It's not surprising to see clogged interstate highways in Maryland. Most residents are used to being trapped on busy roads every day. These congested highways also bring a higher chance of car accidents. Whether you got into a minor car accident or into a severe wreck, you should be aware of your right to compensation under Maryland law. Read on to learn about the Maryland car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Maryland?
Yes, in some cases. You need to file a report to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) within 15 days of the accident if anyone involved in an accident has been injured and no police officer was present.
Maryland Car Insurance Laws
In Maryland, you are required to have all of the following types of coverage: (1) liability coverage, (2) uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and (3) personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. For both liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you must purchase the following minimum amounts required by law:
- $30,000 for bodily injury
- $60,000 for bodily injury of two or more people
- $15,000 for property damage
For PIP, the minimum amount of coverage required by Maryland law is $2,500. If you fail to meet these required minimums, you may be fined and/or get your license suspended.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Maryland?
Maryland follows the traditional "at-fault" system when it comes to car accident cases and insurance laws. If you were injured in a car accident, you must prove fault on part of the other driver. If you are able to prove fault on part of that person, you have three options to receive money damages: (1) file a claim under your own insurance policy, (2) file a claim through the other driver's insurance company, or (3) file a lawsuit against the other driver who is at fault.
If you are unable to resolve a dispute with an insurance company, you have two options: (1) Rapid Response Program and (2) written complaints. The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) created the Rapid Response Program to help certain people resolve their property and casualty claims as quickly as possible without officially filing a complaint. Another option is to file a written complaint. The Administration will review your complaint and make suggestions to resolve the dispute. Keep in mind that the Administration does not intervene in a pending lawsuit nor does it make decisions regarding the dispute.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Maryland?
Courts and insurance companies usually divide the damages into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are tangible losses that are specific costs you've sustained as a result of your injury or damage to property. Noneconomic damages refer to the more abstract costs of an accident like pain and suffering. The most common types of car accident damages are: car repairs or replacement, medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of affection or companionship.
However, you won't be able to recover any of these damages if you are partially at fault for your own injuries and damage. Unlike most other states, Maryland has a harsh rule called "contributory negligence," which completely bars recovery even if you were only 1 percent at fault. Therefore, Maryland's law on proving fault in a car crash plays a critical role in a car accident case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Maryland?
You have 3 years to file a lawsuit for both personal property and personal injury. If your claim is against the government, then you only have 1 year to file a lawsuit. The clock starts ticking from the date of the accident. If this deadline passes, courts will deny to hear your case. Therefore, make sure to check the deadline and contact an experienced attorney if you wish to proceed with a lawsuit.
Have Your Maryland Car Accident Settlement Reviewed by a Local Attorney
Maryland is one of the very few states that apply the contributory negligence standard when it comes to shared fault. If an insurance company or the other driver who's at fault argues that you contributed to the accident, you should consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney in your area to discuss your case. Accident law is more complicated than you may think, especially if a dispute arises. Take action today and find out what legal options are available to you.