Cecil County’s Top 5 “Hot Spots” for 2016 Accidents #4

We’re continuing out countdown of the most dangerous accident spots in Cecil County, Maryland for the calendar year 2016. Last week we saw the 5th most dangerous accident intersection(s) as rated by the cases my office handled in the 2016 calendar year.

4. Rt 40 and Rt 213 (Bridge St/Augustine Herman Highway)

rt40rt213elkton

If you were to have asked me what intersections I thought were the most dangerous in 2016 without actually looking at the numbers this one would have been my guess for the top spot. Surprisingly, this intersection ranked number 4 on the overall list for 2016 accidents.

Yes. That mean’s there are 3 intersections in Cecil County Maryland that we handled more accidents from than the interchange between Rt 40 and Rt 213!

This is likely one of the busiest intersections in Cecil County, right in the heart of Elkton. The intersection of 2 major county arteries is also the intersection of many many vehicles, not in a good way!

The lights here are on a timed sequence, but they’re not entirely consistent. If you’ve ever tried to turn left onto 213 from the eastbound Rt 40 lane, you know that left arrow lasts maybe 3 or 4 cars…if everyone is paying attention!

Be careful traveling through this intersection, and don’t try to “speed up” and beat any lights here, otherwise you might become a client of ours, or even worse create a client for our office. Don’t just be careful here, but also be careful in our #3 most dangerous intersection for 2016.

If you’re injured in an accident in Cecil County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland please call our office at 410-885-6200. We’re happy to discuss your claim, and handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf. Most importantly, we don’t charge you anything up front, and only get a fee if we are successful in getting you money.

Cecil County’s Top 5 “Hot Spots” for 2016 Accidents #5

Our injury law office here in Elkton, Maryland has grown quite a bit before opening up in late 2014. We handle a LOT of accident and injury claims throughout the State, but many of them happen right here in Cecil County or involve citizens of Cecil County. In our normal process of doing year-end reporting from 2016, we noticed some interesting trends when it comes to the location of many of the accident cases we handle. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Accident Locations in Cecil County. You may want to take note of this list, and be extra aware when driving in these areas.

5. Rt 272 near the North East Walmart

272 at Walmart NE

The intersection with the 5th most injury related accidents in Cecil County in 2016 is really 3 different intersections that sit back to back to back in North East, MD. We’ve represented clients in a variety of accidents that have occurred entering and/or exiting the main entrance to the plaza where the Walmart is in North East. Just a bit north of this intersection is the main entrance to Timberbrook community, Rogers Road. We have almost as many accidents in 2016 at this intersection, as there are a few feet down the street.

272atRogers

Just a few hundred feet north of Rogers Road is the intersection at Nazarene Camp road. Not quite as many as Rogers Road or the Walmart, but just as close in location that we felt the need to lump this in. This grouping of 3 intersections is actually only our 5th most “dangerous” for 2016. Number 4 has us representing even more clients….

 

If you’re injured in an accident in Cecil County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland please call our office at 410-885-6200. We’re happy to discuss your claim, and handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf. Most importantly, we don’t charge you anything up front, and only get a fee if we are successful in getting you money.

A potentially dangerous time on the roads

By now most of us in Maryland and the surrounding areas have “dug out” of the recent blizzard that hit us late last week. While our roadways are seemingly cleared of ice and snow, that doesn’t necessarily mean the dangers that come from such a storm are gone.

While the roadways are mostly cleared, there still remain large piles of shoveled and plowed snow throughout areas along the side of roadways. Medians that were never touched, as there was to be no traffic there, and other adjacent areas that have remaining snow and ice will now begin to melt as the weather heats up a bit.

This can create unrealized dangers on the roadway, and extra care and caution should be used to avoid accidents!

Much like the time directly following the start of a rain storm can be a dangerous time to be on the road, the times of the day where the ice and snow begin to melt and run onto the roadways can be equally dangerous. The same aspect of water mixing with the oils on the roadway will happen whether that water is new rain, or run off of newly melted snow and ice.

Also, the evening hours as the temperature drops can be even more treacherous, as that water on the roadways can freeze, causing ice incidents.

Take extra care in these days and weeks following the blizzard, or any blizzard for that matter. Give yourself extra commute time, and extra follow distance between you and the vehicle in front, just in case a quick stop is required. The last thing you’ll want is to have your brakes lock up, tires skid across the recently melted water, and cause an avoidable accident!

As always, should the other drivers on the roadway not see this, not heed this advice, and put you in a situation where you’re the victim of such an accident, do not hesitate to contact our office as soon as possible at 410-885-6200. We can help navigate the insurance company nightmare, make sure you’re paid fairly for your injures, and in many cases recover for the diminished re-sale value of your damaged and repaired vehicle.

