The amount that someone can sue for a car accident injury varies depending on the physical and medical fallout of the accident (damages). It is certainly possible that someone could sue for a great deal of money, or none.
Read on to learn about the intricacies of car accident claims and damages, or contact our Baltimore vehicle accident lawyers directly if you have been hurt because of another driver’s negligence. The consultation is always free.
Can I sue after an accident?
Yes, all drivers have the right to sue one another after a car collision in Baltimore, Maryland. This is certainly the case when there is a dispute over liability or who was at fault. If the drivers of the vehicles involved in an auto wreck are pointing fingers at each other, it may take a judge or jury to decide who was at fault for the crash and to what extent.
In contributory negligence states, like Maryland, if the person who files the lawsuit (called the plaintiff) is even 1% of the fault, then they are barred from collecting any money. That means that the person suing must be fault-free to recover any money after the accident.
However, a person that files suit must understand that they will be required to prove the elements of their case to be successful. For the person who is suing or filing suit, they must prove four elements. Those four elements that must be proven are:
- There was a duty of care (i.e., to drive safely),
- That the defendant breached that duty of care (i.e., did not follow the rules of the road),
- Causation which causes damage or injury (i.e., that the reckless driving caused the crash), and
- That there was actual damage or injury suffered by the plaintiff (i.e., medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering).
For the purpose of understanding the individuals involved in a case, a plaintiff is the one who files suit and claims that the at-fault defendant caused the injury.
How much can somone sue for a car accident in Maryland?
In theory, a plaintiff may sue for as much as he or she wishes, but typically, one could receive a 3x multiple of lost wages, hospital bills, and/or other damages. Severe or catastrophic injuries may result in a significantly higher award because of disfigurement, suffering, loss of quality of life, and more. Your attorney can help you decide how much to ask for in a car accident settlement.
Note that the state of Maryland has specific caps on how much you can recover for non-economic damages following an auto collision, and these caps vary by year. Currently, according to section 3-2A-09 of the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code, one can recover up to $845K if the injuries occurred in 2021. A wrongful death claim can add 125% to that limit.
However, when the case is taken before the court a judge or jury, they will decide whether the amount being filed is reasonable, based on the damages. If a plaintiff attempts to sue for an unreasonably high dollar amount not in line with the severity of the damages, their credibility could be damaged, thereby hurting their chances of receiving a settlement or award at all.
What happens if the at-fault driver is suing you?
If you are being sued by the at-fault driver then it typically means that they have received bad advice in pursuing a lawsuit. If you were insured at the time of the crash, you should notify your insurance company and they will hire an attorney to defend you.
If you receive any paperwork from an attorney or any court documents regarding the collision, immediately forward them to your insurance company so that they may respond and file a defense on your behalf.
Your insurance company will hire an attorney to defend you. You may also want to hire a car accident lawyer to purse a counter-claim on your behalf if you have any damages, medical expenses, or lost wages.
What should I do if someone sues me after a car collision?
Do not panic if someone sues you after a car accident, you have options. If you had car insurance at the time of the accident, then you should be covered. Your car insurance policy should provide a defense attorney who will represent you throughout the lawsuit. If you are sued after a car wreck, you should immediately notify your car insurer of the lawsuit. Contact your insurance carrier and speak with the adjuster who is handling the claim. You should fax, scan and email or mail a copy of the lawsuit that you were served with.
Once your auto insurance company receives the paperwork, they will file a notice to defend with the court and the attorney representing the other party. Your insurance company will begin the defense process. You may have to answer interrogatories or produce documents that are related to the car collision. Again, do not panic, notify your insurance company and let them take care of the lawsuit.
How you receive your settlement money.
Once you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company will have you sign a release or waiver. This release or waiver will acknowledge acceptance of the settlement and release the insurance company from further liability.
The Insurance company will then send a check for your settlement amount to your attorney, who will deposit it into a client trust account. The attorney will then deduct the fee agreed to in the contingency-fee agreement and any other costs the lawyer might have covered and the medical expenses that need to be paid, then will send the balance of the funds to you.
Court Cases vs Settlements
Car accident injury victims should also be aware most cases never see the inside of a courtroom. Rather, in nearly all cases, these matters resolve beforehand by negotiating with the insurance company. While the process may take some time, and the insurance company may make several offers before making one you can accept, this is how most cases resolve.
A reasonable settlement should ensure you are financially whole and able to move on with your life. You and your family should not have to face any financial loss because of an injury you suffered when an accident was not your fault. If an insurance company will not offer an amount sufficient to cover your expenses and impacts, you might need to take your case to court to get the justice you deserve. If you do go to court, having an attorney at your side is more critical.
How long after a car accident can I sue in Maryland?
There is a three-year statute of limitations in Maryland – what this means is a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident, or the claim is forever barred. However, a person injured in a car crash should not wait three years. You should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney will ensure that property damage and rental car are handled. A lawyer will also get statements from witnesses, photographs of the damage and scene, and see that the police officers are interviewed. Most importantly a lawyer can help ensure proper medical attention is obtained from quality, board-certified doctors who can testify at trial if need be. The lawyer will also know the value of a case, know all potential sources of insurance coverage, and be able and willing to file suit if the carrier’s offer is too low.
Hiring a car accident lawyer can help you get the most from your claim. If you have been injured in a car crash or a law suit auto accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team! We are available to discuss your claim 24/7/365. Let a car accident attorney from the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt fight for your rights as a victim and claim the maximum compensation you need and deserve.