Wednesday, December 21, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE WORKER'S COMPENATION CASE WORTH? What worker's compensation benefits are available?
Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore routinely secure worker's compensation benefits for their clients. Available medical benefits are explored in another chapter. Wage loss, or "indemnity" benefits are explored in some more detail in other chapters, but, generally come in 4 varieties: temporary total disability- where a doctor has an injured worker "off-work", that worker will get 2/3 of what they made prior to getting hurt; temporary partial disability- where a doctor has an injured worker on "light-duty" work, and they are not earning as much as before getting hurt, that worker will get a portion of the difference; permanent partial disability- where an injured worker has suffered a permanent injury, they are entitled to a monetary award based on the severity of the injury; and, as personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know, the big dog- permanent and total disability, where an injured worker cannot work, at any job for which there is a reasonable market, in any capacity; they will get 2/3 of what they made prior to getting hurt for so long as that disability persists.
Friday, December 16, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? Can a law enforcement officer assault and batter me?
Well, let's look at the context. If an officer is acting with legal justification i.e. probable cause, he or she can generally place you under arrest. Now, if you're being arrested for something, you've likely got bigger problems that whether or not you've been properly arrested. Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that a law enforcement officer is authorized to use force, even force that amounts to a civil battery, to effect an arrest. However, if that officer acts with an intent to harm you, and you suffer bodily injury, a Baltimore city lawsuit is a possibility. Many personal injury lawyers in Baltimore have successfully litigated claims that an officer acted with "excessive force" or malice when arresting or detaining and individual. In those instances, the privilege to use reasonable force to effect an arrest does not apply.
Monday, December 12, 2011
That seems consistent with common sense, and, personal injury lawyers in Baltimore will advise you that is also the law in Maryland. We've discussed in other chapters the concepts of civil assault and civil battery- so called 'intentional' torts. The assaulter, or batterer, must have intended to cause the contact or fear of contact. Unintentional contact that cause personal injury, e.g. a Baltimore car accident, may be pursued as a negligence claim. Is every person that batters another answerable in damages to the person battered? Seasoned personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that all Marylanders possess a privilege to use reasonable force, including battering another, to defend themselves, their property, third persons, or the property of their employer.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? That man hit me, but was trying to hit the guy next to me?
I recent chapters we explored the concepts of civil assault and battery. Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that these are called 'intentional' torts. In other words, the assaulter, or batterer, must have intended to cause the contact or fear of contact. Unintentional contact that cause harm, e.g. in a Baltimore car accident, may be pursued as a negligence claim. What about a situation where a person intends to strike, or throws or shoots something at one person, the intended target, but through bad aim, hits a bystander. Experienced personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that the doctrine of 'transferred intent' [from the intended victim to the actual one] supplies the necessary degree of willfulness to make the assault or battery actionable for damages.
Friday, December 2, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? That man said he would physically hurt me. Can I sue him?
A high percentage of all civil lawsuits filed in Baltimore involved allegations of negligence, i.e. a victim sustained injury because another failed to use the proper degree of care. What if a person sustains injury due to the intentional conduct of another? Knowledgeable personal injury attorneys in Baltimore are familiar with the legal theories that permit a victim to recover money damages in these situations. A civil assault is a threat, made through words or conduct, to hurt another. The person making the threat must appear to have the ability to carry it out, and the recipient must actually fear some kind of imminent harm.Personal injury attorneys in Baltimore caution their clients that this is an action that must be brought quickly, as the statute of limitations on a civil assault is but one year.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Baltimore are familiar with the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. There is no separate claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, but how someone's negligence effects another's psyche is an element of the damages assessed in a negligence action, e.g. a typical Baltimore automobile accident. The seasoned personal injury lawyer in Baltimore knows that intentional infliction of emotional distress is notoriously difficult to prove. The conduct of the defendant must be "outrageous", "opprobrious", "beyond all bounds of possible decency" and "utterly intolerable in a civilized community". KFC v. Weathersby, 607 A.2d 8.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Employers must employ "fit" employees. Henley v. PGCo., 503 A.2d 1333. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Baltimore are aware that en employer has an affirmative obligation refuse to employ those who may put their customers "at risk" or injury. A plaintiff injured by an employee, who wants to recover from that persons employer must show 1] the employee was incompetent and this incompetence put customers at foreseeable risk, 2] that the employer knew, or should have known, or the incompetence 3] the employee did something that injured the customer, and 4] which the seasoned personal injury lawyer in Baltimore recognizes as the most difficult hurdle, show that the hiring was the "proximate cause of the injury" [MPJI 19:4]. There must be a "nexus" between the negligent hiring and the subsequent harmful act. Henely. The courts look to whether the harm was "foreseeable" with respect to the type of harm, and the identity of the plaintiff.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? Is there a parent-child loss of consortium claim?
Unlike the claims that a spouse can bring for the loss of "society and companionship" when the other spouse sustains personal injury, experienced personal injury lawyers in Baltimore advise their clients that no similar claim exists between parent and child. A child may not sue a negligent third party who causes personal injury to that child's parent, for the loss of that parent's affection and companionship. Gaver v. Harrant 557 A.2d 210. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Baltimore are also aware a parent has no right to sue a third party for negligently inflicted personalinjury to a child for loss of that child's society and companionship. Michaels v. Nemethvargo, 571 A.2d 850.
