Havre de Grace (pronounced Have-ruh duh Grace) is a small city in northeastern Maryland, near where Maryland borders Pennsylvania and Delaware. Sitting on the Chesapeake Bay, Havre de Grace was founded early in the history of the United States but has since become a largely residential community for workers commuting to either Wilmington or into Baltimore. Nevertheless, the town has kept its colonial charm more than most communities in the country and has been listed as one of the best small towns to visit.
While it might be a tourist attraction, that does not mean that tragic accidents cannot happen while you are inside the boundaries of Havre de Grace. Other people are often negligent or do not think about what they are doing, and this can result in you suffering a significant or life-changing injury. If this ever happens to you, it can make you feel victimized because you were completely innocent and minding your own business when you got hurt by someone else.
This is why Maryland allows people to file personal injury claims. A personal injury lawsuit is a formal request that the person who caused your injury compensate you for your losses, and is based on the idea that, between you and the person who caused the accident – even if they caused the accident negligently or unintentionally – you are the more innocent of the two and should not have to pay for your losses out of your own pocket. In these lawsuits, the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help you get the best result possible.
Havre de Grace
Havre de Grace is a small and cozy city that had a population of 12,952 during the 2010 census. The city's name, which is French for “harbor of grace,” came in the city's early days during Revolutionary War. The French general Marquis de Lafayette passed through the city several times during his campaigns along the eastern seaboard. During one of these trips through the city, which was then known as Harmer's Town, Lafayette mentioned how it reminded him of the French coastal town Le Havre. The residents of the city renamed it Havre de Grace in honor of the charismatic French general when they incorporated as a town in 1785.
Soon after incorporating into a town, the iconic lighthouse in Havre de Grace was built. Standing since 1827 where the Susquehanna River empties into the Chesapeake Bay, and at the end of Lafayette Street in the downtown area, the Concord Point Lighthouse is a tourist attraction that is still open to visitors. Nearby, other museums highlight the colonial importance of the town and its rich history as a maritime center in the early years of the United States.
Since its colonial heyday, Havre de Grace turned into a commuter town where residents enjoyed the incredible outdoors at home and drove to work in nearby cities like Baltimore and Wilmington. In recent years, however, Havre de Grace has evolved more and more into a community of retired Americans. During the 2010 census, the median age of Havre de Grace was 41.9 years, with 13.9% of the population aged 65 or older. Since then, even more senior citizens have moved into the area, attracted by its old-time charm, quaint, colonial feel, and its laid back attitude that fits in nicely with a relaxed schedule. These traits, however, are not just for seniors: They were enough for the Smithsonian Magazine to rank Havre de Grace #12 in their list of the 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.
Personal Injury Claims in Havre de Grace
Just because it is one of the best small towns in the country does not mean that accidents cannot happen to you in Havre de Grace. People who are minding their own business get hurt because of someone else's mistake or negligence all the time, including in Havre de Grace. If this happens to you, there are legal rights that you can enforce that will make the person or people who were ultimately responsible for your losses to compensate you appropriately. Those legal rights are embodied in Maryland's personal injury law. However, to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, you have the burden of showing that there were four elements at play in the accident that caused your injuries:
- Someone else had a responsibility – a legal duty of care – to keep you out of harm's way,
- That person breached their duty of care,
- That breach was the cause of your injuries, and
- You were, in fact, hurt or damaged in some way.
The Legal Duty of Care
In Maryland, everyone has to behave and act like a reasonably prudent person when it is foreseeable that their conduct could cause someone else to get hurt. While there are exceptions and nuances to this rule, this is the bedrock on which personal injury law stands. Of course, this raises the issue of what, exactly, a reasonably prudent person would do. The answer is driven largely by the particular circumstances of your case and is frequently a question that the jury will have to answer if your case goes all the way to trial.
Breaching the Duty of Care
If the other person owed you a duty of care, but then did not act in a way that complied with it, that is a breach of the duty of care and the other person could be held liable for the injuries that result. This is the case even if the breach of care was not done intentionally. Regardless of whether the other person wanted to breach their duty of care towards you, the fact remains that you were hurt through no fault of your own, so you should be compensated for your losses.
Even if someone else owed you a duty of care and then breached it, if that breach was not the cause of your injuries then it would be unfair to expect them to compensate you for what you have lost. Instead, to win a personal injury case, you need to show that your injuries were caused by the person you are suing, which requires two elements:
- You would not have been hurt, but for the other person's conduct, and
- What the other person did is not so far removed from your injuries that it would be unfair to require them to reimburse you for your losses.
Because personal injury cases are all about getting compensation, taking account of all of the ways you have been hurt by the accident is required, as well. When taken all together, these are your legal damages and go far beyond just the price of your medical bills. Your damages can also include your lost wages, your lost earning potential in the future, and the pain and suffering that both you and your family have gone through because of your injuries.
Havre de Grace, like many other communities in the United States, is the frequent site of a car accident. These crashes create more personal injury cases than any other kind of accident. In fact, because it is the home to many older residents, Havre de Grace likely sees car crashes at a higher rate than many other areas of the country.
Dog bites are another common source for a personal injury claim. Pet owners in Havre de Grace are often convinced that their dog will not attack someone else, so by the time they reign their pet in, it is already too late. Unfortunately, most dog bite victims are young children who do not know when to back away from a dog that is becoming aggressive. When this is the case, long-term debilitations and disfigurations make getting adequate compensation essential.
Business and landowners in Havre de Grace have a duty of care to keep others safe when they are on their property. If they do not uphold this duty of care, they can face premises liability. This is the case even if you were on their land without their permission: You still have legal rights as a trespasser.
While a rare kind of personal injury claim, medical malpractice situations often involve devastating or fatal injuries. Doctors and hospitals in Havre de Grace have a duty of care to provide reasonable medical care, and if they fail to uphold this standard they can commit medical malpractice. Unfortunately, because patients typically see a doctor only if their health has been compromised, medical malpractice can lead to injuries that are far worse than normal.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys in Havre de Grace
Like elsewhere in the country, accidents can happen in Havre de Grace. When they are serious, getting the compensation that you need to make a full recovery is crucial, and the best way to make this happen is by filing a personal injury claim.
The personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian are here to help you through this process. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for the legal help that you need.