Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

In some Maryland car accident cases, the driver who caused the collision is not insured, or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the entire amount of damages for which they are liable.  However, if you have underinsured motorist coverage from your own auto insurer, you may file a claim to recover payment for your remaining medical expenses when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient.  Pursing a claim with an insurance company may be difficult, but you have the option of retaining legal representation at any time.  A Maryland car accident attorney can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and attempt to negotiate an acceptable settlement.

In an August 20, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed an appeal from a plaintiff that had filed an underinsured motorist claim with his insurance carrier for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision.  When his claim was denied, he brought the instant lawsuit against his insurance company.  Although he was advised repeatedly by the court to hire counsel, he proceeded as a pro se litigant and represented himself.

In his lawsuit, the plaintiff stated that he suffered serious and permanent physical injuries in a motor vehicle collision that occurred in December of 2009.  He also alleged that the costs of his medical treatment and related expenses exceeded the $20,000 policy limits of the other driver’s Maryland insurance policy.  The plaintiff therefore sought coverage from the uninsured/underinsured motorist policy he held with his auto insurance company, which had a policy limit of up to $100,000.

Continue reading

In some Maryland car accident cases, the actions of multiple drivers may be the causes of the collision.  Proving a defendant’s liability in these injury cases can be difficult, and the plaintiff may not be able to recover damages in a Maryland personal injury lawsuit if her own negligence was a proximate cause of the accident.  In a July 9, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland grappled with a tragic wrongful death case brought by the family of a young driver who killed in a fatal car accident.

The victim in the case was driving on her learner’s permit.  Traveling westward on a side road, the victim reached a stop sign at the intersection of a four-lane highway.  The defendant was driving a truck northbound on the highway, traveling at 11 miles over the speed limit.  As the victim entered the intersection, the defendant’s truck collided with her vehicle.  Following the fatal accident, the victim’s family filed a negligence suit against the truck driver and his employer.

The issue on appeal was whether or not the victim was contributorily negligent in causing the accident, as she was required to yield the right-of-way to vehicles traveling on the highway.  In Maryland, the Boulevard Rule requires the driver of a car approaching an intersection from a road controlled by a stop sign to stop and yield the right of way to cars traveling on the main road.  Nevertheless, a failure to yield will not necessarily relieve the driver on the main road of liability.  If the negligence of the highway driver was the proximate cause of an accident, they may be held liable, despite the other driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way.

Continue reading

In a typical Maryland car accident case, plaintiffs may recover damages if they establish that the negligence of the other driver caused their injuries.  In collisions involving government or police officer vehicles, however, the issue of immunity may arise, as in a July 22, 2019 case.  The question before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland was whether a police officer could claim partial immunity under a statute that provided immunity for operators of emergency vehicles.

The plaintiff in the case had suffered injuries as a result of a car accident involving a police officer.  The accident occurred as the police officer, responding to a call for an assault in progress, drove towards the location to serve as backup for another officer.  The officer and other witnesses testified that she had activated her vehicle’s emergency lights and siren before approaching an intersection.  As she proceeded through the intersection, the plaintiff’s car collided with the front end of the police officer’s car.  The plaintiff subsequently filed suit to recover damages stemming from the accident.

The police officer claimed immunity under a statute for emergency service responders.  Under the Maryland law, the operator of an emergency vehicle is granted partial immunity when the vehicle is involved in an accident that occurs in the performance of emergency service.  After the trial court concluded that the police officer was entitled to such immunity, the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed.  She then pursued an appeal with the higher court.

Continue reading

Car accident cases involving pedestrians can result in serious and life-long injuries.  Many injury victims choose to pursue a Maryland personal injury claim to recover for their damages, as the plaintiff did in a July 16, 2019 case.  The case arose out of an automobile accident on a snowy winter day.

The defendant in the case was driving her car slowly through the snow.  As she approached a sharp, downhill turn, however, she lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway.  Her vehicle reportedly hit the plaintiff, who was clearing snow in his neighbor’s driveway.  The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the collision and filed a negligence suit against the driver for damages.

After a trial, the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant was not negligent.  The plaintiff brought an appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury.  Specifically, the plaintiff argued that the jury should have been instructed to consider a statute under the Maryland Transportation Code providing that the driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall, if necessary, warn any pedestrian by sounding the horn of the vehicle.

