Articles Posted in News Stories

A plaintiffs’ lawyer in Chicago has filed a ridiculous misguided wrongful death lawsuit blaming Facebook for a driver’s failure to pay proper attention to the road, causing her to hit a 70-year-old pedestrian who was on the side of the road after being involved in a minor traffic accident.

On liability, the Plaintiffs have a good smoking gun. Assuming the facts in the lawsuit are true, the Defendant driver updated her Facebook page at 7:54 a.m., the same time that the decedent made a 9-1-1 call for help.

This is great evidence against the Defendant driver. But, clearly, Facebook is no more to blame than a radio station playing terrible music, causing a driver to divert their attention to turning the station.

After a deposition in a Maryland accident case, parties have the right to review and make changes to their deposition testimony. The court reporter sometimes makes mistakes, the witness sometimes talks too fast to be clearly understood, or the witness just got it wrong. In most accident cases, when a witness says the car was going north, there is a 50% probability the witness meant south.

But here is one for the ages. In a Florida case, the witness’ errata sheet was 63 pages long and included 868 changes to her deposition.

The South Florida Lawyers have a good blog post on the case and the sanctions imposed against the Plaintiff’s lawyers that total nearly $400,000.

The CDC reports that Maryland is 9th in the nation in the percentage of people who report they always wear a seat belt. Oregon is first, which is surprising because the study also found that seat belt use among rural drivers is much lower than usage in urban and suburban areas. So whatever Oregon is doing, we should be copying them.

Ninth is not bad. But why can’t Maryland be first? Couldn’t someone start some sort of campaign? Nothing like competition to bring about the best results. The fact that seat belts reduce car accident deaths is underscored by this study: seat belts reduce the risk of death in car accidents by 45-50%.

Wearing a seat belt may become more and more important if oil prices continue to rise. Oil prices so far have not led Americans to buy more fuel-efficient but less safe vehicles. Oil is now at $93 a barrel. If it goes to $150, as some have predicted, we will see $5 to $6 per gallon at the pump and it will cause people to buy smaller cars. If cars will get smaller, they need to build safer small cars and we need to improve our driving habits or the recent improvements in the number of car crash fatalities will diminish.

The New Mexico Supreme Court came out with an interesting opinion in a very complicated case involving an Allstate lawyer’s attempt to get a recovery against Allstate for the future money Allstate would have paid her as its attorney. Huh? It gets crazier than that, this is actually the fifth written opinion on this case. Incredibly, the lawyer got a $1.8 million recovery against Allstate from a jury. But, alas, the New Mexico high court says not so fast (fast being relative, these events started 13 years ago).

It is too much to summarize, but you can find the opinion here.

Allstate does not like plaintiffs seeking compensation for their injuries. Unless, of course, Allstate is the plaintiff seeking compensation for its injuries. Accordingly, Allstate has filed suit against Toyota for compensation for payments it has made for accident and injury claims caused by the now infamous unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Do I blame Allstate for filing a lawsuit when it thinks it has a claim? Of course not. In fact, the claim is ironically very creative. But I think Allstate has a worldview that we need less creative lawsuits… unless it has one to bring.

The Baltimore Sun is covering personal injury wrongful death accident trials. Super. Here is how the article begins: “A $100 million civil trial opened Thursday with attorneys contending that Baltimore police officers purposely drove erratically while transporting a suspect, leading to the man’s death.”

The writer is telling the readers $100 million for a reason. It lets us know…absolutely nothing. It is beyond impossible for the plaintiff to actually receive this amount of money, given the cap we have in Maryland which may limit the verdict to less than 1% of the recovery (depending on the amount of economic damages and whether there was pain and suffering before death). Even with the best possible “the tragic victim’s family and next door neighbors all sat on the jury” outcome.

Using $100 million just serves to confuse readers who think there really is the potential for jackpot justice of this magnitude in every case.

I’m going to post today the type of blog post I hate most: “There was an accident today on….” But this one is different because of the scope of the tragedy. CNN reports that ten people were killed in a single truck accident in Kentucky.

The truck apparently went across the median on Interstate 65 in Hart County and hit an 18 passenger van, reportedly a family of Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa.

Just an unbelievable tragedy that underscores in a meaningful way the risks we take when we get on the road with these big rig trucks. This case is a single tragedy but, statistically, over 11 people will die in other truck accidents today.

Certainly, State Farm is a major player in the auto accident insurance market share in Maryland, getting barely nudged out of the top spot by GEICO. According, Maryland accident lawyers see plenty of State Farm cases… over and over again. State Farm is not a bad company. They have quality accident lawyers in Maryland and good adjusters. In fact, the only issue our Maryland accident lawyers differ with State Farm over typically is the value of individual accident cases. The problem is, of course, is that value is the key ingredient in Maryland accident cases.

Our Maryland car accident lawyers lift up the veil behind State Farm in Maryland and explain some important details worth knowing in attempting to achieve a settlement with State Farm in the Baltimore-Washington area. Click on the preceding link for our attorneys’ analysis of State Farm.

 

I really find this interesting:

Progressive Insurance announced the availability of insurance protection for pets in automobiles. The announcement was colored as a promotional move to entice new customers. I just about busted a gut when I heard about it. The fact of the matter is that insurance actuary tables reveal that by percentage, autos with pets riding in them have fewer and less destructive collisions than automobiles without pets in them. George Soros doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about your pet. It’s all about his own bottom line. In fact, if those same actuary tables showed beyond a doubt that natural blondes had fewer auto collisions than the rest of us, hair color would be a determining factor in calculating your insurance premium and natural blonds would get preferred rates. It’s that simple.

What a cynical view of the insurance industry! Yet, so accurate.

The New York Times has an article on how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chose not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the relationship between cell phones and car accidents. Why? Higher-ups at the NHTSA claim that the motivating force was concerns about angering Congress. I’m sure this may be what the NHTSA officials were told, but the reason for the information being withheld is that the agency was sticking to its mission of gathering safety data, not lobbying states. Doesn’t this sound more like the Bush administration to you than it does Congress?

Apparently, the data showed that hands-free headsets did not eliminate car accidents, because cell phone conversation was what causes the distraction, not just the holding of the cell phone. To date, no state has banned entirely the use of cell phones while driving.

I’ve never seen data estimating how many Maryland car accidents are caused by cell phone usage. But I think the Maryland legislature should look at this study and consider what our law should be in Maryland on cell phone usage while driving a car. Cell phone use is still on the rise and Maryland accident lawyers already have enough business.