Ron Miller is an attorney who focuses on serious injury and wrongful death cases involving motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, and products and premises liability. If you are looking for a Maryland personal injury attorney for your case, call him today at 800-553-8082.

Most of my blogs posts are directed at Maryland nursing home lawyers and other plaintiffs’ lawyers. This blog post is directed to Maryland victims of nursing home neglect and abuse.  They want to know if they can sue, who they can sue, what is going to happen, and what likely outcome of the case might be.

Can I sue a nursing home?

Yes.  Nursing homes and other elder care facilities can be sued just like any hospital, doctor or other healhcare provider. In fact, lawsuits against nursing homes are very common and frequently settled out of court. I’ll talk to you more about this below.  But for now, if you fear is that you are afraid of going to trial in a nursing home case, that is a statistically very unlikely outcome.  I know of two nursing home trials that have gone to trial in last 7 or 8 years and scores of nursing home cases are filed every year.  More on that later.  But for now, if you stress level in suing a nursing home is going to trial, I think that stress is misplaced.

In Duckett-Murray v. Encompass Ins. Co. of Am., Encompass did is best effort to try to refuse coverage when its insured need it after thirty years of receiving premiums from its insured.

This has to be the least shocking development since Kim Kardashian’s last divorce.  Listen, unlike a lot of lawyers, I understand when insurance companies fight like crazy in third party claims where the claimant is not their client. But this is a case where the family had been paying premiums for almost 30 years.  When an insurance company loses an appellate case on coverage involving their own insured, they should be ashamed of themselves.  Sure, you can argue it is a close call.  But don’t you want to err in favor of your own client?

Thankfully, the Court of Special Appeals ruled for the victim.  The key take-home lesson here is if there is any question about an umbrella or uninsured coverage, turn over every last stone. Because there is a real good chance you are going to find a path to move coverage.

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A nice family came in last week with a beautiful little girl who had shoulder dystocia.  Did she have a viable birth injury case?  She has a significant injury if it is permanent and there is a strong reason to suspect malpractice.  The child is so young there is still reason to be hopeful her body will mend itself.

There are a lot of crazy paradoxes with this job, so much so that I’m used to it.  But in cases like this, we are hoping it not a case because that would mean the child got better.

Anyway, this gave me the idea to write a blog post explaining these injuries and how to know, if you are a lawyer or a parent,  if you may have a viable birth injury case.

In 2011, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson introduced Xarelto as a new generation anticoagulant (blood thinner) medication for use in preventing blood clots in atrial fibrillation patients and after knee or hip replacement surgery.

What made Xarelto special was that it was a once-a-day pill that would not require constant blood monitoring like traditional anticoagulant meds (such as warfarin).  The problem with Xarelto was that it caused excessive bleeding and, unlike other blood thinners, there was no available antidote or reversal agent to stop excessive bleeding caused by Xarelto.

As a result, many people who were taking Xarelto experienced excessive bleeding or internal hemorrhaging that could not be easily stopped. This fundamental problem with Xarelto eventually resulted in a mass of product liability lawsuits alleging that the drug makers failed to adequately warn about Xarelto’s risk of uncontrollable bleeding.  There are currently over 21,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in federal and state courts.

I’ve been waiting patiently for the first tort opinion of 2018.  I’ve muscled through the attorney grievance opinions and criminal cases for 19 days until I finally got one: Davis v. Frostburg Facility Operations LLC. This nursing home fall case is a cautionary tale for lawyers who step outside of their practice areas.

The issue in Davis is the distinction between ordinary negligence claims and professional malpractice claims.  In most cases, you know whether you have a malpractice case or you don’t. You trip and fall on a slippery floor in a hospital; that is not malpractice. The doctor operates on the wrong leg; that is malpractice.  The question is what do you do when it does not feel like malpractice, but you fear a court might see it differently.

The answer is simple.  Just file suit under the Health Claims Act.  It can’t hurt.  But many Maryland lawyers — usually those that have not felt the weight of the nuances and technicalities of the HCA on their shoulders — choose a different path.

Maryland settlement value

How much is an injury case worth in Maryland?

Jury Verdict Research published a new Maryland specific study on the median compensation awards for car, truck and motorcycle accidents.

In cases that go to trial, the median recovery was $11,328. Only in 1% of the cases did the jury award more than $500,000. Plaintiffs prevailed and received a recovery in 74% of the motor vehicle accident cases that went to trial in Maryland. I suspect a lot of that 26 % were just awful cases that never should have been filed.

The median recovery was $11,277, $51 dollars less than the latest study. (As of 2018, the amount of verdicts has been relatively unchanged although I suspect they have trended a bit higher as the cost of healthcare has increased)

I’m excited to see a new study on Maryland auto accident verdicts because I love looking at statistics on jury verdicts. But I think the data is fairly useless. As I have written before, Maryland’s jury verdicts are distorted by the defense lawyers who routinely “bump up” what should be “small” tort claims to Circuit Court. In other words, if an auto collision lawyer in Maryland files a small claim for more than $15,000 but less than $30,000 (which is the new District Court maximum as of today), the insurance company’s lawyers may remove the case to Circuit Court, which generally requires a jury trial and almost invariably leads to greater expenses for both parties.

