What is your Maryland Car Accident Case worth and why?

Verdict prediction is highly unscientific but some modicum of informed speculation is necessary in order to help clients appreciate whether to accept an offer or not.

There are a series of variables to be considered including who the trial judge is. Denizens of Maryland's lower state trial court can divine patterns in the verdicts rendered by the Usual Suspects ie. the jurisdiction's local judges, that is trickier to tease out with judges visiting from other counties.

Typically plaintiff's lawyers perceive that visiting judges from rural Maryland counties award lesser sums than their urban/suburban counterparts.This occasional phenomenon, the temporary importation of out of county judges, effects not only verdict amounts but also whether money is awarded at all.

Not long ago an  appearance by Judge Gelber transported from Montgomery County, Maryland to Prince George's County yielded a series of unexpected defense verdicts in the cases preceding a case tried by Bob Clark in Upper Marlboro. Fortunately Bob's client prevailed but it required some skillful questioning of the defendant in order to avoid the defense verdict fate of several earlier cases.

The bottom-line is that it is hard to know the predilections of out of town judges and arguably avoiding them is the best course.

So what are the variables that matter before all judges?

First, clear liability with consequential property damage makes it almost impossible for any judge not to award something to the injured victim.

Second, the nature of the injuries and their proximate relationship to the accident. If you are taken from the crash scene to the hospital by ambulance its hard to deny the connection between the crash and the injuries. Many people don't appreciate the seriousness of their injuries at the collision site but feel their symptoms later that day or the next and get the treatment then.

That is fine too but it is folks who delay who are subject to questions regarding the relationship of their medical care and the crash and are susceptible to the more skeptical judges.

Regarding the nature of injuries, broken bones and teeth are demonstrable physical injuries that are not susceptible to faking and if reported within a short time after the crash often yield the largest of verdicts in District Court with its $30,000.00 jurisdictional limit.

The third consideration is purely arithmetic, what are your total medical expenses and lost wages? The more the larger the verdict. For the most part Maryland District Court cases are tried without the presence of medical experts and hinge on proper use of so-called 10-104s.

10-104 is a Maryland evidentiary rule/feature that permits the admission into evidence of medical records and bills without the expense of medical expert testimony.

The final consideration is pain and suffering and is the most unpredictable. How does one quantify the experience of a crash and its many consequences? Medical evidence can note the appearance that a patient is experiencing post-crash pain and prescription of pain medicine is also also a good indicator and certain specific injuries are commonly known to be painful.

But beyond those possibilities many judges award monthly increments of compensation for the duration of medical treatment. Thus, plaintiffs may have identical injuries but the one who treats for seven months rather than four months, may well receive a larger verdict.

As an example several judges routinely award a thousand dollars a month for each month during which treatment was rendered.

So in fine, every case is unique and accurate evaluation, even by an experienced attorney is imperfect but the forgoing should provide some evaluative criteria to help injured victims get a sense if the offers coming their way are reasonable or not.

Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer