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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

The saying is “accidents happen.” They do. But sometimes people are seriously hurt because of a fall that is someone else’s responsibility.  When this happens, the result if often a personal injury claim.

Despite safety innovations and a growing awareness of liability among property owners, “slip and fall” injuries are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. There are many misconceptions about these kinds of injuries and their value in Maryland courts.  While they can result in lucrative verdicts or settlements, it’s important to know the facts.

Say you’re walking through a parking lot and an uneven sewer grate sends you flying face first to the asphalt. Or you’re shopping for groceries and a puddle of water from a leaking freezer makes you lose balance and shatter your hip.  What do you do?  Do you have any options to bring a claim against the wrongdoer who caused you to fall?   The post is intended to better help you understand the answers to these questions.

If you have suffered a serious ear injury as the result of the negligence of someone else, you want to know the potential settlement value of our case.  The purpose of this page is to improve your understanding of the range of potential value of your claim.  We also have information elsewhere on the settlement value of hearing loss cases.

The ear is a complicated instrument, responsible for a variety of different functions in the body. Injuries that affect the outer, middle, or inner ear could result in vastly different symptoms, such as hearing loss, dizziness, or increased sensitivity to sound. In cases that involve an ear injury, it’s important to get specific.

There is no one-size-fits-all estimation for the value of an ear injury claim, so we have to take the symptoms, type of injury, severity, available treatments, recovery potential, and mechanism of injury into consideration for each and every individual case. With that in mind, this article will explore the different types of ear injuries that could arise from an auto accident or another traumatic event, and provide examples of trial verdicts and settlements for cases involving ear injuries. In addition to the type and severity of the ear damage, these sample cases will give you a sense of how claim value can also vary based on jurisdiction, the severity of any additional injuries, and a multitude of other factors.

I just reached a settlement in a case that was set for trial next week. Obviously that is great news for my client, who now has some closure on a difficult period in his life.

But memorializing the agreement and having the clerk remove the case from the docket doesn’t mean the end of my job when it comes to settlement.

I had subpoenaed three witnesses to appear for trial: an independent “bystander” witness, a traffic engineer from the State Highway Administration, and a police officer. I made sure to contact each of these witnesses as soon as the case resolved to let them know they would not need to appear. They really appreciated that I let them know. The traffic engineer in particular made it a point to let me know how often attorneys subpoena witnesses from his office and then do not let them know when the case settles. Then they travel to court for nothing.

For many lawyers, iPads have become indispensable for a wide variety of my litigation tasks. There are some things that I will never do the “old fashioned way” again. So I thought I would share a few of the ways this new technology has made my life easier.

Motions hearings/Pre-trial conferences: I rarely take a paper file to simple motions hearings or Pre-trial conferences. I will usually bring a courtesy copy of the Pre-trial statement or the motion at issue for the Court, just in case it hasn’t made it into the file. Otherwise, the only paper I bring is a legal pad. For a motions hearing, I use Dropbox to send .pdf copies of the motions, responses and replies, the cited case law, and my argument outline directly to my iPad. I have everything I could need available to me in an instant, without fumbling through a file jacket or flipping through a long opinion to find a particular passage. This makes my argument quicker and more organized, and gives me an advantage when the Court has a question about something that I may not know off the top of my head- I can generally find whatever it is and be able to respond more quickly than if I were using a traditional file.

Depositions: I do these in a very similar fashion to a motions hearing. When I do my deposition prep, I load any pleadings, deposition transcripts, medical records or produced documents onto the iPad (again, using Dropbox). My deposition outline goes on there too. It’s really a great way to carry 1500 pages of Bates-stamped medical records without lugging a long a 20 pound trial case. The only other thing I take is a leather presentation folder with a legal pad in it. Also in the folder are pre-printed copies of any photos or documents that I plan to use as exhibits.

