Many have discovered that Carroll County is a great and relatively economical place to live and raise children, while convenient for shopping and the employment hubs in Baltimore, Frederick, and Columbia. As a result, while not everyone is excited about it, everything is on the rise in Carroll County - population, per capita income property values (although not in the last few years), and the like.
These changes have made Carroll County more diverse. This is a community that is somewhere in between its rural roots and suburban future, featuring a charming but delicate balance between rural landscape and large subdivisions. This "urban" infusion has led to juries that are more receptive to personal injury claims.Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits in Carroll County
Indeed, in spite of the changes, Carroll County is still a relatively rural county. This has a meaningful impact on jury verdicts because, particularly in Maryland, the size of jury verdicts are often directly correlated with the extent to which the venue is cosmopolitan.
But the county is changing, and our law firm is more eager to try cases in Carroll County than we ever were five years ago. So although Carroll County has historically been a challenging jurisdiction for lawyers trying personal injury cases, the conventional wisdom of yesterday about whether you can expect a fair verdict in Carroll County is evolving.
At the risk of overgeneralization, this is where we think we are with Carroll County juries in 2015:
- Jurors are going to be tight-fisted in relatively minor injury cases. If you have an injury that is not strong objectively - compelling medical and radiological evidence - you better have a plaintiff of amazing character and credibility if you expect a quality verdict.
- Jurors are going to be far more reasonable in serious injury car accident cases where you have a serious life altering injury and a credible plaintiff. Yes, you might get a higher verdict in Baltimore City or Prince George's County with the same case. But the difference is shrinking.
- Jurors are going to give the doctor the benefit of the doubt in a medical malpractice case, particularly a local physician. A tie is going to go to the doctor or hospital. But, if you have a solid claim on negligence, expect that a Carroll County jury will treat the plaintiff very reasonably.
The courthouses in Carroll County are in Westminster. The Circuit Court has three judges: Michael M. Galloway, J. Barry Hughes, and Thomas F. Stansfield. The District Court of Maryland for Carroll County has two judges: JoAnn M. Ellinghaus-Jones and Marc. G. Rasinsky. You can reach the Circuit Court at (410) 778-7460. The District Court's phone number is (410) 260-1235. The address for the Circuit Court is:
Sample Carroll County Settlements and Verdicts
Carroll County Circuit Court
55 N. Court Street
Westminster, Maryland 21157-5155
- 2016: $574,510 Verdict. A 75-year-old woman is admitted to Carroll Hospital with deep vein thrombosis and diabetes complications. After being discharged, she wakes up in the middle of the night and is transported to the hospital due to intense pain in her hip and groin. She is discharged to a nursing home with “musculoskeletal pain due to deep vein thrombosis.” The morning she is found in hemorrhagic shock and she dies six weeks later. Her Estate alleges that defendants were negligent in failing to diagnose and treat her hematoma, resulting in her death. After trial, the jury awards the Estate $547,510.
- 2016: $90,000 Verdict. A 40-year-old man is driving his vehicle when he is broadsided by another vehicle. He suffers cervical disc herniations in the crash. The man settles with the at-fault driver for their policy limits of $100,000, and then he files this claim against his insurance company, State Farm, to recover underinsured motorist benefits. State Farm argued that his damages were limited after he had back surgery. A jury awarded the man $90,000 from State Farm.
- 2016: $17,808 Verdict. Plaintiff is driving his vehicle along the roadway when defendant turns out of a parking lot and collides with the front of his car. The man suffers injuries to his head, neck, ribs, and back due to the collision, and files this claim against defendant. He alleges that the defendant was negligent and failed to yield the right of way, resulting in his injuries. The defendant claimed contributory negligence, but a jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him $17,808.
- 2014, Maryland : $153,075 Verdict. An elderly couple files a medical malpractice suit in the Circuit Court for Carroll County against the 94-year-old man’s dermatologist. He seeks economic and non-economic damages, she seeks loss of consortium. Plaintiff presents to his dermatologist repeatedly over a three year period, with concerns of a lesion on his nose. The doctor freezes the lesion during eight of the visits; however, it does not clear up. It is eventually necessary to remove a portion of his nose, this after he is diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Plaintiff contends that had proper testing been done, the cancer diagnosis would have been made earlier. Defendants disagree claiming that nothing that the physician did or did not do caused any injury to the Plaintiff. The Carroll County jury, four males and two females, award a combined total of $153,075 to the man and his wife.
- 2014: $2,134,339 Plaintiff presented to Carroll Hospital Center for the repair of a paraesophageal hernia. Following the surgery, the hernia recurred, requiring a revision 12 days later. At that time, defendant surgeon used a synthetic mesh to close the hole. Plaintiff shortly returned again, and was diagnosed with an esophageal leak. More than nine corrective surgeries later, Plaintiff continued to have problems, including having to be fed through a feeding tube at one point. Plaintiff and her husband filed suit against defendant doctor and defendant doctor’s practice alleging the surgeon was negligent in the use of the mesh used to repair the hole in her diaphragm around her esophagus. She further alleged that she was not properly advised of the surgical measures being taken and the associated risks. Defendant claimed that the protocols and procedures followed were within the accepted standards of medical practice. (Note: we have placed this under Carroll County. That is a little misleading. This case was tried in Baltimore City. How does that happen? There was some connection between the plaintiff or the defendants that made venue in Baltimore appropriate. Again, Westminster is not an awful place for a personal injury case. But Baltimore is clearly a better jurisdiction for victims and the plaintiffs' lawyer in this case smartly filed the case in Baltimore.)
