COVID-19 Notice: We are providing FREE consultations via phone or video conferencing for your safety and convenience. Learn More »

Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Consider the following common scenario. One morning while you are driving to work, you slow down for traffic on I-95 and get rear-ended by the car behind you. Your car is a mangled mess.

At first, you feel fine physically. You even make it into your office and work a full day. You go to be still feeling fine and counting yourself lucky. Then in the middle of the night, you suddenly wake up with shooting pain in your neck and shoulder.

By morning, the pain is so bad that you can barely get out of bed let alone go to work. Your spouse takes you to the local urgent care facility. Nothing is broken, but the doctor says you may have suffered a herniated disc in the car accident. He also says you probably tore your rotator cuff. You spend the next 3 months in and out of various doctor offices undergoing escalating treatment efforts to stop the debilitating pain in your back and shoulder. You end up missing almost 4 months from work and racking up thousands in medical bills.

Getting in a car accident is a miserable experience. Even if you don’t get hurt in the collision, you can expect weeks and possibly even months of stress and hassle. The primary source of this stress is usually the car insurance company and their adjuster. Whether it is your own insurance company or the other driver’s carrier, negotiating a settlement in a claim with an insurance adjuster can be a frustrating ordeal.

Most insurance adjusters come across as very friendly. This often causes people to let their guard down and get lulled into thinking the adjuster is there to help you. They are NOT there to help you. The adjuster is there to resolve your claim quickly and at the lowest possible cost to the company. Below are some tricky tactics that insurance adjusters often use to save money on your claim while making you feel like they are doing you a favor.

Getting You to Accept a Lowball Initial Settlement Offer

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has designated October as National Pedestrian Safety Month. The “virtual kickoff” for this first-ever Pedestrian Safety Month was held on September 29th.

USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Deputy Administrator James Owens, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Nicole Nason, and others spoke at this event. They discussed the pedestrian fatality rate and potential reduction policies. This new safety awareness campaign comes eight months after a February 2020 report found that pedestrian fatality rates increased over the last decade.

Awareness of pedestrian safety is good, and the focus is long overdue.

Most people injured in a rear-end car accident in Maryland look for fair settlement value for their case. No one wants to get ripped off by an insurance company.  These companies spend a lot of time training their insurance adjusters how to rip you off.  So fair settlement value is not something that will be handed over to you easily. As I explain below, I think “fair settlement value” is the wrong lens to use when approaching the settlement of a rear-end accident case.  But let’s start with this premise.

What Is a Fair Settlement Offer for a Rear-End Accident Case in Maryland?

On this page, we will try to give you an idea of what a fair settlement offer should be for a rear-end auto accident case. Rear-end accident cases are the most common type of vehicle collision, accounting for over 40% of all accidents. Not surprisingly, rear-end accidents also generate the greatest number of personal injury claims. Our Maryland auto accident lawyers have literally settled thousands of rear-end cases. We know these cases well. We have a solid understanding of what a fair settlement offer should look like.

The Value of a Rear-End Accident Case Depends on the Severity of Injury

Not all rear-end auto accident cases are going to have the same settlement value. The settlement value of a rear-end accident case will depend on several key factors. But the most significant factor that drives the value of these cases is the severity of the victim's physical injuries. The more serious the plaintiff’s injuries, the higher the settlement value the case will have.

To give you some value range for rear-end accident cases based on the extent of the injury, we can categorize the plaintiff’s physical injuries into 3 levels of severity.

LEVEL 1: Level 1 will be the lowest (least serious) level of physical injuries. Level 1 injuries will include minor physical injuries that do not require surgery or extensive medical treatment and usually heal within 4-6 weeks. Common auto accident injuries in Level 1 include neck & back sprains, concussions, whiplash, and other types of “soft tissue” injuries.   With some exceptions, treatment for Level 1 injuries is limited to physical therapy and pain management. Damages in a Level 1 injury case will typically include pain & suffering and medical expenses.  
LEVEL 2: Level 2 covers slightly more serious injuries that involve more physical damage and require more extensive medical treatment. Common examples of Level 2 auto accident injuries would include broken arms, broken legs, herniated discs, and burns. Knee and shoulder injuries such as torn rotator cuffs, or ALC / MCL tears would also fall into Level 2.   What separates Level 2 injuries is the severity of physical damage and the fact that these injuries usually require more than just physical therapy and pain management. Level 2 injuries generally significant medical treatment such as surgery. Level 2 injuries can often result in permanent physical impairments and significant claims for lost wages.  
LEVEL 3: The most severe rear-end accident injuries will fall into Level 3. Level 3 injuries are things that can cause death or permanent disability. Examples of Level 3 auto accident injuries would be death, brain damage, organ damage, or paraplegic injuries.  

What Is Fair Settlement Value for Rear End Accident with Level 1 Injuries?

