Couple inside car after car accident with female passenger suffering whiplash injury

What are Your Rights as an Injured Passenger in an Auto Crash?

Over the years, we have published many blog posts outlining the proper driver response following their involvement in a car accident. Car accidents often lead to severe injuries, and we want to help drivers secure the recovery and compensation they deserve. However, drivers aren’t the only people who get injured in car accidents. So, what are your rights as an injured passenger in an auto crash?

Who is at Fault?

Maryland is an at fault state, which means that establishing the driver at fault is one of the primary focuses of many car accident cases. When you’re just the passenger, however, you are entitled to compensation for pain, medical bills, and lost wages regardless of which driver was deemed at fault.

If the driver of the other car involved in the accident is deemed at fault, the decision to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation is usually made. Things can get a little more complicated if the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was injured in is deemed at fault. In most cases, a friend or loved one is the individual at the wheel. How could you justify filing a claim against them? Well, you actually can justify it quite simply: they have an insurance policy for a reason! Insurance is a safety net that exists for both their benefit and your own, and the burden of financing your recovery after an injury you had no responsibility for should not fall on your shoulders.

What Should You Look Out For?

As stated earlier, it is fully within your rights to seek compensation after sustaining injuries as a passenger in an auto crash. Even still, you should expect the responding insurance company to launch their own investigation to reduce the payout.

Here are two situations that insurance companies may use in an effort to reduce the amount of compensation:

  • After a drunk driving incident, insurance companies may claim that you had a role in convincing the driver to make the drive.
  • After a distracted driving incident, insurance companies may attempt to argue that you played a role in distracting the driver and triggering the accident.

As your ally and attorney, Mobley and Brown will work to dispel these arguments and maximize your compensation to ultimately maximize your recovery.

Injured Passenger? Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Maryland Car Accident Claims

If you are searching for the right car accident attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Business concept meaning Field Sobriety Tests with phrase on the sheet

Are You Legally Required to Take Field Sobriety Tests?

In the state of Maryland, law enforcement officers use field sobriety tests to help determine whether or not citizens are intoxicated while driving. While the implied consent law has clear penalties for refusing a chemical sobriety test, the guidelines surrounding field sobriety tests aren’t as clear. Here is some helpful information regarding field sobriety tests, that could help you in the event you are pulled over for a suspected DUI.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are a battery of physical tests that assess a driver’s mental and physical impairments. They are typically conducted after a police officer has already deemed one’s driving to be dangerous and initiated a stop. The three most common field sobriety tests used in Maryland are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN): The police offer will ask the driver to follow a moving object with their eyes.
  • One-Leg Stand test (OLS): The police offer will ask the driver to stand on one foot, with the other foot six inches off the ground, for 30 seconds.
  • Walk and Turn test (W&T): In a heel-to-toe manner, the driver must walk in a straight line forward, pivot, and walk back to the original starting spot.

Field sobriety tests differ from chemical sobriety tests because chemical sobriety tests use a person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to determine intoxication, while field sobriety tests are left to the discretion of the police offer performing the tests.

What is Implied Consent and Do You Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests?

Maryland has an implied consent law, which means that anyone who is driving a vehicle automatically consents to take a chemical sobriety test, (i.e., breathalyzer or blood test) if they are pulled over under suspicion of DWI or DUI. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test or blood test could have severe consequences separate from a possible DUI conviction in court.

However, the implied consent law does not mention anything regarding field sobriety tests. This is because field sobriety tests are voluntary in the state of Maryland. There are no penalties associated with refusing a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are highly subjective and inherently biased, which is why we advise politely refusing to submit to them.

What Should I Do If Pulled Over for Suspected DUI In Maryland?

In the event you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, it is important you know your rights, including your right to refuse to submit to field sobriety testing. It’s a good idea to contact your representation at Mobley & Brown, LLP immediately to determine your best legal options and protect you from the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Secure the Most Positive Outcome After a DUI Conviction

If you or someone you know is dealing with the aftermath of a DUI conviction, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Probate sign, stack of papers and gavel.

4 Things That Can Slow the Probate Process

For those that want maximum control over the dispersal of their assets after their passing, we often recommend setting up a trust. However, trusts are not the end all be all of estate planning. Many families get by perfectly fine by creating a will with an experienced estate planning attorney as their ally. However, assets listed in your will must first pass through the probate process before they are dispersed to the individuals of your choosing. We’ve all heard the nightmare stores of the probate process lasting months or even years. So, what are some things you can look out for to make sure these situations don’t happen to your loved ones?

