In some Maryland personal injury cases, a business employer may be responsible for injuries caused by the carelessness of their employees.  When an independent contractor or state or government entity is involved, however, there may be specific legal concepts to consider.  In a January 23, 2019 Maryland negligence claim, the plaintiff appealed after the circuit court dismissed his claims against a local sanitary commission for the negligence of an independent subcontractor.

The plaintiff in the case was injured in an accident that occurred when his vehicle hit a manhole that was only partially covered.  The plaintiff sued to recover damages from the local sanitary commission, which was responsible for the manhole cover.  The commission argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the negligence of a subcontractor of an independent contractor that it hired.  The commission claimed it had no control over the subcontractor and, therefore, could not be vicariously liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

In Maryland, the general rule is that the employer of an independent contractor is not liable for the negligence of the contractor or his employees.  However, there are a number of exceptions to the general rule that would extend liability to those who hire independent contractors.  These exceptions include the employer’s negligence in selecting or supervising the contractor, non-delegable duties of the employer to the public or a particular plaintiff, and work that is inherently dangerous.

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Holding a local government or municipality liable for negligence may be difficult in some cases.  A Maryland injury attorney can assist plaintiffs by presenting the evidence persuasively to a judge or jury.  In a December 19, 2018 case, the plaintiff filed a Maryland injury claim against the city counsel, local government, and an excavation company following an accident involving a water meter.  The case was brought before the Court of Special Appeals after the trial court granted summary judgment against the plaintiff.

The plaintiff in the case alleged that she was injured when a water meter cover opened and she stepped into the hole.  The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they had no notice of the allegedly defective water meter lid, nor did they have any duty to inspect in the absence of notice.  The plaintiff contended that the defendants had notice because the excavation company was working in the area to repair water leaks.  She also provided a letter from the city informing the company of the plaintiff’s suit.  The letter contained a handwritten note to “take notice lid is broke” with a date.

In a Maryland negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove that:  (1) the defendant was under a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the plaintiff suffered injury or loss, and (4) the injury proximately resulted from the defendant’s breach of duty.

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The procedural requirements of a Maryland medical malpractice action are an important part of pursuing a lawsuit after negligent health care.  In some cases, failing to meet the filing deadlines can have an adverse outcome, including dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims.  In a January 18, 2019 appeal, the court was asked to determine whether the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were banned by the statute of limitations.

The plaintiff in the case had suffered a leg injury in a jet ski accident and was transferred to the defendant’s hospital for surgery in July of 2010.  Following the surgery, the plaintiff was tested for staph bacteria, and the results came back negative.  A few days later, evidence of a staph infection appeared.  The plaintiff was then discharged to an acute rehabilitation center in Virginia.  After a week at the rehabilitation center, the plaintiff was transferred back to the defendant’s hospital due to the worsening infection.  Over the next few years, the plaintiff was treated multiple times for staph infections and ultimately, underwent a total knee replacement in 2013.

In June of 2013, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendants, and the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court.  The plaintiff had a certificate of qualified expert from a doctor who was prepared to testify that the defendants deviated from the standard of care.  However, finding that the doctor was not qualified to testify as to one of the issues, the court dismissed the claim.

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Developing an appropriate trial strategy in a Maryland medical malpractice case takes legal knowledge and experience.  It may also have a significant impact on the outcome of the case.  A December 31, 2018 medical malpractice case illustrates the importance of following court orders and procedures during a trial.

In the case, the plaintiff’s actions during trial prompted the judge to admonish her while the jury was seated in the courtroom.  The plaintiff’s counsel requested a mistrial, arguing that the exchange had unfairly influenced the jury against the plaintiff.  The trial court denied the motion, and the issue was appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff in the case was the estate of a patient who had died while receiving medical care at the defendant’s hospital.  The personal representative of the estate, who was the daughter of the patient, filed the action alleging that the defendant was negligent in providing medical treatment to her mother.  Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to prevent admission of photographs of the patient’s skin wounds to the jury.  The judge granted the motion, finding that the photographs could not be authenticated.

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If the careless acts of another person or business have caused you or your child to suffer a physical injury, you may be able to hold them responsible.  In a negligence lawsuit involving an injured child, an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer can advise parents as to the proper legal action to take.  In a December 7, 2018 case, the plaintiff filed suit against her landlords for injuries that occurred after her rental home became inhabitable due to mold infestation.  The case was brought before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff in the case resided with her young son in a home she rented from the defendants.  She alleged that a few weeks after moving into the home, water began collecting and flooding into the kitchen and den.  Despite her repeated complaints to the defendants, the problem was not resolved and the flooding persisted.  Thereafter, her son began experiencing medical issues, including difficulties breathing, asthma-like symptoms, swelling, and rashes covering his body.  A medical diagnosis revealed that he was allergic to a variety of toxic molds.  Subsequent testing of the house confirmed the presence of extremely high levels of mold.  Fortunately, the son’s conditions improved after they vacated the property.

