How to Increase Settlement Value in Maryland

In the event of any kind of accident, people are always curious about what their case is worth. The settlement negotiated in each case depends heavily upon the details and facts of each case. Contact a Maryland personal injury attorney to discuss your options if you have been injured in an accident and feel entitled to a settlement. There are some things you can do to help strengthen your case and increase your settlement amount.

With over 200 million dollars recovered for our clients and over 9,000 cases won, Jaklitsch Law Group has the experience and wins to help you recover your maximum compensation. Recovering from an accident can be grueling. You shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of being injured, attending medical appointments, and managing the legal side alone.

Maryland Accident Settlements

Many components of accident settlements may affect your settlement amount or the time frame for negotiation. The first essential settlement component is what kind of accident occurred. Some of the more common settlement types are:

While this list is not exhaustive, it covers the most common accidents. In many of these situations, you may deal with parties beyond just your insurance provider and one other. Managing the interest and schedule of multiple parties may increase how long your negotiations take and delay progress at times. 

When your case encounters significant delays, approaching the statute of limitations for a personal injury case may affect the way negotiations are held in an effort to get a fair settlement before going to trial. 

Insurance Companies

The insurance company’s primary function is to protect its money and assets. You will benefit from viewing any interaction with them through that lens. Much like being arrested, anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you to discredit you or justify an inappropriately low offer.

 This may mean they use statements you made against you or social media posts with their own narrative. If your goal is to reach a settlement agreement, contact with the insurance company should be minimal before securing an attorney and nonexistent without them present once you have secured representation. The jury may decide if your case goes to court, but the insurance company is the one you have to convince of your injuries to reach a settlement agreement.

Determining the Value of Your Settlement

You are likely curious about how much money you can expect from your case. As great as it would be to have some kind of formula to determine what you can expect, that’s not quite how the process works. Most firms or attorneys should offer a free consultation to gather information regarding your case and determine your legal options. This is the point that some may be able to give you a large range of what to expect. This range may become smaller as you can assess the extent of your costs and injuries. 

When your attorney begins negotiations for your settlement, they will request the amount in damages. Maryland settlement damages will fall into two primary groups.

Economic Damages

Economic damages tend to be more tangible in nature. Maryland statute defines economic damages as compensating for loss of earnings and medical expenses. This could include past or future medical bills for ongoing treatment. It may also include loss of wages due to time off for appointments related to the injury. 

Non-Economic Damages

 Non-economic damages in a Maryland settlement cover some less tangible damages and injuries. Sometimes, these damages will require more discussion to ascertain their value. Oftentimes, your attorney may use letters from care providers or testimony from friends and family to establish some of your non-economic damages. Maryland statute 11-108 states these may include but are not limited to: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of marital care
  • Loss of parental care
  • Loss of protection
  • Inconvenience

These things may not carry a direct price tag, but they do have a cost. Money may not cure your injuries or bring back a lost loved one. Still, it can provide some of the lacking support either through giving the funds to pay for services you are unable to do or simply allowing you to take time away from responsibilities to allow yourself to recover and heal. 

Maximizing Your Value

Ultimately, you only have so much control over how much money is recovered in a settlement and even less control over whether the case goes to trial. However, you can do a few things to strengthen your case, decrease negotiation time, and take steps to increase the overall value or take-home amount for you. 

Find a Reputable Lawyer

Personal injury attorneys are all over the place. Still, when deciding to retain an attorney, finding someone who believes in your case and has a reputation for good outcomes in your type of injury is essential. Ideally, this includes a history of successfully taking cases to trial. The insurance companies may be familiar with personal injury attorneys in the area and know who they can negotiate lower offers with or who will call their bluff and take the case to trial if that’s in their client’s best interest. 

Stand Your Ground with the Insurance Company

Related to having a good attorney, is making sure the insurance company knows that you will not be accepting lowball offers and that you are serious about a fair settlement amount, even if it means taking a case to trial. In most cases, the insurance company prefers to avoid trials as much as you do. Taking a case to trial introduces too many unknowns, with the jury deciding. It also requires a significant commitment of time and money for both parties. If the insurance company thinks you are serious, they are more likely to take you seriously. 

Honesty

In the legal world, perception can be a huge part of whether you succeed or fail. For this person, you must behave with integrity for the duration of the case, including being honest and factual about your injuries. There can be a fine line between appropriate honesty and oversharing, so this is another place where your attorney can provide invaluable support. What you are trying to avoid with this is any situation where it may look like you have overestimated or exaggerated your injuries. This betrays your integrity and pulls anything else you say into question. 

