Suffering an injury due to the negligence of another person can substantially affect a person’s life. If you suffered a severe injury during an accident, you may wonder whether you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit without the aid of an attorney. However, it may be wise to enlist an attorney as litigating a case from its inception can be a lengthy and complicated process. If you were a victim of an accident due to the negligence of another, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer today.
Almost everyone is familiar with the term “personal injury lawsuit.” If someone is injured in a car accident, a friend or relative usually tells them that they know a good lawyer. However, most people do not understand the complicated steps involved in litigating a personal injury case. Below, our Maryland personal injury lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras explains the process in more detail.
Personal Injury Lawsuits in Maryland
One of the first things to understand before filing a lawsuit is knowing what “personal injury” means in a legal sense. Personal injury litigation in Maryland falls under the larger category known as “tort law,” A tort is a wrongful act that results in the injury of another person. Under tort law, the injured person is entitled to seek monetary compensation from the person or company that committed the act. Torts arise from both intentional and negligent conduct.
When a personal injury attorney, like our Anne Arundel County personal injury lawyers, or court refers to “personal injury,” they mean harm to a person’s body or mind. Therefore, if you suffer a fractured arm because someone threw you down a flight of stairs, you have the right to pursue a civil personal injury claim even though the defendant could be facing criminal charges. While this is an example of an intentional tort, most personal injury cases arise from negligent conduct.
Negligence can be thought of as carelessness, but it is something more than that. To establish negligence in an injury case, our Essex personal injury attorney will have to prove four elements: a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Maryland
The type of personal injury case you have will determine what laws apply and what evidence will be necessary to win a settlement award. A personal injury lawsuit in Maryland could arise from a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or product liability. Each kind of case will require a different approach. Additionally, each type of case will need specific types of evidence particular to the incident and conduct. For example, our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers will have to work with medical experts in a medical malpractice case. On the other hand, they might need an accident reconstructionist if you were injured in a car crash.
Steps in a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you believe you have been injured because of another person or company’s actions, you should contact our Maryland personal injury attorney first. After an initial consultation, should our office take your case, we will begin investigating the circumstances surrounding your injury. What this will entail will be heavily influenced by the type of accident. If you were injured in a car crash, our office will gather police reports, medical records, interview witnesses, and thoroughly examine the scene of the accident. We will also work with your insurance adjuster handling your claim.
Typically, once evidence has been collected that helps establish that the defendant was negligent and allows our office to value your claim, a demand letter will be sent to the appropriate insurance provider. the demand letter will request a settlement and provide documentation supporting your claim and the amount sought.
Once a settlement demand is received, a negotiation process usually begins. This might include a counter-offer. Our Maryland personal injury attorney will advise you of what we believe your claim is worth but whether you accept an offer is your decision. If the evidence we have gathered is compelling, many insurance providers will offer a fair settlement to avoid the risk and expense of a trial. If an adequate settlement is not forthcoming, it could be necessary to file a lawsuit.
A personal injury lawsuit begins with filing the “complaint.” A complaint will be tailored to your case and the specific facts surrounding your injury. it will present a statement of what occurred, the legal theory for recovery, and a request for compensation. This document will be served on all defendants, who will have the opportunity to file a response to the allegations contained within.
Every lawsuit arising from a personal injury includes a “discovery” phase. Similar to other aspects of your case, the discovery process will depend on the circumstances surrounding your injury. Typically, there are three types of discovery. First is a formal request for documents, including medical records, emails, contracts, receipts, or other documentation that has a bearing on your case. Next are interrogatories, which are written questions that are sent to the defendant and other involved parties. These questions must be answered within a defined period. Finally, there are depositions. Depositions allow our attorneys, and the defense attorney, to question the parties and witnesses involved under oath.
After discovery, but before a trial, a case could undergo mediation. This is a settlement conference facilitated by a professional mediator. This process allows both sides to reconsider the early offers and settlement demands in light of the evidence that has come to light through the discovery process.
If mediation fails and no adequate settlement is offered, a case could go to trial. While time consuming and expensive, sometimes taking your case before a jury and a judge is the only way to receive a fair settlement. it is crucial to understand that trials are stressful and the outcome is never guaranteed. Both parties take a risk in proceeding to trial.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help File Your Lawsuit in Maryland
If you were injured in a serious accident that caused you to sustain long-term or permanent injuries, you should be aware of your rights to seek compensation from the person or entity responsible for the accident. Under the right circumstances, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person that caused the accident and your injuries. Winning this lawsuit could provide you with damages that can be used for medical bills and other related expenses.
Some people believe that personally filing and litigating a lawsuit without the help of a lawyer is a better option than retaining a lawyer. However, failing to hire an experienced lawyer could do more harm to your case than you might expect. the money you saved in avoiding the hiring of a lawyer could easily be squandered because you made a serious error when litigating your case.
Easier to Gather Evidence for Your Case
Litigating a lawsuit personally means that you will be responsible for gathering all the evidence needed for the case. This can be a tedious and time-consuming task for one person. For example, if you were a victim of medical malpractice, you may need to track down and hire a medical expert that can explain how your injury was caused by medical malpractice.
Gathering evidence for your case could be especially difficult if you suffered a severe injury that affects your mobility. For example, if you sustained broken bones in a car accident, you may have difficulty collecting evidence that can help prove how another driver acted negligently.
The value in hiring an experienced law firm is that they will be able to help you collect evidence so that you do not strain yourself after a serious accident. Our firm will also keep you updated about the status of your case.
Ensure Compliance with Maryland Laws
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, failing to adhere to regulations set by the court can result in a case being delayed or possibly even dismissed. For example, a potential plaintiff could trigger the statute of limitations if they take too long to file their lawsuit.
The statute of limitations is a law that determines how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with the court. If a plaintiff waits too long to file their case, the court could bar their claim and leave the victim without an avenue to seek compensation.
There are various other laws that a plaintiff must follow in order to ensure that their case is properly managed. One misstep could mean that your lawsuit is dismissed before you even get to argue in court.
Pursuing Adequate Compensation for an Injury
If you have never litigated a personal injury lawsuit before, you may be unsure of how to value your injuries and other related expenses. This means that the defendant may escape with minimal liability when your case may be worth more than the court’s final judgment. As a result, a plaintiff will be unable to later petition the court in order to increase compensation for their case.
Our firm has extensive experience litigating various types of personal injury lawsuits, and we can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We will evaluate a number of factors, from medical bills to emotional distress, to determine the approximate value of your case.
There are many other benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney that we did not discuss above. Our firm litigates a variety of personal injury claims from slip and falls to truck accidents. We understand that hiring an attorney can seem like a stressful and expensive process, but we are here to help alleviate your concerns about seeking legal assistance.
Other Considerations in a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit
All lawsuits in Maryland are subject to filing time limits specified in Maryland’s statute of limitations. it is critical that you do not hesitate or delay in starting the process. If you miss the deadline for filing, then your case will be dismissed before you have an opportunity to present your claim.
Personal injury lawsuits are adversarial proceedings. This means that a defense attorney will be working against your interests. Maryland follows a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, if a plaintiff is found to have contributed to an accident in any way, they will be prohibited from recovering any compensation. it is vital to have an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer working on your behalf, not only to advocate your position, but to counter any arguments the defense will present.
Call Our Maryland Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
Litigation arising from a personal injury is often complicated and challenging. Many cases present complex legal issues and multiple potential defendants. Without the representation of an experienced Dorchester personal injury attorney, you could be jeopardizing your chances to receive the compensation you deserve. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to providing our clients professional and vigorous representation. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, call our office at (410) 694-7291.