Car accidents are unexpected and traumatic. The victim often has to deal with the pain of a personal injury, gathering evidence, and ongoing medical treatments. The last thing the victim wants to deal with is how to negotiate a car accident settlement in Maryland.
Most people who end up hurt in a car wreck are not expert negotiators. Few of them deal with their own insurance company regularly, let alone the insurer of another driver. It’s a difficult ordeal and the stakes are high. Insurance settlement negotiations after a Maryland accident can dictate how much money you win to help you make a recovery.
An experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer can help you navigate this difficult minefield. Although you may be able to successfully negotiate a car accident settlement in Maryland directly with the insurer, this is more straightforward in a property damage-only case or an accident with minimal injuries. If you suffer serious injuries you should be wary of dealing alone with the insurance company. You could end up leaving a lot of money on the table.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Car accidents are chaotic and stressful. Although it can be hard to think clearly, if possible you should:
- Talk to as many witnesses as you can and get names and contact details;
- Make sure you have insurance details and license details of the culpable driver;
- Take smartphone pictures of the accident scene;
- Talk to the investigating officer about how you can get a copy of the police report;
- Never admit liability for a crash
- Always give truthful evidence.
Car Accident Settlement Process in Maryland
Maryland car accident claims can take months or years depending on their complexity. You should consider the effects of everything you do or say on a future car accident settlement in Maryland.
When Should You Contact an Insurance Company After a Car Accident in Maryland?
There is no specific time frame for when you should report a car accident to an insurance company. Claims made against your own insurance company are called first-party claims. These include property damage claims or personal injury protection (PIP) claims. The claim made against the at-fault driver is called a third-party claim. You should report an accident to your own insurance company as soon as possible and file a claim. You should be more careful about contacting the other driver’s insurance company. There is no obligation to make a statement to the other side. If you sustained injuries in a car wreck it makes sense to contact a personal injury lawyer early in the process. The attorney will conduct negotiations with the other side’s insurance company.
Is Knowing the Value of a Claim Important in a Car Accident Settlement in Maryland?
You should have some idea of the value of your case from the outset. Although a personal injury lawyer will not be able to tell you exactly what your case is worth, he will be able to give you an idea. The value of the case depends on a series of factors including the extent of your injuries and the available insurance.
Early in the process, the insurance company may give you a “take-it-or-leave-it-offer.” This is a ploy designed to cause panic and make you take an offer that often undervalues your case. Avoid lowball offers. Don’t lose sight of what your case is worth. This will be indicated in your settlement demand. You should also know a minimum amount you should be prepared to accept. You should also be flexible. Often new factors are discovered that can strengthen or weaken your claim.
How Can You Strengthen Your Maryland Car Accident Claim?
Gather as much evidence as you can to bolster your Maryland car accident claim. Your lawyer will advise you of the evidence you need. It’s important to have a paper trail that documents your injuries from the outset. It should include all medical expenses, treatments, long-term and short-term medical costs, the cost of medication, and pay stubs that document your loss of income. You should document meetings with mental health counselors or other mental health issues that were directly linked to the wreck.
Is a Lawsuit Necessary to Negotiate a Car Crash Settlement in Maryland?
In some cases, you may reach a settlement you agree on with the insurance company before filing a lawsuit. However, if the insurance company is unreasonable, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies often take claims more seriously once a suit is filed.
After getting a trial date, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers will do everything to prepare your case. We will get witnesses ready for the trial, and prepare exhibits. Even when a trial date is fixed, a case is often settled. Negotiations between the parties continue. Often your attorney will arrange a mediation hearing in which the parties are brought together to settle a case. Mediations are becoming an increasingly important tool in personal injury lawsuits. Mediation is not mandatory in Maryland. The parties can opt out of the process.
Contact a Baltimore Car Accident Injury Lawyer for Settlement Negotiations
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we have years of experience in negotiating car accident settlements. We will advise you of the strength of your case and deal with the insurance company on your behalf. There are many pitfalls of dealing with the insurance company alone. Insurers are not your friends. They are looking out for the bottom line of their shareholders. Read the testimonials from our happy former clients or call us today at (410) 834-3845.