Friday, November 18, 2011
In a prior chapter, we discussed that biological parents typically enjoy immunity from the tort claims of their children. The seasoned personal injury lawyer in Baltimore knows of the exceptions, for malicious and wanton, cruel or inhuman acts, and for motor torts [after 2001]. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Baltimore are aware that this immunity does not extend to tort claims against step-parents. So, yes, you can sue your step-mom.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Baltimore are familiar with the rule in some jurisdictions "[t] hat young children habitually frequent the vicinity of a defective structure or dangerous agency existing on the land, which is likely to cause injury to them because they, by reason of their immaturity, are incapable of appreciating the risk involved, and where the expense or inconvenience of remedying the condition is slight compared to the risk to the children. In such cases there is a duty upon the owner or other person in possession and control of the premises to exercise due care to remedy the condition or otherwise." Corcoran v. Village of Libertyville, 73 Ill.2d 316, 383 N.E.2d 177 (Ill., 1978). The knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Baltimore also knows that Maryland has "long rejected" this principle.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore have won cases by demonstrating that the brakes on the defendant's car "failed". It's interesting, as some people think that "brake failure" is an excuse that would relieve them of responsibility for causing an accident. To the contrary, sudden brake failure actually creates the presumption of negligence on the part of the owner. It is then up to that owner to present proof that he or she had her car properly maintained, and that there was no reason to expect failure. Miller v. Reilly, 319 A.2d 553. Seasoned personal injury lawyers in Baltimore know that a non-owner operator can satisfy his or her obligation of due car by making sure the brakes work prior to driving the vehicle.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore have used this theory to recover damages from the owner, as opposed to the driver, of a car that causes an accident. The owner of a car may be held responsible if they lend their car to another, and they have reason to believe that person will be "reckless" "incompetent" or "dangerous". [Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions 18:5] Personal injury lawyers in Baltimore have successfully argued that allowing another to use a car is negligent where; the driver was inexperienced; the driver abused alcohol or drugs; the driver had a lot of tickets, or caused a lot of accidents; or was "uninsurable". [MPJI, supra].
Friday, November 4, 2011
No these are not people who demonstrate a lack of due care for a living. But, personal injury lawyers in Baltimore over the years have brought claims against pharmacists, engineers, banking and investment counselor, and accountants, as well as other Baltimore injury lawyers, alleging that those individuals were negligent in the provision of professional services. Those cases are proven where is shown that professional failed to use the same degree of skill and care that a reasonably competent professional, confronted with similar circumstances would use, and damages ensue. [MPJI 27:7] Of course, contributory negligence principles apply. A person may not blindly rely on the advice of professional and disregard their own obligation to act responsibly. Wegand v. Howard Jewlers, 326 MD. 409.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Baltimore personal injury lawyers who've handled medical malpractice matters are familiar with the concept. A physician is required to disclose all material risks of the specific treatment under consideration, prior to undertaking the treatment. They're required to disclose the type of condition and the treatment for it, alternatives, risks, and probability of success. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware that a physician is generally not negligent concerning that course of treatment [ but not for future acts of negligence] if the warnings are given, and the patient consents.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
A child can be negligent. Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that a child is held to the standard of a reasonable child of like age intelligence and experience, under the same circumstances. A seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer will advise you that, although most five year olds don't get behind the wheel, a child under the age of 5, as a matter of law, cannot be negligent.
Monday, October 24, 2011
CAN THEY SEIZE MY CAR?
Maryland law provides that essentially any property used in connection with narcotics trafficking may be siezed by law enforcement, and forfeited to the State. Section 12-102 of the Criminal Procedure Article -Property subject to forfeiture- provides: "The following are subject to forfeiture: (1) controlled dangerous substances manufactured, distributed, dispensed, acquired, or possessed in violation of ... law; (2) raw materials, products, and equipment used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing, or exporting a controlled dangerous substance...; (3) property used or intended for use as a container for property described in item (1) or (2) of this subsection; (4) ..... conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles, or vessels used or intended to be used to transport, or facilitate the transportation, sale, receipt, possession, or concealment of property described in item (1) or (2) of this subsection; (5) books, records, and research, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data used or intended for use in violation of the Controlled Dangerous Substances law; (6).... money or weapons used or intended to be used in connection with the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession of a controlled dangerous substance or controlled paraphernalia; (7) drug paraphernalia....; (8) controlled paraphernalia ....; (9) the ... balance of the proceeds of a sale by a holder of an installment sale agreement under § 12-626 of the Commercial Law Article of goods seized under this subtitle; (10) .... real property; and (11) everything of value furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Controlled Dangerous Substances law, all proceeds traceable to the exchange, and all negotiable instruments and securities used, or intended to be used, to facilitate any violation of the Controlled Dangerous Substances law." Not surprisingly, money is the most common property seized pursuant to this section. The forfeiture law also provides that "[m]oney or weapons that are found in close proximity to a contraband controlled dangerous substance, controlled paraphernalia, or forfeitable records of the importation, manufacture, or distribution of controlled dangerous substances are contraband and presumed to be forfeitable." If you've had money property seized under this law, you may want to consult an seasoned lawyer. If a claimant can establish another, legitimate, source of the money, he or she may be able to rebut this presumption and regain their property.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
According to National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the shoulder is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone). These bones are held together and operated by by a variety of tendons. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware of the complexity of the shoulder, and the vexing problems experienced by those with shoulder injuries. The shoulder is not one joint, but actually series of joints. "One joint is where the head of the humerus articulates inside the glenoid cavity of the scapula, called the glenohumeral joint". [T] he acromioclavicular joint (A/C Joint) includes the ligaments, tendons, and bones where the acromion (on the shoulder blade) joins at the clavicle (collar bone)." [Healthpages.org]. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that keeps the ball of the humerus in the socket [glenoid cavity] of the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons that connect the scapula to the humerus, and sheaths this glenoid cavity. Baltimore personal injury lawyers working with motor vehicle accident victims frequently common shoulder injuries that include: strains, sprains, dislocation, separations, tendonitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, torn labrums, frozen shoulder, and fractures. [National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases].
