Maryland Personal Injury Law: What You Need to Know
March 8 2023
In Maryland, there are laws that protect people who have been injured due to negligence of another person or entity. These legal rights generally involve the right to financial compensation for damages and losses resulting from their injuries.
Overview of Maryland Personal Injury Law
Under Maryland personal injury law, individuals who suffer injury or damage due to the negligent behavior of another are entitled to compensation for their losses. Negligence describes a situation where an individual has failed to take the proper level of care and it resulted in the injury of another person. In order to prevail in a personal injury suit in Maryland, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently and caused their injuries.
The first step in determining negligence is identifying that there was a “duty of care” between the defendant and plaintiff, meaning that the defendant had an obligation to care for or protect the plaintiff from harm in some way. This can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of each case, such as if there is a doctor-patient relationship, landlord-tenant relationship, or employer-employee relationship. Once duty of care is established among applicable parties, it must be proven that this duty was breached. Breaches can come from action or inaction by defendants and must be proven to constitute a failure to exercise an expected level of care that caused damages resulting in an injury.
These kinds of cases are often complex, with each argument being intensely scrutinized by both sides. The court will consider any witnesses’ testimonies and other evidence being presented by both sides. It is important for victims seeking justice to fully understand how Maryland personal injury law works before pursuing legal action.
Once all relevant criteria has been determined under Maryland’s personal injury law, then the concept of negligence can be established with regards to culpability and legal liability for compensation damages that arose from said negligence. With this overview in mind, we will now discuss establishing negligence under Maryland personal injury law in more detail In the next section.
- In Maryland, an injured party needs to prove that their injury was caused by the negligence of someone else.
- Under Maryland premises liability law, property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for members of the public who may visit.
- Medical bills incurred due to a personal injury in Maryland are generally considered to be compensable, meaning that any medical treatment resulting from the incident should be covered.
Negligence is one of the cornerstones of a Maryland personal injury law case. Negligence is when somebody harms someone else by acting in a careless or reckless manner, and can result in various types of damages including personal injury, property damage, and economic losses. In order to win a case, the plaintiff must prove that: (1) the defendant owed them a duty of care; (2) the defendant breached that duty of care; and (3) that breach caused the plaintiff’s damages.
Establishing negligence requires looking at both sides of an argument. On one side, it means evaluating whether the defendant acted as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances, bearing in mind any special duties they may have had to the plaintiff or society. This can involve reviewing evidence like incident reports and witness statements, determining what state regulations were relevant to the incident, and assessing how well established roles and responsibilities were met.
On the other side, it means analyzing whether the plaintiff took all necessary steps to protect themselves from harm. This involves investigating the actions taken by both parties and considering any objective standards related to safety or common sense decision-making. If either party is found to have acted unreasonably or contrary to accepted standards for their role, then negligence can be established.
In some cases, negligence may be obvious and easily proven through available evidence. Other cases may require extensive legal research to identify relevant laws and regulations related to negligence. Regardless of how it is determined, establishing negligence is an essential element for proving a Maryland personal injury law case.
With that understanding of negligence firmly established, we now turn to determining if there has been a breach of duty that caused any harm.
Determining Breach of Duty
When it comes to personal injury law in Maryland, a critical consideration is determining whether or not there has been a breach of duty. A breach of duty is how courts determine what is and what is not considered negligence in Maryland. A person who commits an act classified as negligent can be held liable for any damages that result from the incident.
The general standard for determining breach of duty is whether or not the at-fault party acted with the same level of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. The reasonableness of the action will be determined by looking at how all parties involved acted, taking into account their respective responsibilities. Additionally, if all parties were aware of any risks issues posed, then this too must be taken into account when considering negligence. For example, a doctor may not have acted reasonably if they performed a high-risk operation without informing or getting consent from the patient.
However, while the “reasonable person” standard offers a useful guide in identifying when negligence has occurred, the reality can become complicated to determine in a court of law particularly when it comes to professional conduct or acts of omission. With such incidents, courts must rely on gleaned information provided by witnesses, expert testimony and other evidence to ascertain whether or not a breach of duty actually occurred. Ultimately, it is up to the court to render a verdict based on legal precedent and interpretation when assigning liability for negligence.
By understanding what goes into determining breach of duty, one better understands how the personal injury legal landscape in Maryland functions. This brings us to our next topic – types of damages available for plaintiffs seeking compensation through personal injury law in Maryland.
Types of Damages Available
When it comes to Maryland personal injury law, one of the most important aspects is understanding what types of damages are available. Plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit may be eligible for both economic and non-economic damages depending upon the circumstances.
Economic damages are those that have a direct financial impact on an individual, such as lost wages due to missing work or medical bills incurred. These types of damages are easy to calculate because they involve tangible losses with monetary value. Some insurance policies will even cover these expenses, so there is no need to go through the lengthy court process.
