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.

phonecall-300x202

Why can’t you get a lawyer on the phone?

I picked up the phone yesterday from someone I knew did not have a personal injury case.  He sent us an online intake weeks ago and was now cycling back to us.  This means has called almost every personal injury lawyer in Maryland but did not keep track of who he had contacted.

The reason he did not have a case was that he had a mass tort case in litigation that has long since ended AND he was passed the statute of limitations.  I spoke to the guy because he never got a personal injury lawyer on the phone to explain to why no one would take his case.  It is confusing.  There are million and one lawyers online and elsewhere begging for cases.  So this guy was understandably perplexed as to why he could not even get anyone on the phone.

Gallagher v Mercy Medical, a new malpractice case handed down this week by the Maryland Court of Appeals,  is the most recent decision from our high court in which a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims against Mercy Hospital were barred under the “one satisfaction” rule. This rule makes it tough to bring both an auto tort and a medical malpractice case related to the same accident.  If you are handling car accidents cases and there might be a malpractice element to it, you want to read this case (or at least this blog post). The law here his not intuitive because it leads to something the law should not — injustice.

In short, the malpractice claims against Mercy related to treatment for injuries the plaintiff sustained in an auto accident. The plaintiff had already sued the at-fault driver and received settlements from his insurer and a UIM settlement from her own insurance company.

The Court of Appeals held that the settlements from the auto tort action constituted “full satisfaction” for plaintiff’s alleged injuries and, therefore, her subsequent malpractice claims for those injuries were barred by the one satisfaction rule.

The Michigan Supreme Court came out a few weeks ago with a very interesting opinion in favor of the Plaintiff in a malpractice claim that most likely would fail in Maryland.

The doctor’s malpractice attorneys argued that the allegation that the doctor’s negligence caused a reduction in the risk of stroke from 10 to 20 percent to less than 5 to 10 percent was not enough to get the claim to a jury because the loss was not sufficient to meet the burden of proof on proximate causation. The law booksdoctor argued that Michigan law is whether the opportunity to achieve a better result was greater than 50 percent. Under this law, if the plaintiff could not prove that receiving the alleged appropriate treatment would have decreased his risk of injury by 50%, the plaintiff’s claim would fail.

Thankfully, a divided Michigan high court found that this is not the law and that malpractice cases such as this should be decided under a simple principle: the plaintiff is required to prove that the doctor’s negligence more probably than not caused the plaintiff’s injury.

Regrettably, Maryland goes in a different direction on these types of cases as I have previously discussed. One thing Maryland has Michigan beat on is collegiality among the judges on the court. Battles in the Michigan Supreme Court are both political and personal in a way that would shock Maryland lawyers. Judges quoting political statements made by other judges to the press, the judge that wrote the majority opinion writing separately to refute one judge’s personal attack – if you have no interest in this issue it is worth reading the opinion just to get a taste of what this different world is like.

Continue reading

caps on malpractice lawyers' fees
Anesthesia malpractice claims in Maryland have declined.  That is right.  Something good is happening.  Anesthesiologists have gotten better at delivering the appropriate amount of sedation.

Why have they gotten better?  I would say malpractice lawsuits.  Anesthesiologists were forced to improve because their malpractice premiums were through the roof.  Today, they do not even rank in the top 10 specialties.

Still, there are too many mistakes that anesthesiologists make that cause patients injury and death.

2019-crash-300x284Uber and Lyft are the new on-demand transportation (or “rideshare”) companies that have revolutionized the for-hire and taxi transportation business in the last few years. Users download the Uber or Lyft app to their mobile phone and setup an account with a credit card for payment.  Once setup, users can request a ride pick-up from their phone to which nearby Uber or Lyft drivers in the area respond. The apps allow riders to track the driver and process payment electronically.

Lyft and Uber are relatively new companies but they have exploded in popularity over the last 5 years. My sister is in Kenya right now and she is traveling around by Uber. Lyft, Uber’s kid brother, is about to go public and make their founders and estimated $9.4 bazillion.  Car accidents involving Lyft or Uber drivers are becoming more and more common and these cars flood our roads.

Claims Against Lyft or Uber

Football-300x190I’m also fired up for a new year of appellate opinions.  Something about having a new year on a case that just seems exciting to me.  (In an unrelated note, I have four kids and few hobbies.)  But there have been few tort related appellate opinions this year to get me fired up.

Anyway, the Maryland Court of Appeals recently decided a Sutton-Witherspoon v. S.A.F.E Management, a case that is factually interesting to almost all of us in Baltimore.

Facts of Case: An Out-of-Control Victory Parade

knee-200x300

Knee Injury Values

Ask any accident lawyer about the use of statistics in valuing personal injury accident cases, and you will get an almost universal answer: they have little or no utility.

Yet I’ve never looked away from average verdict data, and I’ve never known a personal injury lawyer who did. Even if you conclude it is useless, and I do not go that far, you can’t help but be curious.

emotionalOur clients sometimes incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  They should be compensated for those bills. But the bigger harm in personal injury cases is the physical and emotional pain and suffering that comes with the victims’ injuries.

Today, we will look at compensation for emotional injuries in accident and medical malpractice cases to get a better idea how much money victims can expect to receive as compensation for this type on intangible but important injury.

Emotional Damages Statistics

Let’s start out with some hard numbers on compensation for emotional injuries nationally, provided by Jury Verdict Research.  This category includes cases involving emotional distress or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Continue reading

guyonphone-300x250

Our Zostavax Trials Set for 2020

Our lawyers are handling Zostavax lawsuits.   If you have a potential suit and have not yet hired a lawyer, call me.

Zostavax lawsuits are now moving forward quickly. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has selected the initial “bellwether” cases in the Zostavax MDL. The bellwether Zostavax cases will be grouped into two categories and prepared for five proposed trial dates that will take place between fall 2020 and summer 2021.  Does that sound far away?  I get it.  But this is not far away in class action-type lawsuits where the ball moves slowly. 

In Armacost v. Davis, the first appellate tort opinion in Maryland in 2019, the Maryland Court of Appeals was asked to examine whether a trial court’s instructions to the jury were inappropriate and prejudicial in a medical malpractice case alleging negligence after a four-level cervical discectomy and fusion surgery performed by the defendant left the victim with claims of permanent injury.   The Maryland high court ultimately held that:

1)    The trial court did not mislead the jury as to the applicable law by first giving them general negligence instructions before instructing jurors on the standard of care applicable to the defendant brain surgeon’s actions.

2)    The trial court did not abuse its discretion by telling jurors how much longer they would be required to deliberate after they had previously expressed concerns over the length of the trial.

Contact Information