An automobile accident can turn your life upside down. There's so much to do--find reliable transportation, get to the doctor, deal with insurance companies, and survive missed work. The easiest way to know if you have a claim is to consult with a lawyer--don't let the insurance company convince you that you have a claim (they are, after all, looking out for their own best interests).
Law School for Non-Lawyers
There are four requirements for every personal injury case. In order to recover in a lawsuit, each must be proven. For a settlement, the strength of one may help to overcome deficiencies in another.
- Duty: The negligent driver must have had a duty to drive in a reasonable manner. This is usually a given.
- Breach of duty: The negligent driver must have violated his duty by driving in an unreasonable way. Violating the standard of care (sometimes codified in a rule, like the Maryland Transportation Code, can help to prove a violation).
- Causation of damages: The duty breach must have caused injury to the claimant/victim.
- Damages: The claimant/victim must have some type of damage. This might include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain, physical impairment, mental anguish and inconvenience.
Assuming there are no defenses (like contributory negligence of the victim, or statute of limitations).
What is the value of my case?
There is no way any internet site can tell you the value of your case. This is because there are many very case-specific factors. In general, the value is:
Medical expenses + Lost income + Property damage + Non-economic damages
For more on the numerous factors, see our recent series of blog posts:
- Liability (how easy is it to prove that the other driver was negligent and you were not)
- Economic damages (the total of your medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages)
- Non-economic damages (your pain, suffering, inconvenience, and aggravation, etc...)
- Venue/Jurisdiction (the court and location for your case)
- Personal Injury Protection (the amount of no-fault insurance used to reduce your medical expenses)
- Health insurance/medical reductions
- Attorneys' fees,
For More Information
When in doubt, contact a lawyer (whether our firm, or someone else). The biggest risk early on is that you do not act quickly enough to preserve evidence, or send legally-required notices which may be necessary to preserve your right to make a claim. Let us know if you have any questions--443.850.4426, online or firstname.lastname@example.org.