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Do I Need a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer for My Case?
Injury cases involve at least two parties: the victim (the plaintiff) and the at-fault party who caused the injuries (the defendant). In most cases, the defendant will have an insurance company or a lawyer that handles their side of the case and works to shut down the claim. These parties get paid specifically to fight claims and try to protect their clients from liability. In many cases, victims do not have the same protections, and they need someone to stand up for them as well.
Why Choose Rice Law
A personal injury lawyer like Randolph Rice can represent you and help advocate for your best interests. If the other side has a powerful legal team or insurance company protecting them, you should have someone representing your rights as well. Our attorneys can help fight for justice for you by working to gather evidence to prove your claim, press the case in court, claim damages that cover your needs in full, and work to negotiate to get you those damages. If the defendant’s insurance company or legal team refuses to pay you, we can take them to court and fight to have the judge order damages for your injuries.
While you can file a personal injury case on your own, a lawyer typically has more experience with these matters. With that experience comes knowledge of the legal process. Even filing a personal injury claim can be complicated and involve a lot of paperwork. Once the paperwork is filed, then you have to worry about court dates and talking to insurance companies. Instead, allow a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to file all of the necessary paperwork for you and work to smooth out the legal process.
We can not only handle every aspect of your case for you, but we can also help you make informed decisions about how much your claim should be worth, what damages you might be entitled to claim, what route to take to get your compensation, and whether or not a settlement offer is fair.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Baltimore, MD
“Personal injury” law covers a wide range of cases. If a person or company causes another person harm through careless, reckless, or negligent behavior, the injured person might be entitled to collect damages. These kinds of cases usually fall into a few categories of cases that involve similar legal principles and common issues. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers handle all of the following common types of cases and more:
Car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, and Uber or Lyft accidents are some of the most common personal injury cases. Typically, an auto accident occurs because one of the drivers does not follow the rules of the road. These kinds of issues cover accidents involving speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, running a red light, and many other types of car accidents. In rare cases, the accident might be caused by some maintenance or equipment issue with the other vehicle. If a truck driver or bus driver’s vehicle is unsafe for the road, the trucking company or bus company might be responsible for the accident. If another vehicle is unsafe, its owner might be responsible for negligent maintenance, or the manufacturer could be held liable for auto defects.
Bike and Pedestrian Accidents
Car accidents involving a biker or a pedestrian are often far more serious for the victim than in crashes between two cars. Without the shell of a car to protect them, cyclists and people walking on foot could be seriously injured or even killed in a car crash. Many bike accidents are caused by drivers who fail to look for cyclists, potentially “hooking” them during a right turn or opening their car door into a bike line when parked. Pedestrian car accidents often involve a failure to watch out for people in crosswalks and along back roads, potentially in a hit and run accident.
Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Accidents
If you had a slip and fall accident in Baltimore, you may have cause for a personal injury lawsuit. Premises liability injury cases, particularly slip and fall injury cases, are some of the most common types of cases. Property owners owe guests and passersby an obligation to make sure their sidewalks are cleared of snow, that the floors are free of debris or slippery substances, and that staircases are safe. People involved in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents could be seriously injured, suffering broken bones, head injuries, and back injuries. If the property owner allowed those injuries to happen through negligence, talk to a personal injury lawyer about suing for damages.
Medical malpractice cases stem from a healthcare professional’s failure to provide the level of care and exercise the level of skill that other healthcare professionals in a similar practice would be expected to exercise. These types of cases can involve birth injuries, hospital errors, surgical mistakes, and more. The damages that victims of medical malpractice deal with often involve objects left inside after surgery, worsened conditions after a misdiagnosis, lost chance at improvement, or even death.
From cars to electronics to medical devices, dangerous and defective products make it to market all the time. If you were hurt while using a product in its original, unaltered condition, you may be able to recover damages. Manufacturers can be held liable for putting products on the market with dangerous designs, with manufacturing defects that make the product dangerous, or without instructions and warnings for safe operation.
Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
If you were bitten by a dog or attacked by another animal, you may have a personal injury case. In Maryland, pet owners are almost always held liable for damages caused by their pets when the pet is off their leash away from home. Even on the pet owner’s property, the owner could be held liable for negligence that allowed a dangerous dog to come into contact with a guest or passerby. Owning exotic pets that are not common house pets could also be considered dangerous, and the owner might be responsible for bites.
Nursing Home Abuse
Parents and grandparents are often placed in nursing homes and eldercare facilities, but nursing home abuse cases could put their safety at risk and potentially lead to wrongful death. In nursing home abuse cases, the evidence is usually under the nursing home’s control, so it is vital to work with an attorney to strategically subpoena evidence and witnesses to help prove the abuse.
What Types of Damages Are Available in Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Damages are available to compensate injury victims and their families after many types of injury cases. In most claims, there are two categories of damages you can get: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are those that have a financial injury involved, while noneconomic damages are damages paid because of intangible harms that do not involve financial costs. Damages are intended to make a plaintiff “whole” again after being injured, which can happen in a number of different ways.
