Personal Injury Lawyers

Fatal D.C. Car Accident May Require UM, UIM Insurance Claim

A D.C. man was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while changing a tire on Baltimore-Washington Parkway one recent Sunday night. His 28-year-old fiancée, who was also injured, is expected to survive.

His mother’s only child, he left behind three children, including a teenage son and daughter who were with him when he was struck, but were not injured. Police have identified the vehicle they believe was involved in the crash, and indicate a person of interest has also been located and interviewed.

AmbulanceHit-and-run accidents are unfortunately very common in D.C., which had the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run drivers in the country between 2000 and 2009, according to a report from Mid-Atlantic AAA. The percentage of hit-and-run deaths here was 16.3 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities. By comparison, hit-and-runs accounted for 4.5 percent of traffic deaths in Maryland and 2.4 percent in Virginia.

Nationally, an estimated 16,400 people were killed in hit-and-run crashes between 2000 and 2009.

Washington D.C. accident lawyers know that usually, people who flee the scene are drunk, unlicensed or driving in vehicles that are unregistered or uninsured.

In addition to the emotional damage victims suffer as a result of the indignity of the offender’s actions, there are also practical implications. For example, there is no way to collect on an at-fault driver’s insurance policy if the driver is never found. Or even if the driver is identified, he or she may not have insurance or may only carry the minimum amount.

In these situations, victims and survivors may seek compensation through their own auto insurance company through uninsured motorist /underinsured motorist coverage.

D.C. follows a no-fault car insurance law, which essentially says motorists have to pursue coverage through their own carrier first, and can’t sue one another unless the case involves substantial and permanent scarring, disfigurement, impairment, disability or death. But if the at-fault driver is never identified or has no insurance, UM/UIM coverage is a possible remedy.

Each driver in D.C. is required to carry minimum UM/UIM benefits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This ensures that medical bills can still be paid even if one of those involved in the crash didn’t have insurance or lacked enough insurance to cover all damages.

These benefits are available to motorists even when they aren’t actually driving. So for example, this driver changing a tire on the roadside when struck would likely be eligible for UM/UIM benefits, assuming the at-fault driver is either not identified or lacks adequate insurance coverage. The same would go for a cyclist and possibly even a pedestrian, depending on the situation and individual policy language.

Another possible avenue of compensation worth exploring is a claim of vicarious liability. This would usually arise if the hit-and-run driver is later identified and was operating a vehicle that did not belong to them, but which they had permission to drive. Vehicle owners have a broad responsibility to ensure their cars – considered a type of dangerous instrumentality – aren’t driven recklessly. When they fail to do this, it could be grounds for a vicarious liability claim.

In cases of impaired hit-run drivers, our attorneys might also explore the possibility of dram shop litigation against the provider of the alcohol, particularly if the driver was underage.

Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit www.slocumblaw.com.

EZ Pass Could Prevent Speeding Deaths in Maryland

Driving too fast on freeways and expressways endangers drivers throughout Baltimore, Montgomery, Prattville and surrounding areas. A personal injury lawyer knows that about a third of all car accidents that cause death in the United States involved speeding. The majority of fatal speeding-related accidents — 38 percent — happen on minor local roads. However, highways are the second most common site of deadly crashes involving drivers who are traveling at excessive speeds. smart-456070-m

Recently, some states – including Maryland – have taken a novel approach to try to crack down on the speeding that is occurring on highways. These states have partnered with EZ Pass, the electronic-toll collection device that drivers can buy and put on their windshield if they want to pay tolls without having to stop at toll plazas.

Maryland, along with Pennsylvania and New York, are the first three states to try encouraging drivers to slow down through a partnership with EZ Pass, according to Fox News. If their efforts are successful, then other locations throughout the United States may consider taking a similar approach. There are 15 states with EZ Pass and others that have their own proprietary electronic toll devices, so this could make a big difference in reducing overall traffic fatalities due to speeding … if it works.

Could EZ Pass Help to Stop Speeding?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 10,219 people died on U.S. roadways over the course of 2012 as a result of crashes involving excessive speed. Excessive speed has been a factor in 30 percent of car accident deaths for more than a decade. On highways alone, there were 1,185 people killed in speeding crashes in 2012.

