College Park Car Accident Lawyer

When a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is particularly important for them to contact a qualified car accident attorney who has experience in the particular area where the collision occurred. Car accident claims in College Park are unique for a number of reasons. In College Park, there are a large number of college students and therefore their issues and claims may be unique based upon their current status as a student. Likewise, handling claims in Prince George’s County can be unique, given the potential jurors involved and the particular manner in which claims are handled in that county. Therefore, anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident in College Park should seek a local College Park car accident attorney that will be familiar with that particular jurisdiction. That attorney can best advise the client on the proper way of initiating a claim, so that the client can receive the best recovery possible.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents in Maryland occur for any number of reasons. Oftentimes, there are a culmination of issues that come together and result in a motor vehicle accident. Sometimes drivers are distracted by either texting or some other electronic device within their vehicle. The law requires a driver to pay full time and attention while operating a motor vehicle, which they can’t do when they are on their phones.

Additionally, new teen drivers have less experience on the road and may not understand the consequences and/or repercussions of certain actions.

The consumption of alcohol before a person gets behind the wheel is another issue that often leads to a car accidents in College Park. When people become impaired by alcohol, drugs or medications, they are not physically able to perform their duties appropriately while driving a motor vehicle. Speeding is also another issue commonly seen in this area because there is heavy traffic and when speed is introduced to congested traffic conditions, there is an increased chance of a motor vehicle accident.

Finally, bad or inclement weather is a factor when evaluating motor vehicle collisions. College Park experiences all four seasons and sometimes weather can change rather quickly. People may not be aware of changing weather conditions and they may not operate their vehicle appropriately due to the weather conditions that exist at that time. Due to these issues, there is a propensity for motor vehicle accidents to occur.

With the rise of technology, particularly cell phones, there has been a correlated increase in distracted driving leading to accidents. Because it is illegal to use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle, these accidents should be completely avoidable. However, there are still some people who divert their attention to their phone for a second and couldn’t react quickly enough to a change in traffic, resulting in an accident.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

Initially, a College Park car accident lawyer will initiate a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and that claim will be provided a claim number. This is how a “claim” is initiated. This is separate from initiating a civil lawsuit at the courthouse. Filing a civil claim is done by filing a civil complaint in the clerk’s office in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, which is the local jurisdiction for College Park, Maryland. These are two separate and distinct actions. Typically, a claim is initiated with the at-fault party’s insurance company and negotiations occur in order to resolve the claim before a lawsuit is filed.

If a settlement cannot be reached at that point, the injured person must either initiate a lawsuit in the circuit court for Prince George’s County or simply not pursue the claim. There is nothing that requires an insurance company to pay an injured person. The only motivation that an insurance company has to pay an injured person is to avoid a lawsuit. The injured person is in control of whether a lawsuit is initiated or not and it is the threat of a lawsuit that motivates an insurance company to try and settle a claim.

Types of Accidents

Possible Types of Damages

In College Park, an injured person is entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages typically cover the cost of medical treatment and any lost wages. Non-economic damages typically include pain and suffering, inconvenience, and other subjective complaints.

How Contributory Negligence Impacts Recovery

Contributory negligence is always a factor in College Park car accident cases. Contributory negligence is a legal theory that is unique to a few jurisdictions in the country, Maryland being one of them. Contributory negligence means that the injured person, who is initiating the claim – the plaintiff – cannot be negligent in the happening of the incident or they will not be able to recover any damages.

If the jury determines that the injured person was even one percent negligent, their claim is barred and they would receive no recovery. Conversely, the majority of the country follows comparative negligence where the jury is allowed to consider the actions of the plaintiff and determine the percentage of culpability by the plaintiff and a proportion of the damages pursuant to that percentage.

For example, if the plaintiff and the defendant were both equally responsible for the accident in a comparative negligence jurisdiction, the jury would provide the plaintiff with one-half of the compensation because that plaintiff was 50 percent negligent in the happening of the accident.

In Maryland, it is always very important to evaluate the facts surrounding how the collision occurred so that the attorney representing the injured person can advise on whether there is a likelihood that the defense will raise contributory negligence at trial.

Contact a College Park Car Accident Lawyer

It is important to contact a College Park car accident lawyer as soon as possible so that the attorney can begin investigating the claim. It is best to collect information regarding how the collision occurred, photographs, and to speak with any witnesses who may have seen the incident as soon as possible.

These claims can take a significant amount of time to resolve and as time goes by, contact may be lost with witnesses and people’s memories may fade. It is important to lock down as much information as possible soon after the accident has occurred so that the information can be properly documented and utilized later on as the claim progresses.