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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an interesting issue that frequently comes up in Maryland personal injury cases. The specific claim at issue was over the defendant’s access to the plaintiff’s private Facebook account.

LaptopThe court ultimately concluded that the defendant met the necessary showing that the requested evidence was material and would likely lead to the discovery of relevant evidence. Thus, the court compelled disclosure of some of the information, posts, and photographs in the plaintiff’s private Facebook account.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff suffered a serious brain injury while riding a horse that was owned by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the defendant. In her claim, the plaintiff noted that while she used to be very active on social media and enjoyed traveling, cooking, etc., she could no longer enjoy these activities because she had a difficult time composing messages that made sense. She also claimed that she had become reclusive, and, while she used to post on social media “a lot,” she rarely did so after the accident.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court handed down a decision in a personal injury case involving a plaintiff who was seriously injured after she was attacked by several dogs belonging to the defendant. The case required the court to determine whether the owner of the dogs could be held strictly liable for the injuries caused by the dogs. Additionally, the court had to determine if the plaintiff’s potential negligence in bringing about her own injuries should factor into the jury’s decision.

Dog FightThe case presents several interesting issues for Maryland dog bite victims because Maryland law applies a similar standard to that which is applied in the case. However, under Maryland’s contributory negligence law, a plaintiff who is found to be even the slightest bit at fault for her own injuries will be precluded from recovery. Thus, while the laws applied in the case are different in some ways from those in Maryland, the case is still illustrative of how a similar case could proceed in a Maryland courtroom.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, who was on a friend’s property hunting squirrels, was attacked by a pack of dogs belonging to the defendant. The plaintiff brought a personal injury lawsuit against the dogs’ owners, arguing that the owner of a dog is strictly liable for any injuries caused by the dog. Thus, under the plaintiff’s argument, there need not be a showing of negligence in order for a dog’s owner to be found liable; proof of ownership is sufficient to establish liability.

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Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a man who was injured while loading purchased rolls of insulation into his truck. The case required the court to determine whether the large, unstable stack of insulation that fell on top of the plaintiff was an “open and obvious” hazard. Ultimately, the court concluded that the hazard was open and obvious, and thus it determined that the business did not owe a duty to the plaintiff.

WarehouseThe case is important for Maryland accident victims to understand because it illustrates one of the avenues a defendant in a Maryland premises liability lawsuit may take in an attempt to evade legal responsibility.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his son purchased several large rolls of insulation from the defendant hardware store. Due to their size, the rolls were kept in a separate storage warehouse. The cashier told the plaintiff to drive to the warehouse, where he could find the rolls and load them into his car.

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In Maryland personal injury lawsuits, it is imperative that a plaintiff is not found to be even the slightest bit at fault in causing her injuries. This is because Maryland is one of the few states that applies the doctrine of contributory negligence when it comes to determining which plaintiffs are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries.

Hot Stone MassageUnder the doctrine of contributory negligence, a plaintiff is precluded from recovering for her injuries if the defendant can establish that the plaintiff shared some responsibility in bringing on her own injuries. This strict rule – disavowed in most states – can bar recovery for a plaintiff who is determined to be just 1% at fault.

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff’s negligence played a role in her injuries. However, the court ultimately concluded that the defendant’s position was unsupported by any admissible evidence, and it affirmed the judgment in the plaintiff’s favor.

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When a jury comes to a decision in a Maryland car accident lawsuit, that verdict is given great respect by the legal system. Except in the most unusual circumstances, a jury’s conclusion as to a party’s liability is insulated from judicial review. However, in some situations, a judge does retain power over the amount of a plaintiff’s jury verdict.

Wrecked CarMaryland Rule 2-535

Under Maryland Rule 2-535, when asked by a party in the lawsuit, a court can “exercise revisory power and control over the judgment.” Essentially, this means that a judge has the power to review a jury’s award amount for reasonableness. Thus, if the court finds that an award amount was too small or too large, it can revise the award. If, after the judge comes up with a revised award amount, the party that requested the revision is not satisfied, the judge will then grant a new trial. Importantly, once a judgment becomes final, which is 30 days after it is entered, a judgment can only be revised if it is a result of “fraud, mistake, or irregularity.”

A recent case from another jurisdiction discusses a similar rule and how it applied in a car accident case in which the jury failed to consider uncontroverted evidence.

