If you have been injured because of another’s actions, it is likely that you have many questions about what to do next, if you should hire a lawyer, and if you have a case and can file a personal injury lawsuit.
The Washington D.C. personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan have provided answers to some of the most common questions our clients ask. If you have additional questions that are not answered here or if you would like more information about your specific claim, do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Do I Have a Case?
If you have been injured because of another’s negligent, reckless or careless actions, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to file a claim, we must be able to prove that the four elements of negligence are present:
- Duty of care: We must show that the at-fault party had a duty of care not to cause you harm. In a car accident case, the at-fault party had a duty to follow the laws of the road.
- Breach of duty of care: The at-fault party has acted negligently if he or she breaches his or her duty of care by failing to act as another reasonable person would. For example, running a red light would be considered breaching the duty of care.
- Causation: We must be able to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the at-fault party’s actions. The insurance company will do everything possible to claim your injuries were caused by something else.
- Damages: Finally, your injuries must have caused you to suffer economic or noneconomic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Much is My Case Worth?
Every personal injury claim is different, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to recover will be determined by the unique facts of your accident and injury.
The value of your case will depend on several circumstances, including the severity of your injuries, the details of the accident and the limits of your insurance.
Based on these and other key facts, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Inability to earn a wage in the future
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What if I was Partially at Fault for My Injuries?
Maryland follows the rule of contributory negligence, which states that an individual is barred from recovering compensation in lawsuit if he or she was partially at fault for causing his or her injuries.
Under this law, if you were even one percent liable for your injuries, you will not be able to recover compensation.
For example, if you were speeding at the time of a car accident and the driver that hit you ran a red light, you may not be able to recover compensation even though the driver who ran the red light was mostly responsible for the accident.
However, even if you think you may have been partially at fault for your injuries, it is best to speak with a lawyer about the circumstances of your claim. We will determine if you have a case that is worth pursuing.
How Much Does an Injury Lawyer Cost?
At Goldberg Finnegan, we offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis. This means we charge no upfront costs. We will cover all of the expenses associated with investigating and building your case.
We only charge you if your case is successful and we recover compensation for you. If we recover compensation, we will only charge a percentage of your recovery.
However, if we do not, you will owe us nothing.
Additionally, we offer free, no obligation consultations, where our team will review the details of your claim to determine if you have a case.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Pursuing a personal injury claim can be complicated, especially if you have suffered severe injuries that required, and may continue to require, expensive medical care.
This is because the insurance company representing the at-fault party has only one goal in mind: to pay as little as possible for your claim. They will have a team of adjusters and attorneys working to diminish your claim and protect their bottom line.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side can help ensure your best interests are put first at all times. We understand the pain and suffering you have experienced and will do everything we can to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
We have decades of experience investigating and building strong cases and recovering millions on behalf of our clients. We know what it takes to obtain compensation in various types of personal injury cases, and we are not willing to settle for anything less than our clients deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you should contact a reputable lawyer as soon as possible. There are strict time limits, also known as statutes of limitations, on how long you have to file a claim. For claims against governmental entities, counties and States there may also be strict “notice requirements” that are as short as 6 months from the date of the incident.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for most negligence personal injury claims is three years. However, there are exceptions that can “toll” the statute of limitations. For example, the statute of limitations for a minor’s claim does not begin to run until the minor turns 18.
Figuring out the statute of limitations is important and needs to be done on a case by case basis. Therefore, you should not assume anything, and should hire a lawyer to determine the applicable statute of limitations and/or notice requirements.
However, depending on the type of case you have, the time limits could be much shorter, especially if you have a case against a government entity. These cases must be made within a matter of months.
If you miss these deadlines, you will lose your opportunity to file a claim and obtain compensation.
How Long Will a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
It is difficult to estimate how long a personal injury lawsuit could take, as each case is different. The length of your case will depend on several factors:
- How long it takes to recover from your injuries: To avoid undervaluing your claim, it is generally best to wait until you have fully recovered from your injuries, or reached maximum medical improvement if you will not fully recover, before reaching a final settlement for a claim. However, in some situations, it is in the best interest of the client to attempt to settle a claim before this point.
- If we are able to settle your claim out of court: If the insurance company is willing to cooperate and offer a reasonable level of compensation for your claim, we may be able to settle your case out of court in a matter of months. However, settlements can also take years to complete depending on the complexity of the case.
- If we have to go to court: If the insurance company contests any part of your claim or is not willing to offer a reasonable settlement, we may have to take a case to court. In this case, preparation for the trial and the trial itself could take several years.
It is important to note, however, that our personal injury lawyers will do all of the work for you and will handle every detail of your case. This means you do not have to worry about the case and you can focus on your recovery.
Do I Have to Go to Court?
Not every case will go to court, in fact, most cases settle out of court. However, in some situations it is in the best interest of the client to go to trial in order to obtain the compensation he or she deserves.
Some reasons why a case may not settle and would have to go to court is if:
- The insurance company is not willing to pay the amount requested and neither side can agree on an appropriate settlement amount.
- There is a question about who was at fault for the accident and the insurance company believes you were to blame for the accident.
- The insurance company does not believe you were injured or that your injuries were not as bad as you say.
Our personal injury attorneys are committed to doing what is best for our clients. Whether it means obtaining a settlement or taking a case all the way to trial, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.