After an accident, you may contact your insurance carrier or the negligent person’s insurance carrier to report the accident. After negotiations with the insurance companies conclude, the victim is typically offered a settlement.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not like paying for the full value of a claimant’s damages, and your settlement offer might not be something you want to accept. Among the many issues people have with insurance providers, getting fair compensation can be a difficult problem. You are free to reject a bad settlement offer and, with your attorney, renegotiate for something better. If a better offer cannot be obtained, you might have to decide whether you want to pursue a lawsuit. If you decide to reject the settlement, your lawyer can help you prepare your lawsuit and fight for better compensation. During the trial, your situation might change, and you might have the opportunity to renegotiate a settlement. In such a situation, you should proceed with caution and get advice from your lawyer.
Call our Baltimore personal injury lawyer at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case review with our Maryland personal injury attorneys.
Common Issues with Insurance Settlement Offers in Maryland
After suffering a serious injury, a victim may seek compensation from insurance. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, you may pursue compensation from the insurance company of the negligent driver. If you are successful, the insurance company will provide you with compensation for the damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, and other costs incurred due to the accident. However, the settlement offered by an insurance company may not be sufficient for your needs.
When our Maryland personal injury lawyer help you file a claim to recover compensation from another person’s insurance company, it is vital to remember that the insurance company does not have your best interests in mind. The insurance company will go to great lengths to diminish the value of your claim for compensation. For example, if you were involved in a slip and fall accident at a hotel, the insurance company that insures the hotel may attempt to assert that the accident was your fault.
An insurance company may employ a number of tactics to diminish the value of a victim’s claim. One tactic is to attempt to place doubt around a victim’s recollection of the accident. For example, an insurance claim adjuster may ask an excessive amount of questions with the intent of confusing the victim into making a statement that harms their case. That is why it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney that can provide you with guidance during these situations.
Insurance claim adjusters are concerned with minimizing the liability of the insurance company. As a result, the insurance company may offer a victim an inadequate settlement amount that will not cover the victim’s expenses. Fortunately, a victim of an accident is not required to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company. The victim may be able to claim a greater amount of compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible for their accident.
How to Effectively Negotiate a Better Insurance Settlement in Maryland
If you are faced with a less than ideal settlement offer from an insurance company. You and your attorney can take steps to come back with a counteroffer and negotiate for a better settlement. There are various tactics and strategies you can use to more effectively negotiate for a settlement.
Perhaps the most effective tool in your negotiation arsenal is evidence. You need at least some evidence to get your case started, but that evidence might not be enough to convince an insurance company to pay for your damages. It is best to go into negotiations armed to the teeth with evidence. The stronger your evidence, the more likely you will win at a trial, and the more money the insurance company might offer you in a settlement to avoid that trial.
It is also smart to avoid communicating with insurance adjusters without speaking to an attorney first. Insurance companies will use your statements against you, even if those statements seemed meaningless to you when you made them. For example, a simple apology about the other driver’s injuries in a car accident might be misconstrued by the insurance company to become an admission of wrongdoing. The insurance company may then use this supposed admission to justify a smaller settlement.
You must also thoroughly document all your injuries and losses. Insurance companies will only make a settlement offer based on the damages we present to them. If certain expenses are overlooked, your overall settlement may be smaller than you need.
Choosing Between a Lawsuit or Accepting an Insurance Settlement Offer
When offered a possible settlement that does not meet your needs, you might have to decide whether to reject the bad offer and pursue a lawsuit or accept the deal and get at least some of your damages covered. Before making such an important decision, you should weigh the pros and cons of each choice with a lawyer.
Pros and Cons of a Lawsuit
If the insurance settlement offer is simply unacceptable, you can file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. If your insurance claim is with the defendant’s insurance provider, a lawsuit might show that we mean business and will not roll over and accept their paltry settlement offer.
There are some downsides of lawsuits you should be aware of before proceeding. Lawsuits tend to be very uncertain, and the stakes are high. If you win, you might have all your damages compensated. If you lose, you probably get nothing. If the parties in the case are evenly matched, it might be hard to predict how things will turn out. Lawsuits also tend to be very time-consuming and require a lot of effort and preparation.
