Car Accident Victim Wins Maryland Personal Injury Claim, Seeks Additional Damages on Appeal

Negligent drivers may be held liable for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses that they cause to others.  In some Maryland personal injury cases, proving the extent of the injuries caused by the accident and the amount of damages is complicated.  In a December 18, 2018 case, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit after he was injured in a car accident caused by the defendant.  The matter came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on the issues of damages and causation.

In the case, the defendant caused a multi-car accident when she failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle.  The impact pushed the plaintiff’s vehicle off the road into a tree. The parties stipulated to the fact that the defendant was at fault for the accident.  However, the plaintiff still had to establish that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries.  The case was tried before a jury, which found the defendant negligent and awarded damages to the plaintiff in the amount of $20,000.  The plaintiff appealed, as the jury award was less than the amount of damages he sought.  The plaintiff argued that the trial court improperly ruled on evidentiary issues that affected his proof.

The plaintiff had designated an orthopedic surgeon to testify as an expert witness at trial. The expert had been suspended from practicing for a period of three years by both the Maryland State Board of Physicians and the American Association for Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). During the pre-trial motions, the plaintiff asked the court to exclude the parts of the expert’s deposition where he was questioned regarding his suspension.  The plaintiff contended that that the line of questioning violated the medical review committee privilege.  The trial court agreed to redact some of the deposition, but allowed a question about whether he had been suspended from the AAOS.

On appeal, the court explained that while doctors may not be compelled to provide testimonial evidence about their disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland State Board of Physicians, the statute did not extend that protection to other entities such as the AAOS.  The plaintiff then argued that the question was prejudicial and particularly damaging to his case.  The appeals court concluded that any prejudice to the plaintiff by allowing the question was not sufficient to justify a reversal.  The court noted that the plaintiff’s expert did not actually respond to the question, and that the jury did not hear any evidence regarding his suspension.  Accordingly, the appeals court found no error was committed by the trial court and upheld the jury verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $20,000.

At Foran & Foran, P.A., we understand that motor vehicle and truck accident victims are often anxious about medical expenses and other costs associated with their injuries.  Our Maryland personal injury attorneys work diligently to pursue the compensation that our clients deserve from insurance companies and negligent drivers. Schedule a legal consultation to discuss a personal injury medical malpractice case by calling our office at (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Court Affirms Verdict for Plaintiff in Car Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published June 15, 2016

Maryland Court Reviews Plaintiff’s Proof of Damages in Car Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published July 28, 2017