Policy Limits Offer- Rear End Motor Vehicle Accident

We’re proud to discuss a recent case result for one of our Cecil County Automobile Accident Clients. In a rear end loss from earlier in the year, our client suffered a variety of injuries as a result of the accident. We have presented the claim to the insurance company for the at fault driver, who has agreed that they owe the claim, and will be offering the limits of their auto insurance policy.

The next step in the process is to seek additional coverage, and negotiate the outstanding obligations to our client, mainly through the subrogation of the health insurance company.

We hope to have this case entirely resolved within the next two months, but the heavy lifting is over for now! Another great success for our firm and our clients!

How long will my injury case take?

There are a variety of common questions asked by clients who I represent in their Maryland Injury Cases. In previous articles I’ve discussed the number one question asked, which is what is my accident case worth. The number two question is usually how long will my injury case take. This question is almost as tricky as the case value one, and equally difficult to answer in the early days and weeks of an accident case.

First of all, we’re dealing within injury cases here. These cases are valued, as noted in the previous article, based upon the injuries sustained and the recovery time required for those injuries, you’ll arrive at the baseline time required to resolve on of these cases. There are very few instances in a Maryland personal injury claim where it is appropriate to settle that claim prior to the claimant being completely finished with treatment for injuries. That being said, any discussion of the timeframe for resolving one of these starts with the treatment time for injuries.

Our office does most of the groundwork on these claims within the first days and weeks following the incident, and our being hired by a client. This includes contact with insurance companies, setting up of claims, requesting medical records, requesting additional documentation, etc. Most of this “heavy lifting” that sets the stage for the rest of the claim is done early on, and usually quite efficiently within our office.

Then we wait. We wait until our client has reached a point in their physical recovery process known as Maximum Medical Improvement, often referred to as MMI. This means that either the injured person is back to where they were pre-accident, or they’re at a point in which they’re as good as their going to get, and there is a permanent injury of some sort.

Once MMI is achieved, our office will collect the remaining medical bills and records we need to move onto the next phase of the claim, which would be preparing the demand. Usually we will have all of the bills and records for these claims within 2-4 weeks from the time a patient is discharged, but that varies depending on the medical providers involved.

The demand drafting process is somewhat quick within our office. Depending on the extent of the injuries, this may take a few hours, or a day to get ready. Then, we send it to the insurance company for the responsible party, and we’re in another waiting phase. Typically it takes between 4-6 weeks for most insurance companies to contact us with an offer to resolve these cases. Then, we contact our client to discuss the offer, and take it from there. More on the injury settlement process can be found here.

Then, we’ll either settle the case after a week or two of negotiation, or we’ll prepare to file suit in the matter. Each of these paths are unique to the individual case, and will be discussed in detail with our clients before any decisions are made.

If you’re interested in learning more about the value of your Maryland personal injury or auto accident case, or are concerned with how long it will take to resolve, contact my office as soon as possible (410) 885-6200 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.

 

The aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident

Automobile accidents can be dangerous. Many of them result in injuries to some or all of the people involved in them. These injuries can vary from minor, to very serious or even fatal. The process of successfully handling an automobile accident case from the legal perspective can be complicated, as there are a variety of factors that can influence the bottom line resolution for the client.

Motorcycle accidents can be even more complicated in Maryland. There are a lot of major difference in the way that insurance works for motorcycles, as well as the obvious difference in likelihood of a serious injury in a motorcycle accident. More often than not motorcycle riders are thrown from their bikes as a result of accidents, and suffer a variety of different injuries. Very simply put, I don’t have a whole lot of car accident clients who suffer from road rash. There are often much higher medical bills, longer time missed from work, and longer periods of time to recover from the injuries in motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycle accidents in Maryland can be complicated

While some people think that they can get away with handling an automobile accident on their own, without the aid of a lawyer, it’s almost impossible to survive a Maryland motorcycle accident without one. One major difference in motorcycle accidents in Maryland is that motorcycle insurance policies do not cover personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you don’t already know, PIP is the coverage that will pay some of your medical bills and/or wage loss prior to settlement, and without any increase in your premiums. Without this coverage, it is often difficult to find a doctor or therapist who will administer a long course of treatment without an attorney who will provide some assurance that they will get them paid at the time of settlement. Unless you’ve got about $6,000-$10,000 to fork out in cash to pay for this ongoing treatment, you’ll probably need some help. If you do have that kind of cash, you might deplete your resources pretty quick, as with motorcycle injuries you’re probably going to miss substantial time from work, and you won’t get that paid for right away…remember, no PIP.

My office is experienced in handling motorcycle accidents throughout the State of Maryland, and have handled these cases from the lower end, with relatively minor injuries, all the way up through those involving fatalities. We’re adept at guiding you through the process, making it so you can get medical treatment without needing to pay cash, and fighting for the compensation you deserve.

