Why did your attorney drop your Maryland accident case?

At least once a week I get a call from someone who has received a letter from the attorney who they initially hired to take on their Maryland auto accident or other personal injury claim stating that they can no longer represent them in this matter. There are a wide variety of reason that this may happen, and usually these individuals have no idea why. They haven’t received a call from the attorney, nor have they been able to get ahold of the attorney to get answers to this question.

Did your lawyer drop your maryland accident case? It's possible that he or she was just too busy to investigate properly.
Did your lawyer drop your maryland accident case? It’s possible that he or she was just too busy to investigate properly. We offer free evaluations of cases dropped by other lawyers by calling (410) 885-6200.

Now what?

Sometimes some cases are just not winnable. However, in some instances, there may be another reason, or perspective to be gained by discussing this with another attorney. My best estimate is that I accept one out of every three or four of these cases as they come in. The difficulty for me usually comes from the fact that the injured party really does not know why their case was dropped by the previous attorney, and are having difficulty getting answers. All attorneys are different, and have their own criteria on what cases they want to work with, and what cases they intend to file law suits in. Some lawyers don’t file lawsuits in any of their cases! This isn’t necessarily wrong, but if your case is one that would benefit from the initiation of a law suit, then you’re not going to get too far with a lawyer who doesn’t intend to file one.

I have also received calls from passengers in vehicles whose driver was at fault for the accident, and at the time that vehicle was uninsured. There are some specific measures that can be taken to obtain compensation in these situations, but some of them have a very strict notice requirement.

Some insurance companies will deny paying claims on accidents where the damage to the vehicle is less than some arbitrarily determined amount. While there have been countless studies refuting the correlation of large property damage to injuries, and some that even make the case that lower property damage can result in greater injuries, insurance companies also decide what cases to challenge, and which to pay.

If you’ve found yourself in receipt of one of these letters, do not hesitate to give my office a call at (410) 885-6200. We’re happy to take the time to meet with you and discuss the matter. While I do not guarantee that I’ll take on the claim, I will ask the right questions, dig a little deeper than some will, and if there is a reasonable possibility of recovery, we’ll take it on!

Should you settle your own Accident Case?


Since opening my practice in Elkton, Maryland I have noticed a lot of differences with the way that many accident cases come to my office. Whether these are people injured in auto accidents in Elkton, Maryland or other parts of Cecil County, there is an abundance of individuals who do not come to the law office first. There are pros and cons to this, but my goal here isn’t to discuss those specifically, but merely illustrate the point that things are a little different here, as opposed to Baltimore City auto accident clients. Here, more than in the city, I am more often getting the question from potential clients “Should I hire a lawyer to handle my accident claim?”

It is very rare that a situation is such that you can appropriately handle an automobile accident case on your own. Quite frankly, insurance companies will not respect you, and will assume that you have no idea how to file a lawsuit and carry it out against their driver. They are also in the practice of thinking you’ll settle the case for far less than it’s actually worth, or attempting to convince you that an attorney and his or her fees are too high to make it worth using one of us. The fact of the matter really is, in most cases, there are a variety of ways that having an attorney will be more helpful, and result in more money in your pocket. Not only can we negotiate the true value of a claim, because most attorneys who hold themselves out to handle these types of claims have handled hundreds if not thousands of them, but we also know how to file a lawsuit and keep the insurance companies honest when we need to.

We also bring the added benefit of being able to negotiate other aspects of the claim, such as medical insurance liens, outstanding medical bills, or other things that will put more money in the client’s pocket.

I’ve recently had a number of clients who came to me merely because they felt like they were not getting a fair shake from the insurance company. So far, none of these varied clients have been wrong! Over my years of dealing with these situations, many times I’ve been able to put significantly more money in the client’s pocket(after lawyer’s fees and medical bills) than the insurance company was offering in the first place! If you’ve been trying to handle a Cecil County Auto Accident Case on your own, it might be time to pick up the phone and call me at (410) 885-6200 and discuss what’s going on in your case. You’re never under any obligation to hire me, and I only get paid when I collect money for you!

Weather related automobile accidents and your rights….

It’s that time of year again when mother nature renders her will on all of us who live in the parts of the county that are susceptible to winter weather. This is the time of year where I get numerous calls from locals who were involved in weather related accidents both in Elkton, Cecil County and throughout the State of Maryland. These accidents can happen in a number of ways, and I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss the rights that you’ll have in accidents that are either single vehicle accidents, accidents where you or a driver of your vehicle is at fault, or those accidents where someone else is at fault for the loss. Many lawyers will not discuss the rights you have in single vehicle losses and those where you’re at fault (or have contributed partially to) because it does not render an opportunity for that lawyer to make money on that specific claim. The purpose here is to provide some education regardless of the situation, and make sure you’re covered and taking care of yourself the best way you can.

