A car accident can swiftly change a person’s life in a matter of seconds. After being injured in a car accident, a victim can seek compensation in a number of ways, like agreeing to a settlement with the negligent driver or his insurance company. However, there are a variety of factors that should be considered before agreeing to a settlement offer.
Settlements should take into account not just the victim’s medical bills, property damage, and loss of income, but also their personal pain and suffering as a result of both the accident and their resulting injuries. It is important to push back against what the insurance company claims that you deserve, as the number is likely higher. Do not be dissuaded from filing your lawsuit even while you are still negotiating the terms of a settlement.
If you require assistance handling your car accident claim, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore car accident attorney as soon as possible. Rice, Murtha & Psoras has fought for clients in a variety of car accident cases, and we are prepared to offer you the unique legal representation you deserve when you call (410) 694-7291. Maryland car accident attorney Randolph Rice is here to explain much a car accident settlement in Maryland is worth.
Determining the Value of a Car Accident Settlement in Maryland
If you were injured in a car accident in Maryland, you should seek compensation from the driver that caused your injuries. A victim can seek compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. the value of a car crash settlement is not easily determined. There are a number of factors that should be considered that can help a victim assess the value of their case.
Every car accident is different because every victim is different. Certain injuries may impact one person differently than they might another. For instance, let’s say that a driver and passenger are injured when another vehicle runs a red light at high speeds. Both the driver and the passenger suffer severe hand injuries that result in loss of function and sensation. The driver is a professional mechanic and the passenger is a teacher. The mechanic’s loss of the use of their hand may impact their ability to work more substantially than it might the teacher.
Maryland is an at-fault state for car insurance. This means that the victim of a car accident can seek compensation from the individual that caused the accident directly instead of first consulting their personal insurance company.
When seeking compensation through an insurance settlement, a victim should be aware that the opposing insurance company will not be on their side. In fact, the insurance company may take steps to minimize your claim. For example, an insurance claim adjuster may question a victim about whether they were partly responsible for the accident, in order to decrease their liability for the accident.
If a victim is successful in receiving compensation from an insurance company, there may still be other factors to consider before agreeing to the settlement. For example, if the negligent driver had the minimum insurance coverage necessary to operate a vehicle in Maryland, the compensation provided in the settlement may not be enough to compensate the victim.
Additionally, you should always consider whether the at-fault driver’s conduct warrants punitive damages. Punitive damages are not available in every case, but where they are awarded, they may represent the most substantial category of damages you could recover through a lawsuit. In settlement negotiations, car insurance companies may not factor in the possibility of punitive damages. Examples of situations that might call for punitive damages might include where the accident was caused by drunk driving, illegal street racing, road rage, or other behavior behind the wheel that was either intentionally harmful or so reckless that it warrants additional punishment.
The severity of the victim’s injuries and the damage to their vehicle should be considered before agreeing to a settlement. If the terms of a settlement are not sufficient to handle all the victim’s expenses, it may be wise to seek a personal injury lawsuit instead.
To learn more about filing a car accident lawsuit in Maryland against a negligent driver, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney.
Why You Should Consider a Filing a Lawsuit Instead of a Car Accident Settlement in Maryland
There are various benefits to pursuing a personal injury lawsuit instead of a car accident settlement. As mentioned, a victim may not receive an adequate amount of compensation for their injuries. However, deciding to file a personal injury lawsuit may deal with that issue and many other problems.
A personal injury lawsuit will not limit the amount of money that a victim can receive for their injuries. For example, if a victim incurred $100,000 worth of damages due to a car accident, the victim could pursue that amount from the negligent driver. Additionally, if the victim can prove damages like pain and suffering or similar losses, this can increase the amount of damages earned.
