The Baltimore car accident attorneys at The Bishop Law Group know that suffering serious injuries in a car accident can impact all aspects of your life. While your medical bills and lost earnings can add up quickly, they may ultimately represent just a fraction of the losses you sustain as a result of your collision. Traumatic injuries can also lead to significant non-financial losses—including pain and suffering.
If you experience pain and suffering after a car accident in Maryland, can you sue for just compensation? As a general rule, if you are entitled to compensation for your financial losses, you are entitled to compensation for your non-financial losses as well.
Our firm has built a reputation for excellence in Maryland for helping the wrongfully injured obtain the justice and compensation they deserve after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We understand the complexities of Maryland law and we are committed to helping our clients move forward after a wreck.
When You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident in Maryland
In Maryland, you can sue to recover your losses after a car accident if the accident was someone else’s fault. While this “someone else” is usually another driver, it could also be the driver’s employer, a passenger, a vehicle manufacturer, or any of a variety of other parties. Some of the most common grounds for suing after a car accident include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Merging or changing lanes without looking
- Negligent hiring and entrustment
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Vehicle maintenance issues and defects
To sue after a car accident, you need evidence of the at-fault party’s liability. You must also be prepared to defend against any allegations that you played a role in causing the accident. In Maryland, if a car accident victim is even 1% responsible for his or her own injuries, he or she is not entitled to any financial compensation.
What Qualifies as “Pain and Suffering”?
The terms “pain” and “suffering” often mean different things to different people. However, for purposes of filing a lawsuit after a car accident, “pain and suffering” has a very specific meaning. To seek financial compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident in Maryland, you must be able to prove that you have suffered (or are suffering) from one or more of the following:
- Physical pain
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Negative impacts on your mental health and wellbeing
- Negative impacts on your family relationships, social life, or career
- Reduced quality of life
It is not unusual for car accident victims to experience all of these effects. Generally speaking, the more severe your pain and suffering—and the more ways they negatively impact your life—the more you are entitled to recover.
How Do You Prove Your Pain and Suffering?
Regardless of how severe your pain and suffering may be, you won’t be able to recover just compensation if you cannot prove that you have a claim. So, how do you prove your pain and suffering?
An experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer will be able to use several forms of evidence to prove your claim for pain and suffering. Some examples include:
- Your medical records
- Medical and psychological expert testimony
- Photos of your injuries
- Videos of your new daily life
- Testimony from coworkers, friends, and family members
- Your notes and testimony
After suffering serious injuries in a car accident, it is a good idea to start a daily “pain journal.” Each day, you should use your journal to record your pain levels, any events you miss due to your pain and suffering, any activities you are unable to perform, and any other ways your pain and suffering impact your life. It is important to be as detailed as possible, as the details will be what convince the insurance company (or the jury) that you deserve a significant compensation award.
How Do You Quantify Your Pain and Suffering?
Finally, when suing for pain and suffering after a car accident, you need to know how much to claim. The Maryland courts recognize two methods of calculating pain and suffering damages:
- Per Diem – With the “per diem” method, compensation for pain and suffering is calculated based on a daily rate (i.e., $200/day for 3,650 days).
- Multiplier – With the “multiplier” method, compensation is calculated by multiplying the claimant’s financial losses by a number that is determined based on the severity of the claimant’s pain and suffering.
Importantly, Maryland has enacted a cap on non-financial damages. As of 2022, this cap is $905,000 for non-fatal injuries. This means that even if the value of your pain and suffering is greater than $905,000, this is the maximum amount you can recover (in addition to the compensation for your current and future financial losses).
A serious car wreck can be one of the most frightening and difficult times in a person’s life. You may be facing pain, disability, and severe mental anguish. You didn’t deserve to suffer because of someone’s reckless, careless behavior behind the wheel, but you do deserve justice now. We can help.
If you’ve been hurt in a crash, contact The Bishop Law Group today online or at (410) 390-3101 for a free case evaluation. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other areas.