In some personal injury cases, it can be difficult for the plaintiff to identify the facts leading up to the accident and explain exactly what caused the injury that he or she suffered.  In a recent Maryland slip and fall case, the plaintiff’s testimony did not directly implicate how the defendant was at fault for her injury.  However, the matter was decided her favor on appeal.

Upon entering a grocery store owned by the defendant, the plaintiff in the case asked a store employee where the rice was located.  The employee, who was re-stocking shelves in one of the aisles, pointed to an upper shelf.  A surveillance video captured the scene, showing that multiple boxes were lined along the right side of the aisle in which the employee and plaintiff were standing.  The video also showed that after the plaintiff got the rice from the top shelf, she turned around and appeared to trip over a stack of boxes.

The plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the grocery store and the employee, alleging negligence.  The case went to trial, where the plaintiff testified that she fell after catching her foot on something, although she could not identify what it was.  At the close of the plaintiff’s case, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling that the plaintiff failed to present a prima facie case of negligence.  The plaintiff appealed the decision to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

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In general, a business may be held responsible for known dangerous conditions on its property that injure another person, if the business owed that person a duty of care.  In a Maryland premises liability case, the standard of care is determined by the status of the victim.  As a result, the question of whether the victim is an invitee, social guest, or trespasser may make a difference in the outcome of a negligence claim.  In a November 21, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered this issue as a matter of first impression, as it related to an eight-year-old child injured in the common area of a condominium complex.

At the time the injury occurred, the child and his younger brother were visiting their grandparents, who resided in one of the condo units.  While playing in a common area of the complex, the children climbed atop of a community sign made of large stones.  As they dismounted, they held onto one of the stones, which dislodged and caused the boys to fall to the ground.  The stone fell on top of the eight-year-old child, who suffered serious injuries as a result.

The plaintiff brought a negligence suit against the owner of the condominium complex and the condominium association on behalf of his eight-year-old child.  After the lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the plaintiff appealed.

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Grocery stores and many other businesses have a duty to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable dangers.  If a store breaches its duty, it may be held liable in a Maryland premises liability claim for an injury caused by its negligence.  In a November 5, 2019 personal injury case, the plaintiff sued a grocery store for an injury involving one of its displays.  When the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The defendant’s store is marketed as a cost-effective approach to grocery shopping.  Rather than placing items on shelves for display, open shipping boxes are stacked on the floor or placed on wide shelves with other opened and unopened boxes.  Customers often take shipping boxes to use to carry their purchases, as the store does not provide bags.  The plaintiff in the case was standing in a check-out aisle of the defendant’s store, which was lined with stacked and open shipping boxes.  The plaintiff alleged that two glass jars fell from a display and smashed into the floor next to his feet.  Startled, the plaintiff jumped, causing him to twist his right leg and tear a muscle.

To assert a successful negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the elements of duty, breach, injury, and causation.  In Maryland, businesses such as the defendant have a duty to warn customers of known hidden dangers, a duty to inspect the premises for dangers, and a duty to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable dangers.  This duty applies to dangers and unsafe conditions created by the business, as well as dangers that may be caused by the negligent acts of its employees or other customers, where the business should have anticipated the possible occurrence and results of those acts.

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A serious car crash may cause permanent injuries and lasting pain.  In Maryland, an individual may recover damages for pain and suffering, as well as past and future medical expenses and other losses, in a personal injury suit.  In a November 14, 2019 Maryland car accident case, a jury awarded the plaintiff over 1.1 million dollars in damages for the injuries he suffered.  The defendant appealed the jury award as excessive, and the matter came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff was driving home from work when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle in a head-on collision.  The day after the accident, the plaintiff sought medical treatment for severe pain and decreased range of motion.  Further testing indicated that the plaintiff had suffered a disk injury in his back, which likely would not heal due to various factors.  The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the defendant, who conceded liability for the accident.  The only issue at trial was damages.

At trial, the plaintiff’s medical experts testified that the injury permanent, painful, and would continue to cause substantial pain.  Despite the pain, the plaintiff declined pain relief medication that would prevent him from working as an equipment operator.  The jury awarded the plaintiff approximately 1.1 million dollars for future pain and suffering, which was subject to the Maryland non-economic damages cap, and also awarded damages for his medical bills and lost wages.  One of the arguments asserted by the defendant on appeal was that the jury verdict was excessive.

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In a Maryland personal injury case, a plaintiff must present proof of the amount of their damages.  Recoverable damages may include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other economic and non-economic losses incurred by the plaintiffs.  In a November 15, 2019 car accident case, the issue of damages came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.  The plaintiff appealed after a jury awarded her $3,100 for her injuries caused by the accident.

The plaintiff in the case was involved in a car accident when she was a junior in high school.  While seated as a passenger in her father’s vehicle, the defendant had rear-ended their car, which caused her head to hit the head rest very hard.  She immediately had a slight headache, but appeared unharmed following the accident.  Over the next few months, however, the plaintiff’s headaches worsened, and she showed signs of memory loss.  Her symptoms prevented her from playing in golf tournaments, and although she received a golf scholarship her senior year, and she felt that her poor performance after the accident prevented her from securing a scholarship in her junior year.

The plaintiff brought a personal injury claim against the defendant, who conceded to liability.  At trial, the issue for the jury was the amount of damages.  The plaintiff argued on appeal that the trial court erred by suppressing some evidence and testimony regarding college scholarships, her memory loss, and other matters.

