Owings Mills, MD Personal Injury Lawyer
Being involved in a major accident turns your entire life upside down. Right now, you are dealing with painful injuries and emotional trauma – all while facing massive medical bills, lost income from missed days at work, and piles of complicated insurance paperwork. It’s an incredibly stressful situation to find yourself in, but you don’t have to face it alone.
If your accident was caused by another individual, financial help may be available in the form of a personal injury settlement or award. Owings Mills personal injury lawyer Randolph Rice, founder of Rice, Murtha & Psoras, can help you pursue compensation by filing a claim or lawsuit against the parties at fault for your accident. We may be able to obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other harm you have suffered because of your injuries. To discuss your potential claim confidentially in a free legal consultation with an experienced injury attorney, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291, or contact us online.
What Are Some Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?
Personal injury is a broad area of the law that involves many different types of accidents. For example, premises liability is an area of law that deals specifically with injuries caused by property defects or hazards. When hiring a personal injury lawyer in Owings Mills, it’s important to seek an attorney who has the necessary knowledge and experience to handle the type of claim you need filed. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we handle all different types of personal injury claims throughout the Owings Mills region, including but not limited to:
- Assaults and attacks
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home neglect and abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability matters
- Product liability matters
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
Various injuries can result from these accidents, ranging from minor injuries to catastrophic and permanently disabling injuries. Even a “minor” injury can cost thousands of dollars and keep you out of work for months, while a more serious accident can change every aspect of your life forever. You deserve answers for what happened – answers our team will work hard to discover. We handle all types of injury lawsuits in Maryland, including:
- Amputation injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises and contusions
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and bleeding
- Eye injuries and vision loss
- Facial injuries
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Hip, knee, and shoulder injuries
- Internal injuries
- Loss of toes or fingers
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Strains and sprains (soft tissue injuries)
- Traumatic brain injuries
When Can You Sue for an Accident in Maryland?
If you were hurt in an accident, you may have a cause of action to sue one or more individuals or businesses. Whether you have a case depends on many factors, but two of the most important are:
- Whether or not you can prove negligence. To be awarded compensation, you must show that your injuries resulted from the negligent acts or “omissions” (failures to act) of another person. But what is negligence? In short, negligence can be summarized as a careless failure to meet reasonable standards, considering the circumstances at hand. For example, a driver who fails to check mirrors or stop at red lights might be considered negligent. Other examples might include a doctor who fails to follow up with a patient, a landlord who fails to maintain an apartment building in safe conditions, or a business that fails to place appropriate safety warning labels on dangerous or harmful products. If you can show that negligence led to an accident which caused you financial or physical harm, you may be able to get compensated for your injuries.
- How recently the accident and injury occurred. A strict legal deadline known as the “statute of limitations” provides up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. Under most circumstances, the three-year period begins counting down from the date of injury, though an exception called the “discovery rule” can extend the timeline in situations where injuries are not discovered until later in time – usually, in medical malpractice cases. Though the law allows up to three years to sue for personal injury, it is recommended to act as quickly as possible. Not only will this allow for better preservation of evidence, it will also give you the opportunity to receive compensation earlier.
Proving Negligence in an Owing Mills Personal Injury Lawsuit
One of the two determining factors of whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit is the ability to prove another party was negligent. In nearly every personal injury case, proving negligence requires establishing four separate but connected elements. While each element is required in each case, the type of accident or incident will play a significant role in what is necessary to prove each factor.
Duty of Care
The first thing our Owings Mills personal injury attorney will have to show is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. A duty of care is the legal obligation a party has to act in a certain way as not to cause another person harm. the exact responsibility depends on the relationship between you and the defendant. For example, a motorist has an obligation to drive their vehicle safely, obeying Maryland traffic laws and keeping their vehicle in a roadworthy state. Property owners owe a responsibility to their invitees and guests. However, a store owner would owe someone shopping in their store a different duty of care than a homeowner would who is having a few friends over for a barbeque. If someone is trespassing on a property, the property owner does not owe them the same duty of care. In most cases, determining a duty existed is straightforward. In others, it is significantly more challenging.
