Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an important issue that potential Maryland product liability plaintiffs should understand. The plaintiff in the case was seriously injured when the rear glass door of a truck bed cover fell onto his head unexpectedly. The court had to determine if the manufacturer of the truck bed cover could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Shattered GlassThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff worked for a fire department, which owned a pick-up truck. The fire department purchased a truck bed cover for one of the department’s vehicles, which consisted of a hard-top cover for the bed and a glass rear door to access the bed when the truck’s pick-up gate was open.

One day, the plaintiff went to retrieve some items from inside the bed of the truck. He lifted the glass door and leaned in. However, as he retrieved the items, the glass door fell onto his head, causing serious injuries.

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It may seem obvious, but a Maryland or Virginia car accident can cause serious, life-altering injuries to those involved. In most cases, the at-fault party will have liability insurance that will kick in to compensate the accident victims for the injuries they sustained in the accident. However, once the at-fault driver’s liability policy maximum is met, the accident victims will only be able to rely on whatever personal assets the at-fault party has. This may still leave accident victims without full compensation for serious injuries.

Legal News GavelEvery insurance policy that is issued in Maryland is required to provide un/underinsured motorist (UIM) protection to the insured. In the event of a serious Maryland car accident where the at-fault party’s liability coverage is insufficient to cover the costs of an accident victim’s injuries, the accident victim’s UIM policy will kick in, covering the remaining uncovered portion.

In Maryland, all motorists are required to obtain the following liability and UIM coverage amounts:

  • $30,000 to cover bodily injury to one person;
  • $60,000 to cover bodily injury to two people; and
  • $15,000 to cover damage to property.

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Despite the recent push by the federal and state governments, fatigued driving remains a leading cause of Maryland car accidents. The dangers of drowsy driving are undisputed, even when a driver remains awake. Drivers who do not obtain enough sleep, or are otherwise drowsy, suffer from decreased attention span, increased reaction time, and compromised judgment. Of course, there is also the chance that a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, losing all control of the vehicle.

Legal News GavelIt is estimated that 21% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve a fatigued driver. Most often, a driver experienced fatigue due to a lack of sleep. However, intoxication, medication, and various medical conditions can also cause sleepiness. In almost all cases, a driver should be able to notice the effects of drowsiness setting in and should pull off the road when it is no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle.

When a drowsy driver causes a Maryland car accident, anyone injured as a result of the accident may be entitled to compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. This includes passengers of the car being driven by the at-fault driver. However, establishing liability for a drowsy driving accident may not always be straightforward. Anyone considering filing a Maryland personal injury lawsuit should consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit brought against an insurance company by the insured. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s eight-month delay in reporting the accident to her insurance company excused the insurance company from covering the accident under a clause that the insured must “immediately” notify the insurance company after an accident. Sometimes these issues arise in Maryland car accident cases as well.

Legal News GavelUltimately, the court concluded that, as a matter of law, the plaintiff failed to immediately notify the insurance company. However, since her failure to provide notice may have been excused, the court determined that the case should proceed toward trial for a jury to make that determination.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver. The car the plaintiff was driving at the time was owned by her ex-husband, who had a policy with the defendant insurance company.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a used car that was allegedly sold without a muffler, which, according to the plaintiffs, caused their carbon monoxide poisoning. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defense, and thus, the lower court was wrong to have granted the motion.

Legal News GavelThis case presents an important issue for those who have been injured in a Maryland car accident and believe the accident was caused in part by a missing or defective vehicle component.

The Facts of the Case

A couple bought a used car from the defendant dealership. The car, which had been received by the defendant dealership as a trade-in, had 180,000 miles on it and had a number of mechanical problems. However, the salesperson for the defendant did not note that the car was missing a muffler.

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Earlier this month, a Maryland car accident involving three vehicles claimed the life of one woman and injured several others. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the evening hours on Route 238 and Asbury Road, in Denton.

Legal News GavelEvidently, a Jeep Grand Cherokee was traveling eastbound when it inexplicably crossed over the center line and into oncoming traffic. As the Jeep entered oncoming traffic, it struck a Toyota head-on. The Jeep then rolled over and struck a nearby GMC truck, which was also traveling westbound.

Several injuries were reported among the passengers in the Jeep. The driver and one of the passengers in the Toyota were taken to the hospital as well. However, one of the passengers in the Toyota sustained fatal injuries.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating why it is so important for Maryland car accident victims to always remain on the right side of the line between being a zealous advocate and misleading the court. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss when a trial court is proper in dismissing a plaintiff’s case for providing misleading answers during the discovery process. Ultimately, the court found that the plaintiff’s answers were intended to “subvert the judicial” process, and therefore, it affirmed the dismissal of his case.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained injuries to his back, neck, and shoulder. He subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for his injuries.

During pre-trial discovery, the plaintiff was presented with a list of questions to answer. Several of the questions asked whether the plaintiff had sustained injuries to his head, neck, or shoulder in the past. The plaintiff indicated that he had not. However, when the defendant asked the plaintiff to sign a medical release waiver, he refused.

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In a recent appellate decision, a Maryland court held that a plaintiff-passenger who is injured in an accident cannot be precluded from recovering compensation for her injuries based on the fact that the driver she allowed to drive her car was negligent. In so holding, the court explained that it did not make sense to apply the doctrine of imputed negligence in a situation such as the one presented in the case.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident while a passenger in her own car. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff’s husband had parked the car near the entrance to a restaurant and had run in to pick up the couple’s take-out order. As the plaintiff was waiting in the car, the defendant backed up into the plaintiff’s vehicle as she was sitting in the passenger seat.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that he was negligent in causing the accident. The defendant argued that the plaintiff should be precluded from recovering for her injuries because the negligence of her husband in improperly parking the car should be imputed to the plaintiff, as the owner of the vehicle.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case involving a plaintiff’s attempt to hold a bar responsible for the actions of a drunk driver under the theory that the bar was negligent in serving the at-fault driver to the point of intoxication. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of the establishment’s negligence for a jury to hear the case.

Legal News GavelThe case presents an interesting and developing issue under Maryland personal injury law in that, prior to 2016, third parties could not be held liable for serving alcohol to someone who later went on to cause a car accident. However, in a landmark case, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that an accident victim can hold those responsible who served a minor alcohol if it contributed to a subsequent drunk driving accident.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was rear-ended while driving with her two children. The driver who rear-ended her was determined to be under the influence of alcohol. That driver was cited for driving under the influence. As it turns out, the driver was returning from a work event at a local bar. After the accident, the woman reported feeling “buzzed” to police. The officer noted that the woman had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech.

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While car insurance is supposed to assist Maryland car accident victims in getting back on their feet after an accident, the unfortunate reality is that insurance companies are often looking for ways to get out of paying up. However, an insurance policy is a legally binding contract, whereby the insurance company agrees to pay for an accident victim’s costs related to covered claims.

Legal News GavelThus, when an insurance company refuses to pay out on a claim, or it only offers a low-ball settlement offer that does not cover an accident victim’s costs, the accident victim has the right to ask a court to compel the insurance company to pay. When courts are confronted with these cases, they usually start by reading the policy language and determining if the claim was covered.

A recent case illustrates the difficulties one accident victim had when filing an uninsured motorist claim based on injuries that occurred while operating a vehicle that was furnished for his everyday use.

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