Personal injury lawsuits encompass a wide variety of issues. When a person suffers harm due to another’s reckless or intentional actions, they can turn to the Maryland court system for compensation.
Depending on the severity of an injury, a person could be facing years of costly medical bills and reduced income. Additionally, they could suffer emotional and mental stress. If you were injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you need the representation of our Frederick, MD personal injury lawyer. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Frederick, MD
No two personal injury lawsuits are the same, and the circumstances under which they arise are just as varied. Rice, Murtha & Psoras has represented people injured under many different types of injury cases:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Medical Malpractice, including medication errors and birth injuries
- Products Liability
- Premises Liability
- Animal Attacks
- Wrongful Death
Even if the type of accident you experienced is not on this list, our attorneys may still be able to help.
Negligence in Frederick, MD Personal Injury Claims
Liability in a personal injury claim requires proving that someone’s negligent conduct or inactions caused the injury. Our Frederick, MD personal injury attorneys will have to establish four elements to prove your case:
Duty of Care
To succeed in a personal injury case, we must prove that the defendant had an obligation to do something or refrain from doing something to prevent the injured party from facing an unreasonable risk of harm. This legal duty has limitations, and people might not be held accountable for unforeseeable consequences. People are also not generally required to take affirmative action to aid a stranger, such as assisting a hurt individual in a car crash. Instead, the duty of care is usually based on some preexisting relationship between the parties, like with a doctor-patient relationship, or because they are sharing a space or an activity, such as two drivers sharing the road.
Breach of Duty
To demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care, our law office must show that the defendant’s unreasonable conduct created or contributed to a risk of harm. Often, this is easy to establish by showing the defendant broke the law. For example, a motorist speeding while intoxicated is unreasonably increasing the risk of harm to all other drivers in their vicinity. However, proving a breach could also be quite challenging. For instance, if you are injured while shopping at a grocery store, then we would have to show that the owner, the manager, or an employee knew about the danger that injured you and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their customers. The courts turn to what a reasonably prudent person would do under the same circumstances to determine whether the conduct was reasonable or not.
Once a breach of duty is established, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct directly caused the injury or damage. Our Frederick, MD personal injury attorney will have to provide evidence to prove two kinds of causation.
First, cause-in-fact, also known as the “actual” cause, means that the injury could not have occurred without the defendant’s conduct happening. For example, if a motorist is driving the wrong way down a one-way street and crashes into another car, the accident would not have happened without the defendant driving the wrong way.
“Proximate” cause is more challenging to define, however, it is necessary as “cause in fact” does not always establish liability, especially if the defendant’s actions could have been a part of a long chain of events. We will have to thoroughly examine the defendant’s conduct within the context of the accident to determine if it sufficiently contributed to your injury by being closely related to the accident. For instance, imagine a person’s car does not start one morning because their mechanic failed to replace a timing belt. While walking to the bus, the person is hit by someone running a red light. If the mechanic did their job properly, then the plaintiff would not have been taking the bus. However, proving that the mechanic was the proximate cause of the injury would likely be impossible.
There is no simple rule for defining proximate cause. The court will turn to reasonableness, foreseeability, and direct causation to help determine culpability.
Finally, to prove negligence in a personal injury claim, we will have to show that the plaintiff suffered quantifiable harm. The harm could be either economic or non-economic damages and usually includes medical bills, lost wages, the cost of specialized equipment, and pain and suffering. If you did not suffer any harm, you would not be able to pursue a personal injury claim.
Legal Challenges for Personal Injury Cases in Frederick, MD
Every Maryland personal injury attorney must deal with the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence.” Our state is one of the few that follow this harsh legal principle. Under this doctrine, if an injured party contributed, even in the smallest way, to their own injury, they are prohibited from collecting compensation through a personal injury claim.
For example, suppose your car was hit by another driver ignoring a red light. A Maryland jury could find that the defendant was 100% responsible for the accident. However, if you were texting at the time, the jury could determine that your conduct contributed 10% of the fault. In that situation, you would not be able to collect compensation from the defendant.
It is vital to hire an experienced Frederick, MD personal injury attorney who understands how to counter this doctrine. When we prepare your personal injury claim, we will also anticipate the defense’s attempt to shift a portion of the blame on you. Using police and accident reports, physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and expert opinions, our experienced attorneys will try to establish that you did not contribute to the cause of your injury.
Call Our Frederick, MD Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you are injured and it is not your fault, you need our Frederick, MD and Maryland personal injury attorney at your side. Our attorneys have been fighting for the rights of injured people for over three decades. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.