Four Things to do After a Car Accident in Maryland
When you are in a car accident, it is normal to be shaken up. Our Maryland attorneys have been practicing law in the state for nearly 70 years. So, we know what you need to do and what the most common questions are. Hopefully this article will shed some light on an already arduous process of what to do after a car accident in Maryland.
1. Other Driver
First, if you are in a car accident and it is not your fault, the absolute first thing to do is make sure you are okay and call paramedics if necessary. Once your car is in a safe position, you should get out and double check that you are okay. Then, you should inspect your own car and begin talking to the other driver. You should get the name, address, and insurance information from the other driver. Generally, it is easiest to take a picture of this information. In the event that the driver who hit you has sped off, you should first try to take a picture of his or her license plate. If you have this, it is likely enough for us at Gelb & Gelb to track down the driver and ultimately file suit if necessary.
Related to that, take pictures of the surrounding area, and document the scene. This will aid your attorney when he is dealing with the insurance company. It can also aid in trial as an exhibit in evidence. You should take pictures of the road in case there is something that is related to the accident. This may be a sharp turn around a corner, for example. You should also take pictures of all the cars involved. Where there are paint marks and dents can tell a lot more of the story than you may realize. And again, your lawyer can use these pictures as evidence and may bolster your recovery.
Last, take pictures of your injuries. We hope that your injuries from the accident will heal. So, it is best for your recovery to document what the injury looks like when it occurred so you can receive compensation for the full extent of your pain and suffering. We will likely later ask that you take pictures of your injury later in your recovery to document scarring.
2. Witness Information
Second, after a car accident you should obtain witness information. You can obtain statements from witnesses if you would like, but they most likely will not be admissible as hearsay. However, there are dozens of exceptions to hearsay. So, the statement may be admissible depending on the circumstances. Regardless, even hearsay is admissible in certain preliminary hearings with a judge, so they may have some benefit. Regardless, we can subpoena a witness and require him or her to testify as to what he or she saw in the accident. This can corroborate your narrative and help make your case. Remember, it is not hearsay if the statement is made during your trial proceedings and inside the courtroom.
Third thing to do after a car accident in Maryland is you should call the police and attempt to obtain a police report. In Maryland, the police will not always come. However, it is worth trying. A civil police report is generally admissible in trial whereas a criminal police report generally is not. However, a legal theory exists called hearsay within hearsay. In other words, while the report may be admissible, the statements within the report may not be admissible. Nonetheless, the report can help both your lawyer and the insurance adjuster for the adverse party understand the extent of the injury in a formulaic manner. Also, it can allow the police officer who takes the report to reference it and remember your accident if he testifies at trial as a witness.
Additionally, while perhaps astonishing, some insurance adjusters will deny that an accident happened at all without a police report for car accidents in Maryland. While the damage to the vehicles as shown in your pictures leave very little doubt, the police report solidifies that an accident happened. Our goal is to prove in court beyond a preponderance of the evidence the elements of a negligence claim. Each piece of evidence furthers our effort toward that goal.
4. Medical Treatment
Fourth, if you get hurt in a car accident, you should seek medical treatment. This step is optional, but if you are hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim under a negligence cause of action. If you are successful, then the adverse driver is responsible for your medical treatment. So, you do not have to worry in that case about exorbitantly high medical bills. Although, remember that you do have a duty to mitigate your damages. If you are at all confused by what to do after a car accident in Maryland, please contact us with any questions. If you are hurt in a truck accident, click here.