Articles Posted in Personal Injury

People move to Fallston to get away from a little bit if the hustle and bustle. But Fallston is in the spotlight now as homes in a community called Grafton Ridge are worried about their drinking water.

Apparently, there is an unacceptable amount of lead in the residents’ drinking water. I used to defend lead paint cases years ago. One thing is for sure: lead causes brain injuries in children.

Are their potential lawsuits here? Sure. Against who? No one knows. An investigation is ongoing. The second hurdle for successful claims is going to be the lead exposure levels. Lead is ubiquitous. My kids are exposed to lead and so are yours. The question is what are the levels.

The general statute of limitations in Maryland is three years, as set forth in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings ยง 5-101. This is the “default” statute of limitations that applies unless another limitations 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

For years – it all started right after Henry Ford – accident lawyers have been listening to clients and their spouses say they should be entitled to compensation for loss of services even when the victim survives the accident. More Maryland accident lawyers are paying closer attention to this and including these damages in personal injury lawsuits.

Jury Verdict Research put out a study based on verdicts rendered from February 1998 through February 2010 for loss of services damages in non-wrongful death cases. The overall median compensatory award for loss of services in non-death cases was $25,000. The average, however, was $234,764.

Clearly, and this is interesting, juries are more receptive to these claims when the accident victim is a married woman. The median award was $40,000 for wives and the average was $365,510.

The defendant prevailed in lawsuit contending that a Baltimore City police officer was negligent when he shot and killed a fellow police officer during a fight that erupted at an East Baltimore strip club.

I didn’t follow this sad case. You can read the Maryland Daily Record account of the case and the verdict here.

A New York appellate court ruled that the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office’s failure to inform parents that they had removed and kept their 17 year-old son’s brain created a cause of action against the ME.

I don’t know how I feel about this case. On some level, when you lose a 17 year-old son, you are always right. About everything. It is so awful you sort of want to spin everything in the parent’s favor. On the other hand, the brain was returned (as strange as that sentence sounds). It seems like a great deal of litigation over an issue that is incredibly tangential to the core issue: the tragic death of a young man in a car accident. The boy’s sister also has a separate lawsuit pending for her emotional injuries because she was in the zone of danger.

You can read the full story and draw your own conclusions here.

The 4th Circuit flipped a District Court decision to reduce attorneys’ fees in the case from $6,000,000 to $600,000. Why? The court acknowledged that plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers take on risk when they take a case.

Plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers are victims (yes, I said victims) of what Malcolm Gladwell and others call “creeping determinism,” the sense that, in hindsight, what has happened was actually inevitable when the outcome was far from inevitable from the beginning.

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

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.

I’m back from vacation where I spent most of the time isolated from the outside world. I came in early this morning and spent an hour catching up on what was going on in the legal/personal injury world while I was gone. Happy Easter Monday to all.