Bringing a Maryland personal injury lawsuit against certain parties, such as police officers and emergency responders, may require proof of more than simple negligence.  If the defendants are entitled to statutory immunity, the plaintiff must demonstrate gross negligence in order to hold them liable in some cases.  In an August 16, 2019 Maryland wrongful death case, the Court of Appeals reviewed the record to determine whether the evidence was sufficient to establish gross negligence on the part of the defendants, who were city fire department paramedics.

The defendants in the case had responded to a 911 call for a reported chest pain emergency.  After assessing the decedent’s condition, they transported him to the hospital shortly thereafter.  While waiting in the emergency room, the decedent lost consciousness.  He was taken to another room and received treatment from the hospital staff, but unfortunately, never regained consciousness.  The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death suit against the defendants, alleging that they were negligent in providing medical assistance to the decedent.

The trial court determined that the Maryland Fire and Rescue Company Act granted the defendants civil immunity in the absence of any willful or grossly negligent act.  Accordingly, the issue at trial was whether the defendants acted in a grossly negligent manner.  The jury found that they had and awarded the plaintiffs approximately 3.7 million dollars in damages.  The matter was appealed twice and came before the Maryland Court of Appeals.

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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.

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In a July 25, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland revisited a medical negligence case for the second time on appeal.  The plaintiff had filed a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit against her doctors, alleging that they failed to timely biopsy and diagnose a mass on her right breast.  The plaintiff claimed that that as a result of their negligence, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy instead of a less-invasive lumpectomy and suffered painful and permanent injuries.

After a trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff past medical expenses in the amount of $35,000 and $150,000 in non-economic damages.  The defendants appealed, arguing the trial court had erred by allowing the plaintiff to testify about her distress regarding her fear of death.  In the first appeal, the court agreed, finding that the plaintiff’s chance of survival was at least 88 percent and that the testimony would have an obvious effect on the jury.  The judgment was reversed, and the case was remanded for a new trial.

The trial court, however, ordered that the new trial be limited to non-economic damages only.  The defendants then filed a motion to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying as to whether the plaintiff needed a mastectomy on her right breast due to the alleged delay in diagnosis, and as to the plaintiff’s left breast mastectomy, since it was not medically necessary.  After the motion was granted, the defendants moved for summary judgment based on the plaintiff’s lack of any causation expert, which was also granted.  The plaintiff then filed the current appeal.

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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.

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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.

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As a general rule, people may be held liable for damages arising from an injury caused by their negligence.  The injured party may pursue a legal action against the negligent party by bringing a Maryland personal injury claim.  In rare cases, however, the defendant may be relieved of their legal responsibility for the plaintiff’s injury, if the plaintiff exposed themselves to the risk of harm.  The issue of assumption of risk was explored in detail in a July 11, 2019 case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff in the case operated a restaurant inside a business plaza owned by the defendants.  To reach the back door of her restaurant, the plaintiff had to enter through the loading dock behind the building and walk through a common hallway shared by other businesses.  On the day of her injury, the plaintiff was holding a twelve-pack of soda in each hand and had her handbag on her shoulder as she entered the common hallway to reach her restaurant.  She observed sheets on the floor and deliverymen moving mattresses on the right side of the hallway.  Reportedly, the plaintiff proceeded walking on the right side of the hallway when her foot caught on the sheeting and she fell, breaking her knee.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, alleging negligence.  The defendants the moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff assumed the risk of walking over the sheet as a matter of law.  The plaintiff asserted that she had no knowledge that the sheet, although irregular and lumpy, was dangerous or hazardous.  The lower court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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To succeed in a Maryland medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must show that the treatment he received from his doctor fell below professional standards, and as a result, caused the plaintiff’s injury.  In some situations, the defendants may argue that the negligence of non-parties contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries, as in a June 26, 2019 case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.  However, the defense of non-party negligence must be properly supported by evidence before it can be presented to a jury.

In the case, a cancer patient brought a medical malpractice action for the defendants’ failure to remove a cancerous lymph node before it became inoperable.  The plaintiff had received medical care from multiple doctors before the diagnosis and during the course of his treatment, but eventually pursued his claims against two radiologists and their employer.

The case went to trial.  During the closing argument, the defendants argued that the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from the conduct of three non-party physicians, and not from any negligence on the part of the defendants themselves.  The jury ultimately found that the defendants were not negligent.  The plaintiff appealed, asserting that the trial court had erred by allowing the issue of non-party negligence to go to the jury without expert testimony of same.

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To win a judgment in a Maryland personal injury action, the plaintiff must present proof of actual damages.  A plaintiff cannot recover damages that are speculative, remote, or uncertain.  Damages for lost earning capacity compensate the plaintiff for their reduced ability to earn money in the future, due to the injury caused by the defendant.  Damages due to lost earning capacity can be difficult to establish in some cases, however, because they primarily rely on future probabilities.

In a June 24, 2019 lead-based paint case, the plaintiff succeeded in establishing his damages, including lost earning capacity, due to the defendants’ reported negligence.  Ultimately, the jury awarded him a total of almost two million dollars, which was reduced to the maximum limit of Maryland’s damages cap.

The defendant appealed the judgment, and the case came before the Court of Appeals of Maryland.  On appeal, the defendant asserted that the plaintiff’s experts lacked a sufficient factual basis for their testimony regarding the plaintiff’s lost earning capacity.  The defendant argued that without utilizing a standardized, reliable methodology for analyzing data, the experts’ opinions were too speculative to support the award.

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Selecting the individual members of a jury for trial takes careful consideration in a Maryland personal injury case.  In a June 3, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland examined whether the trial court erred by declining to ask prospective jury members a question about the effect of recent media coverage.  The appeal arose out of an action filed by the plaintiff against a Baltimore City policy officer.  The plaintiff alleged that he suffered personal injuries as a result of the officer’s excessive use of force.  Following the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him $130,000 in damages.

In April of 2015, Freddie Gray’s death sparked widespread protests in Baltimore.  As a result of the civil unrest, a city-wide curfew was in effect.  The plaintiff was out past curfew following the street demonstrations.  The defendant saw the plaintiff run down a street and board a bus.  Believing that the plaintiff had a gun, the defendant stopped the bus.  The defendant removed the plaintiff from the bus.  However, the plaintiff ultimately suffered a broken arm.  The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the officer.

Counsel for the defendant submitted questions for the court to ask potential jurors during the selection.  The question at issue on appeal was whether anyone had obtained information from newspaper articles or other media sources regarding the Baltimore police department that would cause them to have a negative impression of the defendant. Although the court denied the request, several prospective jurors referenced the medical coverage of the Freddie Gray case.  However, those jurors did not serve on the jury.

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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.

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