Baltimore injury lawyer explains what determines who is responsible in an auto accident?

After the initial interview is taken, the first responsibility of the Baltimore Injury lawyer for the injured party in a car or auto accident case is to determine who is at fault. Until the insurance company agrees that their customer (insured) is a fault they are not going to pay the claim.

Until the insurance company for the at fault vehicle accepts the claim, they will not make any payments. Unless you want to proceed against your own insurance company, then the other insurance company must be convinced they are at fault and therefore own the accident.

 Sometimes insurance adjusters are lazy and  not supportive of their own insured. A Baltimore Injury lawyer can also be helpful in getting your insurance company to help you investigate your claim and can help you stay on top of your own insurance company by feeding them useful information to get them to back you up in a claim.

You do not want your insurance company to pay the claim of the other party if you are not at fault because that can affect your insurance rates and ultimately result in a cancellation of your policy.  A Baltimore Injury lawyer can be helpful in convincing an insurance company that your position is the correct position and that you are in the right.

A Baltimore Injury lawyer  may also be helpful in getting your insurance company to spend the necessary time and money to hire experts in order to prove your version of the case.

A Baltimore Injury lawyer can be extremely helpful in dealing with the other insurance company.  When you speak with the other insurance company, for example, they may ask you to give a recorded statement. Baltimore Injury lawyer will know to advise you that any statement you give an insurance company can be used against you later in court.

It is extremely difficult for people to attest to the same event in exactly the same way each time, so each time you give a recorded statement to someone, it will likely vary from any other statement you’ve given. This can result in an adverse verdict against you in court, then, because the jury will feel you have changed your story.

It is always a bad idea to give a recorded statement or even speak to the insurance company for the other side directly. Even if the statement is not recorded, the insurance adjuster is taking notes that can ultimately be used against you.  On the other hand, anything a Baltimore Injury lawyer says to the insurance company cannot be used against you because it is not admissible in court.

In addition, a Baltimore Injury lawyer knows what information should be given to an insurance company and what information should not be given to an insurance company.  People unfamiliar with the process often give too much information when talking to an insurance company, resulting in an adverse decision by the insurance company.

A Baltimore Injury lawyer is trained to know what is the best way to present your case in a light most favorable to your claim.

Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. And for vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured.

These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must learn to pass the driver’s license test. Complete rules are contained in each state’s Vehicle Code, and they apply not only to automobiles but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

While there are thousands of traffic laws that deal with drivers’ obligations to each other, there are some basic traffic rules which repeatedly appear relevant in determining liability and which a good Baltimore Injury lawyer will know.

  1. Negligence is doing something that a person using reasonable care would not do, or not doing something that a person using reasonable care would do. Reasonable care means that caution, attention or skill a reasonable person would use under similar circumstances.
  2. A reasonable person changes conduct according to the circumstances and the danger that is known or would be appreciated by a reasonable person. Therefore, if the foreseeable danger increases, a reasonable person acts more carefully.
  3. The violation of a statute, which is a cause of plaintiff’s injuries or damages, is evidence of negligence.
  4. Striking a stopped car or a moving car in the rear is evidence of negligence.
  5. If you change lanes and hit another car in the lane you are changing into, this is is evidence of negligence.
  6. If you run a red light and collide with a vehicle that has a green light,is evidence of negligence.
  7. If you run a stop sign and collide with a vehicle that did not have a stop sign,is evidence of negligence.
  8. If you fail to yield the right of way at a yield sign and collide with a vehicle that did not have a yield sign,this is evidence of negligence.
  9. If you make a left turn, in front of traffic going in the opposite direction,
  10. this is evidence of negligence.
  11. If you pull from a park position and hit another vehicle on the boulevard,this is evidence of negligence.
  12. If you pull out of a parking lot or side street and collide with a car on the boulevard,this is evidence of negligence.
  13. If you stop at a red light and make a right turn on red or go straight after you stop while the light is still red and collide with a vehicle that has a green light,this is evidence of negligence.
  14. If you stop at the stop sign and then proceed and collide with a vehicle that did not have a stop sign,this is evidence of negligence.
  15. Crossing the center line, this is evidence of negligence.

According to a good Baltimore Injury lawyer there are also rules of the road that do not necessarily make a party at fault.

