Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the questions most frequently encountered by Maryland personal injury attorney Jermaine D. Hammonds as he helps victims of car and motorcycle accidents in Oxon Hill and throughout Prince George’s County. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence or misconduct of another, contact our office to learn how we may be able to help you recover important compensation to help you with your medical costs and rehabilitation and other legal damages.
Is there anything that can be done if an auto or motorcycle accident causes the death of the driver?
Yes. Maryland law recognizes the right to bring a Wrongful Death action against the negligent party, providing compensation to the bereaved family members and holding wrongdoers accountable for their misconduct. A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought for the benefit of a surviving spouse, parent or child of the deceased. If there are no such surviving family members, any relation who was substantially dependent on the victim may recover compensation for the wrongful death.
Bereaved family members can recover costs such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and damages for mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, and the loss of companionship, marital or parental care, and similar losses. Maryland’s wrongful death statute is technical and complicated, so visit with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney who can help you determine whether you may have a claim and assist you in recovering compensation.
What if the insurance company says I was partly to blame in causing the accident?
Unfortunately, Maryland and the District of Columbia are among a very small minority of jurisdictions in the U.S. that have a standard of pure contributory negligence. This means that if you are considered partially to blame for causing the accident or your injuries, then you cannot recover any compensation from the other negligent party. Most other states allow a limited recovery in proportion to the negligence of the other party.
If the insurance company is denying your claim because they say you are at fault, make sure you retain the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. Whether at the negotiating table with the insurance company or in front of a jury in court, Jermaine Hammonds fights to make sure his clients are not unfairly assigned blame for an accident they did not cause.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
In general, the “statute of limitations” for filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident or death. There are, however, many different circumstances in which this time frame may be longer or shorter, depending upon the cause of injury or death (such as medical malpractice or an occupational disease), or the type of defendant (such as a government employee versus a private person). Missing the statute of limitations can result in your being prohibited from recovering compensation for the harm done to you. Make sure you obtain the advice of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss any important deadlines like the statute of limitations.
What is a Contingency Fee?
When a lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, this means the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon obtaining a recovery for you. If you don’t get a recovery, then the lawyer doesn’t get paid. Also, the fee is charged as a percentage of the recovery, so you do not have to come up with the money on your own; it is instead paid out of the settlement or verdict amount. Most attorneys working on a contingent fee basis will also advance all the costs of the litigation, including court costs, depositions, investigators, expert witness fees, etc., so you don’t have to pay any money out of your own pocket to sue. These costs are reimbursed from the recovery amount. This arrangement allows everybody to have access to high quality legal services and pursue a lawsuit even against well-funded opponents and their insurance companies. When looking for a personal injury attorney to help you, find out if the lawyer will take your case on a contingency fee.