If you suffered a severe car accident injury and believe someone else was to blame, your word is insufficient. It isn’t enough to just say that someone ran a red light or there was no “wet floor” sign near the slippery sidewalk. You must prove negligence in a personal injury claim or lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries. Once negligence has been established, the defendant can be held financially accountable for their actions.

What Is Negligence in Personal Injury?

Most accidents occur because someone was careless. If their carelessness is below a legally understood standard, their conduct is deemed ‘negligent,’ and the person or their insurance company will be liable for the damages caused. Negligence also is when someone fails to exercise the proper level of care and causes an accident.

Common types of negligence are:

  • Running a red light and hitting another vehicle
  • Texting and driving and striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • A surgeon who operates on the wrong body part
  • A physician who fails to diagnose a serious medical condition

How to Prove Negligence In a Personal Injury Claim?

Below is how personal injury negligence must be proven in a Maryland personal injury claim to receive compensation. If you have questions about your case, Pinder Plotkin can assist with your personal injury case, whether it settles or goes to trial.

In a case based on negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions caused or contributed to the injuries and that those actions caused damages. Furthermore, to prove negligence, you must demonstrate that the person who caused the accident had a duty of care to you and breached that duty, and that breach led to your injuries and damages.


Generally, people and businesses have a duty of care to one another. For example, a store owner’s duty to people walking by is to keep the path free of ice and debris that could cause you to slip and fall. They also have a duty to warn you if a slippery, wet floor is inside their premises.

Another example is a truck driver who has a duty to drive safely and not harm others. In addition, all drivers on the road have a duty to obey Maryland traffic laws outlined in the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code.

A doctor has a duty to tell patients about any medical procedures they will perform and the potential risks and benefits. They also must perform procedures at a high standard of care that another reasonable physician would use in the same procedure.


A breach means not living up to the standard that was required. For instance, if a truck driver ran a red light and slammed into your SUV, they breached their duty of care to obey Maryland traffic laws.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause is the next part of winning a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. It just means that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. So, for instance, if someone rear-ended your car at a red light in Maryland and you got whiplash, you could argue that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of your injury.


As the plaintiff, you must prove that you have damages from the accident caused by the defendant breaching their duty of care. There are three types of damages in Maryland personal injury cases:


Economic damages under Maryland law include loss of wages and medical expenses. These damages include past and future medical costs as well as lost wages. These damages are relatively easy to prove with medical bills and pay stubs.


Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and physical impairment. The insurance company will probably argue you have less pain and suffering than you do. It’s your attorney’s job to prove your pain and suffering with medical evidence to obtain the best case outcome.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for illegal or unacceptable conduct that caused your injuries. These damages also are created to deter other bad behavior by that person in the future. These are rare in Maryland.

Contributory Negligence in Maryland

Maryland is only one of five US jurisdictions that uses contributory negligence to determine fault in accidents. The law states that if you are only 1% at fault for an accident, you cannot receive compensation in a claim or lawsuit.

Therefore, it is critical in a Maryland personal injury claim to prove the other party was 100% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Your attorney will review your case with this fact in mind to determine if there is a path to recovery or settlement.

Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer Now

Were you hurt because of someone’s negligence in a Maryland accident? You could be entitled to compensation, but you must prove negligence, or you are barred from recovery. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Pinder Plotkin will fight to prove negligence in your case and hold the defendant liable for your losses. Contact us today.

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