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

doctor-300x203More often than not, a jury trial in a wrongful death or severe injury case is about assigning blame.  Jurors want someone to blame for the harm that was caused.  Usually, this is either the plaintiff or the defendant.  In medical malpractice cases, jurors may also point to bad luck as the cause.

For defense lawyers, one of the best targets for responsibility is an empty chair, either a dismissed or unnamed defendant.  This is a more substantive target than mere bad luck and it allows the jury to meet its perceived obligation of assigning clear responsibility.  In Copsey v. Park, the Maryland high court addressed the question of whether the defendant could point to the empty chair of doctors who had already settled before trial.

Facts of Copsey

If you are considering bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, one question may have is what is the most you can sue for in a wrongful death case?

The better question is how much money can a jury award you.  Because in a wrongful death case in Maryland, you no longer ask for a specific amount of money in the Complaint.  Assuming the plaintiff’s lawyer understands Maryland law, the days of the Baltimore Sun publishing a story about a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit are over.  Today, we do not sue for a specific amount, but we ask for what a judge or jury deems just.

A wrongful death claim is a statutory cause of action governed by the specific rules of Maryland law.   It bears repeating that actions for wrongful death in Maryland must be commenced within three years of the death of the injured person. To date, the Maryland General Assembly has only enacted exceptions for deaths caused by occupational disease and criminal homicide.

The question of how much money to ask for in a car accident settlement hinges on whether you are a personal injury lawyer, whether you are willing to file a lawsuit, and the size of your claim.   At our law firm, all roads lead to the same Rome:  how to do we maximize the value of this case?   The demand is an important part of this equation.

The Maryland Court of Appeals granted cert in five cases yesterday.  One of the cases, Davis v. Frostburg Facility Operations, is of interest to Maryland medical malpractice lawyers because it addresses the question of what constitutes an allegation of medical malpractice that invokes the Maryland Health Claims Act.

Facts

Davis is a nursing home type case.  According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was admitted to Frostburg Village, a nursing rehabilitation center in Allegany County,  following back surgery. Two days later, Plaintiff’s mattress came loose from her bed and “slid off the bed frame, causing Ms. Davis to fall to the floor.”  The facility used a mechanical lift to put the woman back in bed because Frostburg is a no lift facility.  The nurse allegedly used the lift improperly — releasing the net holding the patient too soon — and dropped her on the floor.

Last week, in Henneberry v. Pharoan, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals looked at the question of whether there can be a breach of contract lawsuit that runs concurrently with a medical malpractice claim.  The case clarifies Maryland law on when a breach of contract claim might jive with a medical malpractice claim.

The Facts

The gist of the plaintiff’s complaint is that the doctor failed to completely resect the entire appendix which necessitated another surgery.  While undoubtedly a traumatic event for the plaintiff,  this is not a particularly serious case by medical malpractice standards.  We have been making it a point to follow every malpractice case that gets filed in Maryland. This is the bottom 10% of medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland with respect to severity of injury (of non-dental malpractice claims).

Our law firm has successfully handled scores of serious knee injury cases. Most recently, we won a $5.2 million verdict in a knee injury case.  We fight for our clients. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line consultation.

According to a recent Jury Verdict Research study on knee injuries:

  • the average verdict in a severe knee injury case is $359,149
  • the median knee injury verdict is $114,299
  • 8% of knee injury verdicts were over $1,000,000.

How do you define severe? JVR defines it as knee dislocation, fractures, replacements, and aggravation of a preexisting knee injury. I certainly understand the first three categories; aggravation of a preexisting knee injury more subjective and a little harder to define — and brings the average verdict lower.

Half of these cases are car accident lawsuits, and the other half includes every personal injury case under the sun. In Maryland, I’ll bet it is probably approaching 75% of the cases because we have fewer premises liability cases because of contributory negligence. It is the most frequent injury in premises liability cases, most from slip and falls.   So it is hard to extract much meaning from this average serious knee injury verdict. But there are a lot of numbers in the report that breaks it down a little further.

JVR does not provide the average accident knee injury verdict in motor vehicle collision cases. I wish they did because the average verdict always gets you more pumped up. But the median is probably more illustrative. The median knee injury verdict in a car accident case is $94,406. More interesting is the middle 50% – the 25th to the 75th percentile – ranges from $26,255-$216,726.  Obviously, that is a big range, and I would suggest that bottom quartile is not severe injury cases.

The last knee injury case we took to trial led to a $5.2 million verdict.  That was a severe injury case where the client required a below-the-knee amputation.

