The Baltimore car accident lawyers at Miller & Zois have delivered millions in compensation to the victims of auto collisions over the years.
Our goal in every Baltimore, MD car accident claim our attorneys take is to get the maximum amount of compensation for our clients. Our accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless and until we get compensation in your case.
This page will look at the topics and questions that really matter to people who are considering whether to file an auto accident lawsuit and which personal injury law firm in Baltimore to hire:
How Much Money Can You Get in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
How Much is YOUR Accident Case Worth?
Verdicts & Settlements in Car Accident Cases
Statute of Limitations on Baltimore Car Accident Cases
Hiring an Accident Lawyer
Getting Money in Baltimore Car Accident Lawsuits
Car accident lawsuits are not really about getting “justice.” The only reason people file personal injury lawsuits after a car accident is to get money. Auto accident plaintiffs get money in the form of compensation for their injuries. If you are considering whether to pursue a case, it is important to have a basic understanding of how compensation works in auto tort claims.
Types of Damages You Can Get in an Auto Accident Case
If you are injured in an auto accident and the other driver is “at-fault” for causing the accident, our civil legal system gives you the right to hold that at-fault driver responsible for the financial consequences of the accident. There are well-established legal rules that determine exactly what types of losses car accident victims can get compensation. These are often referred to as “damages.” Maryland law allows auto accident victims to money damages for the following types of losses:
Past Medical Expenses:
When you are physically injured in an auto accident you will obviously need medical treatment to recover from your injuries. Auto accident victims are entitled to compensation for the full cost of all medical expenses that they reasonably incurred for the treatment of injuries caused by the accident. This includes hospital care immediately after the accident, follow-up care with doctors or physical therapists, medications, surgeries, etc.
EXAMPLE: Joe gets rear-ended by Jane and injures his back in the collision. Joe goes to the hospital and gets diagnosed with a herniated disc. Over the next 6 months he goes to the doctor 3 times, takes several medications, and has 12 physical therapy treatment sessions. The medical bills for all this add up to $50,000. Joe would be entitled to $50,000 in damages for these past medical expenses.
Future Medical Expenses:
Car accident victims are entitled to damages for not only medical expenses they have already incurred, but also medical expenses that they will incur in the future as a result of injuries caused by the accident. As long as the victim can prove that these future medical expenses are reasonable, necessary, and directly caused by the accident, the law entitles them to compensation.
EXAMPLE: When Joe brings his lawsuit against Jane, he has already had $50,000 worth of treatment, but his doctor is telling him that he will need to undergo back surgery followed by 6 more months of therapy. The estimated cost of the surgery and follow up treatment is $40,000. Joe would be entitled to compensation for the $50,000 in past medical expenses + $40,000 in future medical expenses for a total of $90,000.
Maryland has adopted a legal principal known as the collateral source rule. Under this rule, car accident plaintiffs can get compensation for the full cost of their medical expenses, even if they have health insurance which actually paid for the treatment.
EXAMPLE: Joe has $50,000 in medical expenses from his back injury when Jane rear ended him. But Joe’s health insurance covered $48,000 worth of these expenses. Joe only had to pay $2,000 out of pocket for his deductible and co-pays. Under Maryland’s collateral source rule, Joe is still entitled to collect medical expense damage for the full $50,000 even though his insurance paid for most of it.
Pain & Suffering:
The law entitles car accident victims to get money as compensation for the mental pain, suffering and stress that they suffered as a direct result of the physical injuries caused by the accident. Unlike medical expenses, there is no precise method of calculating a price tag for pain & suffering damages in car accidents. The amount of pain & suffering compensation is based on how much a jury or insurance company thinks the injuries are worth.
Pain and suffering damages are often a major component of any car accident verdict or settlement. The value of pain & suffering is generally related to the nature, severity and circumstances of the plaintiff’s injuries. The more severe the injury and the more emotionally compelling the circumstances, the higher the pain & suffering damages should be.
Accident victims are also entitled to damages for lost wages or lost income incurred as a result of injuries they sustained in the accident. Just as with medical expenses, this is not limited to past lost income. Victims are entitled to compensation for past and future lost income. So if an accident causes permanent disability and leave you unable to return to work, you can get damages for decades worth of lost wages.
EXAMPLE (Future Lost Wages): Joe works as a commercial roofer. Jane rear-ends him causing permanent damage to his knee and he can no longer work as a roofer. He ends up taking a less demanding job at half the salary. Joe would be entitled to future lost income for the loss in salary through the age of retirement.
How Much is YOUR Baltimore Auto Accident Case Worth?