  1. Call the police and have them file a report. Regardless of the fault scenario, or what you think the fault scenario will be, have the police file a report. Especially if multiple parties are involved, this can be important it setting up the appropriate claims after the fact.
  2. Call my office. Again, even if you think you’re at fault for the accident, or if it’s a single vehicle accident, I will help guide you through the process of setting up claims with your insurance company, getting your vehicle fixed, and determining what medical payment/wage loss insurance coverage you may have. If you’re injured, and your insurance will pay for treatment, there’s no sense in not getting the care you need. Fault for an accident and injuries are usually not interconnected. It is important for your own wellbeing to get the care you need.
  3. Don’t call the insurance companies. Again, an offshoot of #2 above, let my office handle that. If it’s a case that we’re going to represent you for against a third party, our fee is a percentage of that recovery whether we make the calls or you make the calls. Why would you do something that you’re paying me to do? If it isn’t a case that I’ll be taking on, like the single vehicle accident, I’ll still call and report the claims for you, and help guide you through the injury and repair process at no charge. Again, I don’t collect a fee on these cases unless and until I get you compensation that isn’t related to the repair to your vehicle or direct payment for your injuries or wage loss.

Assuming the best, and that you’ve dodged the weather bullet this time, what things can you do to be better prepared in the future for any accident, not just a weather related one?

First of all, call my office and request our free guide to maximizing your Maryland auto insurance policy. It’s available on Amazon for $24.99Handling Maryland Auto Accidents Following Inclement Weather, but if you call my office at (410) 885-6200 and mention this article, we’ll send you a copy absolutely free! You can also request a free e-book version by visiting www.marylandinsurancebook.com. If you want the free print version, though, you have to call! We’ll also send you a few accident preparedness kits to throw in your glove box in preparation of an accident.

Save my injury hotline number in your phone under ‘Accident Attorney’ so you’re doubly prepared. The hotline number is 410-975-7000, and in times of inclement weather, nights, weekends or holidays will go direct to my personal cell phone, or someone else in the office who is handling emergency calls during that time frame. This isn’t the regular office number, so if you are a client with a case related question call the normal number, 410-885-6200, for quickest response.

 

 

Should you settle with the insurance company? Do you need a lawyer?

In this profession I am often asked the question about whether or not someone who has been injured in an automobile accident should or should not hire an attorney to facilitate the settlement and/or eventual lawsuit associated with their claim. There are very few instances in which the answer to the question is consistent with self-representation. The bottom line in these types of cases is that insurance companies run a business that for the most part is based on collecting premiums, and keeping that money. They will take any opportunity to decrease the money that they need to pay out, even if the decrease is just a few hundred dollars. If you think about it, some of these insurance companies are HUGE, and likely have millions of claims for injuries each year, or even every month. If they were to save just $100 each claim over one million claims….do the math.

Here’s the real thing you need to realize and think about when considering handling your own Maryland Auto accident case, or especially handling your own Elkton or Cecil County Auto Accident Case. I probably see or hear about more people here in Cecil County trying to settle on their own than in any other county I’ve worked in: Do you pose a substantial and credible threat to litigate your case on your own? If the answer to that question is anything except for a solid YES, then the insurance company will treat you as if you will never file suit, wouldn’t know how to file suit, and they assume you’ll accept the first offer that they make to you.

When you hire an experienced auto accident lawyer, the game drastically changes. In many instances offers to settle immediately multiply by a factor of 5 or 10 times what they were to an unrepresented party. Why? Mainly because I know what the case should be worth, I know how to negotiate with each insurance company(yes, each insurance company negotiates differently than others) and have absolutely no fear or hesitation in my willingness to file a lawsuit on your behalf, and take the right case all the way to trial and get what the case is worth!

Through my years in this business, I have seen clients walk into my office with settlement checks handed to them on the scene of the repair facility by an adjuster for hundreds of dollars. Hundreds! These were claims where we ultimately settled for as much as $20,000 when all of the appropriate medical treatment was had, and the claim was negotiated properly.

Check back for future posts on appropriate medical treatment after an auto accident, the importance of having your vehicle repaired, the impact of a lawyer’s fees on your injury settlement and other important and insightful topics. Do  not try to settle these cases on your own. Call me, (410) 885-6200, especially if you accident happened in Cecil County Maryland. I charge no up front fees in these cases, and there is rarely a case where I don’t put at least triple in your pocket what the insurance company initially offers when you try to settle on your own!

