Many personal injury cases start when someone is injured by a person who does not intend to cause injury. In these cases, you have to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for your injuries. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted in a negligent manner. While you may have a basic understanding of the word “negligence,” perhaps you don’t realize the exact definition, in the legal context, of negligence.
It is not enough to simply state that you believe the wrongdoer acted negligently. Instead, there are specific things you must show. The first step in proving negligence is to show that the wrongdoer had a certain “duty of care.”
Duty of Care
The law imposes various duties of care on different people in different situations. Some of these duties of care are set out in past court cases while others are set forth by laws made by lawmakers in Annapolis. The following are examples of duties of care:
- Drivers have the duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner to avoid injury to others.
- Doctors and other professionals must act as a similar reasonable professional would in a particular situation.
- Mass transit providers, like train, taxis, buses, subways and other common carriers, owe their passengers the highest degree of care to provide safe means and methods of transportation for them.
Breach of Duty
Once you establish a duty of care, you then have to establish that the wrongdoer breached that duty. Examples of breach of duty include:
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to obey traffic laws and signals
- Medical malpractice
- Allowing hazardous conditions on a property
- Providing inadequate security at a business
- Selling a defective or dangerous product without warning
- Inadequate supervision at daycare centers or schools.
You have to present evidence that the wrongdoer breached or failed to live up to their duty of care.
Once you establish a duty of care and the breach of that duty, you have established that the wrongdoer was negligent. However, this is not enough to entitle you to a financial recovery from the wrongdoer. In addition to establishing the wrongdoer was negligent, you must establish “causation” and “damages.” In many cases, but not always, once you have established causation and damages, you will be entitled to a financial recovery for the injuries you have suffered.
Of course, negligence, in the legal context, can be difficult concept to understand. If you have been injured in Maryland and believe it may have been due to someone’s negligence, you may have questions. Give me a call today, and let’s discuss your case.