To discuss your Maryland or Cecil County Motorcycle accident with an experience lawyer, call us now at 410-885-6200 to talk to a lawyer, and schedule a free, no obligation consultation in our Elkton or Baltimore office.

Why am I making a claim with my insurance company?

When handling automobile accident cases in Maryland, and even more so the cases I handle in and around Elkton, Maryland, I am often asked by my clients why we would be making a claim with their insurance company. Understandably, many of my clients are apprehensive about this, confused, or otherwise gun shy about calling their insurance company for anything. What a great fear that has been created by insurance companies and media that making a claim of any kind will make your rates skyrocket!

In some instances, claims against your policy can and will make your rates go up. In many instances, however, they will not and can not. One example of a claim that we often file for our clients in their cases is a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim. PIP is a no-fault type benefit that is on your policy, and is in place to protect you if you are in any accident of any kind and are injured and/or lose time from work. I try not to bore my readers to death with citations of law on this blog, but since this is such a sensitive topic, I feel the need to provide at least one link to where the Maryland Annotated Code actually says what I say it says. Check out § 19-507(c) of the Maryland Insurance Article, which states:

“An insurer that issues a policy that contains the coverage described in § 19-505 of this subtitle may not impose a surcharge for a claim or payment made under that coverage and, at the time the policy is issued, shall notify the policyholder in writing that a surcharge may not be imposed for a claim or payment made under that coverage.”

Scared to file a claim with your insurance company? Contact Bowers Law to find out when and how you may want to do this for your Maryland Accident Case.
Scared to file a claim with your insurance company? Contact Bowers Law to find out when and how you may want to do this for your Maryland Accident Case.

This is the law in Maryland. If you’re making a PIP claim, your insurance company cannot raise you to a different risk tier or issue a surcharge. Reading the entire subtitle of section c you will see that the insurance company must also notify you in writing that they can not and will not do this to you. If you read your insurance policy, you’ll find a line in there that tells you this. It’s probably somewhere around page 23 or 24. (I made that page number thing up, but if I happen to be right, let me know and we’ll share a laugh).

There are other scenarios in which filing a claim with your insurance company can be beneficial to you. These come in situations such as hit & run accidents, or otherwise in scenarios where you lack information on the other party or parties involved in the claim. I’ll be sure to write on these topics throughout the coming weeks, so check back for more information about when it’s OK to make a claim with your own insurance company.

Of course, if you’ve been injured in an accident, call my office immediately at 410-885-6200 to discuss the options you may have and recoveries you may be entitled to. We’re available to answer questions whether you’re a client or not. Even if you don’t have a case we’d take on, I’d be honored to give you a few minutes of my time to discuss your situation, your insurance, and anything else that may be on your mind.

Knowing what your accident case is worth

I wanted to discuss a variation on the common accident case value theme. This is, if you’ve been reading regularly, a fairly common theme with my posts as it is a common question that I get from my clients at many points throughout their claims. The main purpose of this particular post/article is to discuss the medical billing aspect of the process.

Myth: Many people are under the impression that your Maryland auto accident case is worth a multiplier of the total medical bills. That multiplier might be 2x or 3x or some 10x, but it’s a multiplier. This is entirely a myth. There is no hard and fast formula for determining the value of a Maryland auto accident case that fits nice and nearly into some variable type equation.

Each insurance company will use their own criteria to evaluate and make offers on cases, as will each judge or jury member weigh different aspects of testimony in determining a verdict, should a case go to trial and reach the verdict level.

The important thing to be aware of is whether or not the billing being submitted to the insurance carrier, judge or jury for consideration is the complete set of medical billing and/or records.

I receive a lot of litigation referrals from a number of law offices in Maryland. Sometimes, I also have clients who have fired a former attorney, or have had their case dropped, or for whatever reason have come to me after their case has been handled to some point by another lawyer or law office.

I recently took on one such case that was  handled by another firm, and for whatever reason the relationship between attorney and client broke down, and the client hired me. The entire file was forwarded to my office, and upon my review, I realized one major problem: A demand had been submitted to the insurance company, and was lacking no less than $6,000.00 in medical billing and the associated records to go along with that billing, and that’s just what I could determine in about 30 minutes of reviewing the file! Without a thought, the collection and submission of these bills would increase the previous offer by at least 20%. That’s a big number. That number is so big that it would almost offset the entire lawyer’s fees in the case!

The moral of the story is to be sure that a case being submitted to an insurance company, judge or jury for settlement is complete. This can be a daunting task for someone trying to handle a claim on their own, and clearly a difficult task for some that handle these cases professionally.

