By: Matthew Tievsky
When we file an auto accident lawsuit in Maryland, we are faced with the
choice of how much money we ask the court to award. The basic rule in
Maryland is that if you are seeking damages of $75,000 or less, you have
to put down a specific number that you are seeking in your lawsuit. If
you are seeking damages in excess of $75,000, then that is literally what
you request – damages "in excess of $75,000." Generally,
when we file an auto accident lawsuit, we choose one of three options
– a) $15,000, b) $30,000, or c) damages "in excess of $75,000."
In Maryland, there are two different courts in which you can file an auto
accident lawsuit. The District Court is for smaller cases, and has quicker
trials with faster results. The Circuit Court is for larger cases. In
the smallest of cases, we file a request for only $15,000, and we file
the case in District Court. A lawsuit requesting $15,000 cannot be moved
to the Circuit Court by the Defendant.
If a case is greater in value, but still clearly less than $30,000, then
we file in District Court and ask for $30,000. The advantage is that this
gives us the possibility of winning more than $15,000, and up to $30,000
(the most that the District Court can possibly award). The disadvantage
is that for amounts greater than $15,000, the Defendant has the option
of transferring the case to the Circuit Court. This isn't a huge problem,
but it does mean that the case will take longer to resolve.
Finally, if we believe that the case may obtain more than $30,000 in court,
then we don't file in District court at all, because the District
Court cannot award more than $30,000. Instead, we file in Circuit Court
and ask for damages "in excess of $75,000." In other words,
the potential recovery is not limited. Of course, it's still possible
that if we win, we will obtain an amount that's smaller than $75,000.
If you have questions about how to file an auto accident lawsuit, you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata &
Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.