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Takoma Park, Maryland, is a suburb of Washington, D.C., bordering the District of Columbia to the northeast. Takoma Park was founded in the late 19th century specifically as a commuter town – one of the first commuter towns in the country – because of its close proximity to Washington, D.C., and its location right on the nascent Metropolitan Brach of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Despite being a residential suburb, Takoma Park has its fair share of accidents and injuries. People are negligent everywhere, and Takoma Park is no exception. Unfortunately, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be the victim in one of these accidents and suffer significant personal injuries that take time and money to recover from.
When this is the case, you need a personal injury attorney to represent you in and out of court to ensure you get the compensation you deserve from the people who hurt you. The lawyers at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help by being your legal representative and filing a personal injury claim on your behalf.
Takoma Park is a small city in central Maryland, with a population of 16,715 during the 2010 census. It was founded in 1883 and incorporated as a city in 1890, making it one of the very first commuter suburbs in the country. The fact that Takoma Park bordered a then rapidly expanding Washington, D.C. and was located directly on the path of the largest railroad in the area made the area a prime candidate for development. The city formed when Benjamin Franklin Gilbert started buying property around the railroad, clearing the trees on it, and selling plots of land to builders and contractors. By 1889, there were 235 homes in Takoma Park, and the town was incorporated as a city the following year, with Gilbert serving as the first mayor. Many of these initial homes built in Takoma Park have historical significance because of their Victorian architecture and led to the formation of the Takoma Park Historic District in 1976.
Takoma Park continued to grow rapidly through World War II, filling with people who worked in Washington, D.C., but who wanted a more suburban lifestyle outside of the city.
Following the war, Takoma Park gained a reputation as a hotspot of political activism which has pervaded the town’s culture to the present day. In the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, a proposal that would have crisscrossed Takoma Park with major highways was met with such resistance that it was scrapped and replaced with plans to put a Metro line running to Takoma Park from Washington, D.C.
Since this success, the activism and counterculture feeling in Takoma Park has continued. The area is known for its local folk music festivals, its vibrant arts scene, and farmers’ markets, all of which contribute to the community and culture of Takoma Park. However, recent years have seen a lot of gentrification, boosting the cost of living in Takoma Park to such an extent that many of the artists who used to call the area home have been forced to move out. One of the biggest blows came when group homes and apartment buildings began being remodeled back into single-family houses and zoning was used to break up clusters of tenants sharing living space.
Personal Injury Claims in Takoma Park
Getting hurt in an accident that was caused by someone else is frustrating, in Takoma Park as much as anywhere else. Knowing that you were the innocent one and that you were only hurt because someone else was negligent, made a mistake, or was not paying attention can leave you feeling violated, and that it is unfair to expect you to pay for your injuries.
The state of Maryland recognizes the unfairness, though, and allows personal injury claims so you can make a formal request that someone else pay for the losses they have caused. To succeed on one of these claims, there have to be four elements present in the accident that led to your injury:
- Someone else had a responsibility to keep you out of harm’s way, known as the duty of care,
- That person failed to uphold that duty, breaching it,
- That breach was the cause of your injuries, and
- You suffered financial or physical damages or injuries.
The Duty of Care
In order to succeed in a personal injury case in Takoma Park or Maryland, you need to show that the person you are filing the claim against had a legal duty to keep you safe. The duty of care typically requires other people to act like a reasonably prudent person, given the circumstances they find themselves in. Generally speaking, this means they need to refrain from conduct that would foreseeably lead to an injury to you or someone else, though the exact situation surrounding your injury can alter the duty of care that you were owed by someone else.
1. Breach of the Duty of Care
Once it has been established what someone else needed to do to keep you reasonably safe, your personal injury claim needs to show that this person failed in that duty. Whenever someone else fails to uphold the duty of care that they owed you, they can be held liable for whatever injuries were the result of their conduct, regardless of whether they intended you to get hurt or not. After all, even if someone else was just being negligent, you have been seriously hurt and are less culpable than they are for your injuries.
Even if someone else owed you a duty of care and then failed to uphold it, that does not automatically make them financially responsible for your injuries. Their conduct has to have caused your injuries, too. Just as it is unfair for you to go without compensation for your injuries, it is unfair to expect someone who did not cause your injuries to pay you for them.
In Maryland, showing that someone else’s conduct was the cause of your losses requires you to show two different things:
- You would not have gotten hurt in the accident, but for the other person’s conduct, and
- The other person’s conduct was not so far removed from your injuries that it would be unfair for them to compensate you.
3. Damages or Losses
Finally, because personal injury cases focus on getting you the compensation that you need to cover your losses (known as ‘damages‘), the last stage of a claim deals with the exact amount of compensation you would need to get. This is determined by counting all the ways you have been hurt and what they have cost you, out of your own pocket, and can include not only medical bills but also lost wages and you and your family’s pain and suffering.
In Takoma Park, one of the most common personal injury claims is a car accident. People have a duty of care to drive reasonably safely, but few of them take that responsibility seriously. When someone else drives recklessly or even negligently and that creates a crash that causes you to get hurt, they can be liable for your losses.
Dog bites are another common source of personal injury claims, especially in residential towns like Takoma Park. When dogs get protective, they can lash out at perceived threats, especially children who may not realize when a dog is getting aggravated.
Slip and Falls
Business and property owners owe people who visit their premises a duty of care. When they fail to uphold that duty and someone gets hurt because of a hazard or other danger on the property, they can face premises liability. Even if you were trespassing on someone else’s land, you have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
One of the leading employers in Takoma Park is the Washington Adventist Hospital, which employs numerous doctors and other specialists and healthcare professionals. These medical professionals – as well as those running their own practices outside of the Hospital – owe their patients a duty of care, as well. If they breach this duty of care, it can amount to medical malpractice. While medical malpractice is a rare form of personal injury case when it does happen it often leads to debilitating or fatal injuries because the victim is often already in poor health.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys in Takoma Park
Accidents happen in all shapes and sizes. Some are minor and unlikely to hurt anyone, but others are severe and can put numerous people at risk of a fatal or permanently disabling injury.
If you are the victim in an accident that someone else caused, you could be entitled to financial compensation for the injuries that you suffered. Hiring the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can be the best way to enforce your legal rights and get the compensation that you need to make a full recovery and that you deserve to receive. Contact us online or call us at (800) 529-6162 for legal representation.