We Are Still Working for You During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Miller & Zois is still open. We are still serving our clients every day and our phone lines are open 24/7 at (800) 553-8082. We are committed to helping see you through this. We are here for you and we are not going anywhere.
We realize that these are challenging times for everyone everywhere. We encourage everyone to practice social distancing and shelter in place. This is what is needed, especially until there is widespread testing of COVID-19. Resources and updates about the Coronavirus can be found at the following links:
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- What other Maryland law firms are doing in response to COVID-19
We are also doing everything we can to flatten the curve. This means protecting you and our team from the virus so we stay healthy and prevent further spreading the contagion.
The good news? We have invested in technology to prepare for this. Were we preparing for a pandemic? No. But we were preparing for needing to work remotely. Our systems were made to keep pushing the ball forward so this does not slow your case down or inhibit our ability to contact us.
The closure of our building should not discourage or prevent you from “meeting” with your attorney. We are able to coordinate remote meetings and teleconferencing calls. We can teleconference by Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom and Apple's FaceTime, as well as other teleconferencing platforms.
We are doing all we can to take care of our employees, their families and you, our clients.
Please be safe and healthy! We will get through this together!
Call us at (800) 553-8082 24/7, we are here to help you!
The coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic has caused sweeping shutdowns of businesses and government services in the United States. The courts in Maryland and across the country have effectively closed their doors and put thousands of pending cases on indefinite hold. This unprecedented shutdown of the courts has created a tidal wave of judicial uncertainty and unique questions.
As one of the leading personal injury litigation firms in Maryland, Miller & Zois has been carefully monitoring the evolving situation with the court system. We will continue to advance and protect the interests of our clients as things progress. In an effort to address some of the many questions and concerns of our clients (and other personal injury claimants), this page will explain the current status of the court system in Maryland and how it will impact personal injury cases.
All state courts in Maryland have been “closed to the public” since Monday, March 16, 2020 and they will remain closed to the public until further notice. This includes all levels of the Maryland state court system: District Courts; Circuit Courts; and both levels of appellate courts.
This does NOT mean that the courts in Maryland are completely shut down and not doing anything. The courthouses are still being staffed by “essential personnel” and the courts are continuing to hear certain types of emergency proceedings. Below is a list of the types of high-priority cases that are still being processed in Maryland courts:
- Bail Review Hearings
- Bench Warrants
- Criminal Arraignments
- Emergency Evaluation Petitions
- High-Risk Protective Orders
- Family Law Emergencies
Personal injury cases are not considered emergency or high-priority cases. This means that any hearings, trials or other court proceedings in personal injury cases are NOT being heard right now. Scheduled hearings or events in personal injury cases will not be heard while the courts remain closed to the public. Hearings or events in personal injury cases will be rescheduled when the courts reopen.
When the courts eventually reopen to the public, there will likely be system wide scheduling changes for everything on the calendar. So let’s say the courts reopen April 1st, if you have a jury trial or a hearing scheduled in April or Mary (after the reopen) it will probably get pushed back so that the courts can hear all the matters that got cancelled during the closure.Filings, Deadlines & Statutes of Limitations
Despite the closings, you can still file documents and pleadings in the Maryland courts. This applies not just to pending cases, but new cases can still be filed also. Documents can be filed electronically through the MDEC system or filed by mail. In-person filings are also still being accepted, although you will have to use the court’s overnight drop-box for this.
During the extended court closures, the official “filing date” date rules will be adjusted as follows:
- MAIL: the “filing date” will be the postmark date
- DROP BOX: the “filing date” will be the prior business day
Filing deadlines in all pending cases will continue to apply. Unless otherwise ordered in your specific case, you will still have to meet all deadlines for filing motions and other documents. Deadlines for filing have NOT been universally extended or postponed.
All statute of limitations deadlines for filing personal injury cases will also continue to apply during the court shutdown in Maryland. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, have globally extended statute of limitations deadlines, but Maryland has not. This means that if the statute of limitations in your personal injury cases is about to expire, you still have to get your case filed right now.Information & Updates from Maryland Judiciary
The Maryland Judiciary is continuing to adjust their closing policies and other procedures. Below are links to the Maryland Judiciary information pages that will give you the latest notices and policies:
- Coronavirus Court Closure Updates
- Individual Court Notices – by County
- Administrative Court Orders
- Judiciary News Releases
COVID-19 UPDATE: Revised Policy on Interim Orders
COVID-19 UPDATE: Court Closed Until May 1
COVID-19 UPDATE: Foreclosure and eviction cases will not move through the courts amid COVID-19
COVID-19 UPDATE: Circuit courts in Maryland will process land record filings amid COVID-19
COVID-19 UPDATE: Maryland state courts reduce staffing in courthouses, continue to hear emergency court matters
Maryland Judiciary Responds to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera
We anticipate that the coronavirus shutdown is going to significantly depress the pre-trial settlement value of personal injury claims across the board. The negative impact on settlement values will be the result of 2 primary factors: (1) decrease in treatment; and (2) acceptance of lowball offers.
 Decrease in Treatment
One of the main driving factors that increases the settlement value of a personal injury case is the amount of medical expenses. The more medical treatment and expenses a plaintiff incurs, the more their case is going to be worth in settlement. The coronavirus panic has prompted doctor’s offices and medical treatment facilities across the state to close their doors.
This means that if you’re getting ongoing treatment or physical therapy for injuries in connection with a personal injury claim, that treatment may get interrupted for an extended time period. The less treatment you receive the lower your claim is usually worth in the eyes of the insurance company.
 Acceptance of Lowball Offers
The second and more significant reason the coronavirus panic may bring down settlement values is that the economic hardships caused by the shutdown will make claimants more likely to accept lowball offers. The coronavirus shutdown is little crushing the U.S. economy and has triggered an acute and alarming recession. Massive numbers of people are losing their jobs and being financially ruined by the shutdown. This extreme financial desperation will likely motivate personal injury claimants to accept lowball settlement offers rather than hold out for fair value.
Insurance companies and their adjusters are very much aware of the impact that financial desperation has on acceptance of low settlement offers. Anytime there is a widespread economic recession, insurance adjusters attempt to leverage the situation and this will be no exception. We are already seeing lowball settlement offers on pending personal injury claims.
The increase of lowball offers from insurance adjusters combined with an increase in the rate of acceptance of these offers will result in a universal downward trend in settlement values.