Personal injuries can happen in many situations: at a business, on the road, or even at a hospital. Unfortunately, the consequences of such injuries can last much longer than the accident itself. Victims of personal injuries are often left in pain and faced with medical bills and other expenses they cannot afford to pay. Some cases even result in the death of the victim.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an accident and you believe that another party is at fault, you should contact the Laurel personal injury lawyers at Pinder Plotkin. We will listen to your concerns and explain your legal rights and options.
Call us today at (410) 525-5337 to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation with one of our attorneys in Laurel, Maryland.
What Should I Do After an Injury?
To protect your best interests in the aftermath of an accident that causes injury, here are the steps you can take:
Seek Medical Treatment
Your top priority should be your health following the accident. The doctor will know what injuries to look for and how to treat them.
Take Photos/Video If You Can
Physical evidence always strengthens the value of your claim. That’s why you should take pictures of anything that’s relevant to your case such as the accident scene or your injuries.
Get Names and Numbers of Witnesses
If there are any witnesses present, note down their names and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can strongly support your claim.
Report the Incident
You should also report the accident to the appropriate party. For instance, if it is a workplace accident, you should report it to a supervisor. If it is a car accident, you should report it to the police, and so on.
Never Admit Fault
Never take the blame for what happened when talking to the police or others involved. If you admit fault, the defendant or their insurance company may use that admission against you.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Always speak to a lawyer before you provide any statements to insurance companies. Claims representatives will record any statements you make, and your lawyer will ensure that you aren’t manipulated with tricky questions that could compromise your compensation claim.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
You need to hire the personal injury lawyers at Pinder Plotkin in Laurel, Maryland to represent you in your personal injury case for the following reasons:
Our personal injury lawyers will immediately begin negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company in hopes of reaching a settlement. Your chances of reaching an ideal settlement are much higher if you have our personal injury lawyers representing you.
Case Preparation/Filing a Lawsuit
If the other party fails to meet your settlement expectations, the next step in the personal injury claim will be to file a lawsuit. Fortunately, this is something our lawyers can help with since we have been doing it for a long time and can help you file the relevant paperwork within the set deadlines.
Trial Preparation and Representation
If no settlement is reached, the case will eventually end up going to trial. Our lawyers are skilled litigators and have no problem taking your case to court to pursue the justice and financial compensation you deserve.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover three types of damages in a personal injury claim.
Economic damages are the verifiable financial costs and expenses that you experience due to your personal injury. Maryland doesn’t have a cap on economic damages, but you must prove your losses with receipts, invoices, bills, tax returns, or other documents. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation or therapy nursing care
- Medical equipment
- Reduced earning capacity
- Follow-up care, and other medical bills
Non-economic damages are those that are difficult to quantify in monetary terms. As of 2021, the cap on non-economic damages is $905,000 for an injury case and $2,262,500 for a wrongful death case with 2 or more survivors. Examples of non-economic damages include, but aren’t limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD
Punitive damages are not paid to make you whole following your accident. They are not paid to compensate you for your suffering. Instead, punitive damages are paid for the sole purpose of punishing the defendant.
Punitive damages are not always available in personal injury cases. They are only awarded in situations where the defendant’s actions were malicious. In other words, the defendant acted with ill will or intended to harm the victim. There’s no cap on punitive damages in Maryland, unlike in many other states.
How Is Liability Determined?
To win a personal injury claim, the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant was at fault for their injuries. The vast majority of personal injury cases in Maryland are based on the argument that the plaintiff was harmed by the defendant’s negligence.
Negligence simply means that the defendant’s actions or inactions were not reasonable under the circumstances and, as a result, caused the plaintiff to get hurt. There are 4 primary elements of negligence claims:
- The defendant (at-fault party) owed the plaintiff (you) a duty of care.
- The defendant breached this duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of duty of care resulted in injury or loss to the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered a demonstrable injury or loss.
If all 4 of the conditions above are met, then you have a strong case for a personal injury claim on the basis of negligence.
The vast majority of states use the comparative negligence doctrine to address shared fault. In this system, the court attempts to determine each party’s share of the blame and assigns an appropriate share of the damages. Maryland, however, is one of the few states that uses the contributory negligence doctrine.
