Montgomery County Personal Injury Claims
Montgomery County is usually viewed by most Maryland personal injury lawyers as a relatively conservative jurisdiction to try accident, malpractice or other tort cases.
By reputation, juries in Montgomery County are more skeptical of a victim's claim than they are in neighboring Prince George's County or Baltimore City. But Montgomery County is so diverse now. There are over a million people in the county. Incredibly, it is larger than six U.S. states. So more than most counties, you are going to get a lot of variation in who makes it into your jury pool. This random luck of the draw makes a big difference in results in close cases.
In cases where responsibility is not the issue but rather how much to award in damages, these juries are typically less conservative and generally give awards that approach, if not reach, other jurisdictions in Maryland.
Our firm has won millions of dollars for our clients in Montgomery County. A few of those cases are profiled below. Still, if we have a choice of jurisdictions because the law permits us to file the lawsuit in multiple venues as is often the case, Montgomery County is rarely going to be the choice.
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Montgomery County has a "fast track" for tort cases. Most car accident cases in Rockville with average damages go to the jury trial within six months the lawsuit was filed.
Medical malpractice cases take a bit long, typically a year. When a personal injury case is filed in Montgomery County, the court, in a smaller case, issues a scheduling order with a discovery cutoff in approximately 90 days and a pretrial conference following shortly after that. In a medium to large damages case, the court in Montgomery County orders a scheduling conference where the scheduling order is given, which typically ends the discovery within six months and sets a pretrial conference date.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is generally ordered often in these cases at the pretrial conference of a personal injury case. The ADR is usually in the form of mediation before a randomly selected attorney in the community who is on the court's list of approved mediators.
These attorneys who serve as mediators vary in quality. Some are great and some are not so good. You take what you can get.
The mediator must report back to the court with the results of the mediation and can order the parties to attend more than one session of mediation if the case does not reach a settlement. Unlike many other jurisdictions in Maryland, if the case does not settle at mediation, the trial almost always goes forward on the assigned trial date. This makes it easy to schedule expert and fact witnesses for trial. But you better have your ducks in a row.
In Montgomery County, the scheduling order also requires a "Meeting of Counsel" before the pretrial. This can be done by phone.
For smaller cases in Montgomery County in District Court, judges typically give accident victims compensation that is in line with the compensation given by judges in other jurisdictions in Maryland. (Note: our law firm only handles serious injury cases that find themselves in Circuit Court. So our experience in the last ten years is largely anecdotal.)
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judges:
- Robert A. Greenberg
- Anne K. Albright
- Bibi Berry (2020)
- Gary E. Blair
- James A. Bonifant
- David A. Boynton
- Sharon V. Burrell
- Cynthia Callahan
- Jeannie Eun Kyung Cho
- Jill R. Cummins
- Debra L. Dwyer
- Christopher C. Fogleman
- Kevin G. Hessler
- Richard E. Jordan
- David W. Lease
- John M. Maloney
- Michael McAuliffe (2020)
- Cheryl A. McCally
- Ronald B. Rubin
- Joan E. Ryon
- Steven G. Salant
- Margaret M. Schweitzer
- Karla N. Smith
- Harry C. Storm
Here are a few plaintiffs' verdicts in Montgomery County cases. About half of these are Miller & Zois cases, some are verdicts obtained by our friends and colleagues, and some are pulled from jury verdict reports.
We put these up to shed some light on the value of cases with similar fact patterns and give some idea of what you can expect, in relative terms, in this jurisdiction. That said, these results are not necessarily predictive of any case. Why? Because, trite as it may be, every case is different and the most important factor in the case might be one we did not include in this summary.
