When we speak to clients who have been involved in an incident on the road, many of them have the same first question: “How much is my auto accident worth?” Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to the question. The value of any case is based on a number of factors. This article will provide you with information about how case values are determined, and how an attorney’s expertise can help you secure a fair outcome.
What Should I Do After An Accident?
Take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage that was done to all of the vehicles involved. Write down everything you can recall about the incident, since your memory of the accident will be clearer now than it is in a week. Make sure to record any issues that you may be having due to your injuries, such as trouble sleeping or physical pain. If you are having trouble with any day-to-day activities, keep a log of them.
Maintaining a good record of your experience as the process moves forward will give the insurance company adjuster, judge, or jury a realistic picture of what you have been going through as a result of the car accident. If one of the drivers involved did not have insurance, check out our article on uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Maryland for more details.
What Is My Auto Accident Worth?
Auto accident worth will be determined by a wide range of factors. Some of these may be economic, while others may be non-economic in nature. Still other factors may qualify as punitive damages, which can only be awarded if the other driver maliciously or purposely struck you with their car. The Maryland legislature has recently attempted to extend punitive damages to all drunk drivers who cause an accident, but those efforts have not yet been successful.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be able to sue for two main types of damages: property damages and injury damages. Property damages include the money you need to repair the damage to your vehicle, and must be paid for by the at-fault driver unless the cost of repairs exceeds the value of your car. If the cost of repair is greater than the value of your car, the at-fault driver is only responsible for the value of your car. Property damages also include the money you need to get a rental car while your car is being fixed or replaced.
Injury damages compensate you for medical bills and lost wages, as well as other economic losses resulting from the accident. However, economic damages do not tell the entire story. Maryland law also permits injured drivers to recover damages for intangible factors such as suffering, permanent disfigurement, and inconvenience, among others. For more information about who pays for the medical bills in a car accident, please read our in-depth article.
If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Auto Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.FREE CASE EVALUATION
Is There A Limit To Damages I Can Receive?
Economic damages are not capped in Maryland. Any economic damages that are “fair, reasonable, and necessarily incurred” can be awarded, including medical bills, future medical needs, and lost wages. You may even be able to sue for minor car accident damage in Maryland. However, there is a cap on the award for non-economic damages, including pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment. The cap on non-economic damages escalates every year in response to changes in cost of living.
Different caps are in place when a car accident results in a death. In those cases, a wrongful death and/or survival action may be filed. Wrongful death cases are brought by families of the deceased victim, while survival actions are brought by the deceased victim’s estate. In a survival action, the estate represents the victim and sues for damages on their behalf. Whether or not one of these actions is filed can affect your auto accident worth.
Can I Be Compensated If I Was A Passenger?
Yes. Even if you were a passenger, your auto accident worth could still be significant. Depending on the specific facts, you may have a valid injury claim against either of the drivers involved, including the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger.
Understand that if you make a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger, their insurance will be responsible for damages. A lawsuit is often filed against both drivers if there is a dispute as to who is at fault. Ultimately, one or both of the drivers may end up paying for your damages. See our article on who pays for the medical bills in a car accident for more details.
In the end, your auto accident worth may be determined by factors such as the permanency of your injuries, how much insurance protection you have, and whether you will be able to fully recover. However, each plaintiff, defendant, and injury is unique. It is up to the judge or jury to make this decision. Ultimately, it is up to the Maryland car accident attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law to make a strong case and ensure that you are compensated fairly for your injuries. Call 410-753-4611 for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.