Monday, October 17, 2011
Obviously, your lawyer has a great deal to do with your case, the amount of your recovery, and your success at trial. Nationally, plaintiffs win their cases a little over ½ of the time [60% for the overall period 1992 to 2005,], but just barely over ½ of the time in 2005 [53%, the last year national statistics are available]. Baltimore personal injury law is not a television show. You are unlikely to come across that Baltimore personal injury lawyer who "has never lost a case". But success at trial is a legitimate area of inquiry. You should ask you Baltimore personal injury lawyer the number of trials he or she has had in the last year. As for an approximation of their success rate. Insurance companies keep detailed records of lawyers that try cases, and those that do not.
Friday, October 14, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? SPECIFIC COMMON INJURIES Lumbar strain-sprain /Cervical strain-sprain [Whiplash]
Baltimore personalinjury lawyers handling motor vehicle and car accident cases deal with these types of injuries on a daily basis. A ligament is a sinew that attaches bone to bone. [e.g. the "ACL" / anterior cruciate ligament in the knee]. A tendon is a sinew that connects bone to muscle [e.g. the "Achilles tendon" in the leg]. When the forces involved in an automobile accident cause the ligaments in the neck and back to tear, doctors call this injury a sprain. When the forces involved in an automobile accident cause the tendons or muscles in the neck and back to fray or partially tear, doctors call this injury a strain. If the damage is severe enough, it's referred to as a full thickness tear. Sprains and strains are rated by severity from Grade 1 to Grade 3 [complete tear]. Injuries to the neck [cervical] or the back [lumbar] in auto accident cases are sometimes referred to collectively as strain/sprain. Baltimore personal injury lawyers practicing in the 70s, 80s and 90s would commonly see strain/sprain injuries to the neck referred to as "whiplash"- although use of this term is decreasing. [Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers practicing in a bygone era heard this condition referred to as "railroad spine".] In current parlance, cervical and lumbar strains and sprains are referred to as "soft tissue injuries". Although commonly used by medical professionals, the insurance industry often uses this phrase as a prejorative [e.g. "she can't be hurt, these injuries are all soft tissue".] Anyone who's ever had a cervical strain would justifiably be insulted by that statement. Common complaints of accident victims with these injuries are pain, pain on movement loss of range of motion, stiffness, tightness and the like. If pain radiates into the extremities, it may be evidence of a more serious condition. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory and pain medications and chiropractic care are the common modalities of treatment. Most of these types of injuries resolve within three months.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The short answer is it takes a while. The most recent national study conducted by the Department of Justice found that, nationally, it took 27 months from the date the tort lawsuit was filed to have the case decided by a jury. On the upside, more than half of all cases filed were decided in less than two years from the date of filing. Baltimore personal injury lawyers will tell you that Baltimore city, routine motor vehicle accident cases are generally concluded in less than two years.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? What is the value of my Baltimore automobile accident?
The short answer is "not as much as it used to be". The most recent national study conducted by the Department of Justice found that- when adjusted for inflation- the average award in a motor vehicle accident case declined by almost 60% from $41,000 to $17,000 during the period 1992 to 2005. [Statistics from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, Langton and Cohen, Bureau of Justice Statistics]. Baltimore personal injury lawyers see every day that the major insurance companies have done a great job of convincing jurors, and judges, that one simply cannot be hurt in a "low-speed" collision, or an accident the leaves little property damage. I know a lot of people who believed that line –until they themselves sustained a lasting injury as the result of a low speed / minimal property damage collision. Employing a seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer to handle your case and maximize your recovery has become more important than ever. [Statistics from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, Langton and Cohen, Bureau of Justice Statistics].
Monday, October 10, 2011
The most recent national study conducted by the Department of Justice tells us that the median award in all tort case is $24,000.00 [just as many awards below that number as above it]. 2 out of 3 plaintiffs recovered $50,000 or less, while 4 out of 100 received a million or more. The median national award in a motor vehicle accident was $15,000 [again, just as many awards below that number as above it]. 4 out of 10 motor vehicle accident victims received less than $10,000. A seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer can give you guidance on a reasonable value range for your case. Do you have a million dollar case? [Statistics from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, Langton and Cohen, Bureau of Justice Statistics].
