Baltimore Car Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys
Handling Personal Injury Claims Throughout Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC
If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, you need a team of experienced lawyers to help navigate your claim. At Bob Katz Law, we have proudly helped residents throughout the Mid-Atlantic region secure the fair compensation to which they’re entitled following a personal injury. Our formidable team has approximately 60 attorneys as part of our law firm and access to significant resources with even the largest insurance carriers.
Whether you’ve suffered a car accident, slip and fall injury, animal attack, or wrongful death, our attorneys can help. Contact our team to request a consultation today!
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
Bob Katz Law has helped litigate personal injury cases throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, for more than 40 years. Our practice area spans all types of personal injury claims and litigation, including:
- Animal Attacks & Dog Bites
- Car Accidents
- Protection Contract Claims
- Slip and Fall Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Workers’ Compensation
- Wrongful Death/Fatal Accidents
We will carefully assess the details of your personal injury to determine whether you are legally entitled to compensation. Let us help recover the damages you’re owed by contacting our attorneys for a personal injury consultation today.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
You may be entitled to compensation under the law if you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to recover damages such as:
- Future medical care costs
- Legal expenses
- Loss of earning capacity or inability to work
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Reimbursement of diminished value
- Vehicular repairs
We fight aggressively for every client at Bob Katz Law, working tirelessly to achieve fair and just compensation. Each of our esteemed lawyers is equipped with the skills and experience necessary to handle various personal injury cases.
Let our team fight for the just compensation you deserve by contacting us for a consultation today!
Request a Consultation with Our Attorneys
For more than 40 years, Bob Katz Law’s team of nationally recognized lawyers has gone above and beyond to secure the fair compensation our clients deserve. Our multi-lingual personal injury team approaches each client’s problem personally. Our personalized approach ensures all situations are quickly yet carefully assessed, critical needs are efficiently provided, and interests are professionally represented to achieve the best possible outcome.
Find out why our team was nominated and recognized by The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, and The Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Request a consultation with our personal injury attorneys today!
After an accident, to get your car repaired, you may be presented with the choice to use either an insurance company recommended body shop or choose one on your own. While the choice is entirely up to the consumer, it should be noted that the advantages of using an insurance company’s selected shop may outweigh the disadvantages for several key reasons.
1. If you use the insurance company shop, it might be faster and more convenient. In many cases, you can take your vehicle and drop it off and get a rental vehicle the same day. An estimate is then written immediately, parts are ordered and then work begins. Alternatively, if you choose your own shop, you must take your vehicle to a location and have the estimate done and then take the estimate to the shop of your choice and wait for parts to be ordered before getting in a rental. You must also coordinate submission of those estimates to the insurance company for their approval.
2. Another advantage of using an insurance company preferred shop, is that they will usually guarantee the work for the lifetime of vehicle, whereas personal shops do not may place more limited timelines on their warranty of work.
3. Many vehicle owners are under the misapprehension that by using the insurance companies’ shops, their vehicle won’t be fixed the right way. However, that assumption frequently untrue. Many insurance companies’ shops are held to a higher standard because they are guaranteeing their work for life.
4. That said, body work and repair work is, at times, an art. And like in any other industry, some repair shops are more skilled than others. If you have a unique vehicle that requires special knowledge or difficult to obtain parts, you may be better off choosing a specialty repair shop.
5. The bottom line is that we generally recommend owners use insurance company shops in most cases, however, owners can and should always consult with their agents if conflicted when making the decision on whether to use an insurance company body shop or a personal body shop.
The Collateral Source Rule in Maryland
By: Natalie Ulrich
A question I get asked often is “why isn’t the other drivers insurance company covering my medical bills up front?”
