Injury FAQs

Frequently Asked
Personal Injury Questions


In a word No!
Recoveries from personal injury accidents and medical malpractice are basically nontaxable under the IRS code. So therefore when contemplating accepting a settlement offer or when presenting your case to a jury the jury is instructed not to attach more money to its verdict to compensate for alleged taxes because there are no such taxes.

In some ways this is beneficial because had you been working and received a paycheck your paycheck would surely be taxable so recovering compensation for lost wages inside of a personal injury case does have its benefits.

If you have a workers compensation case and you have lost wages because of your inability to work the workers compensation insurance carrier only has to pay you two thirds of your average weekly wage because of the fact that taxes are not taking out.

You may be surprised to learn that insurance companies have no desire to help you or to make your car accident right. That includes the other person’s insurance company or you own company if the other person is not insured. The truth is, insurance companies are a business like any other and they are out to help themselves and their corporate stock holders. Thus when you are involved in a car accident in Maryland you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your case. The following steps will assist you in that regard.
1. The police may or may not come to the scene and make a report depending upon how serious the accident is. If no immediate injuries are reported, or if the injuries from the car accident are minor, the police may only write an exchange of driver info sheet and give you both a copy. An exchange of information only has the information of the parties and does not go into fault. You should try to insist that a police report be made because there will be details in the report that are important such as fault and witnesses and also the report will shore up what happened as the defendant will typically change his story after the accident. Defendants will typically say one thing at the accident scene in the presence of the police, but when they go home and talk to their spouse or friends, the story often changes. Thus it is best to have the police their to make a detailed report.

1.5 One excellent way to document the scene of the accident irrespective of the police presence is to take pictures of the cars before they are moved or towed away. In serious accidents it is unlikely that you will be able to take pictures of accident scene, but if a spouse, friend or even a bystander is present, it is important to get pictures of the cars as they are. After the cars are moved, pictures of the property damage is also important to show the insurance company or a jury, thus if you go to visit your car if totaled, get several pictures to record the damage severity and location.

2. All witnesses are important and information must be obtained on the spot. Witnesses disappear after the accident and can be difficult to get a hold of. Witnesses can make or brake a case and sometimes mystery witnesses show up well after the accident occurred so getting all witness information on the scene is important. Pictures of the scene at the time of the accident are very important because the defense always tries to change their story. Pictures should be taken immediately of the position of all cars and the road and any signs or lights involved. If you were injured in the accident seek appropriate medical care at the hospital at once and let somebody else take the necessary pictures and get witness information.

3. Don’t communicate with insurance, especially the other side’s insurance company. Insurance companies will want to take your recorded statement as soon as possible to box you into whatever you tell them on the phone. Insurance company folks are trained to elicit things from you or spin things in a way which do not help you; in fact it could hurt you. They are trained to attempt to mess you up, ask ambiguous questions and otherwise get you to hurt your own case by saying things that may not be accurate which they can hold against you later in court. Thus, you should not speak to the other sides insurance without the benefit of a lawyer advising you or better yet, doing it for you. We rarely allow our clients to communicate with the other insurance company and certainly not without us present on the call. It’s always best if the lawyer communicates for you.

4. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. We will get in touch with witnesses, complete an investigation, speak to insurance for you and make sure your legal rights are protected. Insurance companies have gotten increasingly difficult to deal with so we are eager to file suit for you to enforce your rights in court where they will be held to the fire to do the right thing. Without court, insurance has no pressure or desire to make it right. Many lawyers out there prefer not to go to court instead settling for the quick buck. At Robinson & Associates, we are a trial law firm and we enjoy going to court to maximize our client’s recovery.

5. Be advised of a few terms. First, the statute of limitations in Maryland is 3 years. That means you have 3 years to file a law suit in court for a car accident or you will be barred from doing so. This should not be a problem if your lawyer is actively watching and moving your case along but it is an important date to know. You should be aware that in many cases you have the right to PiP or Personal Injury Protection. Pip comes from your own policy and SHOULD be used by you for medical bills and lost wages – irrespective of whose fault the accident was. This is essentially “free” money available to you, that you have paid for in your premiums to cover these losses. This is important because it lowers medical bills which may have to be paid at the end of your case.