A few months ago, I tried a case in Montgomery County Circuit court and got a great verdict. Shortly afterward, I received the defendant’s motion for a new trial. I read the motion, and discussed it with a few of the other lawyers in my office. None of us thought it was a strong motion, and we all believed it was likely to be denied. Until I got a hearing notice in the mail.

Well, I live in Baltimore County, near Towson. I have to be in the car by 7:30 if I hope to be in Rockville by 9 a.m., and I need to make alternative arrangements to get my daughter to daycare since they don’t open early enough to drop her off and still get to Rockville in time.

So the day of the hearing arrives, I make my arrangements, leave early, and drive the 1.5 hours to Rockville. Shortly before 9 a.m., I am sitting in the lobby outside the courtroom when our judge’s law clerk come out and lets me know that our judge was out sick, and the hearing would need to be rescheduled. Bummer, but O.K., everybody gets sick. I have had hearings rescheduled before because I got sick. It’s part of life. So we reschedule the hearing for the following Monday and I drive an hour back to my office.

Here is another great real-life trial preparation tip that I have forgotten myself in the past:

Check the weather the day before!

I am finalizing my preparations for a trial tomorrow in a car accident case in Baltimore County Cicuit Court. According to weather.com, there is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow morning. So my trial prep now includes making sure I remember my galoshes, raincoat and umbrella. It is hard to make a good first impression on the jury when you look like you wore your suit in the shower. From a performance perspective, it’s nearly impossible to be at your best when you have wet, cold feet. I know I look like a dork in my galoshes. A warm, dry dork. So I don’t care.

One of the odd things about writing a blog is that unless a post happens to generate comments, you don’t really get a lot of feedback. That’s why it is nice to get some occasional recognition like being included in the LexisNexis Top 25 Top 25 Law Blogs. It is very gratifying to see that people are reading and enjoying the blog nationwide!

But it’s not over- voting is open for the #1 Tort Law Blog until December 10. Go over to this link, register and vote. Like just about every (good) trial lawyer I have ever met, I am incredibly competitive, so I want to win this competition! Go vote. Now!

This is all being done by the LexisNexis Litigation Resource Community. I am always in favor of any resource to help lawyers share and use cutting-edge information and trial techniques, and I am happy to be a part of what LexisNexis is doing here.

When a driver gets sued for injuring somebody in a car accident, they don’t have to go out and spend their own money hiring a lawyer to defend the case. They call up their car insurance company and tell it that they have been sued. They send in the papers and the insurance company provides them with a defense attorney.

Sometimes this is an “in-house” insurance defense lawyer, other times it is an outside lawyer selected and paid by the insurance company. Either way, the insurance company picks and pays for the driver’s defense attorney. So what you have is a three-sided (or “tripartite”) relationship- insurance company, defense attorney, and defendant driver.

Whether in-house or outside counsel, the defense lawyer has a paramount ethical duty to act in the best interest of his or her client- the defendant driver. This is true even though the insurance company selected the lawyer, is paying the lawyer’s fee, and controls most of the important decisions in the litigation, including whether to settle and on what terms.

This blog has been nominated for inclusion in the Lexis-Nexis Litigation Community’s Top 25 Tort Blogs for 2011!

It’s certainly gratifying to see that the blog’s reputation is continuing to grow nationwide. So if you like the blog, sign up and vote!

You can do that here.

It has been a very busy summer for me and there is no respite in sight. This is a good problem to have during a time when even large national law firms have been downsizing because of a lack of work.

I just finished a jury trial in Baltimore City against two defendants – the driver who struck my client and her uninsured motorist’s insurance carrier. This lady was hit by an uninsured driver. He was uninsured because he was an excluded driver on the insurance policy for the car he was using.

At first, it didn’t seem like a terrible accident. My client first noticed back and leg pain at the scene that got progressively worse. She was taken to the emergency room by ambulance, and during her follow-up treatment she was diagnosed with two herniated discs from the accident. She was evaluated by an orthopedist who said that the two herniated discs were caused by the accident, and that her problem would be permanent. Her medical bills weren’t extreme – approximately $8,000.

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