Frequently Asked Questions About Serious and Catastrophic Injury claims in Maryland

General FAQs

Do I Need an Attorney?

This is an intelligent question, one that many people have. There are several advantages that an attorney can offer you if you have been in an accident.

First, you can be set up with medical treatment without any medical insurance, which is very difficult to do without a lawyer.

Second, we understand the intricacies of insurance law, and know the best way to set up your medical care. For example, we can advise you when it makes sense to use your health insurance, your medical payment coverage, or when it is better to simply work with a doctor on a lien.

Third, we can save you time and stress. It is difficult to work with an adjuster, prepare settlement packages, and negotiate when it isn’t your daily business. We have been doing this for many years and know the fair compensation on your case.

Fourth, we are familiar with the laws that may allow you to be compensated twice for the cost of your medical bills, based on premiums you have had to pay. This can increase the amount of your recovery. Additionally, one of the dangers that injury victims face is the smooth-talking insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters want to settle your claim before you get legal help. The reason for this is simple. It saves the insurance company a lot of money.

The insurance companies have different adjusters who are assigned different tasks. The adjusters who speak with injury victims calling in for the first time, are carefully trained to do the following things:

  • To be smooth, express compassion, and imply that their only interest is to help you
  • To offer you a quick settlement
  • To explain that a quick settlement will get you your money faster, and save you hassles
  • To try to talk you out of calling a lawyer
  • To argue that a lawyer will cost you money
  • To argue that a lawyer will not be able to get your settlement increased

It is very profitable for the insurance company when an adjuster can talk you into settling your claim without a lawyer. Adjusters will try to persuade you to accept a payment and sign a “Release”. Adjusters will speak with confidence about what your claim is worth. This presents a multitude of dangers to you. There is no way an adjuster can know the value of your claim. A fast settlement does not take into consideration the extent of physical injuries, as well as any lasting effects which may not show up until much later. Remember who the adjusters are working for. They get paid to represent the interests of the insurance company, not you. Who is protecting your interests?

The value of speaking to an attorney is multi-fold:

  • It allows you to get an overview of what can and cannot be done for you, what your expectations should and should not be, how the process works, and what time frames are involved.
  • It allows you to get answers to many of your questions.
  • It puts you in a position to make an INFORMED decision as to what is best for you.

There is no charge for such a discussion. Learn what your rights are. Give us a call.

Should I Give a “Recorded Statement” to the Insurance Company?

A claims adjuster will often want to take a recorded statement from you. Never give any insurance company a recorded statement. Do not even give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. The insurance company will tell you they need to take a recorded statement in order to “process your claim”. This is false. They do not need to record your conversation just to process your claim. Processing the claim requires only basic information relating to the facts of the accident.

The real reason they want to take a recorded statement is to try and get you to say something that they can use later in denying a claim. For example, you may have been running late for an appointment at the time of the collision. That, however, has nothing to do with the fact that you were rear-ended by a delivery van while waiting at a stop sign. However, this gives the insurance company ammunition to use against you, even though it is seemingly irrelevant.

Even your own insurance company can turn against you. Never give a recorded statement to anyone.

How do I Handle My Property Claim?

Property and injury claims are separate. There are usually two separate claims which arise from a collision. The property damage claim; and the personal injury claim.

How do I Repair My Vehicle, and Get Fair Compensation for It?

What if My Vehicle Is “Totaled”? If the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds its “fair market value”, the insurance company can “total” it.

  • This means that instead of repairing it, the insurance company can pay you its “fair market value”.
  • But HOW do they determine what the “fair market value” is?

The guiding authority on “fair market value” is the NADA “Blue Book”. However, the insurance company may calculate the “fair market value” in a way more favorable to them.

How do I Challenge Insurance Company’s Valuation?

If you feel that the value of your vehicle is too low, here are some things you can do.

  • The goal is to demonstrate why the value of the vehicle is more than they have offered.
  • (Note: If you are offered “Blue Book”, courts often find that it is fair.)
  • The best way to prove its value is to look in newspapers and auto sales magazines to find the same vehicle in the same condition selling for the amount you believe is fair.
  • Look for advertisements showing the same vehicle, in the same condition, selling for more than the insurance company has offered.

Incorporate into this any additional arguments, such as the ones listed below:

  • The condition that the vehicle was in prior to the accident.
  • Any new purchases or recent add-ons to the car which increase its value (such as a CD Player, new tires, etc…)
  • Any recent major repairs (such as a new transmission).
  • Low mileage, if applicable.

Rental Cars: Am I Entitled to a Rental Car?

You are usually entitled to a rental (if there is applicable insurance) in the following situations: Where the vehicle is not drivable, or unsafe to drive or, if the vehicle is in the repair shop.

If you get a rental remember, the insurance company is only obligated to provide you with basic transportation (four wheels and an engine). You may not go out and rent the finest vehicle of your choice. However, you can ask for a rental that is similar to the one damaged.

Courts have sometimes found that insurance companies must provide a car similar to the one damaged, where:

  • The car is critical to a job (e.g. a real estate agent who needs to be able to make a nice presentation).
  • The number of children in the family requires a larger car.
  • You participate in a carpool, which requires a larger vehicle.

Can I Keep The Rental Car?

The idea of the rental car is to provide you with transportation while the car is being repaired. Once your car is fixed, any right you may have to a rental car terminates. However, you must not keep the rental past the time which you have been authorized to use it.

  • For example, let us say that the insurance company has told you that you can have a rental car for 7 days. But if repairs have not been completed on your car by the 7th day, then you will still want the use of the rental car.
  • In that situation, you must call the insurance company, explain the situation, and get additional authorization for additional rental time. If you fail to do this, the insurance company may refuse to reimburse you for the additional time.

