Car accidents

When Can I Hold Another Party Responsible for My Crash?

The party who is at-fault for the accident can be held liable for the crash. In most cases, a fault is established by proving negligence. In other words, if you can prove that your accident was caused by another party’s failure to take proper care, you can hold that party liable for your accident damages.  

Contributory negligence

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are in the small minority of jurisdictions who follow a rule of law called Contributory Negligence.  This rule states that the injured person must show that she or he did nothing negligent herself.  If the defendant in the case can prove to a jury that the injured person was also negligent, then a judge or a jury will award no compensation to the injured person.

How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Actions?

In Maryland and D.C., an injured person generally has three years from the date of the accident to bring their claim.  Under Virginia law, personal injury victims typically have two years to bring their claim. There are very few exceptions to these rules. Victims of an accident should get their case started as soon as possible.

What Compensation is Available?

Accidents victims may seek relief for the full extent of their losses. This includes compensation for both any direct monetary losses as well as non-economic losses. Economic losses include the cost of the medical treatment and any income lost as a result of being injured.  Non-economic losses include pain and suffering and the inconvenience of being injured.  In general, the rule of thumb is that you are entitled to any difference in your life, economic or non-economic that occurred as a result of the accident, and these include the following:

All medical bills;

Future medical costs and long-term disability;

Lost wages and loss of ability to earn of living;

Pain and suffering;

Emotional distress;

Loss of limb;

Disfigurement; and

Wrongful death of a loved one.

personal injury protection (pip)

In Maryland, insurance companies must offer you the option to buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  This is basically insurance to cover your medical bills and lost wages if you are in an accident involving a motor vehicle.  This insurance may help pay for your initial medical bills or cover your lost wages at a time when you most need that money.  This coverage is available if you are in an accident involving a motor vehicle, whether you are in your own vehicle or another person's vehicle or whether you are not in a vehicle but are hit by one.  The Kamerow Law Firm works to obtain this money, and we don't charge a fee for obtaining money from your own automobile insurance company. 

Medical payment coverage

In Virginia, insurance companies must offer you the option to buy Medical Payment coverage with your own automobile insurance policy.  This insurance can cover your medical bills if you are in an accident involving a motor vehicle, whether you are in your own vehicle or another person's vehicle or whether you are not in a vehicle but are hit by one. The Kamerow Law Firm works to obtain this money, and we don't charge a fee for obtaining money from your own automobile insurance company. 

How Should I Deal With the Insurance Company?

You should be very careful when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Ultimately, the insurance company is not interested in paying you the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Instead, they are focused on limiting their own liability. The best way to deal with the insurance company is to refer them to your attorney. Please do not give a statement or sign any documents without first receiving approval from your attorney.

UBER passenger injuries

The ridesharing application Uber is increasingly popular in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Many consumers throughout the city and in Northern Virginia regularly use the service. Inevitably, this means that there will also be some accidents involving these vehicles. Uber accidents present unique legal challenges for the victims. 

Four Things You Need Do After an Uber Accident:

1. seek medical help. 

You should always get yourself checked out after any car accident. This is true because you need to protect your health and you need to protect your legal rights.  If you have your own vehicle, you may have medical payments coverage on your own insurance policy.

Certainly looking out for your health always comes before anything else, including any possible legal action. Car accidents often result in delayed onset injuries. Proper precautions must be taken, so please get yourself evaluated just to be sure. Additionally, in the event that you file a legal claim, you will need official medical documentation that can be used to support your claim.

2. Call the Local Police

As a passenger, you have an interest in ensuring that the police are property notified. An officer will file an official report about your accident and you need to make sure that the contents of the report are accurate and fair to your interests. This police report might be used as evidence in an potential personal injury claim that you might bring.

3. Report Your Accident to Uber

If you were injured as an Uber passenger, you have a duty to report the accident to the company. This can generally be done through your smartphone app or through the company’s website. Please be sure that you file a report immediately after your crash. In the event that you fail to file report with the company in a timely manner, it could potentially put your legal rights in jeopardy. If you have any difficulty filing the report with the company, or if Uber gives you any trouble when you try to report your accident, pick up the phone and call an attorney right away.

