The lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC are investigating potential lawsuits relating to individuals who received a heart stent at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Many of the patients who received heart stents at St. Joseph's Hospital may not have actually needed them. Starting in December, 2009 a number of patients received letters about their cardiac catheterization procedures in which they received heart stents. The biggest concern is over surgeries performed by Dr. Mark Midei. The letters sent to patients reportedly indicate that post surgical clinical review procedures revealed that the results of the cath tests were in fact different than indicated on the original heart catheterization report. Some of these patients may have received unnecessary stents in their heart valves, and thus have been subjected to substantial health risks. The doctor who is believed to have performed the unnecessary procedures is Dr. Mark Midei. He was a prominent heart surgeon who has recently stopped practicing medicine and has lost his privileges at St. Joseph's hospital. What transpired is that some patients were told that they had blockage of 80-95% when in fact they only had a very small amount of blockage--even as low as 10%. Medical Guidelines reveal that in order for a stent procedure to be necessary, there should be blockage of at least 70%. Once a stent procedure is performed on a cardiac patient, patients face long term risks including the risk of blood clots in the stent (which can cause a heart attack), and/or other life threatening injuries. To reduce the risk of clotting in stent patients, many are prescribed a blood thinner such as Plavix (expensive--and has its own risks/side effects). Our legal team believes that anyone who had an unnecessary cardiac stent procedure performed at St. Josephs has potential legal claims against Dr. Midei, St. Josephs, and possibly others. Claims would include medical negligence, battery, violation of Maryland's Consumer Protection Act, and possibly even fraud. Whereas punitive damages are not available in most negligence cases in Maryland, because the cases involving unnecessary stent procedures at St. Josephs involved intentional conduct and was possibly even deceptive and deceiptful, it is quite possible that punitive damages will be available as well. In December 2005 a Baltimore Jury returned a $5 Million dollar verdict against Dr. Mark G. Midei and Midatlantic Cardiovascular Association. The jury found that the doctor improperly steered a patient to a surgeon employed by the practice rather than to his own surgeon who belonged to a rival group. After the verdict, it is reported that Dr. Midei said "I've done close to 30,000 procedures on patients and have never been sued until now." If you or someone you love had a cardiac stent procedure performed at St. Josephs Hospital and/or done by Dr. Midei, call us at 301-589-2999 so that we can evaluate your claim.
It has been known for years that over 98,000 Americans are needlessly dying every year at the hands of health care providers. Over 98,000! And yet, these ghastly figures continue even though they could be prevented. Dead by Mistake is a website with patient sagas and other information that demonstrates some of the numerous preventable medical errors. This website was created by journalists from across the country and provides important and moving information for you - they chronicle 2,000,000 - that's Two MILLION - preventable deaths over the past 10 years due to medical errors. Take charge of your medical care. Get the information you should know so that medical malpractice / medical negligence hopefully does not happen to you or anyone you love. The insurance industry and health care industry refuse to accept responsibility and care for people the way you should be treated. The only way measures will be taken to decrease or prevent these errors is by holding the health care providers and the system accountable in a court of law. That is what our system of justice allows. That is what trial lawyers like those at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester do. If your mother died from cancer because the radiologist misread her mammogram, calling it normal when it was not, contact a lawyer to hold them accountable. If your daughter was born with neurological problems and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy because the obstetrician or midwife ignored the warning signs on the fetal heart rate monitor and did not deliver her at a time to prevent the brain damage, contact a lawyer to hold them accountable. If you have been injured by medical negligence, let us protect your rights. For more information about whether you or a loved one has been injured by a preventable medical error, call our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at: 301-589-2999 x125 (we are located in downtown Silver Spring very close to the Metro Station) or visit our website at www.gfmlawllc.com.
Mr. Harold Spencer, age 73, died as a result of a trip and fall that occurred as he departed a meeting in Virginia in January 2008. He tripped over a 16-inch wall around a cistern outside the front door of the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center in Virginia. He broke his neck and died in this accident. The visitor center had failed its final inspection four times for failing to put a guardrail around the cistern. Mr. Spencer's family filed a wrongful death personal injury lawsuit in Virginia. Last month the case settled for approximately $1.25 Million Dollars ($1,250,000.00). This slip and fall accident case was reported in The Washington Post.