Rentals If Your Vehicle Is Totaled:

Once the insurance company makes an offer to settle the property damage on a “totaled” vehicle, they are no longer obligated to keep you in a rental car. You may try to negotiate a deal with the insurance company where they will keep you in a rental car for three days after the property damage check is received.

  • Argue that once you get the money, you still need time to go buy another car.

If the insurance company offers an unfairly low amount to settle the claim, you can make a choice whether or not to take it. What if you refuse the property settlement on the vehicle, and stay in the rental while trying to get a fairer offer:

  • If it is found that the insurance company’s offer was too low, then they will be responsible for the cost of the additional rental car period.
  • If it is found that the insurance company’s offer was fair and reasonable, then you may be held responsible for the cost of the additional rental car period.

If Your Car Is Safe To Drive: Get 2 Estimates. Take your vehicle to two reputable car dealerships and have two separate estimates done.

  • We recommend that you go to an actual dealer of the type of vehicle you drive.

The reason to get these estimates is to combat the insurance company’s own estimate. The insurance company will make an artificially low estimate. The reason they give you a low estimate is because it makes the force of your collision appear less than it actually was. If they say that you only had $900 of damage to the vehicle, where the damage was actually $1,400, they have just tried to make the violent force of the collision seem less than it was. By having 2 other estimates (or at least one), we can rebut this devious tactic. You must be compensated for the frustration, inconvenience and distress that comes from having your vehicle wrecked. We can help.

Instructions for Calling in Claim To Your Insurance Company

In order to make a claim, it is necessary for you or your lawyer to call your insurance company to report the case. This is also a requirement for any PIP or Med-Pay Benefits.

(If you have no insurance, call the insurance company of the vehicle you were in.)

We will be glad to call your insurance company for you. However, if you choose to make this initial call yourself, do the following:

There are only 3 things to tell the insurance company:

  • A very brief summary of how the accident happened; and
  • That you were hurt; and
  • That any further information will have to come through your lawyer.

Do NOT go into any further detail about your injury. Do NOT give a recorded statement. Do Not Answer Other Questions. They might ask the following questions:

  • What are your injuries?
  • Have you ever been in an accident before?
  • What doctors are you are seeing?


Tell them that your lawyer will give them all of this information.

Do NOT Give A Recorded Statement. If they ask you for a recorded statement, get off the phone. Here is an example of what to say when you call the insurance company to report the claim:

  • “My name is (give them your name). I was in an automobile accident on (give them the date).
  • “I am represented by attorney Bruce A. Blaylock with Bulman, Dunie, Burke & Feld and his phone number is 301.951.1800301.951.1800.
  • “They have advised me to call this claim in to you. However, I am only going to discuss how this accident happened. I am not going to discuss any issues relating to my injuries so please do not ask any health related questions. Also, please do not record this conversation.
  • “Any additional information will come from my attorney Bruce A. Blaylock.
  • “After we are through talking, I would like you to give me a claim number. Then I would like you to call my attorney Bruce A. Blaylock at The Law Offices of Bulman, Dunie, Burke & Feld.
  • “May I now give you a very brief summary of what happened?”.

Can I Recover Lost Wages?

You may be able to get reimbursed for wages you lose as a result of an injury. However, there are strict requirements for being able to successfully get lost wage reimbursement.

Carefully Document Lost Wages. The key to recovering lost wages is being able to supply the correctly formulated documentation necessary to prove the case.

  • If a wage claim is not presented properly, it can harm your entire case.

How can a legitimate wage claim hurt your case, just because it is not organized properly?

  • The insurance company’s single goal will be to keep as much of its money in its pocket as it can. They will want to pay you as little as possible.
  • Your wage claim must be meticulously and precisely assembled so that it will survive all evidentiary and procedural challenges.
  • If it is not, the insurance company will argue that you are being opportunistic and overreaching in your case. They will argue that you are trying to get more money than you are actually entitled to.
  • So even though your wage claim may be 100% legitimate, if it is not presented properly, you will have to spend valuable time explaining why the insurance company’s arguments are without merit.
  • And the time lost making these arguments represents time lost from discussing other important issues of your case.

How To Properly Document Lost Wages. We will show you the exact way that your wage claim should be presented.

  • Whether you work for someone else or are self-employed, we can explain to you the proper way to present your wage claim.

By carefully documenting the economic impact that this injury has had upon your life, you empower our efforts in seeking justice for you. Keep Copies and Records of All Your Expenses. We need to know about any expenses that you incur as a result of this accident.

  • This includes taxi receipts, lost wages, rental bills, prescription charges, or any other expense associated with your accident. Please send us your receipts for these expenses. We will submit these to the insurance company and ask that they be paid as well.

Preserve Evidence in Your Possession. Save any physical objects that relate to your case.

  • These include blood stained clothing, empty prescription bottles, traction devices, items involved in the accident, or other pieces of evidence.
  • Let us know what you have.

Forward All Bills. At frequent intervals send us all bills relating to your accident or injury. Keep Us Informed. Let us know IMMEDIATELY if any of the following occur:

  • Your condition worsens;
  • You stop going to the doctor;
  • You have another accident, injury, complication or other illness;
  • You are hospitalized;
  • Any other circumstances occur that you think will affect your claim or your health.
  • AVVO
  • American Association for Justice
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Trial Lawyers Association
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated
  • Maryland Association for Justice
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • The Million Dollar Advocates Forum, The Top Trial Lawyers in America
  • Rue Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America
  • Rue Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America

4610 Elm St.

Bethesda, Maryland 20815

Phone:  301.951.1800

Fax:       301.656.6957



Talk to an Experienced Attorney