Hagerstown is a small city in northwestern Maryland, located at the base of the Maryland panhandle that extends westward between Pennsylvania and Virginia. Hagerstown is the sixth-largest incorporated city in the state, is the largest city in the area known as Western Maryland, is the seat of Washington County, and is rapidly growing. Its location has also made it an important crossroads for much of its history, including the past few decades.
Just like all other cities and localities in the state of Maryland and the rest of the United States, though, Hagerstown is frequently the site of accidents that leave innocent people with severe personal injuries. If you or someone you love has been hurt in Hagerstown because someone else made a mistake or was negligent, you need an attorney to help you file a personal injury lawsuit. If successful, a personal injury claim can get you the compensation that you need from the person or people who ultimately caused your injury, and can mean that you do not have to pay for the cost of your recovery out of your own pocket.
This is where the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help.
The city of Hagerstown lies right at the base of the long, elongated spear of Maryland that juts westward between Pennsylvania and Virginia. Hagerstown is located in the Hagerstown-Martinsburg metropolitan area, which extends westward all the way into West Virginia and has a population of 269,140. While a rural area in the Cumberland Valley of the Appalachian Mountains, Hagerstown nevertheless had a population of 39,662 during the 2010 census. Most of the other towns in the area, especially those that are in Maryland, have fewer than 10,000 people in them.
The area surrounding Hagerstown is predominantly rural and mountainous, making it an idyllic area for scenery. The Cumberland Valley and the Appalachian Mountains make for impressive landscapes throughout western Maryland and have put Hagerstown in the middle of some of the most important events in United States history. During the Civil War, Hagerstown was caught in between the North and the South and was used as a staging ground for no fewer than four major campaigns during the war. It was also occupied by both sides at some point or another during the Civil War. This history has given Hagerstown its own unique culture and heritage, with many important buildings and historical artifacts in the area.
Hagerstown, because of its convenient location amongst the mountains, has always been an epicenter for transportation in the area. Hagerstown is at the crossroads for Interstates 70 and 81, is also the hub of numerous railroads, and even has its own regional airport. The number of railroads crisscrossing in Hagerstown has even given the city its nickname as the “Hub City” – the city has been a major piece of the Western Maryland Railway, the Pennsylvania, Norfolk and Western Railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the Hagerstown and Frederick Railroads.
The transportation industry has also been a huge part of Hagerstown's local economy over the course of its history. Its biggest employer from the 1930s to the 1980s was Fairchild Aircraft. During World War II, Fairchild was employing nearly 80% of Hagerstown's 10,000-person workforce. In 1984, though, Fairchild left the city, eventually becoming the company M7 Aerospace. However, the aviation industry has still left its mark in Hagerstown in the form of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum and the Hagerstown Regional Airport.
Since the sudden disappearance of the city's main industrial employers, Hagerstown has rebounded into a diversified economy and has even become the fastest growing area in Maryland and one of the fastest growing locales in the country.
Personal Injury Claims in Hagerstown
Because of its location at the apex of some of the region's busiest highways, though, Hagerstown is also the spot where numerous car crashes and other accidents can happen. While all personal injury situations are different, from car accidents to medical malpractice, there are four elements that every accident has:
- Someone else owed you a duty of care,
The law in Hagerstown and the rest of Maryland requires people act reasonably with respect to others. This is the duty of care that people have towards others. What “acting reasonably” means, though, depends on the specific situation at play. However, one of the biggest factors in whether someone else owed you a duty of care is whether it was foreseeable for you to get hurt because of what they did.
- That person breached their duty of care,
If someone else owed you a duty of care and then they do not uphold it, they breach that duty of care. Even if they did not want to breach their duty of care, the law will still hold them liable for any injuries that result because of their negligence.
- That breach caused you to get hurt, and
Even if someone else was exceptionally negligent in what they did, you still have to show that their conduct was the cause of your injuries. This requires that you show two things:
- But for what the other person did, you would not have gotten hurt, and
- The other person's conduct was not so far away from your actual injury that it would be unfair to hold them liable.
- You were, in fact, hurt by what they did.
Finally, because personal injury lawsuits are all about getting accident victims the compensation that they deserve, you have to show that you were hurt in the accident. This goes beyond just showing that you needed medical attention from the accident. It can also include things like lost wages, both in the past and in the future, as well as the cost of your pain and suffering, the losses suffered by your family members and others close to you, and other financial losses that you had to work through because of the accident and your resulting injuries.
One of the most common scenarios that lead to a personal injury lawsuit is a car accident. Because Hagerstown is at the crossroads of so many major highways, these are especially prevalent in the area.
Drivers have a duty of care to the others on the road to keep them reasonably safe. However, people drive negligently or while inebriated or distracted all the time. When they do this and it causes a crash that ends up hurting you, you stand to get compensation from them for your injuries.
Another common source of a personal injury lawsuit is a dog bite. Despite what every dog owner thinks of their pet, dogs can get defensive, protective, or annoyed at someone. This can lead to a dog attack that ends with someone getting bitten and seriously hurt. Unfortunately, in Hagerstown and elsewhere, the people who are most often victimized by dog bites are young children. This makes the injuries that they suffer all the more urgent, because they can be debilitating over a longer period of time, and can impact how they grow up.
Slip and Falls
While owning property in a city like Hagerstown is a goal for many of the people in America, there are legal responsibilities that come with owning property. Landowners or business owners owe a duty of care to those who visit them, and breaching that duty of care can create premises liability if it causes someone else to get hurt.
This is true even if you were trespassing on the property. While the duty of care that property owners owe you is far less stringent if you do not have permission to be on the premises, that does not mean that you have no rights and that landowners can do whatever they want. Your rights, however, increase when you have been invited to the property and reach a high point if you are there for the financial benefit of the property owner, like if the landowner runs a business on the premises and you are there to shop.
Like other cities of comparable size, Hagerstown has its share of doctors and hospitals, like the Meritus Medical Center. Doctors and other medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care to keep them reasonably safe during a medical procedure. However, like all other human beings, doctors can make mistakes. When this happens, it can amount to medical malpractice, which often causes severe or even fatal injuries.
Hagerstown Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Being the victim of an accident is frustrating, no matter where you are. You can find yourself struggling to get better, facing years of a debilitating medical condition, and in the financial quandary of paying your medical bills.
This is why it is important to contact a personal injury attorney if you have been hurt in Hagerstown. By getting an attorney involved, you can rest assured that you are getting professional legal help that can serve you both in and out of court to get you the compensation that you need to recover, and that you deserve.
Contact the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online.