Across the county and throughout the state of Maryland, it is an unfortunate reality that accidents happen every day. Sometimes, these accidents are only minor inconveniences, like a friend spilling water on your dress. Other times, accidents can result in serious consequences, including property damage, physical harm, and death. They can also have long-lasting effects on your mental health. In order you be properly compensated for your injuries and the devastating economic toll they can take, you may need to file a lawsuit against the person or corporation who caused the accident.
At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers have years of experience working with clients across the state to achieve the highest possible amount of compensation for them. We will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendant, and, if a satisfactory one cannot be reached, we are ready and able to take your case before a jury. Below, we explain the process for filing a personal injury suit in Maryland and how damages, including damages for pain and suffering, are determined.
How a Personal Injury Case Works in Maryland
In certain cases, like car accident cases, the person who causes the accident may be insured, and you may have the option of filing a claim through the insurance company. However, insurance companies are going to do everything in their power to limit their liability and give you the lowest possible payout. This is especially true when it comes to less tangible damages like pain and suffering. You should always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, who can help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is most likely to lead to the highest possible amount of compensation for you.
In order to prove a personal injury case, your attorney will have to show that the other person or corporation committed a negligent act that resulted in your injuries. In order to demonstrate negligence, your attorney will work to show the existence of four things: a duty on the part of the other person or corporation, a breach of that duty, that this breach caused the accident, and that damages resulted.
For example, in a Maryland medical malpractice case, a doctor has a duty to provide the type of care a reasonable doctor would provide in the same circumstances. If the doctor shows up to your heart surgery drunk, this is a breach of his duty to behave as a reasonable doctor should. If he makes a mistake that causes permanent heart damage, your lawyer will work to prove that his drunkenness, the breach, was the cause of the accident. Damages could be whatever present and future medical bills you face as a result of the damage done to your heart. They can also include pain and suffering, as will be discussed in more detail below.
It is important to note that Maryland follows a doctrine known as “pure contributory negligence” This means that if the jury finds you to be partially at fault for the accident, even in the slightest way, you are barred from recovering any damages. For example, if the other driver was speeding over the limit and slammed into you but the jury finds that your failure to turn on your blinker was also a factor in the accident, you will not receive any compensation.
Suing for Pain and Suffering and Other Damages in Maryland Personal Injury Cases
Damages available in a civil case can be broadly separated into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering damages.
Economic damages include things that can be easily calculated, like the cost of hospital and other medical bills resulting from the injury, the cost of physical therapy, and lost wages from any time missed at work. They can also include the cost of repairing or replacing any of your property that was damaged in the incident. Economic damages can also include loss of future earnings or the cost of future medical procedures, which are calculated based on reasonable projections.
Pain and suffering damages are more abstract and not as easily calculated as economic damages. In fact, there is no set formula given to the jury to calculate pain and suffering damages. They are simply told to give a fair amount in light of the circumstances as they see them. They can include damages for loss of mental health and well-being, past and future pain and anguish, humiliation or embarrassment associated with disfigurement such as scars, inconvenience, loss of consortium, physical impairment, and many other things.
Jurors are instructed to calculate these damages on an individual basis, dependent on the particulars of the situation. This can result in two people with the same injury receiving massively different verdicts. This is why it is so important to have a skilled personal injury attorney like those at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras advocating on your behalf. We can begin by estimating the amount a jury would award in your situation, and work to negotiate a settlement deal for this amount.
If no satisfactory settlement offer is made, we are ready and able to make the case for a large verdict, including pain and suffering damages, to the jury. The only limits the jury have on the amount that they can award are the state of Maryland’s caps on non-economic damages: $875,000 for non-death cases, and $1,312,500 for wrongful death cases.
Call Our Skilled Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers Today About Pain and Suffering
There is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering damages after an accident. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Maryland personal injury attorneys will work to negotiate a settlement based on the amount we think it is likely a jury will award in your case, based on our experience. If the settlement offer is not sufficient, our skilled trial attorneys are always ready and able to make your case to the jury and fight for you to be made whole, including for the emotional pain and suffering the incident has caused you. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.