The previous article in this series details the various steps taken by my office after a Baltimore personal injury-causing event, as well as detailing that vial “first step” advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.  Once the injured person has healed, the next step can commence.

Baltimore Personal Injury claim, Phase II: Demand and Negotiation.

When my client has reached a medical baseline, or what sometimes is called “maximum medical improvement”, the next phase in the claims process commences. When the injured person’s medical care has returned that person to their prior condition, those materials assembled throughout the investigatory phase of the claim are compiled and delivered to the insurance company along with a demand for monetary settlement. Within 30 to 60 days- I’ve found more often than not the industry standard- I will receive a response from the insurance company regarding their position on the claim. Some claims are denied, and, in my practice, these claims are moved promptly into the litigation phase discussed in more detail in the next article in this series. Other claims are “accepted” by the insurance company -at least in terms of responsibility for causing the accident. I would counsel the cautious and wary reader, who has not been through a personal injury claim negotiation with a savvy and experienced insurance claims adjuster, to observe the difference between “accepting” responsibility for causing a car accident and excepting responsibility for all claimed injuries caused by that car accident. I will assure you that just because an insurance company adjuster or attorney says “we agree” that our insured person caused this accident and is responsible for the consequences, does in no way mean that that same insurance company adjuster or attorney will not argue that none of the injuries complained of are actually related to the accident and therefore, although their insured person is responsible for causing the accident, they are not responsible for causing any injury.

After the parties exchanged their initial positions by the demand and response, there is typically a period during which negotiations occur. During this phase, in some instances, additional information in the form of medical records, or bills are obtained. In rare instances, an additional piece of evidence, such as a doctor’s opinion, or a piece of video surveillance, might change the negotiation landscape. It is true that in the arena of personal injury claims, most claims settle before trial. Indeed, perhaps most claims resolve at the pre-litigation or “pre-suit” phase. We are talking, here, about the stage at which the information needed to fully articulate and present the claim is available, and it indeed has been presented to a liability insurance company claims adjuster. This phase begins at demand and concludes before filing a lawsuit in court. If the claim can be resolved in such a fashion at this juncture- it will be. However, many insurance companies do not present reasonable settlement offers at this time [or at all]. When negotiations are not fruitful- when for example, an insurance company, adopts a patently unreasonable position and makes an offer, or series of offers, that have no chance of getting the claim resolved-that litigation is the only next step.

It might seem like common sense, but there is no such thing as a truly typical Baltimore, Maryland personal injury case. Every injured person is unique, and every accident or injury-causing event is singular. Having said that, in evaluating and analyzing these types of cases for 25 years, I (Attorney Eric T. Kirk) have noted certainly similarities in cases that can lead to general advice about the worth, or value, of, for example, a motor vehicle accident case.

How Much Will you Get For a Baltimore Personal Injury Case?

“What is my personal injury case worth?”This a legitimate question that every victim asks, and that any Baltimore personal injury attorney hears every day. In my experience, it is often prefaced with qualifiers like “It’s not about the money, but……”, or “I’m not in this to get rich, but…..”.In my business, it is about money, and that is absolutely accepted and understood.

I’ve always felt that analyzing every injury case considering each unique circumstance of the event, and person or persons injured, can be, and likely is perhaps one of the most important services a Baltimore personal injury provides. Bringing years of experience in trying personal injury cases, mediating injury cases, and negotiating personal injury claim settlements to bear on a particular case, can produce meaningful insights. There are myriad factors that go into the analysis, and although each is explored in great detail on this site, a few are worth pointing out here.

The Amount Of Your Medical Expense And Lost Wages is Considered

These two components are generally the largest constituents of the economic damage part of a personal injury case. More detail on these concepts can be found here”

How Much Is A Baltimore, Maryland Personal Injury Case Worth? Are Medical Expenses Taken Into Account?

Can I Recover Past or Future Lost Wages/Income in a Baltimore Personal Injury Case?

