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How Much Should I Demand In A Baltimore Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Claim ?

In some respects, the amount to “demand” from an insurance company to settle a Baltimore personal injury claim is more nuanced than determining how much to ask for when filing a Baltimore personal injury lawsuit. In the later scenario, there may be fixed, rather arbitrary rules or limits under which or over which the injured person’s claim falls.

Determining the amount to ask for in a Baltimore motor vehicle accident insurance claim depends on many factors. Here are some aspects that can influence the calculation:

Medical Expenses: Include all costs associated with medical treatment resulting from the accident, such as doctor visits, physical therapy, surgeries, hospital stays, and medication.

Future Medical Expenses: If your injuries will require future medical care, you may be able to estimate and include these costs as well. This always requires expert testimony for  case that goes to trial, and some form of writing endorsed by a doctor that future care is likely for purposes of negotiation.

Lost Wages: If you had to miss work due to your injuries, calculate your lost earnings during this period.

Lost Earning Capacity: If the accident has impacted your ability to work or reduced your future earning capacity, this should also be included. This, too, always requires expert testimony, certainly, if the case proceeds to litigation. At the pre-suit negotiating phase, an initial expert analysis is invariably called for to present a facial claim.

Property Damage: Includes the costs for repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other damaged property. If the vehicle can be repaired, the amount of damage is the amount of repairs. If the vehicle cannot be repaired, the amount of damage is the fair market value of the “totaled” car.

Pain and Suffering: You can also ask for compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. Calculating this amount can be more subjective and varies greatly depending on the jurisdiction, the severity of your injuries, and how the injuries have affected your lifestyle.

Remember that insurance companies always negotiate settlements, so some people choose to ask for more than their calculated total damages to account for this negotiation. It’s also important to note that each case is unique, and the above factors are only a general guideline of factors your chosen counsel would consider.  The process of calculating damages can be complex, and you may need to consult with a personal injury lawyer or a financial advisor to ensure you’re asking for an appropriate amount. So, while submitting a demand to for a personal injury claim to an insurance company allows for some flexibility and creativity on the part of the negotiating injury lawyer, some other more “hard and fast” rules can form the outer limits of what can be sought, and, possible, if any amount can be sought, or awarded at all.

In Maryland, there are a few key jurisdictional rules and limitations to consider when filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a lawsuit after an injury. In Maryland, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file within this time frame, you’ll likely lose your right to sue. There may be exceptions to the time bar, but they are nuanced, and likely require detailed legal analysis.

Monetary Limits for Small Claims: Small claims court is typically used for smaller disputes. In Maryland, the small claims court limit is $5,000. If your claim exceeds this amount, you’ll have to file in a higher court [technically the same court, acting under a different set of rules]. A large district court in Maryland is one between 5,001 and 30,000 dollars. If the claim is above 30,000 it would need to be filed in the circuit court for either in excess of 75,000 dollars, or a specific among between 30,001 and 74,999 dollars.

Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Rule: Maryland follows a rule called “contributory negligence.” If you’re found to be even slightly at fault for the accident (i.e., 1% at fault), you can be barred from recovering any damages. Maryland is one of the remaining handful of states that employ this time-word doctrine. This rule makes it especially important to have vital and knowledgeable representation in a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. Many states have moved on to the concept of comparative fault, where the relative degrees of contribution to an event are determined, and a somewhat at-fault plaintiff is entitled to recover from a more at-fault-defendant.

Caps on Non-economic Damages: For any personal injury case that goes to trial in Baltimore,  it’s important to note that there is a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases. Maryland doesn’t have a cap on punitive damages, but they’re only awarded in cases of actual malice, which can be difficult to prove. Maryland has this statutory limit on non-economic damages- which includes compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. No matter what amount is sought at the inception of the lawsuit, this is a separate limit that will apply not to the amount sought in the initial filing but will reduce the amount awarded by a judge or a jury is actually more than an artificially set “cap”. The cap is adjusted each year based on inflation. As of 2021, the cap was around $830,000 for personal injury cases (except medical malpractice cases), and this cap increases slightly each year due to inflation. The cap is higher for wrongful death cases with multiple beneficiaries. However, there is no cap on economic damages—so medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible costs can be fully reimbursed based on proof of these expenses.