Friday, October 7, 2011
The most recent national study conducted by the Department of Justice offers some interesting data on trials, generally, and degree of success, specifically. According to the data, only 3% of personal injury cases make it to trial. Plaintiffs win about 60% of the time. Take the time to discuss this with a Baltimore personalinjury lawyer. Every plaintiff, in my experience, thinks they have a case. Not everyone thinks they have a great case. Some do. But everyone thinks they "have a case". So, all those folks with cases, average to great, win a little more than ½ the time. A personal injury plaintiff in a tort case is most likely win in an animal attack case [75% win]. About 2 out of 3 automobile accident victims win. Most medical malpractice plaintiffs do not win [23%]. Most products liability plaintiffs in non-asbestos cases do not win [19%]. Outcome at trial is always risky. A seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer can improve your chances. [Statistics from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, Langotn and Cohen, Bureau of Justice Statistics].
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
In the typical Baltimore personal injury case filed in District court, the plaintiff's medical records are admitted in evidence, and reviewed by the Court. In almost all cases, the treating or evaluating doctor is not called as a witness. In more serious Baltimore personal injury cases filed in Circuit court, doctors more frequently testify at trial, or by the use of a video taped deposition played at trial. The seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer can offer many reasons, both pro and con, for having a doctor testify. The most important, however, is often cost. Minimally, doctor's testimony, whether live or via video deposition, will cost $750-$1000. Some doctors will charge in excess of $5,000 to testify. The costs of the personal injury case, including expert witness fees, are paid by the client [although your personal injury lawyer may advance those costs], and obviously have a direct bearing on the amount of the ultimate recovery. Are there cases, though, where a doctor must testify? The plaintiff always has the burden of proof. Where the injury is apparent, or develops shortly after a negligent act, no expert [i.e. doctor's] testimony is needed to show causation. It is within the ken of the average juror. However, in a Baltimore personal injury casewhere the cause of the injury, and its relation to a negligent act involves detailed medical issues, outside of common understanding, then a doctor's testimony will be required. Strong v. Prince George's Co., 549 A.2d 1142.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Not surprisingly, courts in Maryland apply the 'American rule' when it comes to attorney's fees. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer handling the typical motor vehicle accident case will be paid by his or her client- absent a statute or rule to the contrary. Now, most personal injury attorneys handle these matters on a 'contingency fee' basis [i.e. "no costs if no recovery"], and the fee charged is a percentage of the overall recover. I offer my Maryland clients a reduced attorney fee program allowing them to retain a greater percentage of their overall award.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? Can I recover for the loss of use of my vehicle?
Most people are familiar with the idea of renting a car while theirs is in the shop. Indeed, Maryland law provides that the measure of damages for the loss of use of a vehicle due to an accident is the reasonable rental value of similar property. Baltimore personal injury lawyers know though, that a plaintiff has an obligation to 'mitigate' their losses, and needs to get that car fixed soon. You may also have 'rental coverage' on your own policy to which you may look. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers have likely confronted the claim, from a self-employed person who needs a vehicle for their job, that "loss of use" should also include loss of profits or income from that self-employment. Even if the person may work form a medical prospective, creative personal injury lawyers have argued that the loss of a necessary vehicle, and the corresponding loss of income, should be cognizable as damages in a Baltimore personal injury case. Of course the duty to mitigate applies here, and likely with more force.
Friday, September 23, 2011
In a previous chapter, I discussed the general three year statute of limitations for a negligence action. The three years starts to run from the date of the wrongful conduct. A seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer is aware that this three years may be "tolled" for a time [i.e. it does not start to run], e.g. in the case of injury to a minor. But what is someone does not initially know they have been injured? Imagine a situation where the symptoms of the injury do not appear until years later. In certain circumstances, Baltimore personal injury lawyers have successfully argued that the limitations period should not start until the plaintiff discovered –or reasonably should have discovered- the injury and the wrongful conduct.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Maybe you can get one, but not from your lawyer. Baltimore personal injury lawyers practicing for any length of time have had a client ask them for a loan. The Maryland Lawyers' Rules Of Professional Conduct prohibit a lawyer from providing any financial assistance to a client, no matter how much the client needs the money. The rule applies to loans, or even an advance on a case that is resolved where the funds have not yet arrived. Anyone that watches late night cable TV is aware that there are funding companies that will advance cash to client in a personal injury matter. Many companies offer the same "contingency" type agreement that personal injury lawyers offer. However, the knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyer will always advise his or her client to scrutinize this option closely. The interest rates and fees charged by the funding companies can be enormous.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
As noted in another chapter, in the typical automobile accident trial, in District Court, the driver[s] and other witnesses [if any], and anyone who is claiming injury testify. Baltimore personal injury lawyers also know that convicted perjurers never testify. The rules of evidence also contain "privileges" that may allow one to keep another from testifying about certain communications, while that person may be allowed to testify about the case generally. A spouse may prevent the other spouse from testifying about confidential marital communications. A person may not be compelled to disclose communications with an attorney. Seasoned Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers known that a patient of a psychiatrist may not be compelled to disclose communications, unless some exceptions apply.
