Ron Miller is a Maryland personal injury lawyer who focuses on serious injury and wrongful death cases involving motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, and products and premises liability. This site is designed to provide practical information to both injury victims and plaintiffs' attorneys in the Baltimore-Washington area who want to achieve a fair settlement or verdict. If you are looking for counsel for your case, call him at 410-553-6000

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judge2The Maryland Court of Special Appeals handed down an interesting opinion in Asphalt and Concrete Services v. Perry, reversing a half million dollar verdict.  This case is a cautionary tale for lawyers who want to get every possible thing they can in to make the defendant look bad.  I understand the urge, believe me. But sometimes you are just asking for an appeal that is going to get your case reversed.  This is an opinion every Maryland personal injury lawyer — on both sides of the aisle — should read and keep in the back of their minds.   This case also has some good law and bad law for plaintiffs’ lawyers that is worth knowing.

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judge2Last month in a medical malpractice case in Milwaukee, a judge did something pretty amazing.  Here is the setup.  A woman has both her arms and legs amputated as a result of a Strep A infection and the treatment she received for septic shock, resulting in compromised blood flow.  This is, no question, a stunningly awful tragedy.   A jury believed that medical malpractice caused these injuries and awarded $15.75 million in pain and suffering damages and $9 million economic damages.   But Wisconsin has a $750,000 cap on non-economic damages that the trial judge in this case believed was constitutionally sound.   So that’s that, right?
In a 21-page decision, Judge Jeffery Conen explained that his ruling does not strike down Wisconsin’s $750,000 cap on non-economic awards:

Although the cap may be constitutional as applied to medical malpractice victims as a whole, there is no rational justification for depriving Mrs. Mayo, who is in her mid-fifties, limbless, and largely immobile, and Mr. Mayo of the award the jury decided was appropriate to compensate them for their injuries…”

It is unreasonable to require Mrs. Mayo and her husband, whose lives have been so drastically altered, to bear the brunt of the legislature’s intended tort reform…. there is no rational basis [for slashing the award] in the hopes of marginally improving health care in Wisconsin.

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insurancepolicyI have taught insurance law for the last 17 years at the University of Baltimore Law School.  I think it is important to explain both the hornbook majority view and Maryland law.  Typically, what I’m saying is that the majority view is this balanced reasonable law… and then there is Maryland law which seems to bend over backwards to favor insurance companies.

There is a political element to this.  Maryland insurance law is stunningly conservative.  Paul Ryan himself probably vigorously approves.  Yet Maryland is an extremely liberal state.  Sure, we went through that crazy college experimentation-like phase with Bob Ehrlich but we have consistently picked liberal governors and have consistently had a solid liberal majority in the Maryland General Assembly.  So why are we the Rush Limbaugh of insurance?

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efilingUPDATE: As of October 14, 2014, electronic filing is mandatory  for attorneys in Anne Arundel County.   Here is the rule.   In the online seminar, the court clerk said that all filings are electronic as of today, So, I think that if you have a case pending, all your pleadings must be e-filed from here.  She also indicated there would be a 30 day grace period so maybe mandatory is a strong word.   I think you are better off staying away from Google Chrome – my favorite – and sticking with use Internet Explorer or Firefox for your browser.  Below is the original blog post I wrote on this back in July.

We have been hearing for some time about the Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) project that will eventually allow for electronic filings, allowing Maryland lawyers to get the same modern conveniences of electronic filing that we have enjoyed in federal court for quite some time. This type of integrated case management system — between circuit, district, and appellate courts – will really change the practice of law on an administrative level and will hopefully allow us to speed past some of the filing related bottlenecks we have in pushing cases forward.

No more paralegals and couriers jumping  into their cars and racing to the courthouse to meet filing deadlines.  We don’t do a ton of the “last minute rush” stuff here but it does happen occasionally.  I have the courier bills to prove it which always annoy me to no end. Anne Arundel County somehow got picked to kickoff the e-filing program. Starting Monday, September 15,2014, lawyers can register for e-filing to get ready for the MDEC’s launch in Anne Arundel County.  As of October 14, 2014,  it is not going to be optional for lawyers.

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emotionalOur clients in 2014 have incurred millions of dollars in medical bills.  But the real harm in personal injury cases is the physical and emotional pain and suffering that comes with the victims’ injuries. Today we are going to look at compensation for emotional injuries in accident and medical malpractice cases.

Let’s start out with some hard number on compensation for emotional injuries nationally, provided by Jury Verdict Research.  This category includes cases involving emotional distress or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

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I was looking today at some interesting statistics on the most frequent types of car and other motor vehicle accident injuries that go to trial.  It breaks down like this:statistics

  • Back strains: 33%
  • Disc injuries: 15%
  • Spinal nerve injuries: 10%
  • Head injuries: 10%
  • Shoulder injuries: 4%
  • Knee injuries: 3%
  • Brain damage: 3%
  • Vertebra injuries: 3%
  • Everything else (including wrongful death): 2%

At Miller & Zois, we do not have many back strain cases so that 33% probably gets knocked by at 5%.  A lot of our cases come from attorney referrals from other personal injury lawyers who are keeping these types of cases for themselves, as they well should.  Our website constantly underscores “serious injury only” which keeps away a lot of those smaller cases.  We do this because our business model which requires us to work up every case like it is our only case (self-serving, sure, but true) does not work well with smaller cases economically.

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truckaccidentA new appellate opinion offers some interesting insight into the parameters under which a plaintiff may inquire about a truck driver’s driving record and the extent to which plaintiffs’ truck accident attorneys can use cross examination fodder like the commercial driver license manual and other safety manuals.

Fact of the Case

Briefly, a man on a bicycle was killed when he was hit by a truck.  The bicyclist was making a right turn against a red light on a white pedestrian signal.  The truck hit him and he was dragged for several hundred feet.

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police brutality pg countyIn Maryland, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by a family member of someone who was negligently killed.  The wrongful death lawyers at Miller & Zois, LLC have over 100 years of combined experience handling wrongful death claims in Baltimore where our law offices are based.  Our firm also covers all of Maryland and travels and tries cases in every county in our state. We have a history of success in these cases and a willingness to fight to the end to get you the compensation that you deserve for your loss.  Call my law firm today at 800-553-8082 or get a free, no obligation on-line consultation.

Maximizing the Amount of Compensation

When you lost someone you love, there is no about of money that can get you what you really want  — your loved one back.  The only thing the legal system can do is give you money to compensate you for your loss.  At Miller & Zois, our mission is to get you as much money as possible for your wrongful death case in a settlement or a verdict.  Our goal is not to get you a lot of money, not to do the best we can.  No. Our goal is to leverage the law and the facts to get you as much money as humanly possible.

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“There’s two sides to every story. I saw the video. That’s their personal business, and it shouldn’t have affected his career. I don’t agree with domestic violence, but she’s still with him, so obviously it wasn’t that big of a deal. Everyone should just drop it.”

– Random Ravens Fan Last Night

“The case is a perfect symbol of all that’s wrong with the litigation system in this country.”

Lisa Rickard,  President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform and the American Tort Reform Association talking about the infamous lawsuit where an administrative law judge sued for $65 million claiming a dry cleaner had lost his pants

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