There are a wide variety of car accidents in Baltimore. While some of them tend to be more severe than others, all types of crashes have the potential to be life-threatening. For example, while head-on collisions frequently result in serious injuries and are considered to be one of the most dangerous types of car crash, that does not mean that rear-end collisions cannot be serious as well. In fact, some rear-end crashes happen at high speeds, involve numerous vehicles, and lead to rollovers that can put your life at risk.
But even if the rear-end collision you were involved in does not lead to devastating or life-altering injuries, that does not mean that you do not deserve to be compensated for the losses you have gone through. Filing a lawsuit after a rear-end collision in Baltimore is the best way to get this compensation, whether it is for the extensive medical bills you have accumulated, or just for the costs of repairing your vehicle.
The Legal Process for a Rear End Collision in Baltimore
Regardless of the type of car accident, the legal claims process is the same.
Immediately following the crash, from the instant of the impact until several days later, your primary concern is simply making sure everyone is alright and that you get the medical attention that you need in order to make a full recovery. Thinking about a subsequent lawsuit does not change the best course of conduct while you are waiting for an ambulance or while you are getting the initial treatment in a hospital for your injuries, so worrying over it gets you nowhere.
In the days that follow, or up to a couple of weeks later, if the injuries you have suffered are severe, you will likely hear from the insurance company of the responsible driver. After all, if you were rear ended, there is very little chance that you were the one who was responsible for the accident. One of the things that the insurance company will bring up is an initial settlement offer. This offer is designed to seem like it will make your problems go away, and is made right at the time when you feel like you most need the money. The insurance company wants you to accept it and wants you to sign your legal rights away because they know you deserve far more in compensation if you pursue your legal rights.
At this point, hiring a skilled personal injury attorney in the Baltimore area can be in your best interests. They can explain whether the initial offer is adequate, or why it will fail to fully compensate you for the losses you have suffered from the crash.
Suing a Negligent Driver After a Rear End Collision
If you choose not to accept the insurance company's initial settlement offer, you will protect your ability to enforce your legal rights to compensation in court. The next step is to prepare the lawsuit that will get you this compensation.
This involves gathering the numerous pieces of evidence that show it was the other driver who caused the crash, and that you were injured as a result of their negligence.
The main piece of evidence that there will be is the police report. This report is the official description of the accident, detailing what happened and who the police found to be at fault. Because it was prepared by police officers who, in theory, have no interest in the outcome of the case, the police report of your accident will carry great weight in court and so will make a huge difference as your case develops.
To show that you suffered from the crash and that you, therefore, deserve to be compensated, you will need to list and prove all of the losses you have incurred from the accident. These are your legal damages, and include the following.
- The cost of the medical bills you have already accumulated.
- The cost of the medical bills that you are likely to have to pay in the future.
- The amount of any wages you have lost while you recover.
- Any earnings that you will no longer be able to get because of the crash.
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering and your inability to enjoy life.
In many cases, these damages can be proven through receipts or bills from the hospital or from your car repair shop.
Filing the Complaint
Once these pieces of evidence have been gathered, the next step is to file the complaint. This is the first document in a lawsuit, and lays out what happened, how you were hurt, and formally requests the responsible party to compensate you for your losses.
The complaint begins the formal legal process and initiates your personal injury lawsuit. It does not, however, guarantee that your case will make it to the courtroom. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury cases get settled outside of court.
The Statute of Limitations in Maryland
While some cases last longer than others, all personal injury cases in Baltimore have to abide by the strictures of Maryland's statute of limitations. This statute, embodied at Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101, requires the complaint to be filed within three years of the accident that is the source of the injuries behind the lawsuit.
Complying with the statute of limitations is absolutely crucial if you want to get the compensation that you need and deserve. If you do not, then the party you are suing can have your case dismissed very easily, even if your case is a very good one. This makes it very important to get your case started early--ideally, as soon as possible after the accident.
The whole process is difficult, time-consuming, and confusing. Hiring the Baltimore personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can be the best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online for the legal help you need.