4.  Hire a Lawyer

Uber accident injuries are notoriously complex, with multiple possible defendants and insurance companies. Unless you are familiar with these issues, please do not try to go through the injury claims process on your own.

TRUCK Accidents

Truck accidents remain a major problem in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around 90 large commercial trucks are involved in deadly crashes in Virginia each year. That accounts for nearly 10 percent of all fatal accidents that occur within the commonwealth. Many more tractor trailers are involved in very serious crashes that lead to life-altering injuries. Commercial truck accidents also create particularly complex legal situations. 

Evidence Will be collected

To recover the full and fair truck accident injury compensation that you deserve you will need to produce evidence that supports your claim. Key evidence comes in many different forms. Specifically, the following forms of evidence can be used to help support your legal claim:

Photographs of your injuries;

Your medical records;

Supporting statements from your doctor;

Photographs of the accident scene;

Testimony from accident scene reconstruction experts;

Supporting statements from witnesses;

Truck inspection or maintenance records;

Electronic recording data from the truck.

We Can help Sort Out Liability

Truck accidents are especially complicated for many different reasons. One of those reasons is that sorting out liability is far more complex. Put simply, there are just many more parties that could potentially be held responsible for the accident. In some cases, more than one party may actually split the liability for your crash. Parties that are commonly found to be liable for commericial truck crashes include:

The driver of the truck;

The driver’s employer;

The manufacturer of the truck or trailer; or

The company that was leasing the truck.

We Can Handle the Insurance Companies

Given the multiple possible liable parties, it's important to begin working with the insurance companies early.  For instance, you may have medical payments or personal injury protection coverage on your own insurance policy, and this insurance may help pay for your initial medical bills or cover your lost wages at a time when you most need that money.  The Kamerow Law Firm works to obtain this money, and we don't charge a fee for obtaining money from your own automobile insurance company. Ultimately, insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They will try to settle your claim for the lowest value possible. You need an attorney by your side who can fight to protect your rights.  We handle most truck accidents on a contingency fee basis where we get paid only if we collect money for you.

Truck Regulations

Commercial motor vehicles, also called semi-tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, and trucks, are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which imposes strict regulations on these vehicles and their drivers. The rules enacted by the FMCSA are crafted to ensure that trucks are operated with the highest level of safety possible. Limits are placed on vehicle weight and a driver’s time behind the wheel, and mandatory inspections of vehicle components are required on a routine basis. The reason for such regulation is that these vehicles are so enormous in size and weight that they are much more prone to crashes than common passenger vehicles. Also, once a crash occurs, the massive weight creates the destructive potential energy of 20 average cars.

Drive time limits

Drivers of commercial vehicles are limited in the numbers of hours they can legally drive each work day. On any given working shift, a truck driver may legally drive a maximum of 11 cumulative hours. These driving hours must take place within a working shift of no more than 14 hours. In other words, once a truck driver begins a working shift, the shift must end within 14 hours, and in that period, he may drive no more than 11 total hours. Violations of hours of service regulations can constitute prima facie evidence of driver fatigue if a crash occurs after maximum limits are exceeded.

Maximum vehicle weights

On average, the weight of an 18-wheeler without a payload is approximately 35,000 pounds. By law, the maximum gross weight of a commercial vehicle carrying a load of freight (without a special permit) is 80,000 pounds. Violations of weight regulations, in the form of excessive load weights, can compromise the vehicle’s ability to decelerate under braking and increase the risk of collisions on the roadway. Therefore, excessive weights in violation of FMCSA regulations could pose a danger to all motorists and constitute negligence.

Mandatory inspection of vehicles

Because of the massive potential for destruction if a crash takes place, along with the increased risk of crash inherent in such large machines, truck drivers are required by FMCSA regulations to conduct an inspection of the vehicle at the start and end of each working day of driving. Components such as pneumatic brakes and associated air lines, tires, and other critical parts of the truck must be checked for fitness. Wear and imminent failure of such components that is likely to cause a traffic crash can be detected by inspection, and therefore, can prevent crashes. Because of this, failure to inspect can constitute negligence and increase the risk of traffic crash.