La Plata is a small city in southern Maryland near the wide Potomac River. Because of its location directly south of Washington, D.C., La Plata is a popular residential neighborhood for people who work in the nation's capital, which explains its steady growth in the past several decades. In fact, La Plata has begun to reach the size of a city that develops its own business attractions and culture.
Nevertheless, La Plata cannot grow out of the fact that, like other cities in the U.S., accidents can happen within its city limits, leaving unfortunate victims with serious personal injuries to recover from. Should this ever happen to you or to someone that you love, getting compensated for your losses can be crucial for your future well-being. This is why Maryland allows accident victims to file personal injury claims against the person or people who ultimately caused their injuries. Succeeding in such a claim, though, is not always easy. The personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian, however, have helped numerous clients in Maryland get the compensation that they needed and deserved to make a full recovery.
The city of La Plata is the county seat of Charles County, located near the southern tip of the state of Maryland on the peninsula between the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. La Plata became the county seat when the river that supported the first county seat, Port Tobacco, silted over. This ruined the river and made Port Tobacco's port, which once had access to the Chesapeake Bay and, through that, the Atlantic Ocean, completely useless. Port Tobacco wilted as a city, going from the second-largest town in Maryland in the 18th and early-19th centuries into the smallest incorporated town in the state, with only 13 people living there during the 2010 census.
Most of these people had moved to nearby La Plata, which grew steadily alongside the development of nearby Washington, D.C. and was helped by rail lines that went right through the middle of the town. Both of these contributed significantly to the fact that La Plata had reached a population of 8,753 during the 2010 census.
Now, La Plata gets much of its business and bustle from being not only near Washington, D.C. but also for being on Route 301 which, in 1940, benefitted from the opening of the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge. This Bridge is the southernmost span of the Potomac River and reaches from Maryland to Virginia over its 1.7-mile length. Despite being only a single lane in each direction, the Bridge is popular because it allows drivers to avoid Route 1 and Interstate 95, both of which go through the Washington, D.C. area and are often very congested with traffic. In 2014 alone, the Bridge handled an estimated 6.4 million vehicles.
The growth of La Plata has led to an increased development in its downtown area, as enough people become unsatisfied with living in just a commuter town and want more things to do in their immediate surroundings. This has led to the opening of several shopping centers in the area, bringing more social attractions and nightlife to the region.
Personal Injury Claims in La Plata
Because La Plata is still in the state, Maryland's personal injury law applies to any accidents that fall within a Maryland court's jurisdiction. This means that, if you are going to pursue a personal injury case against the person who caused the accident that led to your injuries, you will need to show that four different things were present at the time of the incident:
- The other person owed you a duty of care to ensure your safety,
- That duty of care was breached,
- That breach of the duty of care was the cause of your injuries, and
- You suffered legal damages, typically physical or financial, in the accident.
The Duty of Care in Maryland
Everyone in Maryland has a legal obligation to act like a reasonably prudent person whenever it is foreseeable that their conduct could hurt someone else. Generally, this means that other people need to keep from acting negligently when they interact with you. If they fail to uphold this duty of care, then they are said to be in breach of their duty of care, which can make them liable for injuries that result.
Breaching the Duty of Care
Whenever someone fails to uphold their duty of care, they have breached it and are responsible for any injuries that it causes. Importantly, breaching the duty of care does not have to be done intentionally in the state of Maryland – even if the breach was accidental, it can still lead to liability.
If someone else had a duty of care towards you and then they breached it, that does not automatically mean that they will have to compensate you for your losses under Maryland law. Instead, you still have to show that their conduct was the cause of your injuries. This has two elements to it:
- But for the other person's actions, you would not have been hurt, and
- The other person's actions were not so remote from your injuries that it would be unfair to link them together.
Once it has been shown that someone else had a duty of care towards you, that they breached it, and that this breach was the cause of your injuries, Maryland personal injury law allows you to be compensated for all of your legal damages. These include things like your past medical bills as well as those that are likely to accumulate in the future, your lost wages and any lost ability to make money, the cost of fixing any property damage, and the pain and suffering of both you and your family.
Car Accidents in La Plata
In La Plata and the rest of the United States, one of the most common situations that create a personal injury case is a car accident. Drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to drive reasonably safe. However, many drivers do not take this legal responsibility very seriously and drive while distracted or under the influence all the time.
Because it is still such a residential community, dog bites are common in La Plata. Pet owners are often convinced that their dogs will not attack anyone, but are frequently wrong. Unfortunately, when they are, it is typically too late to make a difference. Worse, children are the most likely to be the victim of a dog bite. This makes it crucial to get the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve – it can mean the difference between making a full recovery and being unable to keep up with accumulating medical bills.
Whenever you are on property that is not your own, there exists the potential for accidentally slipping or falling on a dangerous area. If this happens in La Plata, it is often the fault of the person who owns the property for not keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition.
This is why Maryland personal injury law puts a duty of care on people who own or who are in control of the property. Because breaching this duty of care can cause an injury, it can open property owners up to premises liability. The duty of care that property owners need to uphold, though, depends on their relationship with you. If you have their permission to be in the area, or if you are there for their financial benefit, they need to take extra precaution to keep you safe. However, even if you are trespassing, you still have legal rights.
Medical Malpractice in La Plata
Doctors and other medical professionals, including at the Charles Regional Health Center, have a duty of care to their patients to provide reasonable medical attention. If they breach this duty of care, you could find yourself the victim of medical malpractice. While these are the rarest kinds of personal injury claims, the injuries that happen from medical malpractice are some of the most severe you can suffer and are often fatal. Enforcing your legal rights after you or someone you love has been hurt in medical malpractice is crucial because of how serious the injuries can be.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys in La Plata
If you have been the victim of an accident that happened in La Plata, you should seriously consider enforcing your legal right to compensation for your losses. Taking the necessary steps can make a huge difference in the outcome of your situation, and can remove the financial stress of having to pay for the recovery you have had to go through because of something that someone else did to you.
This is where the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. By legally representing you both in and out of court, we can get you the financial compensation you need. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.