If you sustained a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence in Maryland, you stand to recover financially for your harm through a personal injury lawsuit.
You may already be aware that personal injury plaintiffs must introduce evidence to support their claims. But what you may not know is how this evidence can be introduced or what forms it can take.
You will need to introduce lots of evidence to support your claims. This evidence could be actual physical evidence associated with your accident as well as testimony from an expert or an eyewitness.
You will need this evidence to satisfy the four elements of negligence in order to prove that someone else is liable for your personal injury.
The burden of proof in personal injury cases in Maryland is a “preponderance of the evidence.”
No matter how severe your injuries are, you deserve the quality assistance of the excellent Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. For a free initial consultation on your potential personal injury case in Maryland, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Types of Evidence Used in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
Proving a personal injury claim in Maryland requires a variety of forms of physical and testimonial evidence. This evidence can be used in a number of different ways across the various elements of negligence, which we will speak more about below.
Knowing the evidence that you will need for your claim can help you prepare effectively so that critical information isn’t lost after your accident.
If you are worried about what evidence you will need for your specific case and how to get it, speak to one of the experienced Aberdeen personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today.
Evidence from the Scene of the Accident
Items directly associated with the accident can be critical to showing how it occurred or how it may have affected the victim. For instance, if you were injured when a product malfunctioned, you should attempt to save as much of the dangerous product as possible.
You can also take photos or videos at the scene if salvaging actual items or parts is not feasible. As an example, if you were in a car accident, pictures of tire tracks on the road or physical damage to the vehicle can demonstrate critical aspects of your case.
Your Annapolis personal injury lawyer can collect this physical evidence from you and keep it safe from misplacement or tampering until you get your day in court.
Impartial documentation is critical for the purposes of a lawsuit. We strongly urge you to call the authorities when you sustain a personal injury and then subsequently seek medical attention.
You can introduce medical records or auto repair estimates as evidence to support your claim of negligence against the responsible party.
Lay Witness Testimony
A lay witness is someone who testifies about specific facts or circumstances about the case. Often, an eyewitness can be the most critical source of evidence about your accident and injuries.
Eyewitnesses can be hard to track down after your accident, so it is essential to reach out soon after you sustain your injuries. Lay witnesses in a personal injury case may also include family and loved ones who can speak to your quality of life and the personal harm that you have suffered as a result of your injuries.
Expert Witness Testimony
Getting expert testimony on the record is critical for success in a personal injury case. This is particularly true where the cause of the injuries is complex or where your injury is severe.
An expert in the defendant’s field can speak to what reasonable and common conduct from the defendant may have prevented your injuries. A medical expert can explain how the accident may have caused your injuries and speak about what the prognosis and recovery may mean for you, both in the short and long term.
Finally, a financial expert can quantify the financial toll that your injuries may take on your personal and professional life so that you get every bit of the recovery that you deserve.
Elements of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
Most personal injury lawsuits in Maryland operate under a theory of negligence.
Successful personal injury plaintiffs who allege that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries must present evidence that proves four key elements. The four elements of a negligence claim are duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
Plaintiffs must show that the defendant owed them a duty of care. This duty can be created through circumstance or business relationships.
Examples of relationships where a duty of care exists include doctors and patients, property owners and guests, drivers and other drivers, and manufacturers and consumers.
Depending on the circumstance, proving a relationship that creates a duty of care may be easy or more difficult. In some situations, multiple people or entities may owe the personal injury victim a duty of care. Speak to your Bel Air personal injury lawyer for more information.
Breach of Duty
To prove the second element of negligence, plaintiffs must show that the defendant breached their duty through their actions (or inactions).
To prove this, you must introduce evidence that explains what the standard of care is under the circumstances, as well as how the defendant failed to meet that standard.
The most common evidence of the standard of care in a personal injury case is expert testimony.
An expert witness with similar experience in the defendant’s field can explain what common, reasonable practices should be. You can also benefit from eyewitness testimony, which can be used to explain the specifics of how the accident occurred.
Once you have established the first two elements, you have proven that the defendant was negligent. But you still must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the injuries.
You can use medical records or police reports where available to demonstrate how you sustained your injuries.