Studies have shown that accidental falls are amongst the leading cause of emergency room visits. Slip and fall lawsuits, also known as premises liability lawsuits are challenging in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia because these jurisdictions have a very unfair law called contributory negligence. If a person who falls is found to be even 1% at fault, then he is barred from recovery. Most states, by comparison, have comparative negligence. The Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland Slip and Fall Lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester are experienced at handling premises liability cases including slip and falls, trip and falls, and falls as a result of improper maintenance. Our approach to these cases generally involves using a safety engineer expert and/or a human dynamics expert. If you or a loved one is injured as a result of a slip and fall accident call us at 301-589-2999.
MAJ, Maryland Association for Justice, congratulates Wayne Willoughby, Jason Frank and Tom Cardaro for being selected to receive The Daily Record's Leadership in Law Award. They were selected based on their investment in bettering the legal profession, as well as the communities in which they live and work. They will be honored along with the other award recipients, at a luncheon on November 20, 2009 at the Hilton BWI Airport, 1739 W. Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD 21090. For more information about the Leadership in Law Award. To purchase tickets for the luncheon contact The Daily Record or click here . The list of all of the 2009 Leadership In Law Recipients is set forth below.
The birth control pill Yaz was approved by the FDA in 2006 and Yasmin was approved in 2001. These drugs are oral contraceptives taken by women as birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. They have also been used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and occasionally as an acne treatment for women. We are investigating claims that Yas and Yasmin causes pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attacks and other injuries including gall bladder injuries. Yaz is made by Bayer Pharmaceutical Company. There are numerous lawsuits against Bayer, and the cases have been consolidated in a Multi District Litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. On October 1, 2009 the US Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation issues a transfer order for 24 lawsuits to the Southern District of Illinois and the cases are being heard by U.S. District Court Judge David R. Herndon. The claims in the lawsuits relate to the fact that the Yasmin is a defective product and that Bayer engaged in illegal and misleading advertising relating to Yas and Yasmin. Judge Robert Miller explained in his Yaz Order of 10/1/09 that "We are persuaded that the Southern District of Illinois is an appropriate forum for this docket." If you or a loved one have suffered injury that you believe may have been caused by Yaz, call us at 877-774-3652 or visit our website at www.gfmlawllc.com
Approximately 22% of Maryland pedestrian accidents in Montgomery County occur in parking lots according to an article that appeared in The Washington Post. Montgomery County, Maryland County Executive Ike Leggett is launching a safety campaign to address parking lot safety for pedestrians in Montgomery County, MD for pedestrian automobile accidents.
Montgomery County spends about $30 million a year on pedestrian safety initiatives. Of the 1,496 pedestrians struck by vehicles from 2006 to June 2009, 324 occurred in parking lots. Those in the field of traffic engineering know that parking lots are very dangerous places for pedestrians. One thing being considered is forming dedicated pedestrian paths through parking lots away from cars.
When a pedestrian accident occurs in Maryland, the pedestrian struck generally can bring a negligence lawsuit against the operator of the vehicle that struck the pedestrian. Defendants will often raise the defense of contributory negligence which in Maryland, is a complete bar to any recovery (a very unfair and outdated law).
Our law firm has been very successful in overcoming contributory negligence defenses in pedestrian accidents in Maryland. When the striking vehicle has inadequate insurance coverage, the pedestrian struck can make a Maryland uninsured motorist claim under his or her own automobile insurance policy (or the policy of any resident relative).
It is also important to understand that a pedestrian who is struck by an automobile in Maryland can generally make a claim for Personal Injury Protection Benefits (these are no fault benefits so contributory negligence would not apply to the PIP Claim). It is good news that Montgomery County Maryland is considering forming a work group to further study engineering options to address pedestrian safety in Maryland.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident call us and talk to one of our Maryland Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at 301-589-2999 or Fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form on our site.
Airborne asbestos fibers were found in floor tiles and officer lockers at the Police Building located at 1700 Rhode Island Ave., NE in Washington, D.C. The locker room, boiler room and two storage rooms were sealed. It has been reported that officials were first notified of the problem on June 25, 2009 when signs were seen for asbestos abatement work at the D.C. Office facility. Asbestos causes serious injuries including asbestosis, cancer and mesothelioma. Those employees of the D.C. government exposed to the asbestos while working likely have a D.C. Workman's compensation claim and the right to bring a claim non-economic damages and/or medical monitoring.
