Frequently Asked Questions
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10 Common Auto Accident Questions
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company?
When the other driver’s insurance company contacts you to make a recorded statement do not agree to the statement until you speak with an attorney. The insurance company is out to protect their insured, not you. That means that they are not on your side. The insurance adjusters are trained to use tricky language and questions to elicit answers from you. They will then use those answers against you to try to undercut or deny your claim.
Please note that you may be required to give a statement to your insurance company. But it is still best to consult with an attorney before doing so.
Is there anything I can do if the other driver does not have insurance?
In Maryland, you are required by law to have insurance on your vehicle. However, there are people who do not follow the law and drive their vehicle without insurance. First, never take a cash settlement from an uninsured driver at the scene. It is difficult to estimate expenses that you may incur.
If the at fault driver does not have insurance, your insurance company will step in their place paying any judgment or settlement if you have underinsured or uninsured coverage on your policy.
Who is responsible for providing the rental car while my vehicle is being repaired?
The at fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for your rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. However, if the at fault insurance company is disputing liability or investigating the claim, to avoid further delay, you may have to use the rental coverage on your insurance policy.
If I file an insurance claim, do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. If you are unable to reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company to resolve the claim; or if the insurance company is disputing liability then it may be required that the claim by filed with the court. However, if liability is accepted the majority of cases are settlement without the need of court intervention.
Will my insurance rates increase if I file a PIP claim on my policy?
The insurance company cannot raise your rates for making a PIP claim.
When should I consult with an attorney after an auto accident?
You should consult and hire an attorney immediately after the accident. Sometimes establishing negligence can be difficult. Getting an attorney involved immediately can help you obtain all the necessary evidence to help prove liability for your case. Insurance companies will attempt to offer you a settlement early on in your case to make the claim go away. Their goal is to provide the minimum amount of settlement on claim. Having an attorney on board with you early on will give you guidance through every important stage of the case.
How much is my case worth?
This is an important question many accident victims want the answer to, rightfully so. Doctor’s appointments, hospital bills, lost wages can add up. Each and every case is different based on the specific facts and circumstances. Consulting with an attorney will give you a realistic expectation of what your claim may be worth.
How long will it take before I am paid for my injuries?
Unfortunately there is no set answer to this question. It depends. Unless there is reason to believe there will issues with policy limits, no settlement on your case will be discussed until you have completed all necessary treatment. Therefore, the time frame of being paid for your injuries is dependent mainly on how long you are in treatment. Once you are completed with treatment, you must supply the insurance company with all evidence of medical bills and records. This may cause a delay in your case if you don’t have diligent legal counsel staying on top of this process while you are in treatment.
How much does a lawyer cost?
All auto accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you will not be required to pay any attorney’s fees unless we are able to recover on your behalf. You will not be required to pay any out of pocket costs, unless specified in the retainer agreement.
What can Guilarte Law do to help me?
We will handle the insurances companies for you.
We will obtain the evidence to prove liability in your case
We will determine the true value of your injuries
We will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement; and if a settlement is not obtainable, we will file a lawsuit
Our goal is to create a comfortable environment to reduce the stress caused when you are involved in an auto accident. We understand this can be a difficult time, and will walk you through each and every step of the process. We will take the strain and anxiety off your shoulder and onto ours. From the initial stages of reporting the claim and getting you set up with a rental vehicle; to the final stages of reducing your outstanding medical bills and obtaining the most recovery possible for you accident.
10 Common DUI Questions
DUI: Do I need a lawyer?
Whenever a client asks if they need a lawyer to represent them for a case, my response is typically always if you are facing jail then you want solid competent legal representation with you in court.
I have seen many State’s Attorneys in court offer what seem to be appealing plea offers. However, the State’s Attorney is not your lawyer. They will not fully advice you of all possible legal defenses, and most importantly, the legal consequences by accepting their plea offer. For instance, the State’s Attorney will not advise you of the possible MVA ramifications associated with accepting a DUI plea offer. The State’s Attorney will not tell you the deficiencies or mistakes made by the police officers in your case.
The consequences of a DUI conviction or probation before judgment are severe. Even a probation before judgment will remain on your record forever as it cannot be expunged in the State of Maryland.
You will not know the law or how it should be applied in court. But you will be upheld to the same standard as an adequately trained lawyer if you choose to represent yourself.
