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.

Headaches

What is the value of head injury cases?

I’m fortunate in that I don’t get many headaches, a blessing I attribute to good hydration and genetic good fortune. On the rare occasion that I do get headaches, they are debilitating. It is hard to enjoy much of anything in life when you have anything north of a mild headache.

Juries struggle with figuring out how to value personal injury cases when the primary injury is a head injury that caused —  and may be continuing to cause — headaches.

Monsanto Roundup weed killer lawsuits are the biggest mass tort in the country.  Lawyers everywhere are looking for potential victims.  Our law firm is no exception.  Stunning verdicts and talk of a settlement in excess of $8 billion have poured even more gasoline on the fire.  What are these cases about and what can we expect moving forward?

Before we start that, there is something you need to know.  If you have a Roundup cancer case, call a lawyer.  Not today.  Right now.

New January 23, 2020 Roundup Update

The cap on pain and suffering damages that can be recovered in Maryland medical malpractice cases increased on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

What is the malpractice cap in Maryland in 2020?  It is $830,000 for a living plaintiff or a wrongful death case where there is only one wrongful death beneficiary.  If there are two or more wrongful death beneficiaries, the malpractice cap rises to what we call “a cap and a quarter” or $1,037,500.   Keep in mind, this is the cap only for pain and suffering damages, not economic losses.

I explain the 2020 malpractice cap and other complexities of the cap in this video.

Getting records and bills from medical providers is a lot harder than it should be.   The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has a new opinion that makes the collection of records even harder.   Yes, thankfully, it is an unreported opinion.  But it is still a message that health care providers can kick the can down the road on medical records requests with impunity.

The sad part is I agree with the opinion. It was the right call.  For sure.  But it is not helpful for medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers trying to collect medical records.

The Maryland Record Collection Statute

The FDA and Health Canada are testing metformin for cancer-causing N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).  If this testing shows NDMA levels far above the FDA’s acceptable daily intake limit of 96 nanograms,  Metformin lawsuits could quickly become a large mass tort claim.  The number of lawsuits if this drug is causing cancer would be astronomical.

We are a long way from that.  The context with metformin, and why everyone should measure twice and cut once when looking at this issue, is this is a medically necessary drug for many patients. No one is suggesting that patients stop taking metformin to control their diabetes (although I do think patients should be talking about their NDMA concerns with their doctors).

This is a 2020 speculation email directed at lawyers about litigation that might be on the horizon.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals decision last week, in Choudhry v. Fowlkes 2019 WL 5677904 (Md. App., Nov. 1, 2019) is probably the most significant new development in Maryland personal injury law in 2019. Choudhry articulates a new 3-part rule for when plaintiffs in wrongful death cases can recover economic damages for loss of “household services.”

I love this case because it is a virtual treatise about how to put together a loss of household services case in Maryland.  I don’t love the case because I think it raises the bar higher for making such a claim than most Maryland Circuit Court judges have been applying.

Loss of Household Services

Last week, I summarized a recent bench trial in a birth injury case.  I find these bench trial decisions to be extremely useful and informative. They provide a unique perspective on what facts and testimony really matter in a birth injury case. In a jury trial, you just get a verdict. You do not get any meaningful explanation as to what mattered and why. Appellate opinions focus on the law and not so much on the resolution of factual issues. These bench trial decisions are like detailed case studies that allow us to see how the facts were presented by each side, how the expert testimony was weighed, and exactly how the fact-finder reached their decision.

So I looked for another birth injury case with the judge as the decider of fact. I found Coleman v. United States, 200 F. Supp. 3d 1350 (M.D. Ga. 2016), another Memorandum Decision from a birth injury bench trial in federal court.

The plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of themselves and their injured child, J.D. The healthcare providers involved in this birth injury case were employees of a federally funded health clinic in Albany Georgia. The federal government assumes liability for malpractice claims against federally funded clinics, so the United States was the named defendant.

This week I was reading through recent appellate decisions from birth injury cases across the country and I came across a unique written decision from the federal court in Chicago in Zhao v. United States 2019 WL 3956412 (S.D. Ill. 2019).

This was a fairly typical birth injury case in which the baby suffered nerve damage due to a failure to diagnose fetal macrosomia and the mishandling of shoulder dystocia during delivery. What makes this case somewhat unique is that unlike most birth injury cases that get tried by juries, this case was resolved with a bench trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (because it was against the United States in this case).

At the end of the trial, the judge awarded the plaintiff $8.2 million in damages, but more importantly he wrote a very detailed Memorandum and Order basically analyzing the entire case.

Juul is facing lawsuits on multiple fronts. Our lawyers are focusing on vaping injury and vaping addition cases in young people who plaintiffs’ lawyers argue were targeted by Juul.

There is a vaping crisis in the country that snuck up on everyone.  There are stories every week about the growing number of vaping-related illnesses and injuries appearing at hospitals. According to a recent Washington Post article, there are now 18 reported deaths related to a mysterious vaping illness, along with over 1,000 other possible cases of vaping-related injuries.  It may well be that many of these specific cases have little to do with Juul.  But this crisis has everyone taking a close look at Juul.

Picture showing someone vaping

Click to enlarge

My firm handles birth injury malpractice cases.  We have cases all over the country.   Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious types of injuries we see in these cases.  If you are a birth injury lawyer and you do not get emotionally invested in cerebral palsy cases, you do not have a pulse.  Even defense lawyers who would shoot a puppy to get some minuscule evidentiary advantage at trial, usually have great empathy for the child and the family even if we disagree about why the injury occurred.

Cerebral palsy is a permanent physical and often cognitive disability in which the brain cannot control parts of the body. Cerebral palsy is not a disease. It is a static injury to the brain that occurs during childbirth or pregnancy. It is a non-progressive motor impairment that does not get better or worse over time. (Although some children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy have seen that diagnosis change before age 5.)

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