Policy Limits Offer- Rear End Motor Vehicle Accident

We’re proud to discuss a recent case result for one of our Cecil County Automobile Accident Clients. In a rear end loss from earlier in the year, our client suffered a variety of injuries as a result of the accident. We have presented the claim to the insurance company for the at fault driver, who has agreed that they owe the claim, and will be offering the limits of their auto insurance policy.

The next step in the process is to seek additional coverage, and negotiate the outstanding obligations to our client, mainly through the subrogation of the health insurance company.

We hope to have this case entirely resolved within the next two months, but the heavy lifting is over for now! Another great success for our firm and our clients!

Filing suit in your Maryland personal injury case

Of the Cecil County and Maryland Auto Accident cases that my office handles, not all of them become lawsuits. Many of my clients initially come to me concerned about not wanting to sue anyone, or the concerns that go into such an undertaking. Roughly speaking, no more than 25% of the claims handled within my office require the filing of a lawsuit. Of those, even less actually go to trial. Most of these claims resolve via settlement prior to a lawsuit being filed, or resolve via settlement through the litigation process, but before trial. In Maryland, I believe around 3 or 4 percent of injury claims are actually resolved by a trial.

If your case does require litigation, there are usually two reasons this will happen:

  • There is a dispute or disagreement as to who is at fault for the accident
  • There is a disagreement as to the extent of injuries and/or value of the claim

The reason a case becomes a lawsuit is somewhat irrelevant to the litigation process to follow. Here are some tidbits as to what one would expect, should their case go to suit, as the process is usually new for most clients, and can be somewhat complicated and confusing:

  1. The attorney or law office will file the lawsuit, known as the ‘complaint’ with the appropriate court. Maryland has trial courts for each of the 24 counties(including Baltimore City) and each county has 2 levels of trial courts for these cases, District and Circuit Court. The court usually sets an initial trial date at this time, but that date often changes as the case proceeds.
  2. Within a few weeks, the court will return to the attorney a ‘writ of summons’ to be served onto the defendant(at fault party) in the case.
  3. The law office will usually contract a private process server to serve the writ of summons onto the other party.
  4. Once served, the other party should be communicating with their insurance company, who will assign an attorney to represent the defendant in the proceedings. If you have been sued for an auto accident, you should forward the documentation to your insurance company immediately.
  5. The parties, through their attorneys, will exchange information involving the claim through a process called discovery. Depending on which level of court and the value of the case, this process can be simple and quick, or long and drawn out.
  6. If the matter is not resolved through the early stages of litigation, some courts will schedule a settlement conference or some sort of mediation to attempt to resolve the matter.
  7. If all else fails to resolve the matter, trial will commence as scheduled (or re-scheduled).

Each county is different as far as timeframe and scheduling is concerned. Generally speaking, a district court lawsuit should go to trial within 4-6 months of the initial filing. Circuit Court trials can be quite different from county to county, and can go to trial anywhere from 9 months from filing to as much as 18 months in the more busy jurisdictions. More complicated cases with multiple parties involved, such as medical malpractice or wrongful death cases, can take even longer!

No matter what the scenario is, if a case you’re involved in is part of a lawsuit, it is incredibly important that you are available and accessible to your lawyer or their staff. Often times there are deadlines associated with aspects of these cases.

When care goes wrong

At some point in our lives we most all place our trust in others to care for members of our family on a fairly regular basis. Whether or not this care is provided on a daily basis for our young children while we are at work, or whether we’re discussing the point in our parents’ lives in which they are in need of hands on care in a nursing home or other adult care facility.

When you really think about it, there is a substantial amount of trust that must be placed in these facilities, and the care and attention that they will provide to our loved ones. Some of these concerns we have are somewhat simplistic, in as much as the basic needs of life are provided, but often times some more substantial, but less obvious, needs are overlooked until it becomes apparent that they are not being provided for.

Specifically in adult care facilities, we work with families of the victims of negligent care, and at times outright abuse of our family members being “cared for” in these facilities. It is difficult to make an across the board blanket statement about any one facility, or what we have observed, but there is a vast range of experiences that vary from facility to facility. Some of these places seem to just be lining up bodies to collect medicare payments, with little or no real concern for the wellbeing of their clients. Others are fantastic, and truly seem to have the best interest of those for whom they’re trusted to care for in mind.

We regularly hear about and deal with situations involving patients who are ignored in beds, and end up with horrific bed sores. Other situations result from not enough care and attention to clients/patients who are at a greater risk of falling. Some of these fall cases come to us after someone has fallen at least 3 times that the family has learned of, and suspected numerous more that have been hidden from the family to avoid issue.

