I was recently hired by an Elkton, Maryland resident to represent him with respect to a work related injury. He originally filed a claim due to the injury, and was sent to a doctor. When his condition did not improve, the doctor suggested that his symptoms were indicative of a meniscus tear, and suggested an MRI to verify the assumption. The insurance company denied the request of the doctor for the MRI, and wanted the injured worker to return to work. Due to his frustration, the client found and reached out to me for representation. Upon hiring me, I entered my appearance with the commission, and sent a standard letter putting the insurance company on notice that I was representing him on behalf of the injury claim. Within 24 hours, and without my even picking up the phone to call the insurance company due to my own busy trial schedule, I received a call from my client letting me know that his MRI had now been approved!
Not all situations are this simple, and most require more of a fight. The simple fact remains, however, and the moral of this story is simple. If an insurance company sees an opportunity to deny a claim, or part of a claim, and you are not represented by an attorney, many will attempt the seize the opportunity to save some money, and hope that the injured party will just move on, give up, and walk away.
This isn’t just a worker’s compensation issue. This works the same way for any injury situation. It’s always advisable to at least discuss these claims with an attorney prior to making any big decisions. To discuss an injury matter with my office for free, contact me at any time at (410) 885-6200.
A question that I am often asked by clients and prospective clients is about the settlement process. While questions about the projected value of a Maryland injury claim are difficult to answer at the very beginning, it is easier to answer questions regarding the end process without discussing the numbers. More on what goes into the value of a settlement can be found here.
Once you have completed any and all medical treatment, our office will complete the ongoing process of collecting medical bills, records, and documentation pertaining to time lost from employment to put together what is commonly known as a “demand letter” or “demand package” to send to the insurance company. Once sent, most insurance companies will take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to evaluate the damages in the claim, liability of the claim, and ultimately contact our office with an initial offer for settlement. We do not accept or encourage our clients to accept the initial offer, except in instances where that initial offer constitutes the limits of all available liability insurance.
Next, the negotiating attorney in our office will contact our client, before beginning negotiation with the insurance company. We will discuss this initial offer with out client, discuss the pros/cons of that offer, and also provide our client with real numbers of “if you accepted this, your proceeds would be…” At this point, our clients have a good idea of what the initial offer would mean to them, as well as a fair estimate of what the “high end” might look like through the negotiation process. Your attorney will also tell you their opinion on the offer, and possible top end offer. We will not push you to accept an offer that we feel is too low, or that we have a reasonable likelihood of getting you more by filing a lawsuit.
Then, with your approval and authority to settle for a certain minimum amount, we will reinitiate the settlement process, with the goal to exceed your expectations, of course.
Remember: We get paid a percentage of this settlement amount. It is not only in your best interest for us to get the highest amount possible, but it also helps our office. We’re on the same team here!
Then, we typically will verify our client’s approval of the settlement amount prior to accepting it.
Shortly following this, the insurance company will send a check to our office, which will be placed in our client trust account, and ultimately be disbursed to the client, the firm, and any outstanding medical balances or insurance liens. Our clients receive a full detailed breakdown on every penny of their injury settlement proceeds.
I recently represented a client who quite frankly did not have the best driving record here in Maryland. Through most of his adult life, he had a license that was on again off again suspended, revoked or expired for one reason or another. Client came to me to help represent him with two separate sets of charges related to driving without his license and/or driving while suspended. Typically, when I decide to take on one of these cases I stress to the client the importance of obtaining a valid Maryland license before the scheduled trial date. Unlike many lawyers I know, I offer to do the footwork for my clients in determining what they need to do in order to obtain a valid license. I won’t pay their tickets, or their child support, or take their driver improvement course, but I can help them navigate the often tricky system that is the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Often times, there are also suspensions arising out of out of state issues on the National Driving Registry. I once assisted another client in finding counsel in North Carolina to resolve some outstanding tickets and failure to appear warrants that were tying up her ability to renew her license here in Maryland.
Overall, in Maryland, most courts will have a degree of leniency if you are able to have a valid license by your court date. This by no means indicates that everything will just “go away” but what most prosecutors and judges are looking for regarding disposition and sentencing is much less if you have a valid license, than if you don’t. This leniency is quite a bit less if you’re a repeat offender, as is with most situations.
My client mentioned above had quite a storied history with the driving system here in Maryland, and had previously done time for these types of charges. An odd scheduling and rescheduling fluke had these 2 separate sets of charges scheduled for court at the same day, at the same time, but at two different Baltimore City Court houses (Patapsco Ave and Wabash Ave.)
I was working with two different prosecutors on 2 different situations, all for the same client. Our efforts were to work out some sort of “grand deal” which would have my client offer a guilty plea to the charges in one court, and be sentenced in such a way to reflect this deal, then the other charges would be dropped entirely.
By the time we arrived at court for the first set of charges, my client was eligible to get his license back. He had to go take the driving test, and we all know how those lines can be at the DMV. When discussing this with the prosecutor, we learned that the State had witness issues on this case, and that we likely would not be able to proceed as arranged. I ultimately convinced the State to drop the first set of charges completely, which rarely happens in situations like this. I had been in on this case at a previous appearance and the prosecutor was once seeking a straight term of 30 days for these same charges.
So, the deal fell apart. Client is still facing the other set of charges, which we go to court on this week. Client has a valid license now, and is poised for an overall much better result, and most importantly should be putting all of this behind him soon!
If you’re charged with driving without a license, driving on a suspended or revoked license, or any other similar charges, call our office at (410) 885-6200. We can not only help handle those charges, but guide you in getting your license back so that this is hopefully the last time you ever have to face charges like this again!