Articles Posted in Automobile Accident

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Although automobile liability insurance is mandatory for Maryland drivers, I cannot urge drivers enough to carry significant uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects drivers when they are in a collision caused by a driver that has failed to obtain automobile insurance or when the offending driver cannot be identified (i.e. a hit and run or phantom vehicle scenario). While Maryland law mandates that all motor vehicles must carry liability insurance, data provided by the Insurance Information Institute estimates that over 15% of all Maryland drivers are unlawfully uninsured motorists.  Moreover, neighboring states, such as Virginia and Delaware, do not have any laws mandating that drivers carry liability insurance, so victims of collisions caused by those drivers who enter Maryland may be left without recourse or a means to obtain compensation. When this occurs, you and the occupants in your vehicle may look to your own motor vehicle insurance policy to compensate you for your damages up to your policy’s UM coverage limits.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) protects drivers and occupants of the vehicle who are involved in a collision caused by a driver who did not have sufficient coverage to compensate them for their damages. Maryland law requires a minimum of $30,000 per person, $60,000 per occurrence, for liability and UM/UIM limits. In this scenario, the insurance company will never pay more than $30,000 for any one individual or more than $60,000 for the entirety of all persons affected by a collision.  At first glance, one might think those sums are sufficient, however, with the dramatic rise in medical costs, those sums barely make a dent in the medical costs in cases where there are serious injuries or where multiple people are injured. Keep this in mind, a brief trip on a Medivac Helicopter to Shock Trauma costs approximately $90,0000. A spinal fusion procedure for a back injury can easily run you upwards of $60,000.


Do I need uninsured motorist coverage?

UIM coverage can protect you from losing all your assets and going bankrupt from medical expenses or not being able to work when someone who has insufficient insurance coverage injures you in a collision. UIM coverage provides you, the occupants of your vehicle, and your resident family relatives with additional coverage up to the difference between the limits of UIM coverage and the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage. In other words, if the vehicle that caused the collision had $30,000 in insurance coverage and you carried a policy with $100,000 in UIM coverage, you could be entitled to additional compensation of up to $70,000 from your UIM policy once you receive the full limits of the bodily injury coverage from the offending vehicle.  Keep in mind that you must first receive the full limits of bodily injury coverage from the offending vehicle before your UIM claim can become ripe.[1]


How much uninsured motorist coverage do I need?

With insurance costs always rising, many are lax to purchase sufficient coverage to protect themselves and their families.  While purchasing the minimal amounts of motor vehicle insurance to become a legal driver in Maryland can be costly, especially if you have a negative driving record, it typically does not cost vehicle owners that much more to become sufficiently insured and to increase your protections. I recommend that all vehicle owners purchase a minimum of $250,000 (per person)/$500,000 (per occurrence) in coverage limits for both your Bodily Injury and UM/UIM portions of your policy.[2]  If you have a family, if your family depends upon you for its support, own a business, have substantial assets, or need greater peace of mind, I always recommend obtaining at least $1 million in Bodily Injury and UM/UIM coverage. This additional level of protection will follow you and your family even if they are involved in a collision that does not involve a family vehicle.

While increasing your policy limits will likely increase your insurance premiums, this is definitely not an area of your budget where you want to skimp.  Far too often I hear my clients proudly declare, “I have full coverage.”  Full coverage by no means, however, equates to good, sufficient coverage.  All “full coverage” means is that you carry liability and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, and sometimes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as well.  Every day I meet with clients who thought they had sufficient coverage because they purchased “full coverage” wherein reality, all they have is a policy with coverage up to Maryland’s minimal limits of $30,000/$60,000.

Remember, it is extremely important to call and retain a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after any collision or injury you or a loved one sustains.  You should reach out prior to speaking with anyone from any insurance company.  As always, I remain available to consult with you in any injury situation or if you have questions about whether you may be entitled to benefits under any policy of insurance. Please contact me, Jason Wasserman, at (410) 385-9110.


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In an effort to help our clients understand the process of negotiating a personal injury claim, I have compiled the following information that I feel is important you understand once the medical bills, lost wage statements and any other “special” damages have been obtained and the negotiating process has begun.

