Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Parties in civil lawsuits will usually ask jurors to weigh the evidence presented and determine issues such as liability and damages. Generally, the courts regulate what evidence the parties can submit to the jury. If a court rules improvidently with regard to what evidence is relevant or appropriate, it may harm a party’s case. Merely because a party does not concur with a judge’s reasoning with regard to evidence does not mean that a verdict should be overturned, though, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland ruling issued in a car accident case. If you were injured in a collision, it is in your best interest to talk to a Maryland auto accident lawyer to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a collision that occurred when the defendant struck the rear of her car. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. The defendant admitted liability, and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of damages. The defendant was not present during the trial; twice during the trial, his attorney stated that he was absent because he had cancer and his health did not allow him to be there. The plaintiff’s attorney objected to the statement that the defendant had terminal cancer, and the court sustained the objection.

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s counsel did not seek a curative instruction or ask for any other relief. The jury ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff but did not award her damages for future medical expenses or lost wages. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion with regard to how it handled the statements about the defendant’s cancer. Continue Reading ›

If a driver causes a collision, their insurance company will frequently provide compensation to anyone injured in the crash for the cost of their medical care. Such remunerations are often insufficient to cover a person’s losses, however; as such injured parties will often turn to their insurer to recover underinsured motorist benefits. Insurers may be reluctant to pay insureds benefits they are rightfully owed, though, and may argue that the losses suffered are not compensable, citing evidence such as medical records to support their position.

Recently, a Maryland court discussed what evidence might be considered in a claim for underinsured motorist benefits in a matter in which the plaintiff sought to exclude numerous categories of evidence. If you were hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, it is wise to speak to a Maryland car accident lawyer regarding your possible claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff sustained injuries in a collision caused by another motorist. He received policy limits from the other driver’s insurer, but they were inadequate to compensate him for his harm. As such, he filed an underinsured motorist claim with the defendant, his auto insurance company. The defendant denied the plaintiff’s claim arguing that the plaintiff’s losses arose out of a fall at a family function rather than a car accident. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant to recover benefits and subsequently filed numerous motions in limine asking the court to exclude parts of his medical history and other information from evidence.

Continue Reading ›

Postal workers typically operate vehicles owned by the United States Post Office (USPS) when they are working. As such, if a postal worker causes a collision during the process of delivering the mail, the federal government may be deemed liable for any losses caused by the crash. While the Federal Tort Claims Act (the Act) permits people to pursue claims against the federal government in certain situations, they must comply with the applicable procedural rules, otherwise, their claims may be dismissed.  Recently, a Maryland court discussed the administrative remedies a plaintiff must exhaust before seeking damages from the federal government, in a case arising out of a car accident. If you were involved in a collision with a federal employee, it is in your best interest to meet with a Maryland car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to seek compensation.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was driving his car on a Maryland highway when he collided with a postal vehicle that made an unsafe left turn in front of him. Three days after the accident, he had a telephone call with a USPS specialist who confirmed that the accident occurred and that the postal worker was at fault.

Allegedly, the plaintiff then retained an attorney who sent a demand letter and an SF-95 form to the USPS. Notably, neither the letter nor the form indicated the amount of damages the plaintiff sought. The plaintiff subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against the USPS, asserting a negligence claim. The USPS moved, inter alia, to dismiss the complaint due to the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Continue Reading ›

People hurt in car accidents will often seek damages from the parties they deem responsible for their losses. Some people may be reluctant to hire an attorney, though, and for a variety of reasons, will proceed with their claims pro se. As demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Maryland court in a case arising out of a collision, however, non-attorneys typically lack knowledge of the procedural rules, which can be fatal to their claims. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is smart to contact a Maryland car accident attorney to discuss your options for seeking damages.

The Relevant History

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a complaint, pro se, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division. The complaint asserted that the defendant drove an unsafe vehicle that subsequently caused a collision with the plaintiff and that due to the crash, the plaintiff suffered extensive damages. The plaintiff sought punitive damages on the grounds that the defendant knew the vehicle was unsafe prior to the accident. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that the plaintiff failed to assert a claim that would entitle him to relief. Upon review, the Court granted the defendant’s motion.

Pleading Requirements in Car Accident Cases Filed in Federal Court

The pleading standards established by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the Rules) only require a party to set forth a plain and short statement of their claim that shows they are entitled to relief. The Rules dictate, though, that if a complaint does not set forth a claim for which relief may be granted, it should be dismissed. As such, a motion to dismiss requires an analysis of the sufficiency of a complaint. Continue Reading ›

In some Maryland car accident cases, financial losses from personal injuries and property damage may be covered by more than one type of insurance policy.  In a September 29, 2021 case, the question for the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland was whether the liability limits of an auto insurance policy and an umbrella insurance policy could be combined, despite the household exclusion contained therein.

The case arose out of a tragic car accident that seriously injured the plaintiff and claimed the lives of her parents and sibling.  It occurred as plaintiff’s father was driving the family to a high school play.  As he made a left turn, their vehicle was struck by a sedan traveling at approximately 115 miles per hour.

At the time of the accident, the plaintiff’s father had a primary auto liability policy and an umbrella liability policy issued by the insurance company named as the defendant in the case.  The primary policy had a liability coverage limit of $500,000 for personal injuries and property damage for each accident.  The umbrella policy had a coverage limit of $2 million in excess of the automobile liability coverage.  The umbrella policy also contained a household exclusion provision, which stated that the policy did not cover claims for injuries to any person related to an insured by blood, marriage, or adoption residing in the household of the insured.