This practice distorts the jury awards in a downward direction.  I read Metro Jury Verdicts every month and half of the reported personal injury cases in Baltimore are nickel and dime cases that never should go in front of a jury.  So I think this data is interesting and useless all at the same time.

2018 Update

Our law firm has successfully handled hundreds of serious injury accident cases, earning tens of millions of dollars for our clients. We handle only serious injury claims. If you want someone to fight tooth and nail for you, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

This post was originally written ten years ago.  It is 2018 now. (I’m passing this off as fresh content as opposed to writing a post this week.  The new year has not been good for blogging on adding new content to the website although the Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog is seeing a lot of fresh content.)   But I can tell you that the data has likely remained relatively unchanged. Things are no better or worse than they used to be back in those days.

I have just gone back and put all of our settlements over the last two years into a spreadsheet. I’m going to work on computing our average verdict. Our law firm’s average personal injury settlements range from $2.1 million to $300 (the child of a client who was not hurt in the accident).  Miller & Zois average settlement is clearly over $50,000. The study I just cited said that only 1% of Maryland verdicts are over $500,000. We have had at least 26 settlements and verdict over $500,000 in the last two years. I will calculate our average verdict when we get all of our lawyers in the office at the same time, but it is certainly a number that exceeds $500,000. (Take a look at some of our better verdicts in recent years.)

Does this tell you much about the value of your case? It does not. Every case is different and our results do not predict yours. So why am I telling you this? I think many people who are badly injured read the statistics in this study and become despondent thinking they are doomed to a recovery somewhere near the Maryland average set out in the above statistics. Don’t be, because you are not.

  • Value of cases based on specific injury
  • Value of claims based on type of accident (inferior to specific injury for valuation purposes but still interesting)
  • Value based on which Maryland county the injury or death occurred.
  • If you want to get more money for your case, you need to learn to think like an insurance adjuster.  They simply do not think the way you and I do. But there is an opportunity in this insanity to help you maximize the value of your case.

hotgirls3Early Saturday morning, the United States Senate passed a bill that, if enacted, will be a boon for car accident lawyers in Maryland and around the country.  The Senate’s tax reform bill included language which would decrease the federal alcohol excise taxes by 16 percent and lead to steep cuts in the cost of beer, wine, and liquor.  It is a “car accident lawyer jobs bill” although sources tell me this is not the official title of the bill

The newly passed Senate’s bill would, for example, cut the federal taxes on beer from $7.00 to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels and from $18.00 to $16.00 per barrel on the next six million barrels. I am unfamiliar with how big a barrel is, but I know that it is going to cut the cost of buying alcohol.

Fewer people die in drunk driving accidents than when I was a kid.  Even though billions of dollars have been spent trying to eradicate drunk driving, we have not gained much ground.  Every year, over 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents.  That is not the half of it.  An estimated 88,000 deaths every year are attributable to alcohol, which makes it the third leading cause of preventable deaths after smoking and poor diet/lack of exercise.  But we are not talking about just deaths.  Alcohol destroys families and leads to crime, illness, and non-fatal car accidents.  Not for nothing for those who are excited about the ostensible economic benefits of this tax plan, alcohol use slows down economic productivity and leads to job losses.

We have been handling more and more nursing home cases in the last few years.  How much is a nursing home case worth in Maryland? Well, nursing homes think a strong liability nursing home death case in Maryland is worth between $200,000 and $250,000.

We disagree.  Strongly.  This disagreement is bound to come to a head very soon.

Let me explain.

Calls to our law firm by bed sore victims and their families have increased substantially in recent months.  We have a few more law firms sending all of their nursing ho

me cases to us and our Internet presence has increased the number of calls we get directly from victims.

It is clear that there are a lot of questions about how bed sore cases and the types of cases that get compensation, the type of cases our firm will take, and what really is the deal with bed sore cases.

I stumbled across a just brutal 9th Circuit opinion in S.H. v. United States earlier this year. This case reversed a $10 million verdict in a birth injury case, finding that the foreign country exception bars plaintiffs’ Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) malpractice claims against the military doctors who treated the mother and child.

law-and-justice-300x200Facts of S.H. v. United States

A U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant is transferred to Spain.  I don’t know if he wanted to go to Spain but it does not really matter, right?  He was ordered to go to Spain.  Before leaving for Spain, they go to Andrews Air Force Base so the military can verify that the family is medically suitable to travel overseas.  At Andrews, he and his wife learn they are pregnant with their third child.  She had experienced two prior preterm deliveries and a miscarriage in the past.

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