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Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

I frequently get an email that is some version of this one on the diminished value of cars after a crash:

Hello Professor Miller,

It’s [name withheld], and I took Sports Law from you (really learned a lot by the way). Anyway, the reason, for my [voicemail], and why I’m writing is because I have a friend who has a problem. He purchased what I believed was an SUV, brand new in 2006. A few months ago it was stolen and vandalized. The police were eventually able to recover it, but it was totaled. According to my friend the blue book values the car at a certain amount, but the insurance company is not willing to pay him anything near the blue book value of the car. The more time passes the more the value decreases. My friend would like to recover the fair value of his vehicle and would like to know what his recovery rights are. I am sure you are incredibly busy, but my friend also wanted me to refer him to someone I trusted and was an expert in insurance law.

The general statute of limitations in Maryland is three years, as set forth in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101. This is the “default” statute of limitations that applies unless another limitation period is applicable. Master Fin., Inc. v. Crowder, 409 Md. 51, 70, 972 A.2d 864, 875 (2009).

I’ve seen statistics that nearly a third of all legal malpractice claims arise out of personal injury lawyers blowing the statute of limitations. How is that? Some lawyers are so disorganized they just miss the statute. But I suspect this is the minority of cases. The main culprits are the most notable exceptions for Maryland personal injury lawyers of these general rules which either apply a different statute of limitations or require notice to bring a claim:

  • Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act

Shocker: Steeler’s Hines Ward’s arrest for DUI has made it into the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens rivalry. Who would have thunk it? Ray Rice put on Twitter:

Well, it looks like Hines Ward will miss week 1 when the lockout ends DUI charge not a good look.

A Steeler teammate responded sarcastically:

Maryland needs tougher DWI/DUI laws if we will reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. Two things come to mind.

First, tougher laws. The Drunk Driving Elimination Act rejected by the Maryland legislature this Spring would have been huge. The bill would have required all DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock. The bill lost after heavy pressure from the Alcohol Beverage Institute. Honestly, I cannot figure out why they would not line up against drivers who do not use alcohol responsibly – DWIs and the number of dead people that result are not exactly a PR boon for the sellers of alcohol. I’m sure there is self-serving wisdom to it. Or something. But I can’t figure it out.

Another law would have removed repeat DWI offenders’ right to refuse a breathalyzer. Personally, I think those repeat offenders should absolutely be able to refuse a breathalyzer test. But, ah, you lose your license for 5 years if you do.

I found this link from the Daily Record’s blog to a rare Daily Double about spotting a prospective hold out juror; it was both funny and educational. Of course, it would have been a lot more educational if Maryland had a voir dire process that allowed you to actually learn something about the jurors besides their name, rank and serial number.

An article that John Bratt and I wrote has been accepted for publication in December in Trial, the flagship publication for the American Association of Justice. The article is about mediations in catastrophic personal injury cases. We finished what I hope is the final draft today.

The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog summarizes Abrishamian v. Barbely, a new pedestrian accident Maryland Court of Special Appeals decision stemming from a bad plaintiff’s verdict in Montgomery County.

The Maryland House of Delegates voted to allow speed monitoring cameras in Maryland near schools and highway work zones. The Maryland Senate already approved this bill, and Governor O’Malley’s signature is a formality. A few years ago, the Maryland legislature passed similar legislation designed to prevent pedestrian auto accidents but then-Governor Ehrlich vetoed the bill.

What does it mean? Maryland drivers pictured going over 11 miles an hour over the speed limit would get a $40 ticket. That’s it.

The opposition to this bill is Big Brother. Here’s my question: what is more of an imposition, getting pulled over, or having someone take your picture? It seems to me speed cameras are just the opposite of an invasion of privacy.

The Maryland Association for Justice’s Auto Negligence Section has its next dinner meeting on January 7, 2009. The speaker will be Miller & Zois’ own Rod Gaston on the topic of defense medical examinations.

The dinner is at:

That’s Amore Restaurant