Maryland Pedestrian Accident Damages

An individual should never suffer an injury due to the negligence of another and deserves to be compensated to the fullest extent. An experienced attorney can assist an individual in recovering their deserved damages following their pedestrian accident, and help them return to their previous quality of life.

Determining Damages

Once the plaintiff, who has the burden of proof, has shown that the defendant was negligent, or if the defendant has admitted negligence, then damages following a pedestrian accident will be determined. These damages can cover a person’s medical bills, physical therapy bills, lost wages, and other economic damages.

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, permanency, loss of companionship, et cetera.  There is a cap on non-economic damages that is described in Maryland statutes. In terms of pedestrian accidents, an individual typically has more expensive medical bills, more traumatic injuries, and more extensive medical treatment than in other injury cases.

Loss of Earning Capacity

An injured plaintiff can also be compensated for the loss of earning capacity.  This is usually an item of damage associated with more serious injuries and comes up when a person cannot go back to the same job or must work lighter duty, as a result of injuries sustained in an accident, usually at a lower rate of pay.

Therefore, when a case goes to trial, an expert may be needed to testify as to the plaintiff’s loss of earning capacity as a direct result of the injuries sustained in the accident and how this accident and injuries will affect the plaintiff’s future earnings.  Types of experts used in this situation include vocational rehabilitation experts and economists.

Conversing with the Insurance Company

The first thing an individual will do is submit the medical bills and records to the insurance company, and the insurance company will evaluate what the case is worth. This includes which medical bills they are going to consider, and which medical bills they are going to exclude, if any.

An insurance adjuster will contact the lawyer regarding whether liability is going to be admitted or denied.  If liability is going to be admitted, the adjuster usually puts a low offer on the table.  Since the offer is usually low, the lawyer will negotiate with the adjuster.  A settlement offer can be accepted right up to the day of trial.

Necessary Documents

In order to receive damages following a pedestrian accident for lost wages, an individual has to have documentation from their employer that verifies the amount of time that the individual was out of work, verifying their injuries and hourly wages.

An individual also typically needs documentation from a health care provider authorizing the individual to be out of work for that period of time.  Sometimes, this is evident from the medical records, and the records will state that the injured plaintiff is authorized to be out of work for two weeks, or whatever the case may be, specifically because of the injuries sustained.

Role of an Adjuster

As with medical bills and treatment, if the adjuster thinks that these claimed lost wages are excessive or that the plaintiff, in fact, could have gone back to work sooner than claimed, they may take those calculations into account when making an offer.

Sometimes, adjusters will not count missed time from work after the date on which the client finished treatment for their injuries, per the medical records. Lost wage documentation is submitted to the adjuster at the beginning of the case when all of the medical records and bills are also submitted.

Independent Medical Examinations

For permanent disabilities associated with permanent injuries sustained in an accident, permanency evaluations and IME’s are done by doctors. Deadlines for completing these evaluations are usually noted in the court’s scheduling order. What typically happens is that the plaintiff’s attorney has a doctor of their choosing examine the plaintiff and assign a permanency rating to the plaintiff’s body parts injured in the accident.

Determining a Rating

When the plaintiff’s attorney has a permanency rating done, this rating is condensed into a report which is then sent to the insurance adjuster and defense attorney for evaluation.  Once that is done, the defense attorney is going to send the plaintiff to a doctor of his or her choosing for an IME.

The IME doctor will also rate the plaintiff and assign a permanency rating to the affected body parts, which will likely be much lower than the first doctor’s rating.  The IME doctor may even find that in their opinion, the plaintiff did not sustain any permanent injury at all.

These IME’s could more accurately be called “defense medical exams” rather than “independent medical exams,” because they are typically biased in favor of the defense.  These rating reports may be introduced into evidence at trial, or the doctors may be called upon to testify in the trial, or for use at what’s called a de bene esse deposition.