After some types of accidents, it may be difficult for a person to remember the circumstances leading up to their injury, or understand exactly how it occurred. In a recent Maryland negligence case, the plaintiff could not remember the events leading up to a fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.  She filed suit against the owners of the store and strip mall where she was injured, alleging negligence claims.  The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland decided the matter in an October 22, 2019 decision.

The plaintiff in the case suffered a head injury as she exited a store located in a strip mall.  Although the plaintiff did not remember anything about the accident, the store owner was present at the time.  He testified that while he did not see the plaintiff fall, he saw her backing out of the door with her hands full.  Shortly thereafter, he saw the plaintiff on the ground and went to help her.  Two days after the fall, the plaintiff was hospitalized with a hematoma, consistent with having fallen and struck her head, and underwent emergency surgery.

The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendants, alleging in the complaint that her injuries were caused by a defective door.  Specifically, she alleged that the door suddenly and without warning flung open as she exited the store, causing her to fall and hit her head onto the concrete sidewalk.  The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that there was no evidence of any defect in the door, nor that she fell due to an issue with the door.  The plaintiff subsequently appealed the decision.

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In Maryland, family members may bring a wrongful death action against a defendant whose negligence caused the death of their loved one.  The Maryland wrongful death statute allows the plaintiffs to recover economic and non-economic monetary damages resulting from their loss.  In a November 1, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed the jury’s award of damages to a plaintiff who had prevailed in her wrongful death action against the defendant.

The case arose from the death of the plaintiff’s daughter’s in 2013.  The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the medical providers who treated her daughter, including the defendant.  Following a trial, the jury found the defendant liable for the wrongful death of the plaintiff’s twenty-two-year-old daughter.  The jury awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in non-economic damages and $500,000 in economic damages for the loss of her daughter’s services.  The defendant subsequently appealed the jury’s award of economic damages.

The specific issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff had sufficiently established her damages claim for the loss of her daughter’s household services.  The court confirmed that in a Maryland wrongful death action, a covered beneficiary may recover for both economic and non-economic damages.  After reviewing Maryland case law and other legal authority, the Court of Special Appeals went on to present a three-part rule for determining when a beneficiary in a wrongful death action may recover economic damages for the loss of household services.

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In Maryland, landlords and other property owners owe a duty of care to their tenants and guests, and may be liable for injuries caused by their negligence.  In an October 24, 2019 case, a plaintiff brought a Maryland personal injury negligence claim against the manager of her apartment complex and a paving contractor after she slipped and fell on a resurfaced asphalt parking lot.  The case went to trial.  After the close of the plaintiff’s case, the trial court granted judgment for the defendants on grounds of insufficient evidence of negligence of the defendants and assumption of the risk by the plaintiff.  The plaintiff appealed the decision, and the matter came before the Court of Special Appeals.

The plaintiff in the case had moved her car to a nearby shopping center due to repaving work being done to the parking lot of her apartment complex.  She went to retrieve her car that afternoon and, seeing that the lot was still blocked off, parked on a nearby street.  She began walking on a sidewalk back to her apartment building.  Instead of continuing on that route, the plaintiff stepped on the parking lot to test its condition and found that it was firm.  As she continued to walk across the parking lot, she reportedly slipped on a soft spot and fell on her right arm, injuring her back and head.

In Maryland, the owner or possessor of land may be liable for injuries to invitees by a condition on the land if they:  (1) know or should realize that the condition involves an unreasonable risk of harm to the invitee, (2) should expect that the invitee will not discover or realize the danger or will fail to protect against it, and (3) fails to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitee against the danger.

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Dog bites or attacks can cause serious injuries.  In many instances, the victim may have recourse against a negligent pet owner.  In an October 16, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a Maryland personal injury negligence claim brought by a plaintiff who suffered injuries as a result of a dog attack.  When her claims were dismissed by the circuit court on summary judgment, she brought an appeal.

The plaintiff in the case was reportedly attacked right outside of her home by a pit bull.  The dog was owned by the son of one of the tenants in a nearby housing complex.  The dog owner did not reside in the housing complex, but frequently stayed with his mother for varying periods of time.  Although the housing complex prohibited dogs on the property without written consent, the tenant allowed her son to bring dogs with him when he visited her.  Following the dog attack, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the owner of the housing development.

In Maryland, to hold a landlord responsible for injuries sustained from an attack by a dog owned by a tenant, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the landlord: (1) had control over the dog’s presence at the property; (2) was aware of the presence of the dog at the property; and (3) was aware that the dog had vicious propensities.

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If you have been injured by a defective product, you may have legal recourse.  In Maryland, sellers and manufacturers may be held liable for putting a defective product into the hands of a consumer.  A Maryland products liability action may be brought under theories of negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability.  In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals considered whether Amazon could be held liable under Maryland law for damage caused by a defective product sold on its website.

The consumer in the case had purchased an LED headlamp on Amazon’s website as a gift to his friends.  The headlamp’s batteries apparently malfunctioned, igniting the friends’ house and causing over $300,000 in damages.  The company that insured the house brought a subrogation action against Amazon, alleging products liability claims under Maryland law.

