Personal Injury Cases in

Baltimore County, Maryland

Baltimore County has historically been considered a below average jurisdiction for plaintiffs pursuing personal injury claims. Jurors in this county have given awards that are by some counts about 75% of what tort victims recover from juries throughout the rest of Maryland, and less than half of what the awards are in Baltimore City and Prince George's County.

Baltimore County Juries Are Kinder to Victims Than Many Believe

If you believe this hype, this county is a graveyard where injury suit go to die. The Baltimore Sun wrote an interesting piece a little while back titled "Baltimore County Juries Buck Trend of Big Awards." baltimore county courthouseThe byline to the article was, "Average for medical malpractice, personal injury payouts lower than state figure; 'You don't see runaway verdicts.'"

The premise of the article was that Baltimore County was the most difficult county to get fair compensation. We disagree. Victims absolutely can get a fair trial in Towson.

Our law firm, Miller & Zois, has had a different experience in this county. Our lawyers have had a number of outstanding results for clients seeking compensation in this jurisdiction. One verdict our lawyers obtained in Baltimore County received national exposure in Lawyers Weekly USA based largely on Baltimore County's known reputation for not giving plaintiffs in accident cases the benefit of the doubt (and there were some problematic facts in the case).

We also just got a real nice verdict in 2013 which you will see below and have settled a good number of Baltimore County cases in 2014. Our strategy has been to spurn conventional wisdom that you should pick the "dumbest" jury you can get in a Baltimore County case and pick a smart, balanced jury that has the fortitude to wait to hear all of the evidence before reaching a conclusion.

Moreover, if you buy into this "this is a terrible place for tort claims" nonsense, you become an patsy that is an easy mark for the insurance companies to dictate the terms of a settlement. You have to fight back and believe you can win.

How Baltimore County Circuit Court Works

In Baltimore County injury cases, the parties attend a settlement conference after the close of discovery. Settlement conferences are done at the courthouse in Towson and are typically conducted by retired judges. The judge acts as a mediator in an effort to resolve the case. These settlement conferences are often helpful in getting the parties to reach a resolution.

Until very recently, the trial date was set shortly after the lawsuit was filed. But in recent years, the court has struggled to get trials off as scheduled, creating scheduling problems in personal injury cases for the accident lawyers, the injured victims, and the experts scheduled to testify.

The new plan for less complex personal injury cases is that the trial date will not be set until after a settlement conference and the Court believes that all non-trial disposition possibilities - including mediation and arbitration - have been reasonably explored. In more complicated personal injury accident cases, called civil extended standard cases, the practice of scheduling the trial after the filing of the lawsuit will continue, and you will get a trial date when the original scheduling order is issued. (Click here for a sample Baltimore County Circuit Court scheduling order in a personal injury auto accident case).

This county also has changed how attorney motions are heard and handled in all cases, including accident cases. Previously, all attorney motions filed without a request for a hearing were referred to the daily chambers judge.

Attorney motions filed with a hearing request were scheduled on the monthly motions docket on the last Monday of every month, if the hearing was expected to take less than 15 minutes. If the motions hearing was expected to last longer than fifteen minutes, it was scheduled on the daily docket. Now, all dispositive motions - motions that will end all or part of the lawsuit - need to be scheduled (regardless of the length of time) either on the civil or domestic daily dockets. Accordingly, all attorney motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss are now set for a hearing approximately 30 days from the at-issue date. At the same time, these attorney motions will be pre-assigned to a judge by the Central Assignment Office. All non-dispositive motions filed in personal injury cases are referred by the Civil Assignment Office to the chambers judge. If the chambers judge believes a hearing on a motion is necessary, the Civil Assignment Office will schedule an attorney motions hearing within 14 days.

Sample Baltimore County Verdicts and Settlements

These are recent personal injury jury verdicts and settlements in Baltimore County. These suits were not chosen using any methodology. Some are Miller & Zois cases, others are cases handled by attorneys we know, and some were obtained from reported verdicts and out-of-court settlements. Do these verdicts help you better understand the value of your case? These verdicts might shed some light on the value of your Baltimore County claim. But keep in mind they also might mislead you because it is impossible to summarize all of the relevant facts of a case in a single paragraph. The failure or success of these cases might have hinged on a fact completely unrelated to the facts set out in these descriptions.

Better for Plaintiffs? Baltimore County or U.S. District Court

One issue that is frequently debated by plaintiffs' lawyers is whether a victim is better off filing suit in Baltimore County or filing in U.S. federal court in Baltimore. There is no "one size fits all" answer but It probably depends on the case.

The case can be made that a federal jury in Baltimore will give a higher damage award for the same case venued in Towson. But the federal judges are often more conservative and quickly to throw out a case on summary judgment before it even gets to the jury. So it really depends on how straightforward the case is on the defendant's negligence. If liability is clear, federal court might be the best place to be. Conversely, if you are introducing complex theories where the science or medicine of your case is novel, you are probably better off keeping he case in the county.

Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case

Our firm recovered over $15 million for our clients in settlements and verdicts this year. We have successfully handled scores of cases for clients in Baltimore County, including Timonium, Towson, Cockeysville, Catonsville, Arbutus, Perry Hall, Dundalk, Essex, and Owings Mills. If you need an advocate for your case, call 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation.

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