Role of a Montgomery County Injury Attorney

There are a number of different roles a Montgomery County personal injury attorney may undertake when helping a person with their personal injury claim and settlement. To learn more about what an experienced lawyer can do to assist you and your case, call and schedule a consultation today.


The first role a personal injury lawyer fills for an injured person is that of a negotiator. Part of settlement negotiations is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, highlighting strengths, downplaying weaknesses, being familiar with the medical records, including any permanency ratings, and trying to put a value on the case in order to obtain the highest possible settlement for the injured person. Negotiation skills also come into play in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) contexts, such as with mediations and binding and non-binding arbitrations.

Prior to filing suit, lawyers typically work with insurance adjusters and go through several rounds of negotiations in order to try to get cases settled without litigation. This process usually begins by the attorney making a monetary demand in the form of a demand letter for compensation based upon the nature of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, permanency, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

All of the injured person’s medical bills and records are typically enclosed with that demand letter. The insurance company either denies or admits liability and may make an initial settlement offer. Even in cases of denied liability, the insurance company may still try to lessen damages and may make a minimal offer to settle the case.

Several rounds of negotiations between the attorney and the insurance adjuster typically ensue. If the parties are unable to reach a reasonable settlement, the attorney typically files suit, which is sometimes simply an attempt to get them to take the case more seriously and to make a reasonable offer. If a reasonable offer is not forthcoming, litigation ensues.


Another role a personal injury lawyer plays is that of a litigator. When an attorney litigates a case, they file a complaint with the court and it makes its way through the court system. They send written discovery questions to the defendant, such as interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admission, and answer discovery questions propounded on the injured person by the defendant(s). The purpose of discovery is to uncover as much about the other side’s version of the case as possible. Therefore, discovery questions usually seek information about the accident, how it happened, treatment, injuries, permanency, defenses, etc.

Oral discovery is also part of the litigation process. It is usually in the form of depositions, during which the deponent is placed under oath and answers questions from the other attorney(s). Depositions can take place before or after written discovery is concluded, and the purpose of the deposition is to explore the opponent’s position in more detail. A court reporter is present at a deposition and transcribes everything for future use, such as in a trial. Parties, witnesses, health care providers, and police officers may be deposed as part of the litigation discovery process.

A lawyer also litigates at trial, if the case makes it that far.  During trials, lawyers participate in the voir dire and jury selection process, opening statements and closing arguments, direct and cross-exam of witnesses, and make legal objections, among other tasks.


Mediation takes place during the litigation process after both written and oral discovery are completed. The injured person and their attorney then meet with a neutral, court-appointed mediator, or with a mediator who both parties select. Usually, the mediator meets with each side, both sides together, and then has break-out sessions with each side to try to reach a settlement number that both sides can live with. The court may require the parties to submit to mediation, or the parties can do it on their own.

Many defense lawyers shy away from mediation, especially court-ordered mediations because they do not find mediation in that setting to be all that helpful. The parties can file a motion requesting to be excused from court-ordered mediation.

Similarly, at pre-trial settlement conferences, which typically occur after most, if not all, discovery has been completed, both parties, their lawyers, and usually the insurance company adjusters meet with a settlement officer or a retired judge to try to settle the case and reach a resolution without going to trial. If a resolution is not reached at the settlement conference, a trial date is usually scheduled.

The parties can also opt to submit cases to binding arbitrations in Maryland, which is another type of alternative dispute resolution. Oftentimes, binding arbitrations can yield more favorable results than jury trials, particularly because it saves on costs. At binding arbitration, the parties present their case outside of a courtroom before a neutral arbitrator who decides the case. Prior to the arbitration, the parties can agree to parameters, such as a low number and a high number. Thus, the ultimate purpose of binding arbitration is to award the injured party money. Under such an agreement, they can recover nothing less than the low number that the parties agree to and nothing more than the high number that the parties agree to.

Assessing a Settlement

A lawyer’s role is also that of a counselor, in terms of being able to recognize a good or bad settlement and/or recommending to a person when to take a case to trial or when to settle based on the individual facts, circumstances, injuries, treatment, and permanency in a given case. A lawyer must convey pertinent information to the injured individual, including settlement offers, counsel them on the best course of action, and advise when to settle a case, litigate, and/or go to trial. However, the individual is the ultimate decision maker at any stage of the litigation on whether to accept a settlement offer or go to trial.


Having an attorney who regularly practices law in your geographical area (or in your area of the state) means they know whether or not that particular venue or county will be favorable to your case. Some counties in Maryland are more “plaintiff friendly” than others in personal injury cases. There are some counties where district court judges tend to award bigger judgments for plaintiffs. There are counties where circuit court juries tend to be more favorable to plaintiffs and others that tend to have less plaintiff-friendly juries. An attorney who practices regularly in the area where you were injured knows all of this information, is aware of these trends, and can work for you to bring about a fair resolution to your case. Moreover, if there is a choice of venue (i.e. one or more counties is applicable), an experienced personal injury lawyer will be cognizant of that and will be able to determine the most favorable jurisdiction in which to file your case.