Damages in a Bethesda Injury Case

The most common types of damages in Bethesda personal injury cases include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of income earning capacity, pain and suffering (the past, present, and future), permanency, and loss of companionship (consortium).

Medical Expense Damages

In terms of medical expenses in Bethesda, a person is able to seek recovery for their medical bills, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and any other medical care that is causally related to the injuries sustained in an accident.

Insurance companies often like to try and “cut” medical bills when they make their settlement offers if they feel that the plaintiff received unnecessary medical treatment or if they feel that certain treatment is not causally related to the injuries the plaintiff allegedly sustained in the accident.

When an individual is claiming any of these kinds of damages, the underlying injuries must be causally related to the motor vehicle accident. In other words, the motor vehicle accident must have either caused the injury or exacerbated a preexisting injury. Insurance companies also like to try and argue that certain claimed injuries existed prior to the accident or are degenerative in nature, in order to try to reduce the value of the case and consequently offer less money to settle.

Demand Letter

Oftentimes what happens is that at the beginning of a case, before the lawsuit is even filed, the Bethesda personal injury attorney submits what are called “medical specials” or a demand letter. This contains a summary of the medical bills, along with all of the medical records and medical bills.

Oftentimes, adjusters will go through the demand letter and see what, if anything, they can cut from their settlement offer. They may make cuts if they think an individual over-treated, their injuries were preexisting, or that they are the result of degenerative changes.

Loss of Income

Loss of income, or lost wage damages, are applicable to some cases.  These damages are supposed to compensate the injured party for the time that they are out of work as a result of the injuries incurred in an accident.

Additionally, loss of wage damages can be used to compensate an individual for the time they may have missed for work because of doctor’s appointments, physical therapy treatment, chiropractic treatment, etc.

Loss of income is something that needs to be well documented.  In order to recover this type of damage in Bethesda, a person typically has to have some kind of documentation from their employer referencing the dates they were out, their rate of pay, etc.  They also must have documentation from their health care provider allowing them to miss work on the stated days.

Pain and Suffering

The Past, present, and future pain and suffering are types of non-economic damages, which, on their face, have no strict monetary value. There is a cap on non-economic damages in Maryland established by statute, that tends to change every year.  It’s changed every year, by statute, but basically what pain and suffering compensates a person for is the pain, suffering, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, disruption of their life, aggravation, etc., that was sustained as a result of their injuries and are expected to incur in the future (permanency).

Factors to bring up include activities (social, family, work) that the individual could do without any problem before the accident but is impossible or much harder to do now after the accident. All of this has the potential to increase the settlement or judgment value of a case – especially when a doctor has examined the person, undertaken a permanency evaluation, and prepared a report.

At Jury Trials

At jury trials, some attorneys get creative and try to come up with a way to objectify the very abstract concept of pain and suffering.  For example, during closing argument, they might come up with some type of per diem – or per day – argument, by introducing life tables which state how long the person was expected to live, determining a monetary value for each year, doing the math, and coming up with a number. They might propose that number as the amount the plaintiff should be compensated for all of his/her pain, suffering, permanency, etc.

Important to Note

Loss of consortium (or loss of companionship, as with spouses), could also be claimed, but this is very hard to prove and the spouse would likely have to testify in court, etc.


The cap on non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim in Bethesda is $815,000, and it goes to $1,222,500 if the wrongful death action also includes the cap on survival actions.  If there are two or more claimants in a wrongful death case, the cap increases to $2,037,500.