Mesothelioma is a cancer and a deadly disease that causes injury to the mesothelium and lining of organ tissues in the abdominal cavity. Exposure to asbestos can also cause lung cancer, esphogus cancer, kidney cancer, larynx cancer and pancreatic cancer. The risk of acquiring lung cancer is seven times higher for those exposed to asbestos than for those who have not been exposed. There have been many asbestos jury verdicts around the USA and in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area for asbestos cases for well over $2 Million Dollars. Mesothelioma often remains latent and dormant for years until it is diagnosed. Once it is diagnosed, there is generally a very poor prognosis.
If you or anyone you know was exposed to asbestos at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue it is important that you understand your legal rights and take prompt action. To bring a claim for non-economic damages against the D.C. Government they (The D.C. Government) must be put on notice within six months of the injury being sustained (See 12-309 of the D.C. Code). The D.C. Code states:
§ 12-309. Actions against District of Columbia for unliquidated damages; time for notice.
An action may not be maintained against the District of Columbia for unliquidated damages to person or property unless, within six months after the injury or damage was sustained, the claimant, his agent, or attorney has given notice in writing to the Mayor of the District of Columbia of the approximate time, place, cause, and circumstances of the injury or damage. A report in writing by the Metropolitan Police Department, in regular course of duty, is a sufficient notice under this section.
DC ST § 12-309
Case law has interpreted this code provision very strictly in favor of the D.C. Government and against individuals who are injured. Therefore, if you or someone you love was exposed to airborne asbestos at 1700 Rhode Island Ave. it is important that you hire legal counsel right away to protect your rights. The Washington DC and Maryland Asbestos Lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC provide free asbestos case evaluations via telephone at 202-887-5533. Call us at 202-887-5533 or visit our website at www.gfmlawllc.com.
The Washington Post reported that most fatal car accidents are single car accidents. Statistics in the article include that of the 7,945 people who died in the past 5 years in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia 58.9% were in single car crashes. The statistic came from AAA. The factors contributing to the deadly car accidents included speed, driving at night, driving under the influence. Several single vehicle wrongful death accidents that occurred include that on 2/1/09 a 17 year old passenger died after being ejected from a motor vehicle in Montgomery County, Maryland on Veirs Mill Road near Robindale Drive in Rockville, in April 2009 a 22 year old Virgnia, Leesburg lady was killed when her vehicle struck a tree in Chantilly, VA. Even when there is a single car accident, out lawyers thoroughly investigate potential negligence claims. Quite often, single car accidents are caused by phantom vehicles (unidentified vehicles). When this is the case, those injured or killed in a single car accident can make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a single Washington D.C., Virginia, or Maryland car accident call Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester at 301-589-2999.
Many people are confused over their rights when a loved one dies in Maryland. This is for good reason, as Maryland's wrongful death act is indeed complicated, even for attorneys. Generally speaking, when someone in Maryland dies as a result of the negligence of someone else (for example from a Maryland car accident, Maryland medical malpractice, Maryland work injury, from mesothelioma or a Maryland tractor trailer accident) two categories of legal claims relating to the death are possible. The first is the survival action which is brought by the Personal Representative of the Estate. This encompasses the decedent's conscious pain and suffering and other damages. Unlike many other states though, in Maryland a wrongful death claim is not brought by the PR of the Estate. Instead it is brought by the wrongful death beneficiary. The wrongful death claim does not belong to the decedent's estate. It belongs to the next of kin/wrongful death beneficiaries (if none exist, a wrongful death claim can sometimes be brought by secondary beneficiaries who are dependent). When someone in Maryland dies there is generally a wrongful death claim for the wife, husband, parent and child of the deceased person. Even adult children have a claim under Maryland's wrongful death act (See Cts. Jud. Proc. 3-904 (e)). The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, loss of comfort, loss of protection, loss of care, loss of attention, advice , counsel and education/guidance. Basically the full slate of non-economic damages are recoverable in a Maryland wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim must be brought within 3 years after the death (except if the death was caused by "occupational disease" in which case the claim must be brought within 10 years of the time of death or within 3 years of the date when the death is discovered (whichever is shorter). Navigating Maryland's wrongful death act is tricky and complicated, and claimants generally should have a lawyer to assist with this. For more information on, click here: Maryland's wrongful death act. It should be noted that there are a separate set of procedural rules for Wrongful Death Claims in Maryland, and all potential wrongful death beneficiaries need to be included in a lawsuit as use plaintiffs under the rules.
The lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan and Mester are available to discuss any potential wrongful death claim, and there is no charge for the initial telephone consultation. If we take the case, there is generally no attorney fee if there is no recovery. We arrange to advance the litigation costs as well. Call us at 877-774-3652 (toll free).
Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies Show Enormous Profits, Directly Contradicting Their Own Testimony
Below, we have attached a release that demonstrates what we have been advocating for years: that the insurance industry's cries of medical malpractice cases causing a "malpractice crisis" were in fact false and made up by the insurance industry. Trial lawyers are easy targets and the insurance industry spends tens of millions of dollars every year to distort the truth so that they can continue increasing their profits while decreasing the rates they reimburse health care providers while at the same time raising the rates of insurance and improperly denying valid claims. It is business practices such as these that demonstrate the importance of continuing equal justice to all under our civil justice system and not a system that only protects those with the most money, like the insurance industry. Trial lawyers continue to fight for you and your families so that your rights are not further taken away by greedy insurance executives. The insurance industry's attempts to limit your rights should not be tolerated. Call your Representatives and Senators and let them know how disgusted you are at being duped by the insurance industry. Tell your friends and neighbors. Your family is worth it.
Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, Protecting Your Rights.
Medical Malpractice Insurers Earning More Than Ever
10 biggest malpractice insurers have average profits higher than 99% of Fortune 500 companies
Washington, DC--As Congress debates nationwide health care reform, a new analysis reveals malpractice insurers have long-played a cruel hoax on legislators and the public. By systematically distorting profits and losses, insurers created phony "financial crises," so lawmakers would limit the legal rights of injured patients. Today, while premiums and health care costs skyrocket, malpractice insurers have average profits higher than 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
The key findings of the report, which analyzes the annual financial statements of the 10 largest U.S. medical malpractice insurers, include:
- The average profit of these insurance companies is higher than 99 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and 35 times higher than the Fortune 500 average for the same time period.
- Malpractice insurers have seen their profit margins range from 5.9 percent to 74.8 percent, with an average of 31.2 percent.
- Medical malpractice insurers have underestimated profits and overestimated losses, creating overblown insurance "crises" to garner support for limiting patients' legal rights. Then years later after the "crises" abated, revised filings show the companies were never in the financial peril they claimed.
- After overestimating losses, insurers have since reported that losses over the last five years have been approximately 13.5 percent lower than initially reported.
- By overestimating losses, companies have underestimated profits. Insurers averaged about 5.1 percent higher profits last year and 12.4 percent higher profits two years ago; these levels of profits will likely rise as upward revisions are made.
- Medical negligence laws were passed under false pretenses. Overblown reported losses were used by the insurance industry to justify new measures restricting the rights of those injured by medical negligence.
"Insurance companies are gouging doctors on their premiums to mislead lawmakers. And today, injured patients are often left with no avenue to pursue justice, while health care costs continue to skyrocketing," said American Association for Justice President Anthony Tarricone, managing partner at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP.
"As Congress looks to overhaul our nation's health care system, it's clear that limiting the legal rights of patients won't lower health care costs or cover the uninsured," continued Tarricone. "The focus should be on eliminating medical errors that injure or kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. Insurance companies clearly don't need another handout."
As part of its ongoing series on the topic, AAJ earlier released Medical Negligence: A Primer for the Nation's Health Care Debate and The Truth About "Defensive Medicine." These reports, as well as The Insurance Hoax: How Doctors and Patients Pay for the Huge Earnings of Medical Malpractice Insurers, can be located here.
We write simply to remind our friends that today (10/1/09) several new laws take effect in the State of Maryland. Three of the new laws that may impact our everyday lives are summarized below.
- Ban on Texting and Driving: It is now illegal to write or send text messages while driving. This law was passed based on the fact that more than 30 percent of the roughly 95,000 traffic accidents last year resulted from distracted driving according to the State Highway Administration. Maryland joins 18 other states that have already outlawed texting and driving. Violation of the new law is a misdemeanor and is subject to a $500.00 maximum fine. The prohibition does not apply to use of GPS systems or using text messaging to contact 911.
- Teen Drivers: Teen drivers must now wait three months longer to get a provisional license (until they are 16 years and 6 months old). Teens also are not eligible for a full license until they are 18 years old.