Continue reading

Insurance coverage and damage amounts are often contested issues between car accident victims and their motor vehicle insurers.  As illustrated in a June 6, 2019 Maryland wrongful death case, the procedural aspects of a claim may be crucial for the surviving family members to recover the full amount of damages sought.

The case arose out of a car accident involving the plaintiff, which resulted in the death of the other driver.  At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was driving a car owned by another individual.  A year after the accident, no survival or wrongful death claims had been filed by the driver’s survivors.  The plaintiff, the plaintiff’s insurance company, and the car owner’s insurance company subsequently filed a Complaint for Interpleader, in which they conceded liability for the other driver’s death to his survivors.

A hearing was held on the matter, at which counsel for the survivors informed the trial court that he wished to work with the potential beneficiaries to resolve the apportionment of the policy proceeds without further litigation.  The trial court then signed two proposed orders provided by the plaintiffs, which allowed each insurer to deposit an amount totaling $600,000 into an account for apportionment among the beneficiaries after they negotiated their respective interests.

Continue reading

In some cases, a driver who caused a car accident may not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate for the resulting injuries.  An injured person, however, may seek payment from their own insurance company for the remaining damages if they have coverage.  In a June 4, 2019 Maryland car accident case, the plaintiff filed suit against her insurer after it denied her claim for underinsured motorist benefits.  The lower court dismissed her action, and she filed the current appeal.

The plaintiff in the case was involved in a motor vehicle collision in April 2011.  As a result of the accident, she suffered injuries.  The driver who caused the crash was insured under an auto policy that provided liability coverage up to $20,000.  In April 2013, the driver’s insurance company offered the plaintiff the maximum amount available under the policy to settle the claims against the driver.  Days later, the plaintiff’s insurance company agreed to the settlement offer and waived its subrogation rights against the other driver.  In February 2014, the plaintiff executed the settlement agreement and waiver releasing the driver and the driver’s insurance company from liability for the policy limit of $20,000.

In January 2015, the plaintiff sought payment from her insurer to cover the rest of the damages she suffered in the accident.  Although the plaintiff’s insurance policy did include underinsured motorist coverage, her claim was not immediately approved.  The plaintiff filed a legal action against her insurance company in September 2016 to recover the amount of damages in excess of the $20,000 settlement. The circuit court ruled that the plaintiff did not file her action before the deadline provided by the statute of limitations, and it dismissed the case.

Continue reading

A car crash may be the result of multiple factors, including negligence on the part of both drivers.  In a May 3, 2019 Maryland car accident case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered the issue of the plaintiff’s negligence.  The plaintiff appealed the matter after the trial jury found her partially responsible for the collision, thus barring her recovery.

The accident occurred at an intersection controlled by flashing red and yellow traffic lights.  The plaintiff was traveling on the eastbound road, which was controlled by a flashing yellow light.  The defendant was on the southbound road with the flashing red light.  As the plaintiff approached the intersection, she claimed that the defendant pulled out in front of her between cars that were stopped in the westbound lanes.  The plaintiff could not stop in time and collided into the defendant’s vehicle.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant, who asserted that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.  The plaintiff argued that the defendant could not establish that defense because she entered the intersection with the right of way and, as such, was not negligent as a matter of law.

Continue reading

If an insurance company refuses to cover your injuries after a Maryland car accident case, you may have to take legal action.  In some situations, you may be able to recover your attorney’s fees and court costs in bringing the lawsuit.  In an April 16, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether an auto insurance company should have been ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs after she successfully obtained a settlement.

The plaintiff in the case was injured in a motor vehicle collision in Maryland.  The driver who caused the accident was in a rental car at the time.  He was insured by the defendant insurance company under a policy issued to him in West Virginia, which provided liability coverage up to $20,000.  Following the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the driver.  The defendant offered to settle the suit for the coverage limits of the driver’s policy.  The plaintiff refused the settlement offer, asserting that because the accident occurred in Maryland, the other driver should have been covered for up to $30,000 for bodily injury liability.

The plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment from the court to establish that $30,000 of liability coverage was available to her under the other driver’s insurance policy.  The defendant ultimately offered her $30,000 to settle the case, which she accepted.  The plaintiff then filed a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs based upon the declaratory judgment action she had pursued against the defendant.  When the court denied the request, the plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading