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Three Must-Take Steps After a Car Accident in Baltimore

As a long-time personal injury attorney practicing in and around Baltimore, I’ve handled hundreds of car accident claims. Thankfully, not every accident results in a personal injury, but when bodily harm does result, a Baltimore accident lawyer’s advice about the important steps to consider after the accident can be valuable.  For those claims not involving significant personal injury, it perhaps not as vital to consult with  Baltimore injury or accident lawyer who has tried hundreds of cases, but the other considerations herein apply with equal force.

Report the Crash to Your Car Insurance Company

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Baltimore, it is crucial to promptly report the incident to your car insurance company. Here’s why:

First, as an insured person, you have an obligation under your policy to cooperate with your insurance company. Your car insurance company will indemnify you if you are responsible for causing the accident and will hire a lawyer to defend you in a lawsuit. Failing to notify your insurance company about the accident could jeopardize these benefits.

Second, reporting the claim is essential if you’ve sustained an injury in the accident. You are entitled to first-party benefits like Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which is mandatory under Maryland law. PIP provides $2,500 of coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, though you might have purchased additional PIP coverage, which is a wise decision. Check your declarations page to ensure you have sufficient coverage, and if not, take this Baltimore lawyer’s accident advice, and consider increasing it.

Here are the pertinent provision of the “Personal Injury Protection”/ PIP statute currently in effect in Baltimore, MD.

“….Each insurer that issues, sells, or delivers a motor vehicle liability insurance policy in the State shall provide coverage for the medical, hospital, and disability benefits described in this section for each of the following individuals:

  • the first named insured, and any family member of the first named insured who resides in the first named insured’s household, who is injured in any motor vehicle accident, including an accident that involves an uninsured motor vehicle or a motor vehicle the identity of which cannot be ascertained; and
  • any other individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident while using the insured motor vehicle with the express or implied permission of the named insured;
  • an individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident while occupying the insured motor vehicle as a guest or passenger; and
  • an individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident that involves the insured motor vehicle as a pedestrian”

 “The minimum medical, hospital, and disability benefits provided by an insurer under this section shall include up to $2,500 for payment of all reasonable and necessary expenses that arise from a motor vehicle accident and that are incurred within 3 years after the accident for necessary prosthetic devices and ambulance, dental, funeral, hospital, medical, professional nursing, surgical, and X-ray services [and/or] payment of benefits for 85% of income loss”

Source: Md. Insurance Code Ann. § 19-505

Analysis: PIP is vital if you have been injured in a car accident. It provides $2500 of insurance coverage available to you -the insured person- to pay medical expenses or compensate for lost wages. You might’ve purchased more PIP. than the law requires and if so, you’ve made a wise decision The best legal advice that I can give in this this article, is put down your phone now, go look at your declarations page and make sure that you have Maryland Personal Injury Protection Coverage. Then, call your agent and find out how much it would cost to purchase more and if you can afford it, do it.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

This another vital benefit for Baltimore drivers. This coverage provides compensation if the other driver lacks sufficient insurance or has no insurance at all. Ensure you have this coverage and consider increasing it if possible. Baltimore residents can now obtain enhanced uninsured motorist coverage that is not subject to set-off for money received from the at-fault party’s insurance. The relevant law can be found here:

Source: Md. Insurance Code Ann. § 19-509.1

Analysis: While the details of either straight traditional uninsured motorist coverage, or enhanced uninsured motorist coverage available to Baltimore drivers is beyond the contours of this article, I can offer the following legal advice. More insurance coverage is always better insurance coverage. Secondly, you can’t get coverage after the accident [Well you can, but it won’t cover the car accident, only the next one].

Preserve Evidence of the Baltimore Car Accident

Gathering evidence at the scene of the accident is crucial if you are physically able to do so. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Take photographs of the vehicles involved, the intersection, and any relevant signage.
  • Photograph the other driver’s license, insurance information, and license plate.
  • Look for witnesses and potential video cameras that might have recorded the accident.

Avoid discussing the accident with the other driver to prevent misunderstandings and protect your legal interests.

Consult with a Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in the accident, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. If your injuries require medical treatment beyond the initial evaluation, you should consult with and get accident advice from a Baltimore lawyer who focuses their practice on personal injury cases, particularly those involving car accidents in Baltimore. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to, and protect your rights throughout the recovery process.