Today I had a trial in a car accident injury case in the District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County.
Most Maryland personal injury lawyers consider this to be a good venue for injury plaintiffs. My personal experience has shown that the Prince George’s County District Court bench does a good job of fairly evaluating these cases.
Today I was in a position most personal injury lawyers like to avoid. My client sustained a soft-tissue neck injury in an accident that only caused minimal damage to the cars involved. As expected, the defense attorney from Geico Insurance put into evidence photos of the cars to argue that the accident was so minor that it couldn’t cause injury, or that any injury caused must have been minor.
I have blogged before about the Court of Appeals of Maryland’s opinion in Mason v. Lynch that says it is not an abuse of discretion to admit property damage photos for this purpose. The opinion does not say, however, what weight the trial court should give such evidence.
Today I tried a new argument. I quoted from the dissent in Mason v. Lynch, which was written by Judge Raker and joined in by Chief Judge Bell. The dissent reviews all the scientific literature pertaining to the issue and concludes that “there is no correlation… between vehicular damage and personal injuries….”I argued that just because the evidence may be admitted, the trial court is not obligated to give that evidence the weight the defense suggests. The court would have the discretion to give that evidence very little weight because the overwhelming bulk of the scientific authority says the inference the defense wants is incorrect. I am hoping that this will at least get the trial court thinking if Judges Raker and Bell agree with my argument, there must be something to it. I know there are several trial court judges in Maryland that worked as law clerks for these two judges and probably think they are pretty smart.
I wish I could say this resulted in a great verdict, but the fact is I don’t know yet. The court held the case sub curia, and will announce its damages verdict Friday.
So stay tuned.