One of the main ways to make someone whole is to restore them to their financial situation before the accident. This is done by paying for the cost of medical bills paid because of the accident and wages lost due to time off at work. One important consideration in calculating economic damages is what future money the plaintiff loses if their future ability to earn wages is reduced by a traumatic injury or disability.
In the case of a wrongful death suit, this can also include expenses like funeral and burial costs. Other damages your family faces after a death can also be considered economic damages, such as the wages, inheritances, and investments your family loses out on because of a loved one’s early death. These economic damages can also include the cost of household services the deceased used to perform.
Noneconomic damages compensate victims for losses that are harder to assign a monetary value to. The most common damages you can receive in this category include pain and suffering damages, compensation for permanent disfigurement, and payments for lost companionship after a death.
Proving noneconomic damages can be more difficult than proving economic damages because you cannot point to bills or financial statements to help calculate these costs. Instead, the court will usually rely on your testimony to show how much harm you suffered.
One special area of damages is known as “punitive damages.” Rather than compensating you for expenses or harm you faced, punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party. These damages are rare, but they can be claimed in many cases that involve serious negligence or patterns of repeat negligence by the same parties. These damages qualify as “noneconomic” for purposes of damage caps, but punitive damages might have their own special caps in some cases.
Damage Caps in Baltimore
Depending on the type of personal injury suit filed, there may be damage caps. A damage cap limits how much compensation can be awarded for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. In Maryland in 2017, the noneconomic damage cap for injuries and wrongful death cases was $830,000. There are many more caveats located in the Maryland Code that could limit the amount of damages recovered. To learn more, contact a Baltimore personal injury lawyer.
Proving Fault and Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Baltimore, MD
If you are an accident victim, there are many things to think about, including who will pay for your medical bills and lost wages. One obstacle you can avoid worrying about is how to file your case. Our injury attorneys know how to handle the process of filing your injury claim for you, and we understand the unique considerations in each personal injury case. An attorney at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can also fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible and help you avoid low settlement offers.
To win a personal injury claim in court and get the compensation you deserve, you must prove several important elements before a judge and jury. Most injury cases are filed on the basis of a “negligence” claim rather than claims of intentional wrongdoing. The basic elements of a negligence case comprise the following:
The defendant owed the victim a legal duty.
The defendant breached that duty through acts or omissions that fell short of their legal duty.
The defendant’s breach of duty actually caused the victim’s injuries.
Among the victim’s injuries are damages that the court can order compensation for.
Each of these elements must be satisfied to prove a victim’s case. Fortunately, the Baltimore injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can help you build a case and gather evidence to establish each of these elements.
Personal injury cases often have complex facts and details about the injury. Our attorneys can help present these facts to the jury in a clear manner to help them understand how you were injured and why the defendant is responsible. By working with our injury lawyer, you can help to make sure that each required element in your case is met.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Baltimore?
When you get injured, we understand that the first thing on your mind will not be suing for your injuries. We also understand that your injuries may not appear immediately after the accident, and it could take some time before you realize how serious the injuries are. For many injury victims, the question then becomes one of how long you have to file a personal injury claim under the Maryland statute of limitations.
How long you have to file a personal injury claim depends on the circumstance surrounding your injury. In most cases, you will have up to three years from the date of your accident to file, depending on how your injuries occurred and what led to them. Failing to file your claim within this window can lead to an automatic denial of your claim.
In Baltimore under Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101, there is a general three-year statute of limitations. This means that you have three years from the time of injury to file your claim in a court of law. For the most part, this statute of limitations is the one you need to follow, but there can be exceptions. For example, for medical malpractice suits, the law is three years from the discovery of the injury or five years from the injury at the latest. If you are unsure if you fall within the statute of limitations, call for a free consultation with our Baltimore personal injury lawyer.
Regardless of how long you have to file your case, the sooner you start the claims process, the easier it will be to gather evidence and interview witnesses. It is vital to talk to witnesses and get statements from them while the information is still fresh in their minds. In cases involving security camera footage or evidence that can spoil, degrade, or be deleted, it is important to act quickly to get evidence preserved for trial. Because of this, you should talk to an attorney as soon as you can.
Even if you think the deadline to file your case might have passed, there may be other legal tools that we can use to extend the deadline and still get your case filed. Talk to an attorney as soon as you can to preserve your claim and get the compensation you need.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost in Baltimore, MD?
One common question that accident victims often ask before hiring legal counsel is just how much a personal injury attorney will cost them. This question is often very important because accident victims already face medical bills and lost wages from the accident, and they may be reluctant to pay for any additional costs.
Our Baltimore injury attorneys often accept cases on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that, once we sign a contingency fee agreement, our attorneys will get paid a portion of the damages you win in your case. That means that you have no up-front or out-of-pocket legal fees, and we only get paid for our services if you get paid.