Typically, a bodily injury claim is considered pending until your medical treatment is complete. At that time, your attorney will compile a medical demand package to send to the liability carrier for consideration for a bodily injury settlement offer. Whether a settlement is reached, or a verdict rendered in court, any outstanding medical bills would be paid out of that settlement and your attorney’s fee. Some private doctors’ offices will agree to hold your medical billing account until such a time that the case does reach a settlement, however hospitals are less likely to agree to do this without a small payment plan in the meantime. This is where filing a Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and/or Medical Payments (“Medpay”) claim could be beneficial in keeping those hospital accounts out of collections.
Next, clients have asked “if my PIP, Medpay or health insurance carrier pays a medical bill up front does that mean that the other driver’s insurance doesn’t have to pay it?” In Maryland at least, the answer to that question is NO! Even if your PIP, Medpay, or health insurance carrier pays a bill related to the auto accident, the collateral source rule in Maryland (in short) states that you may recover the amount of your bill regardless of if that bill was paid by a first party benefit insurance carrier. In Maryland, the liability insurance company is not given a credit for, nor may they offset for paid bills, as they are able to do in some other states.
While every case is a little different, 9 times out of 10 we encourage clients to utilize these benefits that they pay extra for on their own insurance policies. The collateral source rule is only one of the many positives these benefits bring to a case.
Many people involved in automobile accidents believe that all the bills, expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering will be reimbursed to them at the time of settlement. However, insurance policies do not have an unlimited amount of coverage. Anyone who purchases an automobile insurance policy will have a maximum amount of coverage which their insurance company can pay out for a claim.
In Maryland you must request the policy limits in writing, providing the date of accident, the accident location, the name and last known address for the at fault driver, and the complaint number for the police report (if there was one).
In Virginia, there is more documentation involved. In addition to the written request referencing the same information in the Maryland correspondence, you must also submit medical bills and/or lost wage documentation totaling at least $12,500.
What can you expect as a response? A personal automobile insurance policy in Maryland typically is written in the following intervals: $30,000/$60,000, $50,000/$100,000, $100,000/$300,000, $250,000/$500,000, and $300,000/$300,000.
The Virginia coverage intervals are similar, except while Maryland’s minimum is $30,000/$60,000, Virginia’s minimum is $25,000/$50,000.
Commercial policies may carry a higher amount of insurance coverage.
There can be no question that the travel industry came to a screeching halt in 2020, so more Americans are eager to take trips for business and pleasure in 2021. Especially over the next few weeks of spring and getting into summer, an influx of tourists will be heading to Maryland to enjoy its beaches, parks, and other attractions. The Maryland Tourism Coalition reports that there are more than 41 million visitors to the state every year, spending nearly $19 billion on lodging, food, and rental cars.
You might not think too much about these numbers until you realize that more travelers will also mean more vehicles on the road, increasing the potential for serious car accidents. In the context of travel and tourism, there are concerns about two scenarios:
- You rented a vehicle and wonder about your rights after being injured in a crash; or,
- You were hurt in an auto collision caused by someone else driving a rental car.
Within these two scenarios are countless legal issues that can be extremely complicated, including liability, insurance coverage, compensation for injured victims, and more. To ensure you recover the monetary damages you deserve, it is wise to consult a car accident attorney if you were involved in any type of collision. However, it might be useful to review some answers to frequently asked questions about rental car accidents.
How is fault determined in a Maryland rental car collision?
Most car accidents occur because of driver carelessness, but the legal theory of liability is termed ‘negligence.’ To recover compensation, you must show that the other motorist caused the crash by failing to use reasonable care when operating the vehicle. This is true whether you were driving the rental car or you were struck by someone in a rented vehicle.
Note that Maryland follows the rule of contributory negligence, which prohibits victims from obtaining any damages when they played a part in the accident that caused harm. If you were even partly at fault, you recover nothing.
What steps should I take after being injured in a rental car collision?
Your first priority after any auto accident is getting proper medical care for yourself and others who need it. You should also dial 911 so dispatchers can send first responders as necessary. Still, because proof is so important, you should do your best to collect certain evidence if you are physically able. Focus on gathering such information as:
- Photos of the intersection, stretch of road, damage to vehicles, traffic signals, lane markings, and other physical factors;
- Contact details from all involved drivers;
- Names and contact information from witnesses who may have observed the crash; and,
- Details regarding area businesses, in case they have surveillance cameras that captured video of the collision.