There are basically two types of damages to be considered when evaluating your claim, special damages and general damages:

a. Special damages are those damages for which you can show a dollar amount that you incurred as a result of having to pay money or losing money as a result of the collision and your injuries. Examples of special damages are medical bills and lost wages.

b. General damages are the damages for which you do not have a bill or for which you cannot show any “tangible” loss. Examples of general damages are pain and suffering.
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The law firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White takes on a limited number of plaintiff’s personal injury cases each month. We limit our intake so we can provide the highest quality representation to each of our clients. To better equip our clients with an understanding of the process, we have broken down the phases of what to expect of our attorney-client relationship.


General information regarding the incident will be obtained when you are first interviewed. Certain other material relating to things you should not do will be furnished to you. You will be asked to sign authorization forms which will allow us to obtain necessary information. We will schedule a follow-up appointment for you to meet with the attorney handling your case shortly after you retain Silverman Thompson Slutkin and White.
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Baltimore personal injury attorney, Craig Zissel, of the firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White won a contested auto accident case in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County last Tuesday. Mr. Zissel’s client was injured when the vehicle he was riding in was struck from behind while stopped at a stop light. GEICO denied liability for the accident claiming there was no way our client could have been injured due to the minor nature of the accident. Additionally, they pointed out the many prior accidents our client had been involved in. After deliberating for an hour, the Montgomery County jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for the full amount of his medicals plus an award for non-economic damages to compensate him for his pain and suffering. Prior to trial, GEICO had offered no money to settle the case. This verdict represents a great result for Montgomery County, which is historically a defense-oriented, conservative jurisdiction.

At trial, Mr. Zissel focused the jury’s attention on the evidence supporting his client’s claims including the testimony, property damage photos and medical bills.


For more information or a free consultation, please contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC. or contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

Maryland lawyers who litigate car and truck accidents have a new tool at their disposal thanks to the Maryland Legislature’s imminent passage of a ban on handheld cell phones while driving. The new law will make it illegal for a motorist to text or talk on a cell phone while driving unless connected to a Bluetooth device.

Plaintiff’s lawyers can be expected to try to use violation of this statute as evidence of negligence. Defense attorneys will also focus on using violation of this statue to prove the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. One would suspect that defense attorneys and insurance companies will reap the most benefit from the new law.

It has often been the law in Maryland that violation of a statue is evidence of negligence. It has also been the law of Maryland that if a plaintiff is found to be one percent negligent, the plaintiff is one hundred percent barred from any recovery. This is called contributory negligence. Defense attorneys will likely focus on violation of this statue to salvage what may otherwise be a lost cause. In any event, I can see attorneys on both sides focusing on cell phone records and issuing thousands of subpoenas for records during discovery. The bill may help make Maryland roads safer but it is going to kill a lot of trees!

In the case of Pfeifer v. Phoenix Insurance Co, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals has recently affirmed that the statute of limitations for UM coverage or UIM coverage suit is three years from the date of denial of coverage, orthe exhaustion of the tortfeasors coverage occurs. Practically speaking, if you are involved in an accident on 1/1/06, and the tortfeasor offers their policy on 1/1/07, the statute of limitations would begin to run on 1/1/07, giving you until 1/1/10 to file a claim against the UM/UIM carrier.

Oftentimes, I come across clients who suffer injury at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured driver. Understanding the process of collecting under your UM/UIM means the difference between collecting what is fair or being at the mercy of the insurance companies. Should you be involved in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured driver, or a driver who has a small policy, contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC. or contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

A Baltimore man was tragically killed on Saturday night in a hit and run accident on the 4700 block of Greenspring Avenue. A recent Baltimore Sun article reports that James Little, Jr. was struck by a Jeep Cherokee traveling northbound on Greenspring Valley Road which left the scene following the accident. According to the article, the police located the vehicle and its driver a short while later and noticed the vehicle to have a smashed and bloodstained windshield. The vehicle’s driver, a 20 year old woman, was taken into custody for questioning and toxicology tests and later released.
Every year, pedestrians throught Maryland are injured in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Experienced auto accident attorneys can help victims and their families recover for their injuries.
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I. Rules of the Road, Duty & Standard of Care

