Many Maryland accident victims do not have direct evidence of a defendant’s negligence. That is, the plaintiff does not have direct proof of the cause of the accident. In these cases, accident victims must prove the case through circumstantial evidence of the defendant’s fault, relying on inferences of the defendant’s fault.

In a Maryland negligence claim, a plaintiff must generally show that the defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury, the defendant breached that duty, the plaintiff suffered an injury or loss, and the loss or injury was proximately caused by the defendant’s breach of its duty. Proof of causation may rest on direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, or a combination of the two. A negligence claim can rest solely on circumstantial evidence. However, the circumstantial evidence must create “a reasonable likelihood or probability rather than a possibility” that supports a “rational basis of causation” and cannot be based solely on speculation.

In a recent case before a state appeals court, the court considered whether there was sufficient evidence of causation in a case that rested on circumstantial evidence. In that case, the plaintiff went to a medical center to visit a patient. As she was walking to the patient’s room, the plaintiff slipped and fell in front of a utility-room door and fractured her kneecap. She alleged that the floor was wet and sued the Medical Center for negligence. The case went to trial, and a jury found in the plaintiff’s favor and awarded her more than a million dollars. The defendant appeal, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence of a wet floor or that the medical center knew of a wet substance on the floor.

Roundup weedkiller has been used for years as a pesticide. The pesticide, manufactured by Monsanto, uses the active ingredient glyphosate, which many claim causes cancer. In a recent decision that has implications for Maryland injury victims and Roundup users, a federal appeals court upheld a jury verdict finding that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s cancer.

The plaintiff in the case used Roundup for years on his land in California and alleged that his use of Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The trial was held in 2019 and the jury awarded the plaintiff over $5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The court subsequently reduced the punitive damages award to $20 million. Two similar cases were heard in 2018 and 2019 and the juries also found in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding them millions of dollars.

On appeal, Monsanto argued in part that it did not know and could not have known that glyphosate caused cancer in 2012 when the plaintiff stopped using Roundup. However, the appeals court found there was sufficient evidence supporting a link between glyphosate and cancer that it could have known the information in 2012. For example, in 1985, the EPA found glyphosate was a possible human carcinogen. Although it changed its designation to “non-carcinogenic” in 1991, there were various studies that linked glyphosate and cancer during the 1990s. Monsanto later hired a genotoxicologist who found evidence that glyphosate might be genotoxic and recommended that Monsanto conduct tests on Roundup’s genotoxicity. Other studies that linked glyphosate and cancer were also released by 2012. Thus, there was sufficient evidence that the link between glyphosate and cancer was “knowable” by 2012.

Health care facilities, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and outpatient treatment facilities owe a duty of care to their patients and visitors. The duty of care is a facet of the facility’s obligation to prevent hazards and unreasonable risk of harm to those on their property. Hospital injury cases tend to fall under Maryland medical malpractice or premises liability laws. In contrast, hospital visitor injury claims are a bit more convoluted but generally fall under premises liability theories of negligence.

Maryland premises liability claims may apply in cases when a person suffers injuries because of a dangerous condition at another’s public or private property. The law provides property owners and occupiers to keep their land or business reasonably safe for individuals they can reasonably expect will enter their property. Challenges often arise when the property owner asserts that they did not owe a duty to the injury victim, based on their visitor status.

There are four types of visitor classifications for Maryland premises liability purposes. These classifications include invitees, licensee by invitation, bare licensee, and trespassers. Invitees are usually business guests or customers. Property owners have the duty to keep the property safe by engaging in inspections, protecting the visitor from foreseeable dangers, and warning them of any potentially dangerous conditions. Licensee by invitation is social guests, such as a guest at a party. In these cases, even though they are invited, a property owner must only warn the licensee of dangerous conditions the owner knows about, but they don’t need to inspect the property. Bare licensees are those who enter another’s property with consent and knowledge, but for the visitor’s purpose or interest. This may include solicitors or possibly hospital visitors. In these cases, the property owner must refrain from purposefully injuring the bare licensee or creating new dangers without warning. Finally, trespassers are those that enter another’s a property without permission. In these cases, the owner must only refrain from intentionally hurting the individual.

