Factors That Determine Settlement Amounts for a Car Accident
June 27, 2023
When we visit prospective personal injury clients, many of them ask how much their case is worth. Many people want to know if they can pay their medical expenses and other bills or if they will have some money left to put aside.
The answer to that question depends on many variables and absolutely no guarantees. At Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC, our goal is always to get the best settlement or jury award possible for the injury victims we represent. That is why we do what we do.
There are, however, several factors that will help determine what type of settlement you may receive. Although every case is unique, the general factors always apply. So, if you live or have been injured in Rockville, Maryland, or in Fredrick, Prince George’s, Montgomery, or Howard counties, we can help. Here are a few things you should know.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in Maryland?
As an at-fault state for auto accidents, Maryland law holds the driver who caused the crash financially responsible for the damages incurred by those injured as a result.
Recoverable damages include current and future medical expenses, income lost while you are unable to work due to your injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Although it is extremely rare, a jury could award punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party acted with malice rather than mere negligence.
Some of these damages are easily calculated, such as medical expenses. Others, such as pain and suffering, are more difficult to quantify.
Now that you know what damages you can seek compensation for, it is common to ask how much you can recover after a car accident. Again, this answer will be based on certain key factors.
What Factors May Determine the Amount of My Settlement?
There are four key factors that are likely to determine the amount of any settlement of a personal injury claim or jury award in a civil lawsuit.
The extent of your damages plays a key role. Minor injuries may result in no time lost from work and therefore, no wage-loss claim. If you have a spouse and your intimate relationship is harmed by the accident, you may have a consortium claim. If you experience pain and suffering and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the value of your claim increases.
Insurance coverage is a major issue in personal injury claims. Your ability to recover compensation is based on how much liability coverage the responsible party has. If they have no coverage or not enough, and if they have no personal assets or employment that make obtaining a judgment against them feasible, the amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage you carry in your own auto policy is a factor.
The type of injuries you sustain in the crash factor into the settlement sum. If your injuries are minor, your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering will have a lower monetary value. If they are major, however, the value of your claim rises. For example, if you sustain a whiplash injury in a crash, receive treatment, and the injury is resolved, your medical bills and other damages will be less extensive than if you suffer a traumatic brain injury that leads to a series of strokes. More serious injuries require treatment not only immediately after the crash but also for the remainder of your life. Such devastating injuries result in much larger settlements of car accident claims or car accident wrongful death claims.
Who is at fault will affect your claim. If there is evidence that you shared any responsibility for causing the accident, you may be prohibited from filing a claim.
What Can Prohibit Me From Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Unfortunately, Maryland recognizes contributory negligence as opposed to comparative negligence. In states with comparative negligence, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit even if you share some percentage of fault for the accident. Your settlement or jury award is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Pure contributory negligence, on the other hand, disqualifies you from pursuing a claim. If you are even 1% at fault and the other party is 99% at fault, you are prohibited from doing so.
How Can I Maximize Compensation for My Claim?
If you’re wondering how to maximize compensation for your claim, start by hiring an experienced car accident attorney. Your attorney will know how to investigate the accident, negotiate with the insurance company, and if necessary, prepare and present the case in court. We know how the process works and will take every step necessary to maximize your settlement.
You should always seek medical treatment immediately following the accident. If you don’t, you may hinder your recovery. Moreover, the insurance company will use the delay as evidence that your injuries were minor or non-existent and that you might have injured yourself in some other incident later.
Never accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company. It will always be an offer designed to close your file, even if you don’t know the full extent or permanency of your injuries. Remember, the insurer wants to pay you as little as possible, if at all.
Finally, the burden of proof of the other party’s negligence and the value of your damages rests with you. Document everything and gather every piece of information that can provide such evidence. Your attorney will know exactly what you need and will, with your permission, do the work of assembling documentation for your claim.
Personal & Professional Legal Counsel
If you have been injured because someone else was negligent, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your damages. Insurance companies know how to throw up roadblocks on your path to justice. Fortunately, we know how to move them out of your way.
If you have been injured in a Maryland car accident, contact our team at Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC, in Rockville, Maryland, to discover your options.