Does my personal auto insurance policy cover a vehicle I rent?
Maryland requires all vehicles to be insured at the minimum level, which is $30,000 for bodily injury, $60,000 for injury to two or more victims, and $15,000 in property damage coverage. When you procured insurance for your personal vehicle, you may have had the option to extend the terms of your policy to cover vehicles that you rent. Therefore, your insurance policy would pay for property damage and bodily injury if you caused a crash while driving a rental car. If you were hurt while driving a rental car and the other motorist was responsible, your remedy is filing a claim with his or her insurance company.
Will my credit card provide protection in a rental car accident?
If you rent a car using a major credit card, many companies will automatically insure damage to the vehicle during the rental period. Still, your coverage is typically limited to property damage, so you may incur other costs and losses if you are injured. You will still need to take additional action to pursue the at-fault driver to recover for:
- Medical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and,
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your personal relationships.
What insurance coverage options should I add to the rental car contract?
When your personal auto insurance does not cover all potential losses or you do not have auto insurance, you will have the opportunity to add options to the rental contract. It is wise to include collision damage waiver, which requires the rental car agency to waive any repair or replacement costs for the rental vehicle.
Can a rental car company be held accountable for an auto crash?
In most cases, a rental agency will not be liable for any damages resulting from a car accident – whether you were driving a rental or your own vehicle. The exception is where the company was negligent in operating its business. For instance, you might have a claim against a rental car company for:
- Not fixing issues that lead to a safety risk;
- Failing to conduct inspections to ensure the vehicle was safe; and,
- Neglect in addressing recalls announced by government officials or auto makers.
Should I talk to an insurance adjuster?
You should never discuss accident details with an insurer, since you might inadvertently make statements that harm your interests. Maryland is a pure contributory negligence state, which means that you recover ZERO if you admit that you were even partly responsible. Other than confirming your contact details, do not answer questions and never consent to having your conversation recorded.
Consult With a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer About Your Options
These answers to common questions about rental car crashes may be informative, but there are numerous other legal issues that impact your legal rights. Auto collisions are already complex, and they become even more challenging when you throw a rental car company, additional insurance coverage, a rental contract, and other matters into the mix. For more information on the legal process, please contact us. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and advise you on next steps.
One of the most frequent questions that I receive from clients is with regard to the value of their case: “How much is my car accident injury case worth”? Judges will look to a variety of factors in determining the value of your case in court, such as: (1) the amount of medical bills, (2) additional economic loss, such as lost wages, (3) the damage to the vehicles, (4) the causal connection between your injuries and the accident, (5) the severity of your injuries, (6) the reasonableness and necessity of the medical treatment that you received and (6) the non-economic damages sustained which includes your pain, suffering and inconvenience. The insurance companies will look at similar factors when evaluating your case.
All cases are different! No two cases are exactly alike. While medical bills and lost wages are generally straightforward to tally, the non-economic portion of claims (i.e. pain and suffering) will vary from case to case. Additionally, there is no standard chart that a judge uses while he is listening to your case to determine how much you should receive for your pain and suffering. This is why it is so important to contact an experienced attorney, who is familiar with the court system and is frequently in a courtroom trying cases just like yours, to provide advice on an appropriate and realistic value for your case.
Be wary of online calculators and websites that provide you an instant estimated value of your case, or, relying on the settlement value that your friend’s mother received on her case—every case is different! Verdicts can also vary drastically just from one county to the next in Maryland. So, if you’re thinking that the insurance company has made you too low of an offer on your case and you deserve more, you need to reach out to an attorney for an evaluation of your case.
The purpose of a nurse case manager is to manage the medical care for an injured worker. Generally, a nurse case manager is provided by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier to assist with medical management and the coordination of medical treatment of the injured person.
