When an individual is involved in a Maryland car accident, one of the first steps that they may take to recover for their damages is to file a claim with their or the at-fault party’s car insurance company. Although many people expect their insurance company to protect them in these instances, there are several reasons that an insurance provider may deny coverage. Moreover, in some cases, Maryland insurance companies will deny applications to renew existing policies. Maryland motorists and accident victims should contact an attorney to determine their rights and remedies in these situations.

Often, car insurance providers will deny coverage to those individuals that they believe are likely to be involved in an accident, such as those who have a significant number of traffic violations, are too young or too old, have poor credit, or live out of the coverage area. In other cases, even if a person receives coverage, their insurance company may deny a specific claim. For example, a Maryland car insurance company may deny a claim if the other party claims that the policyholder is at fault.

Maryland is one of the only states that continues to follow pure contributory negligence rules. A Maryland driver who possesses any level of responsibility, even five percent, is not entitled to compensation. Insurance companies may also deny coverage if they do not believe that the claimant suffered any physical injuries. Finally, insurance companies may deny a claim by asserting that the policy does not cover the specific situation that occurred. This often happens when a claimant indicates that they are refusing specific coverage when signing the insurance policy.

Despite strict laws, Maryland continues to experience about 7,000 car crashes per year involving at least one driver’s use of alcohol or drugs, according to its most recent crash data. Victims of drunk driving crashes may be able to file a Maryland personal injury lawsuit against a drunk driver to recover financial compensation for their injuries. In a civil suit against a drunk driver, an injured party must prove that the driver was negligent and that the driver’s negligent actions caused the victim’s injuries. A victim may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, property damage, wage losses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Evidence of a DUI arrest or conviction, or of a guilty plea to a traffic citation is useful evidence in a civil case. In Maryland, guilty pleas in court to traffic citations are generally admissible as evidence in a civil case. Even in the event that the driver does not face a criminal conviction, a civil case may still be possible. The standard in a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence standard is lower than the reasonable guilt standard in criminal cases, which means that a civil case may be won even if the driver is not convicted of a crime. There may still be evidence that the driver was under the influence and contributed to the crash. Drunk drivers can face serious criminal consequences, in addition to a civil suit. Under Noah’s Law, which took effect in October 2016, an ignition interlock device must be installed for any driver convicted of driving under the influence.

In addition to suing the driver, a civil suit may be brought against other responsible parties, such as a bar that served the drunk driver or another person who allowed the driver to drive while intoxicated. In any case, the victim still has to prove that the party acted negligently and that their negligent actions contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection provides coverage for insured drivers involved in a crash with uninsured or underinsured drivers. Although uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required in Maryland motor vehicle policies, stacking uninsured motorist coverage is optional. Opting for stacked uninsured motorist coverage can benefit Maryland car accidents victims in the event of a crash, because stacking coverage can provide additional coverage beyond an insurance policy’s general policy limits.

Stacked uninsured motorist coverage is expansive and typically provides coverage whenever and wherever the insured is injured by an uninsured motorist. This means that an insured can stack or aggregate uninsured motorist coverage if the insured has multiple insurance policies. Non-stacked uninsured motorist coverage provides less protection and does not apply whenever and wherever the insured is injured. This means that it normally cannot be stacked or aggregated. Maryland’s Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance – Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage law requires enhanced coverage to be offered under policies issued as of July 1, 2018. The law allows individuals covered on such policies to stack their uninsured motorist coverage.

A recent case from a state appeals court highlights the differences between stacked and non-stacked policies. In that case, the court found two individuals were not entitled to non-stacked uninsured motorist benefits where they had accepted stacked uninsured motorist benefits their policies with other insurers. Two individuals were injured when one of them was driving and was hit by another car that was driven by an uninsured motorist. The car was insured by a commercial auto policy in another individual’s name and provided non-stacked uninsured motorist coverage with a policy limit of $300,000. The two settled under the policy for $300,000. They also had three of their own insurance policies that provided uninsured motorist coverage. In addition, the parties settled under two of the other policies, which had provided stacked uninsured motorist coverage. The third policy insurer refused to pay because they had chosen non-stacked coverage.

