Car accidents happen every day, especially in a state like Maryland where lots of cars and trucks pass through our interstate highways. While some accidents are quite minor and can be settled without taking the matter to court, many times, accidents result in severe injuries and damage to your vehicle. In these cases, it is likely that only way you will be properly compensated is to retain a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers have successfully represented many clients across the state injured in car accidents. We will fight to get you the maximum possible amount of damages, including damages for your mental pain and suffering. Below, we explain how a car accident personal injury case works in Maryland, and what happens when the damages claimed exceed the insurance limits on the defendant’s policy.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Maryland?
The first thing you should do after an accident is to make sure that you and all your passengers are safe and uninjured. If anyone is injured, even in a minor way, you should get them to a medical professional right away so that they can be treated and records will be made of their injuries. Then, you should contact the police so that they can come to the scene and make a report. While you are waiting for their arrival, take pictures and videos of the scene and the damage caused to your vehicle. These can be useful in proving damages in a future lawsuit.
When the police arrive, be sure to give them a full accounting of what happened so that all of it will be included in their report. Make sure to exchange information with the other driver. After you are finished at the scene, your first call should be to your insurance company to report what happened. Your next call should be to an experienced car accident lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice who can assess the potential for a personal injury lawsuit.
How a Personal Injury Case Works after a Maryland Car Accident
Many times, filing an insurance claim after a car accident will not be enough to make you whole. In these cases, you will need to retain a lawyer to file a personal injury suit on your behalf. In order to prove a personal injury case, your lawyer will need to show that the other driver acted with negligence that caused the accident and the resulting damage. There are four main components of proving negligence: showing that there was a duty, showing that someone breached this duty, showing that this breach caused the accident, and showing that damages resulted from this breach.
In the context of a car accident case, drivers have a duty to follow all laws and rules of the road of the state of Maryland. They can breach their duties by, for example, running a red light. If they smash into your car and you break your neck, your lawyer will work to show that their running the red light was what caused the accident. Then, the lawyer will show damages, such as medical bills for your broken neck, physical therapy costs, lost earnings from any time spent in the hospital, and non-economic pain and suffering damages.
Damages and Insurance Limits in a Maryland Car Accident Personal Injury Case
Damages can vary greatly depending on the type of damage sustained and its severity. Common types of damages awarded in these cases include damages for hospital and other medical bills resulting from the accident, payment for the costs of necessary physical therapy, and lost earnings, both past and future. If your vehicle is damaged or totaled in the accident, you will also be able to claim damages for the cost of repairing or replacing it. If you die in the accident, your close family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and claim damages for medical bills incurred before you died as well as loss of future earnings, among other things.
In addition, the jury can also choose to award damages for pain and suffering. These are non-economic damages that are less easily calculable, for such things as mental health and well-being, pain and anguish, whether past or future, embarrassment from disfigurement like scarring, and other intangibles like inconvenience, loss of consortium, and physical impairment.
There is no set formula that the jury is instructed to use when calculating damages for pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will first attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendants. If a satisfactory one cannot be reached, our lawyers know how to make the best arguments to a jury that you deserve a large amount of pain and suffering damages. The cap on such damages is $875,000 for non-death cases and $1,312,500 for wrongful death cases.
If the amount awarded by the jury is more than what is covered by the insurance limits of the driver’s auto insurance policy, the driver can be held personally liable. Your lawyer will be able to discuss with you the different ways you can collect damages from the driver if the insurance company’s limits are reached and there is still more owed on the verdict. It Is also important to note that Maryland has a system called “pure contributory negligence.” This means that If the jury believes you had any fault in the accident, even if it was only minor fault, you cannot recover any damages from the defendant.
Call Our Skilled Maryland Car Accident Injury Lawyers Today
Car accidents can sometimes result in severe damage, both to your person and to your vehicle. You will want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible so that you can collect the damages which you are owed. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Maryland traffic accident lawyers have years of experience working to get the highest possible monetary awards for our clients injured in car accidents. We will leave no stone unturned in fighting for you to be made whole. For a free consultation, call our firm today at (410) 694-7291.