Over the last 18 years, the volume of personal injury wrongful death and medical malpractice cases Miller & Zois has handled in Washington County (Hagerstown) has increased dramatically. Why?
First, it is because our law firm has had a lot of success in Hagerstown. But our success is also a function of changing and growing Hagerstown. This town has transformed from a transportation industry town to a city with a diverse economy.
Washington County has grown in the last 10 years. But not as much as its neighbors. In fact, the number of personal injury car accident and medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Washington County has grown little. The 110 tort cases filed in Washington County Circuit Court in 2019 is about the same as it was in 2000.
But the county is more diverse and more cosmopolitan. This is important for accident and malpractice victims looking for a fair shake. This new economy has brought about a more cosmopolitan city that brings with it more open-minded juries.
Today, most Hagerstown juries are middle-class people who walk into the jury stand with open minds They view the world similarly to our middle-class clients. People in Washington County no longer assume that doctors and corporations are infallible. They relate well to our clients and their suffering from the tragedies they have endured.
The result is larger settlements and larger jury verdicts in Hagerstown personal injury and wrongful death cases. Our personal injury lawyers now see results in 2021 we would never have imagined when we started this law firm in 2002.
Demographics of Washington County
Hagerstown is the sixth largest incorporated city in Maryland and the “capital” of Washington County. It is the largest town in the western part of Maryland, with a population of almost 40,000.
The major hospital in Hagerstown is and Meritus Medical Center. Our medical malpractice lawyers have had a lot of cases involving this hospital. This hospital has a “C” grade that it has earned with medical care that is too often substandard.
Washington County Circuit Court Judges:
Washington County District Court Judges:
There is a vacancy from Judge Terry A. Myers retirement in 2021 that Governor Hogan is expect to fill this summer.
Washington County Verdicts and Settlements
Juries in Hagerstown have been traditionally viewed as conservative which means unfriendly to victims. It used to be — and is still true for some today — that car accident and medical malpractice lawyers would seek a trial by judge instead of a trial by jury. Plaintiffs have moved out of state to obtain federal jurisdiction instead of having their case heard in Washington County.
But times are changing, and Hagerstown has become more cosmopolitan, which has improved jury awards (according to the anecdotal evidence, anyway – we do not have data). A few years back, a Hagerstown jury awarded a $3 million verdict against State Farm in an uninsured motorist car accident case. This would have been unthinkable at one time. Our lawyers are also aware of at least one recent seven-figure settlement in Hagerstown.
Our malpractice attorneys have settled many medical malpractice lawsuits in Hagerstown where the doctors’ lawyer overplays the “tough jury pool” angle in settlement negotiations.
But the reality is that insurance companies and hospitals are beginning to learn that this is not your grandfather’s Hagerstown. Washington County juries are no longer giving wrongdoers a pass. But, still, if you are mediating a case in Hagerstown even in 2021, you can expect the defense lawyers in most to underscore that the verdicts in this county have traditionally been conservative.
Below are sample Washington County settlements and verdicts in medical malpractice and car accident personal injury lawsuits:
- 2019: $220,000 Settlement: A Miller & Zois client is driving west on W. Potomac Street in Williamsport when he is hit by a vehicle making an illegal U-turn. Our lawyers see this all of the time. When you are taking an illegal U-turn, you are stressed about getting caught so you are in a hurry and rush. He gets shoulder surgery for a rotator cuff injury and has a good recovery.
- 2017: $18,774 Verdict. A 50-something woman was rear-ended. She suffered neck and back pain. The woman’s left leg also developed deep vein thrombosis. She now experienced recurring pain and swelling. As a result, the woman could no longer walk long distances. The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed he tailgated her and failed to maintain a proper lookout. The defense disputed whether the collision caused her deep vein thrombosis. A Washington County jury ruled in the woman’s favor and awarded $18,774
- 2017: $18,774 Verdict. A woman is driving her vehicle when she comes to a stop while waiting to make a left turn. Defendant rear-ends her vehicle, totaling both cars. The woman suffers back and neck pain along with headaches after the accident, and later develops deep vein thrombosis. She claims that the defendant was negligent, and the defendant stipulated to liability but argued the causation of the woman’s deep vein thrombosis with the accident. A jury awarded the woman $11,274 to the woman and $7,500 to her husband for loss of consortium.
