Articles Tagged with “non-economic damages”

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Prince-Georges-County-Circuit-CourtTrial is scary.  If you have a trial, and you’ve never been, you probably have some anxiety about the whole thing.  Where do I sit?  What questions are going to be asked?  Can I bring notes?

You will have a long conversation with your lawyer to go over all of this before trial.  We’ve been through it before, and we’ll answer all of your questions.  There is one thing we need you to prepare in advance: a list of your non-economic damages.

Non-economic damages include the following, according to the Rules (Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 11-108):

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District-Court-LogoIf your cases has been set for trial, there are some things that you will need to prepare to be ready.  What are you preparing for?  Simply, to provide the best testimony possible to the judge.  That means you need to be ready for the questions your lawyer will ask you, and you need to anticipate the questions that the defense attorney will ask you.  These are the steps important for testimony, whether it is an automobile collision case, slip-and-fall, or any other type of personal injury.

  • Contact your lawyer. Set up a time before the trial to go over your testimony.  Our office will use a trial script to help you understand the questions we will ask.  Based on our review of your file, including your medical records, our conversations with you, and your answers to interrogatories, we will draft the questions and what we think the answers are.  Your job is to review those, make sure they are correct, and help provide as much detail as you can.
  • Know your medicals. You should review your medical records—preferably, read them all to remind you of what you went through.  At the very least, have a good idea of who you went to, for how long, and know about how much they charged you.  Reading medical records isn’t the most enjoyable thing, but knowing your medicals will help you to understand your case.
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Norwood jury box 2.jpgWe’ve discussed how the strength of your case (liability and negligence) affects your case value, and we’ve discussed how the economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, impacts your case value. Now we’ll talk about non-economic damages.

Most people think of non-economic damages as “pain and suffering.” Each state has its own rules, but in Maryland, non-economic damages are much more. The Maryland jury instructions explain that non-economic damages are recoverable for past and future:

The “Noneconomic Damages” sustained in the past and reasonably probable to be sustained in the future. All damages which you may find for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury are “Noneconomic Damages.”

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Headache 2.jpgMaryland allows auto accident victims to recover for non-economic damages. These are injuries that cannot be easily calculated, and they include items as stated in the typical jury instructions:

In an action for damages in a personal injury case, you shall consider the following:

  1. The personal injuries sustained and their extent and duration;
  2. The effect such injuries have on the overall physical and mental health and well-being of the plaintiff;
  3. The physical pain and mental anguish suffered in the past and which with reasonable probability may be expected to be experienced in the future;
  4. The disfigurement and humiliation or embarrassment associated with such disfigurement;
  5. The medical and other expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in the past and which with reasonable probability may be expected in the future;
  6. The loss of earnings in the past and such earnings or reduction in earning capacity which with reasonable probability may be expected in the future.

In awarding damages in this case you must itemize your verdict or award to show the amount intended for:

  1. The medical expenses incurred in the past;
  2. The medical expenses reasonably probable to be incurred in the future;
  3. The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity incurred in the past;
  4. The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity reasonably probable to be expected in the future;
  5. The “Noneconomic Damages” sustained in the past and reasonably probable to be sustained in the future. All damages which you may find for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury are “Noneconomic Damages”;
  6. Other damages.

It is a relatively simple matter to show what the economic damages are–lost wages and medical expenses can often be calculated with exactitude. But non-economic damages are fuzzy–their value will depend on two things–how well the auto accident victim testifies at trial, and the feelings of the decision-maker (either a judge or jury).