Recently in Personal Injury Category

November 26, 2013

Medical Malpractice Verdict for Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer


On November 25, 2013 Jean Jones (JD/RN), Maria Dawson (JD/RN), and Christian Mester obtained a $3.75 million verdict for the family of a man who died of lung cancer in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Cancer image jpeg.jpgThe case involved a 74 year old man who had a CT Scan of the lung that showed a consolidation, which was reported to the primary care doctor. The expert testimony at this trial established that a consolidation is abnormal and concerning, and it can be due to pneumonia, scarring, T.B., or lung cancer. The primary care doctor failed to diagnose the lung cancer for about 20 months. During this delay the cancer went from being a State I treatable lung cancer to a Stage IV lung cancer that was not treatable. The lawsuit claimed that our client died as a result of the delayed diagnosis. The Montgomery County jury agreed and awarded a total of $3.75 Million to the estate, wife and children of the deceased.


July 27, 2013

Maryland Health Insurance Rates Lowest in USA

We are happy to report that the Maryland Insurance Administration did not approve the health insurance companies requests for ridiculously high individual rates. As a result, Maryland consumers will have some of the lowest individual health insurance rates in the USA.

Maryland is one of 31 states that has authority to deny rate increases requeted by health insurance companies. There are six health insurance companies that plan to sell individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act in Maryland. The combination of healthy competition and the Insurance Administration's refusal to give rate increase requests will benefit Maryland citizens and allow more the ability to afford individual health insurance.

As a Maryland personal injury attorney who represents many individuals who are injured in car accidents and other accidents I am very happy about this. You see, when my clients have health insurance it generally means that they will have more treatment options with regard to who they will treat with for their accident related injuries. Since health insurance companies negotiate better deals with medical providers, our clients ultimately pay less out of pocket for the medical care that they receive and are able to put more of their personal injury settlement in their pocket.

May 24, 2013

Construction Accident at Montgomery Mall

Yesterday there was a terrible construction accident at the Montgomery Mall Parking garage. One man was killed and another was apparently seriously injured. Montgomery Mall Construction Accident

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the man killed and to the man who was seriously injured.

Construction accidents like this typically occur because safety rules are not followed.

A 50,000 pound slab of concrete collapsed in a parking lot that was under construction. The injured worker was pinned for hours before he was rescued . The contractor for the garage is Whiting-Turner Construction Company. Other sub-contractors may also have been involved in the project.

Under Maryland law the injured worker is entitled to Workman's Compensation Benefits, but will not be permitted to file a full blown lawsuit against his employer for negligent safety practices. The injured construction worker's family should retain an attorney to investigate potential third party claims against co-employees, and negligent third parties other than the employer. Maryland workman's compensation benefits include medical bills, 2/3 of the average weekly wage and permanent impairment compensation.

When a serious contruction accident occurs in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Labor will investigate and issue the appropriate safety violations which can include fines.

May 14, 2013

Injury Lawsuit Against Maryland Live! Casino

Our firm handles injury claims and lawsuits against Maryland Live! Casino which is located in Arundel Mills, in Hanover Maryland. The casio recently opened its doors to the public, and there will surely be a lot of legal claims against Maryland Live. Maryland Live.png This is because safety policies and procedures have not been in place for any significant period of time. Claims related to card dealer mistakes and improper casino payments are also likely because Maryland Live card dealers are not experienced card dealers for the most part, and are still learning their craft.

If you are injured at a Maryland Casino call us at 888-213-8140.

