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Injured? Everything You Need To Know About Filing For Personal Injury In Maryland Or DC

This article explains the essential details about filing a personal injury claim after an accident in Maryland or DC, including:

  • Timing: How long you have to file and when you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help.
  • Assistance: Why you shouldn’t try to handle your case alone, regardless of what an insurance company tells you.
  • Conditions: Those eligible to file for personal injury, how the process can be paid for, and what information you should bring to your Maryland or DC personal injury attorney.

What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

Injured? Everything You Need To Know About Filing For Personal Injury In Maryland Or DC Lawyer, Gaithersburg, MD

Whenever you are injured as the result of the negligence of someone else, you might be able to recover damages, including the cost of essential medical care, from the other person or, more accurately, from their insurance company. This process is called filing for a personal injury claim.

In Maryland and DC, this is most often done in cases of property liability and motor vehicle accidents, including those with trucks, cars, and/or motorcycles.

While filing for personal injury can allow you to recover significant damages, doing so is never easy. It takes both time and expertise to handle a personal injury case. Fortunately, you do not have to handle it on your own. Personal injury attorneys exist to help those injured receive the compensation they deserve.

What Is The Deadline For Filing A Personal Injury Claim In Maryland Or DC?

Both Maryland and DC have a three-year statute of limitations. This means that you have to file a lawsuit or resolve your case within three years from the date of the initial injury. If you fail to do so within the deadline, you would be barred from pursuing recovery.

There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re a minor at the time of the accident the timeline may be extended.

Additionally, there is a one-year time period in which you must file your personal injury protection claim. Your case or claim does not need to be resolved within that year, and medical expenses incurred after that year can be submitted, but the claim has to be established within one year.

At What Stage Should I Hire A Maryland Or DC Personal Injury Attorney?

The sooner you hire an attorney, the better off you will be. When an experienced attorney is handling your case, there will be fewer opportunities for insurance companies to take advantage of you. The more time your attorney has to prepare and build your case, the better the outcome is likely to be.

The personal injury process is undeniably complicated. A personal injury attorney will be able to avoid mistakes and pitfalls that might otherwise undermine your case, such as accidentally revealing information to the insurance carrier.

This does not mean you are obligated to hire one immediately or within hours of your injury, though you certainly can and should consult with one if you wish. It can even be helpful to consult with an attorney on whether to hire an attorney and who to hire if you do.

Can I Still Hire An Attorney To Take Over My Case If I Already Started The Personal Injury Claim Process?

While not every personal injury attorney will be willing to take over a case that has already been started by their client, many will. However, it is certainly more complicated for them to handle, as they will need to identify what has been done, and what has not, as well as what needs to be done, or undone.

Nevertheless, if you get started on your own and you feel like you are in over your head and you are not comfortable with the process, you should certainly contact an attorney and get the help you need.

The Insurance Company Says They Will Handle Everything And I Don’t Need An Attorney. Is That True?

While a representative from the insurance company can be helpful, they are not typically looking out for your best interests. This is why they might not want you to hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney works solely in your interest and what is best for you.

Certainly, insurance companies do sometimes give correct and helpful advice. They also frequently fail to share information that is important for you to know. An attorney’s job is to make sure you know what you need, including your rights and the obligations of insurance companies.

After all, no matter how well-intentioned the insurance company may seem to be, they are a company and have to take into consideration their costs and profits.

Is My Case Serious Enough For A Personal Injury Attorney To Take On?

There is no clear-cut rule to determine whether a case is serious enough to file a personal injury claim. A helpful general rule of thumb, however, is if you need medical treatment or already sought medical treatment, then it is worth consulting an attorney.

A personal injury attorney will have the experience and expertise to determine whether you have a claim and if it makes sense to hire an attorney to help.

Initial consultations are often free, and most personal injury attorneys will have the option to hire on contingency, so financial precarity or poverty should never be a barrier. If you believe you need medical treatment after an injury, but cannot afford it, reach out to a personal injury attorney. They may very well be able to help.

What If I Cannot Afford To Pay For Legal Representation? What Is A Contingency?

Almost all personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee. A contingency fee means the attorney only charges you if you recover the damages, and even then, only takes a percentage of the damages you recover.

This is essential because it shifts the risk to the attorney. It means that if an attorney is willing to take your case, they are willing to risk their time and effort because they believe that you can and will recover damages. It also means that their incentive aligns with your own need: to recover as much as possible.

If a personal injury attorney is willing to take your case on a contingency basis, that means they believe in both the merits and the value of your claim. After all, they are also trying to make money, only unlike the insurance company whose profits come from paying you as little as possible, the attorney makes their profit recovering you the maximum possible.

What Information Should I Share With My Personal Injury Attorney When We First Meet?

Your attorney’s ability to represent you and recover damages is dependent on having as much information as possible. As a result, when you first meet to discuss the case, the more information you have, the better.

The attorney will need to know everything about the accident, injuries, and insurance:

  • Who caused the accident?
  • Why did it take place?
  • What injuries were sustained?
  • What medical treatment have you sought?
  • What insurance information do you have, both health insurance information and auto or vehicle insurance information?

An even better and more attentive lawyer will also want to know your history. They will ask about any prior accidents you have had, any prior injuries you have suffered, or any other medical conditions you have.

After all, these are all relevant factors and questions when making your claim. Your personal injury attorney is looking to ensure you have the best possible chance of recovering the compensation you deserve; whether your injury was a dog bite, occurred in a motorcycle accident, or was the result of a slip and fall in a grocery store.

After all, the insurance company will also be looking at your situation and past information and trying to determine what might not be related. For example, if you claim damages for a neck injury, an insurance company might dig up an old sports injury to try to evade responsibility.

Your attorney will help you show what damages are causally connected and directly related to the accident or incident. That is why the more you can share, in terms of prior injury information or prior medical treatment, the better your attorney will be able to argue your claim.

Remember, you have a confidential relationship with your attorney. Just because you share something with your attorney does not mean that it will be shared outside of that conversation, but it might be important for your attorney to know so that they have a complete picture.

For more information on the Personal Injury Recovery Process In Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 670-0443 today.

The Yolles Legal Group

Call For A Free Consultation
(301) 670-0443

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