Friday, September 9, 2011
The knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyer will advise you that all adult Maryland citizens, who are also US citizens, have the opportunity and duty to serve. Certain individuals are excluded as a matter of law: those that cannot comprehend English; those who have served a sentence of 6 months or more incarceration [unless pardoned], who have a current charge pending and face a sentence of 6 months or more incarceration, among other reasons. Depending on the specific case, prospective jurors may also be excluded for other reasons. Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the 'source pools' for prospective jurors are MVA records showing those with a driver's license of MVA ID, and the statewide voter registration list.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Promptly report the hurricane damage claim. In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, you may not be able to get through on the phone. Send a letter or an email to your agent. If an insurance company asks you to describe the full extent of the hurricane damage- use this phrase: "AS FAR AS I KNOW AT THIS TIME, THE DAMAGE IS .... HOWEVER I AM NOT A CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONAL. I HAVE NO WAY TO KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF POSSBLE DAMAGES. Do not underestimate, or lock yourself in. Do not guess. Early on, you truly have no idea what kind of subsequent problems even a small amount of water intrusion could cause. Structural defects may not be immediately apparent. Wait until you have all the facts. Some individuals choose to consult with a Maryland Hurricane Damage Attorney prior to meeting with adjusters or appraisers.
Review and understand the various coverages under your policy, and which ones apply to hurricane damage. Many insurance policies are intentionally written in Byzantine fashion, with the first few pages containing broad grants of hurricane coverage, and then 15 pages of "exclusions", "limitations" and lists of events not covered by the policy. In all seriousness- people undergo hours of training on how to decipher these things. Do not hesitate to ask for the help of a Maryland Hurricane Damage Attorney in assessing what coverage you have. For example- some policies will contain coverage for "ALE"- additional living expense. For example- if you had to move out temporarily due to damage, your policy may well cover your hotel and food expenses. Does your policy have this coverage?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Does your pet have a personal injury case? While not directly relevant to the question of the value of a Maryland personal injury claim, knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware that the owner of a pet can recover damages from a person who, on their own, on through another animal, injures or kills that pet. The seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer will advise his or her client that compensatory damages –vet bills and or market value of the pet in case of a "total loss" under this section are limited to $7500.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Certainly, the owners of commercial establishments own their patrons a duty of reasonable care to keep their premises, including a public restroom, safe. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware that an owner, or their employee, is not responsible, however, if they let a person use a toilet facility that is not public or open to the public, and that person is injured in that facility. This immunity does not apply if gross negligence is involved, and, as seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers know, an employee bathroom is never considered a public bathroom.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Some Baltimore personal injury lawyers handle cases involving illness caused by a drug or vaccine. Those claims against the maker of a listed vaccine are handled pursuant to a special federal system of compensation [National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Here is what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says VICP is: "On October 1, 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP was established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines. The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The U. S. Court of Federal Claims decides who will be paid." Knowledgeable Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers are aware pf what vaccines are covered by the program:http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/covered_vaccines.html
Friday, August 12, 2011
Some Baltimore personal injury lawyers handle cases involving illness caused by a drug or vaccine. Those claims against the maker of a listed vaccine are handled pursuant to a special federal system of compensation [National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)] explored in another chapter. Baltimore personal injury lawyers often bring claims against drug and unlisted vaccine manufacturers in state court. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware that a person lawfully and appropriately administering an FDA approved drug or vaccine is immune from negligence claims, but not from gross negligence claims. The manufacturer is not exempted from negligence claims.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Many Baltimore personal injury lawyers routinely handle cases where it is alleges that a health care provide deviated from the applicable standard of conduct, and that deviation caused injury to the patient. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know, however that most professional health care providers are immune from civil liability for the negligent provision of medical care if 1] they were not grossly negligent 2] the medical care was free 3] the care was provided at the scene of an emergency or in route to the hospital. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers also know that a layperson is also immune from civil liability for the negligent provision of assistance if they acted quickly, were not compensated, and relinquished care of the injured person promptly to a health care professional.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Typically, if one sign a "release" [a document that typically relinquishes any claim that one person my a have against another-and their insurance company] then the existence of that document would operate as a complete defense to any lawsuit filed between those people. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know, however, that if that release is signed within 30 days of the accident, without the advice of an attorney, then the injured person has an additional 60 days from signing the release to void it. The revocation must be in writing and include the return of any monies paid. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers also know that any release signed, within 15 days of the injury or act of malpractice, by a person confined to a hospital releasing that hospital from negligence, is of no effect.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Of course, if a child [an unemancipated minor under 18] is hurt in an accident, they have a claim of their own against the at fault party for damages-which are discussed under a separate heading. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the parent of the child also has a claim against the at-fault party for the loss of that child's "services", as well as for the cost of medical care for the child incurred by the parent. Unlike a consortium claim, the derivative claim of a parent under these circumstances does not include loss of companionship. One court has noted, ominously, with respect to services "if they can be proven". Hudson v. Hudson, 174 A.2d 339. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers are aware that at common law, a parent was entitled to any earnings their minor child received. Greenwood v. Greenwood 28 Md. 384. What the reasonable value of "services" provided by a minor to his or her parents is defined by the creativity of the advocate.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
