Somerset County, MD Personal Injury Lawyer
A serious physical injury has the power to make a significant difference in the way you live your daily life. An injury can keep you from going to work, caring for your family, doing the hobbies you enjoy, and transporting yourself. If someone else was responsible for your injury, you might be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and more through a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal injury cases are often challenging and complex. In addition to proving another party was a fault, an injured plaintiff needs to calculate their potential damages. Deciding whether to take a settlement offer or pursue a claim in court requires understanding the value of a claim and the legal strength of a case.
To increase your chances of prevailing in a personal injury claim, you need experienced legal representation. the Somerset County personal injury lawyers that work with Rice, Murtha & Psoras are committed to helping Somerset County residents fight for the compensation they deserve. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits in Somerset County, Maryland
No two personal injury cases are the same. the legal strategies employed will depend on the circumstances of your injury. Below are some of the types of cases the knowledgeable attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras handle.
If a loved one or family member died because of someone else’s negligent behavior in Somerset County, MD, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death suit against them. Typically, only spouses, parents, and children of deceased persons have the right to file a wrongful death suit. However, if the deceased person did not have any living spouses, parents, or children, any person related to them by blood or marriage that was financially dependent on them may file a claim. Furthermore, the deceased person’s estate can recover the damages through a survival action.
Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents happen in grocery stores, restaurants, bars, parking lots, casinos, hotels, malls, and other commercial and residential properties. Victims of slip and fall accidents could hold property owners and managers legally liable for the damages they suffered. However, slip and fall cases are challenging. A plaintiff must demonstrate that the property owner’s negligence was a direct cause of the accident. Common reasons these types of accidents occur include poorly maintained facilities such as broken railings, poorly lit stairwells, uneven flooring, loose wiring, broken furniture, and slippery floors. Victims of burns can bring forth similar lawsuits if they can demonstrate that a property owner’s negligence caused their burn through exposure to chemicals, friction, or electrical currents.
Driving in a car is one of the most dangerous everyday activities. If you are injured in a car accident, you might be able to file a lawsuit against another driver if their negligence caused the crash. People in Somerset County are hurt in rear-end collisions, head-on crashes, hit and runs, T-bones accidents, and sideswipes. Our attorneys and staff handle accident cases involving cars, trucks, vans, busses, bicycles, motorcycles, and boats.
The products we rely on sometimes cause injuries. A product could be unreasonably dangerous if it had a design or manufacturing defect or lacked adequate warning labels. If you suffered from an injury while using a defective product, contact our Somerset County, MD personal injury attorneys to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation was designed to ensure that workers get compensated for their medical bills and lost wages when they suffer from an injury in the workplace. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. Insurance claims often deny claims, even if they are made for valid injuries. If your employer’s insurance company denied your workers’ compensation claim, you should hire an attorney to help you file an appeal.
If you were injured on the job, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party. There are times when workers’ compensation benefits are insufficient to cover all your financial needs. While you are generally prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, a reasonable third party could be held legally liable for the harm you suffered.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Somerset County Versus Accepting an Insurance Settlement
After suffering an injury, one of the first decisions a person needs to make is whether to accept an insurance claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies will often offer quick settlements, hoping that an injured person accepts and does not file a lawsuit. When someone is unexpectedly hurt, an insurance offer could appear to be a much-needed financial windfall. Our experienced Somerset County attorneys will help you weigh several factors when considering what option is best under your circumstances.
The Value of Your Claim
Before accepting an insurance settlement offer, an injured person needs to know what their claim is worth. the value of a personal claim includes any medical expenses, lost income, and an estimated amount for pain and suffering. In nearly every case, whether you were injured in a car accident or slip and fall, it is difficult or impossible to determine your total damages immediately after you are hurt. Some injuries take time to diagnose, especially soft tissue damage or brain injuries. You do not want to accept a settlement amount that is insufficient to cover your future medical treatments and therapy.
