The amount that someone can sue for a car accident injury varies depending on the physical and medical fallout of the accident (damages). it is certainly possible that someone could sue for a great deal of money or none at all.
Read on to learn about the intricacies of car accident lawsuits and damages, or contact our Baltimore vehicle accident attorneys directly if you have been hurt because of another driver’s negligence. The consultation is always free.
How Much Can Someone Sue For a Car Accident in Maryland?
In theory, a plaintiff may sue for as much as he or she wishes, but typically, one could receive a 3x multiple of lost wages, hospital bills, and/or other damages.
Severe or catastrophic injuries may result in a significantly higher award because of disfigurement, suffering, loss of quality of life, and more.
Your attorney can help you decide how much to ask for in a car accident settlement.
Note that the state of Maryland has specific caps on how much you can recover for non-economic damages following an auto accident, and these caps vary by year.
Currently, according to section 3-2A-09 of the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code, one can recover up to $845K if the injuries occurred in 2021. A wrongful death claim can add 125% to that limit.
However, when the case is taken before the court, a judge or jury will decide whether or not the amount being filed is reasonable based on the damages. If a plaintiff attempts to sue for an unreasonably high dollar amount, not in line with the severity of the damages, their credibility could be damaged, thereby hurting their chances of receiving a settlement or award at all.
Can You Sue After a Car Accident in Maryland?
Yes, all drivers have the right to sue one another after a car accident in Maryland. This is certainly the case when there is a dispute over liability or who was at fault.
If the drivers of the vehicles involved in an accident are pointing fingers at each other, it may take a judge or jury to decide who was at fault and to what extent.
In contributory negligence states, like Maryland, if the person who files the lawsuit (called the plaintiff) is even 1% of the fault, then they are barred from collecting any money.
That means that the person suing must be fault-free to recover any money after the accident.
However, a person that files suit must understand that they will be required to prove the elements of their case to be successful. For the person who is suing or filing suit, they must prove four elements. Those four elements that must be proven are:
- There was a duty of care (i.e. to drive safely),
- that the defendant breached that duty of care (i.e. didn’t follow the rules of the road),
- causation which causes damage or injury (i.e. that the reckless driving caused the accident), and
- that there was actual damage or injury suffered by the plaintiff (i.e. medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering).
For the purpose of understanding the individuals involved in a case, a plaintiff is the one who files suit and claims that the at-fault defendant) caused the injury.
Should you sue after a car accident in Maryland?
After an auto collision, the beginning phase is typically the negotiation/settlement process. After the victim of the car accident, the ultimate plaintiff has completed treatment or believes that no further medical care will improve their condition, they typically submit their damages to the insurance company.
Their Baltimore personal injury attorney will evaluate the claim and submit all necessary and important documents to the insurance company and their adjuster.
Once the adjuster receives the documents, they will review and evaluate them, which can take up to 45 days. The adjuster for the insurance company must make two separate decisions. The first decision is to determine liability, or in other words, was their insured at-fault or liable for the accident.
What happens if an adjuster denies the claim?
If an adjuster, after evaluating the claim and facts of the accident, determines or believes that their insured is not at fault, they will typically deny the claim. At this point, the victim must decide if they want to sue the other driver for the accident. The victim will consult with their lawyer and determine the best course of action as to where and how much they should sue for.
The adjuster has determined liability and now must value the claim…..what happens next?
If the adjuster for the at-fault driver has determined that their customer was at fault for the accident, the adjuster must now evaluate the value of the claim. The adjuster will use computer software, computer databases, and their own experience to determine how much they will offer to settle the claim.
Once they’ve made their initial evaluation, they will extend a settlement offer to the victim’s lawyer. The lawyer will then convey that offer to the victim and the victim must decide if they’re willing to accept the settlement offer.
Can my lawyer negotiate a higher settlement after my car accident?
Absolutely, if your lawyer is not negotiating a higher settlement amount, then you need to find a new lawyer. This is why you are paying your lawyer to work for you to get you the most money after your accident.
Your lawyer should be negotiating and presenting your case and how you have suffered after the accident to the insurance adjuster. Once your lawyer conveys all the facts of the accident and how it is adversely affected you since then, the adjuster will consider these factors and may make another higher settlement offer.
This may go back and forth for weeks or months, be patient, and this may be a benefit to you.
Does the settlement process ever break down and just stop?
Yes, in approximately 15% of cases, the victim and their lawyer cannot come to an agreed settlement amount with the adjuster and insurance company. In these circumstances, the victim must then decide if they are willing to file suit and sue the at-fault driver for the accident and to seek appropriate compensation.
Do you sue the insurance company or the at-fault driver?
When your lawyer files suit or sues, he will be suing the other driver, and the insurance company will indemnify or pay for the defense and any judgment, but the other driver is the named defendant in the lawsuit.
What happens if the at-fault driver is suing you?
If you’re being sued by the at-fault driver, then it typically means that they have received bad advice in pursuing a lawsuit. If you were insured at the time of the accident, you should notify your insurance company, and they will hire a lawyer to defend you.
If you receive any paperwork from a lawyer or any court documents regarding the accident, immediately forward them to your insurance company so that they may respond and file a defense on your behalf.
Your insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you. You may also want to hire a car accident lawyer to pursue a counter-claim on your behalf if you have any damages or medical expenses.
What should I do if someone sues me after a car accident?
Don’t panic if someone sues you after a car accident; you have options. If you had car insurance at the time of the accident, then you should be covered.
Your car insurance policy should provide a defense attorney who will represent you throughout the lawsuit. If you are sued after a car accident, you should immediately notify your car insurer of the lawsuit.
Contact your insurance carrier and speak with the adjuster who is handling the claim. You should fax, scan and email or mail a copy of the lawsuit you received.
Once your car insurance company receives the paperwork, they will file a notice to defend with the court and the attorney representing the other party.
Your insurance company will begin the defense process. You may have to answer interrogatories or produce documents that are related to the car accident. Again, don’t panic, notify your insurance company and let them take care of the lawsuit.
Can I sue for pain and suffering after a car accident?
Absolutely, you should sue for pain and suffering as well as the actual damages that you suffered, meaning your medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering are essential part of any lawsuit because it takes into account all of the hassle and burden you were put through after the crash.
While your Baltimore taxi accident lawyer, rideshare accident attorney, or other car accident legal representation may be able to offer some predictions as to the amount of pain and suffering you will receive, it is ultimately up to the judge or jury to award the amount.
Pain and suffering are sometimes hard to quantify, so presenting every aspect of your life that has been disrupted after the accident will be helpful for the Trier of fact to determine the appropriate amount.
If you have more questions about suing after a car accident or your rights, contact our car accident attorneys today to speak with an attorney.
They can answer your questions and guide you in the process of filing a lawsuit.