Individuals that have been a victim of an accident such as a car accident or a slip and fall have to file a lawsuit to compensate for their personal injury within three years of the date of the accident, according to the statute of limitations in the state of Maryland.
In cases of a bodily injury, there are many damages that the victim may be compensated for are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
In Maryland, economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.
Medical expense are all of the medical bills paid by the victim to treat their injuries, this includes past expenses such as surgeries and future expenses such as physical therapy.
Lost wages are all the salaries the victim missed out on because of their injury and future lost salaries they are expected to miss out on.
Property damages occur in cases of a car accident and include car repair costs.
Non-economic damages are pain and suffering, which include the physical pain, emotional distress and mental anguish associated with the injury. Moreover, pain and suffering includes the inability to perform daily tasks or physical exercise as a result of the accident, the time the victim spent away from their family and the time spent traveling in order to treat their injuries along with the long-term effect the injury will have on their ability to perform activities such as their job.
Punitive damages are meant to punish an individual if their recklessness caused the accident to occur. For example, if the at-fault individual was drunk driving and caused a car accident, the victim may be entitled to punitive damages.
In bodily injury claims arising from auto accidents, Maryland auto insurance laws require that all drivers carry a minimum of $30,000 in coverage for bodily injury per person and $60,000 per accident. It is possible that these limits cover all of the damages suffered by the victim.
The process for filing a bodily injury claim begins with the victim’s attorney filing a settlement demand package along with relevant pieces of evidence to demonstrate the medical expenses and lost wages suffered by the victim to the other party’s insurance provider. The insurance company then responds with an initial settlement offer. This offer is usually too low and the attorney will try to negotiate a better deal for their client. These negotiations may either succeed or fall through. In the case of the latter, the victim will then file a lawsuit. It is worth noting that a settlement may be reached even after the lawsuit has been filed.
Furthermore, it is important for victims to prove that the other party was fully responsible for the accident that caused their injury. This is crucial because of the state of Maryland’s contributory negligence rules, which state that victims who were found to be responsible for even 1% of an accident may be prohibited from collecting any of the damages that they normally would be entitled to.