Drivers who speed are more likely to lose control of their cars. They are less likely to be able to stop in time to react to things that the driver in front of them does or to obstacles that come in their path.

Drivers can reduce the risk of deadly crashes by slowing down and avoiding going over posted limits. Motorists also need to consider road conditions and drive at a speed that is appropriate for the current weather.

Many motorists, however, go faster than is permitted. Some of these motorists will now be in danger of losing their EZ Passes.

The efforts to use EZ Pass to reduce speeding impose penalties on drivers who go too fast through toll plazas. The EZ Pass will monitor driver speed as the motorists pass through. While a motorist who is going too fast is not going to be ticketed or get points on a license (at least under the current systems), he could face the suspension of the EZ Pass.

In Maryland, the speed limit for toll plazas is set at 30 miles-per-hour. In the event that a driver goes 12 MPH or more over this limit two separate times in a six month period, the driver’s EZ Pass will be suspended for 60 days.

Hopefully motorists will slow down to save their EZ Passes and will continue to operate their vehicles at this lower speed when they leave the toll plaza. If they do, many lives could be saved.

Accident lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit www.slocumblaw.com.  Serving Montgomery, Prattville, and surrounding areas. 

Baltimore Kids at Risk of Injuries from Scalding & Burns

Parents throughout Baltimore, Montgomery, Prattville, and surrounding areas need to be aware that their children are at risk of suffering serious injuries due to burns. Yahoo News reports that burns send approximately 440,000 children to emergency rooms or urgent care centers seeking medical assistance every year in the United States. Children who are young are especially vulnerable to being badly burned and needing medical assistance. child sad

Burns frequently occur in accidents caused by negligence. If someone’s carelessness causes a child to suffer a burn, a personal injury lawyer should be consulted for help.

Burn Injuries Endanger Children

There are many different causes of burn injuries among young children. Gas fireplaces in the home are a top source of burn injuries.  As of a 2012 survey, more than 10 million homes in the United States had a gas fireplace installed that had a front made of glass. Many people are not aware of it, but this glass can become very hot to the touch and children can get burned. To try to protect kids, there are new standards going into effect. As of January 1, 2015, all gas fireplaces that are manufactured and certified must have a protective barrier or a safety screen. Any gas manufacturer not in compliance with safety rules or who makes an unsafe fireplace can be held legally liable if children get burned.

Very young children are at the greatest risk of sustaining all types of burn injuries. A UK study of 1,215 children who had sustained burns over a two-year period of time found that 72 percent of the kids that got hurt were under the age of five.  Among the kids in this study, more than 700 suffered burns because of scalding.

Scalding can happen because of hot beverages served at restaurants. One famous example of an injury due to scalding that resulted in litigation was the McDonald’s coffee case. This case is often cited (usually by people who want to deprive plaintiffs of their legal rights) as a reason to reform the civil litigation system in the United States. People who do not know the truth of the incident may feel that it was silly or frivolous for a person to sue because she was burned by hot coffee, and they think that the verdict was inappropriately large.

The reality is very different. As the Daily Mail  reports, the plaintiff in the hot coffee case sustained burns on 16 percent of her body. The coffee was 180 degrees, which can cause third degree burns in only 15 seconds. McDonald’s had received more than 700 complaints about the hot coffee prior to the incident, and had not done anything to correct the issue. And, the money awarded to the plaintiff was based on how much McDonald’s makes daily from selling coffee.

Hot soup is another top cause of scalding injuries, especially noodle soup. Kids are served soup in Styrofoam containers that can quickly get too hot. If kids drop the soup, they can suffer injuries to their trunk and legs. Noodle soup is most dangerous because the noodles stick to the skin. One study showed that noodle soup burns usually lead to significantly longer hospital stays than burns from other soups.

Restaurants and stores serving children need to be careful to avoid carelessly harming kids with the food they serve. Parents need to be aware of the risks and monitor their children to help prevent a tragedy.

Accident lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit www.slocumblaw.com.  Serving Montgomery, Prattville, and surrounding areas. 