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Maryland has a diverse and unique landscape, providing ample opportunity for Marylanders to get outside and engage in the hobbies they enjoy. Whether it’s crabbing on the Chesapeake, fossil hunting in Calvert Cliffs, mountain biking, rock climbing, or kayaking, there is always something to do in Maryland.

Mountain BikingEach of these activities, however, presents some level of risk that something goes wrong. And while the individual engaging in the activity certainly bears some responsibility to make sure that they are being safe, landowners that allow for people to use their land may also have a duty in certain situations, as Maryland premises liability law provides. Maryland’s recreational use statute governs when a landowner has a duty – and thus can be held liable for a violation of that duty – to those whom the landowner allows to use their land.

Maryland Code section 5-1104 explains that, in general, “an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge persons to use the property for any recreational or educational purpose or to cut firewood for personal use does not . . . extend any assurance that the premises are safe.” Nor does the landowner “assume responsibility for or incur liability as a result of any injury to the person.”

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a woman who suffered a brain aneurysm while in her room at the defendant hotel. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant hotel voluntarily assumed a duty of care to assist her but failed to provide the necessary level of assistance. The appellate court determined that the plaintiff did show sufficient evidence to raise an issue of fact that should be resolved by the jury.

Hotel RoomThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff planned to stay in the defendant hotel. Before she left, she informed her husband that she would be at the hotel and told him that she would call him when she arrived. The plaintiff arrived at the hotel and checked in to her room but never called her husband.

The plaintiff’s husband called the hotel, looking for his wife. He spoke to the front desk employee and asked if she could call the room to check on the plaintiff. The front desk employee called, but there was no answer. The front desk employee then asked a maintenance worker to conduct a wellness visit to the plaintiff’s room.

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When a manufacturer markets a product to the public, it is expected that the statements made by the manufacturer are at least based on truth. While it is true that the law does allow for manufacturers to exaggerate, or “puff,” some claims regarding a product’s effectiveness, when it comes to matters of safety, all statements made must be true. In fact, a manufacturer’s failure to adequately warn of safety risks may be the basis of a Maryland product liability lawsuit. This is because, under Maryland law, a defective or non-existent warning is considered a product defect.

VapingMaryland law subscribes to the “strict liability” method when determining liability under a failure-to-warn analysis. This means that, regardless of a company’s knowledge or negligence, the company can still be liable for injuries that were caused by the company’s failure to warn consumers of a product’s dangerousness.

Recent Study Suggest E-Cigarettes May Not Be a Safe Alternative to Smoking

As the dangers involved with smoking cigarettes have become more known and appreciated among all ages and demographics in the United States, more and more people are shifting to e-cigarettes because they have been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking. However, earlier this year, a team of researchers based out of New York University’s School of Medicine released a study uncovering some potential health risks of e-cigarette use – or “vaping.”

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When a Maryland nursing home resident is injured due to the alleged negligence of a nursing home employee, the injured resident and their family may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries sustained. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident that caused the injury, the victim may need to file the case as a Maryland medical malpractice case.

Hospital BedGenerally speaking, under Maryland’s Health Claims Act, claims based on a “medical injury” filed against a “health care provider” must comply with certain additional requirements to which other Maryland personal injury cases are not subject. Essentially, the question is whether the claim arose from the provision of health care or health care-related services. However, it is not necessarily clear whether a specific claim fits within this class of cases. A recent case illustrates one Maryland court’s attempt at resolving a dispute involving a nursing home resident’s fall.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a resident at the defendant nursing home. One day, while lying in bed, the plaintiff fell off the bed because the mattress was not secured to the bed frame. The plaintiff remained on the floor for approximately 45 minutes before a nursing home employee arrived to assist her.

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Earlier this month, a federal appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a personal injury case filed by a skier against the ski resort where she was injured while getting off the chairlift. The case is important for Maryland accident victims because it discusses the validity of an accident release waiver signed by the plaintiff, as well as the contractual language contained on the back of the lift ticket.

Snowy Ski LiftUltimately, the court concluded that both the accident release waiver as well as the contractual language on the back of the lift ticket were enforceable, and it precluded the plaintiff from pursuing her claim against the ski resort.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff arranged to take a ski lesson at the defendant ski resort. Prior to getting the lesson, the plaintiff signed an accident release waiver. The waiver stated that the skier understood and voluntarily accepted the inherent risks of skiing, and she agreed not to hold the resort liable for any injuries she sustained, even those injuries caused by the negligence of the resort or its employees.

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