehicle crashes into you at 50 miles per hour, there are bound to be injuries. Injuries in a major car accident can include broken bones, head injury, neck injury, back injury, eye injury, burn injury, dismemberment, and death. In some cases, a driver or passenger may be trapped inside the vehicle, unable to get out. This can delay medical treatment and leave the individual prone to additional injuries from fire or an explosion. The fire department may need to use machinery like the ‘jaws of life' to extricate the individual.

Major car accidents often result in injuries to multiple parties, including drivers and passengers of all vehicles involved. This can make a claim for damages more complicated. Each individual may have a different version of what occurred just before, during, and after the accident. This is why it is important to have an advocate on your side to make sure you are not held responsible for someone else's negligence. Your personal injury attorney will deal with the insurance companies so you don't accidentally say something that they will later use against you in denying your claim.

Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff files a claim for money damages for their injury. If the jury finds the defendant was responsible for the damage, they may award the plaintiff a monetary award. The amount of money that your claim is worth will depend on a number of factors. Generally, the plaintiff will be awarded compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are intended to put the plaintiff in the same position they would have been but for the injury.

Damages are made up of economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are quantifiable monetary losses resulting from the injury. This includes damages that the plaintiff has already sustained, as well as future losses and expenses. For example, economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit may include hospital bills, future medical care, lost wages, loss in earning capacity, and property damage. In a claim for future costs, and expenses, the plaintiff may use an expert's opinion to determine a dollar amount of future losses.

Non-economic damages can be more difficult to quantify. After an injury, the plaintiff may have gone through a painful experience, and their injuries may cause them extensive suffering. The defendant should compensate the plaintiff for causing them to endure pain and suffering. By claiming non-economic damages, the plaintiff can seek compensation for these losses. Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship.

In some cases, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their actions, and to dissuade others from engaging in similar activities that result in an injury or accident. In Maryland, punitive damages are limited to cases where the defendant acted with actual malice, such as intending to injure the plaintiff or acting with an evil motive.

Maryland Motor Vehicle Injury Attorneys

Vehicle accidents can be caused by another driver, faulty traffic controls, or manufacturing and design defects. Regardless of who was responsible for your injuries, the negligent party should compensate you for your damages, pain, and suffering. Contact an attorney with experience in handling vehicle injury accidents to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in an accident, contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian to file your claim. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases throughout Maryland. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.

Let Us Help

If someone you are close to has been seriously injured or worse, you are naturally devastated not only by what has happened, but by the effect that the injury or loss has had on you and your family. At a time when you're vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead.

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