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MARYLAND TRIAL LAWYERS
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What Is PIP Coverage and Why You Should Have It

Published on Nov 14, 2018 at 7:22 pm in Car Accidents.

If you have been injured in a car accident, your auto insurance coverage is there to protect you and help you back on your feet. There are many different types of policies and coverages that may apply to your case and exact circumstances, but one type of coverage that may come into play is known as PIP coverage, or personal injury protection coverage.

Here’s what you need to know about PIP coverage and how it may apply to your insurance claim:

PIP Coverage and No-Fault Insurance

PIP coverage is commonly referred to as “no-fault insurance,” and will cover your expenses when you’re in a car accident that was caused by someone else. This includes accidents where you were a passenger in someone else’s car or if you’re riding a bike or walking and a car hits you.

5 Ways to Stop Mistakes from Happening in the E.R.

Published on Nov 8, 2018 at 7:05 pm in Medical Malpractice.

If you’ve sustained an injury and are waiting to be seen in the E.R., the last thing you’d expect is that a nurse, doctor, or medical technician may make a mistake and cause you harm. We expect medical professionals to treat us fairly and properly and to take the necessary actions to improve our health and well-being. Unfortunately, mistakes in hospital settings—including emergency room settings—do happen.

While there are a variety of explanations for these mistakes, there are never any excuses. Mistakes and errors in a hospital setting that cause harm should not occur. To avoid mistakes in the emergency room, it’s important to examine how they happen, what the consequences of them are, and what you can do as a patient to improve the care you receive.

How Do Negligent Hiring Procedures Help Encourage Truck Accidents?

Published on Oct 31, 2018 at 6:37 pm in Truck Accidents.

Truck drivers travel thousands of miles and spend countless hours on the road each year. Because of this, there are certain requirements in place to improve roadway safety and reduce the chances of crashes. Not all trucking companies, however, abide by these laws. Recent investigations have held trucking corporations under heavy scrutiny.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2016, over 4,500 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. Nearly 120,000 large trucks and buses were involved in collisions that resulted in injuries. These numbers are on the rise.

In order to understand why these events happen, you may benefit from understanding where trucking companies sometimes make mistakes. First, let’s go over the most common causes of truck accidents.

Negligent Companies Hire Negligent Drivers

While some truck accidents are related to inclement weather or defective parts, the majority are a result of human error. Below you’ll see some of the most common behaviors exhibited by truck drivers who end up in crashes.

Speeding. An accident can happen when a truck driver is operating their vehicle faster than the posted speed limit sign or too fast for the weather conditions. While truckers are generally aware of the dangers of speeding in such large vehicles, some may choose to do so because of pressing deadlines from their employers.

Aggressive Driving. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, failing to stop or yield, deliberately blocking attempts to pass, and ignoring traffic signs and signals.

Neglecting Road Laws. The road laws developed at the state and federal level are in existence for a reason. The laws are established to improve the safety of the roads. When truck drivers purposely neglect road signs, weight limit laws, or cargo protocols, they put themselves and other drivers at risk.

Distracted Driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents in the United States. Because truck drivers are on the road for long periods of time, they may get bored and decide to text or access social media on their phones, eat or drink, or watch television. In some cases, their minds may just wander.

Drunk Driving. While no one should get behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving a truck requires intense concentration at all times. Truck drivers who choose to drive drunk are especially dangerous because of the size of the vehicle they’re operating.

Improper Maintenance Routine. Because of how often they’re driven, tractor trailers need to be properly maintained. This includes examining the tires, checking the engine, changing the oil, and keeping log books so the maintenance is on record. When this isn’t completed, the trucks risk malfunctioning.

Service Hour Violations. Unfortunately, truck drivers are often overworked and tasked with meeting strict deadlines. Because of this, many choose to forgo resting regulations and drive longer than they should. Falling asleep behind the wheel can be deadly.

Hiring Laws for Trucking Companies

The FMCSA has specific guidelines in place in an attempt to ensure trucking companies only hire reliable drivers. In general, trucking employers are supposed to make sure the applicant has the proper commercial driving license and proper certifications and trainings, check the driving record for any past incidents, and screen medical history, drug use, and past criminal behavior. Unfortunately, some employers cut corners.

FMCSA has a comprehensive list of laws regarding trucking safety. Their laws establish guidelines for the company, driver, drug and alcohol testing, HazMat, hours of services, household goods, USDOT number, vehicle, and vehicle marking.

If you feel as though your legal matters after being involved in a truck accident aren’t going the way you want, we can help. Contact us today for more information.

5 Uncommon Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents

Published on Oct 23, 2018 at 5:36 pm in Car Accidents.

Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents each year. It’s easy for anyone to have their attention turned away from the road just long enough to force them collide with another car, person, or object. Most people are familiar with the major causes of distracted driving accidents, one of them being when drivers attempt to use their cell phones while driving. People may try to text, use social media, and/or talk on the phone, which makes them look away from the road and drive one-handed.

Other common causes of distracted driving accidents include eating or drinking and adjusting the radio/music. These actions usually reduce the driver’s control of the vehicle and make it likelier to get in a crash. But these aren’t the only ways a driver can be distracted. Here are some of the more uncommon ways drivers of passenger vehicles and riders of motorcycles get distracted from their task of keeping themselves and others on the road safe:

What You Need to Know About Maryland’s Caps on Noneconomic Loss

Published on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:50 pm in Car Accidents.