Claims against the casino can involve personal injuries that occur at the casino (or the Maryland Live parking lots), and other claims involving gambling losses and Maryland Live!'s failure to pay out on money owed. If you are injured at a Maryland Casino it is important to talk to an attorney that understands potential legal issues involved. Ben Franklins.jpg

One issue to consider is whether an injury or death claim against a Maryland Casino such as Maryland Live! are actually claims against the State of Maryland. The Casino is regulated by the State and receives State Funding, but it is run by private investors,and is likely owned by "PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC" which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. Nobody knows hte answer to this question yet because it has not been litigated. To be safe, it is a good idea to give notice to the State of Maryland pursuant to the State Tort Claims Act and also to give notice to the appropriate local government pursuant to the Local Government Tort Claims Act. According to the State Department of Assesment and Taxation Website, there are at least 3 legal entities with the name Maryland Live in it: "Maryland Live" "Maryland Live! Casino" "Maryland Live Holdings, LLC" and "Maryland Live Holdings Equity Investor, LLC"

January 13, 2013

Mr. Yuck and Energy Drinks---Poison Control Centers Report 3,147 Energy Drink Exposures in 2012

Remember Mr. Yuck? Well, Poison Control Centers are now tracking reports of calls related to energy drink exposures, and the 2012 data is disturbing.

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Poison Control Centers in the USA apparently received 3,147 reports of exposures to energy drinks, and that well over half of those reports were for children 18 and younger. This data was compiled by the National Poison Data System which is the only comprehensive poisoning exposure surveillance database in the USA. This data, coupled with the numerous adverse event reports that the Food and Drug Administration has received related to energy drinks is convincing! Energy Drinks are dangerous and can cause serious injuries or death for certain individuals---In particular, anyone with an underlying heart condition should not drink any energy drinks at all.

Poison Control Centers throughout the United States are telling people to use caution and common sense when consuming Energy Drinks and related products. The American Association of Poison Control Centers Website Reports that

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that "caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents."

If you are concerned that you are having an adverse reaction after consuming an energy drink such as Monster Energy Drink, Red Bull, Rock Star or 5 Hour Energy, then you should seek medical attention immediately. The Poison Control Center's cautionary alert on energy drinks indicates that drinking too many energy drinks or drinking them too fast can cause increased heart rate, altered heart rhythm, chest pain, dehydration, seizures, kidney problems, increased blood pressure, mood changes and other symptoms. You can also report the Energy Drink Injury Incident to the Poison Control Center by calling 1-800-222-1222.

If you want to learn more about the dangers of energy drinks, visit the Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC Website at www.gfmjustice.com.

November 22, 2012

Keeping Our Clients Happy

At Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC we know that after you have been in a car accident it is a very stressful time. In addition to having to recover from physical injuries, back pain, neck pain and whiplash, car crash victims have often lost their only means of transportation. Our personal injury law firm will do what we can to help you and your family through this difficult time. As a courtesy to our clients we are available to help resolve property damage issues, and in most cases there is no attorney fee at all for this.

Car accidents also often cause people to miss time from work. We will fight hard to recover your lost wages. Many people think that if they were paid for the time that they miss, then they do not have a lost wage claim. Generally speaking, if you miss time from work---even if you are paid for the time missed--you can make a claim for "lost wages" because in fact you are either losing wages or losing leave time. This legal concept is based on the "collateral source rule" which basically means that the person whose negligence caused the accident cannot benefit from the fact that one's employer gave them an employee benefit such as paid time off, paid leave or vacation time.

We recently received favorable feedback from one of our clients and we wanted to share this.

November 20, 2012

New Road Design at 495 Causing Large Number of Accidents

Attention to our friends in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia---- There have been 6 crashes in the last 72 hours at the entrance to northbound 495 between the Springfield Interchange and Braddock Road. 495 Lanes in Springfield.jpgThe Washington Beltway (I-495) recently added several new express lane entrances to northbound 495, and as a result of this new roadway condition drivers are confused and making mistakes. You must have an EZ Pass to use the new express lanes. Apparently drivers are realizing that they need an EZ Pass, and then making abrupt lane changes and this is causing the accidents (Frankly, the roadway is not marked very well). PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

To address this problem the lane markings have been extended and crews are planning to add roadway markings as far out as a mile before the express lanes warning of the need for an EZ Pass in the left lanes.

The 6 crashes all occurred adjacent to the northbound express lanes near the Springfield Interchange and Braddock Road.

