WHAT’S MY MARYLAND CAR ACCIDENT CASE WORTH?
We get asked this question often and in virtually every car crash case we represent. The fact of the matter is, since there are so many variants involved to answer that, there’s no complete accurate answer. On the other hand, because the variants of any personal injury case remain the same, a reasonable suggestion can be offered. While lawyers are unable to let you know during a first consultation what your case may be worth, we can certainly explain the factors which are generally analyzed by a Judge or Jury.
One thing is important to bear in mind, no two cases are the same. When one case results in a specific recovery for one claimant this doesn’t mean that your claim is worth the same simply because you were involved in the same accident. There are lots of factors and it is sometimes simply the luck of the draw past the factors themselves.
If you resolve your case it will likely be concluded in one of three manners— arbitration or mediation, trial by a jury or judge, or settlement before filing suit. Now lets consider some of the damage factors to value a car wreck case.
Pain and Suffering.
Pain and suffering is the pain which you suffered as a result of your injury. It’s the pain associated with a broken bone or the pain associated with injury to the back or neck as an example. In a trial a jury or the judge will put a specific dollar amount on that specific recoverable damage. In most jurisdictions, including Maryland, pain and suffering damages are capped at a specific dollar amount irrespective how horrific an injury may be. You can thank your legislature for their wisdom in capping damages in horrific cases that deserve more than a capped amount.
Another significant factor to consider in case value is permanency or permanent injury to the person. Permanency is the level of impairment that doesn’t go away, but instead is life long as an effect of the injury. This particular type of damage is very important because the fact finder is looking at a life time loss to the person which means a calculation must be done year by year for the rest of one’s life. This can translate into much bigger damage numbers. In any given case, your treating doctor will have to make the decision as to what level of permanency you have endured to a reasonable degree of medical probability.
Without a permanency claim for damages, damages will generally be restricted to soft tissue or short term injury. You will be compensated for pain and suffering for the period of time you suffered. Essentially, if the treating doctor cannot testify that you’ve got sustained a permanent injury to a reasonable degree of medical probability, or if there isn’t any finding of a “long-term harm” by a doctor, the fact finder will probably be constrained on damages. Bear in mind that, economic damages such a medical bills incurred and lost wages are not limited like non-economic damages and are designed to compensate for all reasonable and expected economic loss resulting from the car crash.
Because the law is so specific regarding injuries and the medical documentation, it is essential to follow your treating doctors’ recommendations for your own course of treatment. Be sure you inform your doctor in specific detail, about all your injuries because if you fail to do so, it will not be documented and if its not documented, it never happened. Obviously, you don’t over-exaggerate your claim to your medical provider but accuracy and detail is always important.