Negotiating a Settlement to a Personal Injury Claim

How Does a Settlement Work? What Are the Benefits?

Negotiating a Settlement to a Personal Injury ClaimIn the aftermath of a personal injury, you have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for injury and loss caused by someone else’s wrongful act. Though your case may go to trial, it’s far more common that you’ll “settle out of court.”

What Is an “Out-of-Court Settlement”?

In a negotiated settlement, the parties agree to resolve their differences without any further involvement of the courts. The injured party (the “plaintiff”) will typically agree to accept a specific payout, either as a lump sum or in a structured settlement. In exchange for that payment, the plaintiff will waive any remaining rights to seek compensation from the defendant for losses suffered in the accident.

The negotiated settlement is a binding and enforceable contract, so it’s necessary to put it in writing and have all parties sign it. If either of the parties violate the terms of the settlement agreement, the other party may pursue remedies for breach of contract in court.

Why Should You Pursue an “Out-of-Court Settlement”?

There are number of reasons why an injured person might try to negotiate a settlement:

  • You’ll receive payment sooner than you will if the case goes to trial—It may take months or years to get to trial. Furthermore, a verdict may be appealed.
  • You’ll eliminate significant stress and anxiety—There’s really no such thing as an “open and shut” case. When you settle, you eliminate uncertainty and doubt, and can get on with your life.
  • You’ll probably pay less—Though your attorney will likely take a contingency fee for legal services, you’ll still be responsible for certain expenses associated with litigation. The sooner you settle, the less potential cost you’ll typically incur.

Proven Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, brings more than 30 years of experience to injured people in Baltimore and across the state. Highly regarded by his colleagues in the legal profession for his courtroom skills, Attorney Smith has long been AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He carries the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Smith has been listed among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He has also earned a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a litigation attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Proven Howard County Accident Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered any type of loss as the result of a personal injury, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Premises Liability in New Jersey Winter Weather

Do Property Owners Have a Duty to Remove Ice and Snow?

Premises Liability in New Jersey Winter WeatherAccording to weather data compiled at the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, Baltimore gets about 20 inches of snow every year, with most of it falling in January and February. The city has at least an inch of snow on the ground for nearly two weeks every winter (13 days average), and up to 5 inches of accumulation an average of three days each year. That snow can easily turn into ice, and both can pose risks to motorists or pedestrians.

The Duties of Property Owners in Baltimore Winter Weather

In Maryland, residential and commercial property owners must take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally visiting their property. There is no requirement that they absolutely prevent the occurrence of any hazardous conditions involving ice or snow. They must, however, reasonably monitor the premises to discover potentially dangerous situations, and must either remedy the problem, warn potential visitors of the danger, or prevent visitors from obtaining access to those areas of the property where the dangers exist. Accordingly, with an accumulation of ice and/or snow, a property owner must do one of the following:

  • Remove the snow or ice
  • Post visible warnings advising potential visitors of the snowy or icy conditions
  • Cordon off areas of the property where snow and/or ice will or have accumulated

Proven Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, has fought for the rights of injured people in Baltimore and across the state for more than three decades, including people who have been hurt in winter weather accidents. Highly regarded by his colleagues in the legal profession for his skills in the courtroom. The National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” organization, has named him one of the top 100 attorneys in Maryland.

Attorney Smith has long been AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He carries the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Results-Oriented Baltimore County Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall or motor vehicle accident caused by snowy or icy conditions on residential or commercial property, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

The Standard of Care in Maryland Winter Car Accidents

Can You Still Be Liable Even if You Were Traveling Below the Speed Limit?

The Standard of Care in Maryland Winter Car AccidentsIt’s winter in Maryland and that often means snow or ice on the roads. You may choose to drive more defensively, to lower your speed and to give yourself more room to stop. But can you be held liable for personal injuries caused in a motor vehicle accident because you couldn’t stop, even though you were traveling below the posted speed limit? As a general rule, the answer is yes.