Rear end auto accidents with Level 1 injuries are at the lowest end of auto accident settlement scale. The typical settlement range for a Level 1 injury case in Maryland is between $10,000 and $25,000. Where an individual case falls on this range will depend on the amount of medical treatment (and resulting expenses) and whether the plaintiff has any claim for lost wages. Another factor that can impact the final settlement is what Maryland jurisdiction the case is in. Certain counties (e.g., Baltimore City and Prince George’s County) a very plaintiff friendly, so cases in these jurisdictions may have a higher value.

Below are examples of recent settlements and verdicts in rear-end accident cases involving what we would classify as Level 1 injuries.

    •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2020 – Montgomery

Soft-tissue neck, shoulder, and back injuries in rear-end truck accident involving multiple vehicles.

$13,000

2019 – Anne Arundel

Neck sprain, shoulder sprain, treatment limited to physical therapy and pain medication, not lost wages.

$17,500

2019 – Prince George’s
Soft-tissue lower-back sprain with some residual symptoms and mobility limitations, but chronic pain.

$200,000

2018 – Balt. County

Back and neck sprains. Plaintiff claims to suffer chronic, permanent pain and asserts a claim for lost wages.

$36,000

2015 – Montgomery

Soft-tissue neck injuries causing headaches and numbness. Plaintiff claims lost wages in addition to medical expenses.

$32,000

What Is Fair Settlement Value for a Rear-End Accident with Level 2 Injuries?

The average settlement value range for a rear-end auto accident cases in which the plaintiff suffers Level 2 physical injuries is between $60,000 and $110,000. This is obviously a much broader value range compare to Level 1 injury cases. This is because there tends to be much wider variation in severity and required medical treatment with Level 2 injuries. Take for example a case involving a broken arm. Depending on the location of the fracture (upper or lower arm) and the type of fracture, the required treatment could range from a simple cast to extensive orthopedic surgery with internal hardware. This is why Level 2 injury cases have such a wide settlement value range.

  •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2019 – Balt. City

A Female in her mid-40s suffers a right fibula fracture. No extensive surgery required.

$80,000

2019 – Balt. City

66-year-old female suffers double arm fractures requiring multiple surgeries and internal fixation hardware. No lost-wage claim.

$90,000

2018 – Carroll
Multiple upper arm fractures in rear-end accident case with a dump truck. Treatment involved several rounds of surgery. Extensive lost wages.

$200,000

2018 – Balt. County

Rear-end accident on the beltway. Plaintiff suffers herniated disc with nerve impingement. Treatment involves spinal fusion surgery and nerve stabilization.

$$200,000

2016 – Prince George’s

A 51-year-old female suffers herniated disc in the lumbar region of her spine. Treatment limited to physical therapy and steroid injections.

$164,000

Fair Settlement Value for Rear End Accident with Level 3 Injuries The typical value range for a Maryland rear end auto accident case involving Level 3 injuries is $200,000 to $400,000. This is just an average range. Level 3 injury cases can easily have a much higher value. Rear end accidents tend to be lower impact collisions, so we don’t see too many rear enders resulting in Level 3 injuries. When rear end accidents do cause Level 3 injuries the most common are serious brain injuries and internal organ damage (e.g., ruptured spleen).

  •  

YEAR / COUNTY

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

SETTLEMENT

2019 – Anne Arundel

Passenger suffers ruptured spleen in rear end accident. Treatment involves surgical removal of spleen.

$100,000

2017 – Balt. County

A young driver is stranded on the shoulder of road after running out of gas. Distracted driver drifts onto the shoulder and slams into him from behind, killing him instantly.

$1,650,000

2016 – Balt. City
A 20-year-old driver pulls over onto the shoulder of the highway for a flat tire and gets killed when a truck rear-ends him.

$1,500,000

rear end accidents  

Is Fair Value the Goal for Your Accident Settlement?

When I represent a client, I’m not shooting for fair settlement value.  I’m want to get more than the settlement value of the case.   You want to argue I’m not seeking justice?  Fair enough. I get it.  But the insurance company’s goal is not to pay you fair settlement value.  Their goal is to rip you off.  So if one side is shooting to rip you off and the other side is shooting for fair, how do you think those cases end up?   The answer is somewhere south of fair settlement value.  So I think the goal of fair value is the wrong one.  Hire the best rear-end car accident lawyer in Maryland you can find and tell that attorney to fight to get every last possible penny for you. 

  • Three tricks insurance companies use (and how to fight back)

Maryland Rear-End Auto Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a rear-end auto accident, again, you are walking in my firm’s wheelhouse.  Contact the Maryland car accident attorneys at Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or reach out to us online.

Car accident lawyers fighting for injured victims have an uphill battle to climb in many respects. Public opinion has turned on victims in 2020, and judges and juries often assume when a car accident victim walks in the door that he/she is exaggerating their injuries.

So smart Maryland accident lawyers take the benefits that the system provides for their clients. A big advantage plaintiffs’ lawyers have is that they are better able to dictate the pace of the progression of a motor vehicle accident case.

