Common Maryland Personal Injury Questions
Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh Esq.
What do I do if I was in an auto accident?
How long will my case take to settle? Answer
What is my case worth? Answer
I have no health insurance or money for medical treatment, how can I be seen by a doctor? Answer
The other drivers insurance is refusing to pay to fix my car, what can I do? Answer
I am not happy with my attorney, can I hire you? Answer
How can I get a rental car if my insurance will not cover the expense? Andrew
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What do I do if I was in an auto accident?
First thing to remember is to stay calm. Most bad decisions are made when emotions are running high. Take a minute or two to breath and calm yourself down. Turn on your hazard lights and take note of your surroundings. Make sure that you are out of harms way. If you are not, do your best to get to a safe place. If you are not injured remove yourself and any passengers to safe surroundings. Call the police immediately. It is best to have a neutral third party in order to protect yourself from the “he said, she said” scenario. If you are injured stay place in your car and call an ambulance. If you do not think this is the safest alternative then use your judgment to relocate. Under no circumstance should you admit fault to anyone involved including your passengers. Do your best to obtain the name, address, phone number of any one involved including witnesses. Obtain the insurance policy number of the other automobiles involved. If the other driver is not willing to provide their insurance information the license plate number can help. Obtain the license plate number. Take as many pictures as possible and include the intersection and roads, damages to the cars, pictures of people at the scene, and any noticeable injury. The next step to get any immediate medical attention that is needed. Once you have seen a doctor or feel that your medical condition does not justify immediate medical attention call and speak with Andrew for a free consultation.
How long will my case take to settle?
There are a number of factors that go into determining the time it will take to settle your case. In most cases settlement is not, and cannot not be examined until your medical treatment has concluded. If you are only in treatment for one month then you will have a quicker settlement than if you are in treatment for six years. With that said, once you are out of treatment your attorney will determine the amount you should demand from the insurance company. Often the most difficult task is reaching an adjuster and negotiating a fair settlement. Insurance adjusters can be hard to reach or they can have a very different opinion as to the value of your case. Negotiations can take any where from a week to years. If your case has to go into litigation it could take years before you obtain the compensation to which you deserve.
The short answer is that the value of your case depends on the amount of treatment and injury you sustained and the amount of damage to your car. However, these factors must be in balance to really obtain a fair settlement value. If there is minimal damage to your car, but you treat excessively then the adjuster will not be willing to offer any fair amount, and the judge or jury may not give much credence to your testimony. Also, consider the scenario where there is extensive damage to your car but you only treat for a couple of weeks. You are compensated for the damage to your car at the fair market value plus the extent of the injury to your body.
The typical practice among personal injury lawyers is to start with a demand using a calculation. The attorney will start with the amount of your special expenses (specials or medical bills) multiply that by an amount of 3 to 5. Once this amount is determined the attorney must also determine lost wages and other expenses that the injured endured.
There are other factors that must be considered when calculating the value of a case. A broken bone is usually more valuable then a soft tissue injury such as a ligament tear or herniation. If there are objective diagnostic tests that substantiate an actual injury the claim will have more value. Insurance companies now practice with an eye geared towards believing no injury occurred so it is up to us to show pain and suffering through diagnostic testing and not necessarily testimony or a statement.
Each and every case is different and will need careful examination to determine a fair value. Only an estimate of the value can be given until treatment has concluded.
If this is the case for you Andrew can help. Andrew can refer you to a physician who will treat you with the understanding that you will reimburse the physician out of money you receive from settlement. This will help get you the qualified treatment that you need without the worry of medical bills and expenses.
The other drivers insurance can be forced to pay for your cars damages through a lawsuit. Often, hiring an attorney can help avoid having to go through a civil lawsuit as it shows the insurance company that you are prepared to take the case forward. Also, it is possible that the attorney has a working relationship with the adjuster on the other end of the phone and may be able to reason with them in a manner more conducive to settlement. If hiring an attorney is simply not an option then you may have a case that can be handled in small claims court. You should first contact an attorney for a free consultation to discuss all options.
Andrew is willing to speak with anyone about their current case and the situation that they may be in. Andrew does accept cases that have been handled by other attorneys, however it is best if the injured can work out their differences with their current attorney.
If you do not have rental insurance on your insurance policy you may be able to obtain a rental through the defendants insurance company. This is something that Andrew can assist in negotiating. If, after negotiations the adjuster is not willing to provide a rental, then you may be forced to pay for a rental car out of pocket. If that is the case then make sure that you explain to your attorney that you want that money factored into the settlement and make sure the rental amount is calculated in the demand package (see definitions page). Be careful not to run up an exorbitant rental bill as this will quickly reduce the ultimate amount of money to you.
The Maryland personal injury process can be confusing. The good news for injury victims is that representation is on contingency basis meaning personal injury attorneys are only paid if money is recovered!
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