Breach of Duty
When someone thinks of negligence, they often imagine careless or reckless conduct. While that is somewhat accurate, negligence could also include a failure to act. Legally, to prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s conduct breached the duty of care that was owed. This element is often the most challenging one to prove. If a driver is intoxicated and causes an accident, then it is not difficult to show that their drinking was a violation of their obligation to operate their vehicle safely. However, if someone has severe adverse complications after surgery, it is much more challenging to establish that the surgeon made an unjustifiable error rather than the negative symptoms were foreseeable and a natural consequence of the surgery. the evidence necessary to prove a breach of duty depends on what caused the incident. In a drunk driving accident, a toxicology report and a police statement could be useful. If a driver was texting while driving, then our office could rely on witness testimony, cell phone records, and surveillance video if available. Cases of medical malpractice require the testimony of another similarly trained medical expert.
The question our Owings Mills personal injury lawyer needs to answer is, “would the injury have occurred but for the defendant’s conduct?” People violate their duty of care every day without causing an injury. Other times, the injury was going to happen despite the defendant’s conduct. For example, a surgeon could make a mistake but the critical complication that caused the injury was beyond the surgical team’s control. Under this set of facts, a plaintiff might not have the grounds for a medical malpractice claim. the defendant’s breach must be directly linked to the plaintiff’s injury.
If a breach of duty occurred and an accident happened, but you were not injured, then you might not have the basis for a personal injury claim. the purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to recover damages. Damages is a legal term that refers to monetary losses a plaintiff suffered because of their injury. If you needed medical treatment, missed a day or more of work, or were otherwise emotionally impacted by your injury, you have probably suffered quantifiable damages. One job our office has is to properly value what your personal injury claim is worth.
Damages Available in an Owings Mills Personal Injury Lawsuit
Proving damages is the final requirement in establishing negligence. it is also the primary reason people file personal injury lawsuits. While someone might file a personal injury lawsuit for a sense of justice, most are seeking to recover their financial losses. Severe injuries often result in medical bills, insurance co-pays, deductibles, and lost wages.
In Maryland, an injured individual is usually awarded two types of damages in a civil court claim: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, ambulance transportation, and any other expenses associated with your injury. Also included are the wages you lost because you were hurt. Lost income is not limited to the days you missed before the lawsuit was filed and could include estimated future earnings if your injury is permanently debilitating.
Non-economic damages are more challenging to understand. If you are injured in Owings Mills, you are entitled to seek compensation for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other intangible harms you endured because of your injury.
In some personal injury cases, a judge or jury could award punitive damages. Unlike the compensatory damages listed above, punitive damages are imposed to punish a defendant when their conduct was especially egregious. One of the consequences of drunk driving in Maryland is the potential of facing punitive damages in addition to any other damages awarded in a personal injury claim.
Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Rule and Owing Mills Personal Injury Claims
Maryland is only one of five jurisdictions in the United States to follow the contributory negligence doctrine in personal injury claims. When determining fault in a personal injury case, a jury or judge will decide if the plaintiff contributed to the accident or injury. For example, a plaintiff who was struck by a drunk driver could have been speeding at the time of the accident. In nearly every other state, the plaintiff’s conduct could reduce the amount of compensation they receive. However, in Maryland, if the plaintiff is found to have contributed any percentage of fault, they could be prohibited from collecting any compensation. the job of an Owing Mills personal injury attorney is to not only prove that another party was at fault but they must also fight against allegations that their client was partially responsible for their injury.
Owings Mills Personal Injury Attorney Serving Maryland
Randolph Rice is dedicated to providing compassionate, supportive legal representation that is tailored to meet your family’s needs. Whether we are working toward a settlement negotiation outside of court, or aggressively arguing your case at trial, Rice, Murtha & Psoras is focused on pursuing the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones. Our goal is to secure the compensation you deserve and the justice you need to begin moving forward again. Contact us online right away to schedule a free consultation, or call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to speak with a personal injury lawyer today.