Demystifying The Insurance Claims Process After A Serious Maryland Car Accident.
One of the more frequently asked questions I receive from my personal injury clients is an inquiry as to the “status” of their claim, or case. This is obviously an important inquiry, for someone who has been injured, missed time from work, and has mounting medical bills. The progression of the case that follows a significant or serious Maryland car accident is similar in many respects to most personal injury claims- with some key differences. Although some law firms advertise that they handle only” serious car” accident cases, I’ve always recognized that any injury-causing event is a serious matter to those involved. There are no legal or insurance-based, or indeed, scientific principles that define what a serious, significant or catastrophic car accident is. Speaking in very broad terms any Maryland personal injury case will have distinct phases.
- Inception and investigation
- Treatment and recuperation
- Demand and negotiation
In the opening phases of the case, a personal injury attorney will notify parties of the claim and begin to collect and preserve important information about the happening of an event. It is when the event is a serious or catastrophic car accident that this phase can be more detailed, expansive, and complex. The nature of the loss may dictate that expert witnesses be retained early relatively contemporaneously with the happening of the event to preserve needed evidence, examine needed evidence in its native state, and otherwise engage in activity the opportunity for which might be lost later. Perhaps the most overlooked stage of any Maryland personal injury claim is the treatment and recuperation phase. This is, candidly, the most crucial event in the timeline, although its importance is sometimes overlooked by the participants. It is here that the injured individual receives needed medical care and begins the sometimes-grueling process of recuperation and recovery. Many injury victims misunderstand this important phase. In the typical case, it is generally only after the course of treatment is over that the medical opinions- in terms of a diagnosis, a prognosis, and the possibility of future medical care can be intelligently and knowingly rendered. The magnitude of the physical damage in the wake of a catastrophic car accident often dictates that a lengthy process of recovery from those injuries is necessary.
When the treatment phase is concluded in the typical Maryland personal injury case, it is time to present all of the documentation, evidence, and other facts and arguments supporting the injured individual's entitlement to monetary compensation to the appropriate insurance company, along with the demand for a settlement. In some instances, a period of negotiation will ensue, at the conclusion of which there is the possibility of an amicable settlement. If settlement discussions are not successful, for example where the insurance company fails to fully appreciate the nature and extent of the loss, or fails to extend a reasonable offer of settlement, litigation -the final phase- commences. In Maryland personal injury cases premised on the negligence of another person must be filed within three years of the date of the injury causing event.