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 410-779-4600

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I tried to keep abreast of verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases in Maryland by reading the Maryland Daily Record, keeping up on court roomthe Maryland Association for Justice listserv, and getting the reports from Jury Verdict Research, Metro Verdicts, and just what I hear on the street from other lawyers.

The result of one case literally tells you nothing.  But if you keep following jury verdicts and settlements, you see patterns emerge.  Here are 10 things I have learned from this process:

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Maryland personal injury lawyers are not permitted to say that they specialize in personal injury law.  This may soon change.Law Book

The Maryland Court of Appeals is considering amendments to Rule 7.4 of the Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct that would permit a Maryland personal injury attorney — or any lawyer for that matter — who has been certified as a specialist in a particular area of law to hold themselves out to the public as a specialist.

What would the attorney’s qualifications be for specialization?  I think this may be the challenge that led the court to defer ruling on this issue, which they did last week.

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There are an unbelievable number of variables involved in arriving at a settlement value for a personal injury case.  Compensation offers varyMoney and gold Scale of Justice wildly, because there are so many different factors that have different weights attached to them.

But assuming there is no issue about the amount of money available* to pay on the claim,  the single most reliable predict of settlement value is the type of injury.  There are two key factors to consider when looking at the type of injury.

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The state of elder care in the United States is incredibly poor. Sending a loved one to a nursing home has become more and more difficult, Lonely old womannot for lack of quantity, but for lack of quality care. The problem is especially big in Maryland, where malpractice, malnutrition, and plain bad care run rampant throughout the elder care system. If the amount of lawsuits filed are any indication, some of the lowest quality care facilities are in Prince George’s County (P.G.) and Baltimore City.  You can argue that these are the best jurisdictions for plaintiffs so, of course, all of the cases get filed there.  But you can also read the list of complaints and inspections that the government does.  Trust me, P.G. County and Baltimore City are not great jurisdictions for nursing homes.

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After a serious accident or the loss of someone that you rely upon economically, the financial hardships can be overwhelming.  In even the best case scenario, justice is never immediate.  I’ve seen people suffer incredible economic losses Wallet with moneywhile they wait for justice, including losing their homes.

Some people file for bankruptcy.  What most victims and even personal injury lawyers in Maryland do not fully understand sometimes, your personal injury claim becomes the property of the bankruptcy estate, when a injury victim files for bankruptcy protection whether the claim is listed in the bankruptcy or not.   In my experience, the personal injury victim generally gets the claim back after the bankruptcy.  But as the victim’s lawyer you represent the victim, then the trustee, and then back to the victim again.  The whole thing is just an utter mess.

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I’m don’t use this blog much for safety tips.  Not because they are not important but because you can get that information elsewhere. But withGuy and rear-view mirror Labor Day weekend coming upon us, I have to drive to the Eastern Shore so I’d like to be safe. And I get to feel unbelievably superior when I write these things.   So let’s talk about using car mirrors properly, because it seems like few people know how to use them and fewer understand their limitation. Please read this in a condescending, know-it-all tone.

Mirrors are one of the most vital parts on an automobile.  Too many drivers on Maryland roads today, view mirrors as important as getting a NFL Red Zone is to the “Kinky Boots” musical cast playing at the Hippodrome later this month. They are jerking their heads around, like a madman before every aggressive, unsafe lane change they make.  

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Big rig trucks are dangerous.  They cause serious injuries and they kill people.  Our law firm is currently handling 5 wrongful death truck Tractor traileraccident cases. It is beyond awful.

I think we have established this fact on this blog. What we have not talked about specifically is the risk to truck drivers.  Driving a truck was the single most hazardous occupation in the United States last year, taking 852 lives.  Logging that many hours on the road with vehicles that are tough to control… I’m surprised the number is not higher.

Large Truck Does Not Equal Large Uninsured Motorist Policy

Compounding this tragedy is the lack of uninsured motorist benefits for truck drivers.  Commercial trucks have liability insurance requirements.  Most trucks must be insured at a minimum of $750,000.  (It is a crime that this cap has not be raised in the last zillion years but that is a whole different issue.)

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Facebook discovery is all the rage amongst defense lawyers in personal injury cases.  The reason is twofold.  First, it gets defense lawyers Facebook and magifying glassaccess to information that might lead to admissible evidence that could diminish a plaintiff’s claim.  Rarely will it relate to liability but there is a real possibility that out-of-context (or in context) it would lead a jury to believe their pain is less than stated.

The second reason, and I think an equally driving force, is that defense lawyers have a new tool to harass the plaintiff(s).  Why? Because there is at least a sub population of defense lawyers who want to punish plaintiffs and their lawyers for bringing any personal injury claim.  This is the type of discovery that can be done without any real effort.  All you have to do is ask.  That is the real beauty of this discovery from the defense lawyer’s perspective.  You just cut and paste from the guy down the hall or something you find online (I’m helping them here) and then just shout “reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence” if the plaintiff’s attorney objects.

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Let me start off by saying I’m generally skeptical of the benefits of an accident reconstructionist as an expert witness in most car accident cases.shutterstock_252879895

Why?  Generally, I think in most liability dispute cases, jurors feel like they have all the information to make the call.  Jurors think they understand basis physics and who is telling the truth and generally don’t look for help from an accident reconstructionist.  We had a young lawyer trying his first case against a big law firm in a liability dispute case.  The defendants hired one of the best accident reconstructionists in Maryland.  Our client barely spoke English.  We did not bring an expert.  But we won, because the jury heard the facts and believed our client.

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Bill Cosby has been in the news a little bit.  As you know, dozens of women have alleged that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them. The claims date back to the 1960s, with the allegedbill-cosby-2-768 victims ranging from random women that Cosby encountered to other celebrities. A recent lawsuit even alleged that Cosby assaulted underage women. Obviously, some pretty serious allegations.

A few lawsuits have been filed already, but most of them allege defamation or some other cause of action – separate from sexual assault. Why? Because most of these claims allege conduct after the statute of limitations expired.  Of course, someone is going to try to end run the statute of limitations.  But as Americans are now seeing statutes of limitation are cruelly unforgiving, even when anyone’s sense of justice and fair play are pitted against it.

But what would a lawsuit against Bill Cosby even look like? Specifically, what would a lawsuit against Bill Cosby look like, if filed in the state of Maryland?  Sexual assault and rape are not their own torts – but they are crimes.  These torts may be brought forward and filed in a civil lawsuit for these crimes.

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