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An Overview of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Maryland – Part 2

This is the second part of the article we’ve published about the things we should know about the Maryland Car Accident Law. A common issue when it comes to car accidents is how to prove the negligence that caused the accident. It could be a driver who ran a red light or was too negligent in suddenly changing to an unsafe lane.

A judge or jury needs ample evidence to prove the negligence and decide what to do with such a violation of the law. Here are some crucial things you need to know about car accident law:

Negligent Entrustment or Permissive Use

Negligent entrustment is defined as a claim that is commonly against the vehicle’s owner who allowed another person to drive the car. This is when the owner is aware or should have known that the driver may possibly cause harm or threat to others. Such claims are made when the vehicle’s owner knows that the driver has already a long list of accidents. This also happens when a trucking company, for instance, hires a driver without implementing a proper checking of his driving background and experience.

A victim of an accident may have a claim for negligence against the driver, while a negligent entrustment claim will be for the vehicle’s owner. Usually, the available insurance can be used for both claims. But, these claims can also be used to increase the settlement and the trial elements of a lawsuit. 

Permissive use is considered not a cause of action. It is actually a problem with the insurance coverage. When the driver failed to explain or imply permission to drive the vehicle, the insurance company may deny covering the expenses for the accident.

Breach of Contract

Despite the fact that most car vehicle lawsuits are based on negligence claims, there is one category of claims under the principles of breach of contract. These are the uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. How does it work? A car accident victim can make a claim to the insurance company for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when the negligent driver has less insurance than the victim or not ensured.

The main argument of this type of lawsuit is that the insurance company will not easily agree to pay the coverage, which, according to the insurance policy, is a violation of the contract.

Respondeat Superior

When an individual or a corporation is indirectly responsible for the negligence or actions of another, this is known as Respondeat Superior. This is the principle of agency that applies to employees. In a clear example, when a driver gets into an accident, the victim may file a negligence case against the driver. But the company where the driver is working will also be responsible and face a lawsuit for respondeat superior. This is because, based on the law, the company is responsible for all the actions of its drivers.

Wrongful Death/Survival Action

Still, under negligence claims, there are subgroups known as wrongful death or survival action. How do these two differ? 

Wrongful death is brought on behalf of the victim’s beneficiaries, such as children, spouse, or parents. Eligible beneficiaries can claim both economic and non-economic damages. 

Beneficiaries may claim non-economic damages such as counsel, guidance, mental anguish, emotional pain, companionship, protection, comfort, paternal care, marital care, filial care, advice, and training.

Economic damages consist of future lifetime wages that are lost when the victim died. File the lawsuits within three years of the death. However, this can still be extended when the cause of death is unknown.

Survivor action, on the other hand, is brought by the estate, handled by a representative. This type of claim can’t be brought in all cases yet can be applied in some injuries suffered by the victim, except death. Damages may include pre-impact fright, medical expenses, suffering, and conscious pain between death and accident.

Conclusion

There is so much to learn about car accident law. This is why it is crucial that you get familiar with it to know what to do in case you get involved in an accident. Also, make sure to work with a reliable car accident lawyer to guide you through the entire process.

If you’re looking for the best car accident lawyers in DC, Zukerberg & Halperin is here for you. Our top-rated lawyers are dedicated to helping clients receive what is due. Call us today to get started!

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