Stay Organized

A lot of civil cases involve paperwork and documentation. Your lawyer will handle a lot of the paperwork, but they will also need information from you. Accessing any information or documentation needed quickly can prevent unnecessary delays and will back up your commitment to the insurance company. 

Preserving Evidence

As with any legal case, the success of your claim is based on the evidence you have to support it. This preservation is something you can do from the second the accident happens. The information below may be helpful whether you have an attorney or represent yourself.

Call 911

A call to 911 ensures that police respond and create a police report. This report will typically have an explanation of what happened from the perspective of the responding officer, as well as contact and insurance information for any involved parties. This information is usually available for around seven days after the incident. You may request the report from the Maryland Central Records Unit to keep with your records. While the police report does not necessarily determine fault in civil litigation, it does inform the decision from the insurance company.  

Seek Medical Evaluation

Calling 911 will bring police to the scene, but it can also bring EMS to the scene to evaluate you. If EMS does not arrive, you should seek an evaluation from a physician or medical provider immediately. This serves two functions. The first is to ensure that any injuries are identified and treated. It is not uncommon for injuries to go unnoticed in the initial aftermath of an accident. Still, a thorough physical evaluation may bring these to your attention before they become exacerbated. The second reason this is important is that refusing medical care or not seeking it out can make it look like you aren’t injured, even if you are. This is something else that insurance may try to use against you, asking how you could be significantly injured if you didn’t feel you needed medical care. 

Follow Recommendations

If you have sought medical care or been treated for your injuries, you must follow your doctor’s recommendations. For example, suppose you sustained a broken bone or concussion but continue to work a demanding job instead of taking the recommended time off. In that case, it becomes easier for the insurance company to doubt the severity of your injury and deny responsibility for any complications. Ensuring you follow your care plan shows that you take your injuries and recovery seriously.

Exchange Information

Ensuring you have the contact information for any other parties to the accident is helpful. The police report will likely have the information for the other drivers, but you may need access to it faster than the report can be provided. You may also want to get contact information for any other witnesses to the accident. This information may be valuable to your attorney if they need to be called as a witness or make a statement regarding what they saw. The information needed is:

  • Name 
  • Phone number
  • Insurance information (driver)
  • Car make and model (driver)
  • License plate (driver)

Photographs

Witness statements may be helpful, but little is as substantial as a photo. At the scene, taking pictures of what is around you is hugely beneficial. This includes the vehicles, the road, any signs around you, and any damage.  Some of this may corroborate your or the officer’s statement of what happened. 

Photos of injuries may also be helpful. Photos of injuries at the scene can set a baseline, and ongoing photos of the healing process may also be beneficial to create a narrative of what happened and your experience. 

Minimize Your Liability

While the above points can help provide evidence to strengthen your case and substantiate the other person’s liability, you should also take steps to protect yourself from accidentally harming your case. In addition to minimizing contact with insurance and accepting medical evaluation, a few more things may reduce the chances of damaging your case.

A big contributor to decreased settlement offers is any admission of fault. This may be on the scene if you apologize to the other driver or something as simple as ‘I feel so bad the other person was injured’ when speaking with insurance. You may have good intentions in the statement, but it may be seen as an admission of guilt that can seriously harm your settlement. The best practice when you are in the negotiation of the litigation stage of your case is to speak of your accident as little as possible to as few people as possible. 

Yet another area where people may harm their cases is social media. You may be inclined to update your followers on what happened, talk about your injuries, or even post pictures of a get-together you attended, but this is ill-advised. Anything posted to social media can find its way to the other party, and the more information they have, the more chances they have to try to discredit you. 

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Even if you have done everything right in terms of protecting and collecting evidence, following your provider’s instructions, and speaking of your accident sparingly, an attorney have spent years dedicating their lives to learning the requirements and loopholes to the legal demands of your case. After an accident, you should be able to take time to recover and allow your body to heal, not messing with insurance companies and court filings only to receive low offers because you aren’t being taken seriously. At Jaklitsch Law Group, we will work diligently to investigate your accident, collect and analyze the evidence, and skillfully negotiate with the insurance company to secure the highest possible compensation from your settlement. We are an award winning firm that is here to fight for you in your difficult time. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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