Articles Posted in Featured Lawsuits

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

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.

baltimore injury case value

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Baltimore City settled a wrongful death and survival action by Freddie Gray’s family for $6.4 million.  The criminally unfair Maryland Local Government Tort Claim Act would have capped these claims at $400,000.  So Baltimore City settled for a whopping $6 million more than the maximum value of the case.   Said another way, the settlement was 16 times the cap for personal injury and wrongful death claims had this case taken the standard path and been heard by a Baltimore City jury.

High-profile cases mold public perception, in Baltimore and throughout Maryland, of our civil justice system.  People form impressions on how well the system performs when placing dollar amounts on personal injury and wrongful death cases.

On some level, Freddie Gray is a Baltimore specific McDonald’s coffee case. It has now been 24 years since Stella Liebeck spilled coffee on herself at a McDonald’s drive-through in New Mexico and that case continues to inform prospective jurors on how personal injury cases actually work.  Freddie Gray may leave a similar legacy in Baltimore.  What will that legacy be?  What misimpressions will jurors carry into the jury box because of this case?  I believe there are unintended consequences to this settlement that will be felt for years.

I think these are the Freddy Gray takeaway messages:

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

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.

[2018 Update: I DO specialize in personal injury law!  We are now allowed to make this claim.]

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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 varyinjury type settlement wildly because there are so many different factors with 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 way to predict 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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baltimore malpractice verdictOur Memorial Day weekend got a good kickoff with a $5.2 million verdict in Baltimore in an emergency room misdiagnosis medical malpractice case.

I can’t start out the facts of this case without pointing out how amazing our client and his family were and are.  Just a great loyal family.  They came in and out of the courtroom during the two-week trial, including six of his seven siblings.   His elderly parents were there for the closing too, along with one of his nieces.    I have four small kids.  When they are older, I want us to all be as close as that family.   They are great people that love each other, and they love God. Which means they have 95% of life covered when they wake up in the morning.

Facts of the Case

appellate court rules malpractice

Maryland appellate court kicks malpractice case

Before the holidays, the Court of Special Appeals issued a new opinion dealing with medical malpractice actions.  The case, Puppolo, v. Adventist Healthace, Inc., et al., is a perfect example of how difficult it can be to litigate a medical malpractice claim when you don’t understand and/or abide by the procedural and statutory “rules” Maryland has in place.  (You can read the case here.)  I know that slogging through statutes can be really tedious and boring, but when it comes to med mal, there are no excuses.  You’ve just gotta do it.  Maybe this cautionary tale case will shed some light… Continue reading

governmental immunities caseThe Maryland Court of Appeals decided Espina v. Prince George’s County  last week.  The opinion is not a good one if you care about justice.  

I have written here two times how awful governmental immunities are.   But I think the topic is inexhaustible, like Doris Kearns Goodwin digging even deeper into Lincoln’s life.  The unfairness of protecting government when they hurt someone is just plain wrong.  In 2014, they just make little sense. Virtually everyone agrees they lead to grave injustice.  Yet no one really cares. Continue reading

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