Under Maryland law, a person normally is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle unless the driver and every occupant under 16 years old are restrained by a seat belt or a child safety seat. MD. Transp. Code section 22-412.3(b). However, under section 22-412.3(h), the failure to use a seat belt cannot be considered as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence in a Maryland car accident case, and a person’s failure to use a seat belt cannot limit the liability of a party or an insurer or diminish recovery for damages. The statute further clarifies that parties, lawyers, and other witnesses are not allowed to make reference to a seat belt during a civil trial involving property damages, personal injury or death—unless the case is based on a defect in the design, installation, manufacturing, supplying, or repair of the seat belt itself.

Seat belts have been required in Maryland since 1997. A seat belt is the best way to protect oneself in a car crash. Seat belts improve a person’s chance of survival by 60 percent. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 105 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on Maryland roads in 2018 while not wearing a seat belt. A survey conducted in 2019 found that the state’s seat belt usage rate was 90.4 percent in 2019. Maryland Department of Transportation has said that “the only acceptable number for seat belts usage is 100 percent.” Car crashes, in general, are the most common cause of death for individuals between the ages of 5 and 24. According to national statistics, seat belt usage is generally lower among teen drivers.

Maryland’s 2019 Roadside Observation Seat Belt Survey consisted of roadside observations of 32,433 cars and trucks across the state. The state survey showed that passengers wore seat belts 93 percent of the time when the driver also wore a seat belt, and that when the driver did not wear a seat belt, only 40 percent of passengers wore seat belts. Maryland’s Department of Transportation is trying to increase the usage of seat belts through a state education campaign. The state launched a campaign entitled “Seat Belts Look Good on You,” which is aimed at drivers aged 16 to 19 who pass the road skills test by offering them a reward of a free “seat belt” necktie or scarf. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in crashes in the state.

Every motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued in Maryland is required to include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects insured drivers from paying out-of-pocket expenses for their injuries if the drivers are involved in a Maryland car accident with parties that are uninsured or underinsured. The goal of Maryland’s uninsured motorist statute is to provide protection for individuals injured by uninsured motorists.

Uninsured motorist coverage refers to when an insured is involved in an accident with a driver that does not have any liability insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage refers to when an insured is involved in an accident with a driver that does have liability insurance but whose coverage is less than is needed to cover the accident victim’s injuries. If an insured driver is injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the insured can proceed with two separate claims. The first is a tort claim against the uninsured or underinsured driver. The second is a contract claim against the insured’s insurance company for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits.

In a recent case before a Maryland appeals court, an insured driver was hit from behind by the underinsured driver in April 2011. In April 2013, the underinsured driver offered the insured driver a settlement offer of $20,000 (the extent of the underinsured driver’s policy), which she later accepted. The insured driver continued receiving medical care until July 2014, and in January 2015, she requested underinsured motorist benefits from her insurer to recover additional underinsured motorist benefits from her insurance company. Under her policy, she was entitled to up to $300,000 per person for bodily injury that was caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. In September 2016, she filed a claim in court against her insurer seeking to recover her additional benefits.

Many Maryland residents go out driving every day, and most of the time, they get to their destination safely. However, small mistakes while driving can immediately lead to deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, more than 500 people are killed in Maryland car accidents each year. These accidents are often caused by negligent drivers, who drive under the influence, drive texting or otherwise distracted, or just make careless mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes may cost one or more people their lives.

Recently, two people were killed in a Maryland car accident caused by a driver’s mistake. According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash happened early one morning, just past 1 a.m., as two vehicles were driving on Brandywine Road in Brandywine. The responsible driver, traveling North, crossed the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes, crashing headfirst into the other vehicle. While victims are still being identified, police have confirmed that two individuals were killed in this accident, with another taken to the hospital.

Unfortunately, nothing can undo this tragic car accident, or the others that claim Maryland lives every day. While the mistake may have been a seemingly small one, the impact it had cannot be overstated. Although the families of Maryland car accident victims have no way of getting their loved ones back, Maryland law does allow them to file a wrongful death suit against whoever is responsible for the accident. These suits can help the family to recover for the immense financial costs they may incur after the accident, from medical expenses to funeral and burial costs, and can help take care of them financially while they are recovering psychologically.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently decided a Maryland car accident case in which the court considered whether the state’s cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. In Maryland, there is a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury and wrongful death claims. In a personal injury claim, non-economic damages include damages for “pain, suffering inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury.”

In a wrongful death claim, non-economic damages include damages for “mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education,” or other noneconomic damaged authorized under the statute. If a jury awards party an amount that exceeds the non-economic damages cap, the court will reduce the amount to the maximum allowed. A jury also cannot be informed of the cap.

