Many people who end up injured in car accidents have little or no idea how to deal with an insurance claim. Statistics show the average person will be involved in a car accident about four times in their lives. However, many of these accidents are fender benders with no injuries. Often claimants make the mistake of believing they have to accept an insurance settlement after a car accident in Maryland.
The insurance companies like to peddle this misconception. They will present offers as if they are a ‘take it or leave it’ scenario. In fact, accident victims who choose to refuse an insurance offer may get a better one down the line. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains if you are required to accept an insurance settlement after a car accident in Maryland.
Do Insurance Companies in Maryland Make Good Offers Early On?
Every year we help people who file insurance claims with GEICO, Allstate, Farmers or another big insurance company. Typically, insurance companies don’t make good offers early on. As anyone who has ever been to a street market in Mexico or Morocco will know, the initial price the vendor quotes you for an item is vastly overinflated. The opposite is true in car accident cases. The first offer is under-inflated. The psychology is the same, though. The vendor or the insurance company is seeking to exploit people willing to take an unfavorable deal before negotiations.
Unfortunately, a lot of car accident injury victims don’t receive what their case is worth. This is extremely sad. It’s one thing to pay above the odds for a watch that doesn’t work at a street market; it’s quite another when you are left with insufficient money to cover medical bills for a broken leg or a spinal cord injury that may dog you for the rest of your life.
An insurance company gives its adjuster authority to settle your case within a certain range. No adjuster starts negotiations at the higher end of the range. Inevitably, the adjuster will start at the low end, giving more leeway to make higher offers as negotiations continue.
Should You Accept Fast Cash in an Insurance Settlement After a Car Accident in Maryland?
You should be very careful about accepting fast cash in an insurance settlement after a car accident in Maryland. Although accident victims often want the ordeal to be over as soon as possible and need money, this is not a process you should rush.
It often makes sense to refuse the first offer from the insurance company. It’s very unwise to blindly accept the first offer even if the insurer tries to blind you with dollar signs.
If your claim is property damage-only, and you have an accurate estimate of the repair costs, accepting an initial offer may not be as detrimental to your case as with an injury claim.
Calculating a Car Accident Settlement Before Accepting an Offer
Know the value of your car accident before you agree to a claim. That means you should know the medical costs you have incurred and have kept meticulous records. You should know how much you have lost in wages from time off work.
Although most accident victims can gather this information, it’s a lot more tricky to work out your future medical bills from ongoing treatment related to your car accident in the future. You should anticipate future lost wages. Most difficult of all, you should reach a figure that reflects pain and suffering after your Maryland car crash. This is also known as non-economic damages.
Evaluating the value of a claim takes a lot of skill. You should add property damage to the totality of medical bills, scarring, disability and other anguish from the accident.
You may also have to put a value on mental anguish. Car accidents cause a range of unexpected complications like flashbacks, sleepless nights, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. You may end up asking yourself ‘how do I put a value on mental anguish after a Maryland car accident?’
A Maryland car accident lawyer will work with you to reach a demand figure too present to the insurance company. This will give you a benchmark for what your case is worth. Although you are not obliged to stick to this amount, you will have a better idea of whether your insurance company is shortchanging you and the gap between the insurance company offer and an acceptable offer in your case.
Five Factors to Consider When Dealing With an Insurance Company After a Car Accident in Maryland
- Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators: Insurance adjusters are often very friendly. They will act as if they are on your side. They are not. The insurance adjuster is employed by the big insurance company and his or her role is to settle the case for as little as possible. They are trained negotiators which means they often use psychological tricks to get you to accept an offer such as indicating you will not receive another.
- The insurance company will try to avoid paying medical expenses: The insurance company is always on the lookout for overbilling or medical expenses not related to the accident. The insurer will look for a preexisting condition as a cause of your injuries or suspicious gaps in treatment. Document all doctor and hospital visits and make sure medical professionals are aware of the auto accident.
- Insurance companies may ignore you if you don’t settle: Sometimes, insurance companies will start ignoring you if you spurn their offers. This is a deliberate tactic to panic you into thinking you will receive nothing if you don’t take a lowball offer. Insurance companies may lose paperwork or transfer you to a different agent. The insurance company may even hope you run out of time to file a lawsuit which is three years from the time of the accident in Maryland.
- Getting You To Make a Statement: The other side’s insurance company often tells claimants they must give a recorded statement early in the process. The representative will often seek to trip you up and get you o admit liability or something less obvious that can harm your case. There is no obligation to give a recorded statement. If you hire legal counsel, the attorney will deal with the other side’s insurance company.
- Blaming other causes or drivers: Blaming other causes and drivers is another common insurance company trick. The insurance company seeks to take the heat off its policyholder. Blaming a third party, bad weather, poor roads, a defective vehicle or another cause is a means of muddying the waters. It can also delay your claim. Your attorney can ensure the insurance company remains focused on your case.
Talk to Our Maryland Car Crash Lawyer About an Insurance Settlement Today
If you were hurt in a car crash and recently received an insurance settlement offer, its not too late to hire a car accident lawyer to help you out. If you accept and sign the settlement offer, there is no going back. You cannot reopen a case after you have accepted a settlement. Please contact our Baltimore personal injury lawyer today at 410-834-3845.