When you file a lawsuit for personal injuries, you have to make a decision about how much money you are going to request in your lawsuit.
There are two different trial courts in Maryland – the district court and the circuit court.
The amount of money that you sue for will determine which court to put the case in, and what types of evidentiary and procedural requirements will apply to your case.
The quantity of your medical bills and the severity or permanent nature of your injury are obviously the foremost considerations when deciding how much to file for in your lawsuit.
If you have a very serious injury, for example, a tear in a tendon in your shoulder or knee, or a herniation in your spine that required surgery, the decision is easy – it’s a circuit court case.
But if you had an injury which you were able to recover from and your bills are not astronomical, filing suit in the district court may make more sense for you.
When you file suit in the circuit court you’re suing for $75,000 and above
While circuit court cases allow you to request the highest compensation for your case, circuit court cases are also more expensive to litigate and much more time consuming.
(1) The filing fees are higher – difference is 100’s of dollars
(2) In the Circuit Court, you must ask your doctors to testify on your behalf at trial, and you must pay them for their time. This can range from $2,500 to $5,000 or more.
(3) The opposing attorney will be entitled to take your deposition and ask you questions about your prior medical condition or other accidents. There are also fees associated with depositions.
(4) All circuit court cases are heard before a jury, not a judge.
(5) You must attend pretrial conferences, and court ordered mediations.
(6) The entire process can take 18 months to two years.
In the district court you are limited to asking for a maximum of $30,000.
Filing suit in the district court has a number of advantages, despite the cap on recovery.
You will save time, money, and aggravation.
(1) In the district court, you can simply submit your medical records and bills to the judge. You don’t have to ask your doctors to testify or pay the costs associated with their testimony. This will save you $1,000s of dollars.
(2) The trial will be streamlined in front of a judge. You won’t have to go through a jury trial.
(3) You won’t have to attend a deposition or any pretrial conferences.
(4) You can expect the entire process to wrap up much more quickly and with a lot less of your personal involvement.
If you or a family member have been injured or killed in a Maryland car accident and would like to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Frederick or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Personal-Injury/