Personal Injury Claims—Proof Requirements—Part One

Demonstrating the Defendant Acted Unreasonably

Personal Injury Claims—Proof Requirements—Part OneWhen you suffer physical injury and/or property damage in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. If you aren’t able to get adequate relief from insurers or the at-fault party voluntarily, you may need to file a lawsuit in civil court. To succeed with such a claim, you’ll have to prove that the defendant acted negligently. That requires you to show that:

  • The defendant did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances;
  • The failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
  • You suffered actual losses as a consequence of the accident.

Let’s look at the first element of proof—the breach of the duty of care. Under the accepted principles of personal injury law, every person in society has a duty to act reasonably in all pursuits. That applies to driving a car, designing and manufacturing products, and maintaining the premises of property, as well as other activities. To have a claim for damages after an accident, you must show that the defendant (the person you want to pay for your losses) breached the duty to act reasonably. That breach may take many different forms. Examples include speeding or running a red light, failing to test a product for safety, and improperly maintaining walkways on property.

The determination whether a defendant met the standard of care is made by the finder of fact (typically the jury) at trial. There’s no specific standard set forth in the law. Whether or not conduct was reasonable is ascertained on a case-by-case basis, based on the unique facts of each lawsuit.

Proven Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

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’s also been called 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.

When you hire attorney Smith to handle your claim, he’ll start by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident, visiting the scene if necessary. When necessary, he’ll work with expert witnesses, including accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and financial planners, to present the most compelling arguments to help you get full and fair compensation for your losses.

Experienced Baltimore County, Maryland, Accident Recovery Lawyer

If you have suffered 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.

Injured While Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

Can You Still Seek Compensation for Your Losses?

Injured While Not Wearing a Seat Belt?When you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, your first thought, after receiving medical attention, is likely to be that you need to contact your auto insurance provider. That may not be in your best interests, though. In fact, you’ll likely benefit most if you immediately retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Here’s why.

Your insurance company maximizes its profits by minimizing the amount it pays out on claims. Accordingly, the company has an incentive to offer you less than you deserve; delay payment in the hope that you’ll accept less than you’re entitled to; or simply deny your claim. When you work directly with insurance adjustors, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. The adjustors do this all the time and are good at making it seem like the amount they are offering is a good deal.

An experienced lawyer, on the other hand, knows when you’re being offered full and fair compensation for your losses. Your attorney has an incentive to maximize your recovery, as his or her compensation is directly tied to what you receive. Make your first call to an experienced lawyer, who can then be your intermediary with insurance companies, working to get the benefits you need and to which you are entitled.

Proven Baltimore County Personal Injury Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has consistently obtained positive results for personal injury victims in the greater Baltimore area and across Maryland for more than three decades. A Maryland SuperLawyer, he’s also AV-rated by fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System. The American Lawyer magazine has named him a Top-Rated Lawyer, and he’s also received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars (the highest rating possible). A proven trial lawyer with a longstanding reputation for success in the courtroom, he has 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. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. We represent injured people in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

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.

ADDRESS :

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

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101