Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a defendant grocery store’s claim that it could not be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because it did not have knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The case is important to Washington, D.C. accident victims as well because this type of defense commonly arises in Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accidents.

Grocery Store AisleThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was at a grocery store shopping for garden supplies when she slipped and fell in one of the store’s aisles. While the plaintiff did not notice anything on the floor initially, when she got up, she noticed that she had stepped in a puddle of water. Neither the plaintiff nor the store employee who came to assist her could locate the source of the water initially, but it was later determined that the water came from a carpet-cleaning machine kiosk.

The kiosk was owned and operated by the company that rented the machines. The agreement between the grocery store and the carpet-cleaning machine rental company allowed for the placement of the kiosk, and in return, the grocery store would be entitled to a share of the revenue brought in by the rentals. While other grocery stores with similar kiosks asked to be trained in how to operate the kiosks, this particular grocery store never asked to receive any training.

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Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a Virginia car accident case requiring the court to determine if the defendant insurance company was required to cover the costs of the plaintiffs’ injuries through the plaintiffs’ underinsured motorist (UIM) policy. Finding that the vehicle in which the plaintiffs were driving did not meet the definition of a “covered auto” under the policy, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ theory of liability and dismissed the case.

Signing a ContractThe Facts of the Case

A furniture company hired the plaintiffs as independent contractors to deliver a load of furniture. Normally, the furniture company used another company, but that company was unable to make the delivery, so the company asked the plaintiffs to make the delivery last-minute.

Due to the last-minute nature of the request, the plaintiffs did not have a vehicle available, so the furniture company allowed the plaintiffs to make the delivery using a truck that the company had rented. As the plaintiffs were making the delivery, another motorist struck the truck, killing one of the plaintiffs and seriously injuring the other.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an issue that is very important for Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs to understand. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a plaintiff’s late-filed medical malpractice case should be permitted to proceed despite its untimeliness because the defendant acted to cover up his potential liability.

Dentist's ChairUltimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s visit to another doctor who worked with the defendant to effectuate the defendant’s care plan did not provide the plaintiff with actual notice of the defendant’s malpractice. Thus, the plaintiff’s lawsuit was timely.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, who was suffering from serious dental issues, was a patient of the defendant dentist. The defendant created a care plan and, in March 2006, referred the plaintiff to a specialist who was to perform certain procedures, including placing dental implants.

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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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