These are very serious issues, and they deserve serious attention. Our practice can bring light to these horrible situations, and seek compensation for injuries. We handle these cases with no up front fees, and charge no fee should we be unsuccessful in recovery. Call 410-885-6200 today to discuss and schedule a free initial consultation.

How long will my injury case take?

There are a variety of common questions asked by clients who I represent in their Maryland Injury Cases. In previous articles I’ve discussed the number one question asked, which is what is my accident case worth. The number two question is usually how long will my injury case take. This question is almost as tricky as the case value one, and equally difficult to answer in the early days and weeks of an accident case.

First of all, we’re dealing within injury cases here. These cases are valued, as noted in the previous article, based upon the injuries sustained and the recovery time required for those injuries, you’ll arrive at the baseline time required to resolve on of these cases. There are very few instances in a Maryland personal injury claim where it is appropriate to settle that claim prior to the claimant being completely finished with treatment for injuries. That being said, any discussion of the timeframe for resolving one of these starts with the treatment time for injuries.

Our office does most of the groundwork on these claims within the first days and weeks following the incident, and our being hired by a client. This includes contact with insurance companies, setting up of claims, requesting medical records, requesting additional documentation, etc. Most of this “heavy lifting” that sets the stage for the rest of the claim is done early on, and usually quite efficiently within our office.

Then we wait. We wait until our client has reached a point in their physical recovery process known as Maximum Medical Improvement, often referred to as MMI. This means that either the injured person is back to where they were pre-accident, or they’re at a point in which they’re as good as their going to get, and there is a permanent injury of some sort.

Once MMI is achieved, our office will collect the remaining medical bills and records we need to move onto the next phase of the claim, which would be preparing the demand. Usually we will have all of the bills and records for these claims within 2-4 weeks from the time a patient is discharged, but that varies depending on the medical providers involved.

The demand drafting process is somewhat quick within our office. Depending on the extent of the injuries, this may take a few hours, or a day to get ready. Then, we send it to the insurance company for the responsible party, and we’re in another waiting phase. Typically it takes between 4-6 weeks for most insurance companies to contact us with an offer to resolve these cases. Then, we contact our client to discuss the offer, and take it from there. More on the injury settlement process can be found here.

Then, we’ll either settle the case after a week or two of negotiation, or we’ll prepare to file suit in the matter. Each of these paths are unique to the individual case, and will be discussed in detail with our clients before any decisions are made.

If you’re interested in learning more about the value of your Maryland personal injury or auto accident case, or are concerned with how long it will take to resolve, contact my office as soon as possible (410) 885-6200 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.

 

The aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident

Automobile accidents can be dangerous. Many of them result in injuries to some or all of the people involved in them. These injuries can vary from minor, to very serious or even fatal. The process of successfully handling an automobile accident case from the legal perspective can be complicated, as there are a variety of factors that can influence the bottom line resolution for the client.

Motorcycle accidents can be even more complicated in Maryland. There are a lot of major difference in the way that insurance works for motorcycles, as well as the obvious difference in likelihood of a serious injury in a motorcycle accident. More often than not motorcycle riders are thrown from their bikes as a result of accidents, and suffer a variety of different injuries. Very simply put, I don’t have a whole lot of car accident clients who suffer from road rash. There are often much higher medical bills, longer time missed from work, and longer periods of time to recover from the injuries in motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycle accidents in Maryland can be complicated

While some people think that they can get away with handling an automobile accident on their own, without the aid of a lawyer, it’s almost impossible to survive a Maryland motorcycle accident without one. One major difference in motorcycle accidents in Maryland is that motorcycle insurance policies do not cover personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you don’t already know, PIP is the coverage that will pay some of your medical bills and/or wage loss prior to settlement, and without any increase in your premiums. Without this coverage, it is often difficult to find a doctor or therapist who will administer a long course of treatment without an attorney who will provide some assurance that they will get them paid at the time of settlement. Unless you’ve got about $6,000-$10,000 to fork out in cash to pay for this ongoing treatment, you’ll probably need some help. If you do have that kind of cash, you might deplete your resources pretty quick, as with motorcycle injuries you’re probably going to miss substantial time from work, and you won’t get that paid for right away…remember, no PIP.

My office is experienced in handling motorcycle accidents throughout the State of Maryland, and have handled these cases from the lower end, with relatively minor injuries, all the way up through those involving fatalities. We’re adept at guiding you through the process, making it so you can get medical treatment without needing to pay cash, and fighting for the compensation you deserve.

