Every day, Maryland personal injury lawyers receive a number of calls from good, honest people who have been injured at the hands of someone else. A vast majority of these injuries occur on Maryland’s roads, which are among the most congested in the country. Sometimes, their injuries are catastrophic and life-altering. The luckier ones “only” suffer a broken bone, torn ligaments, whiplash, or other recoverable injuries. Whatever the case, the disruption to their lives is painful, time-consuming, and costly.
The one saving grace in these situations is that Maryland law allows the injured party to hold the wrongdoer financially responsible for the injuries. That is, the victim can be compensated for the pain, disruption, and expense the injuring party (or “defendant”) caused. The typical legal standard in a car accident case in Maryland is one of ‘negligence’. In order to sustain a negligence claim in Maryland, the injured party (or “plaintiff”) must prove all of four things: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to act in a certain way. In the context of an automobile collision, any person licensed to drive on Maryland roads owes a duty to everyone else on the road to operate his or her automobile in a reasonably careful manner. Reasonable care includes following all applicable traffic laws, being vigilant, and being mindful of any dangerous conditions, such as rain or snow.
Breach means that the defendant failed to adhere to the duty he or she owed to other drivers. It can mean that the defendant acted dangerously, was inattentive, or failed to act in a legal manner. In many cases, proving that the defendant failed to obey a traffic law is sufficient. An example would be speeding or running a red light. However, the fact that the defendant simply was not paying attention would be sufficient.
Causation means that the defendant’s breach of his or her legal duty was the cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. In other words, by virtue of the defendant’s act or failure to act, the plaintiff sustained an injury. Often in a car accident context, causation is self-evident. The collision causes the plaintiff to be thrown around his or her passenger compartment, and medical treatment is often needed.
Damages are the main point of contention in a car accident case. After all, a defendant might readily admit his or her fault if it meant that there were no economic repercussions. When a plaintiff is injured, he or she often needs thousands of dollars in medical treatment, loses wages from being unable to work, and has to repair or replace his or her automobile.
This is where a skilled Maryland car accident attorney comes in. A skilled lawyer can make sure the plaintiff recovers the maximum amount of money for the injuries sustained. This can include money for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any permanent impairment that results from the accident. Defendants and their insurance companies don’t want you to have this money. Make sure you have a good advocate in your corner so that you can get what you deserve.
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