The potential settlement value of personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents will depend on how much you can legally claim for the various types of compensation identified above: (a) medical expense, (b) lost income, and (c) pain & suffering. There are a number of variables that will impact the amount of money you can reasonably expect to get in your case. The most important factor that drives the settlement amounts of car accident lawsuits in Baltimore, MD is the severity of the injuries.
The nature and severity of the plaintiff’s physical injuries are the driving factors in the potential settlement payout of a personal injury lawsuit involving car accidents in Baltimore, MD. More serious injuries equal a higher case value. First, severe physical injuries almost always require more medical treatment. This equates to higher damages for past and future medical expenses, which is always a significant component of any car accident case.
Second, when a plaintiff suffers catastrophic physical injuries that have a permanent impact on their life, the amount of compensation they can get for pain and suffering goes up dramatically. The level of pain & suffering caused by an injury that leaves the victim in a wheelchair for the rest of their life is obviously going to be far greater than the pain & suffering associated with a neck sprain.
The table below gives a very general estimate of the typical settlement payout range of Baltimore car accident cases based on the severity level of the injury.
LEVEL OF INJURY AVERAGE VALUE
MINOR (Level 1) (back/neck sprains, whiplash, soft tissue) …….$16,000 – $28,000
MODERATE (Level 2) (bone fractures, disc herniation, organ damage) ….. $52,000 – $127,000
MAJOR (Level 3) (death, permanent disability) ….. $203,000 – $520,000
Verdicts & Settlements in Maryland Auto Accident Cases
The most reliable way to evaluate how much your own car accident case might potentially be worth is to look at actual verdicts and publicly reported settlement amounts in previous car accidents in Maryland. Looking at the amount of compensation in prior cases with comparable facts and injuries can give you a very good idea of what to possibly expect in your own case.
2022 – Montgomery County: $5,250 Verdict. A woman approached an intersection in Gaithersburg. She stopped at a red light. The woman was subsequently rear-ended. She suffered soft-tissue cervical and lumbar injuries. The woman also experienced neck radiculopathy. She underwent acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic sessions. The woman also underwent multiple epidural injections. She alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to timely slow down caused her injuries. The woman received $5,250.
2021 – Baltimore City: $104,987 Bench Verdict. A man was struck in a chain reaction collision at the intersection of Hillen Road and Woodbourne Avenue. He suffered neck and shoulder injuries. The man required physical therapy and cervical injections. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he failed to yield the right-of-way and exercise due caution. A jury awarded $104,987.
2021 – Baltimore City: $600,000 Verdict. A woman’s passenger side was struck by a left-turning vehicle in northeast Baltimore. She was brought to the hospital from the scene. The woman suffered rib fractures. She was hospitalized for two days. The woman alleged that the at-fault drivers’ failure to watch the road caused her injuries. A Baltimore City jury awarded $600,000.
2021 – Baltimore City: $55,000 Verdict. A cyclist was struck by a Baltimore City Department of Public Works vehicle. He died from his injuries. The man’s family alleged negligence against the City of Baltimore. They claimed its employee failed to exercise due caution and maintain an appropriate lookout. The jury awarded $55,000.
2021 – Baltimore City: $50,163 Verdict. A woman was rear-ended. She injured her eyes, jaw, head, neck, back, chest, face, left shoulder, and left knee. The woman required medical treatments. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed she failed to drive safely. A Baltimore City jury awarded $50,163.
2021 – Baltimore City: $400,000 Verdict. A 56-year-old man was struck while loading a washing machine that fell out of his vehicle. He died from his injuries. The man’s family alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. They claimed he failed to look out for pedestrians and yield to the deceased. Following a bench trial, the family received $400,000.
2021 – Baltimore City: $57,458 Verdict. A woman was struck at an intersection. She suffered C5-6 bulging, C6-7 degeneration, a concussion, spinal strains, bilateral sacroiliitis, blunt abdominal trauma, and chest pain. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she failed to yield the right-of-way and maintain a proper lookout. The Baltimore City jury awarded $57,458.
2021 – Baltimore City: $37,664 Verdict. A 50-something woman was rear-ended at a red light. She suffered spinal and shoulder sprains and strains. The woman underwent physical therapy and chiropractic care. She experienced residual pain. The woman’s injuries restricted her physical activity. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed he failed to safely operate his vehicle and avoid a collision. A jury awarded $37,664.
2021 – Prince George’s County: $212,000 Verdict. A 48-year-old woman traveled along Oxon Hill Road in Prince George’s County. She collided with the vehicle that cut her off. The woman suffered bilateral meniscus tears and soft-tissue injuries to her wrists, left shoulder, neck, and back. She underwent physical therapy, orthopedic care, and meniscus repairs. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed he made an unsafe left turn and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. The Prince George’s County jury awarded $212,000.
