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Left-hand turn accidents can make for difficult and complicated auto accident lawsuits. An accident involving a left-turn can cause devastating injuries and determining fault is not always as easy as it might seem.

Left-turn-300x169At first glance, determining fault in left-turn accidents may seem simple because the driver making the left turn has an obligation to yield to oncoming traffic.  That simple assumption is correct in the lion’s share of cases.  When you call our law firm and telling us another driver to a left turn in front of you, our lawyers are pretty confident, without hearing anything else, that you have a case.

But… you have to hear the entire story.  Because the assumption that the driver who made the left turn is at-fault sometimes fails.  This is particularly true, as I explain below, in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The Maryland auto accident lawyers at our firm have been involved in literally thousands of auto accident claims over the years.  Our exclusive focus is on victims.  It is, I can tell you, more fun for us than representing defendants.  Most of us started out as defense lawyers.

But people that cause accidents are not criminals.  They made a mistake that any of us could have made.  There is so much information available for victims. But the only ones giving at-fault drivers information is insurance companies.  I wouldn’t trust an insurance company to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This page will attempt to answer some more frequently asked questions and concerns that arise from drivers who are at-fault in auto accidents.

Let’s take a look at which of the large commercial trucking companies cause the most auto accidents and which company has the highest accident rate. Our Baltimore auto accident attorneys see hundreds of traffic accident cases every year. We have first-hand experience with how destructive serious auto accidents can be. Major truck accidents can life-altering events with permanent consequences.

Of all the accident cases we handle, commercial truck accidents are by far the worst and most destructive. Big trucks (e.g., delivery truck, tractor-trailers, and other commercial trucking vehicles) can be 4 or 5 times the size and weight of an average passenger car. When these massive moving objects collide with smaller vehicles, the outcome is often tragic.

The Maryland truck accident lawyers at our firm represent dozens of big truck accident victims every year. There are certain big trucking companies that we run into as defendants in these cases on a fairly regular basis. This is because there are a handful of very large commercial trucking companies that cause a very high percentage of truck accidents. To be fair, this is partly due to the fact that these companies are bigger and have more trucks logging more mileage. But it is also true that certain truck companies place less emphasis on driver safety and training. This post will look at who these companies are and why they account for so many truck accidents.

Consider the following common scenario. One morning while you are driving to work, you slow down for traffic on I-95 and get rear-ended by the car behind you. Your car is a mangled mess.

At first, you feel fine physically. You even make it into your office and work a full day. You go to be still feeling fine and counting yourself lucky. Then in the middle of the night, you suddenly wake up with shooting pain in your neck and shoulder.

By morning, the pain is so bad that you can barely get out of bed let alone go to work. Your spouse takes you to the local urgent care facility. Nothing is broken, but the doctor says you may have suffered a herniated disc in the car accident. He also says you probably tore your rotator cuff. You spend the next 3 months in and out of various doctor offices undergoing escalating treatment efforts to stop the debilitating pain in your back and shoulder. You end up missing almost 4 months from work and racking up thousands in medical bills.

Last Sunday, September 27th, on I-95 near the exit for Route 100, the lives of 4 totally unconnected people were randomly shattered forever in a span of just 14 minutes. The disastrous accident started with a lone deer who stranded on the narrow sliver of woods in the 95 median strip near Elkridge, MD. It ended with 1 man dead, 2 more clinging to life in Shock Trauma, and a fourth person being hunted by police.

What happened near Route 100 on Sunday is a stark reminder of how tragedy on the highway can strike down lives suddenly and randomly. The fallout also raises a lot of common legal questions about civil liability and who will end up paying for the financial cost of the accident.

The Accident

Getting in a car accident is a miserable experience. Even if you don’t get hurt in the collision, you can expect weeks and possibly even months of stress and hassle. The primary source of this stress is usually the car insurance company and their adjuster. Whether it is your own insurance company or the other driver’s carrier, negotiating a settlement in a claim with an insurance adjuster can be a frustrating ordeal.

Most insurance adjusters come across as very friendly. This often causes people to let their guard down and get lulled into thinking the adjuster is there to help you. They are NOT there to help you. The adjuster is there to resolve your claim quickly and at the lowest possible cost to the company. Below are some tricky tactics that insurance adjusters often use to save money on your claim while making you feel like they are doing you a favor.

Getting You to Accept a Lowball Initial Settlement Offer

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has designated October as National Pedestrian Safety Month. The “virtual kickoff” for this first-ever Pedestrian Safety Month was held on September 29th.

USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Deputy Administrator James Owens, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Nicole Nason, and others spoke at this event. They discussed the pedestrian fatality rate and potential reduction policies. This new safety awareness campaign comes eight months after a February 2020 report found that pedestrian fatality rates increased over the last decade.

Awareness of pedestrian safety is good, and the focus is long overdue.

Most people injured in a rear-end car accident in Maryland look for fair settlement value for their case. No one wants to get ripped off by an insurance company.  These companies spend a lot of time training their insurance adjusters how to rip you off.  So fair settlement value is not something that will be handed over to you easily. As I explain below, I think “fair settlement value” is the wrong lens to use when approaching the settlement of a rear-end accident case.  But let’s start with this premise.

What Is a Fair Settlement Offer for a Rear-End Accident Case in Maryland?

On this page, we will try to give you an idea of what a fair settlement offer should be for a rear-end auto accident case. Rear-end accident cases are the most common type of vehicle collision, accounting for over 40% of all accidents. Not surprisingly, rear-end accidents also generate the greatest number of personal injury claims. Our Maryland auto accident lawyers have literally settled thousands of rear-end cases. We know these cases well. We have a solid understanding of what a fair settlement offer should look like.

The Value of a Rear-End Accident Case Depends on the Severity of Injury

Not all rear-end auto accident cases are going to have the same settlement value. The settlement value of a rear-end accident case will depend on several key factors. But the most significant factor that drives the value of these cases is the severity of the victim's physical injuries. The more serious the plaintiff’s injuries, the higher the settlement value the case will have.

To give you some value range for rear-end accident cases based on the extent of the injury, we can categorize the plaintiff’s physical injuries into 3 levels of severity.

LEVEL 1: Level 1 will be the lowest (least serious) level of physical injuries. Level 1 injuries will include minor physical injuries that do not require surgery or extensive medical treatment and usually heal within 4-6 weeks. Common auto accident injuries in Level 1 include neck & back sprains, concussions, whiplash, and other types of “soft tissue” injuries.   With some exceptions, treatment for Level 1 injuries is limited to physical therapy and pain management. Damages in a Level 1 injury case will typically include pain & suffering and medical expenses.  
LEVEL 2: Level 2 covers slightly more serious injuries that involve more physical damage and require more extensive medical treatment. Common examples of Level 2 auto accident injuries would include broken arms, broken legs, herniated discs, and burns. Knee and shoulder injuries such as torn rotator cuffs, or ALC / MCL tears would also fall into Level 2.   What separates Level 2 injuries is the severity of physical damage and the fact that these injuries usually require more than just physical therapy and pain management. Level 2 injuries generally significant medical treatment such as surgery. Level 2 injuries can often result in permanent physical impairments and significant claims for lost wages.  
LEVEL 3: The most severe rear-end accident injuries will fall into Level 3. Level 3 injuries are things that can cause death or permanent disability. Examples of Level 3 auto accident injuries would be death, brain damage, organ damage, or paraplegic injuries.  

What Is Fair Settlement Value for Rear End Accident with Level 1 Injuries?

Rear end auto accidents with Level 1 injuries are at the lowest end of auto accident settlement scale. The typical settlement range for a Level 1 injury case in Maryland is between $10,000 and $25,000. Where an individual case falls on this range will depend on the amount of medical treatment (and resulting expenses) and whether the plaintiff has any claim for lost wages. Another factor that can impact the final settlement is what Maryland jurisdiction the case is in. Certain counties (e.g., Baltimore City and Prince George’s County) a very plaintiff friendly, so cases in these jurisdictions may have a higher value.

Below are examples of recent settlements and verdicts in rear-end accident cases involving what we would classify as Level 1 injuries.

    •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2020 – Montgomery

Soft-tissue neck, shoulder, and back injuries in rear-end truck accident involving multiple vehicles.

$13,000

2019 – Anne Arundel

Neck sprain, shoulder sprain, treatment limited to physical therapy and pain medication, not lost wages.

$17,500

2019 – Prince George’s
Soft-tissue lower-back sprain with some residual symptoms and mobility limitations, but chronic pain.

$200,000

2018 – Balt. County

Back and neck sprains. Plaintiff claims to suffer chronic, permanent pain and asserts a claim for lost wages.

$36,000

2015 – Montgomery

Soft-tissue neck injuries causing headaches and numbness. Plaintiff claims lost wages in addition to medical expenses.

$32,000

What Is Fair Settlement Value for a Rear-End Accident with Level 2 Injuries?

