Plaintiff’s Failure to Name Potential Defendant in Premises Liability Lawsuit May Result in Decreased Damages

Earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit dealing with the naming of government defendants in a personal injury case. The case is instructive for Maryland premises liability plaintiffs because similar requirements are in place here in Maryland that may prevent a plaintiff’s full recovery if she fails to name certain parties in her complaint.

The Facts of the Case

After a young girl died in an amusement park accident on a New Jersey boardwalk, her parents filed a premises liability lawsuit against several defendants, all of which were related to the amusement park operation. At the time of the accident, the plaintiffs’ daughter was on a school trip. The plaintiffs did not name their daughter’s school in the lawsuit.

In a pre-trial motion, the defendants collectively moved to add the daughter’s school, arguing that there was evidence suggesting the school officials were also negligent and partially responsible for the girl’s death. However, the defendants failed to provide timely notice of the pending lawsuit to the school.

In response to the defendants’ motion to join the school, the school argued that it was not properly joined because the pre-suit notice was not filed. The lower court rejected this argument, and the school appealed.

On appeal, the case was reversed, with the court holding that the defendants were required to provide a pre-suit notice to the school, even though the defendants were technically not the ones who filed the case. The court clarified that the defendants should still have an opportunity to present evidence suggesting the school was negligent. If the jury determines that the school was negligent, the court held that any award owed to the plaintiff by the defendants should be reduced by the school’s percentage of fault.

Analysis of the Court’s Opinion

While the case seems to read as though it was rejecting the defendant’s request to add additional defendants, in the end, the court’s opinion only hurts the plaintiffs, who may be looking at a reduced verdict. However, ultimately, it is the plaintiff’s job to thoroughly investigate their claim and name all potentially liable defendants at the outset. This case illustrates the importance of having a dedicated Maryland personal injury firm that is skilled at conducting pre-trial investigations.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Personal injury cases can be extremely complex and often require a thorough investigation, expert witnesses, and diligent preparation. The dedicated Maryland premises liability attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience helping accident victims seek compensation for their injuries. We offer a free consultation to accident victims so that we can assess whether we can be of assistance. Meeting with an attorney is risk-free, since there is no obligation to pursue your case, and if you do decide to retain our services, we will not charge you anything unless we can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to obtain. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff Unable to Establish That Pool Owner Was Negligent in Recent Premises Liability Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, September 15, 2017.

Plaintiff’s Failure to Comply with Pre-Lawsuit Notice Results in Dismissal of Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, September 1, 2017.

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