What Is Fault vs. Not At Fault?

Were you in a Maryland car accident? You could obtain damages for your losses if the other driver caused the accident. Understanding what is at-fault and not-at-fault means you can be compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Learn more about at-fault and not-at-fault accidents below, then speak to the auto accident attorneys at Pinder Plotkin if you have questions.

Maryland Is an At-Fault State For Auto Accidents

The first thing to know about at-fault vs. no-fault is Maryland’s view. This is an at-fault state when it comes to determining car accident liability. What does this mean?

Drivers can sue the other driver for damages if they cause an auto accident. For example, if someone hit you at an intersection in Baltimore, you may receive compensation for your injuries and damages. You can file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver. Which is best depends on the accident and your attorney’s recommendation.

You must prove the driver was negligent to receive compensation for your injuries. This state has a contributory negligence standard for auto accidents, meaning you cannot receive compensation even if you are 1% responsible. This is one of the most restrictive negligence systems in the country.

So, working with a skilled attorney ensures the best chance of getting paid after an accident. Your attorney must prove that the other party was at fault, so select your attorney with care. It helps to hire an attorney with a strong record of large settlements and successful court verdicts in Maryland.

Many Maryland car accident victims file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This usually happens because most people do not seek payment from their insurance company if they did not cause the incident. If you file with the other driver’s insurance, you should not talk to them directly. Instead, let your attorney handle it.

It is essential to know that Maryland is an at-fault state after an accident. Your attorney must work hard to prove the other driver caused the crash. Your attorney also must show evidence that you were not even one percent liable for the accident.

As you would expect, liability is fiercely contested in Maryland car accidents. The other driver’s insurance provider will try to show you were slightly at fault for the accident. So, it is critical to retain a seasoned car accident attorney.

How Is Fault Determined in a Maryland Car Crash?

Showing who was at fault vs. not at fault in a Maryland car crash depends on proving negligence as follows:

  • The other driver had a duty of care that he owed you.
  • The driver breached their duty to drive safely when he hit you from behind.
  • You would not have been hurt if it were not for the driver’s actions.
  • The accident led to your injuries, such as whiplash and a concussion, which can be addressed by paying you compensation in a claim or lawsuit.

If these elements of negligence are met, you can receive compensation through a settlement or lawsuit. Some of the ways your attorney will prove the other driver was at fault include:

  • The police report.
  • An expert accident reconstructionist shows how the crash happened.
  • Eye witness statements of the accident, such as bystanders and other drivers and passengers.
  • Cell phone records that show the other driver was on their phone and distracted.
  • If the crash was a DWI, the breathalyzer test results.

If there is strong evidence the other driver was at fault, your attorney may negotiate a fair settlement with their insurance company. However, your attorney may need to go to trial if there is any question about fault.

Examples of At-Fault Car Accident Claims in Maryland

There are many ways car crashes happen in this state. Some of the accidents that are most common where liability is disputed are:

Rear-End Crashes

If it was a rear-end crash and you were hit from behind, the other driver is usually at fault. However, if their attorney can show you had a broken taillight, you may need help collecting damages. Showing you were just 10% at fault is enough to lose the right to damages in Maryland.

Side Swipe

Which lane was the car in when it hit you? If the other driver moved into your lane without signaling and hit you, this could prove liability.

Head-On Crash

Did the other driver come in the other direction, leave their lane, and hit you? This usually is the driver’s fault. Your attorney will need to prove the other driver was totally at fault.

Left Turn Crashes

If the other driver turned in front of you, they were probably at fault. But again, if you were speeding, it might be enough to show you were partially responsible.

How The Police Are Involved To Determine Fault

Maryland police officers do not necessarily determine who was at fault in your crash. Unless law enforcement saw the accident, they cannot guarantee who was negligent.

However, when the police respond to an accident, they may cite one of the drivers. If the police issued tickets, this could help prove who was at fault and who was not at fault. Your attorney will want this information for a claim, but more must be proven to show negligence.

Contact Maryland Auto Accident Attorneys Now

Being in a Maryland car accident is stressful and painful. The next step after the accident is to receive medical care and talk to your attorney.

It is essential in Maryland car accidents to retain a car accident attorney quickly to prove who was at fault. Unfortunately, being slightly to blame for the accident means you cannot receive damages in a claim.

The Baltimore car accident lawyers at Pinder Plotkin know how to untangle fault in complex Maryland car accidents. We are hardworking attorneys for hardworking people and are ready to fight for you. Call Pinder Plotkin today to discuss your car accident case.

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