The parties then pursued breach of lease and eviction proceedings against each other in district court.  After the parties stated that they had reached an agreement to settle the matter, the district court dismissed the action.  Specifically, the understanding was that the plaintiff would not pursue any further claims arising out of the tenancy in exchange for half of the rent escrow funds.  Although the money was disbursed, the parties did not sign a written agreement.

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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.

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In some cases, personal injuries arise out of the negligent actions of another person or entity.  Victims generally have legal recourse against those responsible for their injuries, unless the law provides for immunity or another exception.  In a November 28, 2018 Maryland wrongful death case, the plaintiff sued a police officer and police chief, alleging that they negligently caused the death of her daughter.  The defendants argued that they were entitled to immunity and could not be sued for damages.  After the circuit court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

In the case, the victim had called 911 and the police officer was dispatched to her apartment building.  The officer attempted to enter the building, but found that the door was locked.  He left without making contact with the victim.  At some point, the victim went to the roof of her apartment building and either jumped, fell, or was pushed off.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The plaintiff alleged that the police were negligent in failing to investigate the 911 call and failing to enter the building and make contact with the victim.  The plaintiff also contended that the police did not provide adequate training or supervision for officers responding to 911 calls.  The issues on appeal centered on the public duty doctrine and public official immunity.

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In a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit, testimony from expert witnesses can be crucial to explain scientific issues to a jury and establish or refute an element of negligence.  In a December 7, 2018 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether the testimony of the defendants’ expert witness was properly allowed into a jury trial in a medical malpractice action.  Ultimately, after hearing the testimony, as well as testimony from other experts, the jury found that the defendants were not negligent in providing medical care to the plaintiff.  The plaintiff subsequently filed an appeal, challenging the admissibility of the expert’s testimony.

The plaintiff in the case had undergone a surgical removal of her right lung.  A month later, she woke up with swelling and pain in her left leg and went to the emergency room.  The ER doctor examined the plaintiff and completed a CT scan, which confirmed extensive blood clots in both of the plaintiff’s legs.  As the plaintiff’s condition worsened, the hospital doctors concluded that her situation was too complex to handle without a vascular surgeon.  Because there was no vascular surgeon on-call at the hospital at that time, arrangements were made for her to see a vascular surgeon in Baltimore.

While the plaintiff was waiting for an ambulance, the hospital’s own vascular surgeon became available on-call.  Although he reviewed the plaintiff’s medical tests, he was not asked to examine the plaintiff and had no involvement in her treatment.  When the plaintiff finally arrived at the Baltimore hospital, her left leg could not be saved and was ultimately amputated.  The plaintiff filed a malpractice suit against the ER doctors and hospital, alleging that they did not do enough to treat her as she was waiting to be transported to Baltimore.

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To succeed in a Maryland negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had an obligation, or duty, to act in a certain manner according to the law.  Generally, most people, businesses, and other entities have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury to another.  In a December 3, 2018 Maryland wrongful death case, however, the issue of duty was more complicated.

The defendants in the case were Maryland police officers who had responded to a report of domestic assault involving the plaintiffs’ mother and her fiancé.  The officers were outside of the house with the mother when her fiancé began firing gunshots at them from the upstairs window.  The plaintiffs’ mother died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

The plaintiffs brought a civil suit against the officers, seeking to hold them liable for their roles leading to the murder of the plaintiffs’ mother by her fiancé.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs for $850,000, finding that the officers were negligent in failing to prevent their mother’s death.  The defendants appealed, and the matter came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

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A Maryland car accident victim may take legal action against a negligent driver to recover their medical expenses and other losses.  To succeed, the plaintiff must present sufficient evidence to establish each element of a Maryland personal injury claim.  In a November 15, 2018 car accident case, the Court of Special Appeals considered whether the circuit court erred by not allowing the plaintiff’s expert witness to testify.  The issue was crucial, as the lack of a causation expert subsequently led the circuit court to dismiss the plaintiff’s negligence claims against the defendants.

The case arose out of a rear-end motor vehicle collision.  One of the defendants was driving an automobile that struck the rear of the plaintiff’s car, causing the plaintiff to hit her head on the steering wheel.  A few days later, the plaintiff began to feel dizzy and nauseous. She went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a concussion.  The plaintiff sought treatment from three other doctors, all of whom diagnosed her with a concussion, for fifteen months following the accident.  The plaintiff also received psychiatric counseling to treat the anxiety, irritability, and cognitive difficulties that she reported after the accident.

Three years after the car accident, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended her car, the owner of the driver’s vehicle, and her insurance company.  The plaintiff designated her doctor as an expert witness well before the deadline provided by the court.  However, two days before trial, the plaintiff provided to the defendants a report from her doctor based on a medical exam that had taken place a month before.  The defendants objected, arguing that there was no time to depose the doctor regarding her report before the trial date.  The court agreed and excluded the testimony without continuing the trial to a later date.  The defendants then moved for summary judgment reasoning that, without expert testimony, the plaintiff did not have any evidence that her injuries were caused by the accident.  The trial court granted the motion.

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