If you get in a car accident and the other driver’s insurance company denies liability, then you have to file a lawsuit.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and damages, you may decide to file your lawsuit in the District Court for $15,000.00. Many automobile collision cases are filed in the District Court because it is inexpensive, not time consuming, and goes to trial quickly.
But, how do you win a contested liability case?
Winning a contested liability auto accident case
Maryland is not a plaintiff friendly state. The negligence liability laws favor the at-fault defendant driver.
In a negligence case, if the defendant is 99% at fault and the plaintiff is 1% at-fault, then the plaintiff loses. The plaintiff gets nothing, zero.
Seems very unfair, and it is.
So, how do you win a contested liability case where defense is claiming you contributed to the accident. Here a few things you can do to help win your case.
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Identify independent witnesses
- Make the defendant testify first
District Court car accident victory
Our client was involved in a minor car accident where the defendant’s insurance company claimed our client was partially at-fault for the accident. The insurance company denied liability, paid nothing to fix our client’s car, and left him with unpaid medical bills.
We filed suit in the District Court and took our case to trial.
Our theory of the case was that our client had the right-of-way, the accident scene photos contradicted the defendant’s story, and an independent witness corroborated our theory of the case.
Make the defendant testify first
We put the defendant on the witness stand first. Many plaintiff’s attorneys don’t do this because it is out of order. They subscribe to the belief that you call your client, tell your story, and then let the defense put on their case.
We believe it’s better to call the defendant first and make their story fit the theory of your case. That’s exactly what we did in our case in the District Court. We controlled the defendant’s testimony and elicited the facts that fit our theory of the case.
Independent witness don’t have to see the accident happen
Next, we called an independent witness to corroborate parts of our story. While the witness didn’t see the accident actually happen, the witness was able to provide context to the overall story of the case. Again, we used the witness’ testimony to fit our theory of the case.
Pictures and diagrams don’t lie
Finally, we used pictures of the property damage to the vehicles to explain how the accident really happened. You must use pictures and diagrams in a contested liability case. People are visual, they need to see things to understand how they happen. What’s even better, we made the defendant draw the diagram of the accident. The defendant was proving our case for us!
Schedule a free auto accident consultation today
So, if you want to win a contested liability case, identify your theory of the case and make the evidence and testimony fit your theory. Our case had a happy ending, the client got paid for the property damage and medical bills. It just took six months, and a lawsuit, to get the insurance company to understand the accident was their insured’s fault.
The Law Office of Ross W. Albers is located in Westminster and Columbia, Maryland. Personal injury attorney Ross W. Albers is a former insurance adjuster and prosecutor.
If you have been injured, then contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.