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When someone is involved in a Maryland accident due to another person’s negligence, they may consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. There are many procedural rules that must be followed when pursuing a case of this nature. One of the initial issues a potential plaintiff must consider before filing a lawsuit is whether they are in compliance with Maryland’s statute of limitations.

Chemical PlantIn Maryland, a plaintiff’s claim must be filed within three years of the date the claim “accrues.” In many cases, the case “accrues” when the accident occurs; however, “accrual” is actually a complex legal term that is often the subject of much litigation. This is where Maryland’s discovery of harm rule comes into play.

Maryland Discovery of Harm Rule

While accrual may refer to the date when the plaintiff’s injury actually occurred, this is not necessarily the date of the accident. This situation may arise when the plaintiff’s injury could not have reasonably been discovered until sometime after the accident. In these cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until the injury was discovered.

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Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving the question of whether a man who died while on a horseback-riding excursion assumed the risks involved with the activity. Ultimately, the court concluded that the type of accident in which the man was involved was the type that is commonly associated with horseback riding. The court determined that the man assumed these inherent risks by agreeing to participate in the activity, and therefore his loved ones could not hold the company that provided the ride legally responsible for his death.

Horseback RidingThe case illustrates an important legal issue for Washington, D.C. personal injury victims who have agreed to participate in what can be considered a dangerous activity.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving wife of a man who died while on a horseback-riding excursion that was provided by the defendant resort. On the day of the accident, the plaintiff’s husband joined about 20 others for a horseback ride. Prior to embarking on the ride, the man signed a release of liability indicating that he was aware that horseback riding presents certain risks, including falling off the horse, and that when these accidents occur, they can result in serious injuries or death.

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Recently, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether a dog owner could be held liable for injuries caused by her dog in a public dog park. The court ultimately held that, under the state’s strict liability statute, the warning sign posted outside the dog park was not sufficient to preclude liability. Thus, the court reversed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

Dog ParkThe case presents an interesting issue for Washington, D.C. dog bite victims because, although Washington, D.C. does not employ a strict liability analysis in dog bite cases, courts will consider similar factors to those discussed in the case below when weighing the negligence of the parties.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a volunteer at a local dog park. Prior to volunteering, the plaintiff signed a release waiver with the owner of the dog park, indicating that she was aware of the possible injuries that could occur while volunteering in the park. Additionally, outside the dog park was a warning sign, explaining that anyone who enters the dog park does so at their own risk.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case discussing under which circumstances punitive damages are appropriate for a jury to consider awarding to an accident victim. While the case arose in another state court, it is illustrative to accident victims in that it shows the type of factual scenario necessary to sustain punitive damages in a Washington, D.C. dog bite case.

Dog WalkerThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was walking her son’s five-pound Yorkshire terrier to the neighborhood dog park. When the plaintiff arrived at the park, she saw that the defendant was inside the fenced-in park with her two dogs, a 75-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback and a 40-pound Beagle/Lab mix.

Apprehensive to let her son’s small dog inside the park with the much larger dogs belonging to the defendant, the plaintiff asked the defendant if she would be leaving the park soon. The defendant did not respond verbally but shrugged her shoulders. A few minutes later, the defendant began to leash her dogs to exit the park.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a motorist who was injured in a car accident while riding in the car of an acquaintance. The case required the court to determine if the insurance company could refuse to cover the accident based on an argument that the driver was using his vehicle as a “public or livery conveyance.” Ultimately, however, the court concluded that was not the case and found in favor of the plaintiff. The case is important for Washington, D.C. car accident victims because it illustrates a common exception in many insurance policies.

Taxi CabPublic or Livery Conveyance

Insurance is designed to cover the costs of an accident. However, the policy language governs which types of accidents are covered. Many insurance policies have a “public or livery conveyance” exception, meaning when the driver is using the vehicle to transport people or goods for money. For example, an accident involving a taxi-cab may trigger this exception.