Compensatory damages for a personal injury case are based on economic and noneconomic losses. For example, the amount of money needed to repair a damaged vehicle would be considered economic damages. Noneconomic losses are based on issues that are unique to the case, like pain and suffering damages. the following is a list of damages a victim can be awarded for winning a personal injury claim:
- Loss of wages/future loss of wages
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
This is not an exhaustive list. it is important to know that punitive damages may also be available for a personal injury claim. These types of damages are awarded if the defendant has committed a particularly egregious action. You should not assume that punitive damages will be awarded in a case without consulting with your Maryland personal injury attorney.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras would be honored to work with you on your car accident case. We recognize that a victim of a serious car accident just wants to move on with their life, and we can help you resolve your legal claim. Do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible, as waiting too long to file a personal injury lawsuit could negatively impact your cases in a variety of ways.
Can You Keep Negotiating the Terms of a Settlement After Filing a Lawsuit in Maryland?
You will not lose your ability to negotiate or accept a settlement agreement with the other side’s insurance company when you file a lawsuit on the same issue against them. In fact, chances are that taking this critical step in your legal action will raise the amount that you may be offered to settle your case.
Settlements of civil injury claims may be negotiated and finalized throughout the legal process, even during trial, all the way up to the point where the court reaches a decision. Many cases are settled in the days and even hours before the trial is set to begin. These are commonly known as “courthouse steps” settlements, and are in fact often some of the most lucrative for the victim.
Generally the longer you proceed with your legal action, the higher the settlement offers will become. This is a direct result of you showing the other side that you are serious about pursuing recovery for your injuries.
Another way to demonstrate your seriousness is to enlist the help of a dedicated Maryland car accident attorney. Insurance companies who know that the injured party does not have legal representation are more likely to employ underhanded tactics when negotiating a settlement deal, whereas a seasoned legal mind would be able to spot these bad faith practices from a mile away.
What Happens if You File Your Car Accident Lawsuit Too Late in Maryland?
Many car accident injury victims in Maryland put off filing their claim because they feel that they are close to a deal with the insurance company. However, this is often a mistake, as a failure to file a lawsuit on time can result in the victim losing out on everything, including their potential settlement.
A car accident settlement is an agreement wherein the at-fault party (or, more likely, their insurance provider) agrees to pay the injured party a negotiated amount of monetary compensation in exchange for the injured party waiving their right to sue for damages. If the injured party does not have the right to sue, then they lose all bargaining power. This can happen if you wait too long to file your claim.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for car accident injury lawsuits runs for three years from the date of the accident itself. This means that, if you wish to pursue compensation in court, you must do so by the third anniversary of the accident. Claims filed in court after the statutory window has passed will almost always be dismissed by the court, resulting in the claimant being left to fend for themselves.
To take best steps to avoid this unfortunate outcome, reach out to your Maryland car accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
What if the Car Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith?
Though we depend on car insurance coverage in times of great need, it is important to bear in mind that insurance companies are businesses that revolve around turning a profit. It is in their best interest to deny claims and avoid paying more in settlements wherever they can.
In some cases, this can lead to the insurance company’s representatives (also known as claims adjusters) using unfair tactics when negotiating settlement agreements. We see this far more commonly in instances where the insurance company knows or believes that the individual that they are dealing with does not have legal representation on their side. Claims adjusters can take this as a sign that the injury victim does not take their recovery seriously, could be easily dissuaded from pursing their case, or would likely give up if things got difficult.
This is why it is so important to have a seasoned Maryland car accident lawyer on your case. Not only will your lawyer’s presence keep the insurance company in line, but if they were to try to exert unfair pressure on you or cause unnecessary delays in the negotiation or payment process, your lawyer would be able to identify these actions as evidence of “bad faith.”
If an insurance company deals with you in bad faith, you can pursue a legal claim against them. Through this additional legal action, you could recover not only the compensation you were originally owed as a result of the harms you sustained in the accident, but also punitive damages meant to punish the claims adjuster and their employer for the underhanded behavior they used that warrants additional reprimanding.
Consult with Our Committed Maryland Car Accident Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Settlement Offer
If you or a family member was severely injured after a car accident in Maryland, you should contact an experienced Bethesda car accident lawyer today. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our legal team has accumulated substantial legal experience litigating complex injury claims, and we are here for you in your time of need. You do not have to fight your car accident case alone. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential claim, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291. You can also contact the firm by using our online submission form.