Personal Injury

How do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

If you have been injured in a car accident or other motor vehicle crash, as the result of medical malpractice, because of a defective product or because you slipped and fell on somebody else’s poorly maintained property, you may have a legitimate personal injury case.

At Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP, we assist people when they need it most – when they are hurt and confused about where to turn for help. We want you to know that you have rights and understand a little bit about the process of filing a personal injury claim, so we have compiled a list of questions and answers that may be of help to you as you decide what your best course of action might be.

After reading these, we encourage you to write down a list of your needs and concerns and bring them with you to a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, and the greater metropolitan area.

Schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys in Hanover

To learn more about how Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP can help you get the compensation you deserve when you are injured through someone else’s negligence, please contact us online or call us at (443) 749-5111. Consultations are free, and all personal injury cases are taken on contingency. We serve clients throughout the Maryland suburbs and greater Washington, D.C. area.


Q. What is personal injury?
A. Personal injury is harm, whether physical or emotional, to a person as opposed to damage to property. The most common personal injuries include those sustained in car, truck or motorcycle accidents, falls, dog bites, and injuries caused by defective products (consumer products, pharmaceuticals or automotive parts). When a personal injury is fatal, it becomes a wrongful death.

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Q. What is my claim worth?
A. Valuing your claim is one of the most important services your personal injury lawyer provides. Coming up with an amount that offers fair and just compensation for your injuries takes experience and, often, the assistance of knowledgeable and trusted experts in a number of fields.

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Q. What is contributory negligence?
A. While most states use comparative negligence as a standard, Maryland (as well as Virginia and Washington, D.C.) still use the very old standard of contributory negligence. Under comparative negligence, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of responsibility the court deems you may have had in your accident injury. Under contributory negligence, you are barred from recovering any damages whatsoever. We aggressively pursue your right to make a claim and will often counter the court through use of the “last clear chance” doctrine.

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Q. What is compensated in a personal injury lawsuit?
A. Typical recovery for damages in a personal injury lawsuit includes compensation for current and future medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity and damaged property. Compensation for pain and suffering is considered a “noneconomic” damage and was capped at $755,000 as of 2012.

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Q. Why get a lawyer? Can’t I just settle with the insurance company?
A. There is nothing to prevent you from settling directly with the insurance company – if you want to run the risk of getting far less than you need or deserve. The personal injury law firm of Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP takes a team approach, helping to ensure that your claim is properly valued and that you get the best possible compensation for your injury. Sometimes, we can negotiate a settlement with the insurance companies. Other times, and when it is in your best interest, we take the case to court.

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