When you are in a car accident Baltimore, there are time constraints that you have to file a claim for your damages and injuries. If you don’t file in time, then there is a real risk that you will not receive compensation. Knowing what the time limits are is crucial to getting all that you deserve and are entitled to. Each state has their own statute of limitations regarding how long you have to make a claim. In Maryland, the statutes of limitation differ according to the type of case that you are involved in.
If you wish to file a claim for an auto accident, Maryland law specifies that you have:
- Three years to file for a personal injury case
- Three years to file for a property damage case
The time constraints apply only to the time that you have to file a claim for your auto accident. Because sometimes negotiations can take a long time, it is critical to factor in the time limitations so that if you aren’t able to reach a fair settlement, you still have time to file a personal injury case to go to trial. If you are dealing with a claims adjuster, they have very little motivation to negotiate with you if you can’t file a personal injury or property injury case in a court of law, which is why watching the clock becomes important to receiving a fair settlement or escalating the case.
In Maryland, if the case involves a lawsuit with a governmental agency, the courts typically favor the government. So if you are riding on a public bus, then you might be subject to a different set of rules regarding your damages and injuries than another type of auto accident.
Comparative fault in Maryland
Every state has different rules that they use for handling comparative fault. Comparative fault is when both parties bear partial responsibility for an accident. Maryland is one of the only states that follows the rule “contributory negligence.” This is a much stricter way of dealing with comparative fault; if you are found at fault, then you have no recourse to recover, regardless of how much responsibility you bear for the accident.
The contributory negligence law bars both judge and jury when a case goes to trial from compensating someone who is partially at fault, and it also guides an insurance claims adjuster when they are evaluating your individual case. The adjuster typically will use the knowledge of contributory negligence to anticipate what will happen in a court of law and it will affect what they are willing to offer and when they will negotiate with you.
In practical terms, if you hit someone because they pulled out in front of you and they are determined to hold 90% of the blame for the accident, but you were speeding so you are assigned 10% liability, then in a court of law you would not be eligible to recover for any of your injuries or damages. That is why so many people take what an adjuster offers them if they are even partially to blame for an accident. Insurance companies understand that if you bear even 1% liability for an accident, you will be entitled to nothing in court, and they use that to their advantage.
If you are injured in a car accident in Maryland, then hiring an attorney is imperative. Due to the strict nature of the statute of limitations and contributory negligence law, it might feel like an uphill battle to get all that you are entitled to. If you have an auto attorney in your corner, you are more likely to get what you deserve. Since they will know how to negotiate effectively with the insurance company and when it is a good idea to go to court, they are almost always able to get you more than if you try to settle your case on your own.
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The best thing to do if you are in a car accident in Baltimore is to file a claim right away and then consult a lawyer. Know that the minute you file a claim, the clock is ticking, and the steps you take to get fair compensation are imperative from the get-go.