On the other hand, non-economic damages cover losses that don’t have a direct financial cost associated with them. This could include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment caused by the defendant’s actions or negligence. Non
Your Rights as an Injured Victim
As an injured victim in Maryland, you have the right to seek legal counsel and to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party for damages. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be eligible for economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, or punitive damages if the negligent party acted with gross negligence. Under Maryland’s comparative negligence system, it is possible that you may still be partially responsible for causing your own injury—so long as you are less than 50% at fault—but it is important to understand your rights.
In cases of contributory negligence, which Maryland eliminated in 2018, victims who were even slightly at fault would not have been able to recover any compensation. As such, injured victims should always consult a knowledgeable attorney to discuss their rights and determine whether they are legally entitled to pursue a claim. Additionally, the success or failure of a personal injury claim can rest heavily upon the evidence that a plaintiff adduces; obtaining medical records and other information related to the accident will help bolster your position when negotiating a settlement. Ultimately, if allegations of negligence cannot be sufficiently backed by evidence proving that another party is legitimately liable for your injuries, then seeking financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit may not be feasible or desirable.
Assuming sufficient evidence exists to support claims of negligence and damage, however, victims should be aware that Maryland has a three year statute of limitations on personal injury cases (Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc Code §5-101). This means injured parties must file their personal injury claim within three years from when their injury occurred; waiting beyond this set deadline will likely bar them from recovering any compensation through the court system. For these reasons, injured victims in Maryland should take swift action to build an effective personal injury case before their legal rights expire.
Your rights as an injured victim vary based upon the facts of individual cases; understanding key factors such as comparative negligence systems, statutes of limitations and evidence requirements will better enable you to protect yourself legally and financially in pursuit of a successful claim. In the next section we’ll look further into how you might go about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland can be a complex and time consuming process, from marshalling all the evidence to proving that the defendant is truly responsible for your injuries. Yet filing suit is often the only way to secure damages, so it’s important to understand what you need to do in order to start your case.
The first step is deciding whether or not you really have a personal injury claim and that the harm done to you is reason enough to go through the legal process. Personal injury suits are only relevant when there has been some kind of physical harm or emotional distress caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional act. You’ll need to establish that you were injured as a result of this negligent or deliberate action and that your life has suffered significantly since then.
Next you’ll need proof of your claim. Evidence can include medical records, photographs, diagrams, and even witness statements. Your attorney can help gather these documents for you. It’s also important to consider who might be at fault—for Instance, if you’re hurt at work, your employer or its insurance carrier may be responsible for paying compensation and medical bills.
Finally, any damages that you receive must be documented with evidence as well. This will involve medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the incident. You must present receipts or bills that prove exactly how much money was incurred because of the injury along with any losses incurred while caring for yourself so far
Once all of this information is prepared it’ll be time to file a complaint in court. Your attorney should handle this step for you if necessary but understanding the legal process is still key for any personal injury lawsuit in Maryland.
Preparing a claim of fault is the next step in building your case for receiving full and fair compensation after an injury in Maryland.
Preparing a Claim of Fault
When one is filing a personal injury claim in the state of Maryland, the claimant must be able to prove that another person or organization is at fault for their injury. This means that the claimant must provide evidence to show that another person or organization acted negligently and caused harm or injury. To make a successful claim, the claimant must also demonstrate that they suffered damages as a result of this negligence—such as financial losses, physical pain and suffering, or emotional distress.
To determine fault in a personal injury case, several factors must be considered. First, the court must decide if there was a legal “duty of care” owed by the other party. In other words, did they owe an obligation to the injured party? The court will also examine whether there was breach of duty—was there an act or omission that fell short of this responsibility? Finally, the defendant’s conduct needs to have actually caused harm to the plaintiff. If all three elements are present and can be proven beyond reasonable doubt in court, then liability may be assigned to the defendant for causing the plaintiff’s injury.
In Maryland personal injury law, comparative negligence allows for fault to be allocated between two or more parties involved in an accident. For example, if it is determined that both parties were negligent and that their actions contributed to causing the injury, then each party may be responsible for their respective share of fault—whether it is 75%, 50%, or any other percentage.
Resolving a personal injury case begins with understanding who holds a legal responsibility for your injuries. Preparing a claim of fault allows those filing suit to determine how much compensation they are entitled to receive based on their level of responsibility for causing or contributing to their own injury. In the following section we will discuss how cases are resolved after establishing what amount of fault may be attributed to each party involved in an accident.
Resolving a Personal Injury Case
Resolving a personal injury case can be a lengthy process. Depending on the complexity of the case, parties may settle through mediation or litigation, or proceed to trial in front of a jury. In any instance, the injured individual, usually represented by a personal injury attorney, is tasked with proving that the other party, who had “duty of care,” was negligent and caused an injury. The plaintiff must also prove that they have been financially damaged as a result.
