Highway Accident in Maryland
Highway motor vehicle accidents happen with unfortunate regularity, keeping our Maryland highway accident lawyers busy. Our state’s posted highway speed limits are 55 miles per hour (“mph”). The rule of thumb is the limit will be 50 mph on undivided highways in Maryland, 55 mph on divided highways, and 70 mph on interstate highways and expressways. Of course, there are exceptions. For example, on parts of US Route 50, the speed limit is 65 mph. Two roads where many of our clients get into accidents are I-495 and I-95 in Maryland. As of 2017, drivers who excessively speed by 12 mph or more over the speed limit (67 mph or more) face a $40 civil citation. Unfortunately, $40 as a civil citation does not even begin to cover it if the speeding leads to an accident. With the high speeds of both vehicles, the accident can be catastrophic.
While the speed limit is 55, many drivers do not strictly adhere to this law. In general, the speed limit is set based on when there are ideal driving conditions. In Maryland, this is only sometimes the case. Some days, there may be torrential downpours, while others may be snow, ice, and sand over our highways. Furthermore, road construction is typical, which may lead to particularly challenging driving conditions with reduced lane widths, barriers, construction vehicles, modified signage, and other drivers suddenly slowing.
Maryland Highway Car Accident
First, the time of year can play a role for many reasons. First, during winter, people are generally more sedentary and thus less alert on the road. There is also less sunlight daily, meaning less visibility for drivers. Meanwhile, there may be fewer highway accidents in the summer due to less road congestion because more people are on vacation. Moreover, particularly on roads like I-495, which are curvy, visibility may be more strenuous than on other roads. The curves also make maintaining control of your vehicle more difficult at higher speeds.
This is bad news, given the number of large trucks that use the highway to deliver packages to the various cities in Maryland connected to I-495 and I-95. Between the large vehicles and the excessive speeds, there is an increased likelihood of wrongful death. Maryland’s beltway is notorious for its traffic and risky drivers. If you are in a highway car accident on the Maryland Beltway, call us today for a free consultation.
An unfortunate reality of highway driving is the likelihood of texting and driving. When drivers are on the highway, there is not always exciting scenery. Further, drivers may be on these highways for long periods. While morally inexcusable, it can lead some drivers to become bored, lose focus, and turn to their phones.
Even if not on their phones, highway hypnosis is a natural phenomenon that affects drivers of all experience levels on Maryland highways. Highway hypnosis can particularly affect elder drivers (age 65 and older), who account for 17% of all traffic fatalities. We strongly encourage you to take breaks if you drive on the highway for significant stretches. If necessary, use the restroom, grab a coffee, or stretch to allow your mind to enjoy something other than the road.
As with everything else on the highway, the effects of weather on road conditions are exaggerated on the highway. This means drivers should extend their distance between themselves and the driver in front of them and remain even more diligent and alert for negligent driving from nearby drivers. When driving faster, like on the highway, your windshield will catch even more rain, reducing visibility. As a prudent driver, you must account for these environmental factors and adjust your driving accordingly.
Why Choose Gelb & Gelb, P.C. for Your Maryland Highway Accident Lawyers
As one of Maryland’s oldest personal injury law firms, we take pride in having seven decades of experience. This experience allows us to assess your case better and strategize for the best possible result for you. We can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. These are things that are often undetectable to laypeople and even most lawyers who lack the experience that our firm has. Experience also lends itself well to complex negotiations. As discussed above, we can identify your strengths and weaknesses almost immediately. In a settlement negotiation or at trial, we can harp on your strengths while downplaying, but not necessarily denying, your case’s weaknesses. This ability only sometimes comes naturally, but it is essential when maximizing your financial compensation in your case.
Additionally, while most cases settle pre-litigation, some proceed to trial. This is necessary in two scenarios. First, when there is a dispute in liability. The second scenario is when we cannot agree on the damages you suffered in your case. When we go to trial, you want an attorney with experience in court. Courtroom litigation can be complex. There are several complex variables. Handling a jury and dealing with pretrial motions and pleadings can all be overwhelming for an attorney with less experience.
Field of Focus
Specialization is a tricky term in the law. Technically, it is unethical for an attorney to claim that they are an expert or specialize in a given field. However, the reality is that some law firms handle several types of cases. These firms will have staff that are more comfortable handling some cases than other types of cases. Meanwhile, if you can find a law firm that handles just personal injury cases, you can be comfortable knowing that everyone in the law firm handles cases like yours and can rely on past experiences. This helps avoid new challenges and first-time encounters.