Under these fee agreements, we are as invested in your case as you are. Our lawyers will fight to make sure that you get what you deserve. This kind of arrangement also means that accident victims do not have to worry about any type of payment to their attorney while the case is pending. Talk to our Baltimore personal injury lawyer for more information and to set up a contingency fee agreement in your case.
What Should I Bring to a Legal Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney?
When you sit down to your initial case consultation with our injury lawyer, our goal will be to understand the basic facts about what happened so we can help you understand if you have a case. It can be very helpful when our clients take notes about the incident in which they were injured to bring these to the consultation. Any photos of the accident, the injuries, or the property damage; names and contact info for witnesses; and medical records and bills would also be very helpful.
If you don’t have these things, don’t worry. We’ll have more one-on-one conversations where you can share with us the full account of what happened and how the incident has impacted your life. When you call our law offices to set up a free legal consultation, we might ask about the basic facts of your case, and we can tell you what information we’ll need from you. Our consultations are free, and there is no obligation to use our services if you are unhappy with the consultation, so call us and set one up as soon as you can. Our lawyers strive for excellence, and the first part of this is making you feel heard and understood at your consultation.
Once you have had your free consultation with our Baltimore personal injury lawyer, your attorney can explain the next steps. Generally, the very next step will be to start getting evidence together so we can draft the complaints and court documents we will file to get your case into court. Then, it will be time to prepare for trial and negotiations with the defense.
You should also expect to meet with your attorney again after the initial consultation as the case progresses. The Baltimore personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can help you navigate this process to help you understand the legal decisions you can make – such as whether to settle your claim or fight the case in court.
What Evidence Do I Need to Collect for My Baltimore Personal Injury Claim?
All parties in a personal injury lawsuit are entitled to collect evidence and witness statements through subpoenas and depositions, but it is helpful to get some evidence from you as well. Anything you have – such as photographs, journal entries, statements from friends or family who witnessed the injury, and financial records – can be important evidence in your case.
The Court Process in Personal Injury Cases in Baltimore
After filing your case, you will have to serve the defendant with the proper paperwork to notify them of the case. They will usually respond to your initial “complaint” with a response that asks the court to dismiss the case. If your claim survives this step, it will usually move on to evidence collection, settlement negotiations, and maybe even trial.
Discovery and Evidence Issues
Lawyers for each side gather facts about the incident in a process known as “discovery.” During discovery, your attorney will file interrogatories – written questions – that the defendant must answer. The lawyer will also conduct on-the-record interviews and depositions to get information about the events from every perspective available. We will also subpoena evidence such as photographs, medical records, and other important information related to the accident to help us build your case.
Once the evidence has been exposed to both sides, we will fight to allow evidence we need admitted for trial. If evidence is harmful or prejudicial, we will file motions to have that evidence blocked from coming in as part of your trial. This can help protect against counterclaims and defenses that say that you were partly at fault for your own injuries.
As the case progresses and both sides learn more about the facts, you might receive a settlement offer. The first settlement offer is usually an attempt by the insurance company or a wealthy company to settle the case quickly and cheaply for a set amount of compensation. Your lawyer can help you negotiate the amount of this settlement and counsel you on whether to accept or reject the offer. In most cases, the initial offer will be too low, but if we can negotiate a good offer, we might recommend taking the settlement to avoid the time and expense of trial. Settling a case can also be important in many cases where you do not want to testify in open court as to what happened to you.
If we cannot reach a fair settlement offer or if the defendant refuses to accept responsibility for your injuries, you will need to take your case to trial. At trial, your attorney will present evidence and make arguments that you are entitled to compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Ultimately, a jury will decide what your case is worth, and the judge will enter a verdict. Our lawyer can help present opening statements, witness testimony, exhibits of evidence, and closing arguments to help prove your case. We can also challenge the defense’s evidence and witnesses through cross-examination.Get Your Free Consultation
Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer for Negotiations with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are in it for their bottom line. Their goal is to pay the lowest settlements possible, whether that is fair or not. Your insurance company or the insurance company representing the defendant may try to tell you you’re getting a great settlement offer and that you don’t need a lawyer. Our attorneys know better.
Remember that most insurance companies work to maximize profits by paying as few claims as possible – many times with low-ball claims. Never agree to a settlement from your insurance company or the responsible party’s insurance company before knowing whether you are getting a fair deal. Our attorneys can help you understand how much your case is worth and guide you through the options of settling your case or fighting the claim in a court of law.
Typically, insurance companies are required to follow a duty of “good faith” in administering and paying insurance policies. If your insurance company refuses to pay for damages that are squarely covered under your insurance policy, our attorneys might be able to take them to court and fight to get you the coverage you need.
By contacting an experienced personal injury attorney, you will have someone on your side who is used to working around the tactics used by insurance companies and defense lawyers to try to shut down claims. If you or a loved one was injured in a serious accident, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today to set up a free consultation and learn more about how your case can proceed, how we can fight to prove the case and prove what damages you might be entitled to.