What Can I Collect From The Driver Who Hit Me

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Getting to acceptance of liability by the other driver’s insurance company.

One of the first obstacles to being compensated by the other driver’s insurance company is getting them to accept liability. This is insurance talk indicating that they are willing to pay for the accident.  The insurance company uses many ploys to avoid paying.

They may claim that the police report does not say who is at fault. Police reports oftentimes do not indicate fault as the officer usually has not actually seen the accident and may not be able to figure out who is liable.

They may claim you could not have been injured because there was not enough damage to the vehicles involved. Actually, there is very little correlation between property damage and bodily injury.  The size and age of the vehicles, the angles at which the vehicles collided, and whether or not the driver saw the accident coming are all also important considerations.

Insurance companies will claim they are not willing to pay because they have two different versions of the accident. It is not unusual for the other driver to give his or her insurance company a story that downplays their involvement in the accident. The other driver has an interest in keeping their insurance rates low.

The insurance company may claim that they cannot accept liability because there were no traffic tickets written. Police officers generally will not write a ticket unless they were a witness to the accident. When a police officer writes a ticket he or she must appear in court to defend the ticket and be cross-examined by the attorney for the other driver.

In all of the cases listed above a competent and experienced attorney can assist you in collecting compensation by filing suit or helping the insurance company see their liability.

The Concept of Contributory Negligence.

Maryland is one of only 4 states the have legislated contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a common law doctrine that provides that if a person is injured in part due to their own negligence they would not be permitted to collect any money damages from the other driver who actually caused the accident. This is oftentimes referred to as the 1% rule and can result in unjust verdicts. A quantified and experienced attorney can help you understand how this would apply to your specific case

Property Damage

If the other driver is negligent they are responsible for the damage that was done to your car and its contents.

Do I need to pay the deductible if I am not at fault?

If the other driver is negligent he or she is responsible for the damage they have done to your vehicle and its contents. However, it oftentimes takes the other driver’s company considerable time to determine liability. You may not want to wait until this determination is complete to have your car repaired. In this instance, you may want to have your car repaired and put back on the road by paying your deductible.

After the other driver’s insurance company has accepted liability your insurance company will reimburse your deductible.

What is Diminished Value?

A diminished value arises when the value of your car is decreased after the repairs are completed. Owners of expensive or unique autos usually make these claims. Usually, you will retain an expert to offer an opinion about the amount of decrease of value in your auto based on the fact that it will also be deemed a car that was involved in an accident. Many of these cases are resolved by litigation.

Bodily injury

If you are injured by the negligence of another driver they are responsible for your medical bills, any lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

Medical Bills

The negligent driver is responsible for all of your medical bills. Not your copay, not the amount that the health insurance paid the doctor or hospital but the entire amount of the bill. The controlling law is called the collateral source rule and it provided that the negligent driver does not get the advantage of the good health or other insurance you have purchased.

Lost Wages

You have a right to be paid for the time you missed from work or if self-employed the profit lost by your business. Even if you used sick or annual leave you have the right to be paid back.

Pain and Suffering

This is one of the hardest damages to quantify. Insurance companies look at the amount of treatment and pain management. If an agreement cannot be reached the medical records and testimony is presented to a judge or jury for a decision. Maryland and other jurisdictions have limits to the amount of non-economic damages, which included pain and suffering, that may be awarded.