This is a popular question but it is difficult to answer for a variety of reasons. At the outset, some of the factors that go into the value equation are your medical bills, your property damage and the nature and extent of the injuries that resulted from the accident. These are the basic factors that go into the consideration of case value but in reality, it goes much deeper then that. The county where your accident occurred, or where suit will be filed, is important. A serious accident that occurred in Baltimore City has “greater value” than a serious accident that occurred in Harford County. Harford County is a far more conservative jurisdiction and juries hate paying money for injuries even if the person clearly deserves significant compensation.
A very important factor in the value equation is the true nature and extent of permanent injury, if any exists. A permanent injury, for life of the injured person, should have a significant financial value even if the medical bills are not significant. For example, take the case of a broken arm following an accident. The medical bills for a broken arm will be relatively low in the absence of surgery, but the pain and suffering from the brake are significant and last for 8 weeks, and possibly more. Therefore, the bills versus the overall value of the case are not fairly related in this example.
This is where many lawyers and insurance companies get side tracked and fail to understand the true value of a their client’s case. The insurance company continues to bang away saying the case has X value (which is always under valued by the insurance company) so an experienced lawyer must look for permanent injury, must properly document the injury and all the pain and suffering and then must present it properly to a judge or jury in order to recover fair and appropriate compensation for the injuries suffered by the client. At Robinson & Associates, this is what we look for and develop from day one when you come to the office.
In a word-yes, you need a lawyer. In Maryland, as with most states, the insurance companies have become stingy; greedy in fact. They demand all their premiums up front and on time but when you make a claim for injuries related to a car accident in Maryland, they do everything in their power to deny and delay your claim. They simply do not want to pay. If they have to pay, they do everything within their power to limit what they they have to pay.
Without a lawyer, not only do you not know the law or how to prosecute your case against the insurance company, but the reality is, you are no threat to them whatsoever; therefore they don’t pay. They have specific adjusters set aside to deal with accident victims that don’t have lawyer so they can further hurt you and not fairly compensate your claim. When lawyers do get involved in your claim, all of sudden the case goes to new adjusters to deal with the accident. In fact, if and when suit is filed on your behalf at court, the case is often moved again to higher level adjusters and sometimes fair offers of settlement are made at that time.
Another famous trick of the insurance companies to offer some ridiculous low ball offer to victims of accidents right after the claim is reported. This in predatory to injured victims who may be in need of money and should not be allowed at all. This is always a bad idea as the insurance company knows you have claim worth bigger money so they offer pennies on the dollar to try to avoid a bigger verdict or settlement. Please do not fall for this trick! This is just another example of why you need a lawyer to guide you through the maze of games played by insurance against unsuspecting victims.
The majority of lawyers that handle car accident cases, personal injury and medical malpractice do so on a contingency fee basis.
Contingency fee means the lawyer or law firm only gets paid a fee when your case is successfully concluded and compensation is received from the insurance company for the Defendant. If there is no recovery in a case, then there is no fee to you.
Having said that, some lawyers may charge an hourly rate to handle a personal injury case or they may charge you for the expenses of the case. In this example, the lawyer will be paid irrespective of the outcome of the case.
At Bruce Robinson & Associates we are confident in the work that we do so we handle all accident and medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis– we do not get paid for our work unless you get paid for your injuries.
It depends on the case and how it resolves. The quickest way that cases are resolved is by settlement after you are completely done treating and fully recovered or reach maximum medical improvement (ie. you have recovered as much as you are able to from your injuries). When you complete your recovery we will collect all your bills and medical reports related to your treatment; this can take a little while dealing with doctors and hospitals. If there is a lost wage claim the documentation must be collected regarding your wages and disability slips from the medical provider.
Once all the medical documentation is collected it must then be reviewed by the attorney and a settlement demand issued to the insurance company including your bills and reports. Once that happens, the insurance company generally takes 30-60 days, depending on the nature of the case, to review the medical records and the demand in order to make an offer of settlement. Once an offer is made, it is always low and negotiations begin. If the initial offer is too low and not in the right ball park it may be a telegraph that suit needs to be filed.
Insurance companies have become very stingy over the last decade so if you want full and fair value for the injuries you sustained, then you may have to consider filing suit and going to court. The good news regarding court is you will probably get something closer to fair value for your injury case but the bad news it will take longer to resolve. District Court is fairly quick from the time suit is filed until your court date, but Circuit Court, which is a good option for bigger cases, will generally tack on a year to your case.
Thus, there are many variables that effect how quickly your case will resolve and it’s really a case by case analysis. Our attorneys will explain your best options under the circumstances of your individual case.