The average settlement value range for a rear-end auto accident cases in which the plaintiff suffers Level 2 physical injuries is between $60,000 and $110,000. This is obviously a much broader value range compare to Level 1 injury cases. This is because there tends to be much wider variation in severity and required medical treatment with Level 2 injuries. Take for example a case involving a broken arm. Depending on the location of the fracture (upper or lower arm) and the type of fracture, the required treatment could range from a simple cast to extensive orthopedic surgery with internal hardware. This is why Level 2 injury cases have such a wide settlement value range.

  •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2019 – Balt. City

A Female in her mid-40s suffers a right fibula fracture. No extensive surgery required.

$80,000

2019 – Balt. City

66-year-old female suffers double arm fractures requiring multiple surgeries and internal fixation hardware. No lost-wage claim.

$90,000

2018 – Carroll
Multiple upper arm fractures in rear-end accident case with a dump truck. Treatment involved several rounds of surgery. Extensive lost wages.

$200,000

2018 – Balt. County

Rear-end accident on the beltway. Plaintiff suffers herniated disc with nerve impingement. Treatment involves spinal fusion surgery and nerve stabilization.

$$200,000

2016 – Prince George’s

A 51-year-old female suffers herniated disc in the lumbar region of her spine. Treatment limited to physical therapy and steroid injections.

$164,000

Fair Settlement Value for Rear End Accident with Level 3 Injuries The typical value range for a Maryland rear end auto accident case involving Level 3 injuries is $200,000 to $400,000. This is just an average range. Level 3 injury cases can easily have a much higher value. Rear end accidents tend to be lower impact collisions, so we don’t see too many rear enders resulting in Level 3 injuries. When rear end accidents do cause Level 3 injuries the most common are serious brain injuries and internal organ damage (e.g., ruptured spleen).

  •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2019 – Anne Arundel

Passenger suffers ruptured spleen in rear end accident. Treatment involves surgical removal of spleen.

$100,000

2017 – Balt. County

A young driver is stranded on the shoulder of road after running out of gas. Distracted driver drifts onto the shoulder and slams into him from behind, killing him instantly.

$1,650,000

2016 – Balt. City
A 20-year-old driver pulls over onto the shoulder of the highway for a flat tire and gets killed when a truck rear-ends him.

$1,500,000

rear end accidents  

Is Fair Value the Goal for Your Accident Settlement?

When I represent a client, I’m not shooting for fair settlement value.  I’m want to get more than the settlement value of the case.   You want to argue I’m not seeking justice?  Fair enough. I get it.  But the insurance company’s goal is not to pay you fair settlement value.  Their goal is to rip you off.  So if one side is shooting to rip you off and the other side is shooting for fair, how do you think those cases end up?   The answer is somewhere south of fair settlement value.  So I think the goal of fair value is the wrong one.  Hire the best rear-end car accident lawyer in Maryland you can find and tell that attorney to fight to get every last possible penny for you. 

  • Three tricks insurance companies use (and how to fight back)

Maryland Rear-End Auto Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a rear-end auto accident, again, you are walking in my firm’s wheelhouse.  Contact the Maryland car accident attorneys at Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or reach out to us online.

Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous. If you get in almost any type of accident on a motorcycle you can expect some serious injuries and you could easily die. Of course, this danger and the thrill it generates is exactly what draws people to motorcycles in the first place.

Have Fun and Not Die

There are certain basic safety principles that anyone riding a motorcycle, sports bike, or similar vehicle needs to follow. The first and most obvious is the use of protective gear. Wearing a helmet is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself on a motorcycle. If you’re wearing an appropriate helmet and you get in a motorcycle accident, your chances of suffering a brain injury will be decreased by 67%. Your chance of dying decreases by 40%.

Federal regulations regarding commercial trucking require states to notify other states when licensed truck drivers incur violations that warrant license suspension. The purpose of these rules is to keep dangerous truck drivers off the road.  Unfortunately, however, a recent report by the Boston Globe found that over half of all states routinely fail to comply with this warning requirement.

When a commercial driver receives a license suspension or conviction, the state is supposed to notify other jurisdictions within 10 days. But most state agencies take months (and sometimes years) to send out these warning notices to other states. In some cases, truckers were allowed to continue driving in other states for more than 20 years after a license suspension or revocation.

This is a situation that puts people in danger. A 70,000-pound big rig truck can cause serious injuries and death in an accident. Ensuring that the individuals driving these massive vehicles are qualified and responsible is extremely important. Tractor-trailer trucks cause 5,000 deaths on U.S. roadways each year and that number has been on the rise recently. The habitual failure of state motor vehicle agencies to communicate with each other on truck driver license violations is contributing to this growing problem. The Boston Globe study found that at least 1 out of every 20 commercial truck drivers on the road is illegally driving with an active, unresolved violation of their license.