The Opinions Of Your Doctors Regarding Your Injury Are Considered

Medical evidence has been called the driving force of any litigated personal injury case. To be sure, any successful Baltimore personal injury Plaintiff must have one or more doctors linking the event to the injury and to and the need for treatment. The insurance company on the other side of the case has a lot of money to spend on defending the claim, and will invariably find a doctor to give an opinion substantially at odds with what your doctor has to say. For more:

A Baltimore Maryland Insurance Company Has Sent Me To See Their Doctor. What is an Independent Medical Exam [IME]?

The Physical And Mental Distress You’ve Experienced Are Weighed

These considerations are typically logged under the heading “non-economic” damage, in part because the nature of the claim defies ready quantification. There is an  age-old question: ‘How much is a lost limb, or a lost life, worth?” It is not possible to easily reduce such claims to dollars and cents. Baltimore jurors are given guidance on what to consider.

How Do I Calculate a Baltimore Personal Injury Settlement?

Baltimore Personal Injury Case: What is the Value?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: What is the value of my personal injury case? This is perhaps the ultimate most frequently asked question. Indeed I believe that it is a key role of any personal injury attorney to intelligently and accurately assess the value of a personal injury claim. The most important role of course is for that attorney to actually recover full and fair compensation for his or her client. It might be a poor substitute for one’s health but our system of jurisprudence recognizes that if one is injured through the fault of another money damages are the appropriate remedy. Maryland law divides damages generally into two distinct subsets: economic damage on the one hand non-economic damage on the other. Economic damages are things that are readily calculable- things such as lost wages, both past and future; medical expenses, both those incurred in the past and those which may reasonably be expected to be incurred in the future. Non-economic damages involve a more detailed analysis. Many people use a shorthand when referring to non-economic damages: pain and suffering. The core principle here is the ways in which an injury or the effects of that injury have compromised altered or changed the course of the victims life. Now, we look at a variety of factors in assessing the value of a personal injury case and I’m going to explore each of those factors in more detail in subsequent chapters in this series. We look, certainly to the amount of wages lost. Wlook to the amount of medical expenses incurred in the past. We look to venue -where the case would ultimately be tried if it goes to trial in Maryland. We look to the amount of available insurance coverage, Of course we also do an analysis of the strength of the case: is it one in which an insurance company is likely to mount a vigorous defense in terms of liability? And finally we do a careful and comprehensive analysis of the non-economic damage component of the claim.

If you have been injured by the negligence of another, [ e.g. in the aforementioned Baltimore car accident] our system of justice recognizes that, although money is a poor substitute for your health and peace of mind, it is how the law measures the magnitude of your loss. The idea that money is substituted for an intangible loss is not only accepted and understood, it’s really the core of our civil justice system. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer can give you guidance on the value of your case. A variety of factors are involved in determining a fair value range for your case. Put aside the discomfort and apprehensions when talking about money in the same sentence with your bodily integrity, peace of mind,  and in the context of your injury claim. It’s OK. It is about the money. 

I have been evaluating cases for more than 25 years . I’ve handled thousands of cases in that time. I invite all potential clients to participate in a no-cost analysis and strategy conference. Contact me today to arrange a time to meet. 410 591 2835, or simply complete the form at the bottom of the page.

The job of personal injury counsel is to show how the law applies, favorably, to the factual circumstances of his or her client. As attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, Maryland law provides that jurors are instructed to consider several factors in fashioning an appropriate award:

What Does A Jury Consider When Awarding Damages/Compensation for Personal Injury?

  • the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries, and the length of the process of recuperation
  • the effect those injures have on the mental and physical condition of the plaintiff
  • physical and mental pain and anguish, past, present, and future
  •  disfigurement, scarring, and embarrassment
  • medical expenses past, present, and future
  • loss of earning-or earrings potential- past, present, and future.

The bottom line, and the job of a personal injury attorney is to present a compelling case that the Plaintiff suffered lasting harm as the result of the accident, if the client, in fact, sustained that lasting type of injury.

The most effective way I’ve come across to accomplish this is by the presentation of thoughtful, honest, and well-prepared testimony showing that Plaintiff’s day to day activities, pursuits, responsibilities, and hobbies were adversely impacted or hampered as a result of the accident.