As discussed elsewhere, insurance carriers that have paid medical bills related to an accident, or the providers themselves, will assert a claim, or a "lien" on any amount you are awarded. One of the most important roles your Baltimore personal injury lawyer should fill is as a negotiator of these liens. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer often will be successful in getting the amounts claimed by medical providers, and in some instances, insurers who have paid medical bills, reduced- meaning more money in your pocket. For example, Section 11-112 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article provides that a health insurer with a certificate of authority in Maryland must reduce their lien proportionally to the attorney's fees, to a maximum of 33%. The question of whether this limitation is preempted by federal law [ERISA] is beyond the scope of this chapter.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
We've seen that the elements of "defective" and "unreasonably dangerous" can be proven by showing a flawed design, or by showing a defect in the manufacturing of the product itself. The concept of faulty manufacturing is explored in another chapter. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer trying a strict liability products case premised on defective design argues that the jury consider several factors in determining if the product was reasonably safe: is it likely that the product, as designed, would cause injury, and the severity of that injury; is the product useful and desirable?; are there substitutes?; could the dangerous nature of the product have been changed by the manufacturer? Seasoned Baltimore personal personal injury lawyers also know that the jury must consider the level of awareness of the user to potential dangers, as well as the effect of warnings and instructional material. [MCPJI 26:13]
Friday, July 29, 2011
We've seen that the elements of "defective" and "unreasonably dangerous" can be proven by showing a flawed design, or by showing a defect in the manufacturing of the product itself. The concept of faulty design is explored in another chapter. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer trying a strict liability products case premised on defective manufacturing argues that the jury should first consider the specifications of the product being manufactured. If that product does not, and the other elements of the claim have been proven, the jury is allowed to decide whether to award damages, and how much. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers have successfully argued that a manufacturer of a product has a heightened duty to make a protect consumers from unreasonable injury in the event of an accident. [MCPJI 26:15]
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We've seen that a Baltimore personal injury lawyer trying a strict liability products case must prove that the product was defective and "unreasonably dangerous" when it left the seller's control to prevail. Maryland law provides that a product is "unreasonably dangerous" when there is a defect that is so dangerous that a reasonable person knowing the risks would not place it on the market. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the knowledge of the extreme danger must exist at the time of sale, and cannot me judged through the magnification and benefit of hindsight.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? What is involved in a strict liability claim?
A Baltimore personal injury lawyer trying a strict liability products case must prove that the product was defective "unreasonably dangerous" when it left the seller's control; that the defective condition did in fact cause the injury, and that the product was not altered. Courts have described three ways to prove a defect: failure to warn; an imperfection that make the product more dangerous than anticipated; defective design. Simpson v. Standard Container, 527 A.2d 1337 . Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that contributory negligence is not a defense in these actions.
Friday, July 22, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? My toaster exploded! Do I have to prove negligence?
Often, people incorrectly assume if they are injured, they recovery money. Typically, fault, or negligence of the person or entity causing the harm must be shown- or there is no recovery. General negligence concepts familiar to most Baltimore personal injury lawyers are explored in other chapters. Res Ipsa Loquitor ["the thing speaks for itself"] which permits an inference that the defendant was the cause of the harm without direct proof is discussed under a separate heading. The concept of "strict liability" also provides for financial responsibility for harm in the absence of proof of fault. We've seen that Baltimore personal injury lawyers have used this concept to achieve financial recovery from the owners of dogs possesses of a "propensity, inclination or tendency" to bite. Strict liability may also apply in the realm of products liability litigation. Baltimore personal injury lawyers handling these types of cases know that someone injured by a faulty product is entitled to recovery from the manufacturer or seller who markets a defective and unreasonably dangerous product- regardless of fault. The defective and unreasonably dangerous components can be demonstrated by showing a flawed design, or by showing a defect in the manufacturing of the product itself.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that this duty to protect others may be extended to a landlord whose tenants own animals that could be dangerous. "[W]here a landlord retained control over the matter of animals in the tenant's apartment [by virtue of a 'no pets' clause in the lease], coupled with the knowledge of past vicious behavior by the animal, the extremely dangerous nature of pit bull dogs, and the foreseeability of harm to persons and property in the apartment complex," it is appropriate to impose liability on that landlord where the animal attacks others. Matthews v. Amberwood, 351 Md. 544, 570 (1998)
Monday, July 18, 2011
Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the owner of an animal is charged with a duty or using ordinary care in controlling the animal. Some seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers have litigated cases in which a dog has bitten someone, and where the owner in fact acted responsibly [e.g. a fence, sign, leash etc]. If that owner knew, or should have known, the animal had a "propensity, inclination or tendency" to bite – for example, by having done it before- then ordinary care doesn't matter. In that instance, the owner is strictly responsible for the damage caused by the animal.
Friday, July 15, 2011
For most of us, including most Baltimore personal injury lawyers, it has been a long time since Driver's Ed. Of course, if a sign, or traffic light controls an intersection, those traffic control devices determine who has the right of way. But what if there is no traffic control device? Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the age old rule that a vehicle at an intersection a vehicle has the right of way over vehicles approaching from the left, and must yield to those approaching from the right. Now, these are not absolute privileges, and, in any event would apply to vehicles arriving at that intersection at essentially the same time in any event. [Another old rule provides that the first car in an intersection has the right of way over all cars that arrive later.] And of course, all drivers must use reasonable care at all times.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Baltimore personalinjury lawyers know that it is illegal, and negligent, to take away the right of way from another vehicle that lawfully possesses that right of way. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers have likely litigated cases where a driver makes a right turn, and "cuts off" another driver. The Md. Transportation code requires that a right turn be made as nearly as possible to the right hand edge of the road. If there is a through lane and a parking/travel lane with no cars, a driver is almost certainly going to be required to turn from the far right a parking/travel lane.
