Personal injury law in Maryland is designed to protect individuals who suffer injuries due to another party's negligent or wrongful actions. This blog post discusses the basics of personal injury law in Maryland, including the concept of negligence, common types of personal injury cases, and what you need to know about filing a personal injury claim in the state.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is the legal concept at the heart of most personal injury cases. It occurs when one party fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another party.
To establish negligence, the injured party (plaintiff) must prove the following elements:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act with a certain level of care to avoid causing harm to others. For example, drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
- Breach of Duty: Next, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Examples of duty of care breaches include a driver who runs a red light and causes an accident or a doctor who fails to diagnose a condition that a reasonable doctor would have caught.
- Causation: The third step is to prove that the defendant's breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury. This can be difficult in some cases, especially if you have pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. Collecting medical records and working with medical expert witnesses can assist you in proving causation.
- Damages: The final step is to demonstrate the damages you suffered due to the defendant's negligence. If your personal injury claim is successful, you might be able to receive compensation for both financial and non-financial losses. Financial losses, or economic damages, may include medical bills, lost wages, or property damage. On the other hand, non-economic damages may cover the emotional and physical effects of the injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of quality of life.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Various types of personal injury cases can arise in Maryland.
These include but are not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Maryland
Statute of Limitations
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the injury (Md. Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. § 5-101). If you fail to file a claim within this time frame, your case may be dismissed, and you may lose your right to seek compensation.
Maryland follows a contributory negligence rule, which bars the injured party from recovering damages if they are found even partially at fault for their injuries (Harrison v. Mont. Cty. Bd. of Educ., 295 Md. 442 (1983)). Thus, it is vital to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate your case and defend against claims that you are the at-fault party.
Contact an Attorney
Understanding the basics of personal injury law in Maryland is crucial if someone else's negligence caused your injury. With strict rules surrounding comparative negligence and the statute of limitations, it's important to consult a lawyer who can guide you through the process and pursue the compensation you deserve.
To schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Justin A. Wallace in Pikesville, please call (410) 996-4488 today.