Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer
In general terms, a personal injury lawsuit can be brought in the state of Maryland when the actions of another cause you serious injury. The basis for filing a personal injury claim in Maryland rests on the allegations that the negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of the other person (or entity) was the proximate cause of your injury. The alleged negligence must be proven by you – as the plaintiff – and that includes demonstrating or showing the defendant did not exercise “reasonable care” in order to avoid an accident or incident. To determine whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim, you should speak with a dedicated personal injury lawyer who understands the nuanced variability of these cases in the Maryland court system. For a general review of the most common injuries and resulting claims, please refer to the following information.
- Duties Exercising Reasonable Care in Maryland
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Medical Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
- Medical Malpractice Claims and Duty of Care
- Abuse and Civil and Criminal Repercussions
- Experience is Key in Maryland Personal Injury Claims
- Challenges in Personal Injury Claims
- Brain Injury
Duties Exercising Reasonable Care in Maryland
All people or legal entities in Maryland are required by law to temper their actions, or inaction, with the “watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence with reasonableness.” If a liable party fails to meet required legal standards of duty, then negligence – and damages – may be claimed by the injured party. There are several levels of duty which your attorney can outline during your initial consultation. But the duty expected of an average person is lower than many people acting in a professional capacity, such as a doctor or a drug or product manufacturer.
When you file a personal injury claim, whether it’s against an individual who perhaps hit you with their car or a doctor who misdiagnosed you, a common third-party in these matters is the insurance company that insures or provides coverage for the defendant. Most often it is the insurance carrier and its representatives who pose the greatest obstacle to you achieving compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered. This is why retaining a well-qualified, personal injury attorney is crucial. The legal teams employed by most insurance companies are singularly dedicated to undermining your claim and providing as little compensation as possible. You will need a lawyer who is similarly dedicated to your needs, whether you are pursuing a claim related to a motorcycle accident or a defective medical device.
Motor Vehicle Accidents in Maryland
Motor vehicle accidents, or traffic collisions, can involve a variety of vehicles and scenarios. That includes cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, motorcycle, buses, ATVs, semi trucks, or bicycles. You can be involved in a crash with a commercial or government vehicle, or you can be struck while walking by a commuter on a local road or highway. The depth of your injury claim is determined by the severity of your injuries and the strength of your legal representation. A primary element involves an examination of how the defendant’s insurance carrier responds to your injury claim against its policyholder. Many insurance companies initially accept liability but severely downplay the degree of damages, or the extent of your physical and psychological injuries, in order to reduce their financial accountability. Insurance companies are in the business of generating revenue over and above their responsibility to pay injury claims.
When a seasoned motor vehicle accident lawyer is representing you in your allegations, you are more likely to receive a timely and fair response from the insurance company. Hopefully, constructive negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company representatives will produce a fair settlement without you having to proceed to trial. But if that fails, or the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, aggressive and persuasive litigation in court may be your best option.
Maryland Premises Liability
Premises liability law in Maryland holds property owners (or renters) responsible when someone else is injured on property they own or occupy. Your premises liability rights, however, depend upon your legal status while on the property. If you’re trespassing and are injured due to the owner’s alleged negligence, your rights may be severely diminished. If you are an invited guest, however, and suffer a broken leg after tripping over a broken floor board.
There are many examples or premises liability. Perhaps you were injured in an assault on someone else’s property. You may be able to hold both your assailant and the property owner responsible for damages if you can prove that the property was not safely maintained and the owner knew conditions on the property created an unsafe environment. That might include failing to properly or adequately light a parking lot or failing to install a working security system at a business located in a neighborhood beset by crime. Perhaps you were walking past a construction site and were hit by a piece of debris because the site wasn’t secured properly to protect the public. If you are a construction worker and you are injured, your claim may fall under the category of workers’ compensation cases and/or premises liability claims. A Maryland personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine under which category your potential claim falls.
Product Liability and MD Personal Injury Attorneys
There are several ways in which a product (or drug) manufacturer can be called to legal accounts for the injuries their products inflict on unsuspecting consumers. The basis for product liability lawsuits can include one – or more of – the following issues:
Strict product liability means that a product was sold in an unreasonably dangerous condition or failed to provide adequate warning and, as a result, the plaintiff was injured and/or the plaintiff’s property was damaged.
Manufacturer negligence can be the basis for a lawsuit when the defendant had a duty of reasonable care to make or sell a product free from dangerous defects and unknown risks but the defendant’s actions breached its duty and that breach was the primary or underlying cause of the plaintiff’s damages.
Breach of Warranty occurs when an express or implied warranty covers the product and negligent or faulty construction rendered the product incapable of meeting the expressed terms of the warranty.
Fraud can be proven in several ways:
- The defendant made certain representations about the product which were untrue, and was aware of these untruths;
- The false representations were the cause for the injured plaintiff buying the product;
- The plaintiff was then in some way injured as a result of the defendant’s false representations.