Anyone injured as a result of these new roadway markings should consider contacting a lawyer. We provide free telephone consultations to accident victims and there is no attorney fee unless we make a recovery for you.

This roadway project was undertaken by Virginia Transportation Department and two private companies named Transurban and Fluor. They say that the new design is to decrease congestion, but in my opinion it was done just to make more money off of the toll roads.

Call us at 301-589-2999 if you are involved in a car crash want a free phone consultation about your rights and what you should and should not do.

September 30, 2012

Uninsured Motorist Claim Case in Maryland This Week

Many of the cases we handle involve an insured having to sue their own insurance company for benefits owed. Insurance Claim Denied.pngThese claims are technically breach of contract claims, and they can become very complicated. This week the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued its opinion in Buckley v. The Brethren, and the opinion is favorable to Maryland consumers who purchase car insurance.

In this case, the car insurance company, The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company, tried to pull a fast one on its own insured and wiggle out of paying benefits owed. You see, the handling of an uninsured motorist claim in Maryland is complicated, and generally is based on statutes including Section 19-511 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code.

To make a long story short, Ms. Ember Buckley was seriously injured as a passenger in a car crash in March 2007 and she incurred over $100,000.00 in medical bills. The crash was caused by Mr. Harvey Betts who owned and drove the car that Buckley was a passenger in. Mr. Betts vehicle had just $100,000.00 of liability coverage, and was covered by Geico Insurance Company. Ms. Buckley had her own car insurance policy in which she paid a premium for up to $300,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits (also known as underinsured motorist benefits). Ms. Buckley's $300,000.00 policy was with The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company. Geico made a settlement offer of its insured's $100,000.00 policy limit in exchange for a release. As they are required to do, GEICO sent the policy limits offer in writing, but GEICO asked for a full and general release.

In the State of Maryland, uninsured motorist claims are goverened by Section 19-511 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code. The law allows an injured person to accept a policy limits settlement offer from a liability carrier so long as the written offer is sent to the uninsured motorist carrier by certified mail pursuant to the statutue. The UM Carrier then has 60 days to consent to the acceptance of the policy limits offer (and allow for the injured person to execute a release), or to refuse to consent to the acceptance of the offer, but then to pay the amount of the offer to the injured person within 30 days of the refusal to consent. If the UM carrier consents to the acceptance of the offer (and presumably to the signing of a Release) then the UM Carrier waives its subrogation rights against the at fault party. If the Uninsured Motorist Insurer refuses to consent to the settlement, then the UM Carrier must pay the injured party the amount of the settlement, but its subrogation rights would be preserved (Because there would be no release).

In this case Ms. Buckley's lawyer sent Brethren Mutual the policy limits settlement offer by certified mail as required by the statute, and Brethren's insurance adjuster sent a letter back statuign that they waived subrogation against Mr. Betts. Ms. Buckley then accepted the settlement offer from GEICO but signed a very broad general release that in and of it self, at least arguably, released the UM claim.

When Ms. Betts presented her uninsured motorist claim to The Brethren Insurance Company, Brethren's adjuster denied the claim based on the broad language in the release signed by Ms. Betts. What is disturbing is that Brethren knew that it owed uninsured motorist benefits in this case, and took a ridiculous position in order to save money. The Brethren admitted that it had consented to the settlement, but then argued that it nevertheless could lawfully deny the uninsured motorist claim because of the language in the release. This is a great example of how generally speaking insurance companies look out for their own bottom line and are not looking out for their insureds.

In any event, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in favor of Ms. Betts and against the insurance company. The Court held that so long as the Circuit Court agrees that The Brethren consented to the settlement, the uninsured motorist benefits were owed and that the only issue for trial was the amount of damages owed to Ms. Buckley. (It should be noted that Judge Eyler filed a dissenting opinion).

September 30, 2012

Caution---Uninsured Motorist Claims in Maryland Can Be Complicated!

