Car accidents are terrible events. They take an emotional toll on the survivors, victims, and families. In addition, car crashes cost a lot of money. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that accidents cost $55 million in medical and work loss bills in 2018. Fortunately, a Baltimore auto accident attorney can help you obtain a car accident settlement to recover all your vehicle collision losses.
This is possible because Maryland operates a fault-based car accident system. So, the negligent party will bear the collision’s losses. However, many accident victims want to know the average car accident settlement they may be entitled to.
This knowledge can help them estimate how much they can recover from the at-fault party. Fortunately, a Baltimore auto accident lawyer can properly evaluate your claim. Then, they can prepare an estimate of recoverable damages. That’s why it’s best to hire a lawyer immediately after a collision.
What Is a Car Accident Settlement in Baltimore?
There are two main ways of getting accident compensation. Firstly, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This means that an attorney will prove your case before a judge and jury. Then, if you convince the jury, they’ll award you damages.
Conversely, you can get an insurance settlement. In fact, most personal injury claims are settled out of court. This is because of the many benefits of compensation negotiations. So, what’s a car accident settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between disputing parties to resolve their differences without litigation. However, parties can reach an agreement before or during a lawsuit. Suppose it’s after initiating a lawsuit. Then, such legal action will be discontinued.
Conversely, suppose the plaintiff hasn’t gone to court. Then, the settlement contract will prevent such subsequent actions. Settlements are just as enforceable as court judgments, though.
What Is the Average Baltimore Car Accident Settlement?
In 2018, the Insurance Information Institute published the average car accident settlement figures. For bodily injuries, the III pegged the figure at $15,785. Conversely, the average settlement for property damage was $3,841. However, these amounts don’t apply to all car accident claims.
No two car crash cases are the same. So, there’s no uniform settlement amount for all collisions. Instead, several factors determine the amount of a car accident settlement. We explain these crucial elements below.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The seriousness of your wounds affects the recoverable damages. Generally, the greater the injuries, the higher the settlement. Conversely, the lesser the injuries, the lower the compensation. The rationale for this effect is straightforward too. Medical bills are the primary recoverable damages in an accident claim.
Furthermore, severe injuries will lead to expensive treatment costs. Recovering these high medical bills thus increases your car accident settlement. In addition, severe injuries may require future medical attention. In such cases, you can also get the cost of these future treatments.
The Extent of Other Losses
Bodily injuries aren’t the only effect of car accidents. Instead, victims usually sustain vehicle and property damages. These factors affect their compensation too. For example, a minor fender-bender means that little or nothing will be paid for the vehicular damage. Similarly, suppose the crash destroys an expensive wristwatch. The cost of the watch automatically increases the car accident settlement sum.
The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Policy Limits
Your losses aren’t the only determinant of your damages. Instead, the negligent driver’s insurance limits are also crucial. Insurance policies have maximum coverages. For example, the at-fault party could have the minimum required bodily injury liability coverage, $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
Now, suppose your losses amount to $34,000. This means that you can only get a $30,000 insurance settlement from the at-fault party. Therefore, you’ll have to find alternative sources for the remaining money.
The Amount the Insurance Company Is Willing to Pay
Accident victims often think they’ll get large settlements because the at-fault party has considerable insurance coverage. However, recoverable damages depend on the insurer’s willingness to pay. The lower an insurance company pays, the higher its profit.
Therefore, they often reduce victims’ settlements. As a result, the initial offer is usually lower than anyone deserves. That’s why solid evidence is crucial. It forces insurers to exceed the amounts they’re willing to pay.
Finally, an accident victim shouldn’t forget their lawyer’s fees when calculating the car accident settlement. An attorney will take their professional fees from the judgment or settlement amount. Then, the client takes the balance. However, both parties agree on the lawyer’s percentage at the contract stage.
Attorneys usually charge 30-40% of the recovered sum. Therefore, suppose you agree to pay your lawyer 30% out of a $10,000 settlement. Then, you’ll get only $7,000.
Other Relevant Factors
Several other issues affect a plaintiff’s settlement amount. Indeed they aren’t primary factors. However, they can significantly affect your car accident settlement. Some of such factors include:
- How long you stayed off work
- Whether you immediately sought medical attention or delayed visiting your doctor
- The existence of pre-existing injuries
- Whether you received any unnecessary treatments
- Whether your actions worsened your condition
- The reasonableness of your out-of-pocket expenses
- Whether or not you accepted fault for the accident
- The quality of evidence you present during negotiations
- Any legally sanctioned taxes or deductions on settlement or judgment sums
Can Shared Fault Affect My Baltimore Car Accident Settlement?
Many times, car crash victims are partly responsible for the accident. This shared fault can happen in several ways. For example, imagine the fault driver caused the collision by an improper lane change. Now, imagine that the victim was overspeeding. The high speed may thus contribute to or aggravate the crash.
Notably, Maryland practices a contributory negligence system. Thanks to this principle, a plaintiff will lose their compensation if they contributed to the accident. It’s irrelevant that they were only slightly negligent. We mean that if the victim contributed 1% to the crash. Then, they’ll still lose their right to compensation.
Insurance companies often exploit this principle. If they prove your contribution to the crash, they can avoid liability. Therefore, it’ll be best to hire an attorney. An experienced lawyer will ensure that the accident’s responsibility isn’t falsely allocated to you.
Get the Maximum Compensation With Our Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers
Have you been in a Baltimore car accident? Then, you may be eligible for compensation. Do you also want to avoid lengthy court proceedings? Then, you can opt for insurance settlements. First, however, you’ll need the best Baltimore injury attorney. Our lawyers at Pinder Plotkin LLC are exactly who you need. We have several decades of experience in handling insurance companies. We’ve also won millions of dollars for our clients. So, call us today for a FREE consultation on your car accident settlement case.