Personal Injury Claims in Maryland

In Maryland, as in all states, a lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries and losses suffered in an accident is based on a legal theory of negligence. To determine whether or not you were “negligent,” a jury will look at your actions—the speed you were traveling or the amount of space you allowed between you and the car in front of you, for instance—and determine whether, under the circumstances, you were acting as a “reasonable person” would have acted, in the same situation. Whether or not your actions were in compliance with the laws may be evidence that your behavior was “reasonable,” but won’t be controlling. If the jury determines that, under the existing conditions (with snow or ice on the road), a “reasonable person” would have driven at a slower speed or stayed farther behind other vehicles, you may be found responsible.

Proven Baltimore Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, brings more than three decades of experience to victims of personal injury in Baltimore and across the state. Highly regarded by his colleagues in the legal profession for his courtroom prowess, Attorney Smith has long been AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He carries the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Results-Oriented Baltimore County Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of the careless or wrongful acts of another person, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We are sending holiday cheer to you in the hopes that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year.

As we look forward to 2022 we humbly pray that the new year brings a new sense of peace and joy as we enter the new year ready for a return to normalcy and prosperity.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Gathering Evidence in a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Tools Your Attorney Will Use to Build Your Case

Gathering Evidence in a Maryland Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you seek damages at trial for a personal injury in Maryland, you must prove to the jury that the facts as you have represented them are supported by hard evidence. That may be done with physical or testimonial support. How does your attorney gather the necessary information to persuade the jury of the merits of your claim?

The Common Tools for Discovery in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The legal term for the process of collecting evidence is the “discovery” process. In the United States, the principle of “open discovery” applies. All parties have an equal right of access to all relevant evidence. Parties don’t have an affirmative obligation to voluntarily disclose any relevant evidence obtained, but may not intentionally conceal or fail to disclose any evidence requested or sought.

The tools most frequently used to gather evidence are:

  • Depositions—Proceedings where attorneys for all parties may ask questions of a party or witness. Depositions are done outside of the court, with no judge or jury present. A court reporter will typically be there to document all questions and answers in writing. Witnesses usually appear voluntarily, but may be compelled by subpoena, if necessary.
  • Interrogatories—Written questions submitted by one party to another party. The court typically establishes limits on the number of interrogatories permitted.
  • Requests for production—Court orders requiring a party to produce physical evidence for review by opposing counsel

As a part of the discovery process, attorneys may also engage the services of private investigators or expert witnesses. A witness may not be compelled to speak to a P.I., but a party does not need permission from the court to use one.

Experienced Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer

Maryland SuperLawyer Jonathan Scott Smith has fought for the rights of personal injury victims across Baltimore County and throughout the state of Maryland for more than 30 years. Highly respected by his colleagues in the legal profession for his trial advocacy skills, Attorney Smith is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He has received the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), and carries a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Proven Maryland Accident and Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of the careless or wrongful acts of another person, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Recovering Damages after a Motor Vehicle Accident

Proving Who Caused the Accident

Recovering Damages after a Motor Vehicle AccidentWhen you have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident because of the carelessness or wrongful act of another person, you have a right to seek compensation for any injuries or losses resulting from the accident. In most instances, if you need to go to court to get a fair resolution, you’ll be filing a lawsuit based on a legal claim of negligence. To successfully establish negligence, you must show that:

  • The defendant (person from whom you seek a monetary award) breached the duty of care, i.e., did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident
  • That you sustained actual losses as a consequence of the accident

Establishing the Cause of the Accident

To show cause, you must provide evidence in court that demonstrates a link between the defendant’s act (or failure to act) and the accident that led to your losses. Under the laws of personal injury, as they have evolved in Maryland, there are two different types of cause that must be shown:

  • Actual, or “but for” causation—You must first show that, had the defendant not breached the duty of care, or had the defendant acted as a reasonable person, the accident would not have occurred
  • Proximate cause—This requirement is a little more complex, but the essence of it is that you must show that the accident (and the consequences of the accident) were reasonably foreseeable as a result of the breach of care. If there are unusual circumstances or intervening events that could not reasonably be foreseen that caused the accident, there may not be liability.