PiP or Personal Injury Protection as it is known is a good thing and yes you need it and probably have it on your auto insurance policy. PiP is an inexpensive add on to your insurance policy which gives you typically $2,500.00 or more of additional coverage for medical bills and lost wages.
The Pip money is “no fault” money meaning it does not matter whose fault the accident was, the money is available for you to use and it comes from your own insurance company. Additionally, using PiP benefits is not a black mark on your insurance policy so you can use it freely without concern that your rates will go up. This means even though the other person hit you and the accident is completely their fault, you should still make a claim for PiP with your own insurance company in order to get the first $2,500 of your bills paid or in order to recover lost wages up to the amount of your PiP coverage. This money does not have to be paid back at the end of the case, it is “free” money for you that you contracted for when you bought your insurance policy with PiP coverage. You should not waive this coverage when you get insurance as it is quite useful following an accident and inexpensive to purchase. Contact us if you have additional questions regarding PiP and it’s uses.
A trick that the Maryland defense insurance company has come up with in car accidents is to offer injured victim an extremely low ball amount of money to settle fast and go away. They know in decent accident case with property damage that an accident lawyer will be retained and a claim will be coming. So they have started, in many cases to offer a low ball offer to the victim to stop them from seeking proper treatment and make them go away early. This of course is a bad idea because you don’t get the proper care for your accident injuries and you certainly don’t get the fair and appropriate compensation for the injuries you suffered.
No you should not! This is a big problem because they will want to take a recorded statement from you (with your permission) and proceed to twist around what you say, on tape, and use it against you at settlement and trial. This can seriously hurt your case and we have seen this in accident cases many times. Please do not contact the other side without the benefit of counsel. Let counsel handle all such communications with insurance carriers and defense lawyers.
If the defendant, or person at fault for the car accident, did not have insurance all is not lost. If you had insurance on your own car then you should be alright.
All car insurance policies in Maryland carry uninsured and under insured motorist coverage specifically for this purpose. So if you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you still have coverage. Also, if the car accident was not your fault, then your insurance will no go up for using your car insurance under these circumstances.
On a side note, the fact that you are using your own insurance coverage for an accident does not change the need for a lawyer to prosecute your claim for you. The insurance company will not treat you any better because they are your insurance company. They still desire to protect their own financial interest and will do just that. So the claim must be pursued like any other claim accept for the fact that you are actually fighting an insurance company and not a human being.
This is actually a benefit in court however because the jury can see directly that the defendant is an insurance company and when the insurance company fails to take care of their own insured, fails to follow the policy of insurance that you bought and paid for, juries don’t like that much.
You basically have two choices to repair your vehicle after a car accident in Maryland that was not your fault. Your first choice is to have your own insurance company repair your vehicle and then subrogate or recover the money from the defendant driver that struck your car. This alternative is fine and often times quicker, but you will be charged your standard deductible which you will get back later when fault is sorted out between the insurance companies.
Alternatively, if liability or fault for the accident is clear, for example a rear end accident, you can go directly to the defendant’s insurance carrier and have them fix the car. Doing this will avoid any type of deductible payment on your side.

Another issue to bear in mind when getting your car fixed is “Diminished Value.” Diminished Value is when you get your car repaired after the car accident but your car loses value merely because it has been in a significant accident. So if you were in a minor rear end accident there may not be much of a diminished value claim. However, if your car is only two or three years old and is in a serious accident and then repaired, your car actually loses value even if it is fixed. There are car appraisal experts that can evaluate and document the loss of value to your car and this can become a damage to be pursued in your case along with the person injury damages.

Accident settlements are based upon a number of different factors and while there is some science to the calculation there is also some art. So for example a personal injury settlement right off the bat would be based upon your medical bills, your lost wages, future anticipated medical bills, future anticipated lost wages, and any permanent injury that you may have suffered in the accident in addition to the “pain and suffering” that you experienced as a result of the injuries you sustained.

