Elkton Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many subsets of personal injury law, including auto accident, medical malpractice, and premises liability cases. In short, if another party’s negligence hurt you, you can most likely sue them for compensation in Elkton.
Although car accidents are the most common reason to bring a personal injury claim in Elkton, they are not the only incidents that lead victims to file a lawsuit for compensation. Common injuries among victims of negligence in Elkton include spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, fracture injuries, and head injuries. In addition to physical injuries, victims might incur financial and emotional damages due to negligence. In all personal injury claims, regardless of their circumstances, the four elements of care, breach, causation, and damages must be proven. Plaintiffs can meet the burden of proof by providing evidence of fault against a negligent party.
Speak with our experienced Elkton personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today and get a free assessment of your claim by calling (410) 694-7291.
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim in Elkton
There are four main elements of a personal injury claim: that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result.
Duty of Care
The first element of a personal injury case is duty of care. This is the legal duty that someone has to act or not act in a certain way. Everyone has a duty of care when they use the road, own property, or practice medicine. The level of care one person owes to another may change depending on the situation or the people involved.
Breach in Duty of Care
If someone breaches their duty of care and causes injury to another person, then they may have acted negligently. This is the second element of a personal injury claim. Negligent acts are usually cause by someone’s carelessness, forgetfulness, or recklessness. Such acts do not need to be intentional to warrant litigation. A typical example is a drunk driver running a stoplight and hitting another car. This driver breached their duty of care and acted negligently.
There is an important link between the duty of care and the failure to exercise that care. This link is called causation and it is the third element of a personal injury claim. The negligent act must have caused the injury sustained by the victim.
Finally, the person who was injured must have suffered actual damages. These means the injuries must have been serious and expensive. These injuries can include whiplash, burns, broken or fractured bones, brain and nerve damage, and even death. In sum, a successful personal injury claim must involve the breach of a standard of care that caused actual injuries.
Assessing Settlement Offers in Elkton Personal Injury Lawsuits
Most personal injury plaintiffs will have to decide between accepting settlement offers or taking their claims to trial. If you accept a settlement offer, then the defendant in your case will provide you with an agreed-upon amount of monetary damages and your lawsuit will be dismissed.
There are some potential advantages to settling your claim early in Elkton. For instance, you may save on some of the expenses that accompany the choice to go to trial. Plaintiffs who go to trial may have to pay additional witness fees, administrative costs, and attorney’s fees. Also, if you settle your lawsuit early, you may retrieve compensation sooner.
Unfortunately, defendants in personal injury claims often attempt to settle their cases quickly and cheaply. You may even be presented with and inadequate settlement offer in the immediate aftermath of your accident. However, it is important to consult with our attorneys before accepting any settlement offer. By going to trial, you may have the opportunity to recover additional payment that you deserve. After assessing a settlement offer from the defendant, you can confidently decide if going to trial is the correct decision for you.
If you accept a settlement offer from a defendant or their insurance, you can no longer proceed with litigation in Elkton. Because of this, it is crucial to ensure that a settlement is sufficient and covers all necessary damages you have incurred before you accept it.
Personal Injury Claims Arising from Car Accidents in Elkton
Some personal injury claims are more common than others. For example, car accidents are some of the leading causes of personal injury claims in Elkton. If a negligent driver strikes you, you have the right to sue the at-fault party for compensation.
While some states have no-fault laws for car accidents, Maryland does not. This enables victims of car accidents and other types of auto accidents to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver. You do not need to first file a claim with your own insurance, nor must you meet a serious injury threshold to sue in Elkton.
Common types of car accidents in Elkton include being t-boned, being hit while merging, getting struck because of another driver disobeying the driving laws, and many more. All types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving pedestrian or bicyclist victims, can warrant a lawsuit in Elkton.
Even though car accidents are a primary reason for victims to file personal injury claims in Elkton, they are not easier to litigate. Victims must file within the deadline and present evidence of fault that proves a defendant caused their injuries. The four elements necessary in any personal injury lawsuit, duty, breach, causation, and damages, must also be proven in a car accident claim in Elkton.
Other Types of Personal Injury Cases Our Attorneys Can Handle in Elkton
In addition to cases stemming from motor vehicle accidents, there are several other types of injury cases our attorneys can handle. These include slip and fall, defective product, and medical malpractice claims.
Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuits
Many personal injuries occur as the result of slip and fall accidents. Such accidents are frequently the result of property owners’ failure to adequately maintain their premises. For example, a tenant at an apartment building may suffer a fall caused by worn grip strips on a building’s staircase. Furthermore, a patron at a bar may sustain a slip and fall injury caused by a loose mat or rug.
Fortunately, you can sue property owners for slip and fall accidents caused by their careless behavior. There are several different forms of evidence that can be used to prove that a property owner is to blame for a slip and fall. These include witness testimony and surveillance footage.
Defective Product Lawsuits
Many people sustain injuries because of accidents caused by defective products. For instance, a baby may suffer a choking injury because proper instructions and safety warnings were not provided along with the purchase of a children’s toy. Additionally, many injuries occur because of accidents caused by malfunctioning household appliances.
If you have recently been hurt because of a harmful accident caused by a defective product, you can likely sue the product’s manufacturer. However, pursuing these types of claims can be a tiresome and complicated process. Expert witness statements are often needed to prove that products do not function properly.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice cases act to compensate patients who are injured because of their physicians’ negligent treatment. There are many different forms of medical malpractice. For instance, doctors may commit malpractice by committing medication errors, surgical mistakes, or misdiagnoses. Furthermore, medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex. In order for malpractice to have occurred, more than simply a negative outcome must have resulted from your treatment. Plaintiffs in such cases must demonstrate that defendants deviated from the accepted standards of care. Not all instances of medical malpractice initially seem extreme, and may take time for victims in Elkton to recognize.
