auto accident caused by one driver’s negligence or reckless behavior, the at-fault
driver is liable for the victim’s injuries. Generally, victims will
not deal with the driver directly, but rather negotiate with an insurance
company that will pay the claim under the at-fault driver’s liability
In a car accident, there are usually two insurance companies involved:
the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the victim’s insurance
company. The victim’s insurance company may provide personal injury
protection coverage and, if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured,
may pay out an uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policy.
The negligent driver’s insurance company will be responsible for
paying a victim’s damages under a fault-based insurance policy if
the victim can prove that the other driver was at fault in the accident.
Then the insurance company will be responsible for paying the victim’s
damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Owners of motor vehicles in Maryland are required to carry a
minimum amount of coverage:
- $30,000 for injuries sustained by a single person;
- $60,000 total for the injuries of multiple people sustained in single accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage.
It may be a good idea to carry additional coverage. If a driver is found
liable for causing more damage than the policy limits, he or she will
be personally responsible for paying the additional damages.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) is insurance covering the vehicle the victim was in at the time
of the accident. In the case of pedestrian victims, the at-fault driver’s
PIP insurance company will be responsible. PIP coverage is not fault-based.
It is not required in Maryland.
PIP insurance covers several potential parties:
- The insured driver;
- Passengers in the vehicle;
- Family members living in the insured driver’s household;
- Permissive users of the vehicle;
- Guests in the insured car; and
- Injured pedestrians.
Under PIP coverage, a victim may recover medical bills, lost wages, and
other associated expenses. Generally, PIP coverage is in the amount of
$2500, but some policies have limits of up to $10,000.
PIP coverage has two main advantages. First, Maryland’s collateral
source rule means that a victim can recover twice for the same damages.
The victim’s recover under the at-fault driver’s insurance
policy will not be reduced because the victim also recovered some costs
using PIP coverage.
Additionally, PIP insurance recovery is generally quick, and will usually
be paid out within about a month of submitting the bill. Thus, victims
can pay medical and other bills in the interim between the accident and
getting full damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
PIP insurance coverage may be waived, though it is not generally a good
idea. However, coverage cannot be waived for passengers aged 16 and under.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Every policy in Maryland must include
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). UIM coverage is used when other driver is at fault and either does
not have insurance or the insurance is not enough to cover the resultant
damages. In that case, the victim’s UIM insurer will pay the shortfall.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you need an attorney who
knows how Maryland’s insurance system works and can obtain the best
recovery for you. Please contact the personal injury attorneys at the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro to schedule a free initial consultation.