In the case before the appeals court, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a car accident in 2017. She was driving near her home in Lanham, Maryland, when a car crossed over the median and hit her car. The other driver was driving a commercial vehicle for his employer and was intoxicated at the time of the crash. His employer knew that he had charges for driving while intoxicated prior to hiring him. The plaintiff’s injuries included losing almost all use of her left arm or hand. She had to undergo almost continuous medical care since the accident occurred, in addition to psychological treatment.

When someone is injured in a Maryland car accident due to another driver’s negligence, state law allows them to sue the responsible driver in a personal injury suit. However, what is less well known is that someone who is injured in a single-vehicle Maryland car accident may still be able to obtain compensation for their injuries. For example, in some situations, dangerous and hazardous conditions on the roads may lead to accidents, and injured victims may be able to sue their city government, who is responsible for maintaining roads and ensuring their safety.

For example, take a recent state appellate court decision. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was driving in August of 2016, when she suddenly hit an uncovered manhole. This caused an accident, and the plaintiff was seriously injured as a result. She decided to file a personal injury suit against the city, alleging that the manhole was a public nuisance and presenting evidence in the form of photographs. The photographs showed that the manhole sat several inches below the surface of the street and that there were cracks in the surrounding pavement. According to her expert witness, this meant that there was an increased risk of the cover being dislodged. The jury in the case sided with the plaintiff and found the city to be liable, and the city appealed.

On appeal, the court reversed the jury verdict and directed a verdict for the defendant city. The court found that the plaintiff did not establish the elements required to hold a city liable for a public nuisance, because she had to show that the deteriorated condition of the manhole existed on the day of the accident or that the city had notice of the condition before the accident. Because the photographs she submitted into evidence were taken over a year after the accident occurred, the court found that she had failed to establish these elements, and a jury could not find the city liable. As such, the verdict was reversed, and the plaintiff’s suit ended.

Earlier this month, a 49-year-old woman from Edgewater, Maryland was killed in a tragic head-on car accident. According to a local news report, the victim was driving south on Davidsonville Road in a Honda CR-V when a 17-year-old driving a Honda Civic traveling north crossed the center lane. The result was a head-on collision, around 5:30 PM, that led to substantial injuries for both drivers. Both were taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center Hospital to be treated—unfortunately, the driver in the CR-V died shortly thereafter, while still in the hospital.

Head-on car accidents are one of the most dangerous types of crashes, usually leading to severe injuries and sometimes death. While any car accident can cause injury, head-on car accidents are particularly worrisome because of the speed the two vehicles are typically driving at and the location of their impact. While these accidents may occur out of the blue, they are typically caused by a negligent driver.

Drivers may be driving on the wrong side of the road for many reasons. They may be carelessly attempting to pass a vehicle ahead of them. They may also be distracted, exhausted, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, impairing their functioning. Some drivers may just ignore traffic signs and signals altogether, driving recklessly and causing an accident, while others may swerve unexpectedly into the opposite lane to avoid an animal or hazard in the road.

The majority of car accidents are preventable. While there are many causes of Maryland car accidents, most accidents are the result of a few very common negligent driving behaviors. In Maryland, one of the leading causes of car crashes is distracted driving. Distracted driving consists of any time a driver engages in behavior that removes their attention from the road. Distractions can be visual, auditory, manual or cognitive. For example, eating or drinking, changing the radio station, talking to a passenger, daydreaming and texting are all common examples of distracted driving behavior.

While many of the reasons for a driver’s distraction have been around for years, today, the most commonly cited reason for a distracted driving accident is cell phone use. This includes both talking on the phone as well as texting while driving. Currently, Maryland law prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving; however, hands-free devices can be used to make calls. Both talking and texting while driving are primary offenses, meaning a law enforcement officer can pull a motorist over for using their phone even if they are committing no other infractions.

The state department of transportation keeps very detailed records of all Maryland distracted driving accidents. In part, this is to gauge the effectiveness of government efforts to reduce the instances of distracted driving. On average, there are nearly 54,000 Maryland traffic accidents that are caused by distracted driving. These crashes result in nearly 18,000 injuries and 160 deaths. According to the most recent data from 2018, there were over 57,000 traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers. These accidents resulted in 18,102 injuries and 176 deaths.

Contact Information