If you’ve suffered injuries due to a car accident in Maryland, there are a few factors to consider when calculating the amount you may receive for compensation. You are entitled to payment for medical treatments to recover from your injuries, and reimbursement for the wages you did not earn because your injuries prevented you from working. However, there is another aspect of compensation, termed “pain and suffering.” A personal injury attorney in Baltimore County can tell you more on the topic, but some general information is helpful.
The Legal Concept of Pain and Suffering: When you are hurt in a car accident through the fault of another person, Maryland state law allows you compensation for the pain and suffering you endure. The amount of pain and suffering falls under a claim for damages, which are grouped into two categories:
- Economic Damages: Medical bills and lost wages are considered economic damages, because they involve a quantifiable value. These amounts are relatively easy to determine from your medical bills when you received treatment, and past pay stubs are an indication of your lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses that do not have a dollar value attached to them. Pain and suffering falls into this category because it’s difficult to determine a level of discomfort or how much you enjoy life.
Pain and suffering is further broken down into two groups:
- Physical Pain and Suffering: There will be trauma directly related to the accident, as well as pain and soreness during your recovery and into the future.
- Mental Pain and Suffering: A car accident can impact your emotional well-being, leaving you with feelings of fear, embarrassment, anguish, depression and other mental suffering.
Proving Pain and Suffering for a Baltimore, MD Car Accident Case: There is no designated formula for determining the amount of pain and suffering in a personal injury case. Still, documents and testimony can be evidence to prove a claim, including:
- A doctor’s opinion of the pain you felt in the immediate aftermath of the accident, during your recovery, and into the future;
- Your history of medications prescribed to help you cope with your physical pain or for treatment of emotional anguish;
- Your own description of the pain and mental distress you suffer as a result of the accident; and,
- Written opinions of other medical experts and research studies.
Maryland Statutory Cap on Pain and Suffering: There is a state law that places a limit on the amount you can recover for non-economic damages. The cap changes every October to account for inflation and the amount goes back to when the injury occurred. For example, these are the limits for injuries occurring on or before:
- October 1, 2013: $785,000
- October 1, 2014: $800,000
- October 1, 2015: $815,000
- October 1, 2016: $830,000
It’s important to keep in mind that these dollar values are for non-deadly injuries related to car accidents in Maryland. Wrongful death cases follow a different schedule for pain and suffering compensation.
A qualified personal injury lawyer will represent your interests and ensure you get the full amount of compensation for pain and suffering allowable under Maryland law. If you were injured in a car accident in Baltimore County, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss the specifics of your case.
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