Jill Kolodner | November 17, 2022 | Car Accidents
The good news is that most car accident cases in Baltimore settle without filing a lawsuit. Even if your Baltimore car accident involves a lawsuit, your case could settle before you go to court. Whether you have to go to court depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
Appearing in Traffic Court After a Car Accident
The police officer might issue a traffic ticket because of the car accident. The ticket could require you to appear in court.
Before you plead guilty to a traffic charge related to a car crash, you might want to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Pleading guilty to the traffic ticket could be used by an insurance company to allege you admitted fault for causing the car accident.
Under Maryland’s pure contributory fault laws, you cannot recover any compensation for economic or non-economic damages if you are partially to blame for causing the accident. So even if you are 1% to blame, the law bars you from receiving any money for your injuries or damages.
Did You Receive a Court Summons To Appear in Court?
The other parties involved in the accident could sue you for damages. You should never ignore a court summons even if you believe you are not at fault. Failure to appear in court for a summons could result in jail and fines.
Contact a Baltimore car accident attorney immediately if you receive a car accident court summons. You have a short time to respond to the lawsuit. The other party could have filed the lawsuit to shift blame to you to avoid being liable for your damages.
Have You Filed a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?
You might have to go to court after a car accident because you filed a lawsuit. Reasons for filing a car accident lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- The other party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement amount
- Causation and/or fault for the car accident is disputed
- The statute of limitations is about to expire
If your lawsuit does not settle before a trial, you will be at the trial. The plaintiff (injured person) presents their evidence first. You might need to testify at the trial to tell how your injury occurred and describe the severity of your injury and damages.
The defendant (the party you sued) presents their case last. The jurors must decide whether they believe the defendant caused your injury. You have the burden of proving the elements of the personal injury claim.
If the jurors decide the defendant is liable for your injuries, they award you an amount for damages. The insurance company might pay the judgment or appeal the decision.
What Damages Could You Receive for a Personal Injury Claim?
If you win your car accident case, you can receive compensation for your monetary losses. These losses are referred to as economic damages and include:
- The cost of your medical care and treatment
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- In-home and long-term nursing care
- Assistance with household chores and personal care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income, benefits, and wages
- A decrease in future earning capacity
- Physical injuries and pain
- Emotional distress
- Impairments and disabilities
- Mental anguish
- A decrease in your quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
Punitive damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury cases. These damages do not compensate you for losses. Instead, the damages are used as a punishment for a defendant’s egregious conduct.
How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland?
Each state has a statute of limitations for civil and criminal cases. A statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing lawsuits and claims. State law and the type of case determine the filing deadlines.
Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims. The three-year deadline to file lawsuits applies in most cases involving:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Car crashes
- Dog bites
- Commercial truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Product liability claims
- Wrongful death claims
However, there are exceptions to the rule. In some cases, the statute of limitations might be tolled or paused. In medical malpractice claims, a person could have up to five years from the date of injury if they could not have reasonably discovered the injury within three years. In other cases, the statute of limitations could be much shorter, as in the case of claims filed against government entities.
Reach Out to a Baltimore Car Accident Attorney for Help With Your Claim
Because exceptions could change the deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits, it is best to talk with a Baltimore personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury or accident to avoid losing your legal right to pursue an injury claim.