Compensation for personal injury is fixed at the time of the resolution of the claim. If closure occurs by settlement, the injured person will be required to sign a document called a release, will operate to forever bar any compensation that person may have been entitled to collect from the negligent party. If the ultimate resolution of the case comes as a result of a trial, the judgment that is handed down will operate to finally resolve any and all claims the injured party could ever have against the negligent person. Whatever the personal injury victim is entitled to recover is fixed at that time. So recovery for the past effects of injury is generally relatively easy to establish. Establishing what might happen in the future - in this context, the need for future medical care, and future distress, anguish or suffering due to a past injury- is a more daunting challenge. Recovery is permitted for lasting effects of injuries that, with "reasonable probability", can be expected in the future. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer can help you understand the type of evidence that is needed to support the required reasonable probability, which includes:
The presence of at least some symptoms or effects at the time of trial, and expert testimony that the symptoms are of a "chronic" nature. Giant v. Scherry, 444 A.2d 483.
Note that the "possibility" that current injuries might have future effects is not enough. The standard, usually demonstrated by the testimony of a treating physician, is that of probability. However, the level of proof required is not that of certainty.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 3/12/19.