Mostly, what I handle are negligence cases. "Negligence" is
a legal term which means simply, carelessness. It means failure to
use an ordinary amount of care. A few examples: The average
careful person doesn't drive drunk. The average person stops at a
stop sign, and then waits for a break in traffic before pulling
into traffic. A careless (or negligent) person drives up to the
stop sign and goes right through it, or turns into your path.
A. Automobile accidents
These cases are not so simple. It is important to have
a clear understanding of the law and the facts. In Maryland, there
are probably over 1000 appeals cases discussing automobile
accidents. If the cases were that simple, why would there be such
contention over what is the law?
Here are some examples
1.You are run off the road by a vehicle that speeds off
in the distance. You cannot identify that driver or that vehicle.
You are injured. Obviously, you have no case since you have no
defendant, right??? Wrong. If you have insurance in Maryland (and
in many other states) you have something called "uninsured
motorist" coverage. This means that your own insurance company must act as
if it insured the fleeing motorist. And, in Maryland, the insurance company
cannot raise your rates, or cancel you, or do anything else bad to
you when you make this type of claim.
2.Another driver crosses the center line and strikes
your vehicle, which is stopped at a red light. You are injured.
It turns out that the other driver had a seizure just before the
accident, and this is why he crossed the line. You lose this case,
because the law says that if the other driver had a sudden and
unexpected medical condition, the accident is not his fault. But you
win if you can show that this other driver had a seizure problem for years
and had failed to take his medication.
3.Sometimes you are injured in a multi-vehicle
accident, and there is a fight as to who caused the accident.
4.Sometimes there is no question that you should win
the case, but there is a big question as to whether a certain
injury is due to the accident, or due to a pre-existing condition.
Complicated medical questions arise, and you should have a lawyer with
experience in dealing with doctors and complex issues.
5. Many people carry insurance on their own vehicles
that can cover some of their medical bills. This needs to be
NOTE: I also handle automobile accident cases for insurance
companies. In other words, I defend these cases. I think that
this helps me get better settlements. This is because since I know
what insurance companies are like, and how they think, I know how
to best present your case to the insurance company. I know what
will impress them, and how to prove your case to them. This can
only help. (See insurance defense cases in this website).
B. Other personal injury cases
Slip and fall, trip and fall, assaults, improper
security, lead paint poisoning, product liability claims, etc.
There are many ways people are injured, and sometimes it is due to
the negligence of another person. Homeowner's policies and general liability
policies cover these types of claims. In essence, if you are injured and you
think someone might be responsible, other than yourself, you really ought
to call a lawyer and have the lawyer answer this question: Who is legally
responsible for these injuries?
C. Workers' Compensation cases
Unfortunately, workers can be hurt on the job or sustain occupational
diseases. In Maryland, such a worker is usually entitled to have the
employer pay for medical treatment, wage loss, and permanent impairment.
There are complexities in the law. You usually benefit from a lawyer, and
the legal fees are capped by the Worker's Compensation Commission and must
be approved by them.
D. Medical malpractice cases
Doctors and hospitals do wonderful things in our country, and
we have some of the best health care available in the world.
However, errors are made. These errors include misdiagnosis. For
example, I have a client now who is going to die from breast
cancer. Years ago she had a biopsy which was read as benign.
Seven years passed, and she began to have leg pain. This was
worked up and found to be metastatic cancer, spread from the
breast. The slides from the earlier biopsy were reviewed and it
turns out the doctor who read the slides missed an area of cancer
which was so slow growing that she had a 90% chance of cure had it
been interpreted correctly in the first instance.
In Maryland, doctors are not liable merely because a patient
worsens following treatment. You have to prove that there was
negligence (fault) on the part of the doctor. This means that the
doctor departed from accepted standards of practice. It can only
be proven through expert testimony. This is expensive. Remember, just
because you are worse after treatment doesn't mean the doctor is liable.
Also, doctors are not liable for the reasonable judgment call. For example,
the flu is going around. You have symptoms. You go to the doctor. He thinks
you have the flu. Turns out you have some weird Carribean virus that strikes
one in 10 million persons. The symptoms are identical to the flu symptoms.
The doctor was wrong. But he wasn't negligent.
Lack of informed consent: These are real tough cases to prove.
