Annapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
Being injured in an accident can substantially impact your normal life in a variety of ways. If you are facing expensive hospital bills, but your injuries make it difficult to return to work, you might need help getting your expenses paid for. Fortunately, our Annapolis personal injury lawyers might be able to help find the parties responsible for your injuries and take them to court.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras recognize the burdens faced by a victim of a serious accident, and we are here for you in your time of need. A personal injury lawsuit in Annapolis has the potential to help you get the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering so that you and your family do not need to pay for the harms that someone else caused you.
For a free legal consultation to discuss your potential claim, call our Annapolis personal injury attorney at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Personal Injury Claims Our Firm Handles
Rice, Murtha & Psoras handles a variety of tort claims ranging from motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice claims. We can examine the details of your case and determine the appropriate legal action for your situation. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases we handle include the following:
Nearly everyone who spends a lot of time on the road will be involved in a car accident at some point. Most car accident cases are minor, and victims might not suffer any injuries. However, more serious accidents can occur if the at-fault driver was drunk or violated other traffic laws by failing to stop at a red light or speeding. If you were injured in a car accident in Annapolis, your insurance might not be able to cover your injuries, and you might need to sue to get the compensation you need.
Slip and Fall and Premises Liability Injuries
Property owners – whether they be homeowners or business owners – must keep their property safe for people passing through the property, social invitees, and customers. If there are hidden dangers on the premises that could allow someone to slip and fall or trip and fall, they could be seriously injured. For example, if a business owner failed to plow snow and ice in the parking lot of her business, this could lead to a pedestrian falling and suffering a severe injury.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to provide a patient with the standard of care that is common in a particular field. Doctors are required to provide patients with a level of care that avoids unreasonable errors and mistakes. Surgeons who cut too deep, obstetricians who cause birth injuries, and oncologists who fail to diagnose cancer could cause their patients unnecessary complications and increased harm.
However, it is important to note that a doctor is not required to provide a patient with impeccable medical care. This means that some mistakes may not lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit if a doctor makes a mistake that does not cause a patient a severe injury. Additionally, potential plaintiffs should know that they must establish a doctor-patient relationship before they can pursue a medical malpractice claim.
In many cases, you can sue the doctor and perhaps the hospital they work for to seek compensation for your medical care and other harms you face from negligent care. However, if a doctor was employed as an independent contractor at a hospital, this may complicate the possibility of holding a hospital legally responsible for their actions.
Injuries from Defective Products
A product liability lawsuit can arise if a manufacturer sells a product that causes a serious injury to a consumer because it was not adequately tested. Any product that you purchase could suffer from manufacturing defects or design defects. With some products, a defect could make the device unreasonably dangerous, especially in cases of defective auto parts, tainted medication, or faulty medical devices. If you or a loved one was injured or killed because of a defective product, our firm is here for you in your time of need.
There are multiple parties that could be held liable for a victim’s injuries in a product liability lawsuit. Our firm is here to help you explore your legal options in the event of a defective product accident.
There are also other types of personal injury claims our firm handles that are not discussed above. Do not hesitate to call one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys if you have been injured in an accident.
How Do You Know if You Have a Case?
No matter the circumstances of your injury, a personal injury lawsuit requires showing that some other party acted (or failed to act) in a way that ultimately led to your injuries. In court, you will need to prove that the at-fault parties were indeed responsible for your injuries. Many personal injury cases are based on a theory of negligence. To prove that a defendant acted negligently, an individual must prove the following four elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff (e.g., driving while intoxicated)
- The defendant’s breach caused your injuries
- Your injuries are compensable in a court of law
The most important aspect of proving the existence of duty is the relationship between plaintiff and defendant. Certain relationships automatically imply certain duties, such as restaurant owner and patron or doctor and patient. Drivers owe a duty to everyone else on the road, whether other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Certain entities like common carriers (i.e., airliners) and medical professionals owe heightened duties that mirror their level of training and the seriousness of potential harm.
Determining whether the defendant breached their duty usually requires expert testimony from a professional in a similar field on what they may have reasonably done in the same circumstances. For more on expert witnesses, keep reading below or contact our Annapolis personal injury attorneys today.
Cause is a particularly complicated element of negligence. You must prove that your injuries would not have occurred “but for” the negligent behavior of the defendant. You also must demonstrate that there were no superseding factors, such as negligence on your part or “acts of God.”
Finally, you must prove that your injuries are compensable in court. In the following section, we will cover how compensation for injuries in court is handled. If you still have questions, we highly recommend that you reach out to one of our accomplished Annapolis personal injury lawyers.
What Compensation is Available for Your Injuries?
To get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you may have to file a lawsuit. In many cases, damages can be paid in a settlement, which can occur in court or out of court. If the responsible parties are not willing to admit fault and pay the damages that they caused you, your lawyer can file your lawsuit against them in court and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Once you prove that the injury was the defendant’s fault, you must also prove the damages you faced. Compensatory damages awarded for a personal injury lawsuit are generally divided into two categories: economic losses and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are easily quantified because they are based on financial expenses incurred by a plaintiff due to an injury. Noneconomic losses are calculated based on a number of subjective factors, which can make them more difficult to quantify. the following is a list of compensatory damages that can be awarded after a plaintiff prevails in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Loss of wages/future loss of wages
- Medical bills, medication expenses, costs of rehabilitation
- Compensation for property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
These damages can be vital in helping you and your family afford treatment for your injuries, pay for expenses while you are unable to work, and cope with the effects of the injury. Our attorneys can help advise you on how much your claim might be worth and how to go about filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties in Annapolis.
