Injured While Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

Can You Still Seek Compensation for Your Losses?

Contribute-to-Causing-Your-InjuriesIn Maryland, as in most states, seat belts must be used by drivers and front-seat passengers when a vehicle is in motion on the roadway. What if you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, but you weren’t wearing a seat belt as required by law. Can you still recover compensation for your losses? In Maryland, the answer is a clear “yes.”

In many other states, the failure to wear a seat belt can be introduced as evidence of the injured person’s own negligence and can reduce the amount of damages awarded or prevent recovery of any damages at all. In Maryland, however, state law holds that the “failure to use a seat belt cannot be used as evidence of negligence,” cannot be used as evidence to limit liability, and cannot be used to reduce or diminish recovery for damages. In fact, defense attorneys may not introduce evidence of failure to wear a seat belt in any civil action for person injury, wrongful death, or property damage. Any such evidence is inadmissible pursuant to Maryland Code, Transportation §22-412.3.

Proven Ellicott City Personal Injury Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has fought for the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Baltimore area and across Maryland for more than three decades. A Maryland SuperLawyer, he’s long been AV-rated by fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System. He’s also been honored as a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A highly experienced trial lawyer with a widespread reputation for success in the courtroom, he’s received the AVVO Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Results-Oriented Frederick County, Maryland, Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have suffered needless injury in Maryland because of the wrongful acts of another person, Jonathan Scott Smith can help. Send us an e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit—Part One

Understanding the Process for Recovering Your Losses

Contribute-to-Causing-Your-InjuriesWhen you’re hurt because of the wrongful or careless actions of another person, you hope your insurance and/or the at-fault party will voluntarily cover all your losses. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. To fully protect your interests, it’s often necessary to take legal action. In this series of blogs, we’ll provide an overview of the steps involved in filing a lawsuit for damages.

To initiate legal action, you’ll need to file a complaint. The complaint identifies the parties, describes what happened, and asks the court for specific relief—usually monetary damages to compensate you for lost wages, unreimbursed medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. The complaint must be filed in the appropriate court (the rules governing this can be complex, so we won’t go into them here).

Once your complaint is filed and properly served on all defendants, the defendant(s) have a limited period of time to respond by filing what is known as an “Answer.” Typically, the defendant simply affirms or denies the statements in your complaint, rather than providing detailed responses. The defendant also typically sets forth affirmative defenses and may include counterclaims against you along with their Answer.

If the Answer is timely filed, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference (discussed in greater detail in our next blog). If, however, the Answer is not filed on time, you can ask the court for default judgment in your favor.

Aggressive Baltimore Accident and Injury Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully protected the rights of injured people throughout the Baltimore area and across Maryland for more than 30 years. A Maryland SuperLawyer, he’s AV-rated (the highest rating) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been designated a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. Smith, a successful trial attorney, has received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0(Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Experienced Prince George’s County, Maryland, Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffer needless injury in Maryland because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, Jonathan Scott Smith can help. Send us an e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland

The Most Common Defenses to a Personal Injury Claim

Know the Arguments a Defendant Might Raise against You

Contribute-to-Causing-Your-InjuriesWhen you’re hurt in an accident and file legal action to recover for your losses, there are a number of potential defenses you can anticipate. Knowing what they are can help you and your lawyers effectively prepare your case

  • Comparative negligence—This defense alleges that you contributed, to some degree, to either causing your accident or the extent of your injuries. For example, the defendant may argue that you were exceeding the speed limit or not wearing a seat belt.
  • Assumption of risk—This defense contends that you knew there was a risk of injured before you engaged in a certain activity and therefore voluntarily assumed that risk. For example, when you go to a baseball game, you assume the risk that you might be hit by a foul ball. If you are, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
  • Pre-existing condition—You might not be able to recover compensation if a defendant’s negligence aggravates a condition you had prior to the accident. The defense is that your injuries are all attributable to the pre-existing condition.
  • Waiver or liability—If you signed a waiver of liability (also known as a “release”), you may have to show that the defendant was grossly negligent or intentionally harmed you in order to recover.
  • Statute of limitations—There’s a time limit for filing a personal injury claim, known as the “statute of limitations.” If the time period expires before you file, you may be without a remedy.

Proven Baltimore Accident and Injury Lawyer

Jonathan Scott Smith has fought for the rights of injured people throughout the Baltimore area and across Maryland for over three decades. A Maryland SuperLawyer, he’s AV-rated (the highest rating) by fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System. He’salso been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A successful trial attorney known for getting results, he’s received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0(Superb)rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Experienced Prince George’s County, Maryland, Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffer needless injury in Maryland because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, Jonathan Scott Smith can help. Send us an e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland

Did You Contribute to Causing Your Injuries?