Those responsible for causing harm, or defendants, may argue that they: (1) had no duty of care toward the injured party, (2) weren’t negligent, or (3) that the plaintiff wasn’t injured as badly as they maintain. When presented with competing versions of events and circumstances surrounding an incident it can become hard to determine who is telling the truth and who is liable for damages or medical costs. As such, most cases are sent to alternative mediations whereby plaintiffs and defendants agree to be bound by a third-party decision maker’s ruling based on facts from each side and applicable laws.
In cases where neither party can arrive at an agreement after mediation and litigation efforts fail then it is likely a jury will decide if damages are owed. This is when having a qualified personal injury lawyer on your side to ensure all evidence is effectively presented and communicated becomes critically important.
If you do find yourself in this situation remember that personal injury cases rarely reach this extreme point and it’s possible resolution can be made through settlements or summary judgement before a case goes to trial. This leads us into our next section which will discuss settlements or summary judgement in Maryland Personal Injury Law.
Settlements or Summary Judgement
When a personal injury lawsuit is filed, there are two potential outcomes: Settlements and Summary Judgement.
Settlements are the most common conclusion of personal injury cases in Maryland. In a settlement, both parties involved in the civil lawsuit reach an agreement to resolve their dispute out of court. A monetary sum is usually paid by the defendant to the plaintiff as part of the agreement. The amount offered in a settlement can vary depending on multiple factors, such as the severity of injuries, expenses incurred from medical bills, extent of financial losses (due to missed wages), and any other related damages sustained from the incident. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately predict how much an individual will receive for a settlement until all factors are properly assessed. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims evaluate and negotiate settlements so they receive fair compensation for their damages.
Summary judgement is a ruling made by the court wherein one party obtains a judgement without the need for trial. This generally occurs if the court deems an issue has been settled or if one party proves that no triable issues exist. Summary judgement requires extensive evidence and sufficient proof that one party’s claims are true and justifiably more believable than the others’. With summary judgement, not only will you avoid a lengthy trial process but you also have a higher chance of receiving your desired judgement due to presenting undeniable evidence to support your claim.
In some cases, both settlements and summary judgement may be obtained together when settling a dispute. This is why it is important for individuals involved in a personal injury case to thoroughly research every option available and seek legal counsel from an experienced lawyer who can identify judgments or offer advice related to settlements that would work in one’s favor.
Are there any time limitations on filing a personal injury suit in Maryland?
Yes, there are time limitations for filing a personal injury suit in Maryland. The state’s Statute of Limitations typically requires claimants to file suit within three years from the date of the accident or from when a person becomes aware of an injury that has been caused by another party’s negligence. In order to preserve a person’s right to pursue compensation through legal action, they must comply with this statute and other nuances related to their filing deadline. It is therefore essential to evaluate any potential timetables associated with each individual case as soon as possible in order to ensure maximum possible legal remedies.
What types of personal injury claims are allowed under Maryland law?
Under Maryland law, the types of personal injury claims that can be made are those arising from negligence, product liability, or intentional conduct.
Negligence is a legal term which describes when a person owes another person a duty of care and breaches that duty. In the context of personal injury law, negligence means that a person failed to act with reasonable care, resulting in injury to another person. Examples of negligence claims can include medical malpractice, auto accidents, slip and falls, animal attacks, wrongful death, and more.
Product liability is a claim based on an injury or illness caused by a dangerous or defective product. A successful product liability claim requires proving that the product was sold in a defective condition and that it caused harm to the user, either because of its design or because of some failure in its manufacturing process.
Intentional conduct claims are legal actions alleging that one party intended to cause the other party harm. Intentional torts may include assaults and batteries, false imprisonment, fraud, defamation and more. In these cases it must be shown that the actor intended to cause harm or acted recklessly without any regard for another’s safety.
In sum, Maryland law permits personal injury claims based on allegations of negligence, product liability, and intentional conduct.
What are the damages that might be awarded in a successful personal injury case in Maryland?
In a successful personal injury case in Maryland, an injured person may be awarded damages for medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket losses related to the injury, pain and suffering, non-economic damages such as emotional distress or loss of consortium, disfigurement and disability, and punitive damages.
Medical expenses can include both past and future costs associated with medical care such as doctor visits, hospital stays, medication costs, physical therapy and durable medical equipment. Lost wages could include both future lost wages from being unable to work due to the injury and any future income that would have been earned. Out-of-pocket losses can refer to items such as the cost of travel to doctors’ appointments and the cost of home care.
Pain and suffering is intended to compensate for physical pain and mental anguish caused by the incident. Non-economic damages are provided for more subjective losses such as humiliation or embarrassment caused by being injured. Disfigurement is compensation for an enduring physical change to the body resulting from the injury. Disability includes both past wage losses associated with being injured and future wage losses associated with the inability to return to work or pursue a new vocation because of the effects of the injury. Punitive damages can only be recovered if it is determined that there was malicious or willful conduct behind the actions that caused the injury.