Lost income is another significant part of an injury claim. You want to ensure you are compensated for the total amount of income you have lost and will lose because of your injury. A fast settlement might seem like a significant amount until you realize you will be out of work for years or permanently.
In a personal injury claim, you are also entitled to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. An insurance company, if it considers pain and suffering, will typically use a multiplier to determine an amount. For example, a broken leg could result in $3,500 in medical expenses. Using a multiplier of two, an insurance company would offer $7,000 in pain and suffering compensation. However, if the injured person was an avid skier or had a young toddler that they anticipated chasing around, the amount offered might not reflect the actual harm they suffered.
The Legal Strength of Your Claim
When determining whether to accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit, you need to understand the legal strength of your case. Following an accident or injury, our attorneys will begin to gather evidence to establish that another party was at fault. If the evidence is overwhelmingly in your favor, you should expect a more significant offer from an insurance company. If the offer remains too low, filing a lawsuit might be necessary to receive the compensation you deserve. However, if the evidence indicates you shared some blame for your injury, then accepting an offer might be the best option available.
It often takes time to understand the strength of a case. You are not prohibited from filing a lawsuit after a settlement is offered. After filing a lawsuit, our Somerset County personal injury attorneys could begin the discovery process to collect additional evidence from the defendant. the process also provides extra time to investigate the accident, including compiling medical documentation and interviewing witnesses. it is not uncommon for a plaintiff’s case to grow stronger as more evidence is uncovered. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit is the only way to make an insurance company offers a fair settlement.
Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Claim in Somerset County, Maryland
In any personal injury case based on negligence, our Somerset County attorneys will have to prove four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of care is the legal obligation people have not to cause harm to others. For instance, a driver in Somerset County has a responsibility to operate their vehicle safely, including obeying traffic laws and keeping the car in good operating order.
A breach of duty occurs when a person fails to adhere to their obligation. What constitutes a breach depends on the facts of the case. Typically, it is described as deviating from what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances. For example, a reasonable person would not drive home after consuming two bottles of wine.
Next, the breach of duty must have caused the injury. If a drunk driver rear-ends your car, then it is not too difficult to demonstrate the defendant’s conduct caused your injury. However, not every case is as straightforward.
Finally, a plaintiff must have suffered quantifiable damages. If you slip in a grocery store and are not hurt, you probably lack the basis for a viable lawsuit. However, if you needed medical attention, lost work, or experienced emotional distress, you sustained damages.
Damages Available in Somerset County Personal Injury Lawsuit
The purpose of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Somerset County, MD is to seek financial compensation for the damages you suffered because of your injury. Damages in a personal injury claim are typically broken down into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are probably the easiest category to understand. Any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of your injury are your economic damages. Therefore, you could be compensated for your medical expenses, including hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medication, and even parking fees for attending appointments. You are also entitled to future care, such as requiring ongoing physical therapy or if your home needs modifications to address your injury.
Lost income is another significant part of your economic damages. If you lost time because of your injury or will be unable to work for months or years, you deserve to recover those lost earnings.
An injured individual is also entitled to be compensated for more subjective harm, such as pain and suffering. Non-economic damages refer to the intangible injuries a person endures, such as anxiety, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Unlike economic damages, our Somerset County personal injury attorneys do not have receipts and bills available to prove the amount of harm a plaintiff suffered. By working with friends, family, medical professionals, and relying on case law, our attorneys will estimate your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded but could be a substantial portion of an injured plaintiff’s total compensation. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not directly related to the injury the plaintiff suffered. Instead, they were designed to punish a defendant’s actions that were deliberate or malicious. Under Maryland law, the jury has complete discretion in determining if the evidence presented supports the award of punitive damages. A plaintiff would have to establish that a defendant had an evil motive or deliberately intended to injure the plaintiff. As stated above, punitive damages are only awarded on rare occasions.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Somerset County, Maryland
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a challenging experience. You will need assistance as you navigate the legal system, which is why you should seek quality legal representation as soon as possible. To schedule a free appointment with the Somerset County personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call (410) 694-7291.