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.

St. Patrick’s Day is known for being a big drinking holiday. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this will likely ring true this year as Maryland recently lifted indoor dining restrictions in the state. Though bars and restaurants in the state had previously been able to operate at 50 percent capacity, they were allowed to operate at full capacity just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, drunk driving crashes and pedestrian crashes are common on St. Patrick’s Day. For this reason, the Maryland Department of Transportation cautions residents to exercise safe driving practices by getting a ride home, and being extra vigilant on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid a Maryland car accident.

If someone decides to go out drinking, there are some precautions that can lessen the risk of a crash. First, designate a sober driver. If someone is going to drive, decide ahead of time who that person will be. Second, plan to eat throughout the evening. Eating throughout the night will create a buffer between the alcohol you are consuming and your stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol. Third, drink water. Drinking water throughout the night helps to reduce overall alcohol consumption and keeps you hydrated. Fourth, do not leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers. Fifth, have a backup plan. Use a rideshare app to get home, call or a taxi, or have a friend on call if things do not go as planned. Sixth, watch out for pedestrians. Alcohol consumption is involved in almost half of pedestrian crashes. Be vigilant if you are driving and if you are on foot. Seven, take care of your friends. Make sure that your friends have a safe and sober ride home, as well.

In the event of a Maryland car accident alleging negligence, an injured individual must prove that the defendant was negligent by acting or failing to act in some way. This means proving that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the individual, that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, that defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care caused the individual injuries, and that the individual suffered damages. In the case of gross negligence, a plaintiff must prove the elements of a negligence case, and must show that the defendant acted with a wanton or reckless disregard for others. In a drunk driving case, others may be responsible in addition to or in lieu of the driver, including a parent or another person who negligently entrusted the driver with a car, or a bar who served the driver alcohol when they were already visibly intoxicated.

If an individual is acting within the scope of their employment when they are injured in a Maryland car accident, they may receive workers’ compensation benefits for their injuries. Generally, if a worker receives workers’ compensation benefits by way of Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Act, they cannot seek damages through a civil lawsuit from their employer. That rule, known as the exclusivity rule, was put in place so that workers would receive benefits solely through workers’ compensation, allowing them to receive benefits quickly while limiting employers’ liability. However, injured accident victims can file a Maryland injury claim against a third party under Maryland law based on their negligent conduct.

Under Maryland law, a co-employee is generally considered a third party. In the event that an injured worker or an employer receives compensation through a third-party injury claim, the employer may be able to receive reimbursement for the workers’ compensation paid to the injured worker.

In a recent decision before one state’s supreme court, the court considered whether a passenger in a vehicle driven by a coworker and owned by another coworker could recover benefits under the owner’s insurance policy after a car accident. In that case, the plaintiff and two co-workers were returning from a work trip when the co-worker driving the car fell asleep at the wheel, causing the car to crash and causing the plaintiff significant injuries. The plaintiff recovered workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries as well as uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) benefits through his own auto insurance policy. He also sought benefits from the owner’s insurer, seeking, among other things, UM/UIM benefits.

Hundreds of crashes were reported in Maryland in the first major winter storm of the year in the state. The storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain to Maryland roads. According to a recent news report, there were 501 crashes, 233 disabled or unattended vehicles, and over 1,600 calls for service. A car turned over on Interstate 83 in one crash. Another crashed caused lanes to close on Interstate 70. Another crash left one man dead. According to law enforcement, the man was riding the back of a recycling truck when the driver lost control on an icy road, causing the truck to overturn and pinning the man under the truck. Officials said that most of the crashes were due to speed and explained that speed limits are set for ideal road conditions.

According to the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather can affect road safety by affecting pavement friction, traffic flow, driver capabilities, vehicle performance, crash risk, and agency productivity. Weather-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities account for 21 percent of vehicle crashes. Weather-related crashes kill more people each year than large-scale weather disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Drivers in the state of Maryland have a duty to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle, which means that they must drive carefully given the circumstances. This means that while driving the speed limit may be reasonable in perfect weather conditions, it likely is not reasonable in bad weather conditions, such as dense fog or on icy roads. Drivers must also exercise reasonable care whether they encounter emergency situations, such as another accident in the roadway, considering the time the drivers have to respond to the situation and evaluate the choices.

In a Maryland strict liability case, a plaintiff must show that there was a defect in the product that existed when the product left the defendant’s control, that the defect makes the product unreasonably dangerous, the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and that it was foreseeable that the product would be in such condition when it reached the consumer. A defect may include the failure to warn a consumer of the risks involved in using the product.

In considering a strict liability claim, a court will consider whether the plaintiff proved that the defendant’s conduct actually caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In cases where only one negligent act is at issue, Maryland courts consider whether but-for the defendant’s conduct, the injuries would not have occurred. In cases where two or more independent acts caused the plaintiff’s injury, Maryland courts consider whether it is more likely than not that the defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries. A defendant may also try to defend against a strict liability claim by attempting to shift the blame on the consumer. A defendant may be successful if can show that the consumer was negligent by voluntarily and unreasonably confronting a known danger.

In a recent product liability case before a federal appeals court, the court considered whether the plaintiff had sufficiently proven a strict liability claim. In that case, the plaintiff rented an electric drain rodder from the Home Depot to unclog a drain in his home. He was using the device at home and because the powered reverse did not work, he tried to remove the cable by hand. The cable wrapped around his arm and he was thrown to the ground. His hand was badly injured and most of his right index finger had to be amputated. The plaintiff sued the Home Depot and the product manufacturer for negligence, breach of warranty, and strict product liability.

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