- Speed Cameras: Speed Monitoring Cameras are now permitted across the entire State of Maryland near schools and highway work zones. Fines are $40 for people who go at least 12 miles over the speed limit in those zones. For those of us who live in Montgomery County, MD, we already have speed cameras all over the place. Trust me when I tell you that they WILL make you slow down.
Judge Maurice Baldwin basically denied the Defendant's Motion to reduce the $150 Million Dollar Verdict against Exxon in the leak case in Baltimore County. After a 5 month trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court the jury awarded $71 Million Dollars ($71,000,000.00) in non-economic damages and Sixty One Million Dollars in decreased property value ($61,000,000.00), and Fourteen Million Dollars ($14,000,000.00) in medical monitoring. No punitive damages were awarded (they are very difficult to get in Maryland based on the Zenobia decision--basically you need to prove intentional conduct and/or actual malice). Judge Baldwin made a reduction in the award fro 4 homes that sold after the leek to the difference between the before leak appraisal and sale price. Judge Baldwin is a visiting judge who is retired from the Harford County Circuit Court. Exxon Mobil's attorney James Sanders indicated that Exxon will most likely appeal the decision. This is one of the greatest verdicts of all time in the State of Maryland. Attorneys Steve Snyder, Bob Welcheck, and others involved in representing the Plaitniffs should be very proud of the work they have done. The Judge's decision came as a result of a motion for remitter which is when a defendant asks the Judge to either reduce the verdict or grant a new trial.
The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area is seeing an increase in fatal hit and run accidents according to the AAA. The majority of these fatal car accidents involve pedestrians. Most of these accidents are occurring in uban areas such as Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. On September 17 a pedestrian was killed on Annapolis Road in Riverdale, MD according to Prince George's County police. On September 18 a bicyclist was critically injured as a result of being struck by a car in Washington, D.C. In both cases, the driver left the scene of the accident and has not been apprehended. Other hit and run incidents that AAA notes in our area include two women who were struck by a car in Silver Spring, MD near Capital View Avenue (they were both dragged by the car but survived). In August a 28 year old bicyclist was killed on Lee Highway and Lake Manassas Drive in Gainesville. Emmanuel Yeboah was biking when he was stuck by a car from behind. A cyclist was killed in Ocean City, MD by a hit and run driver according to Maryland State Police. AAA studies indicate that fatal hit and run crashes most often occur on weekends and in the evening hours. An article on this very issue can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR2009092103498.html
The rise in hit and run accidents is an excellent reason to be sure that you have adequate uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to you and your family members when involved in a Maryland car accident with an uninsured motorist. Maryland law's definition of an uninsured motorist includes a hit and run motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage is relatively cheap to purchase, and we recommend that all motorists buy at least $100,000.00 of uninsured motorist protection (buy as much coverage as you can reasonably afford). More coverage should be bought if at all possible. Insurance Agents often will try to sell Maryland Consumer minimum limits policies and/or try to get consumers to waive uninsured motorist coverage. NEVER WAIVE YOUR UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE (Or PIP Coverage). It is critically important. If you are injured as a result of an "uninsured motorist" or a hit and run accident call us toll free at 301-589-2999 or visit our website at www.gfmlawllc.com. Phone consultations are free and there is no attorney fee if there is no recovery.
In Washington, D.C. and Maryland there are a lot of uninsured motorists out there and it is critically important that you have uninsured motorist coverage to protect you and your family in the event that you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit and run vehicle. The Maryland uninsured motorist law is at 19-509 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code and is set forth below:
§ 19-509. Uninsured motorist coverage-in general
(a) In this section, "uninsured motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle:
(1) the ownership, maintenance, or use of which has resulted in the bodily injury or death of an insured; and
(2) for which the sum of the limits of liability under all valid and collectible liability insurance policies, bonds, and securities applicable to bodily injury or death:
(i) is less than the amount of coverage provided under this section; or
(ii) has been reduced by payment to other persons of claims arising from the same occurrence to an amount less than the amount of coverage provided under this section.
(b) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section does not apply to a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that insures a motor vehicle that:
(1) is not subject to registration under § 13-402 of the Transportation Article because it is not driven on a highway; or
(2) is exempt from registration under § 13-402(c)(10) of the Transportation Article.
(c) In addition to any other coverage required by this subtitle, each motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued, sold, or delivered in the State after July 1, 1975, shall contain coverage for damages, subject to the policy limits, that:
(1) the insured is entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle; and
(2) a surviving relative of the insured, who is described in § 3-904 of the Courts Article, is entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because the insured died as the result of a motor vehicle accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle.