In some cases, a plaintiff may even be eligible to receive punitive damages. the purpose of punitive damages is to punish a defendant that was responsible for performing a particularly heinous act. Punitive damages for a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland are rarely awarded except in severe cases. When punitive damages are awarded, they are typically three to five times more than the compensatory damages awarded to a plaintiff.
How to Start the Process of Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Annapolis, MD
If a victim needs to file a personal injury lawsuit against a person or entity that caused them a serious injury, they should be aware that their case is subject to the statute of limitations. the statute of limitations determines how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit against a defendant.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the injury. If a plaintiff does not file their lawsuit within three years, they leave open the possibility for a defendant to move to dismiss the claim due to the violation of the statute of limitations. In Maryland, a medical malpractice lawsuit and a personal injury lawsuit can have a different statute of limitations depending on the circumstances of the case. If your case involves a medical malpractice claim, you should contact an attorney to see if you are able to file a claim.
There is a multitude of reasons why a potential plaintiff should consider filing their lawsuit as soon as possible. For example, an important witness in your case could have trouble recalling the accident if you wait too long to file your case. Another possibility is that vital evidence for your claim could have been misplaced or destroyed before the trial.
If you are unsure about when the statute of limitations began to run for your personal injury case, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. it could become more difficult to find an attorney to fight your case if you wait years to pursue your claim.
What Evidence is Needed for a Personal Injury Claim?
To be successful in a personal injury claim, you and your attorney will have to gather and compile a variety of different types of evidence. This evidence comes in many different shapes and sizes.
While you will likely need to introduce some physical evidence, depending on the case, the most critical form of evidence comes in the form of witness testimony. There are two key forms of witnesses of which you should be aware: eyewitnesses and expert witnesses.
Eyewitnesses are useful because they can personally attest to the facts that are important in your case. it is always best to have unbiased, independent eyewitnesses, who will carry more credibility in a personal injury case than those who may have reason to favor one side or otherwise carry some bias.
Expert witnesses will often be necessary in a successful personal injury lawsuit. An expert witness is someone who testifies based on their expertise in a field important to the lawsuit rather than the specific facts of the case. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may need to bring in a neurologist as an expert witness to speak on the severity and prognosis of your injury. This helps demonstrate the appropriate amount of damages. Our experienced Annapolis personal injury lawyers are uniquely familiar with this process and can set you up with reliable expert witnesses who can vouch for you in court.
If you are suing for a personal injury, you want to have as much documentation of the injury as possible. it is important that you seek professional medical attention immediately after sustaining your injury. If you are not content with your initial evaluation, it is perfectly acceptable to seek a second opinion. Just be sure to document and record all of your evaluations and interactions with doctors. You should also save all receipts and invoices for medical expenses, as you might recover compensation for these costs in your successful personal injury lawsuit.
While not necessary in most cases, a police accident report documenting the events that led to your injuries can be invaluable while preparing your case. Police reports are a source of independent, professional assessment conducted at the scene of the accident. As such, a police report will give serious credibility to your allegations when working with insurance. For questions about how to obtain a police report, speak to one of our Annapolis personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
What if the Insurance Company Has Already Offered Me a Settlement?
Chances are that you will be contacted by an insurance company representative shortly after your accident is reported. This representative, called a claims adjuster, is tasked with ensuring that the insurance company pays you as little as possible. the representative is not working for you. In fact, you should consider them your opponent.
For this reason, the claims adjuster will try to figure out what amount of money you might accept in order to walk away from your legal right to pursue your case in court. the goal of the claims adjuster is to find the lowest possible figure that you will accept. Claims adjusters and their companies are hoping that your fear over mounting medical bills and apprehension about a legal battle with a large corporation will force you into accepting less than you deserve.
If the claims adjuster offers you a settlement, be very careful in your response. the first settlement offer made after a personal injury is typically very low in comparison to what a personal injury victim might receive in an Annapolis court. You do not have to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. You are free to simply reject their offer and proceed to court or to make a counter-offer.
Once you file your lawsuit, you still have the option to negotiate and accept a settlement agreement. You can settle your claim at any point prior to or during the trial. Often, the later the settlement is finalized, the more the victim receives in compensation.
If you are concerned about affording legal counsel to represent you after rejecting or countering a settlement offer, you should know that our Annapolis personal injury attorneys may be able to work on a contingency fee structure. That means we are only paid a portion of whatever you win, allowing you to defer payment until after you are made whole. Call us today to learn more.
Our Annapolis Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you have been seriously injured by someone’s negligence, contact our Annapolis personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. We know the local legal landscape and can explain your options so you and your family can begin the road to recovery. You do not have to fight your personal injury case alone. Call the attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 to schedule your free legal consultation.