Proving damages is an essential part of any Maryland car accident case. In addition to establishing a defendant’s liability, the plaintiff has the burden to prove their damages. Generally, damages must be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that it is more likely than not to be true. The plaintiff must prove that the injury and damages were proximately caused by the wrongful acts of the defendant. This means that the damages cannot be based on speculation or conjecture. Some future expenses or losses, which may be recoverable in some cases, such as lost wages and lost earning capacity, can be difficult to establish. However, they are ways of proving these damages.
A recent case provides an example of a plaintiff’s failure to sufficiently prove damages for future medical expenses. In that case, the plaintiff filed suit against another driver after he suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff was stopped in a left-hand turn lane when he was rear-ended by the defendant driver. The plaintiff’s SUV suffered significant damage, but the plaintiff did not initially seek medical treatment. However, the plaintiff’s back began hurting later that day, and he went to a local hospital, where he was prescribed pain medication and was told to follow up with his primary care physician. He saw his primary care physician and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed him with an L3-4 level disk herniation. The surgeon recommended initial treatment of steroid epidural injections, and saw him a few more times, until he told the plaintiff that he could follow up if it was necessary.
At trial, the defendant admitted she was at fault for the accident, and a jury awarded the plaintiff $25,000 in damages and $100,000 for future medical expenses. The defendant argued that the future damages award was not supported by the evidence and the trial court agreed, vacating the future damages award. The plaintiff appealed the decision.
The appeals court explained that at the trial, the orthopedic surgeon testified that he did not recommend surgery for the plaintiff, but that he might recommend it in the future after he pursued other treatment. The plaintiff also testified that he did not want to pursue surgery at the time. Thus, the court found that there was no evidence presented from which the jury could find that the plaintiff would have any future medical expenses, without mere conjecture and speculation.
Contact the Maryland Car Accident Lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen Today
The Maryland car accident lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen understand the hardships that injured individuals face after a traumatic event such as a car accident. They will work with you to review your legal options, and will work with the other parties and the insurance companies involved to ensure that your needs are taken care of as appropriately and quickly as possible. If you or a loved one has been injured in Maryland, Virginia, or the Washington, D.C. area, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options at (800) 654-1949 or through our online form.