Clients sometimes ask our injury lawyers ‘can an insurance company settle a car accident claim without my consent in Maryland?’ People who get hurt in Maryland often worry the settlement process will take place without their input if they disagree with the number the insurance company comes up with. The answer to this question is complicated.
Often when you initially sign a contract with an insurance company you agree to allow a car insurance company to settle accident cases as it sees fit. This does not mean you have to accept the settlement. You should immediately talk to an attorney if the insurance company tries to settle a claim without your consent and you are unhappy about the settlement figure. Once a lawsuit has been filed over the claim, an insurance company cannot settle the matter without your permission or a verdict in a courtroom.
The insurance companies and Maryland personal injury lawyers use a formal approach to car accident litigation. It’s important to ensure there is no ambiguity. The car accident victim must give formal permission to any agreed settlement after the filing of a lawsuit. Once he or she has formally agreed to receive a sum of money all negotiations are over. A claimant who suddenly realizes the settlement is not enough to cover his or her medical bills cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more or re-open a case.
Car accident claims in Maryland can seem overwhelming at times. Your Baltimore car accident lawyer will walk you through every step of the automobile accident claims process. We will ensure you don’t feel disconnected from the process and advise you when an offer from the insurance company is reasonable. We will handle all the paperwork if you hire us.
What is the Process for Settling a Car Accident Injury Claim in Maryland?
The car accident injury claim process begins as soon as the dust settles from a crash, although you might not realize it. The statements you make to the police officer, the pictures you get from the scene, the statements of witnesses, and the details about insurance from other drivers are all relevant to your case. What you tell your doctor and how promptly you seek medical treatment is also relevant. The insurance company monitors what you do and say from the time of the wreck.
People who are hurt in car crashes should inform their own insurance company as soon as possible. Decisions about when to talk to the other side’s insurance company or whether to hire a car accident attorney for a third-party claim should be made early in the process after receiving medical treatment.
You should gather all available documentation before taking to a lawyer or the insurance company. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits that can range up to $10,000 may be available to you immediately to cover immediate medical bills and lost wages. Your lawyer will assist you with PIP. We will also help you with uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM/UM) if the other driver lacked insurance or had insufficient insurance.
The insurance company of the at-fault driver will either admit liability or deny it. If the insurance company says their driver was not to blame, there is little choice other than to file a lawsuit.
If the culpable driver’s insurance company admits their policyholder caused the crash with injuries, you may find yourself in a negotiation process about how much money you are owed. If the insurance company tries to settle without your permission, contact a lawyer to file a suit against them as soon as possible.
Agreeing on the Car Crash Injury Compensation in Maryland
Typically, the first step in settling a car accident claim in Maryland is for both sides to reach an agreement they are happy with. You may be talking directly with the insurance company or you hired a lawyer who is doing it on your behalf. If you agree on a compensation figure and hang up the phone with the insurance claims agent, that’s not the end of the process.
You should send a letter to the insurance company stating the amount you agreed on within 24 hours of the oral agreement. Send the letter to the insurance adjuster by certified mail and make a copy first for your records. You should get a similar letter from the insurance company.
You should receive a release form from the insurance company in a few weeks if not sooner. If your lawyer is dealing with the case, he will receive it on your behalf. Occasionally, insurance companies will send the settlement check along with the release form. They may say you must sign and return the release form before you cash your check. Typically, insurers won’t send your check until you sign and return the release.
Always read the release form extremely carefully. Your lawyer will look at the form and advise you of any potential pitfalls. Ensure the agreement relates to your original claim. Under Maryland law, attempts by an insurer to settle a claim based on an application which has been altered without notice or consent of the insured is an offense. Make copies of the signed release as well as the check, and keep them in a safe place.
Talk to Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer Randolph Rice Today
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we are well aware of how insurance companies operate. They may seek to settle a case without your consent. They may argue you caused an accident when you were the innocent victim. Working with a Maryland car collision injury lawyer will often simplify the claims process and give you more money in your pocket. We know how stressful car wrecks can be and how pitting an ordinary citizen against the power of the insurance company is an unequal fight. Hiring a lawyer levels the playing field. Call us today at 410-431-0911.