Under the contributory negligence doctrine, even if you are 1% at fault for your injury, you cannot collect any damages from the party that’s 99% at fault. This is why it is so important to have the experienced lawyers at Pinder Plotkin review your case and represent you. We will help you build the strongest case possible to avoid being assigned any percentage of the blame.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Maryland?
Maryland places limits on the time you have to file a claim for damages from a personal injury. Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings §5-101 sets the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit at 3 years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file your personal injury claim within those 3 years, you will no longer have a legal standing to do so.
Personal Injury Claims Process
While the details might vary, if you need to file a personal injury claim, the general process is usually the same:
Step 1: Hire a Lawyer
Once you have received medical treatment for your injuries, you should hire a lawyer. Even if you believe that your case is simple and straightforward, you should still take advantage of the free initial consultation our lawyers offer you. You should ensure that you provide our lawyers with all the relevant information and ask us any questions that you might have.
Step 2: Investigation and Discovery
The first thing we will do after you hire us to represent you is interview you to learn more about the accident, injuries, and treatment. We will then request records for any medical treatment you may have received. We may also decide to hire accident reconstruction specialists or other experts to build a stronger case for you.
Step 3: Notification Letter and Reservation of Rights Letter
We will then send an official notification later to the insurance company, informing them of your intent to make a claim. The insurance company will then send back a reservation of rights letter that acknowledges your notice and informs you that it will investigate the claim, without ever admitting liability.
Step 4: Demand Letter
Our lawyers will usually wait until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) level before proceeding. MMI refers to a situation where you have either have physically recovered as much as is possible from your injuries or completed your treatment. A demand letter details the facts of the accident and includes a list of your damages and expenses.
Step 5: Negotiations
The insurance company will in most cases not agree to your demands immediately. Instead, you will receive a counteroffer for a sum lower than that originally demanded. Our lawyers will handle the negotiations for you and may go back and forth with the insurance adjuster several times.
Step 6: Settlement
If the negotiations are successful, our lawyers will first confer with you before accepting any settlement offered by the insurance company. If you decide to take the settlement offered, the personal injury claim ends there.
Step 7: Filing a Lawsuit
If settlement negotiations fail because the insurance company has refused to make a reasonable settlement offer, we can file a lawsuit. While most personal injury claims end in settlements, going to court may sometimes be the best way to get the compensation you deserve.
Step 8: Mediation
The court may recommend mediation to try settling the matter before trial. Mediation is where a neutral third party facilitates discussion and negotiations. The mediator cannot issue a binding decision or judgment; instead, they simply encourage mutual agreement.
Step 9: Trial
If mediation fails to work, your case will proceed to trial. Our lawyers will then make your case before a judge and/or jury. While this stage may be complex, our lawyers will usually handle all aspects of the trial. The judge and/or jury will then deliver a judgment or verdict at the end of the trial.
How Much Will a Laurel Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Personal injury lawyers in Laurel, Maryland, including those at Pinder Plotkin work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer’s fee and the costs associated with handling the case will be paid from a portion of any judgment or settlement you receive from your personal injury accident case.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle at Pinder Plotkin
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in Laurel, MD. Our lawyers will carefully investigate your slip and fall accident, gather evidence supporting your claim, and fight to hold the negligent party responsible for the harm they have caused.
Negligence due to medical malpractice can occur in any environment where treatment is received and may include cases against nurses, doctors, or other health care providers. Examples of medical malpractice cases include birth injuries, brain injuries, failure to diagnose, medication errors, etc. Fortunately, you can always count on our legal team to hold hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare systems responsible for negligent and inappropriate medical care.
Dog bites can cause serious injuries and trauma to victims. If you or a loved one was recently bitten by a dog, our lawyers at Pinder Plotkin can help you pursue any compensation you might be entitled to for your injuries.
Burn injuries are not only incredibly serious but also cause extreme pain and severe disfigurement. If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury, consult with our legal team to help you file a personal injury claim.
Wrongful death refers to when a person is killed due to another’s negligence. If you recently lost a loved one due to wrongful death, contact our Laurel personal injury lawyers today for legal advice regarding the wrongful death case.
Suffered a Personal Injury in Laurel, MD? We Can Help!
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident where you believe that another party’s negligence was the cause, you may have the right to take legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit and the legal team at Pinder Plotkin can help.
Our Laurel personal injury lawyers offer personalized, compassionate, and aggressive legal representation, and there’s no fee for you unless we recover compensation on your behalf. Call us now at (410) 525-5337 to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.