Experienced Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer

Maryland SuperLawyer Jonathan Scott Smith has aggressively represented personal injury victims in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland for more than three decades. Long respected by his colleagues in the legal profession for his skills in the courtroom, Attorney Smith is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been lauded as a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He has received the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), and carries a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Results-Oriented Baltimore County Car Wreck Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of the careless or wrongful acts of another person, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

On this Thanksgiving Day, we take time to express our daily gratitude for the simple pleasures of life—good friends, family, people we hold dear. As we gather together, help us be grateful and let us share our bounty with our brothers and sisters.

Determining Liability for Winter Auto Accidents in Maryland

Does the Standard of Care Change in Snowy or Icy Weather?

Determining Liability for Winter Auto Accidents in MarylandWinter’s almost here, and in Maryland, that means snow and ice, as well as fogged up windows, often a contributing factor in a motor vehicle accident. When driving in winter weather, are motorists required to take additional precautions to prevent accident and injury? Well, sort of…

The Standard of Care in Motor Vehicle Accidents

As a general rule, when you have been injured in an auto accident, you’ll seek compensation based on allegations of negligence by another person. To prove negligence, you must first show that the other driver failed to use reasonable care, and that the failure to do so caused the accident and injuries. That standard is based on what an “average person of ordinary prudence” would do under the same circumstances. Whether the other person’s actions met the standard of care will be determined by the jury.

Accordingly, the standard remains the same—that of a reasonable person—but it takes the specific circumstances at the time of the accident into account. The question posed to the jury, then, would be “what would a reasonable person do while driving under the same weather conditions?” Some scenarios under which a jury might find liability include:

  • A failure to remove snow or ice from a vehicle before taking it on the road (unlike many other states, there is no law in Maryland that requires such removal)
  • Failure to maintain a sufficient distance from other vehicles to allow time and room to safely apply the brakes
  • Operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed under the circumstances
  • Failure to take road conditions into consideration when making a turn, leading to loss of control

Proven Baltimore County Personal Injury Attorney

Maryland SuperLawyer Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully represented personal injury victims in Baltimore and throughout the state for more than three decades, including clients who have suffered injuries in car, truck and motorcycle accidents. Highly regarded as a trial lawyer by other Maryland lawyers, he has long been AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been honored as a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He has earned the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), and holds a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Results-Oriented Baltimore County Car Wreck Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

What Types of Damages Are Available after a Car Accident?

What Compensation Can You Get When You’ve Been Hurt?

What Types of Damages Are Available after a Car Accident?A motor vehicle accident can have a significant financial impact, leading to lost wages, substantial medical bills and property damage/loss. Those types of damages are typically referred to as “economic” damages, because they’re more tangible and easier to calculate.

There are other types of compensation that are available after a car accident, what are known as “non-economic” damages, such as:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life—the inability to do the things that were a meaningful or significant part of your life before the accident, including routine activities of daily life
  • Loss of companionship or consortium—the inability to have a close or intimate relationship with others because of your injuries
  • Physical pain and suffering—The actual physical response to your injuries

Because non-economic damages are not tied to specific financial losses, there are a number of ways that juries can calculate them:

  • Using a reasonableness standard—the court may instruct the jury to award damages they consider to be reasonable under the circumstances
  • Using a “multiplier”—the court may instruct the jury to determine economic damages and then multiply them by a factor, typically between 1 and 10. For example, the jury may determine total economic damages to be $100,000 and use a factor of 3 to award $300,000 in non-economic damages.

Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, has fought for the rights of personal injury victims in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland for over 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motor vehicle accidents. Well-esteemed as a trial lawyer by his colleagues in the legal profession, Attorney Smith has long been AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a “Top-Rated Lawyer” by the American Lawyer Magazine. He has also received the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), and has a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Results-Oriented Baltimore County Car Wreck Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, we can help. Contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

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