Geographically, Howard County is a very large county but has a small population relative to its size. It has a relatively small court system. To put its size in context, there are six times the number of Circuit Court judges in Baltimore City than there are in Howard County.
Most attorneys view Howard County as an average jurisdiction to try personal injury cases on behalf of injury victims. But opinions vary wildly on this county. But most believe that you should avoid this county at all costs and should even seek a trial by a judge instead of a jury if you have a claim pending in Ellicott City.
We have a little more moderate take. Our lawyers believe that this is a good jurisdiction if the plaintiff is severely hurt or it is a fatal accident claim. But let's be honest: we would always prefer to try a tort case in Prince George's County or Baltimore City.
Typically, and obviously, this is a broad brush rule with many exceptions, plaintiffs prefer jurors from Columbia as opposed to the western part of the county. But Howard County has changed a lot, and this preference for Columbia jurors is not what it was 20 years ago.
For personal injury attorneys handling smaller cases - we don't - district court judges in Ellicott City are known for giving fair compensation to accident victims.Judges in Howard County
While Columbia has the largest population in Howard County, both the District Court and the Circuit Court are in Ellicott City (both off Rogers Avenue). The Circuit Court Judges in Howard County are Diane O. Leasure, Lenore R. Gelfman, Louis A. Becker, III, Richard S. Bernhardt, and Timothy J. McCrone.
There are about 300 personal injury cases filed in Circuit Court. So there is some significant volume of cases. But it is still a very quaint, old courthouse that has a Mayberry feel to it. The District Court is in a more modern office building.
Howard County Circuit Court Judges:
- 2016: $68,849 Verdict. Plaintiff is stopped at a red traffic signal when a vehicle rear-ends his vehicle. He injures his neck, back, ribs and shoulder in the collision. The driver of the vehicle at fault tendered their $30,000 policy limits, and the plaintiff files a claim against his insurer, State Farm, to recover underinsured motorist benefits. A jury awarded the plaintiff $68,849 from State Farm, which is later reduced to $38,849.
- 2015, $350,000 Verdict. Plaintiff is driving his vehicle when he comes to a red traffic signal at an intersection. He stops his vehicle but the defendant, traveling behind him, fails to stop his vehicle and collides with the back of plaintiff’s vehicle. The man suffers cervical and lumbar spine injuries in the collision. He seeks to recover underinsured motorist benefits from his insurer, Erie, but Erie refuses to pay and disputes the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. A jury awarded the plaintiff $350,000, but the parties agreed to later reduce the award to $280,000.
- 2015: $32,389 Verdict. A 65-year-old man is stopped in his vehicle when the defendant fails to stop behind him. Both vehicles are totaled and the man suffers a right shoulder rotator cuff tear and injuries to his left wrist and his head. The man files this claim, arguing that the defendant was negligent and failed to keep a proper lookout. The defendant admitted liability but disputed the extent of the man’s injuries. A jury awarded the plaintiff $32,389.
- 2012: $220,000 Settlement. Plaintiff is driving down Route 95. She notices a car lost control a half mile ahead. Plaintiff pulls completely off the road on the left side to render assistance. She gets out of the car and is hit by another driver. Plaintiff has a concussion and requires a metal disc and pin in her arm. State Farm was the at-fault driver's insurer; Plaintiff had additional underinsured motorist insurance with USAA. Our law firm handled this accident claim.
- 2012: $19,241 Verdict. Plaintiff, a 27-year-old security guard, suffers a fractured nose that required surgery when defendant attempted to make a left turn from the right lane (they were both traveling in the same direction). State Farm defended the case on liability in what was essentially a he said/she said case.
- 2012: $106,226 Verdict. Defendant makes a left-hand turn in front of Plaintiff. Plaintiff suffers a herniated disc. The two insurance companies, State Farm and Allstate, claim her pain is from another accident. Allstate represented the driver; State Farm had the underinsured motorist claim. The verdict was reduced to $100,000 under a high-low agreement.
- 2011: $36,000 Verdict. Plaintiff is walking down the sidewalk in Columbia and tripped and fell over an exposed cable line from Comcast, which she claimed should have been located underground. Plaintiff sustains a fractured kneecap that will require a total knee replacement. Plaintiff has $3,900 in past medical expenses and approximately $37,000 in future medical expenses. This case underscores how tough Howard County juries can be; the jury barely awards Plaintiff's past and future medical bills in a case where Comcast reportedly did not seriously contest liability.
- 2010: $83,000 Settlement. A young woman is traveling on I-70 near the interchange with Route 29 and is struck from behind and forced into the car in front of her. She is taken by ambulance to Howard County General Hospital where her biggest complaint was severe pain in her thighs. Our law firm handled this claim.
We handle a substantial number of our serious personal injury cases in Howard County, including Columbia, Ellicott City, Clarksville, Clarksville, Laurel, Glenelg Jessup, and Sykesville, If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or by medical malpractice call us 800-553-8082 or select here for a free consultation.
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- Baltimore County
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- How to get a police report for accidents in Howard County
- Traffic collision claims in Columbia, Maryland
- How to value your car accident claim (average values in Maryland)
- Personal injury settlements (more on getting to the value of specific types of cases)
- Malpractice claims against Howard County General Hospital in Columbia
- Overview of accident claims
- Overview of medical accident claims
- Howard County Police Reports (now available online)
- Getting into Circuit Court in Howard County (what can you take with you to the courthouse?)
- Howard County Bar Association