The Plaintiff (that's the person suing) has to prove that 1) he was not
advised of the material risks and complications of the procedure
and 2) that he would not have undergone the procedure if advised
and 3) that the average reasonable person would not have undergone
the procedure if told about the risks. It is easy to prove the
first two things. But, how do you prove the third? The Defendant
(that is the doctor) will say that he has offered this procedure to
500 people and they all have agreed to have it. How can you now
say, that a reasonable person would turn it down? I rarely see
good informed consent cases.
Please note that doctors and hospitals do not settle these
cases unless they are really convinced that they are going to lose. There is no
such thing as a nuisance case, where some insurance company will
just throw money at you.
E. Insurance Defense Cases
In addition to pursuing claims on behalf of persons who are injured, say
in automobile accident cases, I also handle the defense of these cases for
several insurance companies. I have done insurance defense work since 1984,
and I believe that handling cases as a Plaintiff's lawyer is
wonderful preparation for defending the cases, and vice versa. Not all claims
are meritorious. There are frequently issues relating to who is at fault, if
anyone, and whether certain damages are really from the accident. If you were
sued by someone claiming to have been injured by your negligent driving, you
would want a lawyer to defend the claim, and to make the other side prove that
you really were at fault, and that the injuries really were from the accident.
Usually, all of the expenses of the insurance defense attorney are paid by the
insurance company, and the insurance company retains the right to choose a lawyer
for you. I am honored that several insurance companies who I used to sue have
come to me and asked that I stop suing them, and, instead, start defending them.
I feel that defending these cases makes me better at pursuing them, since I can
understand both sides of the case from experience.
F. Cases I don't handle (and why I don't)
Why I don't is easy. The practice of law is very complicated,
and I want to do the best possible job I can for my clients. Every
year many new appellate cases are decided in all areas of the law.
The state legislature passes new laws in many areas of the law.
Congress passes new laws. The Federal courts decide new cases. It
is impossible to keep up with every change in every area of the
law. I don't want to do just a good job for my clients. I want to
do a great job.
Therefore, recognizing that I can't know everything about
everything, I just leave certain areas to others. A warning: Be
wary of any lawyer who says that he/she handles cases in every area
of the law. No one can do that competently. Can a doctor be a
cardiologist, a surgeon, an obstetrician, a pediatrician, a
podiatrist, a cancer specialist, and read x-rays too, and know
about advances in all of these areas of medicine? No way. For
years, the medical profession has recognized this. Doctors
specialize, and patients benefit. Some lawyers think they can do
everything, and they are just plain wrong.
I don't handle criminal cases, including bank robbery, murder,
rape, theft, assault, battery, arson, or any other case. I know
these people deserve lawyers. However, it isn't going to be me.
Once I defended a man for shoplifting. It was obvious to me that
he was guilty, but I guess I did a good job and the judge found him
not guilty. I didn't feel good after the case, so I just quit
doing criminal cases.
I don't handle divorce, child custody, and/or alimony. There
are lots of good lawyers who handle these cases, and people need
good lawyers. The law is really complicated. You need someone who
handles this stuff on a regular basis.
I don't handle bankruptcy cases. The bankruptcy code is
complicated. It goes on and on. Your money is at stake. Don't go
to anyone except someone who does this type of case all of the
I don't handle real estate cases, I don't handle wills (except for
really simple ones), estates or trusts, I don't do name changes, I don't do
corporate law and I don't do zoning.
I don't handle traffic tickets. (Mostly, you don't need a
lawyer, in my opinion, for speeding tickets, parking tickets, or
other minor traffic tickets.) You will benefit from a lawyer in
drunk driving cases, or serious traffic matters, like driving
If you have a case that I don't handle, you can e-mail me, and
I will recommend someone, if I know someone good. Or, you can
- Anne Arundel County Lawyer Referral Service - 410-280-6961
- Baltimore City Lawyer Referral Service - 410-539-3112
- Baltimore County Lawyer Referral Service -410-337-9100
Each lawyer referral service works a little differently, but,
basically they maintain a list of lawyers in various areas of the
law who will meet with you briefly (usually for free) to discuss
your problem. If you and the lawyer agree, the lawyer will handle
your case and you will pay the lawyer. You have to pay a minimal
fee (something like $25) to the lawyer referral service, which
covers their overhead, like telephone service and advertising.