One of the first questions we are often asked by clients is how long do car accident injury claims take in Maryland. It’s natural to want to know the length time it will take for your case to be resolved.
Although car crash victims often need fast cash, it’s usually a mistake to settle a case too quickly. The insurance companies realize people hurt in car accidents are often in dire straights and they play on their insecurities. The insurance company may dangle a tempting payout and offer you fast cash early in the case. Usually, the insurance adjusters know your case is worth a lot more and hope you will not hire a lawyer. Sadly, many people are bought off so as they can get an early resolution. You should always talk to a Baltimore car accident attorney about your case. We offer free consultations. Even if you decide not to hire a lawyer, it’s prudent to explore your options.
How Early Should You Settle a Car Accident Case in Maryland?
Settling a car accident case early in Maryland can be a mistake for a host of reasons. It’s vital to know the full extent of your injuries before you accept a payout from the insurance company. Once a case is settled it’s closed. You can’t go back and ask for additional money. Always talk to your doctor as soon as possible after a car crash with injuries. Seek the help of specialists for niggling problems. We often help clients who have more serious injuries than they initially believe. Certain injuries such as mild traumatic brain injuries are notoriously difficult to diagnose and are missed by family doctors.
Procedures like CT scans identify serious brain injuries but may miss a mild traumatic brain injury. The International Brain Injury Association points out concussions and less serious brain injuries are known as the “silent epidemic.” The telltale signs of mild traumatic brain injuries are usually subtle changes in behavior, sleeplessness, anxiety, or depression. These issues have a dramatic impact on the sufferer’s life and should be factored into a settlement. Our Maryland car accident lawyers will fight the insurance company to increase the settlement because of these factors. If you settled your case with the insurance before these symptoms appeared, you will likely lose out.
People who are hurt in car crashes often suffer from whiplash injuries. While this usually clears up in a matter of weeks, whiplash pain can linger in a minority of people and even be a lifetime problem. Other issues such as herniated discs can result in costly surgeries weeks or even months after a car wreck in Maryland.
It can also be a mistake to settle a car accident case early in Maryland because insurance companies usually start negotiations with a low offer. The companies gauge how serious you are in holding their client to account for causing the wreck that hurt you. They will take you more seriously if you hire a lawyer. Additionally, the attorney often uncovers more evidence about the accident that can be favorable to his client. We can research the driving record of a driver or find out if a trucker was violating hours of service rules or has a medical condition like sleep apnea that caused a crash. We may find inconsistencies in the police report or obtain important traffic camera footage. We can hire experts. This evidence can prove crucial if it’s brought before a jury. The jury is likely to be more sympathetic to your case. Although only a small number of cases make it to a trial, insurance companies often take cases they believe are heading to court more seriously.
Although trials are less predictable, they can result in higher payouts. If the behavior of the driver who hurt you was particularly horrific, a jury is likely to be more sympathetic to your case. Juries often make large awards against corporate defendants or drunk drivers.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Injury Claim in Maryland?
While it’s often a mistake to settle a car accident case too early, it’s certainly a grave error to wait too long to file your case.
Under the Maryland Statute of Limitations, you must file a civil action within three years of the date of the personal injury accident. Don’t wait until the 11th hour. The longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the more difficult it will be to gather evidence. Your lawyer will want to speak to witnesses whose memories of the accident will fade quickly.
As soon as you get injured in a car accident in Maryland, the clock starts ticking. However, once your lawyer has started the claim process, there is no cut off on how long proceedings can take. Typically, even the most complicated case is likely to be resolved within 3 years.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Maryland Car Accident Claim?
There is no hard and fast rule about how long a Maryland car accident claim takes to settle. Minor claims relating to soft tissue injuries usually settle within 6 months of the accident. Cases involving multiple parties and more complicated injuries can take considerably longer.
The time it takes to settle a Maryland car accident claim depends on the following factors:
- The seriousness of the injuries caused by the accident;
- Whether liability is disputed;
- The number of parties involved in a claim;
- The willingness of an insurance company to work with you;
- The willingness of the parties to be reasonable;
- How long it takes to complete your medical treatment;
- Whether it’s necessary to file a lawsuit.
