Settling a Maryland Car Accident Case
In many ways, settling a Maryland car accident case is more advantageous than not for the client. Here, we will discuss the many advantages, as well as the few disadvantages to look out for. Of course, if you have one of the best car accident lawyer, he or she will explain to you the effects as well as advise you on whether to take a given settlement offer. When you are in a car accident case, your personal injury lawyer will inform the defendant’s counsel that you have hired your own counsel and are looking to make a claim for the damages suffered. Then, you will treat for as long as you need to come to a point of maximum medical improvement.
It is generally advisable that you wait to get to this point before beginning settlement negotiations because your medical expenses are only going to increase over time. There is generally no need to rush when the longer you wait means more money in your pocket. Accordingly, we only begin negotiations with opposing counsel once you have been given the “all clear” from your medical providers. The last thing we want is for you to come to what appears to be a fair and full settlement, only to find out you need additional surgery. However, in the hypothetical, if you have already signed a general release, the defendant would be no longer on the hook for your medical expenses.
When To Settle
There are many instances to settle a Maryland car accident case, whether it is a drunk driving accident, teen accident, hit-and-run, Uber accident, beltway accident, I-95 accident, or US-40 accident. One thing many laypeople do not realize is, just because a defendant or defendant’s legal counsel is making settlement offers does not mean they are admitting liability. There are rules of evidence that govern settlement negotiations. In general, public policy encourages settlement negotiations. Thus, the court system and rules of evidence does not admit the fact that the defendant makes a settlement offer. So, if we do go to court after rejecting an offer for settlement, we have to start from the beginning. This means proving each element necessary for a valid negligence claim.
Further, even if we are able to prove liability, we still have to prove damages. In a negligence action in Maryland, the court does not assume damages. We have to prove that you suffered a legally recognizable harm. So, if we receive an offer when settling a Maryland car accident case that you are not happy with, you must keep in mind that you may receive a lower amount in compensation in court. This is an unfortunate reality of the legal system. Even if the law is clear that you should receive a certain amount in compensation, a jury of your peers may feel differently. The uncertainty surrounding going to trial is a major factor in deciding when and whether to settle your claim.
Additionally, settling can saves you months or years of time waiting for your court date. If we file in District Court, it can take six to nine months to get to trial. For Circuit Court, it can take 12 months or even longer just to get into court. This is time when you may not be able to pay your medical expenses yourself. Time is valuable, and many people do not have that much time to get the money you deserve. The Maryland court system is imperfect, but settling your Maryland car accident case provides a great system for getting fair compensation far faster than the traditional method of dueling it out at trial.
When not To Settle
Of course, there are times not to settle as well. Perhaps the most obvious time to not settle is when there is a dispute as to liability. Sometimes, the defendant will still make a settlement offer without admitting liability. But generally, these offers will be far lower than what your damages are worth. This is either because the defendant knows it will be difficult to prove liability and they are coming to a compromise, or they genuinely do not believe the defendant acted negligently but wish to unload the case altogether.
The other common example of when we will recommend not accepting a settlement offer to our client is if the defendant refuses to make a fair offer. In general, we are able to negotiate a full and fair settlement on a case. However, there are instances when, for whatever reason, the defendant is not reasonable in negotiating. In these instances, we will recommend against accepting an offer and file suit on your case. Of course, the decision is yours whether or not to accept an offer of settlement. However, in these instances, it can be worth waiting and battling it out in court.
Call for Help Settling a Maryland Car Accident Case
If you are in a car accident case in Maryland and wish to settle your case, contact our trusted and experienced attorneys. Our consultations are always free. You can reach us at (202) 331-7227.