- 2019 - $2,000,000 Verdict (Surgical Malpractice): Plaintiff, a 64-year-old female with a history of back problems, had previously undergone spinal surgery for a herniated disc on her right side. That surgery was successful but a year later she was back with the same symptoms on her left side. The doctor advised her to undergo surgery on both sides. That surgery was performed but left the plaintiff with major complications on the right side of her back due to tear in tissue near her spinal cord. The plaintiff was left with partial paralysis on the right side of her body leaving her unable to walk, drive or work. The plaintiff sued alleging that the defendant should have never recommended the double-sided surgery because the procedure was risky and unnecessary given the scar tissue from the prior surgery on her left side. The defendant insisted that the double-sided procedure was appropriate based on MRI images and refused to settle. After an eight-day trial, a Montgomery County jury awarded the plaintiff $2 million in damages.
- 2019 - $17,890 Settlement (Car Accident): Plaintiff was riding on an MTA bus on University Blvd in Silver Spring. Just as he was exiting the bus it was rear-ended by defendant and plaintiff was knocked to the ground. Plaintiff was diagnosed with minor whiplash and post-concussion syndrome for which he underwent extensive chiropractic treatment. Liability was admitted but damages were in dispute. At the pre-trial settlement conference the parties agreed to settle for just under $18k.
- 2018 - $150,000 Verdict (Car Accident): 57-year old plaintiff was driving his pickup truck through the intersection of Barnesville Road and Peach Tree Road in Boyds when he was broadsided by defendant’s sedan. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a chest contusion, strains of his cervical and lumbar spine, and a torn labrum in his left shoulder (which allegedly resulted in permanent pain). His treatment included physical therapy and epidural pain injections. Liability was admitted and the case went to trial on causation and damages, with the defense claiming that plaintiff’s shoulder problem was degenerative. After a 2 day trial in Rockville the jury awarded $150,000 in damages for past pain and suffering.
- 2018 - $820,000 Verdict (Medical Malpractice - Cancer Misdiagnosis): Middle-aged female plaintiff sued a group of her doctors for medical malpractice alleging that they were negligent in failing to timely diagnose her colon cancer. Specifically, she claimed that the doctors failed to properly evaluate her symptoms and negligently failed to perform a colonoscopy which would have caught her cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
- 2016 - $375,000 Settlement (Car Accident): Our client, a sweet 37-year-old Filipino was crossing Georgia Avenue from west to east, at its T-intersection with Dexter Avenue in Silver Spring, MD, when she was struck by a vehicle traveling in the southbound lane of Georgia Avenue, operated by the Defendant. She was thrown onto the hood of the car, knocking her momentarily unconscious. She claimed injuries to her head and left leg. She crossed at an “unmarked crosswalk” when the Defendant struck her. The victim, who did not speak English well, was dressed in black and did not remember the crash. The case settled at mediation for $375,000. Miller & Zois handled this case.
2015 - $3,587,687 Verdict (Medical Malpractice): After being involved in an auto accident, a 64-year-old man is transported to Suburban Hospital. Two ER surgeons provide care to the man and notice that he previously required neck surgery. His initial examination reveals arm pain and right-hand weakness, leading doctors to diagnose him with a muscle strain. A CT scan is also ordered, which shows a fracture of the right pedicle and vertebrae. The man is discharged, but cannot ambulate on his own. In fact, his family has to call an ambulance to transport him back to the hospital. A subsequent MRI reveals that he suffered several disc injuries as a result of the initial accident, requiring emergency surgery. Unfortunately, the damage is already done, and the man suffers permanent paralysis of the lower extremities. The man then sues the hospital and the surgeons alleging that the doctors failed to adequately evaluate his condition and that they should have identified the disc injuries on his CT scan. Defendants argue that the injury would have happened regardless of their care received, which is always a weak position from which to defend a case.. After a 12-day trial, the jury deliberated for 4 hours and found the surgeon and hospital jointly liable for a $3,587,687 verdict.
