As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we often hear people ask, “What is a tort?”
There is a lot of jargon used for legal purposes that can confuse the average person— and “tort” is one of them. However, as foreign as the word may seem rolling off of your tongue, it’s really quite a simple concept that refers to a wrongful act that violates civil law.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what tort law is and how it can affect a Maryland car accident claim. If you have further questions or need help with a case, don’t hesitate to reach out. One of our attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can assist you.
What Is Maryland Tort Law?
Tort law is an area of law concerning civil suits, and civil suits are just another way of saying any claim that can arise in civil court. The primary concern of tort law is to address wrongful or negligent acts and to protect the victim of the wrongdoing by providing them with relief in the form of compensation for damages.
So, when someone asks, “What is a tort?” the most straightforward answer is that it is an act that causes harm to another. But more specifically, a tort is a civil wrong that has been committed, and the victim who has been wronged has the right to file a claim or a civil suit against the guilty party.
There are generally three categories of torts:
- Intentional torts: An act that was done on purpose with the intention of causing harm, such as hitting or striking someone.
- Negligent torts: An act that was not done on purpose, but the at fault party was not providing proper attention or using reasonable efforts to keep others safe, which eventually resulted in harm to another. An example of this could be a car collision.
- Strict liability torts: The law in Maryland has certain times where the at fault individual is automatically found at fault. An example of this could be if a dog is running at large and bite’s another individual.
Is a Car Accident a Tort?
Yes, a car accident is a tort. Car accidents fall under the negligent torts category.
When you drive a vehicle, you are required to uphold a duty of care by operating your vehicle in a way so as not to cause harm to others. When you breach that duty, such as by speeding or running a red light, you are considered negligent and thus liable for the injuries and other damages you caused as a result of the accident.
Examples of vehicle accident torts can include:
- Passenger vehicle accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Public transit accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Car accident
Other kinds of torts besides car accidents can include:
- Battery and assault
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability
- Dog attacks
Filing a Car Accident Tort Claim
When you file a car accident tort claim, you must prove that someone else was liable in order to recover compensation for damages. In other words, you must show that someone else’s negligent actions were the cause of your injuries.
As mentioned above, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with care so as not to cause harm to others; if they breach that duty, they can be held liable. In addition, a dog owner has to keep their dog from running at large. So when you file a claim for a car accident or dog bite tort, you must provide evidence to show how the other party acted negligently and breached their duty.
If you are unable to provide sufficient evidence in a car accident or dog bite tort case, you might not receive the full settlement or compensation you deserve. This is why it is often necessary to work with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you with your tort claim.
When you file a tort claim, your attorney can help by making sure all necessary paperwork is filed and ensuring sufficient evidence is provided to prove fault. Insurance companies like to try to reduce claim amounts by denying fault, but this is harder for them to do when you have a professional attorney fighting for your rights and arguing your case.
Evidence or factors that are considered damages that can play a role in your dog bite or car accident tort claim and how much money you are awarded can include:
- Medical expenses from your injuries
- Lost wages from having to miss work while recovering
- How much pain and suffering you experience
- How the collision/dog biteand the injuries have affected your emotional state
- How the injuries have altered your life, such as a permanent impairment limiting your mobility or cognitive function
- Personal property that was damaged in the accident, such as car damage or damage to a dog
Have a Legal Question About a Personal Injury? We Have Answers.
At Zirkin and Schmerling Law, our team of attorneys is dedicated to helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve. We have experience handling various tort cases and know what it takes to prove that our clients deserve full and fair compensation for their damages. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys today.