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.

Behind the BarThe 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.

Logging TruckThus, 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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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether a government entity may be held liable for its failure to place road signs in advance of a dead-end road. Ultimately, the court concluded that both the defendant township and the defendant county were immune from liability. This case presents important issues for Maryland car accident victims who believe that their accident was caused at least in part by the dangerous condition of a Maryland highway.

Dead End SignThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving loved ones of two people who drowned after their vehicle ended up in a river at the end of a dead-end road. Evidently, there was a sign stating “Pavement Ends” approximately 600 feet before the river bank, but there was no sign indicating that motorists should slow down, nor were there protective barriers along the river’s bank.

The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the township and the county where the accident occurred, claiming that the government agency’s failure to place the sign and barriers was negligent and contributed to the deaths of their loved ones.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presented an interesting issue relevant to many Maryland car accident cases. The case required the court to determine if a government official’s design of a highway was discretionary despite the fact that the official did not contemplate the design advocated by the plaintiff. Ultimately, the court concluded that the official’s design was an exercise of discretion and affirmed the lower court’s finding that the government was entitled to immunity.

Desert HighwayGovernment Immunity Generally

As a general rule, a government cannot be held liable for injuries caused by the negligence of its agencies or officials. However, under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, this immunity is waived in certain circumstances. One instance in which immunity is waived is when someone is injured due to the negligence of a government employee while carrying out a ministerial action, meaning an action that does not involve the exercise of discretion.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the vehicle in which he was riding as a passenger drifted off the road. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the government, arguing that the government was negligent for failing to place rumble strips along the shoulder of the road.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing when a plaintiff’s duty to preserve evidence arises. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s duty to preserve evidence arises at the same time a defendant’s duty does, which is when the plaintiff reasonably anticipates litigation will be forthcoming.

Tire TreadThe case presents an important issue for Maryland car accident victims in that it illustrates a plaintiff’s duty to preserve evidence, which, if not followed, can result in serious sanctions up to and including dismissal.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s husband was seriously injured when a tire on the vehicle he was driving blew out, sending the vehicle spinning out of control on the highway. Eventually, the vehicle came to a rest upside down, and the plaintiff’s husband was left unconscious as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the concept of foreseeability. Essentially, in order to establish that a defendant owed a plaintiff a duty of care in a Maryland car accident case, the plaintiff must be able to establish that their injury was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct.

Food TruckIn this case, the court concluded that the unusual and aggressive behavior of a third party was not foreseeable to the defendant, and thus it dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting a food truck that leased space in a parking lot that was owned by the defendant. When the plaintiff pulled into the parking lot, he noticed that the lot was entirely full of cars parked in varying directions. He opted to back out of the lot and find parking elsewhere for fear of not being able to find a spot or not being able to exit once they were finished eating.

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Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a car accident case involving a plaintiff who signed a waiver of liability in favor of the defendant insurance company. The case required the court to determine if the waiver was valid. Finding that there was some evidence suggesting that the plaintiff was subject to undue influence when asked to sign the release, the court permitted the plaintiff’s case to proceed toward trial for a jury to make the final determination.

ContractThe case presents an important issue for Maryland car accident victims who may have signed a release of liability that grossly favors the other side.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with another driver. The facts suggested that the other driver was at fault. The at-fault driver’s insurance company sent out an insurance adjuster to discuss the possibility of settling the plaintiff’s claim.

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After a jury returns a verdict in a Maryland car accident case, the losing party has the opportunity to file a number of post-trial motions. The most common post-trial motion is a motion for a new trial based on some perceived error that occurred during the proceeding. Generally speaking, a judge will not disturb a jury’s verdict absent extraordinary circumstances, but there are occasions on which a judge can override a jury’s findings and order a new trial.

Broken WindshieldA recent case illustrates a plaintiff’s unsuccessful attempt to obtain a new trial. The plaintiff was unsuccessful because the evidence at trial, which was contradictory, supported a finding in either party’s favor. That being the case, the court found that the jury was reasonable when it came to its ultimate conclusion.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant. Believing the defendant to be at fault, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the injuries she sustained in the accident.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raises an interesting issue that frequently comes up in Maryland car accident cases. The case required the court to determine if a jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant was proper, given that the defendant admitted to causing the accident and that the accident caused the plaintiff “some injury” but denied the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s claimed injuries.

Minor CollisionUltimately, the court concluded that the defendant’s “admission” was limited and that the issues of causation and damages were still at issue. Thus, the jury was acting within its discretion to find in favor of the defendant.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the defendant failed to yield while making a left turn. The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.

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In the moments after a Maryland car accident, emotions are running high, and adrenaline is pumping. For these reasons, a motorist’s statements in the immediate aftermath of an accident may not be accurate or complete. However, as a recent case illustrates, statements made at any time after an accident may be used against the person making them, even if they later disavow the statement.

Wrecked CarThe Facts of the Case

In 2015, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident with a driver who was not insured. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, but since he did not have insurance, the plaintiff also named her father’s insurance company as a party to the lawsuit, relying on the policy’s uninsured motorist protection.

The insurance company sent a list of questions to the plaintiff, called an interrogatory. One of the questions contained in the interrogatory asked who lived with the plaintiff. The plaintiff responded that she lived with her three children. Later, in a deposition, the plaintiff stated that she lived across the street from her father.

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