Many of the cases we handle involve an insured having to sue their own insurance company for benefits owed. Insurance Claim Denied.pngThese claims are technically breach of contract claims, and they can become very complicated. Perhaps the most common type of claim we handle in this area is claims for uninsured motorist benefits. This week the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued its opinion in Buckley v. The Brethren, and the opinion is favorable to Maryland consumers who purchase car insurance, and make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits.

In this case, the car insurance company, The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company, tried to pull a fast one on its own insured and wiggle out of paying benefits it clearly owed. You see, the handling of an uninsured motorist claim in Maryland is complicated, and generally is based on statutes including Section 19-511 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code.


To make a long story short, Ms. Ember Buckley was seriously injured as a passenger in a car crash in March 2007 and she incurred over $100,000.00 in medical bills. The crash was caused by Mr. Harvey Betts who owned and drove the car that Buckley was a passenger in. Mr. Betts vehicle had just $100,000.00 of liability coverage, and was covered by Geico Insurance Company. Ms. Buckley had her own car insurance policy in which she paid a premium for up to $300,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits (also known as underinsured motorist benefits). Ms. Buckley's $300,000.00 policy was with The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company. Geico made a settlement offer of its insured's $100,000.00 policy limit in exchange for a release. As they are required to do, GEICO sent the policy limits offer in writing, but GEICO asked for a full and general release.

In the State of Maryland, uninsured motorist claims are goverened by Section 19-511 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code. The law allows an injured person to accept a policy limits settlement offer from a liability carrier so long as the written offer is sent to the uninsured motorist carrier by certified mail pursuant to the statute. The UM Carrier then has 60 days to consent to the acceptance of the policy limits offer (and allow for the injured person to execute a release), or to refuse to consent to the acceptance of the offer, but then to pay the amount of the offer to the injured person within 30 days of the refusal to consent. If the UM carrier consents to the acceptance of the offer (and presumably to the signing of a Release) then the UM Carrier waives its subrogation rights against the at fault party. If the Uninsured Motorist Insurer refuses to consent to the settlement, then the UM Carrier must pay the injured party the amount of the settlement, but its subrogation rights would be preserved (Because there would be no release).

In this case Ms. Buckley's lawyer sent Brethren Mutual the policy limits settlement offer by certified mail as required by the statute, and Brethren's insurance adjuster sent a letter back stating that they waived subrogation against Mr. Betts. Ms. Buckley then accepted the settlement offer from GEICO but signed a very broad general release that in and of it self, at least arguably, released the UM claim.

When Ms. Betts presented her uninsured motorist claim to The Brethren Insurance Company, Brethren's adjuster denied the claim based on the broad language in the release signed by Ms. Betts. What is disturbing is that Brethren knew that it owed uninsured motorist benefits in this case, and took a ridiculous position in order to save money. The Brethren admitted that it had consented to the settlement, but then argued that it nevertheless could lawfully deny the uninsured motorist claim because of the language in the release. This is a great example of how generally speaking insurance companies look out for their own bottom line and are not looking out for their insureds.

In any event, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in favor of Ms. Betts and against the insurance company. The Court held that so long as the Circuit Court agrees that The Brethren consented to the settlement, the uninsured motorist benefits were owed and that the only issue for trial was the amount of damages owed to Ms. Buckley. (It should be noted that Judge Eyler filed a dissenting opinion).

Practice Pointer regarding Maryland Uninsured Motorist Claims----Be sure that the letter from the UM Carrier clearly consents to the settlement and signing of a release with the liability carrier. Also, carve out the UM claim in any release signed.

September 26, 2012

Left Turn Accidents and Right of Way

Friends-

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Elizabeth Colvin Colton who was killed in an accident that occurred last week in Montgomery County as a result of an improper left hand turn. Maryland drivers need to remember to yield the right of way to oncoming cars whenever making a left hand turn.