Wrongful Death in Maryland
Numerous accidents and incidents can result in wrongful death. When such a death occurs, the stakes are dramatically raised because of the devastating loss experienced by grieving family members and dependents who deserve compensation for not only their emotional loss, but the long-term financial hardships that are often experienced in such circumstances. Any pain and suffering on the part of the deceased, prior to their death, may also factor into a wrongful death claim. Family-owned businesses that lose one of their own may suffer an even greater loss, especially if the deceased is a co-owner spouse or was essential to the success of the enterprise.
Non-economic damages that address the unique impact of an individual’s death on a family can also be sought. Because the amounts claimed can be very high and can vary widely, most defendants and their insurance companies will vigorously fight any wrongful death claim. Your attorney can relieve you of much of the stress of caused by aggressive tactics, allowing you and your family to devote your energy to grieving the loss of your loved one and moving forward.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims and Duty of Care
In the realm of social responsibility, those in the healthcare industry are among a small group of professionals held to the highest standards when it comes to duty of care. It makes little if any difference if this person is a family physician, emergency room doctor, intensive care nurse, CAT scan technician or hospital administrator. All of these individuals — through their education, training, and employment — accept the fact that the bar is set quite high when judging their job performance and their potential liability when something goes wrong. Because of this duty, they have an obligation to document everything they do for a patient. This makes medical malpractice claims somewhat easy to identify, yet they can remain difficult to conclusively prove. Among the factors that must be determined are who was at fault for hurting you, particularly in a situation where you may have been tended to by a 14 person surgical team or several ER staffers. Other questions to be addressed and answered are; How many knew of the harm when (or after) it occurred? Did hospital administrators fail to respond to the injury or illness caused by the malpractice? Sometimes sorting out who did what and when is half the battle in winning damages. This is where experience in medical malpractice claims in Maryland is a key benefit when you hire your lawyer.
Other Practice Areas
Abuse and Civil and Criminal Repercussions in MD
Cases of abuse should be reported to local authorities the moment you suspect wrong-doing has occurred. There are, unfortunately, a number of situations in which people can suffer physical, emotional, psychological, and even financial abuse. Children may be physically or sexually abused by a parent, family member, teacher, guardian, or stranger. Adults can suffer abuse while living in a nursing home or similar facility or at the hands of an assailant, as in sexual and physical assault incidents. All injured victims have a right to pursue compensation to cover the costs of their medical bills, missed time from work or school, and to pay for on-going counseling and other necessary medical treatments. Abuse can be the result of willful or negligent actions. Often, criminal charges are filed against the defendant and this can be good – in a strategic sense – for the injured plaintiff, especially if the defendant is found guilty of criminal abuse.
Experience is Key in Maryland Personal Injury Claims
We’ve briefly touched on three of the four elements that make up a personal injury lawsuit: you were injured, the negligent defendant is liable for your injury, and the duty this person or entity had to protect you from being harmed. The fourth element is damages; which is the amount of financial compensation owed you. This amount can be realized via a court-ordered verdict or a negotiated settlement. Damages generally fall into one of two classifications: economic and non-economic compensation. You may also be entitled to punitive damages. The value of your legal claim is typically determined by the following:
- Your medical bills are actual economic damages you have already incurred as well as those you will have to pay in the future;
- Other economic damages surround loss of wages and/or earning capacity, including income you have lost and will lose in the future if you are disabled and cannot earn the money that was normally expected;
- Past, present, and future non-economic damages apply to issues such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, future physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and additional damages that might accompany a legitimate wrongful death claim;
- Punitive damages may be awarded by a jury or court — or possibly negotiated prior to verdict. Such additional compensation amounts are typically won when the defendant’s negligence is compounded by other serious factors, such as willful intent or blatant disregard for your safety.
Challenges in Personal Injury Claims
It’s important to keep in mind that defendant must be financially solvent (or insured) because there’s no point in suing for damages if the defendant can’t pay them. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to run asset checks on self-insured defendants and those who claim they will pay out of their own pocket. Sometimes making such claims, as defendants scramble to hide their assets, is a popular “dodge” for those who wish to avoid paying any damages at all. All these situations require the acumen of a seasoned personal injury lawyer.
Another potential challenge to any injury claim in Maryland are the state’s contributory negligence provisions. This means that if an injured plaintiff shares as little as one percent of the blame, their basis for a strong civil case may be wiped out. Some negligence claims, like malpractice or product liability, isn’t affected so much by this law as others, such vehicle accidents or premises liability claims.
Call a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
There are many variations of Maryland personal injury law and there are many different types of claims and cases that may be filed. Some personal injury claims may straddle more than one of the above listed categories. The key to understanding the complex varieties of personal injury law and potential compensation can be found in retaining a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney. Your attorney will calmly and thoroughly walk you through the litigation process and prepare you for the challenges ahead. He can quickly identify all the key aspects of your case and give you a fair and honest assessment of your potential claim. Based on his assessment, you will be able to determine your best course of legal action. An attorney can work tirelessly to identify all possible avenues for compensation and, based on a thorough assessment of your claim, will work aggressively to build the strongest possible legal claim. Call Matthew Davey’s law office today for an initial, no-cost consultation.
Join Our Team
Want to join our growing team? Check out our opportunities page to view the descriptions of the jobs and internships available at our law offices.