Baltimore Car-Sharing Motorists at Risk

Car sharing services have become increasingly popular in Baltimore, Ellicott City, Clarksville and surrounding areas. The prevalence of these services exists because drivers can make money by offering rides and passengers can find affordable and convenient transportation. While this may seem like a great system, a personal injury lawyer knows that there are some significant risks for those using a car sharing service.taxi-bubble-sign-1442111-m

Liability Issues with Car Sharing

Both passengers and drivers face big risks when they participate in ride or car sharing services like Lyft or Uber. Drivers are at risk of being sued if they cause a crash, for which they may not have adequate insurance coverage. Passengers are at risk of getting hurt in a collision and not being able to find an appropriate defendant to take legal action against in order to recover full compensation.

Forbes recently took a close look at who can be held legally liable after an accident happens when a driver is operating his vehicle as a de facto taxi. The companies that facilitate this process are generally going to be immune from liability.

These companies typically work by providing an app that people download. The app then connects passengers with drivers. The car sharing company does not employ the drivers, and it is not responsible for the driver’s actions. Instead, the drivers are independent contractors. Further, the car sharing company will typically make passengers sign a release of liability promising not to hold the company accountable if a problem happens or something goes wrong.

Because of the liability release and the fact that the driver is not an employee, passengers are not able to pursue a damage claim against the company after a crash. In most cases, neither are other motorists, pedestrians or bicycle riders who may be harmed by a careless car-sharing driver. Not only does the independent contractor relationship protect the company, but the Communications Decency Act may provide protection as well. The car sharing companies claim to provide an informational service only, and are thus not accountable for what the individual drivers do.

If the company cannot have a claim made against it when a driver is careless, pursuing a case against the driver is typically going to be the only option for injured victims. Sometimes, however, the driver does not have insurance coverage for the crash or the coverage is insufficient.

Many private insurance companies, including State Farm, have declined to provide auto insurance coverage for ride sharing services. Geico also will not cover motorists who drive for these types of services. SF Gate recently reported on leaked memos showing that Geico is very strict with making sure no coverage is provided. Geico staff members are instructed to group reject people who will be participating in car sharing. The leaked documents also contain a script that Geico staff should use to explain to policyholders that they’ll need to get a different policy unless they can prove that they are no longer driving for Uber or any other related services.

The limitations on liability and restrictions on insurance coverage can put victims of crashes with car sharing drivers in a difficult position when it comes to recovering compensation for loss.

Accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com. Serving Baltimore, Ellicott City, Clarksville and surrounding areas.

Snowy Driving Increases Teen Accident Risks in Baltimore

Winter is coming to Baltimore, Ellicott City, Clarksville and surrounding areas and this is bad news for drivers as the risk of a crash increases significantly when there is snow on the ground. While all drivers are at greater risk of getting into an accident when there is ice on the roads, teen drivers especially face significant dangers of getting into a traffic collision. winter-in-poland-1445158-1-m

A personal injury lawyer knows that teens are always more likely to become involved in a collision than older drivers. During the winter months, this risk is exacerbated. As the weather gets colder and the storms start brewing, now is the time for parents to talk to their kids about safe winter driving.

Helping Teens Avoid Winter Driving Collisions

Teenagers who get their license are at the greater risk of getting into a crash during their first six months of driving. According to Drive Steady, the risk of a crash during the first year of having a license is 10 times greater for a teen than for a more experienced driver who has had a license for longer. Many factors contribute to the higher risk of teen collisions, including inexperience; an inability to recognize hazards and respond appropriately; and overconfidence in driving abilities. All of these are big issues during the winter when teens may think they can handle snow and ice but really may make wrong choices that could directly lead to an accident.

Parents can help to mitigate the risk by taking some basic steps. Brand Connection has suggested a few things that parents can do to try to help their kids stay safe as they go into their first winter as licensed drivers. Parents should:

  • Get in some snowy driving practice. When there is snow or ice on the ground for the first time, parents should go with their kids to a parking lot where there is a lot of space. Parents can have their kids spin the car out in order to learn how to get back into control of the vehicle when it is sliding. parents can also go over safe braking and how to recognize when there is black ice on the ground.
  • Limit the time that kids drive when there is snow and ice. Sometimes, teens have to drive even if the weather is bad. When the trip is not absolutely necessary, though, parents should just say no to getting behind the wheel if there is ice on the ground or a storm predicted. Kids can wait to take non-essential trips until after the roads have been cleared.
  • Enroll their sons or daughters in a class designed to teach winter driving skills. Such classes are frequently offered at schools and as part of local driving education programs.