2021 – Prince George’s County: $617,032 Verdict. A 60-something man traveled along Livingstone Road. He was struck head-on. The man suffered a C4 fracture. He wore a brace for several months. The man also underwent physical therapy and took pain medications. He could no longer enjoy skiing. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to stay in her lane of travel and maintain an appropriate lookout. The jury awarded $617,032.
2021 – Baltimore City: $225,000 Verdict. A 29-year-old traffic officer was rear-ended by an unknown vehicle. She suffered lumbar and cervical sprains. The woman underwent two months of physical therapy. She also underwent counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder. The woman experienced residual cervical pain. She made a UIM claim. The Baltimore City jury awarded $225,000.
2021 – Prince George’s County: $12,468 Verdict. A 30-something man was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck at the intersection of Tippett Road and Piscataway Road in Clinton. He suffered soft-tissue wrist, neck, and back injuries. The man underwent eight weeks of physical therapy. He wore back and wrist braces. The man sustained residual back pain. He alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to keep an appropriate lookout caused his injuries. A Prince George’s County jury awarded $12,468.
2021 – Prince George’s County: $10,000 Verdict. A 46-year-old woman was rear-ended in Prince George’s County. She suffered soft-tissue cervical and lumbar injuries. The woman underwent three months of chiropractic therapy. She sustained residual pain. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed he unsafely operated his vehicle. The Prince George’s County jury awarded $10,000.
2021 – Montgomery County: $42,000 Verdict. A 43-year-old woman traveled along Old Columbia Pike in Silver Spring. She was rear-ended. The woman suffered soft-tissue cervical and lumbar injuries. She underwent a month of chiropractic therapy. The woman sustained residual pain. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed he failed to keep an appropriate distance between vehicles. A Montgomery County jury awarded $42,000.
2021 – Baltimore City: $17,522 Verdict. A 40-something man was rear-ended on Stevenson Road. He suffered a concussion, soft-tissue cervical, lumbar, and right knee injuries. The man underwent physical therapy and vestibular therapy. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he failed to timely brake. A Baltimore City jury awarded $17,522.
2021 – Baltimore City: $5,966 Bench Verdict. A man was a passenger in a sideswiped MTA bus. He suffered multiple injuries, including ones to his head. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s excessively speeding and failure to properly control his vehicle caused his injuries. Following a bench trial, he received $5,966.
2021 – Baltimore City: $19,000 Verdict. A woman was struck head-on. She suffered neck, back, and head injuries. The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. A Baltimore City jury awarded $19,000.
2021 – Baltimore City: $17,183 Bench Verdict. A woman was T-boned. She suffered cervical and lumbar injuries. The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed she ran a stop sign. The jury awarded $17,183.
2020 – Prince George’s County: $35,135 Verdict. A married couple traveled along Route 4. They were sideswiped by a vehicle that attempted to pass them. The couple suffered multiple soft-tissue injuries. They underwent physical therapy and epidural injections. The couple sustained residual pain that affected their ability to perform daily activities. They alleged that the at-fault driver’s tailgating and failure to watch the road caused their injuries. The Prince George’s County jury awarded $35,135.
2020 – Baltimore City: $55,236 Verdict. A woman was struck at the intersection of McClean Boulevard and Northern Parkway. She injured her head, neck, limbs, and nerves. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she made a negligent turn. The jury awarded $55,236.
How Long Can You Wait to File a Baltimore Car Accident Lawsuit?
All states have laws setting time limits or deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits and other types of cases. This type of law is known as a statute of limitation. The statute of limitations for Baltimore car accident lawsuits is 3 years (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101). This means that car accident victims must file their civil lawsuits against the at-fault driver within 3-years from the date of the accident. If the case is not filed within the 3-year limitation period, the deadline to sue in Maryland has passed and the victim forfeits the right to sue and will be barred from recovering any compensation.
There is one noteworthy exception to the 3-year deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit. When the accident victim is a minor (under the age of 18) the 3-year limitation period does not begin to run until they reach the age of majority at 18.
How to Win Your Baltimore Auto Accident Case
In order to win a car accident claim in Maryland, the plaintiff needs to establish two things: (1) liability, and (2) damages.
Liability in Baltimore Car Accident Cases
To establish liability, Baltimore car accident plaintiffs need to prove that the other driver was at-fault for causing the accident. Proving liability is the first step to getting money in a car accident case. When another driver is at-fault for causing an accident it means they have committed the tort of negligence and can be held legally liable for damages caused because of their negligence.
