When you get injured in an accident, there are two primary questions that should be answered: (1) Who was at fault? (2) How much are you entitled to recover? While determining who was at fault requires a comprehensive investigation, determining how much you are entitled to recover requires a careful examination of the ways your injuries impact your life.
At The Bishop Law Group, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping the wrongfully injured throughout Maryland. We take the time to fully investigate the facts surrounding our clients’ injuries and we work diligently to recover the maximum compensation they deserve.
Below, we take an in-depth look at how personal injury claims are calculated in Maryland.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Losses
In Maryland, accident victims are entitled to just compensation for their financial and non-financial losses. Economic losses are those that impact accident victims’ bank accounts, while non-economic losses are those that impact victims’ lives in other ways. Calculating economic losses and non-economic losses involve different considerations and procedures, and proving each type of loss requires different types of evidence. As a result, distinguishing between the two is a critical first step for accurately calculating the value of a personal injury claim under Maryland law.
Calculating Economic Losses in a Maryland Personal Injury Claim
We’ll cover economic losses first. When calculating your economic losses in a Maryland personal injury claim, the first step is to add up your out-of-pocket costs to date. This includes your:
- Personal property repair or replacement costs
- Medical expenses (including diagnosis, treatment, surgery, therapy, and medications)
- Other out-of-pocket expenses (including medical devices, home modifications, and support services)
- Loss of income and benefits
You may be surprised at just how quickly these costs have accumulated. But, what may surprise you even more is how much these costs will accumulate in the future.
Accident victims can recover financial compensation not only for the costs they have already incurred, but also for the costs they are likely to incur in the future. Calculating these future costs can be much more challenging—especially if you will continue to suffer financial consequences for years to come.
Calculating future economic losses requires careful examination of several different factors. These factors include (but are not limited to):
- The extent of your ongoing medical treatment needs (including the need for pain medications or other prescriptions)
- Whether you are suffering from anxiety, depression, or other psychological conditions that require treatment
- Your current income and pre-accident future earning potential
- Whether you will be able to return to work in the future (and, if so, when)
- Whether you will need ongoing child care, in-home care, cleaning and landscaping, or other services
- An appropriate “discount” rate to determine the present value of your future losses
In many cases, accident victims’ future economic losses will far exceed their economic losses to date. As a result, while calculating these losses is challenging, it is also extremely important. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the steps involved in accurately calculating these losses, and will be able to work with your doctor and other professionals as necessary to seek the full compensation you deserve.
Calculating Non-Economic Losses in a Maryland Personal Injury Claim
While non-economic losses don’t impact your bank account directly, they can still impact your life in profound ways. Living with constant pain and suffering can feel unbearable, and emotional trauma can make it hard to connect with your friends and family members. Many accident victims’ lives are never truly the same, and the emotional and psychological effects of their injuries last long after their physical wounds heal.
Unlike economic losses, it isn’t possible to “add up” the value of an accident victim’s pain and suffering. There is no specific dollar value that constitutes “just compensation” for lifelong emotional trauma. Instead, calculating an accident victim’s non-financial losses requires an in-depth look at all of the various ways the accident impacts the victim’s life—now and in the future.
The more evidence you have of your accident’s non-economic effects, the better. While collecting this evidence can be difficult, it is extremely important as well. Using this evidence, your lawyer will be able to paint a picture of the differences between your pre- and post-accident lives, and then he or she will be able to argue for a fair compensation award consistent with Maryland law.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident and would like to know how much you may be able to recover for your losses, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at The Bishop Law Group.
To speak with a Baltimore personal injury lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, please call (410) 390-3101 or request a consultation online today.