Insurance Settlement Car Accident

Getting hurt in a car accident is stressful, and dealing with an insurance company afterward can make matters difficult if disputes arise. Maximizing your personal injury settlement is crucial to help cover your financial losses and protect your well-being. It’s important to know how Maryland auto accident laws work and how they affect insurance settlement offers, whether you are an injured motorist, passenger, or pedestrian.

Understanding Maryland Auto Insurance Laws

Under Maryland law, every driver needs to have three types of car insurance. Liability coverage pays for the injuries and property damage for collisions you cause. Minimum requirements for Maryland motorists include:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 for two or more people
  • $15,000 for property damage

Auto Insurance LawsDrivers must also be offered uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) with the same minimum requirements. With a UM or UIM policy, you seek compensation for your car accident injuries from your own insurer. UM/UIM coverage pays for injuries caused by a driver without insurance or who is underinsured. It also kicks in if you are the victim of a hit-and-run crash.

Many drivers who are hurt in a collision with serious injuries are surprised to find that in Maryland, their own insurance available is reduced by the amount of the insurance the at fault driver has. For example, if a settlement is reached with the negligent driver for $30,000 and an injured person has coverage of $100,000, the available extent of their policy is only $70,000 for a total of $100,000 and not $130,000.  Enhanced UIM (EUIM) fixes this problem and should be chosen by all drivers in Maryland. EUIM allows for a policyholder to have access to the full amount of their policy, such that in the prior example, $130,000 is available to the injured party and not $100,000. This is an important safety net for people that are seriously injured in Maryland.

Finally, drivers must be offered at least $2,500 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage by their own insurance company. PIP pays for medical bills, lost wages, and disability regardless of who is at fault for an auto accident. It is a valuable form of coverage to help with the immediate medical expenses you incur while negotiating an insurance settlement. A car accident lawyer can identify all potential sources of compensation after reviewing the insurance policies for all drivers involved.

The Insurance Settlement Offer Process

Insurance Settlement Car AccidentAfter you file a personal injury claim with the insurance company, an adjuster will open an investigation. They will determine liability, assess your injuries and losses, and potentially offer an initial settlement.  At Trollinger Law, our attorneys are seeing a disturbing trend in the insurance industry, with companies offering a settlement to an injury victim within the first few weeks of their injury.  Even in claims where the person is represented, insurance companies like GEICO are attempting to lure an injury victim into a trap of settling their claim early with quick, nominal cash.

The first offer will likely fall short of your expectations. Insurance companies leverage the feeling of urgency many accident victims experience to settle claims swiftly, but a quick settlement may not be enough to cover the full extent of your losses.

This is why you should immediately seek legal advice after an auto accident in Maryland. Motor vehicle accident attorneys have experience evaluating insurance settlements and can advise whether the offer is fair, but can also protect you from the beginning of your case.  Traps are laid by the insurance company well before the time of settlement that can affect the value of your case. Remember, you cannot go back and ask for more money once you settle.

Evaluating Your Settlement Offer

Factors to consider when evaluating a settlement offer include:

  • Immediate financial impact – Does the offer cover the full extent of your medical treatment, lost income, and expected future expenses?
  • Noneconomic losses – Is the proposed compensation for pain and suffering damages fair? Does the settlement consider the changes of activities of daily living or any hobbies for you after the injury? How about the inconvenience of going to and from the doctors’ office and physical therapy?

Negotiating a Fair Settlement

Insurance Settlement Offer ProcessAn auto accident attorney takes several steps when preparing to negotiate a larger settlement with the insurance company. First, it’s important that they represent you in your case from the earliest time possible.  This will allow them to investigate the crash, gathering and examining evidence such as police accident reports, witness statements, and accident scene photos.

Next, after your medical treatment is complete, they’ll assess the full extent of your damages. They may call on experts for analysis and testimony on the extent and impact of your injuries on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being, which can increase the value of your personal injury claim.

Your attorney will then negotiate to pursue a settlement that reflects the actual value of your losses. They should treat each claim like it’s going to trial, so they’ll be ready to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company won’t play fair.

The Role of a Maryland Auto Accident Attorney

A Maryland auto accident attorney, serving as your advocate and legal representative, will be pivotal in the settlement process. Many accident victims undervalue their claim simply because they don’t know the process or allow the insurance company to pressure them into a lowball offer. When an insurance company knows they’re going up against a skilled litigator, they’ll be more likely to offer a fair settlement to avoid the time and cost of going to court.

Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys

Injury AttorneyTrollinger Law LLC offers experienced, aggressive legal representation to help you obtain fair compensation after a car crash. Our firm will represent you throughout the entire claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Maryland auto accident lawyer.

After a serious accident, an injury can leave you with ongoing medical expenses, unable to work, and worrying about your future. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in these situations, and the thought of hiring an attorney can be intimidating. At Trollinger Law LLC, we are here to listen to your story, explain your legal options, answer questions about what to expect, and help you make a smart decision about how best to move forward.