When you’ve been the victim of an accident, you want someone in your corner that will fight to help with your personal injury claim. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s Maryland personal injury lawyers work with families and their loved ones after injuries to help them get the compensation they deserve through personal injury lawsuits. We know the turmoil and strife an accident can cause, and we take away the legal worries so you can focus on your recovery.
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling personal injury cases in Maryland, and we may be able to take your case as well. If you were in a car accident, injured in a fall, or injured by some other accident, contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today to set up a free legal consultation. Our law offices can be reached at (410) 694-7291.
How Do I Sue Someone for Personal Injury in Maryland?
A personal injury lawyer can be helpful in resolving a personal injury claim successfully. For someone not experienced in torts and personal injury law, proving your case and understanding what your claim should be worth can be difficult. Having an experienced injury attorney on your side can often be the difference between winning and losing your case.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
To file a personal injury lawsuit, you submit a “complaint” to the court. This document outlines the basic claim: whom you are suing (the defendant), what they did wrong, and what damages they caused you. You will also serve the defendant a copy of this paperwork. From there, the case will move on to pretrial motions, depositions, evidence collection, and eventually, trial. Your lawyer can guide you through each and every step of this process and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Many injury victims think that filing their case through an insurance claim will be enough. In many cases, insurance policies will not cover pain and suffering damages, and they may cover only a portion of the medical expenses and lost wages the victim suffers. Because of this, filing a lawsuit is often better for victims seeking substantial compensation.
Trial in Court
In many cases, the defendant or their insurance company will offer you a settlement rather than take the case to court. This settlement might be too low to cover your injuries, and they may only offer it to help avoid the expense of trial. Your lawyer can help you understand whether the settlement is fair and advise you on whether to take the settlement or pursue your claim at trial. Call our Maryland personal injury attorney for help understanding how much your case might be worth and how to proceed.
Recovering Compensation for Damages
Most personal injury cases are based on a claim that the defendant was “negligent” in causing your injuries. While claims for intentional injuries and assault are possible, most lawsuits work on the claim that the defendant did something wrong that led to your injuries, even if it was unintentional.
To recover damages in a negligence claim, the victim (plaintiff) must prove that it is more likely than not that all of the following are true:
- Duty – There was a legal relationship between the defendant and the victim that gave the defendant a duty to uphold.
- Breach of duty – The defendant breached that duty through acts or omissions.
- Causation – That the defendant’s actions actually led to the victim’s injuries and damages.
- Damage – The plaintiff suffered some sort of injuries or economic damages the court can order compensation for.
In many cases, the duty is set by looking to other laws. Things like the traffic code or building safety codes might set the rules that a driver or a property owner must follow, and failing to adhere to these rules can usually be seen as negligence. In other cases, the duty will be set by looking at what a “reasonably prudent” person in that situation would do. This reasonableness standard should be seen as objective rather than looking to what other individual people would have done differently.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in MD
In an injury lawsuit, you must have suffered some sort of damages to get relief in court. Although damages are different in each case, the following are the major areas of damages that victims often claim compensation for in a lawsuit in Maryland:
- Medical expenses – the cost of medical transportation, surgeries, hospital visits, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and more
- Lost wages or diminished earning capacity – past and future lost wages from your recovery and disabilities
- Pain and suffering – mental distress and loss of enjoyment in life brought about by the injury
- Punitive damages – additional payments the defendant pays as a penalty for severe or repeat negligence
- Burial and funeral expenses – the cost of laying your loved one to rest
- Lost companionship – damages for lost contact and relationships with someone killed in an accident
- Loss of consortium – damages you can claim for your spouse’s injuries
Your attorney can help you understand which damages are available in your case and how much those damages should be worth. Keep in mind that pain and suffering damages are typically unavailable in an insurance claim, so you may need to file your case in court to be able to claim these damages at all. The same is true with punitive damages; an insurance company or at-fault person is not going to want to pay damages as a punishment unless a court orders them to do so.
Determining Fault and Liability in a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit
Ultimately, it is up to the jury to decide your case in a trial. Judges typically decide the legal questions in an injury lawsuit, but the jury determines which facts are true. This includes deciding whether they believe your claims about how you were injured and deciding how much they think your injuries are worth. Your attorney can help argue for you in the closing arguments of your case, wrapping up all of the details and urging the jury to rule in your favor.
