Recent Articles

Maryland’s Horrendous Law Capping Damages

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the ridiculous law in Virginia that limits the amount of money medical malpractice victims may receive for their injuries. (This law caps “damages.”) But I’ll tell you a secret about the damages caps in Virginia: in some ways, they are much fairer than they are in Maryland.

To be clear, they are not fairer in medical malpractice cases. However, in other kinds of personal injury cases–car crash cases, premises liability cases, truck collision cases, elder abuse cases, and so on–the damages caps in Virginia are significantly fairer. In fact, in some ways, the damages caps in Maryland are some of the least fair in the nation.   

Could this really be true?

Could it, considering the Maryland legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic? (There are two Democrats for every one Republican in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.)

It is true.

Individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries might find it unfortunate that they were injured if they were injured because of someone else’s negligence; they may find it especially unfortunate if they were injured in Maryland.

I’ll tell you why.

Maryland caps the amount injured plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cover losses like the loss of the enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Maryland law caps recovery for non-economic damages to only $845,000. (The cap increases by $15,000 every year.)

Imagine: you’re driving a hatchback, you’re stopped in traffic, and suddenly you get hit from behind–obliterated–by a big SUV. You get medical treatment, of course. But after all the treatment you receive, a doctor tells you that you’ll have severe pain for the rest of your life and she recommends you use a wheelchair.

Activities you used to love, like running every morning and playing a round of golf with your friends on weekends, are now off limits to you. You feel like you’re a burden on your family. You’ll likely live another 40 years.

Now, consider someone gives you a check for $845,000 in exchange for the severe pain, the mental anguish, and the loss of your enjoyment of life. That check would, spread over 40 years, equal about $20,000 a year.

Who in their right mind would consider that amount to be fair?

Make no mistake about it: none of Maryland’s neighboring states limit non-economic damages in all personal injury cases–not DC, not Delaware, not Virginia, not New Jersey, not New York, not Pennsylvania. In fact, only 10 other states in the nation have such a cap on non-economic damages: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Maryland is an outlier.

The Democratic legislature ought to end the caps on non-economic damages, bringing Maryland in line with the vast majority of states and all of its neighbors.

The Most Common Mechanical Failures of Large Trucks

Tractor trailers, due to their heaviness, are safer for their occupants but more hazardous for the rest of us. In the US, each year, there are around 500,000 trucking accidents, and about 5,000 people die in them. While some of these accidents are caused by errors truck drivers make, many of the accidents are caused by trucks’ mechanical failures. What are the two most common failures that lead to accidents?  

In 2010, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conducted research with the goal of determining the statistical association between the mechanical condition of large trucks and those trucks getting into accidents. The research used a large set of data from the US government’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), which provided a “critical reason” variable (a variable that records the specific driver, vehicle, or environmental reason for the precipitating event in the accident). The trucks in the data set were all in a truck accident. Inspection results were available for 1,001 of the 1,123 medium and heavy trucks in the LTCCS crash file. The researchers examined those 1,001 trucks.

Notably, the researchers found that over one third of the trucks involved in the study would have been placed out of service had they been inspected prior to the crash.

Braking System

Because a faulty braking system may weaken a driver’s efforts to stop or slow down to avoid a crash, it may not surprise you to learn that the brake system accounts for the highest percentage of out-of-service vehicle conditions. (Out-of-service condition are certain violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that must be corrected before the truck may be driven.)

When brakes stop working, the consequences may be catastrophic. If you have been injured in an accident involving brake failure, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.

Lighting System

Falling far behind braking systems, lighting system issues (e.g., issues involving head lamps, marker and identification lights, tail lamps, etc.) account for the second highest percentage of out-of-service conditions.

Other Mechanical Issues Worth Noting

Other mechanical issues that lead to accidents include issues with

  • steering,
  • tires,
  • wheels,
  • coupling, and
  • cargo securement.

If you’ve been in a truck accident, your accident may have been the result of driver negligence, but it also may have been the result of a mechanical condition. My firm can review your case and help you determine the specific causes and the parties that may be liable. I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

Knock-On Effects of a Lung Injury in a Car Accident

The lungs are fragile, and when you suffer a lung injury–whether it be a punctured lung, a collapsed lung, a chemical burn injury, or a smoke inhalation injury–the physical damage to your lungs may be severe. But it would be an error to think that the physical damage to the lungs is the only injury you need to worry about. This would be an error because lung injuries often have serious second-order and third-order effects.