We are seeing a lot of very serious accidents resulting from improper and illegal left hand turns. It is important to remember that if you are making a left turn you must always yield the right of way to on-coming traffic before making your turn. It is also important to remember to use your turn signal. Way too often a driver will attempt to make a left turn in front of an oncoming vehicle thinking that they have plenty of space. Well, the fact is that not everyone drives the speed limit, and not all drivers are paying attention to what is ahead of them. It may look like the left turning vehicle has plenty of room to make the turn, but if the oncoming vehicle is speeding, and/or if the left turning driver's perception is off at all, a tragic collision can occur.

As a personal injury lawyer, I can tell you that in Maryland the driver of the left turning vehicle in this type of accident will practically always be found to be at fault. Occasionally the vehicle that had the right away may also be found at fault if it can be shown that vehicle was speeding or perhaps on a cell phone and texting and not paying attention, but this would be rare. Police investigating crash scenes will usually ticket the driver of the left turning vehicle. This is true even if the oncoming vehicle is speeding and not paying attention. Bottom line....if you are making a left turn, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY TO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

Just this week there was a terrible crash on Great Seneca Highway near the Kentlands and Lakeland's community resulting from an improper left turn. A lady named Elizabeth Colvin Colton was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Seymour Baden. Apparently Mr. Baden attempted to make a left turn from Great Seneca Highway without yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic into the Lakelands neighborhood when he was struck by a vehicle driving on Great Seneca. Mr. Baden's passenger took the brunt of the impact and died as a result of her injuries.

September 8, 2012

Contributory Negligence in Maryland---Will Comparative Fault Be Adopted?

Many of our clients are shocked when we tell them that the law in Maryland negligence injustice.jpgcases is that if a person is even 1% at fault in an accident then they are barred from recovery. This is because Maryland is one of only four states in the entire country that has retained the common law pure contributory negligence standard. The other 3 states are Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Alabama. Contributory negligence can lead to extremely harsh and unfair results, especially when it comes to children and the mentally ill. I feel strongly that contributory negligence is a harsh and antiquated doctrine that needs to be changed in Maryland. By contrast, in comparative negligence jurisdictions if a person is say 5 % at fault, then the jury verdict would simply be reduced by 5%. This seems to be a much more fair way of addressing negligence claims.

On Monday September 10, 2012 the Md. Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in a case that urges the court to adopt comparative negligence. The case is Coleman v. Soccer Association of Columbia, and involves a person who was injured by a soccer goal that collapsed on him when he grabbed onto the crossbar. The case was tried by my friend and colleague Bruce Plaxen. The jury found that the defendant Soccer Association was negligent for failing to maintain the goal, but that Mr. Coleman was also contributorily negligent. Therefore, although Mr. Coleman was seriously injured, no damages were awarded to Mr. Coleman.

I have seen particularly harsh results in negligence cases based on premises liability such as slip and fall accidents. This is because in these cases, the defendant will always argue that our client was at least 1% at fault for failing to watch where they are going. If Maryland adopts comparative negligence it will encourage landlords and businesses to be more careful and avoid dangerous conditions that cause injuries.

The specific issue that the Court of Appeals will address is "Should this Court ameliorate or repudiate the doctrine of contributory negligence & replace it with a comparative negligence regime?" You can watch a webcast of the oral arguments at 10:00 am on Monday (there are 3 cases scheduled so it may not be starting right at 10 am).

September 3, 2012

Release Invalid As To Child's Injury Claims In Maryland

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Ever wonder if those releases that places like Maryland amusement parks, ski facilities (Wisp, Whitetail), and Bounce U make us sign before our kids can participate in activities are valid? Well, I have. In fact until last week, this was an unsettled issue in Maryland because there was no case law directly on point. We now know that a release signed by a parent is invalid as to claims relating to a child's injuries against a commercial for profit facility.

On August 30, 2012 the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued its opinion in Rosen v. BJ's Wholesalers. This court opinion, written by Judge Krauser, held that a release signed by a parent was invalid as to the child's injury claim against BJ's Wholesalers. In this case a 5 year old child was seriously injured while the kid was playing in the kids play area at BJ's Wholesalers. The agreement signed by the parent, in addition to setting forth rules for the use of the kids play club,

releases BJ's Wholesale from "any and all claims and causes of action" arising from the use of the play center by a member's child and requires a member to "indemnify, defend and hold harmless" BJ's Wholesale from any such claims or causes of action."

