Articles Posted in Accident Nuts & Bolts

In a personal injury case, the defendant and their insurance company will often state that they are “admitting liability.” Lawyers also call this admitting responsibility or accepting fault.

In this post, we will try to explain what it means when the defendant admits liability and how it will potentially impact the outcome of your claim. Admitting liability can happen in any type of tort case, but it is most common in auto accident cases so this post will focus solely on liability admission in auto tort claims.

Liability vs. Damages

Parents sometimes cause car accidents when their children in the car.  When these children are injured, can the minor children bring a personal injury claim against their parents?

Let’s back up. Why would a child sue their own parent?  A child should sue their own parent because while they are technically suing their parent, the claim is really an insurance claim.  So if the child is hurt in a car crash, the insurance company is making payment to make good on that claim.

What is the Maryland law for minors to sue their parents to collect the insurance proceeds?

So many of our clients call knowing they need a Maryland personal injury lawyer to handle their claim. Their focus is simply that I think I will get more money in my pocket and less fear of getting ripped off if I hire the best lawyer I can.  Let me explain generally what we do.  So if you are reading this before you call a lawyer, you will have some idea of what we do and what we will do for you as we advance your claim forward to settlement or trial.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

One question you have to ask yourself is do I need a personal injury lawyer?   You can try to handle your accident claim yourself.  If you have a small case, you will probably end up with less money and more hassle than if you had tried a lawyer.  But if you are one of those “I want to do it myself if it is remotely possible” people and you have not suffered a meaningful or permanent injury,  go ahead.  Use the link above and take a shot at it.  Is it possible you will completely screw it up?  Of course.   But the risk is not as grave in a minor accident case.

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.

As I’ve written before, we spend a lot of energy trying to track down defendants. Not in most cases. But when our lawyers can’t find someone with relative ease, it can be a big hassle. In 2020, people are moving more quickly and leave fewer tracks when they move.

Accurint

One effective weapon we have used over the years is Accurint which provides access to over 34 billion current public records that you can utilize to find your man or woman.

insurance policy limitWhen we get a wrongful death or serious personal injury case, our first concern is insurance coverage.  The fear is that you will prove your claim is worth a certain dollar amount.  But then you cannot collect because there is inadequate insurance coverage.

How do you find out what the insured’s policy is in a Maryland car accident?  In the old days, the only way to get the policy limits was to sue.

This was maddening.  Especially when there were laws in other jurisdictions in that refusing to offer the policy limits could be bad faith.  Insurance adjusters would refuse to tell us saying it violated the privacy of their insured which also made me want to throw a brick through a window.

recorded statements accidents

Recorded Statements Rarely Help

I’m getting another case ready for trial where I have to explain honest and consistent statements given in good faith to the insurance company that their lawyer is not trying to take completely out of context to make them stand for something very different from what I originally contemplated.

The answer, as always, is don’t give a recorded statement to the at-fault carrier. This rule should be followed in 98% of the cases I have prepared where a statement was given.

I remember learning about spoliation in law school. I never imagined how frequently these issues would affect my law practice. Particularly in truck accident cases where defendants seem to lose everything imaginable. Spoliation, for non-lawyers and new lawyers, is when the defendant purposefully or stupidly destroys evidence that it knows or should know would be relevant evidence at trial. Under Maryland law, there are many means to deter, penalize, and ameliorate the prejudicial effects of spoliation. The most common weapons, evidence sanctions, and/or corrective jury instructions, are available to Maryland trial judges as remedies to deal with acts of spoliation. These judges have wide discretion to deal with these parties that destroy evidence.

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When working up a serious truck accident case, the experienced truck accident attorney starts with a complete background check on the truck driver that you believed caused the accident. Nothing you find will be admissible against the driver. Having an awful driving record is generally not admissible in plaintiff’s case-in-chief against the driver. But such information may very well be admissible against the trucking company in a negligent hiring/training/retention/entrustment case.

There is one other way to get bad, prior conduct from the defendant truck driver into evidence: let him (usually him) lie about it. A lot of truck drivers I have deposed don’t come prepared to tell the entire truth, and although the case is about someone they killed or seriously hurt, they assume the plaintiff’s lawyer has not done their homework and they can fudge history a little bit. This can make a mountain out of a molehill.

Another place you find the truck driver failing to tell the truth is during his criminal trial. You can sometimes find outrageously good nuggets in the transcript when the truck driver was doing anything he could to avoid a conviction. If you have clear lies under oath, the jury will assume – probably correctly – that anything the truck driver says at trial may be a lie.

More and more police departments in Maryland are joining the rest of us in 2012 and making car accident police reports available online. Calvert County police reports for car crashes will generally be available within 5-7 business days after the date of the accident.

This is that rare development in car accident cases that is a win-win for everyone: car accident lawyers, insurance companies, and the drivers themselves can get police reports with much greater ease.

To get an accident report in Calvert County, go to their website.