Maryland Car Accident Settlement Attorney
Helping Maryland Car Accident Victims Settle Their Personal Injury Cases
In some Maryland car accident cases, both sides to the dispute are able to agree on a full and final settlement or resolution of the case. A settlement completely resolves the dispute and prevents the case from going to trial in the Maryland court system.
In some car accident cases, settlement negotiations may last for weeks – or even months – on end. Negotiations usually involve the accident victim’s attorney going back and forth with the insurance adjuster or defense attorney and trying to reach a number that both sides will accept. When settlement negotiations take a long time, it is usually because the insurance company is dragging its feet, so to speak.
When it comes to car insurance companies, it is important to understand that these companies are not in the business of compensating car accident victims. Car insurance companies make their money by collecting insurance premiums from their customers – and then keeping as much of this money for themselves as possible. In other words, insurance companies do not make money by paying out personal injury settlements. The insurance company, therefore, will try and offer you as little money as possible to settle your case.
Deciding whether or not you should accept a settlement offer on the table is usually a big decision. Moreover, there are certain factors which you should consider when deciding whether or not to settle your car accident case. Even still, no settlement is perfect. In some instances, you are better off settling a car accident case in order to save the time and expense of going to trial.
If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of another driver’s carelessness or negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The Maryland car accident lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC can work with the insurance adjuster to pursue a full and favorable settlement of your personal injury case.
Initial Settlement Negotiations
Before an insurance company adjuster will put a settlement offer on the table, the insurance company will need to accept liability for the accident. Your attorney will then need to submit a settlement demand package to the adjuster. A settlement demand package will include copies of all of your related medical records and bills and will contain a monetary demand for settlement. In some cases, the initial settlement demand may be the full amount of the available policy limits. The amount of the initial demand depends upon a variety of factors, including:
- The policy limits
- The amount of the medical bills
- The amount of any lost wages incurred
- Whether or not the accident victim sustained permanent injuries and damages
- The nature of your injuries (e.g., soft tissue injuries versus fractures)
- The extent of your pain, suffering, and other noneconomic damages
- The need for future medical care and treatment
Once the insurance company’s adjuster reviews the demand package, the adjuster may place a settlement offer on your case. Initial settlement offers are usually low because the insurance company wants to see if it can settle your case quickly and cheaply. Throughout settlement negotiations, the settlement demand gradually decreases, while the insurance company’s settlement offer generally increases. This process continues until the parties settle the case or reach an impasse and a lawsuit is filed.
In some car accident cases, it is beneficial to go ahead and file a lawsuit, in order to force the insurance company to react. Upon filing suit, the insurance company may raise its offer significantly. In other cases, the offer will increase modestly and the parties may decide to litigate the case to trial.
It is important to understand that your case will not necessarily go to trial just because a lawsuit is filed. In fact, some cases settle right up until the day of trial. Filing a lawsuit merely begins the litigation process and is sometimes necessary in order for the insurance company to take a car accident case seriously.
Settling versus Litigating a Car Accident Case
If you are deciding whether you should settle your car accident case or take it to trial, you should first consider the venue (or Maryland county) where the case is pending. This is because juries in some venues, such as Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, for example, are historically more favorable to car accident plaintiffs than those counties in Western Maryland or on the Eastern Shore. The insurance companies are well aware of this fact and, depending upon the case venue, may adjust their offers up or down accordingly. Therefore, while it may be worth rolling the dice and taking your case to trial in one venue, it may not be worth doing so in another.
The other factor to keep in mind about going to trial is that it is often expensive. If you decide to take your case to trial, you will be paying a higher attorney’s fee, assuming the jury awards you damages. Moreover, your case expenses will increase simply because expert testimony at trial is costly. For example, a medical doctor’s testimony at trial could cost $5,000 or more. Taking these additional costs into consideration, a trial verdict which is higher than a pending pre-trial settlement offer may not necessarily translate into more money for you.
Finally, you should consider that jury trials are oftentimes long, drawn-out affairs. Some car accident jury trials last for two or three days and are stressful for everyone involved. The Maryland car accident lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC can help you weigh the pros and cons of going to trial versus settling your case out of court.
Call a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Case Evaluation and Legal Consultation
If you have been injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you deserve to receive compensation for all of your injuries and damages. The Maryland car accident attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC can meet with you to discuss your case and can assess its value.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a knowledgeable Maryland car accident lawyer, please call us today at 844-632-7274, or contact us online.