Maryland made the right call by getting rid of the “one bite rule,” which created an assumption that dog owners know their dogs can bite. In doing so, they effectively nixed a court ruling that said that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous and imposed strict liability for owners and landlords. At the end of the day though, insurance companies are most interested in these sort of decisions, since they’re the ones paying out dog-bite claims. And although the dog breeds may not be as big an issue for Maryland legislators anymore, your insurance company may still discriminate and charge you more based on the type of dog that you have.
“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
Tiger Woods announced today that he has undergone successful back surgery and expects to be back playing golf this summer. Good for him. This is bad news for golf fans who passionately root for or against Tiger. But it is also bad for personal injury victims who are bringing a back injury claim in front of a jury. Why? Because juries get constant evidence from athletes that back injuries and back surgery is not a big deal. Some will equate Tiger Woods to 58 year-old Mary Smith when she has a discectomy and fusion for a herniated disc after a car accident.
Why Tiger’s Surgery and Expected Recovery Misleads Juries
There are a number of reasons why the comparison is unfair. First, not all back injuries are created the same. Tiger had a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve. That is light years from, say, a herniated disc suffered by great trauma. But some jurors view back surgery as back surgery regardless of the severity of the injury. Second, Tiger is a professional athlete who dedicates his life to keeping his body in the best possible shape. Tiger won’t even share his workout secrets. He will also get stunning medical care. The best doctors and ridiculous amounts of medical attention you and I would never see. Finally, Tiger’s getting surgery in the first place is probably something you and I never would have gotten in the first place. Why? First, we are not violently swinging a golf club at pretty much the speed of light. So I can probably still workout and work around the same injury that Tiger needs to get taken care of so he can perform on a world class level. Continue reading →
According to Alexa, this is the most read personal injury lawyer blog in the country.
I really don’t have anything else to say about that except I really do appreciate the people who read this blog, especially those that comment, like on Facebook and Twitter, etc.
The summer is almost over, my kids will be back at school and going to bed earlier, and you can expect more blogs and a redesigned page in the fall.
2014 Update: This is still the top personal injury lawyer blog in the country. I’ve been writing this blog now for 8 years. Like most bloggers, I have spurts where I write almost every day and there are weeks were a write very little.
Is It Worth the Energy for a Personal Injury Lawyer to Blog Regularly?
My partner and I always talk about turning the kaleidoscope. It all depends on how you look at the issue. From one angle, it is worthless; from another, it is quite fruitful. Let’s break it down a little.
Does It Lead to Tons of Direct Leads? No.
Let’s start with direct new clients that I can attribute to this blog. If you use this as the sole measuring stick, I would tell you to NOT blog. Because, for reasons that escape me, the blog does not generate a lot of direct leads. We place well on important terms and people come by a visit those pages and read the information we have provided. But they just do not very often lead to clients.
So if you are using it simply to get victims to contact you directly, I think there is a less circuitous path.
Does It Increase Your Name Recognition in a Way That Indirectly Leads You to Business? Maybe.
Here is what I think. If you are just putting up promotional type material or telling us about an accident you read in the Baltimore Sun, you are mostly wasting your time. Most bloggers are doing just this. You might get some victims looking for information about their own accident or just get some blind luck. But if your time has any value at all, you are wasting it. The democracy of the Internet is amazing. What rises up is information that actually helps people. If you are really not telling a story or providing real information, it is going to be really tough to making blogging a worthwhile investment.
So What Is My Advice?
My advice is that if you want to build your brand and your reputation AND you really have something to say that will be of use to other lawyers or personal injury victims, you should be blogging IF you actually enjoy it a little bit. But if you are missing one of the elements in that criteria that I made up 30 seconds ago, I think you are making a mistake by committing real energy into blogging. You would be better served developing your website or so other way to develop your practice than trying putting up blog posts.
- Walter Olson at Overlawyered provides a Maryland law roundup. Yes, this is a roundup within a round-up but most of these are most germane to our issues here. The one that is least relevant, and the most interesting, is the latest on Tavon White. I demand someone write a biography on this guy. Accumulating the power that he was able to enjoy in that environment against all odds is just fascinating as is getting four different prison guards pregnant and apparently all of them being cool with it. If you don’t live near Baltimore, you may not have heard of him. But I can’t be the only one who thought it was an amazing story. The Baltimore Sun spent three weeks gunning for a Pulitzer Prize on this story. (They won’t get one because their budget these days is about $354. But there was some good reporting done anyway.)
- Eric Turkewitz writes about everyone’s new favorite discovery issue: Facebook. I do find it interesting to see courts attacking this new issue but it has really only been a significant issue in one case what we have had. So while the topic is fascinating, I think the actual impact on our practice has been fairly limited.