Are There Reasons to Delay Settling a Car Accident Settlement in Maryland?
There are good reasons not to accept an early offer and to be patient about your car accident case. People hurt in car wrecks often get desperate. They can lose sight of the bigger picture and accept the first offer they receive.
Always ensure treatment is completed or you have reached the maximum improvement you can before talking money. You may finish treating in a matter of days or years. With ongoing medical issues, you can’t wait for years. However, you need to have an accurate notion of the seriousness of your inures before you accept an offer from the insurance company. If future procedures are likely, your injury lawyer can seek expert medical advice to reach an estimate of your future medical costs which is built into the claim.
You must obtain all relevant medical bills and documentation of lost wages and submit them before you accept an offer. People hurt in a car accident may make the mistake of thinking the time they took off work in the days or weeks after the accident was the total of lost time, only to need more time off for accident-related complications at a later date.
Ensure you get a response to your demand package before you agree to a settlement deal. This typically takes 15 days to three months.
Deadline for Filing an Accident Claim Against a Maryland Government
Although people injured in car wrecks usually have three years to make a claim, the rules are different in local government cases. Under the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act, you must give notice of a claim in writing within a year of an accident. If you were hit and hurt by a Baltimore City trash truck, or a Maryland highways vehicle you must make the claim stating the time, place, and cause of the injury within 12 months.
People hurt in a Maryland car, truck, pedestrian, or motorcycle accident have three years from the date of the incident to bring a lawsuit. It may be too late to hire a personal injury lawyer if you wait until the eve of the Maryland Statute of Limitations time limit.
Although you should seek medical attention first after a car accident with injuries in Maryland, hiring a lawyer should be a close second. If a lawsuit is filed your attorney will need to talk to witnesses and pull police reports. That’s more difficult if he is doing it two years rather than two months after the wreck.
When Does A Car Accident Lawsuit in Maryland Settle?
A car accident lawsuit in Maryland typically takes at least a year to settle. If the case goes all the way to trial it could take as long as three years from the time of the accident. Most cases settle before a trial.
Cases often settle shortly after your attorney files a lawsuit. The insurance company may have been playing hardball with your claim. When the adjuster sees you filed a lawsuit, the insurer often takes your case more seriously and wants to settle fast.
Maryland car accident injury cases may settle when new and important information comes to light. For example, the driver who hit you denied he ran a red light. However, video evidence gathered during the lawsuit shows the light turned to red just before the impact.
Lawsuits involve a process called discovery. Each party investigates the facts of a case through a formal process. Your car accident injury lawyer requests documents from the other party, asks for answers to interrogatories, and other evidence. Discovery can tie down an evasive defendant through direct questions. The parties can demand evidence directly relevant to the accident as well as material that’s not directly relevant but could lead to the uncovering of relevant evidence.
The parties can be called in for depositions by the attorneys. This involves direct questions under cross-examination. It’s a powerful tool.
Mediation hearings are often held when a case appears to be heading to trial. A mediator, who is often a retired judge, is hired to work with the parties on a settlement agreement. A report in The Jury Expert noted about 69 percent of motor vehicle cases that went to mediation settled.
The nature of litigation means there are many opportunities to settle a car wreck lawsuit before trial. Although a lawsuit typically takes 1-3 years the answer to the question ‘how long does it take for a car accident lawsuit in Maryland’ depends on the steps your attorney takes and thew willingness of the insurance company to be flexible.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
Victims of car accidents habitually suffer a lot of physical and emotional trauma. They are in pain and unable to work. They may not know where their next paycheck is coming from and how they are going to pay mounting medical bills. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question of how long car accident injury claims take in Maryland. You may receive a payout in 6 months or the process may take 2 years. Although hiring a lawyer often makes insurance companies take a claim more seriously, not all claims end in a favorable result.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers won’t be able to tell you exactly how long your car accident claim will take but we can give you advice based on certain scenarios. Please contact our experienced car accident attorneys now to obtain legal advice about your case and possible outcomes.