What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Maryland?

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Car accidents can be stressful, and even traumatic experiences, particularly if the accident caused extensive property damage and serious personal injury. Once the initial shock of the collision has worn off and you are able to assess the damage, you will likely have a lot of questions about how the repairs to your vehicle are going to be paid for and who is going to cover the costs associated with your injuries. If the accident was serious, you could end up with thousands, or even millions of dollars in expenses, including the costs to repair or replace your vehicle, medical expenses, and lost wages. If the other motorist involved in the accident was at fault, a successful personal injury claim will ensure that you receive a fair financial settlement. The average car accident settlement can range from $25,000 to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of the property damage. Every accident is different, and your settlement should reflect the total expenses that you incur. An experienced car accident lawyer will assist you with the claims process and secure the best possible settlement outcome.

What Factors Will Impact My Settlement Amount? 

The insurance company will consider the following factors when determining the size of your settlement:

  • Severity of your injuries: Severe injuries are going to warrant a larger settlement, particularly if the injuries require ongoing treatment or involve permanent impairments.
  • Your total financial losses: The settlement should reflect your total losses, including property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident.
  • Eyewitness accounts: If there were witnesses at the accident scene, they can provide valuable evidence about how the accident occurred and who was responsible. If the witnesses are willing to provide an official statement, this can be very beneficial to the outcome of your settlement.
  • The car accident laws in Maryland: Your settlement will be impacted by the state car accident laws. Maryland is a contributory negligence state, which means that you will be ineligible to collect compensation if you are even partly responsible for causing the accident.
  • The strength of your case: If it is clear that the other driver was at fault, it is more likely that you will secure a higher settlement offer. For example, if the driver who hit you was drunk, it will be obvious that he or she caused the accident.
  • The type of insurance policy you and the other motorist have: To pay a claim, the at-fault driver must have insurance. The more robust the insurance policy, the higher the settlement is likely to be.

How Much Can I Expect to Receive from My Car Accident Settlement?

Your car accident lawyer will not be able to tell you an exact settlement amount until he or she has had the chance to thoroughly review the case and determine the extent of your injuries and property damage. There are many factors that are considered during the settlement process, each of which will impact the outcome of the case. Even two rear-end collisions that cause the same injuries can have very different settlement outcomes if one of the accidents involves an older model Honda Civic and the other involves a brand-new Porsche. However, your car accident lawyer will be able to give you an estimate of what you should receive by collecting all the medical bills, including those that you have already paid and ones that you have received. He or she will also contact your doctor to determine whether you will need to undergo any other medical procedures in the future to make a full recovery, and how much each of those procedures will cost. Your car accident lawyer will add the cost of the future medical expenses and the cost of the care that you have already received to come up with a settlement amount for medical expenses.

The next step is to determine the compensation you should receive for lost wages. To do this, your lawyer will use your hourly rate and the number of hours that you missed because of the accident. In addition, you will need to calculate the number of hours you were unable to work while you were recovering from your injuries. You may also ask your supervisor how much you would have made if your injuries did not prevent you from being able to come into work. Another important question to ask your boss is whether you were due for a raise or a promotion, which would have increased your salary. This will impact your settlement amount as well.

Determining a compensation amount for pain and suffering can be difficult because it is not easily quantifiable. Ultimately, it is up to a jury to decide. However, generally speaking, compensation for pain and suffering is usually between two and four times the total amount of your lost wages and medical expenses.

What Types of Damages Are Awarded in a Car Accident Settlement?

  • Economic damages: Also known as special damages, these are the losses and expenses that are directly related to the accident. They are fairly easy to calculate, particularly when you have copies of all medical bills and other losses related to the accident, including property damage and lost wages. Example of economic damages include:
    – Property damage: The costs to repair a vehicle after a car accident can be very expensive. If the car was totaled or requires extensive repairs, a car accident lawyer will secure the compensation you deserve, including the cost associated with renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
    – All medical expenses related to the accident: This may include hospitalization, surgeries, prescription medication, physical therapy, as well as long-term care if the injury caused brain damage or paralysis.
    – Lost wages: If you are unable to return to work for an extended period, this can be financially devastating, particularly if you are the primary breadwinner in your family. A car accident lawyer will ensure that you are compensated for all missed earnings, including any changes to your income since the accident.
  • Non-economic damages: These are also referred to as general damages. Since there is no way to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering, or collect a receipt for the loss of one’s enjoyment of life, it is more challenging to calculate an amount for non-economic damages. However, an experienced car accident lawyer will assess your damages and ensure that it is reflected in your settlement amount. Examples of non-economic damages include the following:
    – Pain and suffering: The trauma of a serious car accident can cause you to suffer from depression, emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mental anguish.
    – Loss of companionship: If you were fatally injured, suffered a severe brain or spinal injury, or experienced extreme PTSD, this can result in a loss of companionship with your spouse and other members of your family.

What Steps Do I Take to Recover Compensation?

If you suffered injuries and property damage in a car accident, the first step toward recovering compensation is to discuss your case with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. He or she will thoroughly review the details of your case and collect evidence including medical records, police reports, and employment information to determine the damages that you are entitled to receive. Your lawyer will then submit a demand letter to the insurance company that includes the total amount that is being requested. In most cases, the insurance company will respond with a counteroffer, including reasons for their offer. This is usually far less than what you deserve. Your car accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company until an acceptable settlement amount is agreed on by all parties. If your lawyer is unable to secure a settlement offer that is acceptable, you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist who caused the accident. You may be able to resolve the case before going to trial, but if you and the at-fault party cannot reach a resolution, you may have to go to trial.

Why Should I Avoid Accepting an Initial Settlement Offer?

It is important for you to understand that insurance companies are in the business of making money. In fact, they will go to great lengths to avoid paying a large settlement. Oftentimes, they will make an initial offer that may seem like a lot of money. You may be tempted to accept it and put the whole ordeal behind you. However, these offers rarely come close to covering the total costs. In addition, if you do accept the offer, you will not be able to renegotiate a better settlement.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Maximum Settlements for Car Accident Victims

If you were injured in a car accident, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review the details of your case, determine the extent of your injuries and property damage, and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns along the way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.