Personal Injury Blog

How Much Money to Ask for in a Maryland Auto Accident Lawsuit

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." Here's why:

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.Maryland Car Accident Lawsuit

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.