Monday, July 11, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? Is the owner of the car that hit me responsible?
Baltimore personal injury lawyers have successfully argued that a non-driving owner is responsible for the conduct of a non-owner driver is where that owner is present in the car. Maryland law provides that if the owner asks another to drive, while still in the car, the owner has the obligation and duty to make sure the vehicle is operated safely. If the person driving is negligent, it is assumed the owner agreed to the conduct, and is responsible for it. Powers v. State, 11 A.2d 909 . But what about a non-owner passenger under those same circumstances? Do they have to stop the driver from driving negligently? Are they contributorily negligent if they do not? Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that a non-owner passenger is not necessarily negligent for riding with an intoxicated driver, or failing to complain of excessive speed, but they might be. It depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Almost any Baltimorepersonal injury lawyer will tell you that PIP benefits are 'no-fault', 'first-party' insurance benefits. 'No-fault' means that you get if injured in an automobile accident, them no matter what the blame for the accident is. [Now, you can't collect if you intentionally caused the accident, or if you were committing a felony that led to the accident.] 'First-party' means that it is your insurance. The minimum coverage is $2500 and your insurer has to offer it to you, and you must decline it in writing if that is your choice. You can buy more coverage. The coverage pays your reasonable and necessary medical expenses and/or 85% of your lost wages. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that most insurers tend not to challenge the wage loss benefits, but frequently refuse to pay, or reduce, the medical charges of some medical providers.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? My insurance company cancelled me because I had an accident.
Maryland law limits an auto insurers ability to cancel or deny coverage. Experienced Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers know that an insurance company cannot cancel, refuse to renew, of terminate coverage because of an claim, traffic violation, or accident that occurred three years or more before. However, so long as approved by the insurance commissioner, and proper notice is given, knowledgeableBaltimore personal injury lawyers will tell you that those same restrictions do not apply to premium increases.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE? Can an insurance company do anything they want?
Unfortunately, many Baltimore personal injury lawyers may answer that question in the affirmative. Most insurance companies are huge entities with massive resources that dwarf those of the individuals with whom they have a dispute. Experienced Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers are aware that there is a code of conduct for insurers regarding the claims practices. Maryland law provides that it is an "unfair claim settlement practice" to: refuse to pay a claim for an arbitrary or capricious reason; misrepresent pertinent facts or policy provisions; or to fail to provide a basis for denials. Unfortunately for the injury victim, the remedy for a violation of these rules is typically the imposition of an administrative fine against the insurer.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers sometimes argue cases involving the unfortunate meeting of car and pedestrian. As you might imagine, cars are undefeated in these contests. Some rules establish who is at fault. Most people would surmise that a driver must yield his or her right of way to a visually impaired individual using a guide dog or walking with the assistance of a predominantly white cane. An experienced Baltimore personalinjury lawyer also knows that a car loses the right of way to a person in a wheelchair, using crutches, or using a cane.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers have likely brought claims under 20-601 of the Transportation Code. If one is hit by an uninsured, disappearing or unidentified driver of a motor vehicle, and sustains injury, a claim may be made against MAIF. There are many pitfalls. Notice must timely given. There are many classes of individuals who cannot bring claims [e.g. one operating a car that itself has no uninsured motorist coverage]. But, if the qualifications are satisfied, then a claim for personal injury or property damage may be made against the fund. Due to the intricacies of these claims, you should always consult a knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyer early on regarding your rights under this section.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The general concepts involved in Maryland's Boulevard rule are explored in other chapters. Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers of likely dealt with the question of whether a "favored" driver be denied recovery? If sufficient evidence is put forth that the favored driver was in fact negligent, and the proximate cause of the accident, then the question of whether or not recover is barred on contributory negligence principles is for the jury. Speeding by the favored driver is rarely enough to relive that driver of their statutory preference. Dean v. Redmiles, 280 Md. 137 . Experienced Baltimore personal injurylawyers know that the favored driver's driving drunk on the wrong side of the road without headlights is enough to lift the statutory preference, and a person injured by that conduct may recover, even if technically the "unfavored" driver.
Friday, June 24, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? I was hit in the rear. Isn't the other driver at fault?
Most seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers will tell you the answer, generally, is yes. All drivers must use reasonable care for the safety of others. If one of those drivers follows too closely, or fails to pay attention, and strikes the driver in front, then, yes, they are at fault. But that's not automatic. Many experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers have argued that the driver of the car in front has responsibilities too. They must signal an intent to slow, stop, or turn. If they fail to adhere to these, it may well be that they caused or contributed to the accident. And of course, there is the "emergency doctrine", discussed in another chapter, sometimes seized upon by judges to deny a claim.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
One may think that if someone was involved in criminal activity, or, at least in conduct that violated a statue or ordinance, and that conduct played a part in injuring another person, the violator would be responsible for the injury. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer will tell that person that showing a violation of a statue is only half of the battle. Certainly, proof of the violation can be presented, and may be considered as some evidence of negligence. Seasoned Baltimore personalinjury lawyers, representing the defense, have successfully argued that unless the conduct that constituted the violation was also a negligent act that directly caused the injury, there is no responsibility. The law calls this concept "proximate causation".
