Get the Just Compensation You Need and Deserve with the Help of a Leonardtown Accident Lawyer
Most personal injury lawsuits arise out of accidents, whether that be a car accident, a slip and fall, dog bites, or defective products. What all of these personal injury actions have in common is that they are the result of accidental — rather than intentional — conduct. The primary purpose of the personal injury system, then, is to find fault and to determine damages. Below, we will explain how the law does both. For more information about recovering damages after an accident, please contact a Leonardtown accident lawyer.
Establishing Fault in Maryland Accident Cases
Liability for accidents is most commonly based in the law of negligence. Under the law of negligence, fault arises where a person causes injury by engaging in conduct that is outside a certain socially-expected norm. To prevail on a claim of negligence, the injured plaintiff must show four elements:
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care (i.e., the duty to behave as a reasonably prudent person would in the same or similar circumstances)
- Breach: The defendant breached that duty by engaging in conduct that fell short of the defendant’s duty of care
- Causation: The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered harm (i.e., “damages”) as a result of the defendant’s breach
To illustrate: Assume that Driver P suffers a broken leg when Driver D runs a stoplight and crashes into her car. The duty Driver D owed to Driver P was the duty to operate a motor vehicle safely by following the rules of the road. The breach was not stopping at the stoplight, as Driver D was legally required to do. Causation can be established by showing that, had Driver D not run the red light, Driver P’s leg would not be broken. Driver P’s damages, in this case, would be her broken leg.
Determining Damages and Getting Just Compensation
After determining who was at fault for an accident, the next step is to compensate the victim by awarding damages to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff. The amount of damages the defendant will be required to pay depends upon the facts of the case, but valuing damages generally follows the principle that the amount of damages should put the plaintiff in the same position he or she would have been in had the accident not occurred. These “compensatory damages,” as they are known, encompass financial losses the plaintiff suffered such as medical bills, loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, and property damage. Compensatory damages also include monetary awards for losses that are not strictly financial, including mental distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Learn More About Your Rights. Contact a Leonardtown Accident Lawyer.
If you have suffered an injury in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury action. To speak to an attorney who can help you evaluate your case, please contact a Leonardtown accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles by calling 301-475-0101 or filling out our online form.