If you’ve been injured, I’d be honored to personally meet with you to go through the specifics of your claim. This initial legal analysis and case opinion is a complimentary service I offer to my prospective clients.

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.

Am I Entitled to Compensation for Future Problems or Future Expenses Due to My Injury?

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. As attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, 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.

I believe you must consult an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney to ensure you recover the full measure of your losses. I’ve handled hundreds of cases in which the permanent, lasting nature of an injury has been litigated. Call me today to arrange a complimentary strategy and planning session.

Is Interest Added To My Personal Injury Settlement, Judgement, Verdict Or Award?

If you resolve your personal injury case by way of a settlement, compensation is typically paid at the time of settlement, especially where there is an insurance company involved. If the settlement funds are not paid immediately, generally the terms of the settlement would control is interest is allowable. As attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, if a car accident or personal injury claim proceeds to trial and is successful, different standards apply to allowable interest allowable. Can you collect interest on a Judgment if it is not timely paid?

Typically, you are granted interest on the amount you are awarded in court until it is paid.

Absent exceptional circumstances, pre-judgment interest [interest that would cover the time period from the date of the injury to the date of the verdict or settlement] is NOT awarded in personal injury cases.   The rationale is that the amount of pain, suffering or emotional anguish is not subject to ready measurement.

However, once the amount of the award is reduced to a judgment of the court, post-judgment interest of 10% will accrue from the date of the judgment until paid.

An experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney can assist you, not just in obtaining a judgment for you, but also in ensuring you collect the interest due on that judgment.

I offer to meet with all prospective clients on a complimentary basis to analyze the facts and law surrounding their unique situation. If you have been injured, let me first say I am sorry that has happened to you. Let me secondarily say I’d be happy to personally meet with you, and see if I can assist. Feel free to call me at 410 591 2835.

As discussed elsewhere, insurance carriers that have paid medical bills related to a car accident, or the providers themselves, will assert a claim, or a “lien” on any amount you are awarded.

One of the most important roles a Baltimore personal injury attorney should fill is as a negotiator of these liens.

An effective attorney often will be successful in getting the amounts claimed by medical providers, and in some instances, insurers who have paid medical bills, reduced- meaning more money in your pocket. I Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.

Are My Medical Bills Paid Out Of My Personal Injury Award?

For example, Section 11-112 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article provides that a health insurer with a certificate of authority in Maryland must reduce their lien proportionally to the attorney’s fees, to a maximum of 33%. It is sometimes difficult for an injury victim to understand why their health insurance company is entitled to reimbursement from their recovery. The issues surrounding the existence and reduction of these liens and other claims can become complex.

I extend a case review, claim evaluation and legal opinion on a no-cost basis to my clients. Contact me today to arrange a meeting. 410 591 2835.

The figures recited here are a little dated at this point. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any recent national study of the breadth and scope of the undertaking relied upon for the statistics herein.  The most recent national study conducted by the Department of Justice tells us that the median award in all tort case was $24,000.00 [just as many awards below that number as above it]. 2 out of 3 plaintiffs recovered $50,000 or less, while 4 out of 100 received a million or more. As Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.

The median national award in a motor vehicle or car accident was $15,000

What is the Value of An Average Car Accident Case ?

4 out of 10 motor vehicle accident victims received less than $10,000. Now, these are national numbers, and the results in local jurisdictions may vary widely. A seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer can give you guidance on a reasonable value range for your car accident case. [Statistics from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, Langton and Cohen, Bureau of Justice Statistics]. https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=242.

I offer a free case analysis, evaluation and strategy planning meeting to my clients. Contact me today to schedule a session. 410 591 2835.

Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that it could be the single most important factor in any meritorious case.

“Venue” is where, in Maryland, the action is tried. In a typical motor vehicle or car accident case, this is going to be where the at-fault driver lives or works, and possibly where the car accident occurred.

Does Where the Accident Happened Determine How Much I Get?