Then some additional factors which come into play are the jurisdiction where the accident happened, the type of work that you do and how that work is impacted by your injuries, and the type of lifestyle you maintain and how that lifestyle and your hobbies are impacted if at all, by the injuries you sustained.

So for example if an accident happened in Prince George’s County Maryland or in Baltimore city Maryland these are often time considered to be better jurisdictions for a plaintiff’s recovery as opposed to more challenging and difficult jurisdictions such as Montgomery County Maryland and Harford County Maryland. In these jurisdictions, juries tend to be quite conservative and just do not want to pay fair damages in personal injury cases. The insurance companies are very well aware of what jurisdiction a case is brought in an miss is one significant factor among others to be calculated when they determine how much to offer in a particular case.

Another significant factor in a personal injury settlement is whether the plaintiff suffered a permanent injury as a result. If a person has a permanent limitation as a result of an injury then this is a calculation that will affect the rest of their life versus a soft tissue injury which may be completely resolved by the time the case is settled or goes to court.

So as you can see there are a number of different factors for the plaintiff and the defendant to consider when arriving at a fair and appropriate settlement but this calculus is further complicated by the fact that insurance companies are very reluctant to pay even fair value for a case which is why so many cases end up in court to be heard by a judge or jury. That is to say even know the plaintiff may have a fair and appropriate demand for the value of their case an insurance company was more than likely still be stingy about fair compensation and thus suit must be filed to obtain fair and appropriate compensation.

Medical bills and a personal injury case are a “damage” just like any other damage such as lost wages for pain and suffering. So the medical bills that a victim incurs as a result of an accident are turned over to the insurance company for payment along with pain and suffering and all the other damages. If the case can be resolved amicably and without going to court then part of the personal injury settlement contemplates the payment of those medical bills.

And thus a plaintiff should be prepared to reimburse his health insurance carrier, Medicare or to pay the doctors directly if they were waiting on payment until the case resolved.

Sometimes a person’s medical insurance will pay the medical bills as they are incurred and many times the insurance company will want to be reimbursed for the monies they laid out which they are entitled to recover after an appropriate reduction by your attorney.

Additionally in most car accidents people tend to have PIP insurance which is nice because it typically pays the first $2500 of your medical bills and this money does not have to be reimbursed to your insurance company. It is a wise idea for you to obtain PIP coverage when asked by your automobile insurance carrier and you should obtain an appropriate amount of at least $2500 or more when asked, it is cheap insurance and very useful to have.

many people ask if there is a charge to meet with an attorney or to have an attorney assist them in their personal injury case whether from a car accident or medical malpractice.

The good news is in personal injury cases most all attorneys handle them on a contingency fee basis, this means that the attorney will take a standard contingency fee based upon his recovery in your particular case. That means if there is no recovery or if the case is lost you all nothing to the attorney and conversely if your case is one our recovery is made you will typically pay a one third recovery for cases settled before going to court or 40% typically for cases that are in suit.

This situation is extremely beneficial to injured folks who would not otherwise have access to the court system because it tends to be so expensive but by handling matters on a contingency fee basis only everybody has access to the courthouse. If you have a personal injury case and your attorney wants fees or expense money from you, you should probably consider speaking to another attorney as there are great majority of lawyers who will handle a personal injury case on a strict contingency fee basis meaning no out-of-pocket monies at all. That is the way that we handle personal injury cases as well no out-of-pocket expense to you.

Whiplash settlements or “soft tissue injury” case settlements are resolved similar to any other case except for the financial compensation tends to be somewhat more limited than a case that has permanent or long-term injuries.

That is not to say that a whiplash or soft tissue injury is not a painful experience for the months of recovery that is necessary but the fact that the damage does go away completely in time is a factor that is considered by the insurance company and a judge or jury. There are so many soft tissue injury cases that happen in a given year that the insurance companies and judges become somewhat numb to hearing about the cases and insurance companies in particular go to great lengths to try to minimize the payout for these types of cases. Consequently many times soft tissue injury or whiplash cases can end up in District Court in order to obtain a fair recovery.