- 2013 - $206,773 Verdict (Car Accident): A 31-year-old field engineer was driving southbound on the 495 Beltway during rush hour. While slowing for the traffic, he was rear-ended by an airport super shuttle. The force of the impact caused the man’s vehicle to become airborne, spin 180 degrees and be hit again by the shuttle. He was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation. He underwent unsuccessful physical therapy for four months and received epidural injections. Plaintiff sued the driver of the vehicle, who was uninsured, and Plaintiff’s uninsured motorist carrier, GEICO. Plaintiff alleged Defendant driver was traveling too fast for conditions and failed to keep a proper lookout. Plaintiff claimed Defendant driver did not break or make attempts to avoid the impact. Defendants claimed the shuttle was first struck by an unknown vehicle that pushed the shuttle into Plaintiff’s vehicle. Defendants also disputed the extent of Plaintiff’s injuries, claiming Plaintiff suffered from degenerative disc disease. The jury did not buy it. You can get more herniated disc injury verdicts here.
- 2012 - $2,884,500 Verdict (Wrongful Death / Truck Accident). A 41-year-old pipe layer/laborer is run over and killed when a dump truck backs down a hill in neutral, instead of in reverse, which would activate the backup warning sound. The decedent is dragged at least 40 feet. Defendant truck driver and truck owner are sued by decedent’s family. Defendants claim that the decedent was contributorily negligent in that he was standing in the wrong place at the construction site and that the driver would have no reasonable expectation that decedent would be in that location. Plaintiffs are awarded $725,000 (capped) for the estate; $1,087,500 for wrongful death; $750,000 in economic losses; and $322,000 for loss of household services.
- 2012 - $194,568 Verdict (Car Accident). Plaintiffs, husband (driver) and wife (passenger), are rear-ended by a company truck while stopped for traffic. Husband suffers a cervical disc injury requiring an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6. Wife suffers from soft tissue cervical and lumbar injuries. Plaintiffs sue the Defendant driver and employer. Jury awards husband $89,483.87 for past medical expenses; $10,080 for past lost wages; and $75,000 for non-economic damages. Jury awards wife $20,000 for non-economic damages. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2012 - $235,000 Settlement (Car Accident): Plaintiff, a 50-year-old electrical contractor, is hit head-on by a driver who falls asleep and crosses the center line. Plaintiff suffers a torn meniscus requiring surgery to his knee. He also suffers a relatively minor head injury. Plaintiff also had post-surgical complications following the surgery, developing a blood clot. State Farm insured takes responsibility for the car wreck but argues, as State Farm always does, that the plaintiff was not as seriously injured as he claims. Plaintiff has $22,000 in medical bills and $30,000 in lost wages.
- 2011 - $2,500,000 Verdict (Medical Malpractice / Wrongful Death). Jury verdict for the children and wife of a man who died after his doctor failed to notice and treat the signs of hemorrhagic shock. Miller & Zois handled the case; you can read more about it here.
- 2011 - $375,000 Settlement (Car Accident): Plaintiff was driving down Ridge Road or near its intersection with Hawkes Road in Clarksburg. A commercial vehicle equipped with a crane rear-ended her. She suffered a fractured foot and also had some residual neurological problems from the accident. The insurance company, Westpoint Insurance, only wanted to pay $100,000 but the case settled in a mediation with a retired judge just before trial for $375,000. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2011 - $300,000 Settlement (Car Accident / Wrongful Death). A man with a great family was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended. He was flown by helicopter to Prince George's Hospital Center but was likely killed at the scene. The case settled for the policy limits after research revealed the at-fault driver had no personal assets that would warrant getting an excess verdict. Miller & Zois handled this case.
Our lawyers handle a substantial number of our personal injury cases in Montgomery County, including Silver Spring, Bethesda, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Olney, Wheaton, and Burtonsville.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed by the negligence of someone else, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.Other Montgomery County Information of Interest
- MedStar Montgomery County Medical Center
- Holy Cross malpractice claims
- Suburban malpractice claims
- A look at Althea Woodland Nursing Home
- Sample Montgomery County Scheduling Order (accident case)
- Sample Montgomery County Scheduling Order (wrongful death malpractice)
- Personal injury claims in Washington, D.C.