  1. Speeding- just because someone was speeding does not give you the right to cut them off
  2. Vehicles that came out of nowhere-  Baltimore Injury lawyer hear this all the time. But this is ridiculous, vehicles do not come from nowhere. You just did not see them.
  3. A person making a left- hand turn at an intersection waits until the light turns red and then in order to clear the intersection makes a left turn on a red light and is struck by a car whose light just turned green. The person with the green light could be at fault because the car at the intersection had the right to clear the intersection and the car at the green light should have waited before they cleared the intersection before they proceeded.
  4. In some states, not buckling up can negate or reduce any potential compensation for damages, on the basis that people suffer more severe and expensive injuries when they’re not wearing seat belts. In other states, this is not the rule. In Maryland for example, the primary seat belt law went into effect October 1, 1997 and the non-use of a seat belt is not admissible evidence in injury cases

Baltimore Injury lawyer can explain what happens if the cause of the accident is not clear

It is sometimes difficult to say that one particular act caused an accident. If you can show that the other driver made several minor driving errors or committed several minor traffic violations, then you can argue that the combination of those actions caused the accident.

Almost half the states have some form of no-fault auto insurance, also called personal injury protection. Often there is a dispute about how the accident happened. Both sides tell the story in such a way that if their story were true, then they would not be at fault. Most of the time when there are conflicting stories, it is not likely that both parties are correct in their assessment about what happened.

While some people do lie in order to avoid being responsible for the other person’s damage, more often than not the parties just remember the facts differently. It is not unusual to have cases were each side differs in what happened and each side has independent witnesses who also differ as to what happened in a case.

For these situations, that is why they have courts to try and resolve the situation. At trial a good Baltimore Injury lawyer, can through direct and cross examination, explore the:

(1) the witness’s behavior on the stand and way of testifying;

(2) the witness’s opportunity to see or hear the things about which testimony was given;

(3) the accuracy of the witness’s memory;

(4) did the witness have a motive not to tell the truth?;

(5) does the witness have an interest in the outcome of the case?;

(6)  was the witness’s testimony consistent?;

(7) was the witness’s testimony supported or contradicted by other evidence?; and

(8) whether and the extent to which the witness’s testimony in the court differed from the statements made by the witness on any previous occasion.

What if the accident was partially or totally my fault?

 If the accident was partially or totally your fault, then you cannot win in a motor vehicle case unless you can prove last clear chance.

A plaintiff cannot recover if the plaintiff’s negligence is a cause of the injury.

Contributory negligence

The defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff’s negligence was a cause of the plaintiff’s injury.If the other driver can prove that any action you took violated a traffic law and was a cause even if not the sole cause of the accident then you cannot prevail in the state of Maryland.

Maryland is one of three states that accepts contributory negligence as an absolute defense in an auto accident case. So if the other driver is theoretically 99% at fault and you are only one percent at fault in the state of Maryland you lose.Bottom line in order to prevail in a car accident case you must be negligence free.

Assumption of Risk

The other defense in a car accident case is assumption of risk.A plaintiff cannot recover if the plaintiff has assumed the risk of the injury. A person assumes the risk of an injury if that person knows and understands the risk of an existing danger or reasonably should have known and understood the risk of an existing danger, and voluntarily chooses to encounter the risk. An example of this is when you get in a car as a passenger where you know the driver of the car is intoxicated.

Once you allow that person to drive, you know they are impaired, that there is a greater risk when you travel in a car with a driver who is impaired and if that person later has an accident you have agreed to assume that risk and therefore you cannot sue them.

Last Clear Chance

The only rebuttal to the defense of contributory negligence is Last Clear Chance. Last Clear Chance

A plaintiff who was contributorily negligent may nevertheless recover if the plaintiff was in a dangerous situation and thereafter the defendant had a fresh opportunity of which defendant was aware to avoid injury to the plaintiff and failed to do example of this would be if defendant was making a left hand turn in front of plaintiff who is speeding and going straight.

Both cars have a green light. Both cars are violating the rules of the road.

However after the car that is turning left realizes the car gong straight is speeding, he then has a fresh opportunity to stop turning but decides to continue turning left and the vehicles collide.


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