You’ve just been in a car accident in Baltimore. Your car has sustained significant damage and may or may not be drivable. You aren’t sure if you have injuries. The other driver is quick to admit fault and offers to write you a check to cover your damages. What do you do? It can be tempting to take the check – after all, you’ll receive immediate funds to repair your damages and won’t have to worry about filing a claim. By saying yes to a quick fix, however, you could lose much more than you gain.
Who is On Your Side After an Auto Accident?
It’s important to remember who is in your corner after a Maryland car accident. That’s certainly not the other driver, but what about his/her insurance company? Unfortunately, insurance companies only care about one thing – their bottom lines. Car insurance company claims adjusters (the employees in charge of settling at-fault car accident claims) are looking out for their own best interests, not that of claimants. Keep this in mind during all communications with insurance companies following a car accident.
When insurance claims adjusters call to make settlement offers, they you can likely get much more should you pursue a personal injury claim. This is especially true if the other driver was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, distracted, using a handheld mobile device (an action that’s illegal in Maryland), or otherwise being negligent behind the wheel. It may be in your best interest not to accept a quick settlement offer from an insurance company until you speak to an attorney.
Consult a Baltimore accident attorney about your car accident case to get an honest and accurate valuation of your claim. This includes your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations so you can discuss your accident at no risk or obligation. Furthermore, most attorneys, such as Randolph Rice, operate on a contingency fee basis – meaning you won’t pay anything to pursue a car accident claim unless you win your case. An attorney’s success hinges on your own – he/she is on your side.
What Are Your Accident Damages Worth?
Odds are that a check from the faulty driver won’t come close to the damages you could recover after a bad accident. An insurance company check may come closer, but it still may not compensate you fully for your damages – especially if you suffered temporary or permanent disability. A quick settlement likely will not take into account your intangible damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Psychological trauma
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
It takes a personal injury claim to delve into these losses and attempt to put a dollar amount to the various damages you’ve suffered in a car accident. On top of intangible losses, you need fair and just funds to compensate you for temporary or permanent disability. This may include costs of lost wages and capacity to earn, medical treatments, therapies, surgeries, equipment, home or vehicle modifications, in-home care, and hospital stays.
While damages will vary on a case-by-case basis, they almost always amount to more than an insurance company is willing to offer you in a settlement. That being said, if you prefer to accept a fast settlement rather than go through the motions of filing a personal injury claim in Maryland, go ahead and accept the car insurance check. However we do not recommend accepting a check from the faulty driver. This person may give you a void check or false information. With no police report or insurance claim, there will be no way to contact the driver and receive your compensation.
Image courtesy of: Andrew Pons