In a nutshell, the release agreement purportedly required that the parent and child give up the right to sue if the child was injured and it also had an indemnification clause in it which the Court also held invalid on public policy grounds. The child's parent sued BJ's on behalf of the minor child in Baltimore County Circuit Court, and the trial Court granted BJ's Motion for Summary Judgment based on the release that the parent had signed. The parent appealed this decision to the Court of Special Appeals. The Court of Special Appeals noted that there was no prior case law on this exact issue in Maryland. The Court determined that BJ's, as a commercial for profit establishment, could not alleviate its responsibility for the child's injuries by having the parent sign a release. The Court noted that it was not deciding whether a negligence claim against the State of Maryland or a non-profit would turn out the same way. Instead, its holding is limited to the facts of this case where a child is injured at a commercial for profit facility.

I think that this is a great decision because it will encourage any facility for children to adopt careful safety measures and also to obtain liability insurance. It will also encourage these places to have adequate supervision when children are playing.

To see the entire opinion: Russel Rosen v. BJ's Wholesalers

August 31, 2012

What is the value of a death case in Maryland?

Families of those who lose a loved one often want to know what the value is of the legaljustice-scales-bw.jpg claims that can be brought against those responsible for the death. How in the world can anyone put a value on someone's life? Therefore, at the outset, I am reminded of some words of wisdom that one of Maryland's top mediators has occasionally bestowed upon my clients at mediations involving the death of a loved one:

"We are not putting a value of your son's life, we are discussing the value of this particular lawsuit. There is a big difference."
The bottom line truth is that the value of any death case based on negligence in Maryland is generally limited by Maryland's cap on non-economic damages plus any economic losses that can be established at trial.

In my opinion, the value of most wrongful death claims in Maryland is at least the applicable cap on damages plus any proven economic losses. Of course this value can change if liability is in dispute, if there is limited insurance coverage, or, in extremely rare circumstances if punitive damages can be established and collected.

A few things additional things to consider:

1. The value of wrongful death claims in Maryland is limited by tort reform. Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages. For personal injury cases such as car accidents and slip and falls, the cap is approximately $755,000.00 for any single claim, and the cap is about $1,132,500.0 for all wrongful death claims with 2 or more beneficiaries. Therefore, the amount that can be recovered in any wrongful death case is limited to economic losses sustained plus the cap.

In 2005 there was a special legislative session held, and additional tort reform was passed further limiting non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases that result in death. For medical malpractice cases in Maryland, the cap on non-economic damages for claims arising after 1/1/12 is $710,000.00 for an individual claim, and $887,500.00 for all wrongful death claims.

2. Insurance Coverage. Often times, the value of a wrongful death claim is limited by the amount of insurance coverage the "at fault" party has. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer is important because we are trained to try to identify additional theories of liability and additional defendants which can trigger additional insurance coverage. For more information about this, see an Article I wrote for other attorneys titled Not so Fast...Don't Accept A Low Policy Limits Settlement Offer For Your Catastrophically Injured Client. DOCKG Summer 08trialreparticle.pdf


3. When a person dies in Maryland, multiple claims arise. The estate of the person who dies can bring a survival action on behalf of the individual for funeral expenses, economic losses and pain and suffering that the decedent suffered between injury and death. This survival claim is brought by the Personal Representative of the Estate of the person who died. In addition to the survival claim, the spouse, children and parents of the deceased person each have an individual "wrongful death claim." These "Maryland Wrongful Death Claims" are statutory claims governed by Section 3-904 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code.

4. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Maryland is 3 years from the date of death. There is a statutory exception to this rule is for "occupational disease" contracted in the workplace (e.g. asbestos cases). In those cases the statute of limitations can be extended to the shorter of 10 years from the date of death or within 3 years of the date when the cause of death was discovered. TO BE SAFE, ASSUME THAT THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR ANY MARYLAND WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM IN 3 YEARS FROM THE DATE OF DEATH.