Car accidents remain a leading cause of fatalities for teens. By taking some extra precautions as bad weather arrives, parents may be able to reduce the chances that their sons or daughters will become involved in a collision during the cold weather months.

Accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.  Serving Baltimore, Ellicott City, Clarksville and surrounding areas.

Baltimore Crash Risk Slashed by Avoiding Distraction

While most motorists know it is dangerous to use phones or other electronics when they should be focusing on the road, drivers continue to reach for their phones.

Some drivers also use voice control systems under the mistaken belief it will be safer if they keep both hands on the wheel. a-car-key-with-lock-2-879310-m

In light of more new evidence regarding the dangers of distracted driving, it is more important than ever for every driver to simply commit to staying focused on the road. If a driver isn’t paying attention and causes a collision, a personal injury attorney can help victims whose lives are forever altered by the crash.

Drivers Should Never Focus on Anything Other Than the Road

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has published several new studies underscoring some of the high risks associated with driving while distracted. One focused on the use of hands-free or voice-controlled devices. That study found the use of these devices may not actually be safer and may, in fact, be more of a distraction as compared with the use of handheld phones.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also published a comprehensive report about distracted driving risks. The report highlighted some of the dangers associated with phone use in the vehicle. For example, a driver who is reaching for a cell phone, dialing a phone or answering a call is at three times greater risk of a crash than someone who is not doing these things. When talking is factored in, a driver on a cell phone has a 17 percent greater risk of a collision.

Not only do drivers on phones have delayed reaction time, they also suffer from inattention blindness. Essentially, this means even when they see objects or obstacles on the road, their brains do not process them because their focus is on their phone call or manipulation of electronic devices. Drivers are not nearly as effective at multi-tasking as they may believe.

While IIHS did review the risks of distracted driving, the National Safety Council (NSC) interpreted the IIHS rather critically, finding it downplayed the true extent of the danger. One point made by the NSC was IIHS reported 12 percent of crashes in 2012 involved distracted driving. In reality, that number is likely higher, the NSC argues, because many people who are involved in accidents do not tell law enforcement they were using their phones. Because “distraction” is not easily proved by investigators, it’s less likely to make it onto an official report, which means it’s vastly under-reported – a fact IIHS failed to note.

Another problem was the IIHS assertion that during the same time period as the number of texting drivers increased, the number of traffic accident deaths declined. This could be interpreted to mean texting has not had a big impact on the number of collissions. The reality is the death toll has gone down because of improved safety features – not because texting isn’t deadly.

With every new study confirming that driving distracted is dangerous, drivers need to make a new commitment that they truly will be serious about preventing distracted driving crashes by staying 100 percent focused on the road ahead.

Accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.  

Daylight Savings End Increases Risk of Baltimore Crashes

In discussing the issue of daylight savings time, a University of Washington professor who studies the subject indicated that, “Darkness kills and sunlight saves lives.”

According to Time Magazine, this concept is the crux of an argument that daylight savings time, which allows for daylight well into the evening, should not be ended but should be carried through during the entire year. clock

Although there are arguments for not changing the clocks, the fact is that daylight savings time does currently end in November and the clocks have recently been changed. A personal injury lawyer knows this is a time of year when there is a greater risk of accidents on the road as a result of the fact that it now gets darker sooner. Drivers need to be aware of the impact that daylight savings time has on road safety and should adjust their driving behavior to ensure they are making safe choices.

Why Daylight Savings Time Can Be Dangerous

It is unquestionably clear that the roads are safer when it is brighter out because drivers can see pedestrians, motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and other vehicles more clearly. When it is dark, it is much harder to identify others on the road. This is especially dangerous for pedestrians and bike riders since they don’t have bright lights to alert motorists to their presence.

When daylight savings time ends, there is an extra hour of sun in the morning, but it gets dark earlier. Those who believe daylight savings time should be in effect perpetually throughout the year argue that there are more people out at 5 p.m. than there are out at 7 a.m. Since most people are awake in the afternoon, it would be better for it to be brighter at this time and darker in the morning.

