Articles Posted in Court Procedure

danger.jpgThe Maryland Court of Appeals, earlier this week, overturned the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, finding that the Judge erred by failing to instruct the jury on the issue of Assumption of Risk in a personal injury trial.

Our Annapolis Maryland Injury Attorneys have years of experience representing those who have been injured by the negligence of others.

In S&S Oil v. Jackson, the Plaintiff sought personal injury damages as a result of injuries she claimed she sustained while stepping on an uneven flooring surface in a gasoline service station undergoing renovation. The service station’s defense was based in part of the allegation that the Plaintiff was contributorily negligent and that the Plaintiff assumed the risk of injuries.

At trial, the station owner testified that there was orange or red caution tape across part of the construction area and a “Watch Your Step” sign somewhere in the immediate vicinity. The Plaintiff testified that she did not see either the caution tape or the warning sign and that she assumed the floor surface was level.

Traditionally, at the close of evidence, the jury is read jury instruction, including an instruction on the issue of Assumption of Risk, if the trial testimony has generated the issue. The most recent jury instruction for Assumption of Risk, as published in the Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions, Fourth Edition, reads as follows:

A Plaintiff cannot recover if the plaintiff has assumed the risk of injury. A person assumes the risk of an injury if that person knows and understands the risk of an existing danger or reasonably should have known and understood the risk of an existing danger, and voluntarily chooses to encounter the risk.

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gavel.jpgGovernor Martin O’Malley issued a proclamation today enacting the results of November’s Election on Constitutional Amendments, effectively increasing the amount in controversy necessary for a party to seek a jury trial.

At the Brassel Alexander, our attorneys represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases, who have been injured by another party’s negligence in Annapolis, Baltimore and throughout the State of Maryland.

The Constitutional Amendment increases to $15,000 the amount that must be in controversy for a party to seek a jury trial in civil actions. Under the previous law, the limit was $10,000.

Keeping a case in district court is frequently beneficial to plaintiffs, since circuit court cases frequently require expenses such as expert witnesses and depositions. District Court discovery is less formal and is often handled in writing.

In a case where a Plaintiff has sustained an injury, but damages are not permanent or severe, it often makes sense for a Plaintiff to ask for damages consistent with the limits of the District Court’s jurisdiction.
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