Second Degree Assault- State Drops All Charges

Today I represented an individual accused of having committed assault in the second degree (CR 3-203) in two separate cases with two separate complainant. Second Degree Assault in Maryland carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of $2,500.00. Given 2 separate and technically unrelated charges, my client was potentially facing 20 years in jail for these charges. Originally, the State presented a desire to proceed to trial, and there was a possibility that we would have had trial today, or possibly elect to have a jury trial in the Circuit Court. Through some negotiation, and some investigation into one of the alleged victims, the State was convinced to drop all charges in both cases. A very happy client!

Are creditors calling and harassing you?

We often get calls from prospective clients for debt relief and/or bankruptcy by people who are overwhelmingly being harassed by creditors calling to try to receive payments on open accounts, or work out payment plans or other payments.

These calls often are made at all hours, and now are being made on home phones, cell phones, and even at places of employment.

Bankruptcy Can Stop Creditor Calls!

To obtain relief from creditor harassment, you can file for bankruptcy. Telling a creditor you are going to do it is not enough. Creditors know this, and will not stop bothering you until they receive the order from the court. They know that once you file for bankruptcy protection, they will probably be unable to collect all of the debt.

Here are the procedures by which a bankruptcy filing will stop creditor calls:
• Immediately upon the filing of your bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy court issues an order that stops all collection efforts against you. The order issued by the bankruptcy court is called the “Automatic Stay.”
• After you file the bankruptcy petition, the court mails a notice to all the creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules.
• Creditors will also stop calling if you inform them that you filed the bankruptcy petition, and supply them with case number.
• If a creditor continues to call you or contact your employer, the court may impose fines, punitive damages and even jail time because of the court order violation.
• If your case is discharged, then creditors and their collection companies are permanently prohibited from contacting you unless they have received special permission from the Bankruptcy Court, or your debt is one that is exempted from your discharge.

Filing of a bankruptcy case really does give you a fresh start. Eliminating the debt allows you to start over, rebuild your credit, remove the stress and threat, and move on with your life.

For more information on filing a Bankruptcy, contact our office at 410-885-6200.

 

State drops all charges- Assault Second Degree

In a less serious, but equally important case, I recently represented a client in the District Court for Cecil County, facing accusations of Assault in the Second Degree(CR 3-203) as well as Disorderly Conduct(CR 10-201(c)(2)). These were serious charges, facing the potential maximum sentence of 10 years in jail  and/or a $2,500 fine for the Second Degree Assault, and 60 days in jail  and/or a $500 fine for the Disorderly Conduct. Through ongoing discussions with the State’s Attorney’s office here, issues presented with the veracity and credibility of the alleged victim and witnesses against my client ultimately allowed me to convince the state to drop all charges against my client.

 

There was no known media coverage of this case.

Motion to Suppress Recorded Statements in a First Degree Murder Trial-Granted

Working along side colleague Edward A. Ritchitelli, we recently won a significant motion to suppress evidence that the State felt was key in proceeding against our client, who has been charged with Murder in the First Degree, and other associated charges. On Tuesday, January 20, 2015 we argued to the Circuit Court for Cecil County, and our motion was granted. At this point the proceedings against our client have been stayed, due to the State’s intention to pursue an appeal of this ruling. Our client, a 15 year old boy, has been released from custody on unsecured bond, and depending upon the results of the appeal process, may never have to step foot into a courtroom again.

For media coverage on this case, follow these links:

Murder defendant, 15, free until trial; must return to PVHS -Cecil Whig January 21, 2015

Future of Murder case against teen in limbo after Judge’s ruling– Cecil Whig January 20, 2015

What do do following an automobile accident in Maryland?

My office handles a lot of Maryland and Cecil County automobile accident claims. Through handling these claims, we also work with a lot of injured victims from these accidents. We understand that the moments directly following an automobile collision can be a stressful time, and often times you may not immediately know what to do. While it is unlikely that you are reading this post from the scene of an accident, hopefully you are seeing it not having been in an accident, but will remember some of the tips provided here, or even bookmark this article to reference should the unfortunate instance of an accident occur. You may also contact my office and request a free accident preparedness kit, as well as our new book on buying automobile insurance, all in preparation of something you will hopefully not need to use!

