Jill Kolodner | July 8, 2021 | Car Accidents
Maryland is an at-fault state for car accident claims. The state requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance to cover damages they cause in a traffic accident. Most car accidents are based on negligence.
Negligence claims require you to prove that another person caused your car accident to recover damages. However, it also requires you to prove you were injured and suffered damages due to the car accident.
Therefore, if you were not injured in the car crash, you could sue the other driver. However, you might not recover any money for your claim.
Proving Fault and Damages for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Maryland
Maryland is an at-fault state for car accident claims. Accordingly, you have the right to sue the driver who caused your accident. However, in states with mandatory no-fault insurance, accident victims might not have the legal right to sue the other driver for damages unless they meet certain injury thresholds.
The legal elements of a negligence claim are:
- Duty of Care – The other driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
- Breach of the Duty of Care – The other driver breached the duty of care. A driver breaches their duty of care when they drive dangerously or fail to obey traffic laws. For example, driving under the influence or failing to follow traffic laws might constitute a breach of duty.
- Causation – You have the burden of proving the other driver’s conduct directly caused the accident. For example, you might show the driver failed to yield the right of way, resulting in an intersection accident.
- Damages – You sustained damages because of the accident and your injuries.
If you were not injured in the accident, it could be difficult to prove you sustained damages entitling you to compensation.
Damages Caused by a Car Accident
Car accident claims generally include two types of damages. Economic damages are your financial losses like:
- Doctor’s bills
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Cost of personal care
- Medical supplies and medical equipment
- Hospital bills and ambulance bills
These damages are quantifiable, meaning they have a bill or other proof that you incurred the financial loss.
Non-economic damages cover the pain and suffering you experienced because of the accident and your injuries, including:
- Physical discomfort and pain
- Emotional distress
- Mental trauma and anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Decreased quality of life
These damages do not have a bill or invoice to prove the value of the damages. There is no standard formula used to calculate pain and suffering damages.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Am Not Physically Hurt?
Under Maryland law, a car accident victim generally needs to have sustained some physical injury to recover compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering. The assumption is that emotional distress and mental anguish are the results of physical injuries.
However, there could be cases in which a person might recover compensation for emotional distress and mental anguish without a physical injury. For instance, a person may sustain a psychological injury because of the car crash.
A psychological injury could include post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, or another mental health disorder. To recover compensation, you would likely need to have received medical treatment and have a medical diagnosis for the condition.
Medical records are the best way to establish that you experienced emotional distress related to a car accident. However, without a physical injury, it could be much more challenging to prove that the car crash caused your emotional distress and mental health disorder.
Even if you are successful in proving that you sustained emotional distress and mental trauma because of the car accident, a jury may be unwilling to pay very much for the claim. You would need strong evidence from medical experts establishing that the emotional distress was debilitating.
Do Not Give Up Without a Fight
If you believe you are entitled to compensation for injuries and damages caused by a car crash, do not give up the fight without talking to a Baltimore car accident lawyer.
The insurance adjuster will tell you that you do not have a claim if you were not hurt. However, the claims adjuster works to protect the insurance company’s best interest. The best interest of the insurance company is to deny your claim.
A car accident lawyer evaluates your case and provides an honest, legal assessment of your claim. Make sure you get your information from someone who has your best interest at heart before you give up fighting for fair compensation for all car accident damages.