Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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 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.

Overlawyered has a blog post today about the reports of a high school pitcher suing his school district because he wore out his arm throwing 140 pitches in a single game. Here is the gist of the story from the Seattle Times: Seven years ago, Plaintiff was pitching against a rival school. He had no plans to take himself out of the game. In the eighth inning his mother, assuming you believe her story, told coach, “He’s at 117 pitches. He’s done.” (How many mothers out there are keeping exact pitch counts?) You know the rest of the story. The Plaintiff hurts his arm. He thinks he was the next coming of Roger Clemens… better make that Greg Maddux… and files suit claiming the coach should have pulled him out of the game.

Overlawyered and the Maryland Lawyer Blog agree that the possibility of a lawsuit causes people to act differently than they otherwise would. Where we disagree is whether, on balance, this is a good thing for society. For example, football coaches now know that depriving kids of water during practice is a bad thing and their doing so may expose the school to liability. In this area I think coaches already have proper incentive to do the right thing and this will only serve to exaggerate the risk of a “pitch count” lawsuit. Even if this is what I believe is the first lawsuit of its kind in this country. Obviously every baseball coach around the country is going to be talking about this and many are going to become worried about pitch counts.

Awareness of valid lawsuits properly encourages people (including doctors) to proceed with caution and to consider the risks that may cause harm. Frivolous lawsuits like this one have the opposite effect and are going to have some coaches – a small minority but still some – overreacting and limiting kids to ridiculously low pitch counts. But just as free speech requires us to tolerate hate speech, the search for justice requires us to tolerate some level of frivolous lawsuits. Whatever inertia this country has towards tort reform, it comes in no small measure from mainstream media and Internet reports (many of which are simply false) of ridiculous lawsuits.

In the vast majority of personal injury cases, injury victims will be better off hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle their claim, particularly in serious injury cases. But many people for a variety of reasons – most of them foolish – will choose to handle their own claims. Accordingly, I have drafted a list of things that are a good idea to do or not do if you are trying to handle your own personal injury case. You can find these tips on handling your own personal injury case on our Miller & Zois website.

Why do this? Because people will handle their own claims so I think personal injury lawyers should try to arm these people with a few weapons to get the best outcome. Not only will it help them, but it will help our clients as well because awful settlements are thrown into the pool of data to determine fair value in personal injury cases.

The problem with these tips is that they are not legal advice because legal advice is narrowly tailored to the specific facts of a particular case. So in a small minority of personal injury cases, following these tips will hurt, not help your case, because of specific facts that fall outside the general rule.