The upside to lawsuits, and the main reason many plaintiffs reject settlements, is that lawsuits tend to provide bigger payouts if you win. Insurance companies want to avoid paying out on policies in order to keep their profit margins as high as possible. As such, you should not expect settlements worth more than the absolute bare minimum. In a lawsuit, the court or jury may award your full extent of damages, which might be very significant.
Pros and Cons of a Settlement
One of the biggest negative aspects of a settlement is that they are often not sufficient to fully cover a plaintiff’s damages. Even when settlements are higher than expected, they are often not representative of the full extent of the plaintiff’s losses. This is usually because the insurance company will make a settlement offer for only what they believe we can prove, not for what you actually deserve.
On top of that, once you accept a settlement offer, it becomes legally binding, and you will lose your right to sue. This means that once you accept a settlement offer, even if it is a bad one, there is no going back.
You should also consider the possibility that you might incur future damages that are not covered by the settlement. For example, the insurance company might make a settlement offer based on your current medical bills for your injuries. However, they might pay for future medical costs if you need additional treatments down the line.
The major advantage of accepting a settlement offer is that there is less of a time commitment. Once an offer is accepted, the lawsuit, if one is filed, is dropped, and compensation is quickly paid. This is a significant consideration for many plaintiffs who want to avoid a long and arduous trial even if it means they have to sacrifice a bit of compensation from the insurance company.
What Happens After Rejecting an Insurance Settlement Offer in Maryland
You might have several legal options to choose from after you reject a settlement offer. One option is to return with a counteroffer and continue negotiations until you reach a better settlement. If you do not think a better settlement can be reached, you can file a lawsuit.
If you choose to sue, much of the evidence you prepared for settlement negotiations may be used in your lawsuit. However, some evidence might be inadmissible. For example, while insurance companies usually want to see police reports regarding accidents and incidents, police reports are often considered inadmissible hearsay in civil court proceedings.
We can reassess your damages so that you get the maximum coverage possible. Insurance claims are usually limited by the policy terms, but damages awards from a lawsuit are not. As such, it is crucial that we account for all your damages and losses so that you get as much compensation as possible.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
If you were a victim of an accident in Maryland, you should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our firm deals with a wide range of cases from truck accidents to medical malpractice, and we can help you get started on your injury lawsuit.
When filing a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland, you should be aware that your case is subject to the statute of limitations. the statute of limitations determines the length of time that a person has to file a lawsuit with a court of law. The amount of time provided to file the lawsuit will vary depending on the circumstances of the victim’s accident.
In Maryland, a plaintiff has three years from the date of an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. If a victim does not file their lawsuit within this timeframe, they will be unable to pursue compensation for their case. Specifically, upon a defendant’s motion to dismiss, the court can bar the plaintiff’s claim. This can be devastating for a victim that was relying on a lawsuit to earn compensation for various expenses incurred due to the accident.
While three years is a generous amount of time to file a lawsuit, there are various benefits to filing your case as soon as possible. For example, if you wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire, you may have trouble finding an experienced attorney that is willing to take your case. Additionally, waiting years to file your case could make it challenging to track down witnesses or evidence needed to prove your claim.
If you are concerned about the approaching deadline for your case, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Can I Change My Mind if I Reject an Insurance Settlement Offer in Maryland?
Depending on how the insurance company feels about reopening negotiations, you might be able to accept a new settlement offer before your trial is complete. If both parties are willing, a settlement may be reached at almost any time.
Be careful, the uncertainty and high stakes of a trial often make plaintiffs question their decision to reject a settlement offer in the first place. If you go back to the insurance company in the middle of the trial and ask them about reaching a new settlement, you are likely going to get an offer worse than before.
Alternatively, the insurance company might approach you about reopening settlement negotiations because they realize how strong your claims are. This might put you in a much better position to negotiate for a better settlement than the one you rejected.
If this is the case, it might be best to reject the settlement offer again and proceed with a trial, as damages awards from trials are often higher than insurance settlements. However, the insurance company might be persuaded to pay the full extent of your damages and cut the trial short to avoid incurring costly legal fees on top of the damages award.
Call Our Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
If you or a family member was a victim of an accident due to the negligence of another, contact an experienced Silver Spring personal injury attorney today. the legal team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras possesses extensive experience dealing with complex personal injury claims, and we are prepared to fight for you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential case, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (301) 381-5493. You can also contact the firm by using our online submission form.