To discuss your Maryland or Cecil County Motorcycle accident with an experience lawyer, call us now at 410-885-6200 to talk to a lawyer, and schedule a free, no obligation consultation in our Elkton or Baltimore office.

Why am I making a claim with my insurance company?

When handling automobile accident cases in Maryland, and even more so the cases I handle in and around Elkton, Maryland, I am often asked by my clients why we would be making a claim with their insurance company. Understandably, many of my clients are apprehensive about this, confused, or otherwise gun shy about calling their insurance company for anything. What a great fear that has been created by insurance companies and media that making a claim of any kind will make your rates skyrocket!

In some instances, claims against your policy can and will make your rates go up. In many instances, however, they will not and can not. One example of a claim that we often file for our clients in their cases is a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim. PIP is a no-fault type benefit that is on your policy, and is in place to protect you if you are in any accident of any kind and are injured and/or lose time from work. I try not to bore my readers to death with citations of law on this blog, but since this is such a sensitive topic, I feel the need to provide at least one link to where the Maryland Annotated Code actually says what I say it says. Check out § 19-507(c) of the Maryland Insurance Article, which states:

“An insurer that issues a policy that contains the coverage described in § 19-505 of this subtitle may not impose a surcharge for a claim or payment made under that coverage and, at the time the policy is issued, shall notify the policyholder in writing that a surcharge may not be imposed for a claim or payment made under that coverage.”

Scared to file a claim with your insurance company? Contact Bowers Law to find out when and how you may want to do this for your Maryland Accident Case.
Scared to file a claim with your insurance company? Contact Bowers Law to find out when and how you may want to do this for your Maryland Accident Case.

This is the law in Maryland. If you’re making a PIP claim, your insurance company cannot raise you to a different risk tier or issue a surcharge. Reading the entire subtitle of section c you will see that the insurance company must also notify you in writing that they can not and will not do this to you. If you read your insurance policy, you’ll find a line in there that tells you this. It’s probably somewhere around page 23 or 24. (I made that page number thing up, but if I happen to be right, let me know and we’ll share a laugh).

There are other scenarios in which filing a claim with your insurance company can be beneficial to you. These come in situations such as hit & run accidents, or otherwise in scenarios where you lack information on the other party or parties involved in the claim. I’ll be sure to write on these topics throughout the coming weeks, so check back for more information about when it’s OK to make a claim with your own insurance company.

Of course, if you’ve been injured in an accident, call my office immediately at 410-885-6200 to discuss the options you may have and recoveries you may be entitled to. We’re available to answer questions whether you’re a client or not. Even if you don’t have a case we’d take on, I’d be honored to give you a few minutes of my time to discuss your situation, your insurance, and anything else that may be on your mind.

How will your auto accident case settle?

A question that I am often asked by clients and prospective clients is about the settlement process. While questions about the projected value of a Maryland injury claim are difficult to answer at the very beginning, it is easier to answer questions regarding the end process without discussing the numbers. More on what goes into the value of a settlement can be found here.

Once you have completed any and all medical treatment, our office will complete the ongoing process of collecting medical bills, records, and documentation pertaining to time lost from employment to put together what is commonly known as a “demand letter” or “demand package” to send to the insurance company. Once sent, most insurance companies will take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to evaluate the damages in the claim, liability of the claim, and ultimately contact our office with an initial offer for settlement. We do not accept or encourage our clients to accept the initial offer, except in instances where that initial offer constitutes the limits of all available liability insurance.

Next, the negotiating attorney in our office will contact our client, before beginning negotiation with the insurance company. We will discuss this initial offer with out client, discuss the pros/cons of that offer, and also provide our client with real numbers of “if you accepted this, your proceeds would be…” At this point, our clients have a good idea of what the initial offer would mean to them, as well as a fair estimate of what the “high end” might look like through the negotiation process. Your attorney will also tell you their opinion on the offer, and possible top end offer. We will not push you to accept an offer that we feel is too low, or that we have a reasonable likelihood of getting you more by filing a lawsuit.

Then, with your approval and authority to settle for a certain minimum amount, we will reinitiate the settlement process, with the goal to exceed your expectations, of course.

Remember: We get paid a percentage of this settlement amount. It is not only in your best interest for us to get the highest amount possible, but it also helps our office. We’re on the same team here!

Then, we typically will verify our client’s approval of the settlement amount prior to accepting it.

Shortly following this, the insurance company will send a check to our office, which will be placed in our client trust account, and ultimately be disbursed to the client, the firm, and any outstanding medical balances or insurance liens. Our clients receive a full detailed breakdown on every penny of their injury settlement proceeds.