File Your Expert Designation with Your Lawsuits

Phobias are associated with an irrational fear that people have or carry with them. Vehophobia is the fear of driving. Why would someone fear driving?  In many cases, the fear stems from a traumatic injury in a previous car crash.   Call it vehophobia or call it PTSD the result is the same: severe anxiety getting into a motor vehicle.

From a car accident attorney’s perspective, emotional harm is the single biggest harm in the vast majority of our cases.  So the PTSD that stems from car accident is right along the line of the damages bring in these lawsuits.  Is this harm correlated to the severity of the crash?  It generally is.  But regardless of the severity of a car accident, vehophobia is a very real and prevalent issue many people experience after enduring car accident.

What Is Vehophobia?

The fear of driving after a car accident is technically a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD, which is most commonly associated with war veterans, actually can be set off by any terrifying incident, including the trauma of almost dying or being in a serious car accident.

Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a massive economic shutdown and prompted millions of people in Maryland and across the U.S. to stay at home and off the highways. Anyone who has ventured out or maybe retracted their daily commute recently has probably noticed the amazing impact this has had on eliminating traffic. Even at the peak of rush hour these days you can expect to find traffic on both the Baltimore and DC beltways free and clear. With few people commuting to work there are just way fewer cars to share the roads with. It’s like we turned back the clock 30 years on traffic volume but kept all the new road improvements.

Not surprisingly this has caused the number of auto accidents on the roads to dramatically plummet. Auto insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide are even advertising premium refunds to policyholders.  But if you assume that this means that the roads are now safer think again. The sudden emergence of wide-open space on Maryland’s highways has apparently tempted many drivers to unleash their inner need for speed.

The Maryland State Police and other organizations that monitor highway safety have reported that drivers are going much faster and getting more reckless. People feel like they can drive as fast as they want to now and the result is an alarming trend. Instead of being safer because of reduced traffic, the roadways in Maryland and the U.S. are actually much more dangerous now.

lacerNo matter the circumstances, getting into a car accident is a frightening and sometimes traumatic experience. This fear can multiply tenfold for pregnant women that are concerned not only for their own health but for the health and wellbeing of their baby.

Our law firm has represented many mothers-to-be injured in car accidents in Maryland and Washington, D.C.  There is typically no serious injury to the mother in most car crashes and the mother’s injuries rarely meaningfully impact the unborn baby.  But there are several of the more severe injuries that pregnant women can suffer from a car crash. 

What Are the Four Major Risks to the Fetus from a Car Accident?

The four major risks to the unborn child in a car accident are placental abruption, uterine rupture or laceration, and direct fetal injury.

What Is the Greatest Fear After a Car Accident While Pregnant?

One of the most dangerous injuries that can occur is placental abruption. This is a condition in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby is born, which disrupts the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.

According to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, placental abruption causes the mortality rate to increase 12-fold. This spike in the mortality rate is due largely to the correlation between placental abruption and early delivery. A car accident is a significant cause of placental abruptions. At least one study has suggested that broadside car accidents cause the greatest risk of placental abruption.

A placental abruption can lead to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, premature labor, and miscarriage. What’s even more concerning is that sometimes there aren’t necessarily any noticeable symptoms of placental abruption immediately following the accident. It is potentially fatal to your baby and dangerous to your own health.

Continue reading

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that my team and I repeatedly hear about from our auto accident clients. It is also known as lumbar radiculopathy, ischias, nerve root pain, and nerve root entrapment.  It is It’s a neurologic condition that involves a nerve being pinched by something external to the nerve. Sciatica can be extremely painful. 

Below, I outline this condition, what causes it, treatment options, and similar conditions.

sciatica car accident

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that runs down the back of the leg. It is named after the sciatic nerve, a nerve that originates in the lower lumbar spine and then travels down the back of both legs.

Sciatica pain is felt all along this nerve, from the lower back, to the pelvis, hips, and buttock, and to the thighs.

This pain is usually described as shooting jolts of pain, and sometimes as a burning pain. Sitting or standing in one place for a long time or certain movements, such as twisting, may cause more severe pain.

What causes sciatica?

Car accidents commonly cause nerve damage because the sudden stop or change in direction causes injuries to the spine, usually a herniated disc. 

Other causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, osteoarthritis, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis.  But, as our lawyers often see, these injuries can be exacerbated by a car accident. 

Sciatica after a car accident may be a symptom of one of the conditions described below.

Continue reading

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in car accidents in a number of different ways. For example, the head may collide with the airbag or be pierced by a projectile. It is possible for other bodily injuries to lead to brain damage, such as a broken trachea that deprives the brain of oxygen. This article discusses the different mechanisms of brain injury in car accidents and their effects on the brain.

Coup-contrecoup Injury

Coup-contrecoup is a term used to describe a particular mechanism of brain injury in whiplash and similar traumatic scenarios. When the head whips back and forth and/or collides with an object, the brain moves inside the skull. This causes the brain to collide with the skull.