Of course everyone has the obligation to look and listed for a train before crossing a track. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that both the operator of the train, and anyone crossing the rails, have the duty to us reasonable care to avoid an accident. But what about an injury that occurs on the railroad's property, or on their right-of-way, but does not involve a train. Unless the individual has permission to be on the property, they are considered trespassers, or what knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers know are called "bare licensees". The railroad owes no duty of reasonable care to these individuals. The railroad would only be liable for injuries that it, or it's employees intentionally or wantonly caused.
Monday, June 13, 2011
An employee who sustains an accidental injury arising out of his or her employment is entitled to worker's compensation benefits. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers advise their clients that "arising out of" employment means that the injury results from some incident of employment. That is to say, if the injury occurs during works hours, at a place where the employee is expected at that time, and results from an activity reasonably related to the work, then it arises out of that work. In that instance, the knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyer will seek worker's compensation benefits for the injured client. If there is evidence that the injury is related to something other that work activities e.g. a drug interaction or heart attack, then an aggressive Baltimore personal injury lawyer will need to examine the cause of the injury for evidence of the negligence or culpability of a third party if their client is to recover.
Friday, June 10, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? I got hurt at work. Do I have a personal injury case, too?
An employee who sustains an accidental injury arising out of his or her employment is entitled to worker's compensation benefits. These are typically wage loss payments and medical expenses. The nature of worker's compensation injures are explored and discussed elsewhere on this site. The thorough Baltimore personal injury lawyer will always explore a possible "third-party" component to any workers compensation claim. In a straight worker's compensation claim, it does not matte if the employer was at fault for the accident. Benefits are payable if the injury occurred in the course of employment. But what if the injury was caused by a negligently designed machine of piece of equipment? What if the worker's compensation injury was a car accident with an "at-fault" driver that did not work for the employer. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers frequently make two-cases-out-of-one, collecting wage loss and medical benefits for their clients under the worker's compensation scheme, and separate damages for pain and suffering via a personal injury action.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Baltimore personal injurylaw provides that a local government is responsible for injuries to pedestrians caused by an unsafe condition resulting from negligent design or construction on public streets and sidewalks. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers also know that that local government has a duty to warn about dangerous conditions on public streets and sidewalks that are created by third persons. The local government is charged with knowledge of what should have been discovered by reasonable inspection. Many experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers also know that the local government also has an obligation to remedy dangerous conditions on private property that could cause harm to pedestrians on public streets and sidewalks.
Monday, June 6, 2011
In other chapters, what some Baltimore personal injury lawyers might call "garden variety" negligence is discussed. Car accidents, slips, falls and the like- where the injuries might be mild to serious, but not life threatening. What if someone's conduct leads to the death of another? Baltimore personalinjury law provides that where a "wrongful act" [an act, including criminal conduct, neglect, or improper operation of a vessel] causes the death of another, an action against that person may be maintained, and must generally be filed within 3 years. The action is to be for the benefit of a spouse, child or parent, although not necessarily brought my them. Knowledgeable Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers know that if there is not a spouse, child or parent, then the action shall be for the benefit of a blood or marital relative who was dependent on the decedent for support. A spouse, child or parent may recover as their damages: monetary loss, mental anguish, emotional pain, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, attention, advice, counsel ,training, and guidance as applicable.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Evidence that a person was traveling faster than the posted speed limit – while perhaps difficult to prove- can be considered evidence that the speeder was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injurylawyers have argued that, even if the person is within the posted limit, they still may be driving to fast for prevailing conditions, and therefore negligent. Experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers may have handled racing [cars engaged in a "contest of speed"] cases. Haddock v. State, 192 A.2d 105. Whether or not cars were racing is a question of fact that must be proven to a jury. If there is a race, and there is an accident, it is considered negligence as a matter of law, and all participants are liable for any injuries caused, irrespective of which care actually caused the injury. Walker v. Hall, 369 A.2d 105. Note speeding and racing are separate offenses, but racing and reckless driving are not. Your Baltimore personal injury lawyer may know that is also, separately, illegal to serve as a "flagman" for a race.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers know that the drivers of emergency vehicles have a duty to operate those vehicles safely, even when responding to emergency calls, in the pursuit of suspects, or responding to a fire alarm. These emergency responders are liable for acts of ordinary negligence, but their actions, or inactions, are to be judged in light of their emergency responsibilities. However, so long as audio and visual alarms are used, the law does provide certain privileges to the operators of those vehicles. ExperiencedBaltimore personal injury lawyers know these emergency operators may park or stand in areas that other vehicles may not; pass through a red light if safe to do so; speed safely; and disregard directional signals. Nevertheless, they are always charged with the responsibility of using reasonable care and diligence as required by the circumstances of the emergency.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Of course, if someone damages you, and your car, through no fault of your own, you entitled to recover damages for personal injury, and for damages to your property as well. Many Baltimore personal injury lawyers don't get involved in the "property damage" aspect of the typical motor vehicle accident. If your car can be fixed, you're entitled to reasonable repair costs plus a reasonable amount for loss of use [e.g. rental]. If your car is a total loss, you're entitled to the fair market value of the car, plus loss of use. The prudent driver will carry "GAP" insurance on all vehicles they do not own outright. There is also a separate type of property damage dealing with loss of value called "diminution of value" discussed in another chapter. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer can provide insight into a reasonable property damage offer, and ware of alternatives for you.