There is evidence that supports this argument. A study conducted in 2004 indicated 170 pedestrian deaths and 200 deaths of motor vehicle occupants could be prevented if daylight savings time did not end, but stayed in effect throughout the year.

Reduced visibility is especially a problem because the clocks suddenly change on a Sunday and drivers are expected to adjust immediately by the time they go to work the next day. People don’t adjust that quickly in reality, and as a result, many drivers will drive too fast and operate their vehicles as if it was light out on their commute home, even though it’s darker.

Although these are valid concerns, there are also safety advocates who argue that it is better for the extra light to be in the morning. In particular, the National Parent Teacher Association and other child safety advocates believe  it is important for it to be light when kids commute to school in the morning. The National PTA opposed proposals to shift daylight savings into March instead of April for this reason.

The fact is, no matter when it gets dark, drivers need to be aware that it is more dangerous to be on the roads when it is not light out. If drivers slow down and pay careful attention to pedestrians, hopefully fewer collisions will occur now that the clocks have changed.

Accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.  

Protecting Teens from Defective Tire Risks

Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for young people, and it is imperative that teens learn to be safe drivers in order to minimize risks that they face. Learning to be safe on the roads means not only learning defensive driving and obeying the rules of the road, but also understanding how to properly maintain a vehicle and ensure that there are no defects that could cause an accident. texture---tires---hdr-1031065-m

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows that bad tires on a vehicle can be very dangerous, as a tire blowout can occur. Too many teens don’t know how to properly maintain their tires, but there are a few simple things that young people can do to avoid the risk of a collision.

Preventing a Motor Vehicle Crash From Defective Tires
According to Health News Digest, around 300,000 motor vehicle crashes could be prevented each year involving inexperienced drivers. Preventing these crashes would be possible if better and more comprehensive driver’s education programs were available.

One big problem with driver’s education is that often there are no lessons on tire maintenance or on vehicle maintenance. Only 16 states require that the driver’s education curriculum include information on maintaining tires safely and only seven states require a lesson on tire and vehicle maintenance.

Many schools are also cutting driver’s education programs due to budget cuts, leaving some teenagers with few options for getting any sort of comprehensive driving education at all beyond learning the basics required to take a driving test and get a license.

When driver’s education does not cover tire maintenance or tire care, teens are left with no information except for what their parents provide to them. According to one recent survey, around 3/4 of teenagers said that anything they knew about taking care of their tires was learned from listening to parents. However, only around 1/3 of parents said that they felt as though they were knowledgeable about tire care. If they don’t have the knowledge about tire safety, they can’t be expected to give accurate information to their kids.

Not knowing about tire safety is a big problem. As many as 12 percent of the 2.2 million motor vehicle accidents that happen each year involve problems with the tires on an involved vehicle. This is an average of one accident involving tire problems every two minutes.

Tire safety does not have to be complicated if teens are taught some simple and basic tricks for checking on the condition of their tires. For example, the Penny Test is a really easy way to determine if tire treads have become too worn and the tire needs to be replaced. The test works by simply taking a penny and sticking it into the treads of the tires. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible when the penny is in the tire tread, then the tire is too worn.

In addition to checking for tire tread condition, teens should also check tire pressure to ensure that the tires are neither over nor under-inflated. The manufacturer recommends an appropriate tire pressure and tires should be within this range to maximize safety.

Accident lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.

Halloween Pedestrian Safety a Concern in Birmingham

For kids out trick or treating in Birmingham, Halloween night is supposed to be a time to dress up in a fun costume and get candy. Unfortunately, between 1990 and 2010, a total of 115 kids have lost their lives in pedestrian collisions on Halloween night. This data comes from a recent study conducted by State Farm in which more than four million accident records were reviewed. The statistics from Halloween night reveal that the number of kids killed on October 31 in pedestrian crashes was more than double the number of fatalities on other nights of the year. While there are normally an average of 2.6 pedestrian crash deaths among children daily, there are 5.5 kids killed in pedestrian crashes on Halloween night. halloween

A personal injury lawyer knows that the majority of the collisions on Halloween night occur in the middle of the block, as opposed to at intersections. Consumer Reports indicates that this might occur because kids run out into the middle of the road from in between parked vehicles. If drivers are not paying careful attention, they could strike and kill a child. Drivers need to be focused on the road on Halloween when more kids will be out, and parents need to talk to their children about Halloween safety.