If you’re looking to have your case or an offer from an insurance company reviewed by someone with experience, contact me at (410) 885-6200. I will no review your settlement if you are represented by an attorney, as that wouldn’t be appropriate, but if you’re attempting to handle a claim on your own, I’ll gladly give you some of my time to take a look, and with no obligation discuss how I might be able to help you maximize the value of your claim.

Valuable Tips Series: Buying a used car in Elkton, MD

Many of our Elkton, Maryland auto accident clients come to us with many concerns, one of the first ones being what to do about their vehicle. Since opening my office in Elkton, Maryland in 2014, I have noticed a higher percentage of vehicle accidents being more severe, and causing most of the vehicles to be a total loss. This means needing to replace the vehicle, and needing to do so with a limited amount of time, as most insurance companies will only pay for rental coverage for a few days, or up to a week following the payout on a total loss.

As an attorney who aims to be a broad resource for my clients, not only providing legal services, but providing trusted insight on businesses in the Elkton area that I have knowledge or experience dealing with. Among them, is Premier Auto Exchange on Rt 40 in Elkton. You may know their location as the site of the old KFC. Premier auto exchange began as a generational auto repair business, with 3 locations in Elkton and Newark, DE, and took that care for quality cars to the sales level, largely based on demand from their customers for repair work. This ongoing video/informational series will encompass a series of interviews and tips from the owner, and sales manager on important factors to consider when purchasing a used car, whether as a replacement for yourself or when buying as a first car for a new driver.

For your very first car, here are some key considerations from Premier Auto Exchange:

At Premier, we advise all car buyers to purchase a car that you can afford to pay off in 48 months. You don’t want to spend the next 6 years paying off a car. We suggest that you also put down 20% on the car to keep from getting upside down, where you owe more on the car than it is worth. You never want to be in the position of owing more than your car is worth. If you determine that you can afford a car, then make sure you enter the dealership prepared with “The Folder” of competitive car price quotes, or you’ll overpay by thousands.

The most important things to consider with your first car is safety and dependability. If you are going to buy a used car, be sure to do your research on the track record of the vehicles you are interested in. You should also consider purchasing a warranty on the vehicle for the term of the loan. The last thing you want is an expensive repair while still making payments.  At Premier Auto Exchange we have a wide variety of warranties to choose from.

Please share this article, and book mark or subscribe to the page so you are alerted to upcoming editions of this series. For more information on our office, visit our website or facebook page. You can find Premier Auto on facebook, too. If you’re injured in an accident, call our office immediately at (410) 885-6200 before speaking to anyone else, especially the insurance companies!

 

How will your auto accident case settle?

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.

Why did your attorney drop your Maryland accident case?

At least once a week I get a call from someone who has received a letter from the attorney who they initially hired to take on their Maryland auto accident or other personal injury claim stating that they can no longer represent them in this matter. There are a wide variety of reason that this may happen, and usually these individuals have no idea why. They haven’t received a call from the attorney, nor have they been able to get ahold of the attorney to get answers to this question.

Did your lawyer drop your maryland accident case? It's possible that he or she was just too busy to investigate properly.
Did your lawyer drop your maryland accident case? It’s possible that he or she was just too busy to investigate properly. We offer free evaluations of cases dropped by other lawyers by calling (410) 885-6200.

Now what?

Sometimes some cases are just not winnable. However, in some instances, there may be another reason, or perspective to be gained by discussing this with another attorney. My best estimate is that I accept one out of every three or four of these cases as they come in. The difficulty for me usually comes from the fact that the injured party really does not know why their case was dropped by the previous attorney, and are having difficulty getting answers. All attorneys are different, and have their own criteria on what cases they want to work with, and what cases they intend to file law suits in. Some lawyers don’t file lawsuits in any of their cases! This isn’t necessarily wrong, but if your case is one that would benefit from the initiation of a law suit, then you’re not going to get too far with a lawyer who doesn’t intend to file one.

I have also received calls from passengers in vehicles whose driver was at fault for the accident, and at the time that vehicle was uninsured. There are some specific measures that can be taken to obtain compensation in these situations, but some of them have a very strict notice requirement.

Some insurance companies will deny paying claims on accidents where the damage to the vehicle is less than some arbitrarily determined amount. While there have been countless studies refuting the correlation of large property damage to injuries, and some that even make the case that lower property damage can result in greater injuries, insurance companies also decide what cases to challenge, and which to pay.

If you’ve found yourself in receipt of one of these letters, do not hesitate to give my office a call at (410) 885-6200. We’re happy to take the time to meet with you and discuss the matter. While I do not guarantee that I’ll take on the claim, I will ask the right questions, dig a little deeper than some will, and if there is a reasonable possibility of recovery, we’ll take it on!

Should you settle your own Accident Case?