The factors of consideration in a soft tissue injury case are similar as explained above and may include the jurisdiction where the case is brought, the property damage of the cars involved, the nature and extent of the injury incurred by the plaintiff, any lost wages the plaintiff had as a result of the accident and how the plaintiff was effected by the injuries they sustained even for the closed period of time that they experienced the pain and suffering.

The big distinction between a soft tissue injury or whiplash and a permanent injury is that a permanent injury is for the rest of your life while a soft tissue injury tends to subside and go away after several weeks or months of physical therapy and healing. Obviously a lifetime injury would have a far more substantial financial compensation claim then a smaller injury that resolved into to six months.

That is not to insinuate that a soft tissue injury case is not valuable or that it should not be pursued, in fact such claims should be pursued as they can be quite painful and linger for months on end.

A total loss of your car is determined by the amount of money the insurance company will have to pay to fix the car versus the overall value of the car.

The insurance company does not care what you paid for the car or how much money you have outstanding on your note and the law does not require them to contemplate any such factors. The simple evaluation is how much will it cost to repair your car versus what is the blue book value of your car. If the financial damage to your car begins to approach 60 to 70% of the value of your car then the insurance company will start to think about totaling your car out and writing you a check for the blue book value of your car.
Sometimes this can create a sticky situation when you are “upside down” in your car meaning that you owe more money on your note in the value of your car. Obviously when the insurance company gives you a check for the value of your car and you still of thousands of dollar on your note this creates a very unpleasant situation for the plaintiff who is already been victimized by somebody else’s negligence. In this case it is often beneficial that the plaintiff has a personal injury case as well because that extra money may be needed to simply pay off a car note.

Gap insurance in the situation can be quite useful as gap insurance will pay the deficit between the blue book value of your car and your car note. this is very important insurance and when and if gap insurance is offered to you at the time you purchase a new car it is a wise investment to consider because it can really save a problem down the line. We all know that when you drive your car off the lot it depreciates 10 to 20% the minute you drive it off the lot and the gap insurance covers that 10 or 20% which is nice.

Finally, if the insurance company insists on totaling out your car, you can always accept that money and still purchase the “scrap” car back from them so that you can go fix the car yourself and keep on driving. That may be an attractive alternative in certain cases. You do have to pay a certain amount of money back to the insurance company for the “scrap car” because the car even in its defective condition does have value and you will have to reimburse the insurance company for that value.

Also when determining the value of your car over and above the stated bluebook value the insurance company will take into consideration any upgrades that you may have gotten either from the manufacturer or aftermarket this could include brand-new tires you put on one or upgraded interior or upgraded stereo system etc. They will not give you dollar for dollar more money but new parts or upgrades do have value for sure And therefore do have an impact on what you can recover if and when your car is totaled by the insurance company.

The insurance companies are fond of telling folks that if they do not seek medical attention in some given period of time their case is closed or that they cannot recover damages. I often times get a chuckle when a client relays that fallacy to me. When the insurance company says they are going to close a case because an injured victim did not seek timely medical care I always say while they will be reopening the case just as soon as we file suit against there in short.

And the truth is it is about as easy as that. Once we either send them a letter to open a case or simply file suit against their insured a case is open and they have the same responsibility to our client as in any other case. So don’t fall for that fallacy from the insurance company that you have to take any particular action according to their timeframe.

Having said that however, it is best if an injured party seeks medical attention as soon after the accident as possible. If a particular injury necessitates going to the hospital or even getting checked out at the hospital then an injured party should do that. If for no other reason than the importance of getting checked out so as not to miss any serious conditions which actually can happen if one is not careful.

In the event that one does not go to a hospital that is okay but if there are injuries which necessitate medical attention then one should go see proper medical providers for evaluation and therapy as necessary. And while one does not need to dance to the tune of the insurance company one is well advised to seek timely medical care.

The argument that they will make down the road is that how injured could a person be if they did not seek any type of medical attention for several weeks while month or two following an accident and that may be a relevant question albeit in certain circumstances there may be a valid reason for not seeking timely care.

So in conclusion don’t worry about what the insurance company has to say because like in all aspects of your case whatever the insurance company has to say is of limited to no relevance however obtaining timely medical care is always a good idea.

Time and mileage traveling to medical care following an injury technically may be compensable. Indeed in workers compensation cases in Maryland mileage and time lost from work certainly are compensable expenses of a claim.

