Silver Spring Car Accident Lawyers
Silver Spring, Maryland sits just outside the District of Columbia in the heart of Maryland. The city has long been a hub for those who commute into the nation’s capital, and it is also a town that features some of the most affluent homeowners in America.
Car accidents are likely to happen due to the city’s location and prevailing traffic conditions. No driver can avoid car accidents forever, and it helps to know what to do when adverse circumstances arise. The following tips will help prevent accidents, and there is a look at why Silver Spring can turn into a hotbed for car accidents.
After an accident, a Silver Spring car accident lawyer will focus on the family’s recovery to move forward. That can be difficult when families believe they are not allowed to file suit or have been told that they will not be awarded any damages. There are other tactics that are used to stop victims from filing lawsuits or seeking remuneration. Do not assume that an accident is a lost cause; speak to a lawyer first.
Does Traffic in Washington, D.C. Affect Silver Spring?
Traffic in Washington, D.C. affects Silver Spring purely because this is one of the most congested areas in America. The Capital Beltway carries traffic around Washington into both Maryland and Virginia. Someone who must use the Beltway will find that traffic backs up in the early morning and later afternoon.
Anyone leaving Washington who does not want to use the interstate might choose to drive through Silver Spring. This can be problematic for parents picking up children from school, anyone who works in Silver Spring, and those who live in the city. Because traffic is so congested in the area, it makes sense for drivers to leave the house early, wait for rush hour traffic to subside in the afternoon, and use surface streets where possible.
How Do Most Accidents Occur in Silver Spring?
Car accidents in Silver Spring occur due to a wide range of issues. Commonly, car accidents in the area are caused by:
Distractions: When car accidents occur in Silver Spring, they most often involve some sort of distraction. In the state of Maryland alone, there are 85 car accident deaths and 27,000 injuries caused by distracted driving every year. While this number is staggering, it is even more staggering considering the winding roads and heavy traffic in Silver Spring.
Drivers working in the area are often involved in high-stress careers that require them to be connected at all times. This level of stress might lead drivers to check emails, reply to texts, and talk on the phone in the car. Parents who are taking children to school in heavy traffic may be distracted by both traffic and their children.
Congestion: This causes accidents where drivers start and stop quickly. Frustrated drivers will do anything to go faster, to get to work on-time, or to reach another destination. This frustration can boil over into rear-end accidents, side-impact accidents, and violent emergency stops. Because these vehicles are close together on a congested road, it can lead to a pile up if one driver does not pay attention.
When traffic is moving but the roads are full, large trucks might lose control when making emergency stops. The truck could tip over or jackknife, causing even more accidents, injuries, or deaths. Large trucks may also be wider than their lane, and drivers should never drive in the truck’s blind spot or get too close to their load.
Rubbernecking: Drivers may be held up on the road by others observing someone who got pulled over, crashed, or stalled. Unfortunately, this is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do. Rubbernecking takes the focus away from driving, causes accidents, and endangers first responders who are on the scene. These situations become even more dangerous when law enforcement officials are directing traffic, or the accident has not been moved off the roadway. Law enforcement or emergency vehicles may rejoin traffic while motorists are not focused on the road.
Speeding: This is a problem across America as it accounts for about one-fourth of all accidents. Speeding causes accidents on residential streets because there are blind entries on these roads, children walking to school, and families pulling out of their driveways. Speeding also makes it nearly impossible for someone to join the highway and get up to speed without causing an accident.
Speeding also causes accidents involving large trucks delivering in the Silver Spring area or using the local highways. Truck drivers who speed lose control of their vehicles easily, cannot stop quickly, and will be more susceptible to poor road or weather conditions.
Intoxication: This is a serious issue for all American drivers. Because the Capital Beltway takes people to a wide range of bars, restaurants, and clubs in the region, it is easy for drivers to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Drivers should never drive if they feel altered in any way. This includes someone who is taking stronger prescription medications or uses illicit drugs. Someone who is pulled over for driving under the influence could be cited for further crimes.
Lack of experience: This is common as a large part of the population is under 18. Older drivers might get a license long after they turn 18, and these drivers often make dangerous decisions because they do not know how to drive defensively.
Poor weather conditions: Hurricanes that make landfall in eastern Maryland can cause massive winds and heavy rain. Heavy rain in the spring is common, and snow will fall in bunches during the winter. A driver that does not feel comfortable driving should find an alternative or ask someone else to drive.
While some drivers will simply avoid driving in bad conditions, others are too prideful and will drive in heavy snow or rain. An SUV could easily tip over when the driver turns on ice, or heavy winds could tip over a large vehicle.
Given the issues that drivers face in Silver Spring, they should reach out to a car accident lawyer for assistance after an accident. When another driver does not take heed to these suggestions, they are responsible for the accidents they cause.
Are There Inexperienced Drivers in Silver Spring?