(d) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section shall be in the form and subject to the conditions that the Commissioner approves.
(e)(1) The uninsured motorist coverage contained in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy:
(i) shall at least equal:
1. the amounts required by Title 17 of the Transportation Article; and
2. the coverage provided to a qualified person under Title 20, Subtitle 6 of this article; and
(ii) may not exceed the amount of liability coverage provided under the policy.
(2) Unless waived in accordance with § 19-510 of this subtitle, the amount of uninsured motorist coverage provided under a private passenger motor vehicle liability insurance policy shall equal the amount of liability coverage provided under the policy.
(f) An insurer may exclude from the uninsured motorist coverage required by this section benefits for:
(1) the named insured or a family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household for an injury that occurs when the named insured or family member is occupying or is struck as a pedestrian by an uninsured motor vehicle that is owned by the named insured or an immediate family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household; and
(2) the named insured, a family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household, and any other individual who has other applicable motor vehicle insurance for an injury that occurs when the named insured, family member, or other individual is occupying or is struck as a pedestrian by the insured motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is operated or used by an individual who is excluded from coverage under § 27-609 of this article.
(g) The limit of liability for an insurer that provides uninsured motorist coverage under this section is the amount of that coverage less the amount paid to the insured, that exhausts any applicable liability insurance policies, bonds, and securities, on behalf of any person that may be held liable for the bodily injuries or death of the insured.
(h)(1) A policy that, as its primary purpose, provides coverage in excess of other valid and collectible insurance or qualified self-insurance may include the uninsured motorist coverage provided for in this section.
(2) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section is primary to any right to recovery from the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund under Title 20, Subtitle 6 of this article.
(i) An endorsement or provision that protects the insured against damages caused by an uninsured motor vehicle that is contained in a policy issued and delivered in the State is deemed to cover damages caused by a motor vehicle insured by a liability insurer that is insolvent or otherwise unable to pay claims to the same extent and in the same manner as if the damages were caused by an uninsured motor vehicle.
(j) A provision in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued after July 1, 1975, about coverage for damages sustained by the insured as a result of the operation of an uninsured motor vehicle that requires a dispute between the insured and the insurer to be submitted to binding arbitration is prohibited and is of no legal effect.
MD Code, Insurance, § 19-509
A civil jury in PG County, MD compensated a lady whose child died in a Maryland car crash with a police officer $4 Million Dollars. The jury determined that a Prince George's County Police Officer was negligent when he crashed his police car into a 20 year old's car and killed him. The jury essentially found that Officer/Corporal Mario Chavez was going twice the speed limit at the time of the crash. The Maryland car accident was in December of 2007 and the decedent is Brian Gray. Mr. Gray was a college student at the University of Maryland and he was on his way to take an exam. PG County tried to argue that Mr. Gray was contributory negligent (a finding of contributory negligence is a bar to any recovery in Maryland--very unfair).
What I find most interesting is that The Washington Post reported the $4 Million Dollar verdict, but there is no mention of the fact that the verdict will be reduced substantially based on the Local Government Tort Claims Act. In Maryland, claims against local governments are limited to $200,000.00 per individual claim and $500,000 for total claims that arise from the same occurrence (Section 5-303 of the Cts & Jud Pro. Art. MD Code). Therefore, although the Washington Post and other news outlets reported a $4 Million Dollar Verdict, the reality is that the amount that Mr. Gray's family will collect is substantially less than that. I think it is irresponsible for news agencies to report on the amount of a verdict, but not to report the fact that almost all large jury verdicts end up getting reduced by the judge for one reason or another (In this case because of the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act). This leaves the public with the impression that there are a lot of large tort recoveries when in fact there are very few.
The following is a statement from Maryland Association for Justice President Kevin Goldberg:
Columbia, MD--"Last night, President Obama made the case for health care reform to provide coverage for the uninsured and to lower health care costs for all Americans.
"The plan for demonstration projects raised by President Obama will require more detail. But the focus of any project must be on improving patient safety and reducing medical errors that kill over 98,000 people each year in American hospitals. Shielding health care providers from accountability will not improve health care.
"The attorneys who represent injured patients see first-hand the effects medical errors have on patients and their families. Everyone should keep injured people in mind as the debate moves forward. Providing justice for injured patients should not become barter for compromise on health insurance reform."