As for regular personal injury type cases, these expenses technically may be compensable but may or may not be something to be pursued in court. The reason being that if you are in court pursuing significant damages for significant injury often time attempting to pursue smaller or diminished expenses like this can have a negative impact on a much larger claim.

Thus when talking about expenses like this or even a small lost wage claim a personal injury victim should think twice before engaging the defense in a small battle like this which can take the fact finders eye off the bigger ball of more significant damages.

That is to say in a situation like that may be possible to win the battle but it might cost you the war. So while minor expenses like this are compensable it’s not always the best avenue to take.

Permanency and permanent injury to an injured party is always one of the most important damages to evaluate in a claim for damages. The reason is because a permanent injury contemplates the rest of one’s life; thus if you were in an accident at age 30 and received a permanent injury to your back or neck that injury may plague you and limit your ability to engage in activities of daily living for the next anticipated 50 years of your life. When determining what the financial compensation should be for a person with a permanent disability for one year that number is then rightly multiplied by 50 years or the rest of one’s life. Therefore one really needs to be careful in properly evaluating a claim for permanent injury because the damage can be very significant over time.

So for example if a person received a herniated disc as a result of a car accident at age 50 and had to have surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, that person will have some level of disability which a doctor will rate for the next 30 years of the persons anticipated life.

The law in Maryland is that a jury can it be advised of the level of permanent injury and the fact this person is anticipated to live another 30 years and one is entitled to ask the jury to give an award of compensation that will contemplate 30 years of disability for that injury.

Thus permanent injury or permanency in cases that contemplate this damage are very important and should be both documented and pursued accordingly.

In cases with permanent see a doctor needs to be the one to indicate whether or not a particular injury or disability is permanent and that is required by law. The doctor must be able to state that a permanent condition resulted from the injury and that that injury was causally connected to the accident to a reasonable degree of medical probability. In addition to that the jury must be told how old the plaintiff is and their life expectancy from the day of the trial for the rest of their life. That translates into a dollar amount that counsel will ask the jury for.

If you do not have health insurance to pay a doctor often times counsel may be able to direct you to physicians which will treat you for your injuries but will kindly wait until your case is resolved in order to be paid. Thus if you cannot afford or do not have insurance for a doctor you are not foreclosed from seeking medical attention.

Qualified counsel who represent victims of personal injury cases will often be in a position to recommend a variety of medical providers who will be willing to treat you.

Yes, lost wages are compensable in any personal injury case. So if you are out of work for weeks or months or longer then we will work with you to obtain documentation from your employer indicating how much time you missed from work and how that time translates into dollars. Those dollars are recoverable as lost wages in a personal injury settlement. Happily those monies are not taxable when they are recovered by settlement or by verdict in court.

The defense is entitled to proof of your lost wages and might delve a little deeper by asking for tax returns or W-2s to further substantiate a lost wage claim in any given case. While we almost never provide tax returns because we do not feel as if it is their business W-2s for a given period of time is a valid request to substantiate a claim for lost wages.

Sometimes a lost wage claim can become more complicated where a person is self-employed or operates on commission only or in situations where a paycheck or W-2 does not tell the whole story. In these cases a tax return or further supporting documentation may be necessary to tell the whole story.

Depending on the case sometimes defense counsel may put up more of a fight or less of a fight depending on how valid they feel the lost wage claim is in a given case and therefore sometimes more documentation or proof may need to be provided and in other times less documentation is requested.

If it is not possible to provide formal lost wage documentation for one reason or another in these cases presenting a lost wage claim in court will probably not be possible. So for example if a person was paid in cash and does not have formal documentation of a W-2 then it is unlikely that a lost wage claim can be made in court as it cannot be properly documented.

You are entitled to stay in a rental car until the defendant has either totaled your car out and given you a check for the value of your car or alternatively if they repair your car until such point in time is your car is given back to you in a repaired condition.
Know your insurance rates will not go up for presenting such a claim. The only time your insurance rates increase is when you were involved in an accident which is actually your fault, that is when you get dinged for an increase.

Thus if you were hit by a person that did not have insurance or did not have adequate insurance to cover the losses that you sustained you very well may have to call upon your own insurance company to compensate you and make you whole over and above what the defendant has paid you. This is a very common situation to be in and you should not hesitate to utilize your own insurance company to compensate and to make you whole in this scenario.