Around one-fifth of the population of Silver Spring is under the age of 18. Inexperienced drivers are driving to school, driving to universities in the area, and attending internships across the District of Columbia. According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers in Maryland accounted for $65 million in damage after car accidents in 2019. Young adults accounted for another $367 million in damage.
While the CDC has recommended that drivers must be 16 years old to receive a learner’s permit, Maryland allows teenagers to receive a learner’s permit three months before their 16th birthday. Any extra time and practice that can be allowed may help reduce accidents.
Roughly 50 percent of those taking the knowledge test for a learner’s permit or license fail the first time. Therefore, some drivers get on the road without basic knowledge that helps prevent accidents. While teenagers are not inherently reckless, it helps to stay away from young drivers as much as possible because they do not have the breadth of experience that tells them what to do in most situations.
How can I Prevent Accidents in Silver Spring?
Preventing accidents in Silver Spring requires a few choice options, including:
- Leaving for work early
- Leaving work after rush hour traffic subsides
- Teaching teenagers to make wise decisions
- Stopping when conditions are too extreme for driving
- Using a designated driver
- Slowing down
- Avoiding large trucks
Most of all, drivers should remove all distractions. Use Bluetooth or plug the phone into the car to use Apple CarPlay. If distractions exist, pull over, remove those distractions, or resolve the situation before setting off again. Changing a commuter’s schedule will also help them avoid congestion, but they can also use alternate routes that do not involve crowded highways. If it is snowing, raining, or too windy, drivers might want to wait for the weather conditions to calm down. If it is snowing, wait for the roads to be plowed before setting off again.
How Will a Lawyer Recover Damages?
Recovering damages is all about evidence that can be collected and who caused the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company or lawyer will use the contributory negligence defense. Under contributory negligence, the state of Maryland allows defendants to show that the plaintiff is responsible in some way for the accident. If any fault can be found on the victim’s part, they cannot sue or even recover damages from the insurance company.
Because this could be a staggering blow for someone who was badly hurt in an accident, a car accident lawyer should be retained. First, a lawyer will determine that their client did not do anything to cause the accident. With the contributory negligence defense disproved, a lawyer can start calculating compensation, which must cover everything the victim lost due to the accident. Car accidents involving broken bones, burns, cuts, head injuries, spinal injuries, paralysis, or even death require both emergency care and routine follow-ups. A victim must sue for all the money they will need to survive.
Medical care is relatively easy to calculate with the help of medical professionals who can carefully outline the victim’s treatment plan. Therefore, a therapist who believes the victim may need two to three years of therapy at $200 an hour every week has included around $20,000 to $30,000 to the value of the claim. Doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals can submit their own estimates depending on the scope of the victim’s injuries.
Lawyers must also calculate damages that are either awarded by the court or stretch long into the future. Someone’s earning potential is just as important as the money they were making before the accident. A victim who, for example, made $100,000 a year with a fast track to the executive suite might have been making more than $500,000 a year by the time they retired. If the victim is disabled and cannot work, their earning potential has dropped significantly. If head injuries, paralysis, or other issues make it difficult for them to work the same job, they must be paid the difference between their current salary and their former salary.
Non-economic damages and punitive damages may also be part of the lawsuit. Pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of family support are commonly part of these lawsuits. Punitive damages may be awarded by judges or juries due to the malicious or gross negligence of the defendant. Speak to a car accident lawyer who is capable of investigating the case and calculating these damages, no matter how expansive they are.
Am I Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland may be filed if someone dies in the accident or because of their injuries. These lawsuits aim to recover the same damages that are requested in a personal injury lawsuit. Certain family members of the victim, however, must file the lawsuit, including:
- Dependent siblings
- Dependent aunts or uncles
If there is no one in the immediate family available to file the lawsuit, the executor of the deceased’s estate can file a lawsuit that will benefit the estate. Families have three years to file these lawsuits, and they should ask a car accident lawyer to help determine who will file the suit and how damages will be divided. In these cases, a lawyer must refer to Maryland intestacy laws, which create a list of priorities when dividing estates.
When Should I Retain a Lawyer?
It is advised to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. Lawyers can even be called from the scene of the accident. A lawyer will build a compelling case from this information and file the lawsuit. Victims have three years in Maryland to either file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Once the deadline passes, a lawyer will have a difficult time having the case heard.
While these cases may take time to process and settle, families should remain patient. A lawyer can settle the case and continue to negotiate its value instead of going to court. If that is not possible, the lawyer can take the case to court so that it can be resolved as soon as possible. Families also need support if other legal issues arise while the case is pending. Do not hesitate to ask a lawyer for help so that each issue can be resolved in the wake of a horrible car accident.
Silver Spring Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Assist Car Accident Victims
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, contact a Silver Spring car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We help victims and families recover damages in the aftermath of these accidents. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.