Since opening my practice in Elkton, Maryland I have noticed a lot of differences with the way that many accident cases come to my office. Whether these are people injured in auto accidents in Elkton, Maryland or other parts of Cecil County, there is an abundance of individuals who do not come to the law office first. There are pros and cons to this, but my goal here isn’t to discuss those specifically, but merely illustrate the point that things are a little different here, as opposed to Baltimore City auto accident clients. Here, more than in the city, I am more often getting the question from potential clients “Should I hire a lawyer to handle my accident claim?”

It is very rare that a situation is such that you can appropriately handle an automobile accident case on your own. Quite frankly, insurance companies will not respect you, and will assume that you have no idea how to file a lawsuit and carry it out against their driver. They are also in the practice of thinking you’ll settle the case for far less than it’s actually worth, or attempting to convince you that an attorney and his or her fees are too high to make it worth using one of us. The fact of the matter really is, in most cases, there are a variety of ways that having an attorney will be more helpful, and result in more money in your pocket. Not only can we negotiate the true value of a claim, because most attorneys who hold themselves out to handle these types of claims have handled hundreds if not thousands of them, but we also know how to file a lawsuit and keep the insurance companies honest when we need to.

We also bring the added benefit of being able to negotiate other aspects of the claim, such as medical insurance liens, outstanding medical bills, or other things that will put more money in the client’s pocket.

I’ve recently had a number of clients who came to me merely because they felt like they were not getting a fair shake from the insurance company. So far, none of these varied clients have been wrong! Over my years of dealing with these situations, many times I’ve been able to put significantly more money in the client’s pocket(after lawyer’s fees and medical bills) than the insurance company was offering in the first place! If you’ve been trying to handle a Cecil County Auto Accident Case on your own, it might be time to pick up the phone and call me at (410) 885-6200 and discuss what’s going on in your case. You’re never under any obligation to hire me, and I only get paid when I collect money for you!

Weather related automobile accidents and your rights….

It’s that time of year again when mother nature renders her will on all of us who live in the parts of the county that are susceptible to winter weather. This is the time of year where I get numerous calls from locals who were involved in weather related accidents both in Elkton, Cecil County and throughout the State of Maryland. These accidents can happen in a number of ways, and I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss the rights that you’ll have in accidents that are either single vehicle accidents, accidents where you or a driver of your vehicle is at fault, or those accidents where someone else is at fault for the loss. Many lawyers will not discuss the rights you have in single vehicle losses and those where you’re at fault (or have contributed partially to) because it does not render an opportunity for that lawyer to make money on that specific claim. The purpose here is to provide some education regardless of the situation, and make sure you’re covered and taking care of yourself the best way you can.

  1. Call the police and have them file a report. Regardless of the fault scenario, or what you think the fault scenario will be, have the police file a report. Especially if multiple parties are involved, this can be important it setting up the appropriate claims after the fact.
  2. Call my office. Again, even if you think you’re at fault for the accident, or if it’s a single vehicle accident, I will help guide you through the process of setting up claims with your insurance company, getting your vehicle fixed, and determining what medical payment/wage loss insurance coverage you may have. If you’re injured, and your insurance will pay for treatment, there’s no sense in not getting the care you need. Fault for an accident and injuries are usually not interconnected. It is important for your own wellbeing to get the care you need.
  3. Don’t call the insurance companies. Again, an offshoot of #2 above, let my office handle that. If it’s a case that we’re going to represent you for against a third party, our fee is a percentage of that recovery whether we make the calls or you make the calls. Why would you do something that you’re paying me to do? If it isn’t a case that I’ll be taking on, like the single vehicle accident, I’ll still call and report the claims for you, and help guide you through the injury and repair process at no charge. Again, I don’t collect a fee on these cases unless and until I get you compensation that isn’t related to the repair to your vehicle or direct payment for your injuries or wage loss.

Assuming the best, and that you’ve dodged the weather bullet this time, what things can you do to be better prepared in the future for any accident, not just a weather related one?

First of all, call my office and request our free guide to maximizing your Maryland auto insurance policy. It’s available on Amazon for $24.99Handling Maryland Auto Accidents Following Inclement Weather, but if you call my office at (410) 885-6200 and mention this article, we’ll send you a copy absolutely free! You can also request a free e-book version by visiting www.marylandinsurancebook.com. If you want the free print version, though, you have to call! We’ll also send you a few accident preparedness kits to throw in your glove box in preparation of an accident.

Save my injury hotline number in your phone under ‘Accident Attorney’ so you’re doubly prepared. The hotline number is 410-975-7000, and in times of inclement weather, nights, weekends or holidays will go direct to my personal cell phone, or someone else in the office who is handling emergency calls during that time frame. This isn’t the regular office number, so if you are a client with a case related question call the normal number, 410-885-6200, for quickest response.