Articles Posted in Personal Injury

You don’t see many Maryland slip-and-fall cases in U.S. District Court.  But Bardroff v. Sanexen Water is the rare slip and fall that found its way to federal court. Last week, Federal Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson had an opportunity to rule on a slip-and-fall motion in such a case.

Facts of Bardroff v. Sanexen Water

Sanexen Water began working on the water system on Matthews Drive in Harford County where the plaintiff lived. It was a big job.  Temporary water pipes were placed along the entire length of Matthews Drive, and door hangers were placed on residents’ doors, warning them to be careful around the temporary water network. Plaintiff Bardroff interpreted this warning as an instruction for residents to avoid damaging the temporary water network.

A Jury Verdict Research study looked at jury verdicts. This data is old but still telling.  Oklahoma would at first glance appear to be an awful place for lawyers to try personal injury cases. The median compensation award in Oklahoma trials is $6,824 and plaintiffs receive a recovery in only 43% of personal injury cases that go to a jury. Compared to the national data, these figures are awful.

If you are an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer with a seriously injured client, does this mean you do not have a fair chance of getting a fair and meaningful recovery for your client’s injuries? I don’t think so. A full 10% of verdicts in personal injury cases in Oklahoma were for $500,000 or more. While to some extent this is comparing apples to oranges, only in 1% of motor vehicle accident cases in Maryland does the jury award more than $500,000.

This number of significant jury awards leads me to believe that Oklahoma juries might not award significant damages in soft tissue injury cases or other cases where the harm may be less significant, but they will often give fair compensation to the people that really need it the most: people whose lives have been forever changed because of the negligence of someone else.

If someone has wrongfully and intentionally caused you great emotional harm in Maryland, you may have a claim for the intentional inflection of emotional distress.

Maryland law, however, does not make it easy to bring an intention infliction of emotional distress claim.  To bring this tort, the plaintiff must demonstrate a “truly devastating effect” from the defendant’s behavior.  The emotional response must be so awful that “no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.”

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Generally

In 2018, we read about an awful case where a woman went to a Rite-Aid warehouse in Hartford County and killed three people and injuring others before taking her own life. She had been diagnosed with a mental illness and used a gun she had legally purchased during the rampage, a fact that obviously drew some attention.  This is one of the lawsuits to come out of this tragedy.

Facts of Mitchell v. Rite Aid

Snochia Moseley was a temporary worker at the Rite Aid Distribution Center in Aberdeen, Maryland. Prior to September 20, 2018, she had only worked approximately eight shifts at the facility. On that fateful September morning, Moseley reportedly agitated other workers when she cut in front of them to check into work. She then left the facility for a brief period and returned with a handgun.

This page is about what loss of service settlements are worth.

Loss of service damages, also known as loss of consortium damages, refer to compensation awarded in personal injury cases to the spouse or family member of the injured person for the loss of love, companionship, support, and services resulting from the injury. These damages are meant to compensate the non-injured spouse or family member for the adverse impact the injury has on their relationship with the injured person.

Loss of service damages can include various aspects, such as:

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

Governor O’Malley signed into Maryland law a version of the “Castle Doctrine” that provides civil immunity when defending your house or workplace.

This bill has no practical impact in the real world. Criminals are really not bringing successful claims against homeowners. But, as I explained on the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, immunities are all a part of what James Sawyer called the “Long Con.” Clearly, the commenters to this post disagree.

Deadspin has posted about a boy who has filed a lawsuit over injuries suffered while on the bleachers of a dodgeball middle school.

Apparently, the boy was in a car accident and had dental work done. The ball broke his new bridgework.

First, I think Deadspin completely screws up by naming the boy. I cannot imagine what the point would be.

The Maryland Daily Record reports that the number of docketed complaints of lawyer misconduct fell by nearly 24 percent in the final six months of 2008, compared to the same period in 2007. Maryland Bar Counsel Mel Hirshman called the statistically significant fall in client criticism “unexpected” in this time of economic turmoil because complaints against Maryland lawyers tend to increase during economic turbulence for two reasons: (1) clients are unable to pay their attorneys’ fees which sour relationships and (2) Maryland lawyers who feel compelled to nibble into IOLTA accounts because they are behind on their own bills.

Maryland personal injury lawyers are immune from the former and largely immune from the latter simply because money rarely sits for extended periods of time in IOLTA accounts in most personal injury cases. In fact, the number of complaints fell sharply in personal injury and property damage cases, to 37 percent – down from 48 percent a year earlier.

Three possible reasons for this: (1) lawyers are becoming more ethical and this is leading to a drop in complaints; (2) in a poor economy, people have less energy to spend on anger and spite because they are more concerned with their economic situations, leading to fewer complaints – valid or invalid – that their lawyers are jerks, unresponsive, etc.; or (3) it’s just a statistical anomaly.