How to Maximize Your Case Value After a Car Accident
Car accidents happen in an instant. One minute, you’re fine. The next, you’re in pain and facing a mounting pile of medical bills. If someone else’s negligence caused your crash, Maryland law allows you to seek financial compensation for your accident-related expenses.
The process begins by working with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You’ll file a claim demanding full and fair compensation for your losses, which can include medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
It’s highly recommended that you speak to a Maryland car accident attorney before trying to handle the claims process on your own. Insurance companies will try to get you to settle for the least amount possible, and they’re very persuasive. Many people settle for far below what they truly deserve.
The right lawyer can help maximize the settlement of your claim. Talk to a Waldorf car accident attorney at Trollinger Law LLC today. With more than 10 years of legal experience, Attorney Matt Trollinger can review your case in a free consultation and outline all of your legal options.
Call or contact us now to get started.
What Affects Maryland Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
One of the first questions that personal injury attorneys hear is, “How much is my case worth?” The honest answer is that it depends. There are many factors that impact settlement amounts, including:
- Type and severity of your injury: The type of injury you sustained is one of the main factors that will affect your ultimate settlement amount. Larger awards will go to accident victims who sustain life-changing injuries compared to those who suffer injuries but are expected to make a full recovery.
- Lost wages: People who are hurt in car accidents often miss time from work as they heal. You are entitled to recover your lost income in these cases. If your injuries were so severe that you cannot return to work or cannot work at the same capacity as you could before the crash, your settlement can also include money for lost earning capacity.
- Property damage: The chances are good that your vehicle sustained severe damage as a result of the crash. The greater the damage, the higher the value of the settlement you should receive.
- The other party’s actions: You can hold another party liable for any type of negligence. But when they have acted with wanton disregard for the safety of others, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their recklessness and deter future misconduct.
- Age: A person who is catastrophically injured in a car crash at a young age is likely to be awarded more money than someone who is injured in their golden years. This is because the life expectancy of the younger person is expected to be longer, so their pain and suffering will also be longer.
- Your overall health/pre-existing conditions: One of the ways an insurer will try to reduce the amount of your claim is by looking at your medical records to see if you have any pre-existing conditions that could explain your injury rather than the crash itself.
- Pain and suffering: Although pain and suffering is also not a physical injury, it is considered a noneconomic loss that is not tangible but has very real effects on a victim’s life. Other noneconomic losses include mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of reputation, and more.
- Settlement or trial? Your award will also depend on whether you decide to accept a settlement offer or opt for trial. You may be able to obtain more money if you file a lawsuit, but you must accept the risk that the potential award could be reduced or even dismissed by a judge or jury.
After reviewing your case, a Waldorf car accident lawyer can provide an estimate of what your case might be worth. It’s important to remember that those amounts can change as the case evolves, and that no lawyer should make you promises or guarantees for a favorable outcome.
Dos and Don’ts to Improve Your Chances at a Fair Car Accident Settlement
The actions you take after a crash can greatly affect the value of your car accident settlement.
- Seek medical attention: If you do not seek medical help after a crash, the insurance company may argue that you were not as injured as you claim to be.
- Report the crash: A police report can greatly help with establishing liability after an accident. Although police reports are often inadmissible in court, they are very helpful when negotiating with an insurance company and may have witness information that can be used to explain the collision to a judge or jury.
- Collect information: An attorney will need a lot of information after your crash. This includes the other party’s insurance details, driver’s license information, physical address and contact numbers, license plate number, and the type of vehicle that hit you. You should also speak to eyewitnesses and collect their names and contact information.
- Take pictures: Photos provide crucial evidence after a car accident claim. Take pictures of all of the vehicles involved, the damage sustained to each, and any other relevant information, such as a traffic light the other driver ran.
- Call a car accident lawyer: Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. If you go it alone, adjusters will try many tactics to reduce your claim. At Trollinger Law LLC, we know what to anticipate and can build a claim that counters any arguments that the insurance company may have.
Leave the accident scene: It’s against the law to leave the scene of a crash in Maryland.
- Wait to contact your own insurance company: Even if another driver was at fault, you should still call your own insurance company to tell them about the accident. Many insurance policies include a clause that requires you to notify them of a crash within a certain timeframe. You only need to alert them that a crash happened. Don’t agree to make a recorded statement or sign any medical releases until you’ve spoken to a car accident lawyer.
- Accept blame: Never say anything that can be misconstrued as accepting blame for the crash. Even apologizing that the accident happened can be used against you.
- Guess about what happened: When speaking to the insurance company or law enforcement, it’s OK to say that you don’t know how something occurred. If you take a guess and are later found to be wrong, the insurance company may accuse you of lying.
- Accept a settlement before talking to a lawyer: The insurance company will contact you as soon as possible and offer you a settlement. That offer will likely only be a fraction of what your claim is worth. Don’t agree to anything. Instead, politely tell the insurance company that they will need to speak with your lawyer.
Following these rules can greatly protect your case help you maximize the value of your car accident claim.
What If I am Partially at Fault for the Wreck?
Maryland is one of only a handful of states that follows a strict rule called contributory negligence when determining fault. In Maryland, if you are found partially at fault for the accident — even just one percent responsible — you will be barred from receiving any compensation at all. This is why it’s especially important to get the help of an auto accident lawyer in Maryland. The insurance company will be pushing hard to shift any blame onto you. You’ll want someone to stand up for you if you’re being unfairly blamed. You can trust Trollinger Law LLC to be there for you when you need us.
When to Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Not every car accident requires the help of an attorney. But there are times when speaking to a lawyer is crucial, such as when:
- There are severe injuries: The more serious your injuries are, the more your claim is worth and the more the insurance company will fight to reduce your claim. A lawyer will not let you be shortchanged.
- Someone else is at fault: You shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills and property damage when someone else is responsible for the crash. If your injuries have prevented you from working or from earning enough income to support your family, a car accident attorney can gather evidence to prove why you deserve maximum compensation from the insurance company.
- There are multiple parties involved: When a crash involves more than just you and one other driver, matters become complicated and multiple insurers will likely be involved. An attorney can deal with all of them so that you can focus on your recovery.
- You’re facing a lifetime of disability: If you have become partially or permanently disabled after a wreck in Maryland, you deserve compensation for your lost or diminished earning potential. A lawyer can help calculate these losses and make sure they are accounted for in your settlement demand.
Finally, if you are ever in doubt about whether you have a claim, a car accident attorney can listen to your story and answer all of your questions.
How Can Trollinger Law LLC Help Me?
At Trollinger Law LLC, our Waldorf car accident attorney is committed to providing high-quality and client-centered legal services to accident victims. When you come to us, you’ll get a law firm that is committed to obtaining full and fair compensation for your losses.
To learn more about how we can help, call or contact us today for a free consultation.