Articles Posted in Featured Lawsuits

 The Paragard IUD is an intrauterine contraceptive device made by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Recently it was discovered that a design defect in the Paragard was causing the IUD device to fracture during removal, leaving shattered pieces floating around inside the uterus.  Now hundreds of women who have been harmed by this defect are filing Paragard lawsuits. Earlier this year the Paragard litigation officially rose to “mass tort” status when cases across the U.S. were consolidated into a new Paragard MDL.

In this post, I will try to answer the questions everyone has after a new mass tort MDL is created: Will the litigation be successful, who qualifies as a plaintiff, and how much will cases be worth?

The Paragard IUD

[Update: June 10, 2021 — Unfortunately,  3M earplug victims lost the second 3M earplug lawsuit that has gone to trial last week.  This was a tinnitus case and a tougher case for the plaintiff.  The third trial is underway and the verdict will be incredibly important in determining settlement amounts in the 3M lawsuits.]

[Update: April 30,2021 — 3M Earplug Verdict!   A whopping $7.1 million verdict with $2.1 million in punitive damages for each of the three plaintiffs!

What does this mean?  First, it means the jury was extremely angry with 3M.  The punitive damages were far greater than the compensation.  Second, these bellwethers trials set settlement values.  So the per person settlement compensation payout projections of the 3M lawsuits just got a lot higher. 

Our lawyers are investigating Zantac lawsuits in all 50 states.   The evidence seems clear to our attorneys that Zantac is causing many types of cancer.

Zantac lawsuits are now consolidated in a class-action federal court in Florida.  So if you file a Zantac claim in federal court, your lawsuit will wind up in Florida.

There is a widespread belief among mass tort attorneys that these MDL class action claims could be worth billions of dollars.  My guess?  Between $5 billion and $10 billion.

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.)

How much is the average disc injury case worth?  What kind of payout can you expect?   

I can’t answer the second question.  Each case is different.  But the average disc injury verdict is $340,328, which includes the 7% of disc injury cases where the award exceeded $1 million.

These awards vary wildly.  The biggest variable?  Many disc injury cases are complicated by either a preexisting injury or because of degenerative disc disease. (Defense lawyers blame spondylosis for just about everything, even if the plaintiff had never had so much as a backache prior to the accident.)

As I explain more fully here, this gets factored into the calculation of cash value. But each case has to be evaluated on its own merits.  We have earned literally millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in herniated disc injury cases where the client had some preexisting injury, either with radiological findings that suggest a previous injury or actual symptoms that the patient had before the crash.

Disc-Settlements-410x1024

Too often, plaintiffs’ lawyers allow defense lawyers to frame the issue this way.  Oh, the injury was already there.  That is not what matters.  What matters is the patient’s level of pain and suffering now and what would it have been if this collision had never occurred.   How you explain these cases to a jury really matters.

The one thing unclear is how the study determined whether the disc injury was a preexisting injury. The victim’s treating doctor and the insurance company’s doctor frequently disagree on this point, particularly when the patient is over 40 years old. There are some defense doctors who remain convinced that every injury you get after high school has to be an exacerbation of a preexisting injury.

Value of Bulging/Protruding Disc Settlements Is Lower

The difference in the values between bulging/protruding disc versus a herniated or ruptured disc was rather pronounced. For bulging/protruding discs, the average jury award was $140,311 ($31,000 median). The average jury award for herniated or ruptured discs was $413,917 ($60,000 median).

Degenerative Disc Disease Settlement Values Are Also Lower

For degenerative disc disease injury, the average jury award is $51,678 ($11,482 median). For aggravation of preexisting disc injuries, the average award is $152,932 ($29,379 median). Obviously, you can drive a Mack truck through the differences in the value of disc cases on this single issue.  

Maryland Disc Injury Verdicts and Settlements

Below are some settlements and verdicts in disc injury cases that give you some idea of how these cases play out at trial and what type of payouts others have received. 

YEAR / STATE

CASE SUMMARY

RESULT

2019 – Anne Arundel

A man was rear-ended at an intersection. He suffered a cervical disc herniation that was treated with surgery. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to slow down caused his injuries. He also made a claim against his insurer, Garrison, for refusing to pay his benefits. Both the at-fault driver and Garrison disputed the man’s allegations. An Anne Arundel County jury awarded a $236,254 verdict.

$236,254 – Verdict

2019 – Baltimore County

A woman was rear-ended by an impaired driver. She suffered C4-5 and L5-S1 annular tears and a partial thickness left rotator cuff tear. The woman also experienced tears to her degenerated glenoid labrum. She underwent rehabilitative and pain management therapies.  The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed he negligently drove while intoxicated and failed to timely brake. The woman also made a UIM claim against her insurer, Allstate, for refusing to pay her benefits. The defense admitted liability but contested the claimed injuries. A Baltimore County jury awarded an $89,762 verdict.

