Washington County is a county in northwestern Maryland, forming the base of the state's panhandle between Pennsylvania, to the north, and the Virginias, to the south. Because it is situated in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, much of Washington County has been long dominated by coal mining and its attendant industries. As a result, recent years have been a struggle for many of its residents who rely on these sectors of the economy.
No matter where you go in the U.S., accidents can happen that end with you getting hurt through no fault of your own. Some of the injuries that are suffered in accidents every year in Washington County are serious, with many of them permanently debilitating or even fatal. When the accident that caused your injuries only happened because someone else was acting negligently, it can be especially frustrating because there was nothing that you did wrong and often no way for you to have avoided the accident.
If this should ever happen to you or to someone you love in Washington County, getting legal representation can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Without getting an attorney to help, you may be put in a position where you will have to pay for the costs of your recovery without being able to count on being compensated by the person or the people who were ultimately responsible for your injuries. This leaves you in a dire financial predicament, and lets the ones who wronged you move on with their lives in a way that cannot.
Washington County is the county in Maryland that is at the easternmost end of the panhandle that extends westwards between Pennsylvania and both Virginia and West Virginia. Because it is in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, much of Washington County is hilly and mountainous, preventing towns of significant size in many areas of the county. While there are 458 square miles of land area in Washington County, there were only 147,430 people there during the 2010 census, for a population density of 322 people per square mile. Many of its residents live in the central part of the county, in the Great Appalachian Valley, where cities like the county seat, Hagerstown, have taken hold. In part, because the mountainous eastern and western portions of Washington County have made it difficult for large towns to form, Hagerstown is one of the largest communities in western Maryland, with a population of 39,662 during the 2010 census.
While the rest of Maryland has exploded in rapid population growth because of the expansion of Washington, D.C. and its suburbs, Washington County has been too far away to benefit. Instead, its population has only grown slowly. However, unlike many other areas in the Appalachians, residents of Washington County have managed to avoid a steep economic fallout due to a lack of non-urban jobs. While the household income in Washington County is still low, especially for the state of Maryland, at $52,994 during the 2010 census, only 10.4% of the population was under the federal poverty level.
Personal Injury in Washington County
If someone else acts negligently and this causes an accident that leaves you injured, it can be incredibly frustrating because you were not to blame for the pain and the suffering that you are likely going through. In many of these cases, innocent victims had little or no chance to avoid the accident, either: They were just minding their own business when something happened that ended with the getting seriously hurt.
In Washington County, many of these kinds of situations happen on the road in car accidents. The worst of these occur on Interstate 70, which winds its way through the heart of the county and through some of its most populous areas. Other accidents happen on someone else's property – like a tourist destination such as the historical sites in Washington County – and were caused by the landowner failing to take proper care of their premises. Finally, some of the most serious kinds of personal injury situations happen in the place where you would least expect them to – a hospital.
Interstate 70 Auto Accidents
In Maryland, drivers are legally required to operate their vehicles reasonably safely for the road conditions that they face. However, as anyone who drives can attest to, very few of the people on the road seem to take that responsibility very seriously. Many drivers on the roads of Maryland speed, weave in and out of traffic, or drive while distracted or even while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They put countless other drivers at risk of a serious car accident.
In Washington County, Interstate 70 is where the worst of these accidents often occur. This stretch of highway runs nearly the whole way across the county, and passes through cities and towns like Hagerstown, Clear Spring, and Hancock. The high speeds that people traveling along Interstate 70 result in accidents that are far more serious than they would have been, had they happened on a less major thoroughfare. The severity of these accidents, however, make the injuries that are suffered even worse.
Injuries on Government Property
Because of its location on the front lines of the Civil War, Washington County has some of the most interesting and vivid historical sites from the Civil War. Among these, the Antietam National Battlefield is widely regarded as one of the best, with 2,743 acres preserved by state, local, and even federal organizations.
However, if land or a building is being held open to the public, whether in a for profit venture or a non-profit one, then the people or organizations behind the enterprise need to take reasonable steps to ensure that the people who are drawn to the area are kept reasonably safe. Hazardous conditions like potholes, broken stairs, or hidden electrical sources need to be fixed or warnings need to be given to ensure innocent visitors do not become innocent victims. If something should go wrong and you slip and fall and get hurt, you could stand to get compensated by the landowner through premises liability.
Medical Malpractice at Meritus Health
One of the most severe kinds of personal injuries that you can suffer in Washington County is a medical malpractice injury. Whether you are seeing a doctor for a routine checkup or a surgeon for a major medical procedure if mistakes are made you could find yourself drastically worse off than when you went to the hospital. This is because your health is often compromised, already, when you see a healthcare professional to have a procedure done, or you count on the expertise of a doctor's diagnosis to rest assured that you in good health. If a medical professional is negligent, it can further deteriorate your condition or miss a potentially serious medical issue that you then suffer from.
In Washington County, one of the places that this happens most often is at Meritus Health, Washington County's main hospital in Hagerstown. With nearly 3,000 employees, Meritus Health is able to provide a huge volume of medical services, from cancer screenings to complex surgeries. The sheer volume of patients they see makes medical malpractice there just a matter of time.
Washington County Courthouse
If you get hurt in Washington County and decide to pursue your legal rights to compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the person or the parties who hurt you, your case will go before either the Washington County District Court, if it is a small claim, or the Washington County Circuit Court. Both of these courthouses are located in the county seat of Hagerstown, with the District Court located at 36 West Antietam Street, and the Circuit Court at 24 Summit Avenue. Metered parking for both courts is available on the streets in the central Hagerstown area, while two parking garages for longer appearances in court are located at 25 North Potomac Street and at 25 Renaissance Way.
Importantly, filing a personal injury claim in Maryland has to be done within the state's statute of limitations. For most kinds of personal injury lawsuits in Maryland, this is three years after the accident occurred.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Accident Victims in Washington County
When someone else acts negligently and they cause an accident that ends with you getting hurt, there is no reason why they should not be the ones who pay for their mistake. After all, it is bad enough that you were the one to get hurt and have to go through the pain and suffering of your injury and the expense of fixing it.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian fight for accident victims. By working as your advocate in court, we seek to recover the costs that are owed to you by the person or the people responsible for your losses. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.