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What to Know About Calculating General Damages in Your Maryland Lawsuit

If you have been involved in an accident or other type of personal injury case due to someone else’s negligence, you will reach a point at which you need to make a demand. This is the amount of money you are asking to compensate you for the damages you sustained. Damages can include property damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is a component of general damages and is a financial award that is subjective. There is no exact formula or guidelines on how general damages are to be calculated. In many cases, arguing over the number of general damages someone is owed can be what makes a case so long to resolve.

What are General Damages?

Essentially, general damages are designed to compensate for your non-monetary injuries sustained in the accident or loss. These can include anxiety, physical pain, or emotional problems you incurred because of your injuries in the accident. Situations that can also fall under general damages include disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and damage to reputation.

Calculating General Damages

Because there is no set formula to calculate general damages, it is easy to find yourself far apart from the other side when it comes to determining an amount you want for pain and suffering. The amount is typically based on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of your injuries, how much pain you were in, how long it took you to recover, and how much your daily life was disrupted by this ordeal.

Some insurance companies have internal procedures that basically multiply the total amount of your special damages by a specific factor, usually between one and a half and five. Five would be used in the most serious cases while one and a half would be used in the most minor cases. This is really just a starting point and you need to take into account all the other factors to arrive at a feasible amount.

While this calculation method might work in negotiations with an insurance company, if the case proceeds to trial, there is one major wildcard with which to contend — the jury. The jury will determine the damages award. That means it could seriously go either way, depending on how much they like witnesses, or how they relate to the defendant. This could work in your favor if the jury likes you and your witnesses, but it could go terribly wrong if they are sympathetic to the defendant.

Punitive Damages

In some limited situations, a jury might opt to award punitive damages. This amount is above and beyond your actual damages in the case. The idea behind punitive damages is to punish the defendant for egregious or outrageous conduct in a civil case. They are not awarded often, but when they are, the amount is usually high since it is designed to punish the offender.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you need to contact a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney. Call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.