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.

In Stracke v. Butler the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a pair of ambulance paramedics from the Baltimore City Fire Department were immune from liability because their actions in transporting a man to the hospital were not “grossly negligent.”

This case involves the scope of immunity provided by the Maryland Fire & Rescue Company Act, Maryland Code, Courts & Judicial Proceedings § 5-604 and its applicability to employees Baltimore City Fire Department employees who treated the patient that ultimately died.

I don’t like the gross negligence law we have in Maryland. I think § 5-604 is well-intended but ultimately foolish.  But I have a hard time arguing that the court did not follow Maryland law.

Last month, Maryland’s Court of Appeals upheld a $7 million verdict to the plaintiff in an asbestos case even though there was no direct evidence that the defendants had installed the asbestos products at issue. In Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust v. Busch, a 6-1 majority held that direct evidence of exposure to a specific defendant’s asbestos products is not necessary. Rather, a defendant’s liability for asbestos exposure can be based on circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences.

Facts of the Case

police brutality pg countyThe underlying facts are fairly typical of most asbestos cases these days. The plaintiff (70-years-old at the time of trial) worked for 30 years as an HVAC technician. He primarily installed thermostats, sensors, and temperature control systems. The plaintiff himself never directly worked with asbestos, but he was sometimes around other people who were using asbestos.

A mass tort that has been getting a lot of attention from lawyers around the country in recent weeks is Xeljanz blood clot lawsuits.

Xeljanz now has a boxed warning, the FDA’s most severe safety warning, for DVT and pulmonary embolisms.

These conditions can be fatal.  This is a big deal for Pfizer’s blockbuster drug.

This is a rare post that does not involve a personal injury case. I’m writing this case because it has a real impact on how people view the civil justice system which has a real impact on my clients.

The 2018 NFC Championship

Even a casual football fan remembers the controversy surrounding this year’s NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. The Saints were on the verge of sealing a victory in the closing minutes when the referees fail to call a blatant pass interference penalty on the Rams. I was watching the game with my family rooting for the Rams and I still thought the call was ridiculous.

A lawsuit against Gilead Sciences, a prominent drug company known for its HIV medications, has been allowed to continue in federal court after the company filed a motion to dismiss the claims. Although the ruling did dismiss some claims against the biopharma giant, it allowed all the core causes of action to continue making the decision a decisive victory for the plaintiffs.  There is still a long way to go but these cases may have legs that could take the plaintiffs to victories at trial and ultimately a global settlement for all the victims.

The legal allegations against Gilead involve the company’s groundbreaking prescription drugs used for the treatment of HIV.  In 2001, Gilead developed and released a first of its kind drug, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) under the brand name Viread. TDF is a unique antiretroviral medicine that works by blocking an enzyme that the HIV virus cells use to replicate and multiply. By preventing the virus cells from replicating, Viread and Gilead’s other TDF drugs effectively stop HIV from growing and progressing into AIDS.

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Gilead dominates, arguably with antitrust implications, HIV drugs known as antiretrovirals.  In the U.S. today, more than 80% of patients on HIV treatment take one or more of Gilead’s products every day.

Infographic explaining what a herniated disc is

Click to enlarge

The first case I tried for Miller & Zois 17 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 disc injury accident claims for victims. If another plaintiffs’ law firm has handled more herniated disc injury cases 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 verdict and a probability range of verdict.

Of the two, I think the most interesting is the probability range. In this Jury Verdict Research Study, 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 case, I think the 75th percentile is probably the median.

Anyway, these are the numbers:

Accident Median Probability Range % of MVA Herniated Disc Cases
Truck Accidents $208,341 $66,975 – $605,101 10%
Overall $54,538 $17,575 – $180,017 80%
Intersection Collisions $50,000 $17,500 – $136,745 19%
Turning Collisions $47,781 $20,000 – $160,000 9%
Rear-End Collisions $47,500 $12,500 – $140,000 35%
Chain Reaction Collisions $40,000 $10,478 – $150,000 6%

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:

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complaintThere 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.

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elderlysigningBecoming the victim of an auto accident can have a profound effect on your life. Even though an accident can happen in the span of a few seconds, it can result in death or injuries and hardships that last months, years, or a lifetime. With that in mind, victims of auto accidents should seek an attorney to ensure that they are compensated for their injuries and/or losses. However, not every attorney is qualified to handle every case. Clients should ensure that they receive the representation that they deserve.

Here are five things to consider when hiring a Maryland car accident attorney:

History of Results

Breaking up with a client is something all personal injury attorneys do on a fairly regular basis. A lot of cases look promising.  But an investigation and review of the medical records can sometimes paint a very different picture.  This is particularly true in medical malpractice cases where the medical records read very differently from what the patient remembers or believes.

For the most part, lawyers are free, as the client is, to sever the attorney-client relationship.  If you have already filed a lawsuit for the client, things are a bit more complication because you will need to get court permission withdrawing from the case.  Before a case is actually filed, however, breaking up is a lot easier.

Maryland Ethical Rules

Eye

Value of Vision Loss Cases

Metro Verdicts Monthly has a graph that reflects the median verdicts and settlements when the injury victim loses vision in one eye in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The median for the loss of vision in one eye in Maryland is $231,000. You could drive a truck through the gap between Washington, D.C. and Virginia’s median settlements in verdicts with loss of vision in one eye cases: Washington, D.C.’s median is $162,500; Virginia’s is $320,000. If you read graphs regularly, you would expect Washington, D.C. and Virginia to be reversed because Virginia as a whole typically has more conservative verdicts.

These numbers are a bit misleading.   I think because the majority of loss of vision cases are product liability cases. Many product liability cases have questionable liability which decreases the average and median recoveries. If liability is not an issue, the values of these cases are much higher.

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