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After some types of accidents, it may be difficult for a person to remember the circumstances leading up to their injury, or understand exactly how it occurred. In a recent Maryland negligence case, the plaintiff could not remember the events leading up to a fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.  She filed suit against the owners of the store and strip mall where she was injured, alleging negligence claims.  The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland decided the matter in an October 22, 2019 decision.

The plaintiff in the case suffered a head injury as she exited a store located in a strip mall.  Although the plaintiff did not remember anything about the accident, the store owner was present at the time.  He testified that while he did not see the plaintiff fall, he saw her backing out of the door with her hands full.  Shortly thereafter, he saw the plaintiff on the ground and went to help her.  Two days after the fall, the plaintiff was hospitalized with a hematoma, consistent with having fallen and struck her head, and underwent emergency surgery.

The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendants, alleging in the complaint that her injuries were caused by a defective door.  Specifically, she alleged that the door suddenly and without warning flung open as she exited the store, causing her to fall and hit her head onto the concrete sidewalk.  The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that there was no evidence of any defect in the door, nor that she fell due to an issue with the door.  The plaintiff subsequently appealed the decision.

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In Maryland, family members may bring a wrongful death action against a defendant whose negligence caused the death of their loved one.  The Maryland wrongful death statute allows the plaintiffs to recover economic and non-economic monetary damages resulting from their loss.  In a November 1, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed the jury’s award of damages to a plaintiff who had prevailed in her wrongful death action against the defendant.

The case arose from the death of the plaintiff’s daughter’s in 2013.  The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the medical providers who treated her daughter, including the defendant.  Following a trial, the jury found the defendant liable for the wrongful death of the plaintiff’s twenty-two-year-old daughter.  The jury awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in non-economic damages and $500,000 in economic damages for the loss of her daughter’s services.  The defendant subsequently appealed the jury’s award of economic damages.

The specific issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff had sufficiently established her damages claim for the loss of her daughter’s household services.  The court confirmed that in a Maryland wrongful death action, a covered beneficiary may recover for both economic and non-economic damages.  After reviewing Maryland case law and other legal authority, the Court of Special Appeals went on to present a three-part rule for determining when a beneficiary in a wrongful death action may recover economic damages for the loss of household services.

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In Maryland, landlords and other property owners owe a duty of care to their tenants and guests, and may be liable for injuries caused by their negligence.  In an October 24, 2019 case, a plaintiff brought a Maryland personal injury negligence claim against the manager of her apartment complex and a paving contractor after she slipped and fell on a resurfaced asphalt parking lot.  The case went to trial.  After the close of the plaintiff’s case, the trial court granted judgment for the defendants on grounds of insufficient evidence of negligence of the defendants and assumption of the risk by the plaintiff.  The plaintiff appealed the decision, and the matter came before the Court of Special Appeals.

The plaintiff in the case had moved her car to a nearby shopping center due to repaving work being done to the parking lot of her apartment complex.  She went to retrieve her car that afternoon and, seeing that the lot was still blocked off, parked on a nearby street.  She began walking on a sidewalk back to her apartment building.  Instead of continuing on that route, the plaintiff stepped on the parking lot to test its condition and found that it was firm.  As she continued to walk across the parking lot, she reportedly slipped on a soft spot and fell on her right arm, injuring her back and head.

In Maryland, the owner or possessor of land may be liable for injuries to invitees by a condition on the land if they:  (1) know or should realize that the condition involves an unreasonable risk of harm to the invitee, (2) should expect that the invitee will not discover or realize the danger or will fail to protect against it, and (3) fails to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitee against the danger.

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Dog bites or attacks can cause serious injuries.  In many instances, the victim may have recourse against a negligent pet owner.  In an October 16, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a Maryland personal injury negligence claim brought by a plaintiff who suffered injuries as a result of a dog attack.  When her claims were dismissed by the circuit court on summary judgment, she brought an appeal.

The plaintiff in the case was reportedly attacked right outside of her home by a pit bull.  The dog was owned by the son of one of the tenants in a nearby housing complex.  The dog owner did not reside in the housing complex, but frequently stayed with his mother for varying periods of time.  Although the housing complex prohibited dogs on the property without written consent, the tenant allowed her son to bring dogs with him when he visited her.  Following the dog attack, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the owner of the housing development.

In Maryland, to hold a landlord responsible for injuries sustained from an attack by a dog owned by a tenant, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the landlord: (1) had control over the dog’s presence at the property; (2) was aware of the presence of the dog at the property; and (3) was aware that the dog had vicious propensities.

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If you have been injured by a defective product, you may have legal recourse.  In Maryland, sellers and manufacturers may be held liable for putting a defective product into the hands of a consumer.  A Maryland products liability action may be brought under theories of negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability.  In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals considered whether Amazon could be held liable under Maryland law for damage caused by a defective product sold on its website.

The consumer in the case had purchased an LED headlamp on Amazon’s website as a gift to his friends.  The headlamp’s batteries apparently malfunctioned, igniting the friends’ house and causing over $300,000 in damages.  The company that insured the house brought a subrogation action against Amazon, alleging products liability claims under Maryland law.

In Maryland, a products liability action arising from breach of warranty, negligence, or strict liability may be brought against the seller of a defective product.  A “seller” includes a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, wholesaler, other middleman, or the retailer.  The plaintiff must show three elements in a Maryland products liability action: (1) a defect; (2) attribution of the defect to the seller; and (3) a causal relationship between the defect and the injury to the plaintiff.  The defect must be shown to exist at the time the product left the seller (whether manufacturer, distributor, or retailer), or at the time the sale was made.

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