However, in certain instances, it can be crucial also to use medical expert testimony to articulate how your accident may have caused your injuries or how the defendant’s negligence may have exacerbated a preexisting condition.
When you bring a personal injury lawsuit, the goal is to recover compensation for the harm that you sustain.
This compensation is referred to as damages. You must show that you sustained damages as a result of your personal injury.
Additionally, you must introduce evidence that demonstrates the significance of your injuries on your physical, emotional, and financial status.
Evidence suggested to prove damages typically includes medical bills and income statements. However, testimony is also helpful here. Medical, financial, and psychological experts can attest to the complete picture of the damages sustained as a result of your personal injury.
Character witnesses such as loved ones can speak to how the injury may have affected your quality of life, day-to-day experiences, and personal relationships. For an estimate on the value of your potential lawsuit, call one of our Columbia personal injury lawyers today.
Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
In order to succeed when you bring a personal injury claim, you will need to present enough evidence that your case satisfies your burden of proof.
The “burden of proof” is a legal term that describes how convincing your arguments about your case must be to a jury.
For personal injury lawsuits in Maryland, the burden of proof requires that plaintiffs prove their case “by a preponderance of the evidence.”
This does not mean that you have to present more evidence than the other side. It simply means that the evidence you do present must convince a jury that the other side is more likely than not responsible for your injuries.
In comparison, the burden of proof in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a much more substantial burden to meet since the prosecutor’s argument must leave the jury reasonably certain that the defendant is guilty.
To meet the burden of proof, you will need to gather strong evidence and make convincing arguments using that evidence. Your Easton personal injury lawyers can help with both.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process of gathering evidence to be used in a trial. The discovery process occurs after you file your lawsuit with the appropriate county clerk but before the trial begins.
Discovery happens before the trial so that all of the evidence is known to each of the parties so that no one gets surprised.
When evidence is discovered, it can often motivate defendants (or their insurance providers) to instigate a settlement. Settlements in personal injury claims are agreements where the liable party offers to pay cash in exchange for the plaintiff waiving their right to their lawsuit.
Settlements can be beneficial because they avoid the need for a lengthy court battle. Sometimes, the two sides cannot come to an agreement, and the case proceeds to court. Regardless, an effective discovery process will have a powerful impact on both your settlement negotiations and your potential court case.
The quality and effectiveness of the evidence that comes out in discovery will likely have a direct impact on the value of the settlement offers that you may receive.
However, you should not agree to a settlement or sign anything that the other side offers you until you have your lawyer evaluate the settlement.
You should have all of the information available before making such an important decision for your recovery. This is why it is critical that you have an effective Kent County personal injury lawyer on your side throughout the discovery process.
How Can a Lawyer Help You with Evidence for Your Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In order to make sure that you collect and introduce all of the evidence you need for your recovery, you should have the help of our dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers.
Your lawyers will already be familiar with the evidentiary process and will be sure to obtain all of the information required to sustain a strong case for your recovery.
The evidentiary process begins immediately once you sustain your injury. Your lawyer can work with you to collect evidence and information from the scene of the accident, such as picture and video evidence, physical items involved in the accident, eyewitness contact information, and any police reports that might have been generated.
You will also need to gather medical records and bills that you receive for the treatment of your injuries. This may require speaking to specialists about your prognosis and the estimated cost of your recovery, which may involve physical therapy or modifications to your home or vehicle.
Much of what you must prove in your Maryland personal injury lawsuit will require expert witness testimony. These experts must be not only qualified but also capable of speaking plainly and convincingly to a jury about complex topics such as medical procedures or chemical reactions, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
Our Maryland personal injury attorneys have years of experience introducing expert testimony that helps to secure our clients the compensation they deserve. We can identify, obtain, and prepare the expert witnesses that will be critical for your case.
You may choose to testify in your own case. Testifying in a courtroom can be unsettling for those unfamiliar with the process. Very little of what you experience will resemble what you might see on television.
Our lawyers can use their experience and resources to prepare you and your loved ones who may testify for your day in court.
Find Out More About Evidence for Your Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you have questions about the evidence necessary to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today. Our experienced Ocean City personal injury lawyers can offer your first consultation on your case for free.
To schedule your appointment, call us at (410) 694-7291.