Can You Still Get Compensation When You’re Partially Responsible?

Contribute-to-Causing-Your-InjuriesMost accidents have multiple causes. Suppose you’re hit by another driver who runs a red light, but your injuries are worse because you weren’t wearing a seat belt. When your own carelessness contributes to losses you suffer, can you still recover damages? In Maryland, the answer is yes, unless you are found to be fully at fault for your injuries.

Maryland follows the legal principle of “comparative negligence.” Under the concept of comparative negligence, a court will first determine the total amount of losses and then establish the extent to which you contributed to causing them (stated as a percentage of liability). The total damage award is reduced by the percentage of your liability. For example, if you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident and your total losses are $500,000, but you’re held 10% at fault for your injuries, your damage award will be reduced by 10%, or $50,000.

Results-Oriented Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully represented personal injury victims in metropolitan Baltimore and across Maryland for more than 30 years. He’s a Maryland Super Lawyer and consistently AV-rated by fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System. He’s also been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A successful trial attorney with a long reputation for getting positive results for clients, he’s received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Results-Oriented Frederick County, Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been hurt in Maryland because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, Jonathan Scott Smith can help. Send us an e-mail or call our offices at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Happy 4th of July 2020

Happy 4th of July 2020

On this Independence Day, let us all aspire to those principles that make our nation great—freedom, liberty, and justice for all. We wish you a safe and happy holiday with loved ones.

The Burden of Proof in a Medical Malpractice Claim

What You Must Establish to Show Carelessness or Negligence

The Burden of Proof in a Medical Malpractice ClaimIn any personal injury claim based on negligence, you must demonstrate that the defendant did not meet the expected standard of care. In most personal injury lawsuits, that means you must show that the at-fault party did not act as an average person of ordinary prudence would. You also must show that the failure to meet the standard of care caused an accident and that you suffered actual losses as a result.

However, when the wrongdoer is a medical professional and you are seeking damages in a medical practice claim, there’s a higher standard to which the defendant must be held. With doctors and physicians, the required degree of care is that of a

  • Reasonably skilled and competent healthcare professional,
  • With similar training, experience, and background,
  • Practicing in the same community.

In most personal injury trials, the jury determines what constitutes reasonable care. In medical malpractice cases, though, it’s customary for expert witnesses (usually other medical professionals) to offer testimony on whether the conduct at issue met the standard of care.

Proven Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Maryland SuperLawyer Jonathan Scott Smith has protected the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Baltimore area and across the state of Maryland for more than three decades. He’s consistently been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been designated a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A successful trial attorney committed to getting positive results for clients, he’s also received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 (Superb) AVVO rating as a litigator.

Results-Oriented Frederick County, Maryland, Medical Negligence Lawyer

If you have suffered needless injury due to the carelessness of a medical professional in Maryland, we can help. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Motorcycle Accidents in Maryland

Can You Recover Damages If You’re Hurt While Not Wearing a Helmet?

Motorcycle Accidents in MarylandLike many states, Maryland requires anyone riding a motorcycle to wear an approved helmet. If you fail to do so and are hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, are you ineligible to recover damages? In Maryland, it’s definitely possible.

Most states have adopted the principle of comparative negligence, whereby a damages award is reduced to the extent the injured party was at fault for the accident. Maryland, however, still adheres to the fairly archaic principle of “pure” contributory negligence. Under that legal doctrine, if a person contributes in any way and to any degree in causing the accident that results in their own injury, that person is not entitled to recover damages. Accordingly, if the defense can show that your negligence contributed even a little to your injury, you won’t be able to recover for your losses.

If you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident and weren’t wearing a helmet, it’s likely the court will look at the nature of your injuries and determine the extent to which your own negligence precludes recovery. Damages may be denied for any injuries that arguably could have been prevented by wearing a helmet—injuries to your head, face, or neck, for example. However, you may be able to recover compensation for injuries to other parts of your body.

Experienced Baltimore County Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, has fought for the rights of personal injury victims in the greater Baltimore area and across the state of Maryland for more than 30 years. A proven trial attorney known for getting positive results for clients, he’s received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator. He’s long been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and he’s been named a Top Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine.

Results-Oriented Prince George’s County Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

If you’re hurt in a rear-end accident in Maryland, we can help. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Are the Roadways Safer in Maryland During the Pandemic?

