In other chapters in these articles, I've explored in a lot of detail the various factors that go into determining a fair range of value for the typical personal injury or motor vehicle accident case in Maryland. One of the most difficult, yet one of the most important, jobs of the best Maryland personal injury lawyers is to accurately assess the monetary value of an injury claim or lawsuit. There are a variety of factors that go in to this evaluation.
The amount of the involved medical expenses, both past and future.
The amount of wages lost, both past and in the future.
The nature and extent of any injury, and the degree of scarring or disfigurement.
An intelligent assessment, supported by years of experience in analyzing such claims, of a non-economic damages claim.
Once a reasoned, realistic value has been determined for the claim as a whole, a personal injury attorney must examine in incorporate other factors. That process will yield a reasonable range for the net award to the client. In all personal injury cases, there of course will be deductions from the overall award. The attorney is to be paid for his or her efforts in securing the financial recovery at the amount or at the rate agreed to in the contract of representation. Costs advanced must also be taken into account. If the claim is one that resolved before the filing of a lawsuit through an amicable settlement, the costs are likely relatively minimal. Typical costs would include things like obtaining medical records, or a police report, and the like. However, if the case has progressed to litigation, other expenses likely will need to be accounted for. Things like deposition transcripts, service of process fees, and possibly expert witness fees are common in a litigated personal injury matter. Additionally, if there are unpaid medical expenses, or medical expenses that have been paid by a health insurance company, or by a state or federally funded programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, these providers may assert, and often do assert, a claim for reimbursement for expenses they have paid or incurred related to the personal injury.
Finally, any litigation loans would need to be addressed. While it is wholly inappropriate for an attorney to lend his or her clients money for any purpose, an ever increasing number of third party lenders are permitted to, and in fact do, lend money to personal injury claimants. Repayment is guaranteed out of the proceeds of the personal injury claim, and would need to be accounted for at the time of settlement and distribution. Some third party lenders offer 'no recourse' loans, meaning that if you don't win your case, you don't have to pay back the loan. Obviously, in the wake of a serious personal injury, medical bills may be piling up quickly. Moreover, if the injured person lost work, or worse yet, lost their job because of the accident, all of the family bills may be adding up quickly, and going unpaid. I counsel my clients to proceed with great caution in seeking a litigation loan, and, generally, to only take one one if their is no other choice. The interest rates and charges associated with these loans can be significant.
Before finalizing your matter, your personal injury attorney should provide you with an itemization of each of these deductions, and provide you with written documentation setting forth the overall amount obtained, the applicable deductions, and, what is most important to you, the net, in-your-pocket bottom line.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 10/2/20.
I always extend a complimentary legal analysis and strategy planning meeting to all prospective clients. If you have questions about the value of a personal injury matter, please feel free to call me. 410 591 2835.