- 2016: $14,640 Verdict. A 42-year-old graduate student is driving her vehicle in Hagerstown. She slows down to allow an ambulance to pass through an intersection when defendant rear-ends her. She suffers neck and back injuries after the impact and files this suit against the defendant. The defendant admits liability but disputes the injuries. A jury awards her $14,640.
- 2013: Hospital Malpractice Settlement of $200,000. Man falls in his hospital room, striking his face/head on the floor. He suffers a brain hemorrhage requiring tube feeding. He also develops post-traumatic seizures, dysphagia, aspiratio
n pneumonia, followed by hypoxia and intractable seizures, eventually causing his death. Plaintiff’s wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the hospital’s failure to have adequate fall prevention measures in place before he fell. According to Plaintiff’s expert medical witness, the preventive fall measures should have included a one to one observer or some kind of physical restraint (a Posey bed or posey vest) to keep the man from getting out of bed and falling. The case settled before trial for $200,000. Our lawyers handled this claim.
- 2013: $2,301,250 Bench Verdict. A 48-year-old woman was rear-ended by a truck. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and whiplash. The woman developed chronic dizziness, headaches, vertigo, blurred vision, and anxiety. She experienced 700 vertigo episodes. Many of them caused her to suffer falls. The woman alleged that the truck driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed he excessively sped, drove inattentively, negligently tailgated her, and failed to prevent a collision. The woman also made a vicarious liability claim against the truck driver’s employer. The defense denied liability. They argued contributory negligence. The Washington County judge awarded $2,301,250.
- 2011: Car Accident Settlement of $325,000. Married couple is driving through Maryland on Route 70 near its intersection at Route 68 when she is hit by a young woman, pushing them off the road. Woman suffers serious, permanent injuries to her lower extremities. The man suffered less extensive injuries but suffered injuries to the discs in his neck and, perhaps more importantly, the pain and suffering of first thinking your wife is dead and then seeing her taken away in a helicopter without knowing what happened to her. To their credit, USAA took this into consideration when valuing the claim. The woman’s case settled for the insurance policy limits. Our law firm handled this case.
- 2011: Malpractice Verdict for $564,000. A woman filed suit against a Hagerstown plastic surgeon and Allegheny Plastic Surgery claiming a doctor negligently performed breast reconstructions and failed to obtain the requisite informed consenet from the patient. The jury awared $64,000 for economic loss and $500,000 in pain and suffering damages.
- 2008: Motorcyclist Verdict for $97,000. Plaintiff, a motorcyclist, claims the Defendant driver turned in front of him as the two were traveling in opposite directions. Plaintiff lays his bike down to avoid colliding with the Defendant driver and sustains injuries to his arm and elbow as a result. Defendant driver leaves the scene, but returns shortly after, and claims she merely witnessed the motorcyclist lose control of his bike and stopped to render assistance. The Defendant driver was insured by State Farm Insurance. A jury awarded the motorcyclist $97,000 for the injuries he sustained.
There are five Circuit Court judges in Hagerstown. Here are the judge and the year they joined the bench:
- Daniel P. Dwyer (administrative judge) (2009)
- Dana Moylan Wright (2012)
- Viki Pauler (2014)
- Mark Boyer (2016)
- Brett R. Wilson (2017)
- Andrew Wilkinson (2020)
Hagerstown Trial Lawyers
Our law firm handles serious personal injury car accident, medical malpractice, and product liability cases in Hagerstown, Maryland (Washington County).
If you have been injured in an accident, by a defective product, or by malpractice in the Hagerstown area, call our lawyers at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free initial consultation.