Maryland State District Court is the venue of choice for small to medium size personal injury cases due to its liberalized evidentiary rules and faster turnaround times for trial.
It has a limited jurisdiction of $30,000.00, no jury trials and has quite limited discovery but on balance many litigants and lawyers prefer it in part because it is less expensive.
The question addressed here is how do District Court judges arrive at their verdict amounts? Obviously the answer to this question is infinitely variable depending upon the facts of each individual case and each judge but some conclusions can be deduced from many years of observation. The factors are:
1). How clear is legal liability or responsibility?
2). How much vehicle damage was sustained? The more significant the property damage the more likelihood of a consequential award.
3). The nature of the injuries. Broken bones, teeth and concussions are more obviously the result of a significant crash than neck and back problems that may have been an issue before the crash.
4). How soon after the crash does any medical care occur? Leaving the crash scene in an ambulance or going to a hospital or urgent care within a few days will be viewed as indicative of an acute injury whereas seeing a doctor two weeks after the collision may not be.
5). Numbers. Higher medical expenses and lost wages yield higher verdicts.
6). Pain and suffering is a fucntion of the nature of your injuries and how long you treat for them. Identical injuries with a shorter span of treatment generally get smaller verdicts as judges correctly assume that the inconvenience of going to healthcare providers is such that plaintiffs would only go if they were suffering ongoing injuries.
7). Prior injury claims. Some people are just unlucky and end up being in crashes without being the cause. Other people are perceived as being "claims conscious". If you have multiple injury claims to the same body parts the judges may penalize you.