Negligence in Maryland: What Needs to be Proven in Court

The following is what you should know about what needs to be proven in Maryland court for a negligence based injury case. To discuss the specifics of your case call and schedule a consultation with a Maryland injury attorney today.

In a negligence-based case you have to prove two things. You have to prove that the actions of the person you are suing were the proximate cause of your injury and that it caused some form of measurable damage.

In order to prove negligence you have to show that there was a duty between the person who caused the accident and the person who was injured and that person has breached that duty through their actions and that that breach of activity was the approximate cause or closely related to the damages and that there was actual damages.

Read below to learn more about each of these terms.


Overall, people and business owners have some responsibility toward the care of others which is known as duty.

An example of duty is a property owner’s relationship to people passing by to keep the sidewalks and walkways free from debris and garbage and dirt and snow and ice and things like that. They also had a duty to warn of a hidden or known dangers to keep premises in a reasonable safe condition.

Another example is a driver on the roadway who has a duty to make sure that they are driving in a reasonable manner so as not to harm any other vehicles on the road. Also to owe a duty to follow all traffic laws.

In the case of a doctor, they have the duty to advise his patients or her patients of any procedures that they will perform and the risks and probabilities of success of any of those procedures and also to perform to the standard of care that a regular, reasonable medical professional in that field of care or in that field of medicine would do the same procedure.


Overall a breach means failing to be up to standard of whatever duty was required of you. So for example if a driver is following too closely and not paying full attention to the roadway, and they end up rear-ending someone. That is a breach for an automobile accident because the driver failed to do what was required of them.

In terms of a property or premises liability case a breach would be if there was a hole in the sidewalk, a leaky spill, or perhaps some debris that someone can slip over. That a property owner has failed to fix one of these things and as a result someone was injured means that they have breached their duty to keep the premises in a reasonable safe condition.

Those are just two examples of negligent actions that would be considered the breach of the duty owed to the person who is suing them or who is injured by some of their actions.

Proximate Cause

In addition to duty and breach of duty, proximate cause is the next step in winning a negligence based injury case in Maryland. It simply means that the breach of duty was what led to your injury.

For example, if there is a hole in a sidewalk and it causes someone to fall in and twist an ankle or break a foot then you would be able to argue that the negligence or breach of the duty being the hole on the sidewalk caused someone to fall and be injured. These are examples wherein the breach of duty and/or negligent actions were a proximate cause of someone’s injury.