Metro Verdicts Monthly’s graph this month is non-fatal settlements and verdicts in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia in premises liability cases since 1987.
The median non-fatal premises liability case in Maryland was $69,000. The recoveries in Virginia and the District of Columbia are slightly less, $50,000 and $65,000, respectively.
If you look at the national data, you see an enormous difference between Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia and the rest of the country. What is the common thread? Contributory negligence is still the law in all three jurisdictions.
As I have said before, I love seeing these different verdicts in Maryland each month. It is always interesting to see different lawyers that you know and see what cases they had and how they fared. What diminishes the value of Metro Verdicts, in my mind, is the turnaround time. I have a case in this month’s edition that I tried 6 months ago. It does not diminish the quality of the information, but in the Internet era, it is not as enjoyable to read stale news.
- Premises liability case value: national verdict statistics (keep in mind that, unlike the figures above, these do not include settlements)
- Verdict statistics and settlement value of slip and fall cases in Maryland and nationally
Why Some Premises Liability Cases in Maryland Are Worth Less
As I suggest above, the value of the average Maryland premises liability settlement is less than the national average. I believe the only reason for this is those cases where the victim’s own negligence caused the accident. This pushes down the settlement average dramatically and also tinkers with verdicts. Why? Because juries, as a compromise, sometimes cut back damage awards where the jury debated whether the plaintiff either was contributorily negligent or assumed the risk. This means if you are even 1% at fault for the harm that was caused to you, then you cannot recover. Every state and almost every commentator on this issue has acknowledged that this is wildly unfair. So a lot of excellent cases in most states are dead losers in Maryland.
Difference Between Contributory Negligence and Assumption of the Risk
What is the difference between contributory negligence and assumption of the risk? Assumption of the risk and contributory negligence are closely related and typically overlapping defenses to premises liability cases in Maryland. The defense of assumption of risk means the plaintiff consented to absolve the defendant of any obligation of conduct toward and she takes her chances as to the risk. Contributory negligence means a mistake the victim made that contributed to the cause of a particular accident. So contributory negligence is a goof, if you will, assumption of risk means you took on the danger. Can it be both? Sure.
Why the Best Cases Have Much Higher Value Than the Average
There are many premises cases where there is no actual issue of assumption of the risk or contributory negligence. If your case falls into this category, you are in a different position. So many premises liability cases in Maryland have these issues — particularly slip and fall cases where the defendant did not create the hazard. So if you have a “clean” case, your value is dramatically higher and you are probably better served looking at verdicts based on the injury that you suffered as opposed to the case.
Maryland Premises Liability Verdicts & Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and publicly reported settlements in Maryland premises liability cases.
2022 (P.G. County) $122,000: plaintiff was a prospective tenant viewing an apartment to rent when she slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk in front of the apartment building suffering unspecified injuries. Jury in Prince George’s County awarded $57,000 for medical expenses, $60,000 for lost wages, and $5,000 for pain and suffering.
2022 (Baltimore County) $400,000: was attending her wedding reception under a tent in the parking lot of a restaurant operated by the defendant when she reportedly stepped into a pothole and fell. Injuries were not specified, but jury in Baltimore County awarded $400k which was all for pain & suffering.
2021 (Baltimore City) $33,781: plaintiff was struck in his head and other parts of his body by falling debris when the kitchen ceiling collapsed while he was in his neighbor’s home. The neighbor lived in a property owned, managed, and/or operated by defendant realty company.
2021 (D. Md.) $350,000: plaintiff was at the Frederick County fair when she tripped and fell while exiting a ride operated by the defendant. Plaintiff suffered injuries to her left foot, left ankle, left leg, chest/left breast, right shoulder, right arm/elbow, back, and ribs.
2019 (Baltimore City) $24,400: plaintiff fell into a manhole while walking down the street in Baltimore City due to an unsecure or missing manhole cover, suffering various unspecified injuries as a result.
2018 (Charles County) $639,012: plaintiff was staying at a Residence Inn in Charles County, Md. when a cabinet fell on her head, pinning her between the cabinet and a countertop. She sought damages for injuries including headaches and panic attacks.
2015 (P.G. County) $25,000: plaintiff slipped and fell on a greasy floor at Seafood Palace Buffet in Temple Hills. She suffered injuries to her lower back, right shoulder, and knee as a result of the fall.
2012 (Baltimore City) $11,400: plaintiff slipped and fell on wet floor in frozen food section at Shoppers grocery store and suffered various unspecified injuries.
Getting a Premises Liability Lawyer in Maryland
Miller & Zois has garnered millions of dollars for its clients in premise liability cases in Maryland. While these results do not guarantee future success, they underscore that we have the experience, the resources, and the skills to maximize the value of your case. If you want to discuss a potential claim, call Ron Miller at 800-883-8082 or get a free online consultation.