If your case does not go to trial, the case will often be decided by the defendant(s) admitting fault and offering you a settlement. In some cases, defendants may try to avoid affirmatively admitting fault because it could affect their public image or the outcomes of other cases. This is especially common in cases against large corporations. Our attorneys are not afraid to take on these companies and hold them responsible in court if necessary to get you the justice you deserve.
If multiple parties potentially share fault in your case, you can take all of them to court together. Juries can assign partial blame to each party, and multiple defendants may be required to pay their own share of the damages you suffered. If the jury finds you partly at fault, it may hurt your ability to claim damages. Be sure to work with an attorney and to never discuss your case with the defendant, their attorneys, or anyone outside of the case.
Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Every personal injury case is a bit different, but injuries often fall into certain categories of cases. These cases are often handled in similar ways using similar types of evidence and legal arguments. The following are some of the most common types of cases our attorneys handle:
Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Injuries
If someone fails to keep their property safe for guests and passers-by, people could be seriously injured. These kinds of injuries are often preventable by performing routine maintenance, cleaning up spills and ice, or putting up warning signs to let people know about the dangers. If you were injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall because someone failed to uphold these standards, you might be entitled to sue them.
Car Accident Injuries
Driving a car is one of the most dangerous things that most people will ever do in their life. Injuries in a car crash can range from minor to severe and even fatal. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car crash, insurance might not do enough to get you the compensation you need, and you may need to talk to a lawyer about filing a car accident lawsuit.
Premises Liability Injuries
Slip and fall cases are one of the most common types of premises liability injuries, but other injuries can occur because of defects or dangers on someone’s property. If a property owner fails to fix issues related to wiring, structural problems, or other dangers on the premises, you could suffer electrocution, burns, injuries from a structural collapse, falls into dangerous areas, falls from heights, and other injuries.
Medical Malpractice Injuries
When you get medical care, you expect that the doctor is doing everything they can to diagnose your condition and help you get better. In many cases, the doctor’s care might fall short, and you can usually seek compensation for any effects this has on you economically or physically. One unfortunately common subcategory of these cases is birth injury cases, where newborns suffer injuries or health conditions because of medical mistakes.
Defective and Dangerous Product Injuries
Product manufacturers are held to certain standards when they produce a product and ship it to consumers. These products typically must be free of design or manufacturing defects that might cause someone injuries – and they should come with warnings if there is an inherently dangerous part of the design. If they fail to uphold these standards, victims may be entitled to sue them for their injuries.
No matter how these injuries occur, they can be some of the most debilitating injuries you could possibly suffer. Injury to the brain usually does not repair itself like damage to bone or muscle, and victims of brain injuries often face severe cognitive effects, problems with motor skills, and mood or personality changes. These injuries can be traumatic – e.g., from blunt force – or from chemical exposure or lack of oxygen.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Victims of spinal cord injuries could face substantial pain and suffering as well as partial or full paralysis. Spinal cord injuries typically affect the rest of the body below the point of injury, with injuries high up the back and neck sometimes causing tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Injuries to the lower back or mid-back could cause paraplegia. If the injury does not sever the spinal cord, you could still have trouble walking or moving and may need substantial medical care that a lawsuit that the party responsible for your injury should pay for.
In many lawsuits, the surviving children, spouse, or parents of a deceased injury victim sue the at-fault party for their loved one’s death. These wrongful death lawsuits work essentially the same way as other injury cases: you must prove the at-fault party did something wrong that led to the loved one’s death. Our attorneys can help with these kinds of claims.
In addition to these types of cases, you may be able to sue for any accidental injuries caused by another person’s negligence. Our lawyers can investigate your injury case, depose witnesses, and work to build a strong case that can help you get the compensation you need. For help with your case, contact our attorneys today to set up a free legal consultation
Call Our Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Case Consultation
Choosing the right Maryland personal injury attorney to protect your financial future after a serious accident or injury is important. It is imperative that you choose a lawyer who is qualified to handle your case. The Maryland personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice fight to maximize the compensation our clients receive after an accident, and we have handled hundreds of personal injury cases. Our lawyers work hard to ensure that our clients are taken care of, and we will help you avoid low settlements or insufficient insurance payments. To schedule a free legal consultation with our attorneys, call us today at (410) 694-7291.