Data Shows Fewer Accidents but More Serious and Fatal Crashes

Are the Roadways Safer in Maryland During the Pandemic?Research has long shown a direct correlation between the number of vehicles on the roads, the number of miles people travel, and the rate of accidents. Typically, the numbers of accidents and fatalities change when gas prices go up or down. The more expensive gas becomes, the less people drive and the lower the total number of accidents.

During the COVID-19 crisis, shelter-in-place restrictions leave fewer places to go, so traffic is down dramatically. Does that mean it’s safer to be on the streets and highways in Maryland and across the country? It depends on how you look at it.

Authorities say the total number of accidents has decreased substantially. California and New York both report a 50% drop. At the same time, though, a higher percentage of the accidents that are occurring are serious or fatal. Officials believe that motorists on today’s less-congested motorways are traveling at higher speeds. For example, on one stretch of highway in New York, officials found that the average speed in March 2020 was four times that of March 2019—the average speed during morning drive a year ago was 13 miles per hour and 52 miles per hour this year.

The bottom line is that, if you’re on the road nowadays, you’ll likely have less risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, but if you are, chances are that it will be more serious.

Results-Oriented Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, has protected the rights of motor vehicle accident victims in the Baltimore metro area and throughout the state of Maryland for more than 30 years. He’s l0ng been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A proven trial attorney known for getting positive results for clients, he’s received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), as well as a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Experienced Carroll County Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in an automobile collision in Maryland, we can help. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment.There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

No-Contact Motor Vehicle Accidents in Maryland

Can You Recover for Losses When There’s No Collision?

No-Contact Motor Vehicle Accidents in MarylandAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately one in every six motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving. A distracted motorist may drift into your lane or turn in front of you unexpectedly. In your efforts to avoid an accident, you might lose control of your vehicle or collide with something on the side of the road. Can you still pursue compensation from a motorist who forces you off the road, even when there’s no contact?

As a general rule, a valid claim for damages does not require that your vehicle impacts that of another driver. In such cases, a lawsuit typically is based on the legal premise of negligence. To establish negligence, you must prove three things:

  • The defendant (the person from whom you are seeking compensation) failed to act reasonably—Note that there is no set rule regarding what is considered to be reasonable. The jury makes that determination on a case-by-case basis;
  • Their failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
  • As a result of the accident, you sustained actual losses—You can’t recover for losses that are covered by insurance.

In a no-contact accident claim, then, the court will first look to the behavior of the defendant. Was he speeding? Was he using a handheld device or otherwise distracted?

Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer

Jonathan Scott Smith, a Maryland SuperLawyer, has protected the rights of personal injury victims in the Baltimore metro area and throughout the state of Maryland for more than three decades. He’s consistently been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and he has been named a Top Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A proven trial attorney known for getting positive results, he’s received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible), and a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Proven Frederick County Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

If you have been hurt in a car accident in Maryland, we can help. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Liability for Rear-End Collisions in Maryland

Is the Person in the Trailing Vehicle Always Responsible?

Liability for Rear-End Collisions in MarylandAccording to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for more than 30% of all motor vehicle accidents nationwide. There’s a common assumption that the person driving the rear vehicle is always legally responsible. While that’s often the case, it’s not always so.

In many accidents, including motor vehicle crashes, liability is based on a legal theory of negligence. To determine whether a party to an accident was negligent, a court customarily starts by identifying what type of behavior would have been reasonable under the circumstances. All persons in society are held to the standard of engaging in reasonable conduct at all times.

In a car accident, the court will conduct just such an analysis. With respect to the trailing driver, the court may look at the following:

  • Whether the speed of the trailing driver was reasonable, given the distance between the two cars and the prevailing rate of speed on that roadway at the time;
  • The extent to which the trailing driver was distracted by a handheld device, passengers in the vehicle, or things along the roadside; and
  • Whether the trailing driver lacked the mental or physical capacity to be behind the wheel, e.g., whether the driver was intoxicated or impaired by illness or injury.

The court also may consider whether the driver in the front car was negligent:

  • Were there warning lights on the rear of the vehicle that were not working?
  • Did the driver in front accidentally put his or her car in reverse?

Experienced Carroll County Personal Injury Attorney

Maryland SuperLawyer Jonathan Scott Smith has fought for the rights of personal injury victims in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland for more than 30 years. He’s long been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and he’s been named a Top Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. A proven trial attorney with a longstanding reputation for getting positive results for clients, Smith has received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars(the highest rating possible). He also has a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a litigator.

Effective Howard County Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you have been hurt in a rear-end accident in Maryland, we can help. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule an appointment. There’s no cost for your first consultation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

ADDRESS :

  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101