Unfortunately, many thousands of car accidents occur every year in the state of Maryland. While some of these accidents are minor, resulting in no damage or only small, superficial damage to your vehicle, many times the accidents can be quite severe. Serious accidents can result not only in damage to your vehicle, but also physical injuries to yourself and your passengers. You may also experience emotional distress as a result of the accident.
In order to ensure you collect all the damages you are owed after a car accident, including those for emotional distress, you should reach out as soon as possible after the accident to an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras. We can assess if a lawsuit is the best way to get you made whole, and, if so, we will file one on your behalf and fight for you in court. Below, we explain the process of a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, including suing for damages stemming from emotional distress.
Steps to Take at the Scene of a Maryland Car Accident
Of course, the first step to take after any traffic accident is to make sure that everyone in the vehicles is okay and uninjured. If anyone is hurt, even with minor injuries, they should get attention from a medical professional immediately so that a medical record is created. After this, you should contact the police to come to the scene and make a report. While waiting for the police to arrive, it is smart to take photographs and videos of the scene and the damage done, as this can be used as evidence in a future court case.
When the officers arrive, give them a full and thorough accounting of what happened so that it will be accurately reflected in the report they make. Then, be sure to exchange personal information such as insurance with the other driver. After you leave the scene, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company. Then, you should contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras who can assess whether a civil suit should be filed in your case.
How a Personal Injury Suit Works in Maryland Car Accident Cases
In order to win a personal injury case, your lawyer will need to show that the other driver acted negligently, and that this negligence caused the accident and the injuries you sustained. Typically, this is done by showing four things: that the other driver had a duty, that they breached this duty, that this breach is what caused the accident, and that damages resulted from the accident.
In the context of a car accident case, every driver has a duty to follow all the federal and state traffic laws and Maryland’s rules of the road. A driver could breach this driver by, for example, texting while driving and not paying attention to the road. Your lawyer will work to show that the driver’s texting was the cause of the accident and the resulting damages.
If somebody was killed in the accident, their close relatives or their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland. Negligence is proven the same way in these cases. However, there may be some different types of damages available, including loss of consortium and loss of future earnings if the individual contributed to the family finances.
Damages in a Maryland Car Accident Case
The damages to which you are entitled after a car accident will vary depending on the amount of damage caused in the accident and other factors. Some of the most common types of damages we have won for our clients include damages for medical and hospital bills resulting from your injuries, any future or past lost of wages due to the injury, costs of long-term care like physical therapy and medication, and more. Aside from your injuries, you can also make a claim for any damages that occurred to your vehicle in the accident. This could include the cost of repairs where feasible and the cost of a replacement vehicle where the vehicle is totaled beyond repair.
There is also a separate category of damages known as pain and suffering damages. These are damages for less tangible, non-economic damages resulting from the accident, including emotional distress. Pain and suffering damages can be awarded for damage to your mental health or well-being, past and future pain and anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment, and embarrassment from disfiguring caused by the accident.
An experienced personal injury attorney like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras will first try to reach a settlement with opposing counsel that is fair and makes you whole. If no fair settlement can be reached, we will take the case before a jury and argue for a large award of pain and suffering damages by demonstrating the way that the accident has caused you severe emotional distress. The jury does is not given a set formula to calculate pain and suffering damages. The cap on such damages is $875,000 for non-death cases and $1,312,500 for wrongful death cases, meaning awards can be quite high if the jury believes you have experienced great suffering.
One thing that is important to note is that Maryland follows the doctrine of “pure contributory negligence.” This means that if the jury finds that you were also at fault in the accident, even in the slightest way, you are barred from receiving damages from the defendant. An experienced car accident attorney like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work to convince the jury that all of the fault for the accident lies with the defendant.
Call Our Skilled Maryland Car Accident Lawyers Today
Car accidents can result in serious damage to you and your vehicle, and this can in turn lead to expensive medical and repair bills. Furthermore, you may experience intense emotional distress as the result of being involved in such a traumatic event. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our experienced Maryland car accident lawyers will fight to prove negligence and to make sure that the person responsible for the accident pays out the damages to which you are entitled. Call our office today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.