Q.) What should I do if I am involved in an automobile accident?
     The first thing that you should do is to call the authorities. The police can prepare a report that will memorialize the important facts, and paramedics can assure that all injured parties receive necessary emergency care.

     You also should exchange relevant information with the other driver(s), including personal information, driver’s license information, vehicle information, and insurance information.

     Personal information includes the full name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of the other driver(s). You also should obtain the full name, address, and telephone number of any passengers in the other automobile(s) and of any other witnesses to the accident.

     Driver’s license information includes the information set forth on the face of the driver’s license. Be sure to make a note of the jurisdiction that issued the driver’s license, the driver’s license number, the expiration date, and any restrictions.

     Vehicle information includes the year, make and model of the car, the name of the registered owner, the license plate number (and state of issue), the expiration date of the plates, and the vehicle identification number (or VIN).

     Insurance information includes the name of the insurance company, the policy number, and the expiration date.

     If you have a camera (including one on your phone) you should take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicle damage. It is best to take pictures of the accident scene before the vehicles are moved. But, be careful. You should take multiple pictures from multiple angles: these can prove invaluable in later documenting exactly what happened. Later, you also should take pictures of the injuries sustained, particularly if bruising, swelling or scarring is evident.

     When the police officers arrive, make a note of their names and badge numbers. Ask them whether they will be preparing a report. If not, ask them to write a statement about what they observed.

     Take notes about what you observed. What were the weather conditions? Was the pavement dry? Was the area well lit? Did the other driver(s) say anything? If so, make a note of exactly what they said, word for word if possible, while it is still very fresh in your memory, including, of course, any apology or admission of fault.

     Finally, call the Law Office of S. Robert Sutton to schedule your free consultation. It is best that you schedule the consultation as quickly as possible, so that Mr. Sutton can handle the initial contact with the insurance companies. 301-244-8744.
Q.) If I was harmed in an accident that was partly my fault, can I still recover for my injuries?
     Both Maryland and the District of Columbia are “contributory negligence” jurisdictions. This means that if you contributed to the accident you may be unable to recover for your injuries.
Q.) How is it determined who was at fault in an automobile accident?
     Often the facts will render fault obvious. In other instances it may be necessary carefully to reconstruct exactly what happened. The police report is often very important in determining fault.
Q.) What type of damages can I recover following an automobile accident?
     If you are harmed as the result of another person’s negligence, you are entitled to be “made whole,” or, stated differently, to be placed in the same position that you would have been in had the accident not occurred. This means that you are entitled to recover for the amount of your medical bills, including anticipated future medical bills. It means that you are entitled to recover for any lost income should the injuries prevent you from working. This includes future lost income should this inability continue into the future. It also means that you are entitled to recover for past, present, and future pain and suffering, and for any other losses that you may have suffered.
Q.) Can a personal injury or medical malpractice action be brought at any time?
     No. Personal injury and medical malpractice actions are governed by specific Statutes of Limitations that can act as a bar to an untimely lawsuit.
Q.) What types of situations can give rise to a medical malpractice case?
Medical malpractice actions can arise from a variety of situations including:
  • Misdiagnosis – The failure to properly and timely diagnose a medical condition. This failure, or delay, can result in the advancement of the medical condition requiring more extensive treatment and, in some situations, can result in a less favorable prognosis, or likely outcome, for the patient.

  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent – If the health care provider fails to properly advise you of the risks associated with a medical procedure, and to obtain your informed consent before proceeding, the health care provider may be liable. To succeed on a lack of informed consent theory, however, one must demonstrate not only the absence of informed consent, but also that a reasonable person in the position of the patient, without the benefit of hindsight, would have withheld consent for the treatment at issue had complete, accurate information regarding the nature of the treatment and the risks involved been provided.

  • Negligent Treatment – If a healthcare provider provides treatment that falls short of the required standards of care, the healthcare provider may be held liable for the injury that results from that failure.
Q.) If I have signed a consent form, am I barred from bringing a medical malpractice action?
     No. A consent form does not excuse the provision of substandard medical care.