Proving Who Is At-Fault
In some types of personal injury in Maryland, such as medical malpractice, establishing liability can be very difficult and often becomes a major battleground in the case. Determining who was “at fault” in a car accident case is generally much easier because the “rules of the road” are set forth in the Maryland traffic laws. If every driver strictly followed the letter of the traffic law at all times, there would, theoretically, be zero auto accidents. When motor vehicle accidents occur the cause can always be traced back to some violation of the traffic rules.
The at-fault driver in a car accident case is the person who committed a violation of the traffic laws that triggered the accident (e.g., ran a stop sign, failed to yield, etc.).
Responsibility for the Accident Is Usually Easy
In most auto accidents, it is simple to figure out who violated the applicable traffic laws and caused the accident. If John runs through a red light and collides with Jane, John is clearly at-fault because he violated the traffic laws by running through a red light and that violation caused the accident.
In most Baltimore car accident lawsuits, the issue of liability is not even in dispute because the defendant is admitting that they were at fault.
Anytime the police are called out to respond to an accident scene, the responding officer is supposed to generate a police accident report. The police report can be very valuable evidence if you are trying to establish liability. The accident report will typically contain a summary of the facts based on the officer’s investigation and the officer’s conclusion as to who was deemed to be at-fault for the collision. If the accident report finds that the other driver was responsible for the accident it can be invaluable as evidence of liability.
Damages in Baltimore Auto Accident Cases
Establishing “damages” is the second step to getting compensation for a car accident claim. Establishing damages means that the plaintiff must prove that their injuries were actually caused or aggravated by the motor vehicle accident (and not from a preexisting condition). Plaintiffs may need to present expert witness testimony from medical professionals to support their claim that their injuries were caused by the accident.
EXAMPLE: Jane rear-ends John and files a lawsuit claiming that he suffered a herniated disc and knee sprain in the accident. John is 65 years old and has a long history of back and knee problems, including prior disc herniations. Jane’s defense lawyer argues that John’s back and knee injuries were preexisting and not caused by the accident. John will need to get an opinion from a back expert to support his claim.
In addition to expert witness testimony, plaintiffs will need to provide medical documentation to support the personal injuries that they are seeking compensation for. More significant injuries such as spinal cord injuries or a major head injury.
Truck accident cases tend to be more complex, and involve higher dollar amounts compared to typical Maryland personal injury cases. Most car accidents result in relatively minor damage and injuries. But truck accidents frequently catastrophic harm to injury victims.
Truck cases also have a higher settlement value. Commercial trucks have liability insurance with limits of $1 million or more and their insurance adjusters are used to paying more to settle personal injury claims compared to adjusters who handle car accidents. Fair compensation for truck accidents is therefore significantly higher than a fair settlement for car accidents.
Commercial trucking accidents also differ from regular motor vehicle accidents because there are separate laws that apply to commercial trucks. A personal injury lawyer needs to be familiar with trucking laws or the defense will be at a major advantage. A law firm with experience in these cases can often get the truck company to admit fault and negotiate a
The auto accident attorneys at our law firm in Baltimore, MD have a track record of success in getting fair compensation for injured clients in truck cases. If you have a personal injury claim or wrongful death case against a truck company, the injury attorneys at our law firm can provide the skilled legal services you will need to get the best result. Call today for a free consultation.
The car accident lawyers at our law firm also handle motorcycle accidents. Handling motorcycle cases can be much more challenging than normal auto accidents. Getting an insurance company to admit fault and offer fair value is hard because of the negative perception of motorcycle riders that doesn’t exist in car accidents.
Our law office in Baltimore, MD has extensive experience providing legal representation to motorcycle riders injured in car accidents. If you need help with your motorcycle case, contact a Baltimore car accident attorney at our firm for a free consultation.
Contributory negligence is a rule in Maryland personal injury law that can have a major impact on car accidents in Baltimore, MD. Maryland is one of the few states that continues to follow this rule, which holds that if the plaintiff’s own actions contributed to the car crash in any way (even if just 5-10%) then they are legally barred from recovering any damages.
This rule can be a major obstacle unless you have a car accident lawyer that is familiar with Maryland personal injury law. The insurance company will try to use this legal rule to devalue your claim. A good car accident lawyer needs to know how to respond when the insurance company plays this card (and they will).
Distracted driving is becoming a big issue in auto tort cases. Distracted driving mostly refers to texting while driving or talking on the phone (without hands-free Bluetooth) while driving. Both of these activities are prohibited under Maryland law and a good auto accident attorney needs to know how to handle distracted driving issues.
