It’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of a car accident victim if you have never been involved in a car accident with injuries. Only people who are hurt in a car accident in Maryland know the full extent of the trauma, the financial uncertainty, and the mental anguish. Notwithstanding the hardship, it’s seldom wise to accept first offer compensation after a car accident in Maryland. We understand why many people do so. Taking your time and weighing up an offer may go against your natural impulses. It’s not helped by the representatives of the insurance company who warn you the offer will be withdrawn if you don’t accept it within a short window of time.
If you filed a third-party claim with an insurance company after a car accident in Maryland, it can take weeks for the insurer to get back to you with an offer. That can seem like a long time when you are hurt both physically and financially. The psychological message the insurer gives the car accident victim is that the company doesn’t care and you will struggle to get an offer down the line. This may be true when liability is disputed. However, typically playing a long game is the best strategy after a car wreck in injuries. Hiring a veteran Baltimore car accident lawyer often gives those who sustain injuries in Maryland wrecks peace of mind. They no longer have to deal directly with the insurance company and they can contact their attorney or his paralegal to find what stage they are at in their injury claim. Dealing directly with an insurance company can make you feel like you are in a vacuum and ramp up your stress levels.
Things to Consider Before Accepting the First Car Crash Settlement Offer
There are very few reasons why you should accept first offer compensation after a car accident in Maryland and many reasons why you should not. The main reason why car accident claimants take the first offer is to get the whole stressful process over with and get their money as soon as possible. We understand why drivers or passengers who end up hurt in crashes need money quickly. Unfortunately, this is usually a mistake. Consider the following elements of your car accident case before accepting the first offer.
If you think the priority of a car insurance company in Maryland or elsewhere is giving you full and fair compensation, think again. The insurance adjuster’s job is to satisfy his or her bosses by keeping the payout down. Insurance adjusters are usually given a range to settle a case. Typically, the first offer will be near the bottom of the range. Insurance adjusters initially test the waters to find out how desperate a claimant is to settle the case for a minimal amount. Unfortunately, far too many injured motorists don’t consult a Baltimore personal injury lawyer and take the first offer because they believe it’s the best they will get. Irrespective of whether your claim is with GEICO, Erie, or AllState, the first offer is likely to be lowball.
If you accept first offer compensation after a car accident in Maryland, you may do so from a position of ignorance. Filing a car accident claim is just the first step in the settlement process. The insurance company collects statements from all parties as well as police accident reports. Often, new facts about a car crash emerge weeks or months after the claim is filed. The other driver may have a pending criminal hearing. If the driver who caused your accident pleads guilty to drunk driving in court this can have a significant impact on a claim and how much a jury might eventually award the injured parties.
If your Maryland car accident injury lawyer files a lawsuit, he can request information like traffic camera footage and call on expert witnesses who often shed new light on the case. He will request information from the other side under a process called interrogatories. If the driver who caused your accident lies during this process he or she can face criminal sanctions.
How Medical Expenses Are Valued in a Maryland Car Accident Settlement
It’s foolhardy to settle a case before the full extent of your car wreck injuries is apparent. Some complications from car wrecks are not known until months after an accident. Fractured arms, legs, and collarbones don’t always heal as they should. Brain injuries often manifest themselves at a later date. The trauma of a car wreck can cause a range of psychological issues like depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You should not accept compensation until you have finished treating for your injuries. Some car crash-related injuries are so serious the victim never finishes medical treatment. However, in most cases, you should not consider a settlement until you are at least 90 percent healed.
Car accident compensation includes past and future medical bills as well as pain and suffering which covers psychological trauma as well as ongoing pain. If you accept first offer compensation after a car accident in Maryland, you can leave money on the table. It’s in the insurance company’s interests to get you to accept a quick payout before you realize those persistent headaches are a symptom of a mild traumatic brain injury.
Will an Insurance Company Only Make One Offer for Your Car Crash Settlement?
Although the representative from the insurance company may indicate the first offer is a ‘take it or leave it’ scenario, this is seldom true. Typically, it’s just the start of a negotiation process. If you stand firm, the insurer usually makes a higher offer down the line.
When you receive the insurance company’s first offer, you should immediately reject it. Instead, make a counteroffer that’s at the high end of what you want to receive for your injuries. If you have calculated your injuries are worth $50,000 to $80,000, you should make that counteroffer close to $80,000. If you go for $60,000, you will be left with little wriggle room to get a better offer. Chances are, the insurance company will come back with another offer at the low end of the spectrum, but a better one than the opening offer.
What Happens if You Can’t Reach a Settlement Agreement with the Insurance Company?
If the negotiations end in stalemate, you should file a lawsuit. It’s usually prudent to hire a lawyer to make sure you have followed the property procedures. The clock is ticking because you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Maryland. If you miss this deadline, you lose your right to sue the at-fault driver.
Talk to Our Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer About Your Crash Settlement
Talk to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss your claim. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we offer free consultations and there is no obligation to hire a lawyer. You will not pay a fee. We operate on a contingency basis which means you will only pay us after you receive a settlement from the insurance company. Maryland car accident lawyer Randolph Rice will advise you of the dangers of settling your Maryland car injury case too soon. Please contact us today at (410) 431-0911.