Second-order effects include, as a result of not being able to breathe well, lower physical activity level (e.g., difficulty with using the telephone, shopping, preparing meals, doing housework, laundering clothes, transportation, taking medications, and managing money). And, according to researchers, lower amounts of physical activity can lead to symptoms of depression. Researchers have noted that depressive symptoms are relatively persistent in victims of acute lung injury.

Further, noting a third-order effect, the researchers noted that depressive symptoms themselves pose a risk for subsequent impairment in physical function.

It is often, and certainly in the case of lung injury victims, a mistake to assume that the physical damage initially incurred from an accident is the only injury that will result. Injuries, like acute lung injuries, often have knock-on effects, and a acute lung injury can have lasting consequences, holding a victim back for years.

To overcome a severe lung injury, a victim needs the financial resources to get proper medical care–resources which might be gained by way of suing the party responsible for the injury.

If you have suffered a lung injury in auto accident in Maryland, I recognize that you may have questions about your legal options. Well, if you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

What Is the “No-Zone” of a Truck?

While not all truck accidents can be categorized as “no-zone” accidents, it is important to know what a no-zone is, because knowing a truck’s no-zones not only promotes safety, but also helps elucidate why there are so many truck accidents.

A no-zone is a blind spot for the truck driver.

There are four major no-zones: the side no-zone on the left and right sides of the truck, the front-of-the-cab no zone, the behind-the-truck no zone, and the no-zone within the truck’s turning radius.  

Let’s look at each of these no-zone areas.

In Front of the Cab

The most overlooked no-zone area is in front of the cab. Since cabs are elevated high above other drivers, the trucker may not see a small car directly before it. Drivers should always make sure they can see the entire truck cab in their mirrors before merging in front of a truck.

Side No-Zones 

These no-zone areas are on the side of the truck. Generally, if you can’t see the trucker in his or her side-view mirror, they can’t see you. To avoid a side no-zone, drivers should avoid driving for a lengthy time beside a truck.

Rear No-Zone

This no-zone area is behind the truck. Because truckers do not have rear-view mirrors to see behind the truck, they must rely on their side-view mirrors. It’s important not to drive too closely behind a truck.

Right-Turn No-Zone

Making a right turn in a big truck requires the truck driver to swing far left and then cut back hard to the right. When truckers turn, they place smaller cars on both sides at risk of a collision. Further, because a truck driver’s side-view mirrors are not angled to see traffic while the driver is making the turn, there is an increased risk that a car–or even worse, a cyclist or pedestrian–will be caught inside the turn.

You may have questions about these no-zone areas and no-zone accidents. Well, if you or a loved one has been in a truck accident and you still have questions, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call me. I can answer your legal questions. This is something I do, and I would love to chat with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

What Damages Are In Maryland?

In personal injury cases that start when a victim is injured by a wrongdoer who does not intend to cause injury, the victim has to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for his or her injuries. Let’s imagine you’re the victim here. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted[1] in a negligent manner. Another thing you must establish is that the wrongdoer’s negligence caused your injuries. Finally, you must prove that you sustained “damages.” In past posts, we looked at how to show negligence and how to show causation. Here, let’s focus in on damages.

Damages in personal injury cases can range from a couple hundred dollars for an emergency room visit to many millions of dollars for catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. Calculating damages can be a very complicated process, so you should seek the assistance of an attorney.

You must show that you suffered actual losses due to the accident and your injuries. Common losses include the following:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income or benefits
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering.

If you have suffered injury and believe another party has acted negligently, you should not delay in consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney in Maryland. Damages can be complicated and a qualified attorney will know how to sufficiently gather and present evidence of negligence in court so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

I realize you may have questions or concerns about your matter, which occurred here in Maryland. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, but still have questions, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.


[1] Sometimes the negligent behavior is a failure to act, an omission, like a doctor failing to diagnose a condition that he or she should have diagnosed.