Following an accident, you may not be immediately thinking about how much your injury is going to cost you or what you can do about it. Instead, you’re probably focusing on your recovery. While this is not a bad thing, it’s important to know what you will likely have to deal with the financial consequences of your injury before you have the opportunity to fully recover.

When you do start to think about the costs, it’s likely you’ll worry about your medical expenses and lost wages. While you may be able to seek compensation for those calculable amounts, you should also keep in mind you may be eligible for damages regarding your pain and suffering. These are called noneconomic damages.

Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz Wins Appeal in Case Against Baltimore Medics

Published on Oct 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm in Firm News.

Claims against Maryland EMTs and paramedics for improper medical care are extraordinarily difficult due to a law known as the “Fire and Rescue Act” that providers emergency medical responders limited immunity from claims for medical negligence. In order to obtain recovery, the patient must present evidence that the first responders were guilty of “gross negligence.” Our courts have defined gross negligence as a conduct that represents a “wonton and reckless disregard for human life.” This is the same standard required in negligent homicide cases brought against criminal defendants who lack the intent to kill but whose conduct is so reckless as to expose them to liability for homicide should their conduct cause someone’s death.

Alan J. Belsky and Thomas X. Glancy, Jr. of the firm have now prevailed twice in such a case and are pleased to report the details of their hard-fought victories in the case of Estate of Butler v. Stracke.

Their first victory came in the form of a jury verdict against Baltimore City Fire Department EMTs Joseph Stracke and Paramedic Stephanie Cisneros against whom the jury awarded $3.7 million in March 2017. That verdict was overturned by Baltimore City Trial Judge Althea Handy who deemed the evidence of gross negligence insufficient despite the jury’s conclusion that the evidence was sufficient.

Their second victory came on October 1, 2018 when the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the trial judge’s decision and ordered that the jury’s verdict be reinstated. In so ruling, the appeals court found “substantial evidence of gross negligence. The court’s ruling is summarized below:

On March 2, 2011, Kerry Butler Jr. (Mr. Butler), a 28-year-old man, suffered a heart attack after waking up. As instructed, his wife, Crystal Butler (Ms. Butler), called 911 to report the event and seek emergency medical attention. When the medics arrived, Ms. Butler claimed they showed up without a medic bag or stretcher. They did not ask questions about Mr. Butler’s symptoms or medical history, and Butler was made to walk to the ambulance. The medics’ report contradicted the wife’s report.

Per the 911 call, the medics were aware they were being dispatched to respond to chest pain; however, they did not follow proper protocol and concluded Mr. Butler was stable in the ambulance. Mr. Butler was taken to Harbor Hospital, where he later suffered a heart attack and passed away. As a result, Mr. Butler’s estate filed a suit against the City and the medics involved, alleging gross negligence (i.e. acting with wanton and reckless disregard for others) due to their emergency response.

Should I Call a Lawyer Immediately Following a Car Crash?

Published on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm in Car Accidents.

After you’re involved in a car crash, there are many responsibilities you’ll need to take care of. You need to inform your insurance company of the accident, take care of your injuries, and start filing your accident claim if you choose to take legal action. You may be wondering if hiring a lawyer is your best chance of recovering damages. Here is some good information to know about when you should consider hiring a lawyer:

What Information is Included on a Maryland Police Accident Report?

Published on Oct 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm in Car Accidents.

A police report can play a major role in how your insurance company views your car accident claim. While police officers are not dispatched for every accident, they are sent when someone has been injured, when the accident is blocking traffic, when any of the drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the parties are fighting about what happened.

When the police officer arrives, they will talk with the involved parties, investigate and assess the accident scene, take photographs, talk to possible witnesses, and generate their report. The reports contain a variety of information; however, it’s important to understand that no two reports are the same. Every police department is likely to have their own form and their own way of generating the reports.

If you’ve been in an accident in Maryland, it’s important to understand how the information on the police accident report can affect your settlement offer. Let’s take a closer look at police accident reports in our state, so you have an idea what to expect in the event you’ve been in an accident.

Why Are Hospital/Nursing Home Falls So Common?

Published on Oct 3, 2018 at 5:39 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Unfortunately, falls are a common risk in hospitals and nursing homes. Elderly patients and residents face the risk of falling in a variety of situations – which can be related to medical malpractice and negligence in some cases. Because of this, it’s important to understand why these accidents happen so you can aid in the prevention of your elderly loved one falling.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3 million elderly people are treated in emergency rooms every year for fall-related injuries. Below you’ll find additional facts and statistics regarding falls in hospitals and nursing homes.

  • One in five falls results in serious injuries like broken bones or head injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients are hospitalized every year to treat fall injuries.
  • Between 50 percent and 75 percent of elderly patients suffer from nursing home falls each year.
  • Between 16 and 27 percent of nursing home falls occur due to environmental hazards, like inadequate lighting or slippery floors.
  • Approximately 1,800 elders die each year as a result of a traumatic fall.
  • In 2015, the medical costs associated with falls totaled more than $50 billion.

With those statistics in mind, let’s take a look at why these falling happen in hospitals and nursing homes.

Facts About Maryland’s New Enhanced Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Published on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm in Legal Information.

After an accident, the drivers involved are supposed to exchange contact and insurance policy information so they can inform their companies and work on getting their claim and compensation. But what happens if the other party doesn’t have car insurance?

While everyone is supposed to drive with insurance, there are many people who don’t. If you’re in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, your car accident claim may become more difficult than you first expected. Drivers have coverage for instances like this, but the insurance they get from their company usually depends on the uninsured or underinsured driver. Maryland has a new insurance policy to further help drivers in accidents with drivers who don’t have enough or any insurance at all.

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