Getting into a car accident can turn your life upside down. A severe injury might take months or years to recover from, while vehicle damage interferes with commuting and necessitates costly auto repairs. In addition to being burdened with physical injuries and financial hardship, an accident survivor may also suffer from nightmares, depression, or anxiety related to the accident, affecting his or her performance at work or school. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash or collision, the attorneys of Whitney, LLP may be able to help you recover compensation.
At Whitney, LLP, our passionate and knowledgeable car accident lawyers have years of experience representing Gaithersburg crash survivors and the loved ones of wrongful death victims. When you work with our respected legal team, you can expect compassionate and personal representation, meticulous attention to detail, and a tireless effort to obtain the greatest compensation possible for you and your family. We are proud to represent clients throughout Gaithersburg, including Darnestown, Kentlands, Laytonsville, Quince Orchard, Lakelands, and the Washingtonian Center, as well as the surrounding communities of Montgomery County.
Even if you aren’t sure whether you have a case, we encourage you to call us for a free assessment. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you start exploring your legal options. To start talking about your accident in a private, free legal consultation, call the automotive accident attorneys of Whitney, LLP right away at (410) 583-8000.
Car Accidents in Maryland: Common Causes and Types of Injuries
Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death and non-fatal injury in the United States, and unfortunately, Maryland is not an exception. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, there were 92,518 crashes statewide in 2013, resulting in 42,716 injuries, 466 fatalities, and 62,873 instances of property damage. While grants aimed at aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, and occupant protection have helped the Gaithersburg Police Department to reduce and prevent local accidents, crashes and collisions remain a significant problem throughout Montgomery County.
Any number of factors can cause a crash or collision to occur, many of which are preventable human errors. Some common examples include:
- Ignoring right-of-way and making an improper left-hand turn.
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a crosswalk or stop sign.
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
- Engaging in aggressive driving behaviors, such as excessive speeding, weaving between lanes, flashing high beams without reason, or persistently tailgating another vehicle.
- Inattention to the surrounding environment.
- Suddenly braking or decelerating in the middle of traffic without justifiable cause.
Even low-speed car accidents have the potential to cause severe and debilitating injuries, while accidents which involve speeding have a high likelihood of causing death or permanent disability. Some serious injuries and medical conditions which frequently result from traffic accidents include:
Neck Injuries – “Whiplash” occurs when the head is rapidly jerked back and forth, straining the neck’s muscles and tendons beyond their normal range of motion. Whiplash can cause chronic neck pain, reduced flexibility, and recurring severe headaches.
Severe Burns – Flaming gasoline, overheating engines, and hot pieces of plastic or metal can all inflict serious burns. In addition to causing permanent scarring and disfigurement, which may lead to severe depression, third degree burns also require excruciating debridement in order to heal properly.
Facial Injuries – Facial injuries can occur when a driver or passenger strikes his or her face on the dashboard, steering wheel, or back of the front seat. Severe facial injuries can cause feelings of depression and social isolation, especially in children and teenagers, and may require correction with expensive and risky plastic surgery.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that traffic accidents were the fourth leading cause of TBI from 2006 to 2010, accounting for more than 14% of all documented cases in the United States during that time period. TBI can cause intellectual disability, difficulty communicating, memory loss, and reduced sensory perception.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) – SCI frequently results in permanent paralysis. Paralysis from the waist down is called paraplegia, while paralysis from the neck down is called quadriplegia or tetraplegia. In hemiplegia, the right or left half of the body becomes paralyzed. Hemiparesis is severe weakness on the left or right side of the body.
While auto accidents can occur in any type of setting, busy roads and highways tend to have the highest numbers of serious crashes. Some of the major roads in and around Gaithersburg include:
- Diamond Avenue
- Frederick Avenue
- Quince Orchard Road
What Does the Plaintiff Need to Prove in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When a plaintiff wins a lawsuit, he or she is awarded damages, or compensation. Damages can be economic (such as medical bills or lost income), non-economic (such as loss of companionship or pain and suffering), compensatory (meant solely to compensate the plaintiff), or punitive (meant to punish the defendant for gross and egregious violations of the law). Compensation can help with many different kinds of expenses and financial losses, including the costs of surgery, physical therapy, medical equipment, and funeral expenses in wrongful death cases.
In order to be awarded damages, the plaintiff is required to prove that certain factors and elements were involved in the accident. This is known as the “burden of proof.” There are four major elements which car accident plaintiffs must be able to demonstrate:
Duty of Care – This element is straightforward, because all motorists have a duty of care toward other motorists, as well as cyclists and pedestrians. Drivers are required to obey traffic laws in the interest of reducing the foreseeable risk of death or injury to others.
Breach of Duty – Breach is another term for violation. There are many different ways a driver can breach his or her duty of care, such as speeding, tailgating, running a red light, driving while intoxicated, or driving too fast for safety based on the weather conditions, such as heavy fog or icy roads.
Causation – The other driver’s breach of duty caused the crash or collision to occur. If not for the defendant’s actions or lack thereof, the accident would never have happened.
Damages – The plaintiff suffered injury or financial loss as a result of the accident.
If you were in a Gaithersburg car crash, don’t assume there’s nothing you can do about it: you may have a right to financial compensation, which can help you with your medical bills, lost income, and expenses related to the accident. To get a free and completely confidential assessment of your case, call the personal injury lawyers of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 today.