$89,762 – Verdict

2019 – Baltimore County

A man was rear-ended in a chain-reaction collision. He suffered L3-L5 protrusions. The man also suffered head and neck injuries. He alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. The man claimed he failed to slow down and properly control his vehicle. A Baltimore County jury awarded him a $103,838 verdict.

$103,838 – Verdict

2018 – Baltimore County

A woman was a passenger in a rear-end collision. She suffered an L5-S1 herniation, a lumbar strain, and traumatic left hip and knee injuries. The woman underwent physical therapy. She alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to timely brake his vehicle caused her injuries. The defense disputed the injury claims. They argued that the woman received excessive treatment for non-permanent injuries. A Baltimore County jury awarded $306,338.

$306,338 – Verdict

2018 – Baltimore City

A man was rear-ended at a red light by an underinsured driver. He suffered a T7-8 disc bulge and undisclosed head, body, and limb injuries. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to timely brake caused the collision and his injuries. He also made a breach of contract claim against his insurer, Allstate, for failing to pay his benefits. The Baltimore City jury awarded the man $101,416.

$101,416 – Verdict

Getting a Lawyer for Your Case

If you live in Maryland and would like my help in navigating your disc injury case towards the best outcome, call me and let’s see if I can help you.  You can reach me at 800-553-8082 or you can get an online consultation here.  If I am not available, you can ask for any trial lawyer here.  Between all of us, we have handled over 1,000 cases involving a herniated disc claim.  We know these cases frontwards and backward. Continue reading

herniated discs

Click to enlarge

The first case I tried for Miller & Zois 18 years ago was a herniated disc injury.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was a car/light truck crash.  We got a $300,000 verdict in a case with a $15,000 settlement offer. The defense lawyer thought it was a nuisance case because there was no visible property damage. The jury set him straight.

Since then, our lawyers have handled hundreds of slipped disc injury accident claims for victims. If another plaintiffs’ law firm has handled more herniated disc injury lawsuits in Maryland, I’d like to know who that is. Our lawyers have spent a lot of time fine-tuning the science and the arguments to make at trial in these spinal injury cases.

I have always been particularly interested in verdict statistics in disc injury claims. Yesterday, I found some interesting data that looks at the median value of herniated disc injury claims based on the type of vehicle crash. The data provides two things: the median result and a probability range of verdict.

Of the two, I think the most interesting is the probability range. In this Jury Verdict Research Study, the probability range is defined as the middle 50 percent of all awards arranged in ascending order in a sampling, 25% above and 25% below the median. In other words, it provides the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile of verdicts. I believe that for plaintiffs with a good law firm who knows how to prepare and try a disc injury lawsuit, I think the 75th percentile is probably the median.

Anyway, these are the numbers:

truck accident cases

The first thing that really stands out is the gap in the range, which is particularly pronounced as you might expect in truck accident crashes. I’m also surprised at how relatively low the statistics are for intersection accidents.

They are all motor vehicle accidents. What surprises me is how much more the value of herniated disc injuries explodes when taken outside of the motor tort context.  Look at these payouts by type of tort claim:

Continue reading

decision file suitThere are a variety of motivations that impact the victim’s decision to settle or go to trial.

The victim’s decision. It is worth underscoring: it is the victim’s decision. It is not a choice for the attorneys or the family. The victim has to choose the path that is best for them.

There are certainly some Maryland injury attorneys who do not see it that way.  It really is tempting — I’ve felt it — to think you know what is best for your client.  I’ve settled cases where I was convinced the offer would double in a matter of weeks.  But as a lawyer, your job really is to give your client the information to make an informed choice.

Here are the three key factors victims need to consider: risk, time, and emotional strain.

Continue reading

value maryland auto accidents

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. The 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.

I can’t say I’m a fan of any car insurance companies in Maryland.  Some are worse than others.  Here is my “Top 5 Worst Auto Insurance Companies to Deal With” list in personal injury cases.

#1 GEICO

GEICO has the largest market share in Maryland.  We see GEICO regularly. So that familiarity breeds contempt.

Why They Are Awfulgeico maryland

GEICO makes the worst pre-suit offers of the big six insurance companies (State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, USAA, Erie).  So there’s that.

GEICO’s new generation of adjusters are increasingly condescending, laughing at demands, and other histrionics that are very grating. You would never see the old school GEICO adjusters who are almost invariably professional and likable, even when I disagree with them (I’m Facebook friends with GEICO adjusters who I used to fight with in the old days.)

GEICO almost always put more money on a case when a suit has been filed. By then,  the claim is switched over to a litigation adjuster who is more likely to be a seasoned adjuster who can really value the case.   So the original adjuster never has to put his or her tail between his legs and increase the offer they once thought was hysterical.  Instead, these pre-suit adjusters are already on the phone telling another attorney or victim how silly their claim is.  These neophyte adjusters are firmly ensconced in their bubble and are never forced to face reality.   Continue reading

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