Could a Past Accident Affect Your Current Maryland Car Crash Claim?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on June 28, 2023 and updated on July 17, 2023.

handing paper ticket to female driver

There are many factors that may be involved in a car crash, including driver negligence, road design, traffic, weather and mechanical components on the vehicles.

The liable driver’s insurance company may want you to believe your driving record is also a factor. They may even say your driving record affects your ability to recover compensation for the accident that just occurred. Is this true?

Below, our experienced attorneys discuss how your driving record may impact an auto accident claim. If you need legal assistance after a collision in Maryland, give us a call. Our Maryland vehicle crash lawyers are ready to help and there are no upfront costs.

Contact us after a crash to schedule your free legal consultation: 410-297-0271.

How the Insurance Company May Try to Use Your Driving Record Against You

Car insurance companies are legally obligated to pay out compensation when crash victims file valid claims. If the policyholder caused the crash, the victim is eligible to recover compensation from the policyholder’s insurance company for medical expenses and other damages.

The problem is that insurance companies are focused on protecting their profits. They have an incentive to look for any reason to deny or at least devalue claims, even legitimate ones.

That means they are going to look for some reason to pin the blame for the accident on the victim. If they bring up your driving record, they are trying to argue that your past negligence played a role in this most recent crash.

Insurers in Maryland have a strong incentive to do this because our state follows a harsh contributory negligence law. If you are even one percent at fault you are barred from seeking any compensation for the accident.

However, the insurance company needs to have a good reason for assigning fault to you. The bottom line is that an old accident has no bearing on the current accident.

The insurance company may also try to use an old crash to discredit you. They may say they do not believe your version of events because you have been at fault before. This may be a strong argument if you caused a crash because of:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating another vehicle
  • Violating a driver’s right of way

However, strong evidence of the other driver’s role in the crash should be enough to overcome these assertions from the insurance company. You will need help from an experienced attorney to build a strong case to counter the insurance company’s arguments about past accidents and your driving record.

What About Non-Moving Violations?

The insurance company might even try to attack your credibility for non-moving violations on your driving record, such as:

  • Expired tag/vehicle registration – This should not impact your ability to seek compensation for damages. Your expired vehicle registration has no connection to the cause of the crash.
  • Expired driver’s license – This is another issue that has no connection to the cause of the crash. If you need to seek compensation from your own policy because the at-fault driver has no coverage, you should still be able to. The only problem is if your insurance policy says it will not provide coverage if your license is expired. However, this is usually not the case – if your license was valid when you bought or renewed the policy it should provide coverage.
  • Parking tickets – Getting a parking ticket and/or not paying a parking ticket is negligent, but it did not cause the crash to happen.
  • Citation for a broken taillight – Driving with a broken taillight is against the law, but it did not cause the most recent accident, assuming you fixed the taillight since you received the citation.

If the insurance company is trying to use a non-moving violation against you, call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl for legal assistance. We can determine if there is anything in your driving history that may affect your current claim.

The Insurance Company May Say You Have a Preexisting Injury

If you were involved in an accident not long before the current crash, the insurance company may say you were injured in the old accident and that is the reason you are getting medical treatment now. This is a common tactic used by insurance companies to deny claims or devalue the damages you suffered.

If you do have a preexisting injury, you can still seek compensation for new injuries or aggravation of your old injury. However, your lawyer will need to gather detailed evidence showing the difference between your new and old injury or showing how your injury has worsened since this latest crash.

It is important that you do not discuss your preexisting injury with the insurance company. This is something you should only share with your doctors and your attorney. Our experienced lawyers can explain how to prove this type of case.

An example of an injury that may get worse in a car crash is a back injury. If you suffered a back injury and were later involved in a crash, do not assume the injury is getting worse as part of the natural progression of your symptoms. The crash very likely had something to do with it, although this is something that must be proven with medical evidence.

Call For Help With Your Car Crash Case

Crash victims should not allow themselves to be misled by the insurance company. They are notorious for trying to make victims believe the crash is their fault and not the fault of the other driver.

If you are unsure about what to do after getting injured in a crash in Maryland, call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl to learn how we may be able to help. Our attorneys do not get paid unless they recover compensation through settlement negotiations or a courtroom decision.

You do not need to go through the legal process alone. Contact us today: 410-297-0271.