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)

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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.

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.

Valuable Tips Series: Buying a used car in Elkton, MD

Many of our Elkton, Maryland auto accident clients come to us with many concerns, one of the first ones being what to do about their vehicle. Since opening my office in Elkton, Maryland in 2014, I have noticed a higher percentage of vehicle accidents being more severe, and causing most of the vehicles to be a total loss. This means needing to replace the vehicle, and needing to do so with a limited amount of time, as most insurance companies will only pay for rental coverage for a few days, or up to a week following the payout on a total loss.

As an attorney who aims to be a broad resource for my clients, not only providing legal services, but providing trusted insight on businesses in the Elkton area that I have knowledge or experience dealing with. Among them, is Premier Auto Exchange on Rt 40 in Elkton. You may know their location as the site of the old KFC. Premier auto exchange began as a generational auto repair business, with 3 locations in Elkton and Newark, DE, and took that care for quality cars to the sales level, largely based on demand from their customers for repair work. This ongoing video/informational series will encompass a series of interviews and tips from the owner, and sales manager on important factors to consider when purchasing a used car, whether as a replacement for yourself or when buying as a first car for a new driver.

For your very first car, here are some key considerations from Premier Auto Exchange:

At Premier, we advise all car buyers to purchase a car that you can afford to pay off in 48 months. You don’t want to spend the next 6 years paying off a car. We suggest that you also put down 20% on the car to keep from getting upside down, where you owe more on the car than it is worth. You never want to be in the position of owing more than your car is worth. If you determine that you can afford a car, then make sure you enter the dealership prepared with “The Folder” of competitive car price quotes, or you’ll overpay by thousands.

The most important things to consider with your first car is safety and dependability. If you are going to buy a used car, be sure to do your research on the track record of the vehicles you are interested in. You should also consider purchasing a warranty on the vehicle for the term of the loan. The last thing you want is an expensive repair while still making payments.  At Premier Auto Exchange we have a wide variety of warranties to choose from.

Please share this article, and book mark or subscribe to the page so you are alerted to upcoming editions of this series. For more information on our office, visit our website or facebook page. You can find Premier Auto on facebook, too. If you’re injured in an accident, call our office immediately at (410) 885-6200 before speaking to anyone else, especially the insurance companies!

 

Sometimes it just takes hiring an attorney

I was recently hired by an Elkton, Maryland resident to represent him with respect to a work related injury. He originally filed a claim due to the injury, and was sent to a doctor. When his condition did not improve, the doctor suggested that his symptoms were indicative of a meniscus tear, and suggested an MRI to verify the assumption. The insurance company denied the request of the doctor for the MRI, and wanted the injured worker to return to work. Due to his frustration, the client found and reached out to me for representation. Upon hiring me, I entered my appearance with the commission, and sent a standard letter putting the insurance company on notice that I was representing him on behalf of the injury claim. Within 24 hours, and without my even picking up the phone to call the insurance company due to my own busy trial schedule, I received a call from my client letting me know that his MRI had now been approved!

Not all situations are this simple, and most require more of a fight. The simple fact remains, however, and the moral of this story is simple. If an insurance company sees an opportunity to deny a claim, or part of a claim, and you are not represented by an attorney, many will attempt the seize the opportunity to save some money, and hope that the injured party will just move on, give up, and walk away.

This isn’t just a worker’s compensation issue. This works the same way for any injury situation.  It’s always advisable to at least discuss these claims with an attorney prior to making any big decisions. To discuss an injury matter with my office for free, contact me at any time at (410) 885-6200.

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!

Are you ready for 2015?

We’re approaching the time of year here very shortly where many of us will begin to talk of new year’s resolutions. Some of those resolutions will involve some sort of a gym membership that will likely be unused by spring, or just an overall goal of losing weight, eating better, or perhaps some other more tangible goal.

Within my office, one of the many things that I will do to prepare for the turning of the calendar year is to

a: buy a new calendar for 2015!

b: set goals for my office, largely based on performance and helping out clients

c: archive files and “close out” the 2014 year

On a personal level, however, I find it important to spend the early weeks of a new year analyzing my personal automobile insurance policies. If I can make any general suggestions above and beyond what you may already have on your list, it would be to review and adjust your insurance policy for the new year. The laws about insurance change regularly, and with them the premiums may also change. Getting re-quoted may not save you money, but it’s worth doing because if you cannot get a better deal, you can stick with what you’ve already got!

A few quick tips on your Maryland Insurance Policy will be to make sure your liability and uninsured motorist coverage are representative of your income and your assets, maximize your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, and verify that any other insurance coverages that you have like homeowners or renter’s insurance are “bundled” together if they are written by the same company. This bundling alone may save you as much as 15% on your policy, which can be a big savings.

I am always happy to talk to clients and potential clients about their insurance policies. I offer a free in-office insurance evaluation to anyone who calls (410) 885-6200 and requests one. The best part is, I’m not an insurance agent and I CAN NOT sell you insurance. This means I won’t even TRY to sell you insurance, but I can give you some pointers on what might be beneficial for you to update, should you potentially be in an auto accident. Give me a call, let’s sit down and make sure you’re protected and in a position to maximize your recovery, should you get in an accident in 2015.

Also, be on the lookout to the soon to be published new edition of my book regarding explanations and tips on buying Auto Insurance in Maryland, due out in January 2015!