Continue Reading ›

In some Maryland auto accident cases, insurance coverage for personal injuries may be available under multiple policies.  Generally, the laws of the state in which the policy was issued govern coverage disputes.   In a September 21, 2021 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether underinsured motorist coverage was available for a Delaware resident under an insurance policy issued to a Maryland resident.

The plaintiff in the case was a Delaware resident.  She was named as an “additional driver” of a vehicle insured by her daughter, a Maryland resident, under a Maryland auto insurance policy.  The plaintiff was injured in an accident in Delaware, in which she was the passenger of a car that was not insured by the Maryland policy at issue.  The plaintiff settled with the driver’s insurance company for his policy limits of $15,000, which was insufficient to cover all of her damages.  The plaintiff then claimed underinsured motorist benefits under the Maryland policy issued to her daughter, which the insurance company denied.

The plaintiff filed suit against the insurance company that issued her daughter’s policy.  When the circuit court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff appealed to the higher court.

Continue Reading ›

For victims of hit-and-run accidents in Maryland, seeking compensation for injuries may seem hopeless.  In many cases, uninsured motorist coverage may be available through an auto insurance policy held by the driver or injured passenger.  In a September 13, 2021 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether or not an insurance company wrongfully denied the plaintiff’s claim for uninsured motorist benefits.

The plaintiff in the case was riding as a passenger in her daughter’s vehicle when they were rear-ended by a truck.  The truck then fled the scene before the driver could be identified.  At the time of the accident, the plaintiff and her daughter lived in the same household.  The plaintiff’s daughter was insured under a policy that provided uninsured motorist coverage of up to $30,000 per individual.  The plaintiff held a separate policy issued by the same insurer, with limits of $300,000 per individual for uninsured motorist coverage.

Because the plaintiff’s medical expenses exceeded the amount of her daughter’s policy limits, the plaintiff sought uninsured motorist benefits under both policies.  The insurance company accepted the claim made under her daughter’s policy, but denied the claim made under her own policy.  The plaintiff subsequently filed suit against the insurer for breach of the insurance contract.  After the circuit court granted summary judgment for the insurer, the plaintiff appealed to the higher court.

Continue Reading ›

Generally, a car accident victim may seek compensation from the negligent driver for injuries.  In Maryland, however, a person may be barred from recovering damages if their own negligence contributed to the accident.  In a July 29, 2021 case, the Court of Special Appeals considered whether a defendant could assert the defenses of contributory negligence or assumption of the risk to bar recovery in two successive automobile collisions.

The plaintiff in the case was driving in the left lane of the highway when the defendant, who was in the middle lane, attempted to enter the left lane.  The defendant did not see the plaintiff’s vehicle, however, and collided with the side of it.  The plaintiff stopped on the left shoulder of the highway, with part of his vehicle remaining on the road.  The defendant pulled over immediately behind him.  As they exchanged information, a third car traveling in the left lane stopped abruptly in order to avoid striking their vehicles.  A fourth vehicle rear-ended the third car, causing it to strike the defendant, who was outside her vehicle.

The plaintiff sued the defendant and the driver of the fourth vehicle, and the defendant asserted counterclaims.  Neither party disputed that the plaintiff was solely negligent in causing the first accident.  With respect to the second accident, a jury found both the plaintiff and defendant negligent.  Based on that verdict, the circuit court ruled that the plaintiff was barred from recovering damages for the first accident, due to his contributory negligence in causing the second accident.

Continue Reading ›

Commercial and heavy-duty trucks can cause severe damage when they are involved in accidents with cars and smaller motor vehicles.  In a July 2, 2021 Maryland injury case, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered substantial personal injuries and damages after colliding with a garbage truck.  She brought a negligence action against the driver, the owner of the truck, and the operator of the trucking company that employed the driver.  The case was on appeal before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals following a jury verdict in favor of the defendants.

The plaintiff in the case was driving her grandson to elementary school, traveling northbound.  On the same road, a southbound garbage truck was attempting to turn across the northbound lane and onto a side street.  The plaintiff testified at trial that the driver of the garbage truck failed to yield to her, and that she was unable to avoid hitting the back of the truck as it turned across her lane of traffic.  The driver testified that he crossed the road when the plaintiff was approximately a quarter mile away, and that he believed the plaintiff was speeding and appeared distracted.

At the start of trial, the plaintiff moved to preclude the defendants’ expert from testifying.  The court denied the motion and allowed the expert to testify that in his opinion, if the plaintiff was driving 45 mph, she would have had ample time to see the truck and stop to avoid a collision.  After the jury found in favor of the defendants, the plaintiff appealed on grounds that the disclosure of the expert’s opinion was untimely.

Continue Reading ›

When several motor vehicles are involved in a Maryland personal injury accident, questions regarding liability and negligence may be more complex than in a typical two-vehicle collision.  An April 21, 2021 case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland illustrates some of the issues that may arise in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a multi-vehicle accident.

The case at issue involved the chain-reaction, rear-end collisions of four motor vehicles on a Maryland highway.  The plaintiff in the case was driving when the vehicles in front of him came to a stop.  When the plaintiff applied his breaks to avoid hitting them, a second driver collided into the rear of the plaintiff’s car.  A third driver then rear-ended the second driver, which caused her vehicle to hit the plaintiff’s car again.  The repeated impact caused the plaintiff’s car to strike the fourth vehicle, which was directly in front of his.

The plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the second and third drivers, and the case went to trial.  After denying the defendants’ motions for judgment, the court submitted the case to the jury.  The jury found that the defendants were negligent, and awarded the plaintiff $34,000 for medical expenses, over $10,000 for lost income, and $500,000 in noneconomic damages.

Continue Reading ›

Contact Information