5. Choice of Law Can Have A Huge Impact On Case Value. If a Maryland resident dies as a result of a wrongful act that occurs in another State, the Maryland Court will apply the law of that State. This is important because Maryland's neighboring States-Washington, D.C. and Virginia-do not have a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases (note: Virginia does have a cap on damages in Medical Malpractice cases). A good wrongful death attorney can help determine whether there are any ways to get around Maryland's cap on non-economic damages by either filing in another state or getting the Maryland Courts to apply another state's substantive law.

6. Punitive Damages: It is nearly impossible to get punitive damages in a wrongful death case based on negligence in Maryland. Generally speaking, the only way to get punitive damages in Maryland is to prove that the act that caused the death was intentional. A problem can arise because once a lawyer establishes that the negligent act was intentional, the liability carrier may take the position that there is no insurance coverage. Unlike many other states, punitive damages are extremely rare in Maryland.

Conclusion: When a loved one dies as a result of someone else's negligence in Maryland, it is important to discuss the legal actions with a personal injury lawyer familiar with Maryland's wrongful death law. The value of wrongful death cases in Maryland is often limited by Maryland's cap on non-economic damages, and by limited insurance coverage. Our job, as Maryland personal injury lawyers, is to help the families of those who lose a loved one to maximize the damages that they recover.

July 10, 2012

Buona Vita, Inc. Meat Recalled Because of Listeria Threat

The USDA Website announced on July 7, 2012 that NJ Company Buona VIta, Inc. is recalling over 324,000 pounds of frozen meat/chicken products because it may be contaminated with Listeria. If you or someone you love becomes sick or is injured because of food poisoning or contaminated food, our lawyers will give you a free telephone consultation to determine whether we can help you or not. Food poisoning lawsuits are generally brought as product liability claims. For more information about this particular beef recall due to possible food poisoning visit this USDA link/news announcement that "New Jersey Firm Recalls Various Frozen, Ready to Eat Meat and Pultry Products Due to Potential Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination."

July 6, 2012

Horrible Case of Child Neglect---So Sad.

The Washington Post has reported that A 2 year old foster child in Prince George's County, Maryland (Fort Washington area) was apparently beaten to death by a 12 year old boy. The child who was killed name is Aniyah Batchelor and her biological mother is Stephany Cunningham. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephany Cunningham, Aniyah's father and the other friends and family of Aniyah.

This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. When a parent has to place their child in foster care, it is the responsibility of the State/County Officials and the foster parents to make sure that the child is in a safe and supervised environment. The foster parents were apparently not home at the time of the incident. Did they really live a 2 year old child unsupervised?? This makes no sense. Sometimes, in my opinion, County officials and judges are too quick to remove children from their natural parents and place them with foster parents. Sometimes removal can occur because of a crazy circumstance or a single accident which, quite frankly, can happen anywhere. But when a child is placed in foster care, County Officials better be darn sure that the foster family is going to provide a safe and loving environment for the child.

Aniyah's biological parents should strongly consider hiring an attorney to investigate a civil lawsuit against county and state officials and possibly even the foster family. It is important that an INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION be done, and that Aniyah's parents do not rely on State/County investigations because they could be biased in such a way so as to make it seem like County/State officials did nothing wrong. An attorney would likely advance the cost of any such investigation to get to the bottom of what happened here. Aniyah's biological parents also should know that there are strict notice deadlines for claims against counties, the state and local governments. Proper statutory notice would need to be given to the county/local governments within 180 days, and proper notice to the State within 1 year. These deadlines are in addition to the 3 year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Our law firm, Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC would take on a case like this on a contingent fee basis which means that there would be no attorney fee if there was no recovery, and our firm would advance the costs of the case. We can be reached at 888-213-8140.

Those who were responsible for this incident should be held accountable, and if this was not a proper foster care placement then those who dropped the ball should lose their job and face criminal charges for neglect.