The Facts of the Case

One day, the plaintiff offered a ride to an older woman who was walking into town. The plaintiff had previously provided the woman with rides into town for $7. This time, however, the woman did not reach out to the plaintiff in advance; he just noticed she was walking as he drove past and stopped to see if she wanted a ride.

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Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case presenting an interesting issue for those who have a child who has been injured in a Maryland slip-and-fall accident. The case required the court to determine if a parent’s responsibility to keep their child from playing on and around the heavy metal stanchions precluded the defendant store owner from being held liable. Ultimately, the court concluded that the parents did have a responsibility to protect their children and keep them from playing on the stanchions.

Espresso MachineThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs visited the defendant coffee shop with their two sons. After placing their order, the family went upstairs to use the restroom. As they were exiting the store, the parents heard one of their sons screaming. As they turned around, they saw that a metal stanchion had fallen on their son’s hand.

The young boy’s finger ultimately had to be amputated, and the plaintiffs filed a premises liability lawsuit against the coffee shop, claiming that the shop failed to maintain a safe area for customers and that minor children would not be able to recognize the dangers of the stanchions.

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When someone is injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, they may be able to secure compensation for their injuries through a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit. However, due to the complex nature of these lawsuits, there are often multiple experts involved. Often, these experts are called to establish the element of causation.

SurgeryCausation in a medical malpractice case is a critical element that must be established by the plaintiff. In order to successfully prove causation, a plaintiff must present some testimony establishing that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, it will not be enough for the plaintiff to establish that the defendant medical professional was negligent; it must also be shown that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. A recent case illustrates the consequences one plaintiff suffered after failing to connect the dots in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff had a laparoscopic hysterectomy performed by the defendant doctor. During the surgery, the defendant perforated the plaintiff’s bowel, and despite checking for any injuries before finishing the surgery, he did not notice the perforation. After the surgery, the plaintiff was experiencing abdominal pain and difficulty urinating.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an important issue that comes up often in Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuits. The case required the court to discuss the plaintiff’s own knowledge of the hazard that caused his injuries, and whether the plaintiff’s knowledge of the hazard should defeat his claim against the defendant. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff should have known about the dangers involved in moving a piece of broken glass, and it dismissed his claim.

Broken GlassThe Facts of the Case

The defendant was a homeowner who hired the plaintiff to perform some handyman work around his home. The defendant asked the plaintiff to remove a mirror from the basement that had been glued to the wooden framing along the wall. The defendant and the plaintiff decided the best way to remove the mirror would be to use a pry bar to pry the mirror off the wooden boards.

As the plaintiff pried the mirror from the boards, the mirror broke into several sharp pieces. The plaintiff was moving the glass shards out to the trash when the glass sliced his wrist, severing his ligaments.

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Aside from providing students with an education, Washington, D.C. schools have a very important job in ensuring that students are safe during the day. When a school administration fails to take adequate precautions to provide a safe environment for students, and a student is injured as a result, the school may be held civilly liable for the injuries sustained by the student through a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit.

ScissorsThat being said, since schools provide a government function, they may be entitled to official government immunity in some cases. A recent case illustrates how one court analyzed a student’s failure-to-supervise case that was brought against school administration.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a student at the defendant school. One day, the plaintiff was waiting in the school’s auditorium for school to begin with approximately 70 other students. One teacher was assigned to supervise the students as they ate breakfast and waited for the morning’s classes to begin.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a student who died while the teacher was out of the room. The case required the court to determine if the teacher – acting as an official government employee – was entitled to immunity. Finding that the school’s policy regarding the supervision of students left room for the exercise of discretion, the court determined that the teacher was entitled to immunity and dismissed the plaintiffs’ appeal.

ClassroomThe case is important for Washington, D.C. personal injury plaintiffs because it illustrates the type of analysis in which courts engage when reviewing cases filed against a government official, employee, or agency.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who died while attending school. According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the boy fell to the ground while roughhousing with another student. At the time, the teacher had stepped out of the classroom and was not present. However, she asked a teacher in a neighboring room to keep an eye on the students before she stepped out.

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