When we buy products from the store, we expect them to be safe. Some products, however, are defective and can injure consumers. Sometimes, products are defectively designed. Other times, the design is safe, but a mistake was made during manufacturing that made the product dangerous. When these issues arise and injure people, those who are responsible can be held accountable.

In a recent state Supreme Court decision, the court considered a defective design products liability claim. An electric terminal manufacturer produced two functionally identical products for the same cost for over a decade, but the older of the two designs were more susceptible to failure. When a corporate affiliate of the manufacturer chose to use the older version when manufacturing new air conditioning products, a technician experienced severe burns when the product ignited and overheated. A jury concluded that the older design was unreasonably dangerous, and the failure of the manufacturer to warn of this hazard caused the technician’s injury. The manufacturer appealed.

On appeal, the state Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision and held that the jury’s finding of a design defect did not result in an improper verdict. To find that a defective design caused an individual’s injuries, a plaintiff must prove that (1) the product was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, (2) a safer alternative existed, and (3) the defect was the cause of the injury. Because the jury found that the product was unreasonably dangerous and caused the technician’s injuries and that the manufacturer failed to adequately provide warnings about potential hazards, the Supreme Court affirmed. In addition, since there was another product that was functionally identical but less susceptible to failure, all three factors were met.

In Maryland, the Court of Appeals recently granted certiorari to determine what a plaintiff must prove in a Maryland wrongful death case to recover economic damages. The case arose after the plaintiff’s daughter died after receiving medical treatment from the defendant. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $1,000,000, which included $500,000 in non-economic damages and $500,000 in economic damages. The Court of Special Appeals vacated the economic damages award, and the woman appealed.

Under Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act, a parent may recover economic damages for the loss of household services rendered by a deceased adult child. According to the appellate court, beneficiaries must meet a three-prong test to establish their right to economic damages arising from the loss of household services. Under the test, the beneficiary must:

  • Identify the market value of the domestic services,

As normalcy is on the horizon and the weather continues to change, it is understandable that parents and children are eager to visit the various amusement parks that Maryland offers. However, as enjoyable as these places are, they often pose significant dangers to visitors. Those who suffered injuries at a Maryland amusement park should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Amusement park injuries can stem from mechanical failures, improper inspection, passenger negligence, the inherent nature of an attraction, and freak accidents. These incidents can result in serious spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain aneurysms, broken bones, organ damage, drowning, and death. In some cases, especially those involving mechanical failure to improper inspection, recovery seems straightforward. However, Maryland amusement park injury lawsuits typically involve complex tort and contract laws that may pose significant challenges to injury victims.

The most significant hurdle that injury victims frequently encounter when trying to recover against a negligent amusement park company involves the victim’s ticket and admission agreement. Understandably, most people do not read the fine print on their tickets or admission documents. However, these documents can prevent injury victims from filing a personal injury claim or recovering damages. The most common tactic amusement parks use to avoid liability is by including mandatory arbitration agreements in their admission paperwork.

As the world opens back up again, many are considering taking road trips or traveling as the weather improves and things appear safer. With more people on the road, however, this can also mean an increased risk of a Maryland car accident. Sometimes, no matter how much caution we exercise while driving, accidents still happen because of external factors out of our control such as other drivers, weather conditions, or visibility.

According to a recent news report, a tragic Maryland crash left three individuals dead. Local authorities reported that a Ford van with seven people, including the driver, was driving back home to Maryland from Orlando where they had just wrapped up vacationing with family and friends. While traveling northbound, the driver of the van veered into the shoulder of the road, over-corrected, and then flipped the vehicle several times. The roof of the van tore open and ejected multiple passengers, including a three-year-old. She was airlifted to a local hospital and survived the crash but has broken arms and a fractured neck. Following the accident, two young children who were sisters and a family friend in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. According to officials investigating the crash, the stretch of road that the van was driving on is particularly dark because there are no lights that illuminate the road at night—so visibility was likely low when the crash took place.

Following a major car accident, you may feel at a loss as to what to do next. If you wish to recover from your injuries, however, time is of the essence and filing your claim as soon as possible is in your best interest.

