My son’s girlfriend, (nine months pregnant) was driving and stopped at a light. A vehicle two cars behind hers rear-ended the car in front which then rear-ended her car. The driver of the offending vehicle was 16 years old and test driving with her parent.
The impact was severe enough that the car sustained rear-end damage and she was jolted and severely compressed by the seat-belt. She was quite upset and her heart rate and blood pressure escalated.
She was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and monitored and it was determined it best to induce labor once she had time to receive IV fluids and relax and calm down. The inducement was scheduled for 7:00 a.m. the next morning, Sunday.
She ultimately delivered a baby boy at 5:50 p.m. Sunday through an emergency Cesarean as the baby had some heart rate complications – not sure if it was a result of the car accident or not.
She would like to know her options for receiving compensation for this traumatic incident to cover the accident, medical bills for her and the baby, potential future medical bills if the accident caused harm to the baby and pain and suffering and time missed from work due to the cesarean.
We appreciate anything you can tell us. Thank you.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
Thank you for your questions, and we hope your new grandson is doing well. Your son’s girlfriend can pursue compensation for herself and her son. We recommend, though, that she contact a local personal injury attorney for help.
Responsibility in Rear-End Collisions
In rear-end collisions, the driver of the last car in an accident is typically responsible for the incident. This rule is true provided that the driver was negligent in causing the accident.
Negligence means that a driver failed to drive as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. Many times, a violation of the rules of the road will help establish negligence.
Here, we’d need further facts to help determine if the 16-year-old was to blame for causing the crash. Given the teen driver’s lack of experience, it’s possible he did something to cause the crash, or failed to do something to avoid it.
Maryland is an At-Fault Insurance State
At-fault means that for your son’s girlfriend to receive compensation, she would need to file an insurance claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver (or the driver’s parent in this case). Once a claim is filed, and the driver is found responsible for causing the accident, then the insurer has to pay for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
While an insurer usually must pay for the medical expenses of an injured driver, the same holds true for injured passengers.
The insurance company may argue that your grandson wasn’t technically a passenger at the time of the accident. This is one of the reasons why we recommend contacting a personal injury attorney.
Pure Contributory Negligence
Maryland is a pure contributory negligence state.
“Pure” contributory negligence means that if an injured party helped cause an accident, then the victim is not entitled to receive any compensation. Zero compensation is the outcome even if the injured person was only 1 percent at fault in the accident.
Despite legal opinions to the contrary, pure contributory negligence laws remain in effect in the state of Maryland.
Here, it doesn’t seem like your son’s girlfriend was responsible for the accident. However, it’s essential to know the applicable law when negotiating with the driver’s insurance company.
Get Help From a Local Attorney
We strongly recommend that you seek help from a local attorney. If the new driver indeed caused this accident, then it’s likely that the applicable insurance company will provide compensation for your son’s girlfriend’s injuries and her lost wages.
The insurer, however, will likely fight when it comes to paying for your grandson’s medical bills and his potential future medical bills.
A skilled personal injury attorney is better situated to take on this fight. The lawyer will know any applicable case law, and the attorney may have experience in negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Further, given Maryland’s strict contributory negligence laws, it’s likely that the insurance company will try to pin some blame on the new mother. If successful, it might prevent her from recovering a dime. A skilled attorney will know how to challenge any of these claims successfully.
Keep in mind most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means you don’t have to pay a penny unless the attorney helps win or settle a case. Thus, it’s usually cost-efficient to get an experienced lawyer in your corner.
Learn more here: What to Do After Rear-End Collision
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
We wish you the best with your claim,
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