A Maryland Personal Injury Liability Primer

Gene Warhurst

November 15, 2023

A Maryland Personal Injury Liability Primer

Personal injuries can happen when you least expect them and understanding personal injury liability is essential to protecting your rights and seeking compensation for someone else’s negligence. In Maryland, like in many other jurisdictions, personal injury liability is governed by complex laws and regulations. This article serves as a primer on personal injury liability in Maryland, helping you navigate the legal landscape and know your rights.

Understanding personal injury liability

Personal injury liability refers to the legal responsibility of an individual, business, or entity for the harm they cause to another person due to their negligence or intentional actions. In Maryland, as in most states, personal injury claims typically arise from accidents, such as car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, and product defects. To establish personal injury liability, the injured party (plaintiff) must prove certain elements:

a. Duty of Care: The defendant (the person or entity being sued) owed the plaintiff a duty of care. For example, drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, and healthcare professionals have a duty to provide competent care.

b. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently or recklessly. This breach can be a failure to act reasonably under the circumstances.

c. Causation: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused their injuries. There must be a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff.

d. Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered actual damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage.

Contributory Negligence in Maryland

Maryland follows a strict contributory negligence rule regarding personal injury cases. Under this rule, if the plaintiff is found to be even partially responsible for the accident or their injuries, they may be barred from recovering any compensation from the defendant. This means that if the plaintiff’s actions contributed in any way, no matter how minor, to the accident, they may be unable to recover damages.

It is crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Maryland to navigate the contributory negligence rule effectively. Your attorney will assess the facts of your case and help you build a strong argument to prove the defendant’s liability while minimizing any potential claims of contributory negligence.

Statute of Limitations

In Maryland, a statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing personal injury claims. Generally, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, certain exceptions may apply, so it’s essential to consult with an attorney to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your specific case.

Auto Accident Liability

Car accidents are one of Maryland’s most common sources of personal injury claims. In auto accident cases, liability is often determined by establishing which driver was at fault. Maryland follows the principle of contributory negligence, so even a small degree of responsibility can impact your ability to recover damages.

Maryland also requires drivers to carry minimum insurance coverage, including liability insurance, which can compensate for injuries and property damage. However, insurance companies often seek to minimize payouts, so it’s crucial to consult with an attorney who can negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive fair compensation.

Premises Liability

Premises liability cases involve injuries on someone else’s property due to hazardous conditions or negligent maintenance. Property owners must keep their premises safe for visitors. Common premises liability cases include slips and falls, dog bites, and retail store or restaurant accidents.

To establish liability in a premises liability case, you must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to address it. Proving liability can be complex, so consulting with an experienced attorney is essential to building a solid case.

Personal injury liability in Maryland is a complex area of law that requires a thorough understanding of legal principles and procedures. In that case, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help you seek the compensation you deserve is crucial. Remember the strict contributory negligence rule in Maryland and the statute of limitations, which make it imperative to take prompt action if you believe you have a valid personal injury claim. By knowing your rights and working with a skilled attorney, you can navigate the legal system effectively and secure the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.