Tragedy struck earlier this month in Bowie when two people were tragically killed in a Maryland car accident. According to a local news story covering the incident, the two-car crash occurred around 10:30 PM one night on U.S. Route 301. According to officials, a 2014 Honda CR-V, driven by a 70-year-old woman, was heading south on the route when it collided with a 2006 Toyota Scion, driven by a 68-year-old man, near Harbour Way. Tragically, the driver of the Toyota died on the scene. The driver of the Honda was transported to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, where she passed soon after. The accident is still under investigation, as its cause is currently unknown.

The victims’ communities are heartbroken at their passing. The 70-year-old woman, from Washington, D.C., was the president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, deeply committed to social justice and ensuring a quality education for all students. The 68-year-old man was a renowned local musician who also taught music classes and was beloved by his students. Both deaths had a huge impact on the communities, which are still grieving.

One of the things that makes this tragedy worse is the lack of answers—and closure—for the victims’ family and friends. Fatal Maryland car accidents are always upsetting, but they can be particularly difficult when the victim’s loved ones do not know what happened and what caused the accident. Was someone at fault? Was it caused by a negligent driving mistake or some other condition? A deer or debris in the road? A third vehicle that then drove away? The lack of clarity in the aftermath can make the normal grieving process all the more difficult, and Maryland families sometimes may have no clue how to proceed or move on with their lives.

When looking at the various forms of contraceptive care available, some women choose the Paragard intrauterine device (IUD), a copper device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to ten years. The makers of the IUD claim that it is safe and effective, and many women who have one inserted experience no complications. But dozens of lawsuits claim that there are problems with the device, particularly in regard to its removal. It is important for women to know that, if they are injured due to a defect in their Paragard IUD, they may be able to recover financially against the developer or manufacturer of the product in a Maryland product liability lawsuit.

Many lawsuits have already been filed, and in December of last year, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated them into the Northern District of Georgia. As of February of this year, over 120 lawsuits are pending. These lawsuits make clear that some women have experienced significant injuries from Paragard, specifically when they went to have it removed. Lawyers claim that Paragard’s design is defective and that the device has a tendency to break upon removal. As a result, pieces of the device can go missing inside the uterus, or get lodged into an organ. Some women have experienced allergic reactions to the pieces left in the body, inflammation in the area, or infections. Others have experienced perforation of organs, including the uterus and cervix, and a loss of fertility. Some women even require surgery to remove broken pieces.

All of these injuries are significant and a cause for concern. They also highlight the importance of personal injury and product liability lawsuits. When someone suffers these injuries, they may be totally unprepared, and unsure what to do. The injuries can take a major toll—physically and financially. One day, everything is fine and the next the patient may be saddled with huge medical bills, a need for future follow-up care, and confusion about what happened. There may also be significant pain and suffering. The difficulty of these situations is exactly why so many Maryland patients injured by medical devices decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. The designers and manufacturers of these devices can be held liable when they are defective and hurt someone. While it does not undo the damage that has been done, it does provide some remedy, usually monetary damages. These damages at least ensure the patient is not struggling financially while recovering physically.

Although harsh penalties exist for drunk drivers, drunk driving remains a problem throughout the country. According to Maryland’s most recent statistics, crashes involving the use of alcohol or drugs amount to nearly 7,000 per year. To minimize the risk of Maryland DUI crashes, the state has imposed criminal penalties and license sanctions for those convicted of an impaired driving offense. For a first offense DUI, drivers face up to a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, 12 points assessed on one’s driving record, and license revocation for up to six months. Since 2016, drivers are also required to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program following certain convictions.

Victims of a Maryland drunk driving crash may be able to recover financial compensation from a drunk driver. A victim in a DUI crash alleging that negligence must prove that the driver had a duty to the victim, the driver was negligent in acting or failing to act in some way, the driver’s actions caused the victim’s injuries, and the victim suffered damages. Evidence that a driver was arrested or convicted of a DUI offense is generally admissible in Maryland in a civil case against the driver. Victims may be able to recover financial compensation for property damages, medical bills, pain and suffering, wage losses, and other damages depending on the circumstances.

In a civil case, a victim must prove the case by the preponderance of the evidence standard. This is a lower standard than in a criminal case, and some evidence may be admissible in a civil case that is not admissible in a criminal case, which means that a civil case may still be viable even if a driver was not convicted of a DUI offense in a criminal court. Other parties may also be liable after a DUI crash, including a bar or other establishment that served the drunk driver, or another individual who allowed the driver to access the vehicle and drive drunk.

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