If you have suffered an injury in a Baltimore car accident, or if your loved one died that way, there’s no need to assume that you’re going to end up at trial facing cross-examination by a hostile lawyer, although this could happen. 

Most car accident cases settle out of court, and it’s usually a matter of negotiations between your lawyer and an insurance adjuster. 

Step One: Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Accident

Gathering evidence at the scene of an accident is one of the most important actions you can take. Don’t do it if you’re too seriously injured, however. 

If you can, get the other driver’s contact and insurance details, as well as the contact details of any witnesses. Photograph everything, especially the position of the cars on the road after the accident. 

Step Two: Talk to a Lawyer

Schedule a meeting with a personal injury lawyer to talk about your case. Most personal injury lawyers will talk with you free of charge if it sounds like you have a strong and lucrative claim.

Step Three: Perform an Initial Investigation

Let your lawyer do this for you. Simply work with whatever evidence is available–interviews with witnesses, medical records, medical bills, employment records (to document lost earnings), and more.

Step Four: Send a Demand Letter

Let your lawyer draft a demand letter and send it to the opposing party (probably an insurance company) with supporting documentation. The letter should include a deadline for a response.

Step Five: Commence Settlement Negotiations

Again, it’s better to let your lawyer handle this for you. Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators, but hey–so are personal injury lawyers.

Time Out: Contributory Negligence

We tend to think of car accidents as a collision between a negligent driver and a good driver. In many, if not most cases, however, the parties share fault. Different states have developed different legal doctrines to address this reality.  

Maryland’s contributory negligence rule is one of the nation’s harshest. In Maryland as well as Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and (to some extent) the District of Columbia, a plaintiff receives nothing if they were even 1% at fault for an accident–even if the other driver was 99% at fault. 

If you’re trying to negotiate a settlement, all the other side has to do is prove you were 1% negligent, and you lose. This might make hiring an attorney even more important.

Step Six: File a Lawsuit (Maybe)

Even if you still plan to settle your claim out of court, filing a lawsuit can serve valuable purposes. Once you file a lawsuit, for example, you’ll never have to worry about the statute of limitations deadline. 

You’ll also get to participate in the pretrial discovery process, which can help you gather critical evidence.

Step Seven: Draft and Sign a Settlement Agreement

Once you reach an agreement, a handshake simply isn’t enough. Lawyers for both sides will need to get together and draft a formal settlement agreement that both sides sign.

Step Eight: Wait for the Money To Arrive

If you’re dealing with a large insurance company, it could take weeks after settlement before you see the money. Chalk this up to normal bureaucratic delay.

Most Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers Work on the Contingency Fee Billing System

A contingency fee equals a percentage of your recovery. It typically amounts to 30% to 40% of your total compensation, regardless of whether you win that money in court or at the settlement table. 

If your lawyer cannot secure any compensation at all for you, your legal bill for attorney’s fees will total precisely $0.00. That’s why if a personal injury lawyer agrees to take your case, you can be almost certain they believe they can win it.


For more information contact the Baltimore car accident law firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.

WGK Personal Injury Lawyers
14 W Madison St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
(410) 220-2179

WGK Personal Injury Lawyers – Dundalk Office
7329 Holabird Ave Suite 3, Dundalk, MD 21222
By appointment only
(410) 970-3080