Many Beneficiaries

There is nothing wrong with listing many beneficiaries in a will, but it is one of the factors that could lead to a longer probate process. Simply put, more people must be notified, and more people must sign documentation to commence the probate process. With a legal team at your side, we can make sure each beneficiary is given ample time and reminders to fulfill their role in the process.

Beneficiaries or Assets Are Spread Out

Geography can also pose unique challenges in the probate process. In some cases, keeping relatives in the loop who live multiple states away (or even outside of the United States) can be a challenge. Conversely, sometimes the assets are dispersed across multiple states which requires the utilization of ancillary probates.

Executor Difficulties

It’s important to choose your executor wisely, as they too could potentially be the root of a slower than usual probate process. It’s not enough to simply trust a person enough to make them your executor. Ideally, they will also have good organizational skills, money skills, and won’t be too tied down by outside commitments.

Beneficiary Disagreements

Ideally, the executor will also be familiar with the relationships the individual who created the will has developed over the years. That’s because family feuds are another common source of probate delays. Attempting to defuse any potential disagreements before they develop into a feud state while remaining unbiased is something we are more than happy to assist in amid the probate process. This way, no further estate settlement court delays will keep your loved ones from receiving assets you’ve chosen to set aside for them.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Throughout the Probate Process

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

The Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

If you’ve recently been injured, you may be curious whether the circumstances leading up to your injury could warrant opening a personal injury case. After all, the alternative may be funding your personal recovery for an incident that was outside of your control from the beginning. In this blog, we’ll cover a few of the most common injuries that give rise to valid personal injury claims.

What is a Personal Injury?

“Personal injury” refers to the law that governs victims of preventable accidents or injuries caused by another party. Personal injury claims take place when a victim seeks legal remedy from the party that they believe is at fault for the preventable accident or injury. Personal injury cases either occur as a result of negligence, carelessness, or disregard of the safety of others rather than an active attempt of malice.

Personal injury cases can include a variety of situations that directly led to an injury. In order to maximize the chances of securing the recovery, lost wage compensation, and medical compensation you deserve, it’s important to seek out an experienced lawyer to serve as your ally throughout the claim process.

The Most Common Personal Injury Claims

  • Motor vehicle accidents. Maryland is an at-fault insurance state, meaning accidents caused due to negligence of the other driver are a popular situation that result in personal injury claims.
  • Slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall incidents are another very common personal injury, especially in the wintertime. Property owners have a legal responsibility to create a hazard free area for visitors, and the failure to do so can lead to a variety of injuries with a large scale of severity.
  • Medical malpractice. When a patient is directly harmed as a result of negligence from a medical professional, or they fail to provide the appropriate standard of care, a medical malpractice claim can be filed. While these claims are fairly common, we highly recommend consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney prior to filing your own. Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to win, and this is not a situation where doing it alone is advisable.
  • Dog attacks. Dog bites are a common personal injury claim because they can cause serious and potentially permanent injuries. Those who file personal injury claims for dog bites often receive compensation for the damages from the owner’s homeowner’s insurance

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help in the Aftermath of Your Accident or Injury

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your accident or injury, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Estate Planning for New Parents

There really is no wrong time to start the estate planning process. However, the thought of doing so first occurs for many couples shortly after having their first child. Becoming a parent involves a ton of responsibility, including attempting to meet your child’s needs and create a structure that allows them to enjoy safety and security in life. In this blog post, we’ll outline a few simple steps you can take now to begin the estate planning process as a new parent.

Purchase Life Insurance

If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, a great time to start shopping for one is when you enter the world of parenthood. In the event of a tragedy involving either parent, life insurance can step in to ensure stability for the surviving spouse and children. If both parents are lost, life insurance can even extend through college for surviving children. Life insurance premiums are generally affordable, and they can provide a major safety net in the unfortunate event that they need to be utilized. That’s why in most cases, it makes sense to opt in.

Make a Will and Include a Guardian

We understand that getting into the details and assigning beneficiaries for your possessions may not be appealing at a younger age. This is something you can focus on later at life at a more appropriate time if you prefer. For new parents, the big draw for creating a will is to name a guardian to designate an individual who is responsible for raising your children if you become unable to do so. Naming a guardian allows you to choose someone you trust for this critical task and will keep the burden of deciding off your family member’s shoulders.

At the very minimum, you will also want to update beneficiaries for your 401k/ IRA and life insurance to include both your spouse and your children.

