Friday, January 6, 2012

Ten Things You Need to Do for Your Automobile Accident Case After You Hire a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring the best Maryland or Virginia automobile accident attorney does not mean you no longer have any responsibility for your accident claim. In fact, at Portner & Shure we ask all of our Howard County accident clients to do these ten things in each claim. In our experience, the client who works closely with our office helps ensure a good medical result and greater recovery. Below is a list of what you should expect to be your responsibilities:

1. During the first two days after your Maryland or Virginia automobile accident if you are hurt you must seek medical attention. All insurance companies value claims based on what the medical documentation reveals. An indication that a person was truly hurt in a Maryland or Virginia automobile accident comes from medical documentation close in time to the accident.

2. Immediately give all insurance information for your insurance carrier and the liability carrier and health insurance to a Portner & Shure paralegal. Cease all communication with both carriers.

3. During the week after the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident, work closely with a Portner & Shure paralegal on all issues concerning your car repair, rental and/or total loss figures. Communicate closely with the paralegal on all issues concerning the storage cost. Cars should not be in storage for more than three to four days.

4. Within a week of the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident seek follow-up medical attention with a doctor who can get you better and is respected by the major automobile insurance carriers. Further medical attention can be obtained with an orthopaedic doctor, a chiropractor, a neurologist or an acupuncturist. Acupuncture presents a problem with billing unless the acupuncture is prescribed by a medical doctor. Unlike less experienced Maryland or Virginia injury attorneys, we do not allow our Chinese speaking accident clients to see an acupuncturist unless they are also seeing a medical doctor. Doing so drastically reduces the value of the claim.

5. Keep a diary on the computer or a notebook of events and problems that occur as a direct result of the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident. Anything at all that occurs to you, even if you think is insignificant, may be important but forgotten later if not recorded timely. Examples, your pain, what you can and cannot do, missed work or school, trouble sleeping, irritability, inability to exercise and weight gain. Missed trips or travel plans.

6. You will be provided with a list of all records and bills in your Maryland or Virginia automobile accident case by a Portner & Shure paralegal before a demand is sent to the insurance carrier. Review the following:

a. list of all medical providers to ensure no doctor reports are missing;

b. list of all medical bills to ensure no treatment expenses are missing;

c. lost wage statement

d. draft demand letter (in all large Maryland or Virginia personal injury cases, the client should review the demand. This way you can ensure that diary notes are included in the demand).

7. Negotiations. In each case approximately six weeks after the demand is sent to the insurance company, negotiations will occur. An attorney from the Portner & Shure personal injury team will obtain an offer from the carrier, work on bill reductions and then call you with two figures. One will be the offer from the carrier, the other is your net recovery. The accident lawyer has years of experience and will make a recommendation as to accepting the offer or filing a Maryland or Virginia lawsuit. However, the decision to accept, or sue, is completely yours. If you accept you will be forwarded a settlement memorandum to sign, showing a breakdown of all expenses, the offer and the net recovery for the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident claim.

8. If a lawsuit is filed in either the Maryland or Virginia Courts, your role will be more involved. However, the bulk of the work will be done behind the scenes by Portner & Shure's personal injury litigation team. This team has obtained several huge recoveries lately, landing Mr. Portner in the select Million Dollar Advocacy Forum. Only 1% of all United States lawyers are eligible to be members. Your role in the litigation will include the following:

a. verifying certain facts so the Maryland or Virginia Complaint filed is accurate;

b. answering written discovery;

c. possibly coming to our office to prepare for a deposition, and then attend the deposition;

d. possibly attending a settlement or mediation conference;

e. possibly coming to one of our Maryland or Virginia offices to prepare for a trial and then attending a trial.

9. Whether your accident case is one where suit is filed, or settled at the claims level, in the age of social media all clients now have an additional obligation. The obligation is to ensure that what you are telling our office and your doctors, is consistent with what is being shown or written about by you on Twitter and/or Facebook. Insurance adjusters and opposing attorneys now review these social media entries and pictures of people making automobile accident claims. Therefore, if you say you can't walk or get out of bed, Facebook photos should not show otherwise.

10. If English is your second language you can not use this as an excuse to not perform all of the above.

In fact, if you speak Spanish, Chinese or Korean and had a Maryland or Virginia automobile accident, we will ask that you do the following:

1. Meet directly with one of our Spanish, Chinese, or Korean speaking staff members;

2. In person or the telephone discuss with one of our Spanish speaking, Chinese speaking (Mandarin or Cantonese), or Korean speaking Paralegals, the following:

a. all facts concerning the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident;

b. all facts concerning your injuries and damage to your car;

3. Communicate with our office on a monthly basis and specifically speak to a Spanish, Chinese, or Korean speaking staff member with respect to any concerns and the status of your treatment for the Maryland or Virginia automobile accident.

Common Mistakes Made by Young Maryland Drivers

Maryland and Virginia teenage drivers are four times at greater risks for automobile accidents than older adults. Reasons include, inexperience dealing with emergency situations, distracted driving and the desire to show off. Below are some interesting findings and a further reason to have your teenager sign our Young Driver Contract.

Being distracted

Cell phones, CDs, food and text messaging, pose serious distractions to all drivers. Recent studies, however, with respect to teenage driving are revealing in this regard. First, one study done by State Farm Insurance reported 89% of teens noted they saw other teens driving and talking on their cell phones. Further, many have admitted during the same, and more than half said they observed their peers using ipods or text messaging while driving.

Any form of distraction increases the likelihood of a Maryland or Virginia car accident. In fact, a recent study of drivers in the Maryland and Virginia area concluded that distracted driving contributed to 80% of all collisions.

Taking risks

Risks include ignoring traffic signals, or school zone signs and changing lanes without checking blind spots. Teenage brains are predisposed to more risk taking. Recent studies have revealed that when confronted with risky choices, teenage brains exhibit twice as much activity in the impulse area.


Recent studies reveal that teenagers in the Maryland and Virginia area drive faster than all other drivers in the area as a whole. Speeding is the cause of one-third of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in the Maryland and Virginia area. This total is 50% more than the total for crashes for those 20 to 40 years old.

Overcrowding the car

A crowded car for a teenager results in more aggressive driving. A NIH study found that when accompanied by male passengers in the front seat, teens of both genders speed more and leave shorter following distances. The same trend exists for teenage girls driving with other girls. Worse yet, another study found that with two passengers Maryland and Virginia 16 year old drivers were at nearly twice the risk of having a fatal accident, and with three or more passengers the risk was nearly triple.

Driving under the influence

Recent studies reveal that approximately 40% of Maryland and Virginia high school seniors have drank alcohol in the last month. More problematic, however, is because teens take more chances after drinking, more than half of those in fatal accident were found to have not been wearing seatbelts.

Following too closely/Driving unbuckled

At 60 mph a typical car needs between 120 and 140 feet to stop. In fact, 60 mph translates to 88 feet per second. A recent study of teen drivers revealed that teenagers left less following distance behind the car ahead than other drivers. Worse, another study by NHTSA reported that approximately one quarter of drivers 16 to 24 do not wear seatbelts.

Inability to handle emergencies / driving drowsy

Knowing how to avoid an accident comes with driving experience. Young drivers make mistakes because they don't know how to apply the brakes correctly in certain situations, or are not aware of how to handle the car when it goes into a skid.

Drowsiness affects the kids who burn the candle at both ends, also known as "over achievers". It is a known fact that sleep deprivation contributes to thousands of automobile accidents in Maryland and Virginia each year.