Sooner or later it will happen to all of us. A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT! Each year over 22 million Americans are involved in an automobile accident, that is, 1 in 7. Most of those involved minor damage. Should you be involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are certain things you should and should not do.
The first thing you should do is stop and render aid. The penalty in Maryland for leaving the scene of an accident is very severe, including suspension or revocation of your driving license. Administer first aid to the extent that you are qualified. Do not move an injured person. Have a bystander or passing motorist call the police. If needed, have them call for an ambulance or fire engine. Turn on your car's flashers, or use flares to warn approaching traffic of the accident. Maryland requires you to exchange with others involved in the accident: identification, vehicle and insurance information. Get the names, addresses or license plate number of witnesses. Get the name and badge number of the police officer at the scene and the report number so you can acquire a copy of his report.
DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY. Do not express an opinion as to fault. Even though you think you were to blame, it may be that the other driver was more at fault. Do not discuss the accident or causes with anyone at the scene other than the police. When talking to the police concentrate on the facts and not your opinion. Take notes of the street names, speed limits, traffic control devices, weather conditions, visibility, and direction of travel of each vehicle. If you have a cell phone camera, take pictures.
SEE A DOCTOR. Most Maryland drivers have no Fault Insurance as part of their automobile liability policy. This coverage will pay a minimum of $ 2500.00 for medical treatment and lost wages resulting from the accident. As the name implies, this coverage is available regardless of fault, and its use will not increase your insurance premium.
The law now provides that motorists can waive this coverage. However, the benefits of Personal Injury Protection coverage (commonly referred to as PIP) far outweigh its small price.
Inform your insurance company of the accident, even though you think you might not be liable. Failure to inform them could affect your coverage. At the same time you inform them of the accident, request the PIP application. Complete the application and return it to your insurance company with your medical bills.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. A lawyer can give you advise on collecting PIP benefits as well as what to do if you are sued by the other driver or wish to file suit for your injuries and damages. For the latter, most attorneys will not charge you a fee unless there are damages recovered.