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Car Accident Settlements in Maryland

Auto Accident Doctors Maryland Car Accident Settlements

A car accident is unfortunate. In the most fortunate cases, the victim escapes with minor injuries. In many cases where the victim survives, his/ her life is drastically changed. The victim may lose his job and income. In some cases, the victim may become physically impaired (lose a limb or suffer spinal injuries, for example) for the rest of the life.

Given the gravity of the situation, would it be prudent to go for a car accident settlement or file a lawsuit as the injured party?

In most cases, a car settlement is the preferred solution for many injured parties. Settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company help attain a favorable solution. Given this advantage, the number of car accident cases that rely on court decisions often fall to a miniscule.

As the injured and aggrieved party, it is your right to seek justice in a court of law. But if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries, then here is a guide to seeking rightful compensation.


Basics of Car Accident Settlements

When you file a lawsuit against an at-fault party, multiple factors come into play. These include your state laws, your share of blame in the car accident, and the extent of damage you suffered in the accident. The legal compensation you receive depends on these factors.

When you decide to attain legal compensation outside court through a settlement, you have to negotiate with the insurance company representing the driver at fault. An insurer usually agrees to make a deal and pay an amount. The insurer and the at-fault party are no longer responsible for any future liabilities due to the accident upon settlement.

Injured parties prefer out-of-court settlement over lawsuits because of the speed of settlements. Lawsuits take longer to award compensation. Insurers prefer settlements as they prevent the risk of making more than expected payments in compensation.

In a settlement, the responsibility also lies with the injured party to demand fair compensation. The settlement amount cannot be modified once you reach a deal.


Steps Involved in Car Accident Settlements

Timeline plays a major role in car accident settlements. Given here are the steps involved in a settlement process to help you make a well-informed decision.

Reporting the Accident
Reporting the accident to relevant authorities is the first step. Reporting is crucial when there are injuries involved. It is mandatory to report the accident to the local police, state highway patrol or the county sheriff’s department.

In cases where there is a death, a grievous injury, or heavy property damage, a written report to police may be essential. Know more about your state laws here.

The accident must also be reported to the insurers of the parties involved in the accident.

Understanding Car Settlement Systems
Car settlement is also dependent on whether your state follows an At-Fault or No-Fault system.

In states with an At-Fault system, the onus of bearing legal compensation is on the driver that was at fault for the accident. If there is proof that the other driver was at fault, then you can do the following:

  • Submit a claim to your insurer
  • Raise a third-party claim with the insurer of the other driver
  • Bring up a lawsuit against the party at fault

A No-Fault system gives a legal right to claim damages that are economic in nature. In this system, it is not necessary to prove or disprove responsibility for the accident.

Car settlement is an alternative to consider in cases that fall within the purview of At-Fault system. The injured party can go to court, which also gives the other party an opportunity to file a counter lawsuit. This approach can prolong compensation. In a No-Fault system, no party can file a lawsuit.

Gathering Evidence
If you are considering settlement, then it is crucial to be prepared with evidence to support your allegation. Some valid items that serve as proof include:

  • Videos and images of the accident spot
  • Medical reports
  • Police report
  • Witness testimony
  • Medical bills including receipts for medication and medical treatment

Submitting a ‘Demand Letter’
A demand letter states your claim. It explains the type of loss (physical and mental) you have suffered, and puts forth your claim amount.

Evaluate the extent of loss (economic and emotional) you have suffered, and will continue to, for the rest of your life, because of the accident. Meticulous evaluation prior to demand letter submission is crucial to claim the rightful amount.

The drafted demand letter is sent to the insurer.

Settlement Negotiations
The insurance company will examine your claim and evidence to assess claim legitimacy. If you present a strong case for settlement, then the insurer may agree to negotiate a deal with you. Both parties agree to meet and negotiate the deal.

If the insurer does not agree with your claim, then you may approach the claims adjuster. If you decide to file a lawsuit, then you have to first draft and submit a complaint at the district or county court.

Filing a lawsuit enables you to legally seek the compensation you deserve. Since Statute of Limitations govern lawsuits, you can be sure of getting the lawsuit into action within the specified time limit. The time limit can range from less than 12 months to 6 years. If the time limit elapses, you are not eligible to file a lawsuit or claim damages.

A lawsuit communicates to insurers that you are serious about exercise your rights to seek rightful compensation. They may now be ready to settle out of court.

A lawsuit also helps strengthen your evidence as deeper investigation can unfold more proof of fault of the other party.

But a lawsuit is complex, from start to finish. It is crucial to be assisted by an attorney specializing in such cases, to plead your case and achieve favorable compensation.


How Much Time Does It Take for Car Accident Settlements?

Settlements are governed by multiple variable factors such as state laws, insurance policies, and limits on damages that can be claimed. So, placing a deadline or specific time period over settlements is difficult.

It is possible to reach a settlement within months, years, or within weeks, depending on the:

  • Clarity of your evidence
  • Severity of injuries
  • Intent of the insurer. The company must be willing to act fair.

As there are multiple factors involved in a settlement, it is always better to seek expert legal assistance. An injury attorney can give you the best representation and a fair compensation as well.


Conclusion

Accidents are unfortunate, but a reality of life. You can reduce the risk by being a responsible driver on the road, respecting your own safety and that of others. When an accident is due to another driver’s fault, be strong and positive. Take essential medical treatments. Seek legal help to derive compensation you deserve.


References

In Conclusion

A whiplash injury is common after a car accident. Immediate medical attention can prevent worsening of injury damage. Following doctor’s instructions strictly can help you manage pain and recover faster. You can lower the chances of severe whiplash with modern cars designed for safety as well as convenience.

Seeking legal action is as important as seeking medical attention for accident injuries. With the best legal guidance, you can claim compensation for physical injuries and mental trauma you had to undergo as a result of the accident.

References

Johns Hopkins Medicine
Mayo Clinic
Penny & Associates Injury Lawyers
The Healthy Back Institute
Accident Claims Advice
Beeman Heifner Benge.P.A.
CDC