Halloween Safety Risks for Kids

Sixty percent of accidents on Halloween night occur between the hours of 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM, with the vast majority of crashes happening specifically between 6:00 and 7:00. Kids between the ages of 12 and 15 account for the highest number of fatalities (32 percent). Kids between the ages of five and eight account for the second highest number of fatalities (23 percent).

Safe Kids Worldwide suggests that children under the age of 12 should not trick-or-treat or be out alone at night. This is good advice, but unfortunately the high number of deaths among older kids and teens suggest that kids within this older age group face risks as well. Unfortunately, young adult drivers out on Halloween are also likely to be involved in deadly pedestrian crashes. In fact, around 33 percent of deadly collisions that killed children on Halloween were caused by drivers between the ages of 15 and 25.

Safe Kids Worldwide has tips for drivers of all ages to help reduce the risk of pedestrian accident fatalities on Halloween. Drivers should:

  • Be aware of the added risks of children, especially before 9:00 PM and as the light starts to change and visibility is reduced.
  • Slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods. It is imperative to be on the lookout for children.
  • Avoid distracted driving. While using electronic devices is always high-risk, driving distracted could be even more dangerous on Halloween when a child could dart into the road at any minute.

Kids and parents can also do their part to help avoid the risk of Halloween collisions. Kids should wear brightly colored costumes whenever possible to make it easier for drivers to see them. Putting reflectors on trick-or-treat bags can also be helpful in reducing the risk of a pedestrian accident occurring.

Accident lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com.

Are Montgomery Accident Victims More Likely to Get Legal Help?

After a motor vehicle collision, victims experience financial and non-economic costs including loss of wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, private insurance companies pay for approximately 50 percent of the costs associated with losses from motor vehicle collisions. Crash victims end up covering around 26 percent of the costs of motor vehicle accidents and the remaining losses are paid by taxpayers, by charities or by healthcare providers. car fire

Unfortunately, a personal injury lawyer knows that it can be a challenge for victims to actually receive the money they need from insurance companies. In fact, a report from the American Association for Justice shows that major insurers throughout the United States have developed entire business models around denying victims coverage for losses that insurance should pay for. These insurance companies use the 3 D’s to prevent victims from getting their losses covered. The 3 D’s stand for delaying payment of claims; denying covered claims; and defending vigorously against any accusations that the insurance company should be paying more.

Victims need to get help standing up to big insurance companies in order to have their financial damages covered by insurance after a collision. Fortunately, a report from the Insurance Research Council suggests that more victims are actually getting the help that they need from qualified attorneys after accidents occur.

More Accident Victims Getting Legal Help After Collisions

According to the Insurance Research Council, only 17 percent of personal injury protection (PIP) claimants got help making a claim from an insurance company back in 1977. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of PIP claimants who recognize that they need help and who seek legal representation. In 2007, 31 percent of crash victims making a personal injury protection claim had a lawyer. In 2012, the number of claimants represented by an attorney had grown to 36 percent.

The number of people getting help making a bodily injury claim has also increased, although not by as much because a good number of bodily injury claimants have always had legal representation. In 2007, 49 percent of people making a bodily injury claim had an attorney. By 2012, this number had reached 50 percent of claimants.

The Insurance Research Council seems to suggest that it is a bad thing that more people are getting legal help to protect themselves. The IRC points to the fact that it can take longer for victims to get paid damages as evidence of why victims are hurt by hiring a lawyer.

In reality, however, one tactic that insurance companies frequently use is to make a very low settlement offer to plaintiffs when they are first injured and need compensation. Plaintiffs may be pressured to accept this low negotiated settlement and give up their rights to sue. This can result in a victim receiving far less money than is necessary to cover losses. It is much better for a victim to have a slight delay in getting paid, but to actually get the money he needs for his motor vehicle collision damages.

Accident lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit http://www.slocumblaw.com