Optional: Set Up a Trust

For those that want maximum control over the dispersal of their assets after their passing, we recommend setting up a trust. Doing so will prevent your child from being unable to access assets until they are 18 and receiving a lump sum of funds once they become an adult. Unlike a will, a trust allows access to funds without court intervention or the probate process. As such, you can designate an individual to manage your trust and be in immediate control of how your children should be taken care of after your passing.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Starting Your Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

3 Common Mistakes Made During Drug Crime Cases

The aftermath of a drug related charge can undoubtedly be very tense and nerve-wracking. When the potential for prison sentences and hefty fines are present, it’s only natural for anxiety to be present as well.  With tension high, the potential for mistakes and slipups increases, and such mistakes could genuinely hurt your chances at securing the best outcome for your future. As such, lets cover a few mistakes you should be certain to avoid in the aftermath of a drug related charge.

Provide Consent for a Search

If you are approached by law enforcement and asked to provide consent for a search of your home or vehicle, you do not have to give in to their wishes. Without a warrant, any evidence they find may be inadmissible, whereas that would not be the case if they conducted the search with your approval.

Making Too Many Statements to Law Enforcement

Law enforcement may try to convince you that admitting to your possession of a drug will help you in the long run, but the exact opposite can be argued. Once you admit that a drug in possession is yours, it becomes much harder to seek avenues to avoid consequences. If you believe that staying silent will keep you from accidentally incriminating yourself, you should feel free to remain silent.

Doing Nothing After the Charge

Many people make the mistake of waiting for something to happen after a drug charge in hopes that the state will not pick up the charges. It is imperative to be proactive during the aftermath of a drug charge. The best chance for you to secure a positive outcome will take place when you and your attorney attempt to have the state drop or reduce a charge prior to filing the charging document, not after.

Law Enforcement Can Make Mistakes Too

You are not the only one who needs to tread lightly in the aftermath of a drug charge. There is a hand full of mistakes that law enforcement may make as well. Be sure to report suspicion of any of these mistakes to your attorney as you attempt to outline your plan moving forward:

  • Failure to read your Miranda Rights
  • Performing an illegal search
  • Ignoring repeated requests to speak with your attorney

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Drug Crime Lawsuits in Maryland

If you are searching for a drug criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Common Medicines or Drugs That Could Cause a DUI Charge

Many people mistakenly believe that DUI and DWI are the same charges, and that they are both alcohol related charges. It’s easy to see why these mistakes are made, as most of these cases are indeed alcohol related. However, prescribed and over the counter drugs could easily result in DUI or DWI charges. Here is a guide for nonalcohol related driving while under the influence charges.

Illegal Drugs That Lead to DUI

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • LSD
  • Mushrooms
  • Methamphetamine

While medical cannabis was legalized in 2014, it is still a crime to drive in the state of Maryland when mental or physical faculties are impaired. As such, driving while impaired by medical cannabis can lead to a DUI charge.

Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs That Could Lead to DUI

  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anxiety medications
  • ADHD drugs
  • Sleep aids
  • Cough medications
  • Cold or flu medications, such as NyQuil
  • Albuterol (medication found in inhalers)
  • Prescription painkillers

Each of these drugs, whether prescribed or over the counter, have the potential to cause a loss of balance or difficulty following officer instructions when paired with the anxiety caused by a traffic stop.

The state of Maryland holds drivers responsible for taking the effects of consumed medications into account before operating a motor vehicle. As such, we recommend always thoroughly reading drug warning labels or checking with your doctor if you are unsure about the effects of a drug.

Are Exceptions Ever Made?

While drivers are held responsible for their actions, there are cases that may cause a reconsideration for the charges. For a DUI conviction to be placed on a driver’s record, they must have displayed an intent for the act. However, if an individual has been using a medication for an extended period with no history of complications, only to be charged with DUI, it may be worth digging a little deeper. Perhaps a temporary change in homeostasis caused an unusual reaction to the medicine, directly causing the driving behavior that led to the DUI. Clearly, such an event is not intentional.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Reducing Your Risk of Being Involved in a Winter Car Accident

We may have had a mild December, but it seems like the arrival of 2022 has also marked the arrival of snow throughout the state of Maryland. The last thing anyone needs is to be involved in a crash and risk injury because of inclement weather. As such, let’s take a look at a few ways you can reduce the chances of a crash in winter, 2022.

Drive Slowly, Leave Early

When snow is in the forecast, it’s worth setting your alarm extra early to allow plenty of time to thoroughly clean off your vehicle. Additionally, you will want to drive ~5mph under the speed limit, and potentially even slower in serious conditions. Make sure you leave early to account for this and eliminate the desire to drive unnecessarily fast in the interest of saving time.

Remembering Scott’s Law

Scott’s Law (or the “Move Over” law) is fundamentally important any time of year, but its worth bringing up again when inclement weather could be on the way. If you notice law enforcement or work crews on the side of the road, be sure to give them ample space to avoid a potentially tragic situation.