Hiring a Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case
If you suffered major injuries in a car crash, hiring a personal injury lawyer with experience and a record of success in car crash cases is the key to getting maximum financial compensation in your case. Some victims are hesitant to hire a car accident attorney and attempt to deal with the insurance company directly. Claimants who don’t have an attorney are at a significant disadvantage and usually end up getting less money for their claim.
Being represented by an effective, well-regarded Baltimore car accident lawyer will significantly increase your negotiating leverage with the insurance company. Most auto insurance companies are never going to make a fair settlement offer unless and until you actually file a lawsuit against their insured driver. If you handle your own claim without an attorney there is no threat of filing a lawsuit to push the claims adjuster to make a better offer.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Maximize the Value of Your Case
Retaining a Baltimore auto accident attorney to handle your injury case is the best and most effective way to maximize the value of your case and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. A good accident lawyer can maximize your case value in several ways.
First, experienced car accident attorneys are experts at navigating the insurance claim process. Car accident lawyers handle a large number of claims and cases, so they become very familiar with the various adjusters and how to manipulate the system to your advantage. A good auto tort lawyer will know exactly what to expect from major insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, or GEICO. They will also know the best course of action to take in order to get the insurance company in your case to offer more money.
The other major advantage car accident attorneys give you is the ability to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Once you sue the at-fault driver, their insurance company has an obligation to hire a lawyer to defend the case and gets a trial date set that starts putting pressure on the insurer. The farther the litigation moves along and the closer the trial date gets, the more pressure the insurance company will feel to resolve your case. Insurance companies will often double or triple their settlement offers in the weeks leading up to a trial date.
Common Car Accident Injuries
A car wreck can cause almost any type of physical injury to drivers and occupants. However, there are certain common car accident injuries that our lawyers see more frequently than others. The most common types of injuries in car accident claims include:
- Back injuries back injuries (herniated discs, bulging disc, etc.) are the most common result of traffic accidents.
- Shoulder Injuries: ligament injuries to the should, such as a torn rotator cuff, are also very common in accident injury cases.
- Bone Fractures: broken bones occur from the force of physical impact during a collision.
- Brain Injury: traumatic brain injuries are another common occurrence in auto collisions and can have serious consequences.
How Much Will a Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Hiring a good car accident lawyer in Baltimore, MD should not cost you any money directly out-of-pocket because personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they get money in your case. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer is not paid any money directly while working on the case. Instead, they received a set percentage of whatever amount of money they recover in your case. If they don’t get any money the car accident attorney doesn’t get paid.
The standard contingency fee percentage charged by Baltimore car accident lawyers is 33% for a case that gets settled before a lawsuit is filed, and 40% when the case settles (or goes to trial) after a lawsuit is filed. One thing that is very important to note is that in addition to the contingency fee percentage, your Baltimore car accident lawyer will also get reimbursed for all expenses incurred on your case. If your Baltimore car accident lawyer has to hire expert witnesses, the expenses can be very significant.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at Miller & Zois
Hiring the right Baltimore car accident lawyer can be critically important to the outcome of your case whether you go to trial or settle out of court. The Baltimore car accident lawyers at Miller & Zois firm have a well-known history of success when it comes to delivering the best possible results for our clients. Call 800-553-8082 today to get a fighter in your corner.
A car accident lawyer experienced in handling serious personal injury cases can help to make sure you receive every dollar you deserve for the harm that was done to you. In serious injury and wrongful death cases, having an effective personal injury attorney means everything. Any car accident lawyer will fight for you. But some attorneys are better at it than others.
We get top dollar out of the insurance company for your car accident claim by fighting for you every step of the way. Our primary goal is to get the insurance company to offer a settlement that fully compensates you for all of your economic losses, including loss of income.
FAQs: Baltimore Car Accident Lawsuits
When should you contact a car accident lawyer?
You should contact a Baltimore accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Retaining a lawyer for your case early on can help get things heading in the right direction from the very start.
How long after an accident can you sue in Maryland?
3-years. Maryland has a 3-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision you will need to file your lawsuit within 3-years of the accident date.
Who pays for the medical bills in a car accident in Maryland?
The at fault or negligent driver can be held liable for medical bills incurred by the other driver. However, the victim (or their insurance company) will usually have to pay these medical bills upfront and get compensation for them later.
Maryland is a “fault” state that applies common law tort rules to determine financial liability in an car crash.
How much do lawyers take from a settlement in Maryland?
Personal injury lawyers in Maryland take a standard contingency fee of 33%-40% plus reimbursement for expenses .