Every county in Maryland, has a Circuit Court and a District Court [and larger jurisdictions have multiple locations]. Baltimore City has a Circuit Court and a District Court as well. Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, Typical motor vehicle collision cases are tried in District Court, while more serious injury matters are usually filed in Circuit Court. Where the trial is going to occur plays a role in settlement negotiations with insurance companies. Insurers track trial results. Results from some jurisdictions are typically more favorable for the plaintiff. Other jurisdictions typically favor the defense. In some jurisdictions, the district court results are perceived differently than the circuit court results. I’ve tried cases throughout Maryland. I offer a free case analysis to anyone injured in an accident.

It is not at all uncommon for insurance companies to attempt any measure available to get a case heard in a court where they believe they have an advantage. I have handled thousands of accident claims over the course of 25 years. I extend a complimentary case analysis and opinion about their legal case to those that consult with me. Please call me today to arrange a meeting.

It’s no secret that litigation is expensive. We’ve all seen movies where the litigation costs in a toxic tort claim against a fortune 500 company bankrupt the participates. Those types of claims are seminal, and far afield from the typical case litigated in Baltimore, Maryland. But even straightforward motor vehicle accidents can cost thousands of dollars to take to trial. Baltimore personal injury lawyers Attorney Eric T. Kirk that take their cases to trial are very well aware that the costs of litigation have a tremendous impact on the net value of case. Common litigation costs include:

  • filing fees
  • service of process charges
  • deposition costs
  • exhibit preparation
  • expert fees

How Do the Costs of Litigation Effect The Value of My Personal Injury Case?

These are all things that must be considered in assessing the strength, and value, of a claim. The effect is indirect, not direct. But litigation costs can certainly affect the amount of money the client recovers, and therefore play a role in the decision to settle a case., and the settlement value of a case. For example, assume that a Baltimore car accident victim has a claim that her lawyer values at $25,000. Also assume that case will cost $1500 for filing, service and deposition costs, and $3,500 for a medical expert to appear and testify at trial. [We discuss the role of experts and their impact on the value of a case in another volume]. So, if, in the attorney’s assessment, a good outcome in court is $25,000, but it will cost $5,000 in litigation costs to get there, it might make sense to consider settlement of the case at a number between $20,000 and $25,000.

A seasoned trial lawyer can give you a fair estimate of what you can expect to pay in litigation costs prior to making the decision to file a lawsuit.

This is a significant input. The client is, of course, responsible for the costs of litigation. I typically advance the costs of litigation to my clients. When we are successful, the advanced costs are reimbursed. If there is no recovery, the client owes nothing. This is one of the primary benefits of a contingency fee agreement. The reality is, most injury victims cannot afford to finance their litigation out of pocket, and this arrangement allows them to have their day in court.

I offer my Maryland personal injury client a reduced attorney fee arrangement as well. I’d be honored to personally meet with you to discuss the specifics of you claim. 410 591 2835.

I'm Easily Injured. Am I Still Entitled to Compensation for an Accident?

It’s not a laughing matter, but Baltimore personal injury lawyers Attorney Eric T. Kirk know the law recognizes that, yes, unfortunately, a given person may be more likely or more easily injured than another. The age-old adage is that an at-fault party “takes his or her plaintiff as he or she finds them”. If that results in an injury to a physically infirm individual, whereas a healthy individual might not have sustained the injury, that does not relieve the responsibility of the transgressor.

The concept is sometimes called the “egg-shell skull” plaintiff rule.

The concept is related to, but not necessarily the same as, the concepts of aggravation or exacerbation of underlying conditions. The law requires that every person be judged, in the context of damages that they have sustained, according to their unique characteristics, including the propentist for bodily injury.   The goal in these types of cases is to ask the court to instruct the jury in a case involving such a person that the fact that an injury would have been less severe if sustained by another should not affect the amount of the recovery.

I offer injury victims that I represent a reduced attorney fee program. I offer a free case analysis, evaluation and strategy planning meeting to my clients. Contact me today to schedule a session. 410 591 2835.