- This is a good post from Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Blog on dealing with subrogation liens. I have written some long posts on subrogation that, if you look at the traffic on this site, few people actually read it. So I thought this post at least deserves a link because the author is passing on real information that can help you in your practice.
- Here is a post by an Arizona lawyer complaining about the EEOC. I know little about the EEOC or employment law but I don’t think this one case tells us much about how the EEOC sausage is made and how it tastes. Does Michael Nifong tell us anything about how prosecutors in America are doing? Okay, so this post is outside my legal wheelhouse and I disagree with the conclusions. Why am I linking to it? The author is my brother-in-law. For that, you should get a link.
- It continues to amaze me how Maryland stays in the dark ages on just about every major tort issue in spite of the fact that far more conservative states have evolved. Are Marylanders just afraid of change? Is the fact that we all have not just picked up and moved to San Diego irrefutable proof. It is not just Maryland actually: Virginia, North Carolina, and D.C. are all with us in this legal doctrine of “let’s keep the laws that made great sense 50 years ago.” But even in that group, we lag behind. Look at this summary of dram shop laws by state. We sit in last place with Nevada and South Dakota. Mississippi has us beat. It is unreal. Let me tell you: If you are lobbying for businesses interests or doctors in Maryland you are woefully underpaid.
A Nate Silver wannabe breaks down the question of whether jury size matters in these jurisdictions, where a jury’s verdict does not have to be unanimous. Clearly, the greater concern is in criminal cases where it does seem a bit odd to convict someone to life in prison, as you can in Louisiana, on a 9-3 vote. Continue reading →
I had jury duty yesterday which was unbelievably interesting. Turns out Anne Arundel County is a small town. The oral surgeon plaintiff might have done my root canal (it was definitely his office) and the defense lawyer represented the defendant in my first trial with Miller & Zois. (What happened in that case? Thanks for asking. We socked him with a $300,000 verdict in a low property damage case which I enjoyed sharing at the judge’s bench yesterday.)
Shockingly, I was not chosen for the jury. I’m not sure if I was struck for cause; I’m going to try to find out. Technically, I can talk about the case since I was not on the jury, but because I’m going to share my impressions of the case – based on nothing but still – I’m going to wait until the case resolves before writing about it. So look for my post next week. It was a very interesting experience where I learned absolutely nothing but really learned a lot, if that makes any sense.
These were the five most popular posts on this blog in 2012:
- The Internet Hates Progressive Insurance.. But Should It?: lots of visitors here from a Washington Times link.
- Insurance Claims Adjusters Say the Silliest Things: this got a lot of interest because, well you know, insurance adjusters do say the silliest things.
- Progressive Insurance = Just File Suit: my argument that it is largely a wasted effort trying to settle with Progressive Insurance until suit is filed.
- Sneaky Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer Tricks: I think this resonated with many plaintiffs’ lawyers because the games played in malpractice cases are so over-the-top. Lots of really good lawyers handle malpractice cases at some pretty low hourly rates. Arguably, some of them make up some of the difference by working the file 8,543 ways to Sunday to churn the file.
I never find myself writing about marital privilege. But I do have an interest in modern technology and how it will impact pre-trial discovery and admissibility of evidence. Which takes me to the new 4th Circuit opinion U.S. v. Hamilton.
This case involves the bribery conviction of a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who also served part-time as an administrator with the Newport News, Virginia public schools system. Basically, the guy pushed for and got a salary from Old Dominion University in exchange for getting them funding for a million dollar program called Center for Teacher Quality and Education Leadership. (FACT: 89% of all “education centers” with titles as goofy and ambiguous as this one are hopelessly corrupt.)
Anyway, a key piece of evidence in the take down of this guy is an email that he writes to his wife about how he is trying to get this salary out of the deal, which he writes from his public school computer. So the question is whether the marital privilege applies because he used his work email account.
For what I think are good reasons, communications between spouses have long been thought to implicate important privacy and confidentiality interests. This has led to a recognition of a marital privilege in both Maryland and federal law that makes communications between spouses presumptively confidential.
I was in D.C. this week with my oldest son taking in a Wizards game (they are awful) and seeing the city (which is awesome). While I was out, I got a phone call from someone wanting to speak to me about my client Joe Smith (or something like that).
The guy was a landlord who had “gotten my email” about how my client was going to be paying his rent out of his settlement. He read to my paralegal the contents of my email to him. The email came from a Miller & Zois gmail account that, naturally, misspelled the name of our firm.
I guess what happened is someone was late on their rent payment and decided to pretend I was their lawyer and went though the trouble of setting up an email account and impersonating me. I should get a therapist and take this up with them in greater detail but, bizarrely, I felt sort of flattered by this.(Of all the lawyers in all of the world, you picked me, Mr. Scam Artist.)
Now, of course, the gig is up but I think the scam served its intended purpose of buying time to avoid eviction.