DUI: Do I have a right to a jury trial?
If the maximum penalty for the offense you are charged with is more than ninety days (3 months) of incarceration, then you have a right to demand a jury trial.
A first offense Driving Under the Influence charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail. Therefore, you are entitled to request a trial by jury. However, a first offense Driving While Impaired carries a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail so a jury trial would not be permitted.
DUI: Will my license be suspended?
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI/DWI, you were most likely given a Temporary (paper) License by the Officer. You are permitted to drive with the Temporary License for 45 days. On the 46thday, if you take no action, your license will automatically be suspended.
There are alternative options to fight the suspension being lodged against your driving privilege and/or request modifications to avoid an outright suspension. Those modifications could include a restricted license, or Ignition Interlock. Each case and facts are different. An experienced attorney can further advise you of your specific options.
DUI: Can a preliminary breath test (PBT) be used against me?
No! The preliminary breath test given at the scene is a guide for the police officer to determine if a DUI arrest is appropriate. The results of the PBT are not admissible in court.
DUI: What is the penalty for a DUI?
For a first offense DUI, you are facing a maximum penalty of year in jail, $1,000 fine and/or twelve (12) points on your driving record. If a minor was in the vehicle, the maximum penalty is two years and a $2,000 fine.
For a first offense DWI, you are facing a maximum penalty of sixty (60) days in jail, $500 fine, and/or eight (8) points on your driving record.
DUI: What is the legal standard for a DUI arrest ?
It is considered to be a Per Se violation of driving under the influence of alcohol if the driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
If a driver’s BAC is 0.05 or less, then the presumption will be that the driver is neither under the influence of alcohol nor impaired by alcohol.
If a driver’s BAC is higher than 0.05 but less than 0.07, then there will be no presumption based on the driver’s BAC (although the BAC may be used along with other competent evidence to come to a conclusion as to the driver’s state of impairment or lack thereof).
If a driver’s BAC is 0.07 or higher but less than 0.08, then it is presumed that the driver was impaired by alcohol.
If a driver’s BAC is 0.02 or higher, then the BAC will be prima facie evidence that the driver was operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in his or her system.
DUI: How long do I have to request a MVA hearing to fight my suspension
If you request a MVA hearing within 10 days from the date of your offense you are guaranteed to obtain an extension of your temporary license until your MVA hearing date.
If you request a MVA hearing within 30 days from the date of your offense, you are guaranteed a hearing with MVA, but possibly not an extension of your temporary license.
DUI: Is a DUI a misdemeanor or felony?
In the State of Maryland, a DUI is a misdemeanor.
DUI: What is ignition interlock?
An ignition interlock device means a device that connects a motor vehicle’s ignition system to a breath analyzer that measures a driver’s alcohol concentration and prevents a motor vehicle ignition from starting the motor vehicle if a driver’s alcohol concentration exceeds the calibrated setting on the device.
In addition to blowing into the device to start the vehicle, the device will also ask for random tests while the vehicle is being driven. If the driver doesn’t provide a sufficient sample of breath, the device records a refusal and an alarm will sound until the vehicle is turned off.
Once enrolled in the Ignition Interlock program, you are required to start the vehicle that has the device installed a minimum of 50 times within 30 days. If you have valid justification for not starting your vehicle with the required number of starts, you must notify MVA immediately (ill, out of the country, etc.).
There are a number of different ways you may be found to be in violation of the Ignition Interlock program. You are allowed three violations, each of which will extend your time in the program by thirty days. On the fourth violation, you will be excluded from the program and your license will be suspended or revoked. However, you can request a hearing with MVA to fight against being excluded from the program.
DUI: What can I do to help my case
Regardless of guilt or innocence, I recommend every client obtain an alcohol evaluation from a certified treatment center. The treatment center will be able to assess what if any alcohol counsel is necessary. It is best to follow through and complete all of their recommendations prior to your trial. Worst case scenario, you are found not guilty and the treatment is not necessary for your case. If you are found guilty, it is almost guaranteed that a Judge is going to order that you have an evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. Some Judges will consider placing you on unsupervised probation if you have already completed all recommended counseling.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, it may also be beneficial for you to attend AA meetings and obtain a home group and sponsor.
If you are a subsequent offender, it may be beneficial for you to consider more intensive inpatient treatment.