Here are some quick dos and don’ts directly following a Cecil County Auto Accident:

  • Call the police from the scene-They will likely be able to ensure that insurance information is exchanged, and if anyone is transported in an ambulance they will complete an official report.
  • Call my emergency accident hotline 410-975-7000. We will walk you through the rest of these tips so you don’t forget anything, and we’ll literally handle all of the rest of the process other than your actual medical recovery. Save the 410-975-7000 number in your phone as ‘ACCIDENT ATTORNEY’ just in case.
  • Take photos of everything. Most people have smart phones, with cameras. Why not use them for something useful? Try to take photos of the position of the vehicles, license plates, driver’s licenses and insurance cards of the other driver. You can write down all of this info, but snapping a picture is easier, quicker, and can be more accurate than your handwriting at a nervous and stressful time.
  • If you think you are at fault for the accident, do not admit fault. That’s for the insurance companies and lawyers to work out. You’re likely not an expert in auto accident law, don’t admit to something that may not actually be your fault.
  • Seek the medical care you need. Often times adrenaline may mask some of your pain and injuries at the moment. Signs that you need to get in the ambulance are: airbags deployed, spidered or otherwise cracked windshields, the towing of any vehicle involved, or if you actually are feeling pain right after the accident.
  • Stay in touch with my office. After you’ve called us, and done the other things above. Stay in touch. We’ll monitor your progress in the medical realm, make sure that your vehicle gets repaired, and get you into a rental car. We handle all of this process, so you only have to focus on getting healthy.

These tips are very general, but usually applicable in most auto accident situations. If you have questions about these, before, during or after an accident, do not hesitate to contact my office on the non-emergency line (410) 885-6200. I or a member of my staff are always happy to address any such questions you might have.

Handling Auto Accidents During Inclement Weather

How should the NFL handle their next move…

This year fans of the NFL have experienced what seems like one of the more traumatic “off field” seasons in quite some time. While each year and each off season we hear varied stories of players who get into trouble with the law, whether it be drug crimes, drunk driving, or other interesting legal issues, there seems always to be at least a handful of players getting in trouble, and believe it or not they don’t all play for the Cincinnati Bengals any more!

This year has been a little different. Some of the troubles that players like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson have gotten themselves mixed up in have tugged at the heart strings of the public more so than in years past. This has made the commissioner and the league behave in a reactionary matter far more than we’re used to, and it seems to have some fans even turning their back on the league and it’s new policies.

What problems does this pose for the NFL, and more so for the players?

While I take an often unpopular view or perspective on matters like this, I was troubled with the way the league responded to the Ray Rice backlash. I understand that off field conduct is important for the league to monitor, as they are constantly working to “protect the shield,” and that certain conduct off the field does warrant a suspension of game time. The post-rice(version 1.0) policy that a player is automatically suspended for 4 games on an allegation of domestic violence bothered me greatly. I felt like this significantly shifted the balance of “power” into the hands of people who may want to take advantage of NFL players. By no means is this an across the board accusal, but there are people in this world who will take out their feelings and emotions on an individual by attempting to leverage the legal system. Now, someone who is “involved” with an NFL player in one way or another has the ability to allege criminal charges of domestic violence, and hold that player over a barrel financially, risking that player’s livelihood and their career. Clearly the Rice and Peterson situations involve a more clear distinction of some inappropriate behavior, whether each is deemed criminal or not isn’t for me to judge with a limited “media provided” set of facts. The reality of the situation, when the league imposes mandatory penalties and suspension like this, is that anyone has the power to potentially extort a player in the league, with a threat that they will file these charges, which will not only now result in potential criminal prosecution, but will also result in suspensions within the league.

This stuff happens every day. I regularly receive calls from individuals who are charged with a variety of offenses where when investigating and digging into the facts of the situations, it seems more likely than not the person who has initiated the charges is merely attempting to further another interest through the criminal justice system. Fortunately for these clients of mine, we are often able to have these charges dropped and removed, but this does not come without cost. To my clients, that cost is obviously my fee, but also the time and stress of dealing with the situation, the possible social issues that arise from picking up the charges or being arrested, and possible other collateral legal issues. For the NFL player, these things and now the threat of losing a few games that they will never get back become the possible costs here. I can work with clients to have charges that are dropped or result in a not guilty verdict expunged, but no lawyer, no matter how skilled, can put players back onto the field for games they were suspended during. No agent can reverse the result of their client not being on the field and accumulating the stats that most players leverage their next contracts on.

The NFL and other professional sports leagues need to take a hard look at the review process that they intend to implement with these new policies. They need to make sure they are not putting their players at an unnecessary disadvantage that stretches beyond the on field/off field issues that they’re trying to prevent. Preventing and educating about domestic violence is a noble cause, a cause that I fully support, but you cannot correct one harmful behavior by opening the door to another.