Do Not Rely on Cruise Control

Cruise control is a valuable tool in dry weather, but we recommend avoiding it if snow or ice are on the road. As drivers, we can see suspect areas of the road ahead and modulate the throttle to keep our tires from losing grip. However, cruise control is more focused on ensuring you maintain your desired speed. That means that if you drive over an icy patch, the cruise control may keep applying a consistent amount of throttle, causing a reduction and traction and potential hydroplaning.

Use Care When Navigating Over Bridges, Ramps, and Intersections

Not only does traffic compress in these areas, but they also have high potential for black ice. Use plenty of caution and be sure to keep a close watch on other drivers who may struggle to come to a stop if they approach with too much speed.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Maryland Car Accident Claims

If you are searching for the right car accident attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Nursing Home Liability in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Back when the pandemic began, there was a scramble amongst states throughout the U.S to establish a liability framework when it came to COVID-19 and nursing homes. It’s no secret that seniors are among the most vulnerable to the virus, and these efforts were made to protect both nursing homes and care facilities from any complications that arose as a result of the virus. Maryland is among the many states that have enacted such protections, but that doesn’t mean that nursing homes are immune to sanctions for negligence. As such, we would like to provide some insight to help you differentiate between subpar care and acceptable practices during the aftermath of COVID-19.

The Maryland Nursing Home Bill of Rights

The Maryland Nursing Home Bill of Rights establishes a baseline of care that must always be adhered to by nursing homes throughout the state. The most relevant takeaways from the bill are as follows:

  • Residents have a right to quality care.
  • Residents must be treated with respect.

While the failure to adhere to these two points certainly introduces the possibility of negligence, they do nothing to address the spread of viruses and infections.

Maryland Department of Health Guidelines

Since the Bill of Rights is most relevant during times of normalcy, the Maryland Department of Health recently amended a directive outlining many nursing home matters specifically pertaining to COVID.

These guidelines are currently the most up-to-date look at the standards that must be upheld in nursing homes across the state. Here are the key points pertaining to liability:

  • Nursing homes must seek out updates from CDC, CMS, and MDH on a daily basis to check for updated guidance, policies, or procedures.
  • Any individual who enters the facility must be screened in accordance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention Guidance.
  • Vital signs and CDC symptom checks must be administered to residents on a daily basis. All evaluations must be documented in the resident’s medical records, and any changes in condition must be reported for further assessment

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Nursing Home Liability Cases in the Aftermath of COVID-19

If you are dealing with a nursing home liability case in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. While the state of Maryland does offer certain protections for nursing homes, it is possible that they have failed to offer the quality of care that you deserve. Our experienced legal team will work with you to ensure you get the care you need. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Understanding the Responsibility of Guardianship

While the importance of estate planning is well documented, life can undoubtedly get in the way and prevent individuals from keeping their estate planning up to date throughout their lives. However, unexpected life changes could leave loved ones in a state in which they are unable to provide themselves with necessary care at any time. When such changes take place, a guardianship is one way to ensure loved ones receive the care and supports they need.

What is a Guardianship?

A guardianship is the legal right given to an individual who assumes responsibility for aiding another individual who has become partially or fully unable to provide for themselves.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?

  • Filing annual reports. The court serves as the superior guardian in a guardianship, giving them final say in all facets of the guardianship. While the court does not micromanage guardianships, guardians are required to file annual reports to keep the courts up to date with significant life events such as address changes.
  • Monitor quality of life. Guardians assume the responsibility of making many day-to-day decisions when it comes to the quality of life of the ward (the represented individual). For example, malnutrition is common among the elderly, and guardians assume the responsibility of ensuring the ward receives regular healthy meals. They also assume healthcare responsibilities, including scheduling checkups as needed and keeping up with medications.
  • Secure housing. While guardians are not burdened with paying housing expenses out of pocket, they do assume the responsibility of arranging housing for the ward using estate funds or government benefits.
  • Maintaining independence. The purpose of a guardianship is to provide aid for those who need it the most, but it is important to still involve the ward in key choices whenever possible, and to consider their values, religious beliefs, and personal values at every decision point.
  • Management of financial and legal affairs. Guardians assume the right and responsibility to manage the legal and financial matters of the ward. If necessary, this could include the selling of assets and/ or investing of assets.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Next Steps as a Guardian

If you are considering applying for legal guardianship, we support and applaud your efforts. Our experienced attorneys can help you file the necessary paperwork and take the necessary steps to become a legal guardian. We would consider it our privilege to aid your efforts. LET US HELP YOU BECOME A LEGAL GUARDIAN- CALL (410) 385-0398.