Have you been injured in an accident that you need a lawyer to help you with? Speak with an Aberdeen personal injury lawyer today. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s experienced injury attorneys have been handling cases in the Aberdeen area for decades. Our attorneys fight to hold at-fault parties responsible for injuries, and we work to help victims and their families get compensation for their injuries.
Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice for help with your injury claim. Our attorneys offer free legal consultations to help you understand what your case might be worth and how to proceed with your claim. We also work to maximize the damages you can receive by helping you fight insurance offers and file claims in court. For help with your case, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Aberdeen, MD
Personal injury claims are subject to a “statute of limitations.” This law prevents personal injury claims from being filed after a certain amount of time. If you wait too long after an injury to file a personal injury claim, you may be barred from filing that claim under these rules.
The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of claim you are filing. For most injury cases, victims have 3 years from the date the injury occurred to file their claim. If the case is filed late, the judge might dismiss your claim.
Some types of injury claims have different deadlines to file. For instance, medical malpractice cases must be filed within 3 years of the date the injury was discovered. Alternatively, you have up to 3 years from the date you discover the injury if it not discovered immediately, such as if a sponge was left inside after surgery. However, your case will still need to be filed within 5 years of the date the injury actually occurred.
Statutes of limitations are used to prevent old cases from coming back to bite people years later. They also help ensure that the evidence is fresh in your case. If you have been injured, it is important to show you are serious about seeking compensation. Contact a lawyer as early as you can so we can file the claim and aggressively pursue compensation.
What Happens When You File a Personal Injury Claim in Aberdeen?
The first step in filing a personal injury claim is the complaint. A complaint describes the facts and legal basis of your claim. The complaint must be filed in court within the statute of limitations. The complaint will then be served on the defendant – the opposing party. Each side might put forth responses to these filings, sharpening the claims and defenses in the case.
After the initial complaint and response are resolved, the case will move to “discovery.” Discovery is the process of getting important documents from the opposing party. At this stage, you can ask the court to subpoena records and documents, answers to questions, and deposition testimony from witnesses or parties to the case.
Throughout the case, both sides will try to negotiate a settlement. If you can settle your case for a fair amount early in the case, it can save money in attorneys’ fees and court costs. If settlement offers are too low, your lawyer will caution you against settling. If your case has still not settled by the end of discovery, then it will be set for trial.
Before trial, you and your lawyer will prepare your arguments, witnesses, and evidence for trial. Trials involve a jury, judge, and the opposing party. The plaintiff goes first, so your lawyer will start with opening statements, then the defense will give their opening statements. Each side will take turns presenting witnesses and evidence, then get a chance to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses and evidence. From there, both sides will give closing arguments.
If the case proceeds all the way through trial, it is unlikely to settle. Still, you do have an opportunity to settle the case and skip a jury verdict at any point during or after trial as long as there is no verdict yet. Once the jury makes their decision, the judge will issue a ruling and order compensation. At that point, it is usually too late to settle, and you will be given whatever compensation the jury decided. The jury will make their decision on how much your case is worth by using the evidence and arguments your attorney provided at trial.
Trials can be lengthy and intense, so it is best to work closely with your lawyer and ask any questions you may have. During the trial, your lawyer’s work will be aimed at getting the best outcome for you.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim in Aberdeen
“Negligence” is the key element to a personal injury claim. Most claims for injury are not based on intentional acts of violence – though you can sue for assault and battery as well. Instead, claims work by showing that the at-fault party did something dangerous or failed to do something they were supposed to do.
The first step in proving negligence is proving there was a duty to act or behave in a certain way. Usually, this will be a duty to act reasonably given the circumstances. This means avoiding intentional injuries or any dangerous decisions that could injure someone else. The law usually requires that drivers follow a duty to drive safely and avoid traffic violations, that property owners clean up or repair hidden dangers that could hurt their guests, and that doctors perform medical procedures with the care and skill that other reasonable doctors in their field would use.
You then have to prove that the defendant breached that duty. A breach of duty means any actions or inactions that fell short of their legal duty. For instance, driving under the influence, failing to clear away ice on a sidewalk, or misdiagnosing an obvious illness could all be considered breaches of various duties.
You must also prove that the breach of duty actually caused your injuries. If you would have been injured anyway, it is difficult to claim that it was the defendant’s fault, such as in a car accident on a very slippery snow day. Your attorney can help use the right evidence and arguments to link your injury to the defendant’s negligence.
Lastly, you must prove that there were damages you suffered to get compensation for your case. Usually, these injuries are obvious, especially in cases where the jury can see your injuries. However, you must still prove what damages you suffered and what they are worth by producing financial records, bills, and other documentary evidence. For some intangible injuries like the physical pain and mental/emotional suffering you faced, your testimony is the best evidence you have.
To meet the burden of proof in your case, you will need to prove the claim “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This is lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that people might recognize from criminal cases. With a preponderance of the evidence standard, you just need to prove that it is more likely than not that your claim reflects what actually happened. If you can do this, the jury should rule in your favor.
Damages for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Aberdeen, MD
Whether you were injured in a slip and fall, in a car accident, by a dangerous product, or because of surgical mistakes, you might be entitled to damages. Most claims involve damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. These can often involve current and future damages. In some cases, additional punitive damages might be available. The court orders these as a penalty to force the defendant to pay you additional money to punish them for serious negligence or repeat patterns of negligence.
Talk to a lawyer about what your case is worth to avoid settling your case too low.
Call the Law Office of Randolph Rice in Aberdeen Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident or suffered injuries because of someone else’s dangerous decisions, you might be entitled to financial compensation. Our Aberdeen personal injury lawyers work to help victims and their families get compensation for serious injuries and damages. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today for your free consultation at (410) 694-7291.