Injuries happen to someone every day in Maryland. While most injuries will occur in the home – and most injuries will be minor – more severe injuries that occur on other peoples’ property, on the road, or while undergoing surgery may cause a more significant interruption in your life. If an injury occurred because someone else failed to use the proper care or skill to keep you safe, you might be entitled to take them to court in a personal injury lawsuit.
The Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent injury victims and their families in Waldorf and the surrounding areas. Our Waldorf personal injury lawyers may be able to help you understand what your case is worth and file your claim in court, fighting to get you the compensation you need for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. To schedule a free legal consultation on your injury case, contact our attorneys today at (410) 694-7291.
Suing for Injuries from Accidents and Negligence in Maryland
Anyone injured in Maryland is typically governed by the laws of Maryland and may file a lawsuit against nearly anyone responsible for causing their injuries. These cases are typically filed as “negligence” cases, which means that you sue for the at-fault party’s failure to use the proper care or skill rather than intentional injuries (though you can sue for intentional injuries as well). Building your case comes in a few stages, all of which your attorney can help you with.
Whom to Sue
The first step in filing a lawsuit is identifying whom to sue. Finding the responsible party might be easier in some cases than others. For instance, the at-fault driver in a car accident case is typically the other driver – though you may also be able to sue their employer if they were driving a commercial truck or a taxicab. In other cases, it may be more difficult to research what company made a dangerous product that injured you or who owns the land or building where you suffered a slip and fall. Your attorney can help you research your claim and find the proper party to sue and file the proper paperwork against them in court.
Proving an Injury Claim
The second part of your case is actually proving the claim. To prove a negligence claim, you must be able to prove four major elements in court:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty.
- The at-fault party breached that duty.
- The breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages the court can compensate you for.
In a personal injury case, the duty the defendant owed you typically comes from their relationship with you. For instance, a driver sharing the road with you owes other drivers the duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws, the owner of a hotel owes its guests access to safe premises, and your doctor owes you reasonably skilled medical care. Determining the specific duty is often part of your case, and proving that the defendant breached that duty is one of the major hurdles you and your lawyer need to overcome.
Deciding Whether to Settle Your Case
The third part of your case involves deciding whether to handle the case in court and getting a jury verdict or whether to settle your claim. In many cases, the defendant will seek to end the case quickly by offering you a settlement offer. In many cases, settlement offers from the defendant are too low to cover your needs and are offered to try to buy-out cases cheaply for the defendant. If your case proceeds to a jury verdict, the damages you receive will be decided by the jury, not the defendant. While these damages might be higher than a settlement, the damages from a settlement are guaranteed, and a jury verdict in your favor is not. Strategically calculating damages and settlement offers is often one of the major benefits of having an attorney represent you in your claim. In some cases, a settlement will not be offered, and you will need to fight your case in court to get the damages you deserve.
Calculating Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
The damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit are broad and can cover any damages related to the injury. Damages can be split into two types of damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages cover things like medical expenses, lost wages, medical transportation, rehabilitation, and other expenses you are forced to pay because of the injury. These damages can typically be calculated by looking at bills and financial records.
Noneconomic damages work to compensate intangible harms. The most common noneconomic damages for a personal injury case are damages for “pain and suffering.” Everyone experiences pain differently, and there is no good way to show a jury how much pain you suffered or how much that injury is worth. However, victims can testify about their experiences and how the injury affected their life. This can help convince a jury that the injuries you faced were painful and severe, which can translate to damages for pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages can also include damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, lost enjoyment in activities, suffering brought on by limitations or disabilities, and other intangible effects. In some cases, you may even be entitled to additional “punitive damages” to punish the wrongdoer.
Call Our Waldorf, Maryland Injury Victim Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident, purchased a dangerous product, suffered negligent healthcare, or otherwise faced an injury caused by someone else, talk to our Waldorf, MD personal injury attorneys today. The Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s attorneys represent injury victims and work to file claims and fight for compensation for our clients. For a free legal consultation on your potential claim, call us today at (410) 694-7291.