Plaintiff’s Failure to Comply with Pre-Lawsuit Notice Results in Dismissal of Case

Maryland state and local governments face a significant number of Maryland accident lawsuits each year. In many cases, the government named as a defendant may concede liability and offer a settlement agreement to an accident victim in return for the victim agreeing not to pursue the case in court. However, before a government entity can make the determination of whether the accident victim’s case is meritorious, the government entity must first learn about the plaintiff’s injury.

Manhole CoverTo help expedite the process, anyone considering filing a personal injury case against a Maryland government entity must first file notice to that entity, providing certain information, including the nature of their injury, where it occurred, and what the accident victim is asking to receive. An accident victim who fails to file this pre-lawsuit notice, or files a notice that does not comply with the requirements, risks the early dismissal of their case. This is what happened in a recent premises liability case out of Georgia.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when he stepped in a manhole that was not covered. The plaintiff initially reported the open manhole to the police department and provided the address of 425 Chappell Road, which was at the intersection of Chappell Road and Mayson Turner Road.

Later, the plaintiff filed a pre-lawsuit notice on the city where the incident occurred. In the pre-lawsuit notice, the plaintiff listed the address as 239 Chappell Road. No information was provided about the nearest intersection.

Once the city received the plaintiff’s notice, it began an investigation of the area around 239 Chappell Road. However, since this was not where the accident actually occurred, the city was unable to find an open manhole. In fact, there was not even a manhole in the area of 239 Chappell Road.

After the pre-lawsuit notice was filed, the plaintiff filed the premises liability lawsuit, naming the city as the sole defendant. During the course of the litigation, the plaintiff referred to the address of 425 Chappell Road when discussing where the incident occurred. As it turned out, the actual address where the incident occurred was 380 Chappell Road.

The city moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff’s pre-lawsuit notice was insufficient to put it on notice about where the incident actually occurred. The court agreed and dismissed the case. The court explained that the purpose of the pre-lawsuit notice is to provide enough information to the government defendant so that it can conduct a thorough pre-trial investigation. Here, the court held, the plaintiff’s notice was defective in that it provided incorrect information, preventing the city from conducting a relevant investigation.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If your injury occurred on government land, there are likely additional hurdles that you must overcome. However, even if your injury occurred on the land of a business or private citizen, there still can be complications leading to delays or even the premature dismissal of your case. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland premises liability law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience preparing and litigating all kinds of Maryland personal injury cases, including premises liability cases. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Personal Injury Cases Based on Maryland Sports Injuries, Maryland Accident Law Blog, August 1, 2017.

Appellate Court Determines Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case Should Have Been Presented to the Jury, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 10, 2017.

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