Knee injury verdict statistics

Here are some more knee injury verdict statistics of interest, at least, to me:knee3

  • Intersection collision accidents have a median of $70,748. The middle 50% range is $28,250-$237,500
  • Pedestrian accidents have a median of $150,000. The middle 50% range is $80,071-$240,000
  • Turning collision car accidents have a median of $90,203. The middle 50% range is $34,750-$192,038
  • Motorcycle accident knee injuries involve, as you would expect, more serious injuries. The median verdict is $191,884. The middle 50% range is $83,300-$287,500. Keep in mind, this is a survey of plaintiffs’ verdicts. The hard part in motorcycle accident cases is getting the verdict in the first place. It is amazing how many motorcycle accident lawsuits involve contested liability. Motorcycle cases get fought like World War III on liability in cases where the defendant’s lawyer would stipulate to liability under the same facts if the plaintiff were driving a car. It never ceases to amaze me. But I’ll admit there is a method to the madness: juries don’t like motorcyclists. Is this unfair? Of course it is. Can good counsel overcome it? Often, yes.
  • Rear end accident knee injuries have a median verdict of woeful $9,095. The middle 50% range is $1,624-$41,098. These statistics make sense.  There are just not a lot of knee injuries in rear-end accidents.  So many of the claims are those with preexisting injuries, which are the toughest cases to bring.  There are not a lot of serious “knee injuries only” in rear-end car accidents. If you hurt your knee badly in the accident, chances are you have a more serious injury than just your knee.

Keep in mind that all of these stats are third-party insurance claims.  Workers comp cases have an entirely different — and lower — formula to calculate the value of knee injury cases at work.

Hiring a lawyer to fight for you

If you have a knee injury claim in Maryland or Washington, D.C., call us today at 800-553-8082 so we can discuss your options.  You can also fill out this free claim evaluation form, and we can talk about your case on-line.  We have recovered millions for our client in knee injury cases, and we may be able to help you.

Sepsis is a silent killer that should be diagnosed and treated with the same urgency as a heart attack.  But it is not treated with urgency and it is the one reason so many medical malpractice lawsuits inmalpractice-300x200 Maryland involve either missed sepsis diagnosis or a failure to adequate treat this infection.

Sepsis is a catastrophic health problem that is responsible for over 250,000 deaths per year in this country.  There are over 20,000 cases of sepsis in Maryland hospitals every year. Do you think Donald Trump’s wall is too expensive?  We spend more $20 billion dollars on the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.  It is the most expensive condition treated in hospitals and a lot of that cost is care rendered after a doctor makes a mistake.

Continue reading

If you are a lawyer with a nursing home bed sore client in Maryland, I want you to refer your case to Miller & Zois (with an attorneys’ fee sharing relationship).  This post is directed to lawyers who Bedsore-300x200do not regularly handle bed sore care to better understand the pros and cons of bed sore nursing home claims in Maryland and what types of claims are the most viable.

Why Bed Sore Cases Are Good Cases

Nursing home cases are medical malpractice cases in Maryland. You have to file in Maryland Health Claims Arbitration and follow the malpractice statute.  But bed sore cases are the exact opposite of medical malpractice cases.  In a malpractice case against a doctor, the presumption the patient or the patient’s family must overcome is that the doctor is competent and did her very best.  You start behind the eight-ball and need to present overwhelming facts to win. It is hard to win jump ball medical malpractice cases even in victim-friendly jurisdictions.

Continue reading

Medical malpractice case involving a stroke can be a challenge.  Stroke cases are difficult to prove. Can they be a case?  Yes.  doctors with medicals

This post is for lawyers who are getting stroke misdiagnosis cases but do not know whether the claim is viable.

There are common threads that run through most successful stroke misdiagnosis/failure to treat cases.   Cases that result in a settlement or a jury verdict for the plaintiff are usually are one of these two breeds: Failing to prevent a stroke and failing to treat a stroke once it has occurred.

Continue reading

Back Pain

What are Vertebrae Fracture Cases Worth?

A Jury Verdict Research report this month found that over the last ten years, the national median award at trial in personal injury cases for a vertebra fracture is $112,537. Almost two-thirds of the cases in the study were motor vehicle accidents, which is the leading cause of spinal injuries in this country. Not surprisingly, the median award for multiple vertebrae fractures is almost double the single vertebra amount, $207,000.

When I first read this report I assumed the numbers were low because they excluded cases where there was a spinal cord or head injury. But apparently, 7.5% of the verdicts were in excess of $2,500,000, which means they have to include vertebrae fractures where the spinal cord was implicated or there was an accompanying head injury. Because of the proximity of the vertebrae to the spinal column, and because of the weight bearing implications of a vertebra injury, I assumed this number would be much higher, but there must be more minor fractures to vertebrae without significant injury than I realized.

Contact Information