On the other hand, if you hire a large law firm, you risk having staff who might be unfamiliar with personal injury cases work on your case. These firms that do not have a primary field of focus generally handle multiple cases. As with anything else, a jack of all trades is a master of none. When seeking legal representation for your highway car accident in Maryland, you want the best representation you can find. Accordingly, it is best to find a law firm, such as Gelb & Gelb, P.C., that only handles one field of law.
When we hire and train staff, we have the highest expectations. We know that, often, our staff are the first people you encounter when interacting with our firm. Thus, we make it a point to systematize how our firm operates so that our staff always makes a great first impression on potential clients. There are countless reasons why a great staff benefits clients. First, it enhances communication and responsiveness. While staff may be able to answer your questions, if they cannot and you would like to speak to your Maryland highway accident lawyer, our staff will ensure your message gets to us as soon as possible. The second is case management. Staff will work on your case at every personal injury law firm—generally, staff contact hospitals, doctor’s offices, and insurance companies. The more efficiently and effectively they work, the more you will benefit.
Of course, our attorneys oversee all staff operations, but having a competent and professional staff always helps ensure cases are handled smoothly. Staff also work on the resolution of specific issues. For example, if you have a billing problem, our staff reaches out to hospitals to address any issues that may arise. The sooner our staff can resolve these issues on your case, the sooner we can resolve the matter and get you compensation.
Tips to Avoid Highway Accidents in Maryland
The number of things you can do to decrease the likelihood of getting into an accident on the highway is nearly infinite. But of course, it only takes the blink of an eye to get into an accident, even if you are doing everything right. Thus, this list is not exhaustive. Instead, it is meant to increase the likelihood that our readers and potential clients remain vigilant and safe on the highway.
1. Adjust to Weather Conditions
Weather conditions are constantly changing. It would be best to remain ready to adapt to the environment, whether rain, snow, fog, or ice. For example, roads can be particularly slick when it just starts to rain. This can spell trouble if you suddenly need to stop your vehicle due to an unexpected obstacle. And remember, while rain can make quitting more complex, it is nearly impossible to stop on ice. The fact that your wheels stop rotating will not stop your car from projecting forward. Additionally, even though fog will not affect your ability to control, it can reduce your visibility, especially at night.
2. Avoid Aggressive Driving
Behaviors such as tailgating, speeding, and bobbing in and out of lanes are all three more likely to lead to an accident. Please be aware of these temptations, even if you are late for something. It is better to arrive alive and not endanger the lives of those around you. Please try your best to stay calm on the road.
3. Buckle Up.
This is a simple tip. And yet, you may be surprised to learn how many times a day we see examples of drivers or passengers receiving life-threatening injuries because they did not wear a seatbelt. It is among the most significant predictors of whether a person in a crashed vehicle lives or dies.
4. Do Not Drive Under the Influence
This is a mistake no matter where you are driving. But driving on the highway makes it exponentially more dangerous. Of course, there are severe legal consequences. And most everyone knows that alcohol reduces your reaction time. But the worst part about driving under the influence is its effect on everyone else on the road.
How Much Does a Maryland Highway Accident Lawyer Cost?
Our Maryland highway accident lawyers charge clients on a contingent basis. Our fee depends on whether we win your case. If we win your case via settlement, we take one-third of the recovery. However, there is no fee if we do not win your case. If we have to file suit on your case, then our fee increases from one-third to 40%. This is the standard fee structure for most personal injury lawyers in the country. The reason for this fee structure is so people who otherwise may not be able to afford a lawyer can now hire one. In this system, there is no fee for a consultation. This may be different. If you hire a lawyer, you pay by the hour.
Imagine having to pay to consult with an attorney to find out you do not wish to hire him anyway. Or the attorney rejects your case but still bills you for his time. You do not have to deal with these issues in a personal injury case. Moreover, you can ask your lawyer as many questions as you wish and not have to worry about raising a hefty fee. Meanwhile, because almost all personal injury lawyers charge the exact cost, you can still afford to hire the best Maryland highway accident lawyer. Of course, who the best lawyer is is always debatable, but if you look out for the factors we discussed above, you have a good chance.
Contact a Maryland Highway Accident Lawyer
Our attorneys have been practicing personal injury in Maryland since 1954. We understand that highway accidents are some of the deadliest categories in personal injury law. We publish this article to remind readers of its danger and to remain diligent because the stakes are high. You may have a compensation claim if you are hurt because of another’s negligent highway driving. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.