Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

According to a recent Jury Verdict Research analysis, based on plaintiffs’ verdicts nationally over the last ten years, the overall median award for foot injuries is $98,583. Multiple fractures to the same foot increase the median to $144,000. In foot injury cases where both feet are fractured, the median rises to $296,940.

Another Jury Verdict Research study found that 39% of the foot injury cases that go to verdict involved auto, truck, or motorcycle accidents. In fact, a full 11% of these injuries were in motorcycle accident cases. This is incredibly high given the number of driver miles on a motorcycle versus the number logged in cars and trucks. Then again, your risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 28 times more likely if you are riding a sports bike than if you are enjoying the comforts of a car or truck. (The lesson, as always: don’t ride a motorcycle.)

foot injury settlements
Overall, according to one study, the average (as opposed to the median) foot injury award was $703,703. Thirteen percent of foot injury awards were in excess of $1 million.

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

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.

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 Daily Record reports that the Maryland Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to Maryland’s statutory cap on non-economic damages involving a lead paint case in Baltimore City.

I think it is interesting the Maryland high court granted cert in this case. I’m not optimistic. But boy would the landscape flip here if the Maryland Court of Appeals agrees these caps are unjust under Maryland’s Constitution.

A new child car seat law, Maryland Senate Bill 789, passed at the end of the Maryland legislative session last night at 9:10 p.m. Children in Maryland will now be required to remain in car seats until their 8th birthday unless they are over 65 lbs or over 4 feet, 9 inches tall.

This is a good development for child safety in Maryland. We are now a long way from bouncing up and down in the back of our parents station wagon.

A new Jury Verdict Research study based on data from the past ten years offers information on plaintiffs’ recovery in phantom auto accident cases. Phantom cases are generally uninsured motorist cases where there is no contact between the negligent driver’s car the injury victim. In most phantom cases, the defendant’s vehicle is unidentified (thus the nickname “phantom”). In these auto accidents, the plaintiff almost invariably must make an evasive move because of the defendant’s negligent driving and is either forced off the road or into another vehicle or object as a result.

The recent study shows not only that 51 percent of these plaintiffs receive an award, but it also breaks down where on the spectrum the values of the awards fall. Nearly one-half of the damages awarded in these cases fall somewhere between $10,000 to $100,000, with one-quarter of the cases winning awards between $10,000 and $25,000. Although most cases fall somewhere in the middle, there is a substantial number that falls into one of the two extremes. While 11 percent of all no contact cases were awarded less than $2,500, 8 percent received damages exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. The study goes farther than offering just the award median ($21,441) and provides a more useful breakdown of the plaintiffs’ recovery in these types of cases.

Phantom auto accident cases are tough and easy for the plaintiffs’ lawyer at the same time. The best part is there is rarely a witness to refute the plaintiff. The tough part is there are a lot of single-car accidents and every single car accident without a witness can potentially be fabricated into a phantom accident case. In the end, the entire trial becomes about the plaintiff’s credibility.