If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s actions, whether it was a slip and fall, a car accident, or an intentional battery, you likely have a case for a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury suit, you can sue the person who hurt you so that they pay for the costs of the medical care you need to treat that injury. This may also include any long-term care and follow up, pain and suffering, even lost wages if you had to take time off of work.
The rules that apply to personal injury vary from state to state, so understanding how Maryland’s laws apply to your situation is crucial to building a strong case.
Personal injury, in the context of civil law, includes most bodily physical, mental, or emotional injuries you sustain. Maryland allows you to recover actual damages, meaning you could have the option to sue for any damages related to your injury in order to get you to a significant state of recovery. The goal of your compensation is to put you in the same position you would have been, if the injury had never happened.
If someone hurts you on purpose, you may have a case for an “intentional tort” claim, that is, a claim you can bring in civil court for damages. In personal injury cases, intentional torts are often seen in battery cases.
People engaged in certain activities, like driving a car, are expected to use reasonable care. Breaching this duty of care and causing an injury in the process can make them liable for negligence. By speeding, for example, drivers can breach the duty of care for other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Car accidents caused by a speeding driver may form the basis for a negligence claim for which the injured party can recover damages.
Your ability to recover can be limited by rules of contributory negligence. In Maryland, if the court finds you even partially responsible for the circumstances of your injury, you may be barred from recovering anything. That means if a court thinks an accident you were involved in was 99 percent someone else’s fault, you’re likely to be denied any compensation if you were 1 percent at fault.
Sometimes a person may unintentionally hurt someone, even if they were behaving reasonably and without negligence. The person can still be considered responsible for injuries that would not have occurred without their involvement. Strict liability rules state that people can be held financially responsible for harm they caused, regardless of their state of mind and intent.
Manufacturing defects are a common example of strict liability in Maryland. For example, a mistake in the factory line that causes a product to injure a consumer can mean the manufacturer is liable for the damages, even if it was a genuine mistake. There are limits to what constitutes a breach of liability, though. Being served a crab cake with a piece of broken glass in it is a much stronger case than a crab cake with a piece of crab shell that made its way in the final dish; “natural” hazards tend to get more leeway in the courts.
Personal injury lawsuits have to fall within the statute of limitations. In Maryland, that means you have three years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit with the court. There are additional considerations that could impact your timeline and ability to file, so its important to be mindful of your schedule when pursuing a personal injury case and to consult with an attorney as soon after your accident as you can to get experienced guidance.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills, and other complications. Before taking legal action or trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you should talk to an attorney about your case. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of your case. This one step can level the playing field, help you protect your rights, and put you in the best position for recovering the compensation that you deserve.