Seven Tips for Winning Maryland Accident Case Trials in District Court

gavelIn an unexpected turn, the District Court of Maryland is where the trial action is. Jury trials in Maryland's Circuit Courts have diminished and District Court is where the rubber meets the road.

The explanation for this is multifold as insurance carriers are making ever more ridiculous offers and have no risk of an excess verdict because the District Court maximum award is coincidentally the Maryland minimum required liability insurance coverage of $30,000.00. Simultaneously, the existence of evidentiary rules 10-104 and 10-105 make it possible for injured victims to claim medical expenses without the expense necessity of bringing a doctor either to court or videotape deposition.

Win win sort of. Successful presentation of such cases on behalf of injured parties contemplates six simple tips:

1. Make sure you can prove the named defendant was at fault. Pretty simple really but unless your client can say "Driver X rear-ended me" you can lose.

2. You can accomplish this through witnesses, including calling the defendant in your case in chief just to establish they were in a crash with your client even if they disagree on the facts. P.S Don't ask them about the facts, just their involvement.

3. File a simple set of interrogatories at the inception of each case. Many defense lawyers will never have time to answer them and as the eve of trial approaches will stipulate to liability rather than answer them and bring their client to court. Sometimes they even answer them and provide the proof discussed at #1 and #2.

4. File your 10-104 with complete medical bills and records when you file the lawsuit, that way you can read the records and fill in any evidentiary gaps before trial with a supplemental 10-104.

5. Know what the medical records actually say so you can address any gaps in treatment, prior injuries, subsequent injuries or other curveballs.

6. Have copies of your 10-104's for both the Court and defense lawyers it saves time and the numerous other trials waiting for you to finish will appreciate that.

7. If you can't bring a witness for your client's employer into court to validate lost wages make sure your client not only knows what he is claiming including dates missed and hourly wage or salary but also have a document for them to refer to so they get it right. Refreshing their recollection with a letter signed by their employer, or a lost wage PIP form or even their answers to interrogatories can work.

Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
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