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Car Accident Settlement Value FAQ

Settlement Value of Your Car Accident Claim

I’m trying to figure out the settlement value of my case. Where do I turn?

If you have been looking online trying to figure out the settlement value of your case, you have probably found formulas that calculate the settlement value of your claim. The problem is knowing what goes into the formula in the first place. Everyone wants to multiply their medical bills and lost wages (called “specials”) by some multiple to calculate damages. But, the reality is that pain and suffering damages are not a function of the amount of medical bills that you incur. The pain and suffering awarded correlate to the pain and suffering of that injury and how that injury impacted you and your life.

Why has the idea that you can figure out the value of your case, by multiplying your special damages by some number, become so deeply embedded?

The idea of the “times specials” formula had more merit in 1987 than it does today. But in very small injury cases, there is still some element of truth to it. The medical records in those cases, which are usually whiplash-type cases that resolve quickly, often have little variation. The more serious the injury, the more the insurance company (and jurors) drill down on exactly what the injury was and the impact it had on the victim before putting a dollar amount on it.

Am I wasting my time trying to get information on the value of my personal injury case?

No. There is a lot of information out there. So what can you do to ascertain the possible value of your car accident injury claim? The best correlating factor for value is the type of injury. The next best correlating factor is the type of crash. Use these preceding links to find cases similar to yours and to find the average settlement value of those cases. Will this tell you the value of your injury? No. But it will give you a better idea of the average settlement range you can expect in cases similar to yours.

Does the amount of property damage in the crash correlate to the value of the case?

There are a number of studies that show no correlation, or only a limited correlation, between the amount of property damage and the extent and scope of certain types of car crash injuries. You cannot tell the damage to eggs by looking at the damage to the egg carton. But the question is whether the severity of the property damage has an impact on the settlement and trial value of car accident claims. The answer is that the amount of property damage does have a big impact on how these cases are valued by insurance adjusters, judges, juries and even plaintiffs’ lawyers. If you have little or no property damage, you can still win your case. But, it is a tougher fight.

Is the value of my case less because I had a preexisting injury?


The value of your case is based on the pain and suffering you endured and the expenses you incurred as a result of the car accident. If a dormant injury becomes an acute or chronic injury because of the crash, you are entitled to full compensation for the harm that has been done. As a practical matter, insurance companies love to claim that the previous injury is the real source of the victim’s problems, often taking that position in spite of insurmountable evidence to the contrary. In these cases, it is going to take more time and the best possible lawyer you can find to maximize the value of your claim.

Is there a limit to how much I can recover in a car accident case?

There are two limits on how much you can recover in a car accident case. The first limit is any cap on pain and suffering damages that applies in your state. (Here is the Maryland cap.) The second major limitation is the amount of insurance coverage available. There are real challenges in Maryland in getting money in these claims from the at-fault driver who does not have enough insurance coverage. The key is to find as much coverage as you possibly can. The good news is that Maryland law is slanted towards finding available insurance coverage, and you would be amazed at how we sometimes find available insurance to pay out claims in these cases.

Does the location of my trial case have an impact on the value of my claim?

In most instances, the trial in your car accident case would be in the Maryland county or city where the accident happened. In Maryland, the value of claims varies depending on the jurisdiction and whether the case is in Circuit Court or District Court. For example, Baltimore City is one of the most hospitable venues for victims if you have a jury trial. Yet, if you have a District Court trial, Baltimore City is one of the worst jurisdictions for plaintiffs.

Insurance adjusters understand how the jurisdiction impacts the value of the case and adjusts their offers accordingly.

Would I save money by not hiring a lawyer for my car accident claim?

The Insurance Research Council found that car accident victims represented by an attorney received 3-1/2 times more money for their case than victims without lawyers. Obviously, the number is even higher if you have one of the best law firms in Maryland on your side. We strongly believe that your need for a lawyer varies inversely with the size of your case. If you have a large case with complicated injuries, it is a mistake not to hire a lawyer, even if your goal is to settle the case quickly. Even if you have a very small claim with only a few doctor’s visits, you are probably better served having a lawyer. That being said, handling your own case without a lawyer is not always a bad idea where a smaller case is involved.

Can you help me with my auto accident case?

If you have been hurt in a car accident, we may be able to help you get the money you deserve. Our law firm focuses on serious injury accident cases in Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you have been seriously hurt or have lost a loved one, call us today at 800-553-8082. You can also get a free, no-obligation consultation online without ever picking up the phone.

So if you have a small case in our area or you have a case outside of the Maryland-D.C. area, we are likely to refer it out to lawyers who we know can help you maximize the value of your case. The benefit of calling us in these cases is clear. We know who the car accident lawyers are and we know who is competent to handle your case and we can get your case to them without costing you any money.

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Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa
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