Chestertown is a small city on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay. As the county seat of Kent County, Chestertown has a prominent and important spot in the history of the state of Maryland and of the United States. More recently, Chestertown has established itself as an excellent town to live in, winning awards from several newspapers and magazines for its unique culture.
Despite the recent accolades, Chestertown is still a place where people can get hurt in accidents that they did not cause. These injuries are especially frustrating for those who suffer them because they know they did not deserve them, but also realize that there was little they could do to prevent it from happening. Worse, they often lead to significant medical bills and other expenses associated with an extensive recovery.
Because this can be incredibly unfair to the victims of a serious accident, the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian will fight for your rights and interests if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Chestertown.
Chestertown is a small city on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, located a handful of miles inland, but still on the northern bank of the Chester River. During the 2010 census, Chestertown had a population of 5,252. Chestertown was established in 1706 and was subsequently designated as a royal port of entry by the British, in large part because of its harbor, which was protected by the river but still had quick access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Chesapeake Bay. This designation made businesses boom in Chestertown during the early 1700s, with merchants from around the British Empire coming to the area to load and unload ships in the New World. During this time period, Chestertown was only rivaled by Annapolis in the state of Maryland for shipping.
The American Revolution eliminated Chestertown's distinction as a royal port of entry, though, and the town lost much of its importance once merchants were able to choose where to go. By the time Chestertown incorporated into a town in Maryland in 1805 – named after the river that gave it such a high profile in the town's early years – it had lost a lot of its importance.
The colonial heritage of Chestertown, however, has not been lost by current residents. Instead, the town has made numerous efforts to preserve the area's historical importance by maintaining numerous old buildings in the town and by celebrating Chestertown's role in the history of the United States. The Chestertown Tea Party Festival, celebrated on Memorial Day weekend, honors the town's version of the Boston Tea Party which, according to local legend, happened in May 1774 and, like the one that happened in Boston, involved American rebels throwing copious amounts of tea into the harbor. Chestertown's Festival involves reenactors boarding a replica schooner boat and throwing tea into the Chester River.
Cultural and historical events like the Chestertown Tea Party Festival are the backbone for Chestertown's inclusion in some lists naming the best places to live in the U.S. When the Progressive Farmer Magazine named Kent County and Chestertown “The Best Place to Live in Rural America” in 2012, it cited the town's unique colonial culture and its quaint peacefulness as important factors.
Personal Injury Claims in Chestertown
Unfortunately, accidents can happen anywhere in the United States, and Chestertown is no exception. Because the town lies in the state of Maryland, injury-producing accidents that happen in Chestertown will typically fall within the jurisdiction of the Maryland state court system. This means Maryland's personal injury law will dictate whether you can get compensation from the person or the people who caused your injuries. Maryland's personal injury law requires accident victims to prove four things in order to be successful:
- The other person had a duty of care to ensure your safety,
- That duty of care was breached by the other person's conduct,
- That breach was the cause of your injuries, and
- You suffered legal damages, as a result.
Here is what that means:
The Duty of Care in Maryland
In a typical personal injury case, Maryland requires people to act reasonably prudently whenever their conduct could foreseeably cause someone else to get hurt. What exactly this means is something that is often determined by the specific facts of each case. However, it generally means that other people need to avoid being negligent whenever being negligent could hurt someone else.
Breaching the Duty of Care
Whenever someone else does not follow through on their responsibilities under the duty of care, they breach that duty. Importantly, in Maryland, it does not matter whether they intended to breach their duty of care or not – even accidental breaches can lead to legal liability for any injuries they cause.
No matter how egregiously someone else breaches their duty of care, if their conduct does not cause your injuries, it would be unfair to hold them liable. This is why Maryland's personal injury law requires accident victims to show that their injuries were actually caused by the person or people they are filing a lawsuit against. Proving causation, though, requires two things:
- The accident victim would not have been hurt, but for the defendant's conduct, and
- The chain of cause and effect between the breach of the defendant's duty of care and the victim's injuries is not so tenuous that it would be unfair to hold the defendant liable.
Because personal injury cases focus on getting accident victims the compensation they deserve, it is left up to the victim to show all the ways that they have suffered from the accident and therefore how much compensation they deserve. When totaled, these are a victim's legal damages. In Maryland, they go far beyond just medical bills and include:
- Past and likely future costs of medical treatment,
- Lost wages and future earning potential,
- Costs to repair property damage, and
- The pain and suffering of the accident victim and their family.
Car Accidents in Chestertown
Even though it is far from the nearest interstate highway, car accidents are still the most common source of a personal injury situation in Chestertown. Other drivers owe you a duty of care to drive like a reasonably prudent person, but often seem to forget how to do so. Reckless, speeding, drunk, or distracted drivers cause numerous crashes in Chestertown every year, leaving dozens of people severely hurt through no fault of their own.
As a predominantly residential community, Chestertown is the home to many people and also to a lot of dogs, as well. Unfortunately, this increases the odds of getting hurt by a dog bite. In Maryland, dog owners are held strictly liable for the conduct of their dogs, making it unnecessary for you to show that the dog owner was at fault for your injuries in a dog bite. This makes it easier for you to get compensation for your injuries, which is incredibly important in light of the fact that children are frequently the victims of these scary and potentially life-altering incidents.
Premises Liability in Chestertown
People who own property in Chestertown owe their visitors a duty of care to keep their premises safe. If you venture onto their property and slip and fall, this could mean that the property owner breached this duty. However, your legal rights in these cases depend on your relationship with the property owner. If you were on their property with their permission, then their duty of care is much more rigid than if you were trespassing. Nevertheless, even if you were trespassing, you still have legal rights that might have been violated.
Even doctors and other medical professionals owe you a duty of care. Whether they operate in their own practice or at the University of Maryland's Shore Medical Center in Chestertown, a doctor's breach of their duty of care to provide adequate medical assistance can rise to the level of medical malpractice. While rare, these cases often lead to severe or even fatal injuries because of their internal nature and the already compromised health of many malpractice victims.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys in Chestertown
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident in Chestertown, there is no reason why you should not pursue the compensation that you deserve. If someone else caused your injuries, then you have a legal right to this compensation. Additionally, you can face significant financial strain if you do not pursue it – the cost of receiving medical care in Chestertown and the rest of the United States is shockingly high.
The personal injury lawyers at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help you enforce your legal rights and get this compensation to help cope with your injuries and make the full recovery that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (800) 529-6162 for the free consultation that will help you understand your legal rights and plan a course of action.