- 2012: Truck Accident Settlement of $170,000. Plaintiff is traveling on Route 97. The stop light was out due to inclement weather. Both the Plaintiff and an 18 wheel truck go through the intersection, and the truck broadsides the Plaintiff's car. Plaintiff suffers a fractured femur and fractured knee. Both healed well. Defendant claims both parties were equally responsible under Maryland law. The case settled out-of-court. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2011: Car Crash Verdict for $2,671. Plaintiff and Defendant are driving in opposite directions when Defendant falls asleep at the wheel, crosses the center line, and sideswipes Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff, who has a history of prior accidents and injuries, claims the crash caused new neck and back injuries that resulted in pain independent of her prior conditions. Defendant argues Plaintiff’s complaints of pain were preexisting and, at trial, shows Plaintiff had been prescribed strong medication for pain just two weeks before the crash. A jury returned a $2,671 verdict for the Plaintiff. State Farm carried the UIM policy in this case.
- 2011: Car Crash Verdict for $11,802,225. Plaintiff works for a landscaping company and his driving his company vehicle when he is rear-ended while stopped at a red light on Route 140. Plaintiff suffers minor property damage but alleges that at the time of the crash, he was suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a complex regional pain disorder. Plaintiff alleges that the soft-tissue injuries sustained the crash so exacerbates his nerve condition that he is unable to work, enjoy his hobbies such as hunting and fishing, or even walk. Defendant argues that the minor impact of the crash could not have caused the Plaintiff's symptoms (Defendant driver was insured by State Farm). The jury found for the Plaintiff for $11,802,225 which included future lost wages and future medical bills, and the award was reduced to $4,382,224 pursuant to Maryland's cap on noneconomic damages. Still, a stunning verdict in any jurisdiction.
- 2009: Car Crash Verdict for $5,000. Plaintiff is driving and comes to a stop at a T-intersection. The Defendant driver, insured by State Farm, is traveling down the road perpendicular to the Plaintiff and then turns left in front of another driver which results in a collision with the Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges to have sustained soft-tissue injuries to her thoracic and lumbar spine. Defendant admits liability for the crash but argues Plaintiff's preexisting degenerative spinal condition played a part in Plaintiff's treatment. A jury awards the Plaintiff $5,000 for her injuries.
- 2009: Car Crash Verdict for $50,000. Plaintiff is traveling as a passenger in a pickup truck and claims to have suffered a low back injury and facial scar as a result of a rear-end collision with the Defendant driver. Plaintiff claims the pain from his low back injury will prevent him from returning to his job as a heavy equipment operator and that the injury will require future surgery. Defendant driver, insured by State Farm, admits liability but argues Plaintiff's complaints of pain are due to his job, as there was a significant gap in between the crash and the date when Plaintiff sought treatment. A jury awards the Plaintiff $50,000.
- 2008: Car Crash Verdict for $23,700. Plaintiff is rear-ended on Maryland Route 140 as he is turning into a gas station and alleges Defendant driver negligently caused the collision. Plaintiff claims to have suffered soft-tissue injuries to his neck and claims the collision directly aggravated his degenerative disc disease that required extensive chiropractic treatment. Defendant driver, insured by State Farm, argues the extent and severity of Plaintiff's injuries, but the jury ultimately sides with the Plaintiff and awards $23,700.
- 2007: Car Crash Verdict for $200,000. Plaintiff is a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a collision with two other vehicles on Route 32 near Sykesville. Plaintiff alleges all three defendants, the driver of the vehicle she was a passenger in as well as the other two vehicles involved in the collision, are negligent. Plaintiff also claims she suffered a fractured arm in the crash which resulted in a permanent range of motion limitation. One Defendant admits liability, but claims the other two defendants are liable as well. A jury sides with the Plaintiff for $200,000 and holds the Defendant that admitted liability responsible.
Take these verdicts with more than a few doses of salt. You cannot predict the value of one case by looking at another case. No two set of facts are the same, even if they appear to be in the summary.
That said, you get an idea of how Carroll County juries view personal injury victims. If they are badly hurt, they will pay them what the case is worth. But these juries have little tolerance for soft tissue injury cases where they do not believe the victim was seriously hurt.
You also notice a reoccurring trend. State Farm is particularly wiling to try cases in Carroll County.Hiring a Lawyer for a Serious Personal Injury Case in Carroll County
Our firm handles serious - only serious injury claims - accident, malpractice and premises liability claims throughout Maryland. Our law firm is not located in Carroll County, but we have a lot of experience handling serious injury claims in this jurisdiction. You want to get the best lawyer you can who will fight to maximize the value of your claim, not the closest. When needed, we meet with many of our clients in the offices of law firms that work with us in Westminster.
If you have a claim in Carroll County - including Westminster, Finksburg, Sykesville, New Windsor, Taneytown, Mount Airy, and Eldersburg - call us today at 800-553-8082. You can also get a nearly instant free case evaluation on-line. Contact us today and let's start finding out if you have a case that we think we can help you get the compensation you deserve.More on Carroll CountyA Look at the Counties Near and Surrounding Carroll County
- Anne Arundel County
- Baltimore County
- Baltimore City
- Cecil County
- Frederick County
- Montgomery County
- Howard County