Every state is subject to different laws and statutes. When it comes to personal injury laws, they will vary depending on where you live, sometimes dramatically so. If you’ve been injured in or around Baltimore, you need to know how personal injuries laws work in the state of Maryland. Therefore, you should read on to learn how injury laws work in Baltimore.
1. What is Negligence?
Negligence is used to determine and measure liability. In Maryland, there are four elements of negligence.
- Duty, or the responsibility to ensure safety from a reasonably foreseeable injury.
- Breach of Duty. The actions by a responsible party that violate the duty of care.
- Causation is the proof of a direct or indirect link between the injury and the breaching actions.
- Damages are the losses that result from the injury, and that can be compensated for financially.
In addition to the legal theory of negligence, Maryland injury law also takes into account the ‘reasonably prudent person’ theory when determining the first two factors of negligence. A reasonably prudent person is someone whose actions during a situation similar to the injuring incident are deemed ideal, or at least acceptable. If a party’s actions are comparably different, then the party is deemed negligent.
2. Are there damage caps in Baltimore injury law?
A damage cap is a limit that some states put on the monies awarded in a personal injury case. There can be damage caps on non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, and economic damages, such as lost wages. Some states cap both damage categories, others only cap one, or neither of the categories. In some cases, there are damage caps on specific injury claims, such as medical malpractice suits. With Baltimore injury law, there are damage caps on non-economic damages in all types of injury cases. The caps change every October 1st to account for inflation. As of October 1st of 2012, the damage caps were therefore as follows:
- $755,000 limit on non-medical malpractice injuries
- $1,132,500 limit on non-medical malpractice wrongful death claims with two or more beneficiaries
- $695,000 limit on medical malpractice injuries arising from the same incident
- $868,750 limit on medical malpractice wrongful death claims with two or more beneficiaries
Damage caps apply depending on when the injury occurred, which is typically measured on the date of the accident.
3. How long do I have to file an injury claim?
The time you have to file a claim is subject to a state’s Statute of Limitations. However, every state will differ slightly on this timeline. The sooner you submit a claim after the accident, the sooner you can receive compensation. In Maryland, you will have three years from the date of the accident to file an injury claim. It is therefore better for you to file as close to the date of the accident as possible. If you wait too long, the at-fault party and their lawyer and the insurance company can claim that your injuries were not that serious if you waited so long to file.
After an accident, you should file a claim right away even if you don’t think you’ve suffered severe injuries. Injuries and health issues can take weeks, months, or sometimes longer to manifest. Filing the claim quickly protects you and gives you a better ability to get compensation for health problems that arise long after the accident has occurred.
4. What is the first thing I should do after an accident?
After an accident, safety and swift medical attention are your first priorities. Another thing you need to do to build a case and also protect yourself from liability is to make a report with the police. The police report starts an official paper trail from a dispassionate third party immediately after the accident. Whatever you do, don’t admit you were at fault, even partially. You will also need the help of a Baltimore attorney. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a lawyer experienced with Baltimore injury law. They’ll be able to protect you from liability and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.