In Maryland, a products liability action arising from breach of warranty, negligence, or strict liability may be brought against the seller of a defective product.  A “seller” includes a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, wholesaler, other middleman, or the retailer.  The plaintiff must show three elements in a Maryland products liability action: (1) a defect; (2) attribution of the defect to the seller; and (3) a causal relationship between the defect and the injury to the plaintiff.  The defect must be shown to exist at the time the product left the seller (whether manufacturer, distributor, or retailer), or at the time the sale was made.

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In Maryland, most individuals and entities may be held liable for personal injuries caused by their negligent conduct.  However, in situations involving alleged negligence on the part of the government or state officials, the concept of immunity may be a consideration.  Recently, the Court of Special Appeals decided whether or not governmental immunity applied to a local county in a September 16, 2019 Maryland negligence case.

The plaintiff in the case had enrolled her son in youth swimming lessons offered by the County at a public park.  After dropping her son off for his lesson, she walked through the park with her younger child strapped to her front in a baby carrier.  As she traveled through a blacktop, gravel area in the park, her foot came into contact with a water pipe that was reportedly protruding above the gravel.  She fell forward onto her hands and knees, injuring herself and her child.

The plaintiff then brought a lawsuit against the County, claiming that its negligence in maintaining the park caused the injuries to her and her child.  The County filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from suit for any injuries resulting from its maintenance of the park due to governmental immunity.  The circuit court agreed and granted the motion based on case law establishing that the maintenance and operation of a public swimming pool by a local government is a governmental function.  The plaintiff appealed that decision to the higher court.

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Negligent nursing home care may cause serious injuries or even death, as well as emotional pain for the victim’s family.  Many nursing care facilities in Maryland require patients to execute agreements upon admittance in which they agree to arbitrate any future legal claims against the facility. In a June 27, 2019 Maryland wrongful death case, the validity of such an arbitration agreement was decided by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiff’s father and the decedent in the case had resided at the defendant’s nursing care facility before his death.  The day before her father was admitted to the facility, the plaintiff executed an admission contract on his behalf.  The contract required that all disputes arising out of a patient’s stay at the facility be submitted to mediation, and if not resolved through mediation, be submitted to an arbitration process.

Following her father’s death, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the defendants in circuit court, alleging that while in the care of the defendant’s facility, her father developed serious health concerns, including bed sores and gangrene, as a result of inadequate medical care.  The plaintiff further alleged that these conditions were caused by the defendant’s negligence, and that the defendant was responsible for causing her father’s death.  After the lower court granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, the plaintiff filed an appeal.

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Bringing a Maryland negligence claim after an injury may involve specific legal procedures.  A Maryland accident lawyer can guide you through the proceedings and ensure that the correct steps are taken.  In a September 16, 2019 case, the plaintiff attempted to file a claim against the City for injuries suffered as the result of a collapsed temporary water meter.  The issue for the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland was whether proper notice was given to the defendants.

The plaintiff in the case was walking on the sidewalk when he reportedly stepped onto a temporary water meter cover.  The cover, made of wood, collapsed under the plaintiff, causing him to fall and injure his left leg.  In September of 2015, the plaintiff attempted to give notice of his injury to the City by letter, pursuant to the Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA).  The letter, however, was not sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, as required by the local rules.  The letter was ultimately delivered to an unknown address instead of to the City.

In February of 2018, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the City and mayor in the circuit court.  The defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff failed to provide timely notice as required under the LGTCA.  After a hearing on the issue, the circuit court granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.  The plaintiff appealed the issue, arguing that he had substantially complied with the notice requirements.

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Some personal injuries affecting a certain group of people are covered by state or federal legislation, such as those injured in the course of their employment.  If these injuries overlap with common law negligence, a Maryland personal injury attorney can assist you in pursuing the appropriate action in court.  In an August 28, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether a personal injury action was properly brought under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA).

The plaintiff in the case was a former railroad employee who filed a lawsuit against his employer, a transportation company, along with several other defendants, seeking damages under FELA.  The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos during his employment with the transportation company, and that the asbestos exposure caused him to develop malignant mesothelioma.  The defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s claim was barred because the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provided his exclusive remedy for employment-related claims.  After the lower court granted the motion and dismissed the claims, the plaintiff filed an appeal.

FELA provides a tort remedy for railroad employees who are injured in the course of their employment caused by the negligence of the employer.  The law was enacted in 1906, at a time when few states had workers’ compensation laws, and although FELA has characteristics of both workers’ compensation law and common law tort of negligence, it is neither.

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In general, a person may be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence.  Statutory immunity creates an exception to the general rule.  Immunity may be asserted to defend against a Maryland negligence claim, as in an August 29, 2019 case.  The plaintiff in the case alleged that the defendant, an organ procurement organization, negligently packaged, preserved, and transported a kidney intended for her, thus resulting in personal injuries to her.  The issue was whether the defendant was immune from suit under two Maryland statutes that provide immunity for certain acts related to organ donation.

The plaintiff was on the waitlist of a hospital for a kidney transplant.  Two of the defendant’s employees harvested, preserved, and packaged a kidney for donation, which was then transported by courier service to the plaintiff’s hospital.  The hospital informed the plaintiff that the kidney was available for transplant and prepared her for surgery.  Upon examination of the kidney, however, the hospital determined that it was discolored, appeared to have freezer burn, and was not suitable for transplant.  As a result, the hospital cancelled the plaintiff’s surgery.

The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant for negligently processing the kidney.  The lower court subsequently dismissed the case, finding that the defendant was immune from suit pursuant to Maryland law.  The matter was then appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

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