Another situation where this can occur is if a phantom vehicle hits you while driving and then takes off without giving you any information. If you are unable to identify who that driver was they are called a “phantom driver”; in that situation you will have to call on your own insurance policy to pay your bills and compensate you for the injuries you have sustained and you should not hesitate to do so under your policy because your rates will not be increased under the law.

Yes you can make a claim against your own insurance company when you are hit by “a phantom driver”. A phantom driver is a car that hits your car and then takes off without giving you any information; this of course is against the law but it happens all too frequently.

If you suffer injuries and damages either to your car or to your person as a result of this accident you should proceed forward just like any other accident in terms of seeking proper medical attention and seeking competent counsel to help you sort through the maze in order to receive fair and appropriate compensation.

Your insurance company cannot and will not raise your rates because you made a claim like this because the accident is not your fault and when the accident is not your fault they cannot increase your insurance premiums.

It is wise to call the police and at least make a claim or police reports when this happens to document for the insurance company what happened and when it happened so as to satisfy their curiosity of these types of claims.

Gap insurance is a special insurance you can buy when you purchase your car from the dealer which will cover the gap between the blue book value of your car and the financial note or contract that you signed to purchase your car.

So when you drive your new car off the lot it drops in value from 10 to 20% the second you drive off the lot and if you were hit by a truck on that very same day you would not be compensated the same amount for the car that you paid for the car and that is the gap that is created.

Gap insurance pays the difference between the value of your car and the value of your note that you owe on that car. This can become terribly important if your car is totaled weeks months or even years after you have purchased the car and it has depreciated in value yet your note has not depreciated in value you can be left “upside down” regarding the value of the car versus what you owe on the note.

Insurance is not expensive and is a useful tool in the event that you needed and therefore we recommend gap insurance.

Diminished value is the value that your car loses after it is been involved in an accident. If that value is significant then it’s is a damage that may be pursued by the defendant’s insurance company.

So if you are driving a relatively new automobile of average or significant value and it is struck by a defendant and incur substantial damages the insurance company will pay to repair that car but even in its repaired state the car has a diminished value because of the fact it was involved in an accident. In some cases that can be thousands of dollars depending on the make of the car and the extent of the damage. This is a recoverable damage called diminished value.

The insurance company will always fight this type of damage and you will have to obtain an expert to evaluate the car and write a report as to the value of the diminished value claim but it is an actual damage which is compensable and should not be overlooked.

As an example if you are driving a Mercedes Benz which was two years old which got involved in a very serious accident and was subsequently repaired that Mercedes-Benz may lose $5-$10,000 worth of value merely because it was involved in a substantial accident. While this is a clear example diminished value claims are not limited to super expensive cars; as long as a car is on the newer side and in good condition it has value and when it is repaired it does lose some value to the question becomes how much value that the car lose and should that value be pursued in court.

Yes, you probably do; unless the out of state lawyer you are considering is also admitted to practice law in Maryland.

Lawyers are always admitted to practice law in the state in which they are practice, that is a given. Sometimes lawyers may advertise in other states, or they may be contacted by a prior client who had in accident in a different state. So the question becomes, can the lawyer take the case, or should they?
The answer is, it is generally not in your best interest to retain an out of state lawyer lawyer unless that lawyer is admitted to practice in Maryland.

Reason: The insurance company can tell right away if your lawyer is admitted to practice in Maryland. If they are not admitted to practice law in Maryland and the accident happened in Maryland, then the insurance company knows there is not much your lawyer can do in our state. Your lawyer can make some calls, speak to the adjuster and see what he can do, but when the insurance company ultimately tells the lawyer to take leap (ie. low balls the case), your out of state lawyer cannot file a complaint here if not admitted and therefore your lawyer is no threat to the insurance company and that will be reflected in your offer.

Result: a low ball offer which your lawyer may or may not recommend to you depending on his morals. That is, the lawyer may know that your case is worth more money but your lawyer is unable to get that money so your lawyer may recommend settling even though they know the case is worth more money.

Net result, if your accident happened in Maryland you would be well advised to retain a lawyer located in Maryland.

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