Ocean City is a sizeable town and popular resort city on the southeastern coast of Maryland. Located in Worcester County, it is one of the larger towns on the state's Eastern Shore, to the east of the Chesapeake Bay, which effectively splits Maryland in two. While it has a population of less than 10,000 year-round, that number swells by more than thirty times during the summer months with vacationers from Maryland and the surrounding region.
Unfortunately, just because many people are vacationing in Ocean City does not mean that they are immune from accidents. Accidents can happen anywhere in the world and at any time, and if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be the one who gets hurt. This can be especially frustrating when you know that you were not the one who caused the accident – other people act negligently all the time, and their careless conduct can end up with you getting hurt.
If this ever happens to you or someone you love in Ocean City, Maryland, you need legal representation to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can file a lawsuit against the person or the people who were ultimately responsible for your injuries. If successful, this lawsuit can make the difference between getting compensated for the losses you have suffered from the accident and having to pay for them out of your own pocket.
Ocean City is located at the southeastern corner of Maryland, in Worcester County. It is on a barrier island called Fenwick Island, which runs northwards into Delaware. Because it is separated from the mainland, there are only two ways to get to Ocean City by land in Maryland – Route 50, on the south, and Route 90, on the north.
Ocean City was an ocean resort town from its inception in the late 19th century. The first hotel was built there in 1875, the Atlantic Hotel, which is still in operation today. In 1933, the area became a fishing attraction, as well, when a hurricane created an inlet between Ocean City and Assateague Island, to the south. The inlet created a port in the area behind Ocean City from the sea, where fishing boats could dock safely while still having easy and quick access to the Atlantic Ocean.
It was not until the 1950s, though, that Ocean City became a thriving resort town. This was when bridges started being built to connect the Eastern Shore of Maryland with the rest of the mainland. In 1952, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge connected Annapolis to the Eastern Shore, and in 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel went from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, just to the south of Maryland's own Eastern Shore. These highways made it far easier for people from the bustling metropolises of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Richmond, and North Carolina to get to Ocean City's popular beaches and resorts. To accommodate all of these tourists, businesses and hotels in Ocean City began expanding, which brought in even more business. Now, Ocean City is one of the most popular vacation areas on the East Coast of the U.S., bringing in more than 8 million visitors in an average year, far eclipsing the 7,102 residents that were in the city during the 2010 census.
Personal Injury Claims in Ocean City
While it might be on a barrier island, Ocean City is still in the state of Maryland, so any accidents that happen in Ocean City will be governed by Maryland's personal injury law. This means that, in order for a personal injury claim to be successful, you will need to show that there were four different things present in your case:
- Someone else had a duty of care to keep you out of harm's way or to refrain from putting you at risk,
- That person breached this duty of care,
- That breach was the cause of your injuries, and
- You were hurt, either physically or financially, and suffered legal damages.
Duty of Care
In Maryland, everyone is supposed to act like a reasonably prudent person whenever it is foreseeable that their conduct could cause someone else to get hurt. That is the general requirement of the duty of care. While other situations might require someone else to act either more or less carefully than normal, in essence, the duty of care is a legal obligation to act in ways that keep other people safe.
Whenever someone does not uphold the responsibilities of their duty of care, they are said to be in “breach.” Importantly, Maryland personal injury law does not require the breach of the duty of care to be intentional – it can be done carelessly or even negligently. Once the duty of care is breached, the person who acted poorly can be held liable for your injuries if their conduct caused them.
Because it would be unfair to hold someone else liable for your injuries if they did not cause them, Maryland's personal injury law requires you to show that the other person was the cause of your losses. This involves two elements:
- You would not have been hurt, but for the other person's conduct, and
- You losses are not so far removed or so remote from the other person's poor conduct that it would be unfair to link them together.
Finally, because personal injury lawsuits in Maryland are all about getting accident victims the compensation they deserve, you need to show all of the ways that you were hurt and how much you have lost. In Maryland, this includes things like:
- Your medical bills,
- The cost of your medical expenses in the future for the care that you will likely need,
- The cost of the property damage you have suffered in the accident,
- Any wages you have lost during your recovery,
- Any potential income that you lost because of your injuries, and
- Payment for the pain and suffering that you and your family have gone through because of the accident.
Car Accidents in Ocean City
One of the most common kinds of personal injury cases in Maryland and Ocean City starts with a car accident. Drivers have a duty of care to other people on the road and so are supposed to drive like reasonably prudent people. Needless to say, many drivers do not take this very seriously. When they drive drunk or while texting on their cell phone and you get hurt in a crash that they cause, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses.
In Maryland, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries that their dogs cause. This is especially important in vacation spots like Ocean City, where dogs or other pets are nervous and outside of their comfort zone. This makes it more likely for you or your children to suffer a serious dog bite that can cause debilitating injuries over the long term.
Premises Liability in Ocean City
In a resort town like Ocean City, premises liability cases are far more common than they are elsewhere in Maryland or the U.S.
Property owners have a duty of care to people who enter their premises. While this duty of care changes depending on your relationship with the property owner, even if you were trespassing, you have legal rights. A premises liability case often starts when you go onto someone else's property – whether it be their front yard or into a store or hotel – and slip, fall, or get hurt in some other way.
If you were on the premises with the owner's permission or were there for his or her financial benefit – like if you were shopping in their store or staying in their hotel – then they need to take numerous steps to ensure your safety while you are on their premises. On the other hand, if you were on the premises without the owner's permission, then they do not need to do much to keep you safe because you were trespassing. However, even trespassers have legal rights, and enforcing yours if you get hurt while on someone else's property is crucial.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys in Ocean City
If you are vacationing in Ocean City, being the victim of an accident that was caused by someone else's negligence can ruin the vacation. However, if the accident was serious and your injuries were severe, the recovery time can last well past the end of your vacation and cost far more than the vacation would have. In these cases, it can be worth pursuing a personal injury case to get compensation for your losses.
This is where the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. By working as your legal representative both in and out of court, we can ensure you get the financial help you need to make a full recovery. Contact us online or call us at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.