Common Types of Personal Injuries Sustained by Victims in Elkton
There are many different personal injuries that victims can sustain. Some of the most common injuries to victims in Elkton include spinal cord damage, fractured bones, soft tissue injuries, and head injuries.
Spinal Cord Damage
Spinal cord damage is one of the most serious types of personal injuries that arises. These injuries can cause permanent damage and may require surgical treatment to properly heal. If you sustained spinal cord damage as the result of another party’s careless conduct, then you can pursue financial compensation.
Many victims of negligence suffer fractured bones. Some fractured bones will heal quickly, while others may require long-term rest and recovery. Though sometimes less severe than other injuries, fractured bones still require treatment that victims should not be financially responsible for if caused by a negligent person in Elkton.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are some of the most common types of personal injuries suffered by victims in Elkton. These injuries can be highly debilitating and usually involve damage to tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Various prescription medications, physical therapy treatments, and surgical operations may be necessary to treat these injuries. One of the most common soft tissue injuries is whiplash, which is frequently seen among victims of auto accidents in Elkton.
Head injuries are one of the more severe types of harm suffered by injury victims. Head injuries like concussions can lead to a wide array of symptoms that negatively impact peoples’ lives. While some head injuries are treatable, others are not and may permanently restrict a victim’s ability to earn an income and support themselves financially, which is why seeking compensation via a lawsuit is typically crucial.
Deadline to File a Claim for Personal Injury in Elkton
There is a firm deadline by which victims in Elkton must bring a personal injury claim. Failure to do so will prevent you from recovering compensation from the person responsible for causing your injuries.
The filing deadline that applies to all personal injury claimants, including medical malpractice, auto accident, and premises liability victims, is three years. Maryland does toll the deadline to file in cases of delayed discovery, which might impact specific subsets of personal injury more than others, like medical malpractice.
There is also tolling for minor victims in Elkton. If an at-fault party harmed you as a minor, you will have three years from the day you reach majority age to sue. In Maryland, that day is the day before your 18th birthday, not the day of your 18th birthday. This can cause some confusion for victims injured as minors and might preclude them from filing a lawsuit if they wait too long to sue in Elkton. There are also different rules for minor victims of specific acts of medical malpractice.
Meeting the Burden of Proof in Your Elkton Personal Injury Case
A preponderance of the evidence is the burden of proof standard that injury claimants are held to when suing a negligent party in Elkton. Meeting this burden of proof is essential to eventually recover compensation for your damages.
Plaintiffs must successfully prove that it is more likely than not that a defendant caused their injuries. To meet this burden of proof, our personal injury lawyers will present various pieces of evidence, often including eyewitness statements, expert testimony, medical records, surveillance footage, and photographs.
Failure to prove a defendant’s fault will not result in recovery of damages for victims. Additionally, victims should be aware of Maryland’s rules regarding shared fault between a defendant and a plaintiff. Maryland operates under a pure contributory negligence system, meaning a victim that shares fault for their injuries, to any degree, will be ineligible to recover compensation from a defendant.
Proof of Damages in Elkton Personal Injury Claims
A crucial piece of any personal injury claim is proving that a victim has sustained damages that warrant compensation. In order to calculate the damages owed to you, you must provide proof of them to a judge or jury in Elkton.
Proof of Financial Losses
The first type of compensation that concerns injury victims is compensation for economic damages. In short, this is the money you have lost as a result of a defendant’s actions. Proof of economic damages can include any medical bills you have received during treatment of your injuries, records of lost wages incurred during your rehabilitation, and records documenting other expenses unrelated to your medical costs or loss of income. All of these documents can act as proof of financial losses and can be compiled to confirm the economic damages you should recover in your personal injury suit.
Proof of Emotional Losses
Unlike economic damages, non-pecuniary damages can be challenging to prove. Testimony from a mental health provider, like a therapist or psychiatrist, can help illustrate the extent of the emotional difficulties you have experienced. Records of medications you have been prescribed to treat certain mental health struggles following an accident, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety, can also be compelling. As can your personal testimony and that of close friends and family who have witnessed your reduced quality of life following an accident caused by an at-fault party in Elkton.
Damages Available Through Elkton Personal Injury Lawsuits
The compensation awarded through personal injury lawsuits in Elkton can provide plaintiffs with necessary support during times of great hardship. There are several categories of damages that can be obtained.
For example, victims are likely to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering.
In order for these damages to be awarded, you must show that they are related to your injuries and that your injuries occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. The guidance of our personal injury lawyers can be useful when establishing a claim for the damages you deserve.
While damages for financial and non-financial losses are often available, there may be limits. For example, Maryland caps recovery of non-financial damages at $920,000 for personal injury cases apart from medical malpractice. This limit increases by $15,000 on October 1st of each year, according to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art, § 11-108(b)(2)(ii) The limit on damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases is $875,000, according to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art, § 3-2A-09(b)(1). That said, there is no limitation on recovery for economic damages or punitive damages. Punitive damages, which seek to punish a defendant for grossly negligent conduct, are only available in specific circumstances in Elkton.
Call Our Attorneys About Your Elkton Personal Injury Case Today
Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a confidential evaluation of your case with the personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today.