Personal Injury/Motor Vehicle Accident/Slip and Fall

1. What should I do if I’ve been injured, by way of contacting the responsible party, their insurance company or my own insurance company?

You need to report motor vehicle accidents to your insurance company.  Before you give a recorded statement you should contact me so we can discuss the circumstances and I can explain both the law and procedure. Under no circumstances should you attempt to give a statement to the responsible negligent party or their insurance company. The information given may be misquoted causing you to lose or reduce your chances of recovery.

2. When an accident occurs, what is the most important thing I can do to help my case?

You need to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of each witness to the occurrence that includes any passersby who was in the area. You also need to check the availability of any types of cameras at the intersection and around the area where the incident occurred.  These videos may be invaluable.

3. I have no money to pay medical expenses, what should I do?

You need to contact us and we’ll assist you in filing what is called a “PIP” Personal Injury Protection Claim through your insurance company. In Slip/Fall cases there may be medical payments coverage on the premise or other coverage’s that we can advise you about.

4. I have called, but I can’t get a doctor’s appointment until more than a week after the occurrence, what should I do?

We will advise you that if you call the doctor’s office indicating that you need immediate care and they are unable to set an appointment, we suggest you ask for the name of another doctor’s office who may be able to see you. You will find that most times they’ll fit you in within 48 hours.

5. What can I do to preserve evidence for the purposes of my case?

You should take photographs of the accident scene and if possible the position of the vehicles before they are moved.  In the event that you are unable to do this, you should take photographs of the involved vehicles before they are repaired. This can be done at the location to which they’ve been towed.

You also should immediately begin writing a diary documenting anything you experience from the time the accident occurred, noting difficulties, pains, discomfort and inability to work. Pay special attention, if you are unable to sleep or have to get up out of bed and/or take pain medications. This is critical because six months after the accident you will not be able to remember many of these occurrences.

6. What you should not do:

  • You should not attempt to contact the insurance company for the other driver or owner of the premises where you have been injured.
  • You should not attempt to discuss the circumstances of the occurrence with any third party witnesses other than asking their version, because your statements may be misinterpreted.
  • If contacted by an insurance company or an investigator, refer them to our office and we’ll be glad to discuss the matter with them, BUT DO NOT GIVE A STATEMENT.

7. What evidence can I secure and maintain for the purposes of my case?

Immediately take photographs of any types of injury, contusions or abrasions that you have suffered. You should retain all prescription drug containers.

DUI

1. What should I do when I’m stopped for DUI?

Always be polite and respectful to the police officer. Failure to do so will result in you being charged with multiple tickets that otherwise may not have be written.

2. What must I do when requested by the officer?

You are responsible for providing your license and registration and identification.  Most people do not know that you need not answer any questions about alcohol consumption, where you were coming from or where you are going to at the time of the occurrence.

  1. You need not take standardized field sobriety tests, such as the pen test and walking a Straight Line or One Leg stand.
  2. You need not take the preliminary breath test, which is a handheld device utilized at the scene. If you are taken to the station, under Maryland law you are required to blow into the Breathalyzer, or if you go to the hospital to provide a blood sample. Failure to do so will result in suspension without the ability for modification to obtain a restrictive license for work purposes. Your sole recourse may be to fight the MVA hearing or install a machine known as an interlock, or blow and go, for your vehicle to start.

3. What should I not do?

Do not argue your case with the officer or other persons on the scene.

4. What is important to help the attorney prepare for the case?

You should immediately write out each and every question asked by the officer and your direct response.  This is important, because after a short period you will forget and this may be important during cross-examination of the officer.

5. Should I pay any of the underlying tickets?

Under NO circumstances pay those tickets. You may waive defenses that we otherwise would have available at trial. We further can negotiate and provide defenses for those tickets saving you substantial money.

6. Should I tell my employer or coworkers of the incident?

Unless you are under a specific contract or have a policy in the office that specifically requires you to do so, you should not mention it to anyone at work.

7. What types of defenses are available on a DUI case?

Under the fourth amendment the officer must have “reasonable suspicion” to stop you, which is somewhat less than probable cause but cannot be merely a hunch or suspicion that you have been drinking.

8. What can I do to help in the defense?

If the officer has stopped you alleging some type of equipment malfunction, i.e. lights or other equipment violations on the vehicle, you should have your vehicle checked immediately. You should have a friend go with you to witness that tail lights, tag lights or other lights were working after the occurrence and it may be necessary to take your vehicle to an inspection station to confirm the same.

Criminal

1. Having been charged with a crime, what should I say or do while in the presence of the officer?

  1. Be polite.
  2. You need not answer any questions other than identify yourself, providing your ID.
  3. WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW, under the law, you have the right, under the Fifth Amendment, against self-incrimination or answering questions during the course of an investigation. You do NOT need to answer questions or issues raised by the officer. In doing so, you run the risk of the officer misreporting the information given or recalling it in a way that is harmful to your case and not necessarily accurate.

2. What should I tell the commissioner when they go to set bond?

The commissioner is concerned whether you are a flight risk or will actually appear for trial or otherwise may present a harm or danger to yourself and others.  Providing a stable address, employment, indicating that you will be retaining an attorney and will appear for the trial is important.  If you are under the care and treatment of a doctor, without giving too much detail, indicate if asked that you are under care and treatment and are taking the appropriate medications.

3. What can I do to assist in preparing a defense in my case?

  1. Witnesses who may be in the area who can testify in support of your defense are critical to the case. Being aware of video cameras at intersections or buildings that might have recorded what happened is also important. They may call into question the officer’s recollection.
  2. You should sit down immediately and record all information asked by the officer and your response. You also should record any statements made by third parties or anything the officer may share from your accuser, individually specific conduct or actions that they contend that were inappropriate.

4. Do I need to tell my employer or coworkers of the charge?

Unless you are under a specific contract or have a specific office policy, or have a security clearance that would otherwise require disclosure, you do NOT have to advise others.  When we meet for the first time, we’ll discuss the nature of your employment and your obligations.  It is often a mistake to confide in coworkers who may inadvertently tell others and this may harm your potential to gain future promotions or raises.

5. Why do I have to attend pretrial services and what are my responsibilities?

Often times a commissioner may assign you to pretrial services. We should review the circumstances of the charge, your past history and whether it is appropriate and whether we need to file motions to remove you from pretrial services. Until such time as you are removed, you need to comply so that they will not report you to the court as a violator.

6. What if I do not understand the charge brought against me?

When we meet I will explain the Maryland code, each charge, the potential exposure and its ramifications.