Personal injury suits are incredibly important for those who injured in a Maryland accident. The lawsuits can help to ensure that those hurt get compensated for their medical bills, future care needs, lost wages, and more. While many Maryland personal injury cases settle before trial, some will go to trial. However, a recent state appellate case illustrates that obtaining a favorable jury verdict may not be the end of the case—sometimes, a losing party can appeal and request a new trial if they believe there was a legal error in the trial.
According to the court’s written opinion, the case arose from a tragic accident in a daycare facility. In September of 2015, an unsecured television fell onto the victim—who was not yet two years old—while he was sleeping at the daycare facility. Part of his skull was crushed, and he was put on a ventilator for nine days. Years later, the victim continues to suffer from severe developmental issues. At five years old, he could not talk or control his bowel movements and frequently had mood swings, fits, and outbursts. It was believed that he would need 24-hour-care for the rest of his life. Because of the severe injuries, the victim’s parents filed suit against the daycare, alleging negligence in their care.
The parents won the case in the trial court, and were awarded $30.3 million in damages. However, the defendants appealed, asking for a new trial. Evidently, there had been an instance of jury misconduct during the original deliberations, and the defendants believed that it was significant enough to demand a new trial. According to the court, the misconduct occurred when one juror used his cellphone to google the meaning of a word that came up in conversation. The specific word was not disclosed in the record. The trial court investigated the incident, asking each juror what happened, if they were aware, and if it affected their decision in the case. By law, the jury is not allowed to search for or consider any additional information other than what was offered during the trial, so this incident could have resulted in a new trial.