Usually, a nurse case manager is utilized by the employer’s insurer when the injury victim has serious injuries, such as broken bones, or where a surgery is warranted.
A nurse case manager’s job is to not only coordinate medical treatment for the injured person; however, they also sometimes work as a liaison to the workers compensation insurance company to report back to the insurer with medical treatment recommendations, status reports. Regarding the claimant’s treatment status and assist the claimant with scheduling medical appointments.
A nurse case manager is also useful with facilitating the issuance of benefits to the injured due to their continuous contact with the insurance company that employs them.
Nurse case managers generally act independently as independent contractors for the employer’s insurance, however, given the fact that they are sometimes seen as an extension of the employer’s insurer, it is wise to consult with a lawyer regarding putting stipulations and agreements in place with respect to what the case manager can and cannot due on behalf of the claimant, as well as to keep claimant’s counsel informed of the same.
A driver may be relieved of liability in a car accident in some situations in which a medical condition is the cause. The rationale behind the sudden medical emergency defense is that there is no negligence involved and the matter was beyond the motorists control, so he or she should not be required to pay compensation to an injured victim. Generally, a person has the burden of proof in claiming this defense, which includes three elements:
- The Driver Experienced a Sudden Loss of Consciousness: The key time frame for the defense is the moments before the accident occurred, though there is no specific number of minutes. Still, the suddenness is a critical factor. The loss of consciousness must have occurred so abruptly and unexpectedly that the driver had no control over the vehicle, and could not react to mitigate the situation. In addition, this defense requires the person to prove that he or she had no indication of any symptoms before experienced sudden unconsciousness. When the driver notices a medical issue and ignores it, there is no suddenness.
- The Loss of Consciousness Led to Loss of Control Over the Vehicle: For this element, a driver must establish more than simple impairment or lack of control. There must be complete unconsciousness with complete loss of the ability to operate the vehicle.
- Unconsciousness and Subsequent Loss of Control Are Due to Medical Emergency: This factor of the sudden medical emergency defense often involves the use of the driver’s medical records. Typically, the medical condition requires immediate treatment, so healthcare practitioners or emergency medical technicians would include a diagnosis of why the person lost consciousness.
Examples of Sudden Medical Emergencies
Because complete unconsciousness is an essential element of the defense, there are limits to what constitutes a medical emergency. Examples include:
- Myocardial infarction, commonly termed heart attack;
- A sudden drop in blood pressure, often due to a diabetic condition;
- Stroke, resulting from lack of blood flow to the brain;
- Mental delusions; or,
- A reaction to medication.
Maryland Law on Sudden Medical Emergency in Car Accident Cases
Maryland does recognize the defense of sudden medical emergency in auto collision cases, though the concept is derived from case law instead of a statute. In the 1977 case of Moore v. Presnell, the court held that a driver is not liable for injuries in a car accident if her or she is suddenly and unforeseeably incapacitated, either physically or mentally.
The court’s opinion does contain an exception, however. When a motorist has knowledge of a medical condition that may cause unconsciousness, liability may still attach. This result is linked to the “unforeseeable” element: A medical emergency is not truly unexpected if the person knows he or she has an illness that may cause unconsciousness. For instance, if a driver has a history of heart attack, fainting, or diabetes, the sudden medical emergency defense may not apply.
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you are involved in a car accident in which the other driver alleges a medical emergency, it is critical to retain the services of an experienced lawyer. You can expect that person’s insurance company to aggressively defend its own interests and deny your claim based upon the sudden medical emergency defense. These companies have large, well-staffed legal departments and even larger budgets, so you may be at a disadvantage unless you have a skilled personal injury attorney to fight for your rights. A lawyer can assist you in recovering compensation for such losses as:
- Medical bills for your treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care;
- Lost wages, if the accident caused you to be out of work for some time;
- Pain and suffering related to your injuries;
- Losses regarding your personal relationships with your spouse, children, and other loved ones; and,
- Other damages depending on your case.