The Maryland Transportation Article codifies the “Rules of the Road” for all vehicles traveling on Maryland roadways. All drivers of vehicles in Maryland must observe the rules of the road. Md. Transp. Art. §21-102. They may also assume that others will obey the rules of the road and need not anticipate that others will violate the law. Dean v. Redmiles, 208 Md. 137, 374 A.2d 329 (1977). Pursuant to Md. Transp. Art. §21-1202, the operator of a bicycle on a public street possesses all the rights and duties of the driver of a vehicle. These general duties include the duty to operate a bicycle, or any vehicle, with ordinary care under the circumstances. Kaffl v. Moran, 233 Md. 473, 477-478, 197 A.2d 240, 242 (1964). In addition, there are unique rules of the road that apply particularly to the operation of bicycles. Drivers of motor vehicles owe a duty to bicyclists to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle being ridden by a person. Md. Transp. Art. §21-1209. Bicycle operators must to ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable, except when turning left, traveling on a one way street, or passing a slower moving vehicle. Md. Transp. Art. §21-1205. Operation of a bicycle in violation of a statute does not constitute negligence as a matter of law, unless the violation is the proximate cause of injury. Miles v. State, 174 Md. 292, 198 A. 724 (1938).

Operators of any type of vehicle on Maryland roadways owe a duty to exercise due care under the circumstances. Moran, 233 Md. 473 at 477-478, 197 A.2d 240 at 242 . While ordinary care is generally required, the Court of Appeals has held that “vigilance must vary according to the danger naturally anticipated from the operation of the vehicle.” Heffner v. Admiral Taxi Service, Inc., 196 Md. 465, 471, 77 A.2d 127, 129 (1950). It is universally understood by travelers on the roadway that intersections create an increased potential for collisions. In anticipation of this known danger, a higher degree of caution is appropriate. The Court opined that “a motorist, when approaching a street intersection, must exercise much greater vigilance than when he is driving between intersections.” Id.

The Maryland Transportation Article also includes provisions that pertain to specific traffic maneuvers. Regarding turns, “a person may not, if any other vehicle might be affected by the movement, turn a vehicle until he gives an appropriate signal in the manner required.” Md. Transp. Art. §21-604(c). A signal of an intention to turn must be given continuously during at least the last 100 feet traveled by a vehicle before turning. Md. Transp. Art. §21-604(d). In addition to signaling, “if the driver of a vehicle intends to turn right at any intersection, he shall approach the intersection and make the right turn as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” Md. Transp. Art. §21-601(a). The requirement that drivers of motor vehicles drive close to the edge of the roadway when approaching a right turn is intended to provide further indication to following drivers of an impending turn, so that the turning motorist will not be passed by following vehicles on the side toward which an indication of turning has been given. Norris v. Wolfensberger, 248 Md. 635, 237 A.2d 757 (1968).

In addition to the duty to properly signal an intended turn, drivers owe a duty not to make a turn from a direct course until such turn can be made with reasonable safety. Md. Transp. Art. §21-604(b). Before turning, drivers must keep a proper lookout. As noted by the Court of Appeals, “[o]ne who operates a motor vehicle on a public highway must anticipate the presence of others thereon and must exercise constant vigilance to avoid injuring them…” Peoples Drug Stores v. Windham, 178 Md. 172, 185, 12 A.2d 532, 538 (1940). A well established rule is that when a witness says he looked but did not see an object which he must have seen if he did look, such testimony is unworthy of consideration. Cogswell v. Frazier, 183 Md. 654, 660, 39 A.2d 815, 818 (1944).
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WBAL Radio is reporting on their website that Tim Wheatley, the Business Editor for the Baltimore Sun was killed today in a morning accident in Baltimore County. According to WBAL, Mr. Wheatley was attempting to pull onto York Road from Corbet Road when his vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a UPS truck. The intersection where the accident occurred is controlled by a traffic control device, and at this time an investigation is ongoing to determine who is at fault for the accident. Mr. Wheatley’s daughter was also injured in the accident.

Every year, thousands of Marylanders are injured in automobile accidents as a result of someone else’s negligence. An experienced trial attorney can help protect the injured. If you or someone you know is injured in a car accident in Maryland, contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC. or contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

Dr. Brian Edgar Emery, a Howard County physician, was killed on Thursday evening when the vehicle he was driving was struck from the rear by another vehicle and pushed into oncoming traffic. Dr. Emery was stopped on Route 32 near the Howard-Carrol County border waiting to make a left turn when his vehicle was hit from behind by a van being driven by Thomas Donald Cory. A recent, Baltimore Sun Article, reported on this tragic accident which occurred on a dangerous stretch of road in Howard County. Earlier this year a mother and child were killed on the same stretch of road.
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