People who have suffered from a personal injury situation in Maryland need to act quickly. In Maryland, an aggressive attorney is critical to help you establish the facts of your case within a few days of the accident and make your claims. Insurance companies and others are especially forceful in trying to prevent large accident settlements, so it is important to have an expert on your side who can help you.
Here, we will discuss some of the basics behind effectively navigating a Maryland personal injury case.
Understanding the Adversarial Nature of Maryland Personal Injury Cases
There are many types of accidents that might take place suddenly in Maryland. Among these are a car accident, work accident, and others. Even maritime accidents may be possible, and in fact, hundreds of these do take place off the coast of Maryland each year.
In a Maryland personal injury case, you will usually be attempted to establish that some person or organization is responsible for your injury. Should you succeed in doing so, then that person or organization will usually be found liable for a number of expenses related to your injury.
These can include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
— Medical expenses directly related to your care after the injury.
— Medical expenses that you may require on an ongoing basis as a result of the injury.
— Lost wages that you have suffered as a result of missing work due to the injury.
— Court costs related to pursuing your claim and winning your entitled damages.
— In some cases, emotional pain and suffering, although this is rare in Maryland.
Needless to say, these expenses can be quite significant. When you take someone to court for these damages, you can anticipate that they, too, will quickly retain a lawyer. This strikes to the heart of the “adversarial” nature of our legal system, in which we must present better and more factual evidence than the opposing party in order for them to be found responsible.
No matter what kind of accident you have been involved in, there are certain rules that you should be aware of. Although they are not specified in Maryland law, they are considered “best practices” to be aware of when navigating a personal injury case. These rules help to keep you from sabotaging your own case by avoiding doing things that might benefit your adversaries.
Using Mediators to Protect Your Rights in a Personal Injury Case
First and foremost, it does not benefit you to make statements about your case without an attorney’s advice. You should retain a qualified attorney as soon as you can to make sure your interests are always protected. The most important thing to understand about the communication between yourself and your attorney is that it is “privileged.” Privileged attorney-client communication can only be compromised in the most extraordinary of situations. This means that you can tell your attorney anything you wish about the case, your understanding of the situation, your recollections of the events, and so on. Your attorney acts as your mediator. Remember that attorney-client privilege extends to the whole law firm, not just a single lawyer. All members of the firm act as mediators to some extent.
There are some personal injury cases which you will wish to pursue through the complete course of the court system. Others will benefit you more should you settle out of court. Your attorney will advise you on where your case stands within the framework of Maryland law, which can be complex. However, it is important not to try to settle your case too quickly.
Sometimes, people become concerned about the difficulties involved in having an ongoing court case, and may wish to settle quickly. This plays into the goals and interests of the adversarial team. In general, you should only try to settle once you have received a complete picture about your injury from your physician. Only your physician can tell you what your ongoing prognosis is like. This prognosis will help you and your attorney determine the extent of the damages that you should be seeking under Maryland law.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement in Maryland Cases?
If you sustain an injury to your head, neck, back, arm, or other area, then you should immediately go under the care of a doctor. The doctor can provide you with the kind of medical documentation you need to prove you sustained medical consequences as the result of an accident. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be under care for some time before you have enough information on your condition to settle in your favor.
In some cases, your doctor will be able to inform you approximately when you will make a full recovery. In these cases, you will usually aim to collect damages equal to the total amount of the treatment. These damages might also include lost wages and so on. However, there may be cases where it is not clear when you will make a full recovery, or perhaps you will need a doctor’s care for the rest of your life. In these cases, you would seek to settle for the amount spent on care thus far as well as a figure that represents your ongoing costs.
In Maryland, “Maximum Medical Improvement” refers to the threshold you reach when you have recovered as much as treatment will allow. It is often a wise idea to wait until MMI is achieved before developing a final settlement plan.