If you have been hurt in a car accident in Baltimore that was not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. Unfortunately, there are a handful of ways that you can hurt your likelihood of winning your personal injury case for this compensation or diminishing the amount that you stand to recover. While some of these depend on what you were doing at the time of the accident and cannot be corrected or avoided afterwards, others are entirely preventable.
The Baltimore personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can help you avoid these common and costly pitfalls, and will do all they can to minimize the damage if you have already made one of these mistakes.
Missing the Statute of Limitations
The biggest and most preventable thing that you can do to hurt the value of your personal injury case after a car crash in Baltimore is to wait too long to file your claims in court. In Maryland, the statute of limitations requires you to file a personal injury claim that stems from a car accident within three years of the crash. If you file even a day late, the person you are suing can quickly and easily have it dismissed, no matter how good your claim was and no matter how much you could have recovered. This will make it impossible to get anything in your lawsuit.
The best way to avoid this pitfall is to seek an attorney to represent you early on, preferably within a few months after being hurt in the crash. This will give your lawyer the time they need to put together an effective complaint and have it filed when the time is right.
Contributing to the Car Accident
Many car accidents are not all caused by one driver. Instead, they are caused by the negligence of multiple people coming together at the wrong place and the wrong time. In these cases, it is up to a state's personal injury law to apportion shares of liability for the crash to those who were responsible.
Different states take different approaches to the problem of shared liability for an accident. The approach that Maryland takes, unfortunately, is called contributory negligence and is one of the oldest, simplest, and worst for accident victims.
Maryland's contributory negligence law prevents accident victims from getting any compensation for a crash if they were at all responsible for it. Therefore, even if you were only one percent at fault for a car accident that seriously hurt you, Maryland's rule of contributory negligence will prevent you from recovering any compensation, whatsoever.
Unfortunately, contributing to an accident is not often something that you can control, other than driving attentively and safely all the time. If you do get hurt in a car accident in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland and there is a chance that you partially contributed to it, having an attorney on hand to vigorously fight for your rights and interests can make a huge difference in the value of your personal injury claim.
Unreasonable Medical Care
One of the types of damages that you suffer from a car accident is the cost of your medical expenses. Because you would not have been hurt were it not for the negligence of the other driver who caused the crash, you deserve to get the cost of your medical care back in a successful personal injury case.
However, the medical expenses that you stand to recover in a lawsuit only cover those that are reasonably related to the injuries that you suffered. Taking the opportunity to have other medical conditions taken care of, and then trying to include them in your lawsuit, can hurt your credibility in the eyes of the court and reduce the amount that you recover if you win. Keeping the costs of your medical care that is associated with the crash separate from your other medical expenses can prevent this from happening.
Not Documenting Your Injuries
Similarly, not recording and documenting the injuries you suffered in the car crash can quickly lead to the value of your personal injury claim falling.
When you file your personal injury lawsuit, the attorneys on the other side will look for any possible opportunity to throw doubt on the reasonableness of your medical care. One way they can do this is to claim that the care you received was either not associated with injuries from the crash, or that the care you got was above and beyond what was necessary. By thoroughly documenting your injuries from the very start, you can show that the care you received was absolutely necessary for the injuries you got in the crash.
Not Hiring an Attorney
Finally, not hiring an attorney is a surefire way to reduce the value of your personal injury case after a car accident. Personal injury lawyers understand how the law works in your favor, can see potential pitfalls in the future that will decrease the value of your claim, and can help you through the process in a way that gets you all of the compensation you need and deserve. Even the perception of having a lawyer on your side is enough for insurance companies to realize that you mean business and that they cannot take advantage of you—settlement offers tend to increase substantially once an accident victim has hired a lawyer.
Baltimore Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian represent car accident victims on a regular basis. We can help guide you through the process and help you do all that it takes to maintain the high-value personal injury case that gets you compensated for all of your losses.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash in Baltimore, contact us online to get started on your case.