Maryland Accident Insurance Policy Limits Information

October 3, 2011 by  
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According to a new Maryland law that took effect October 1, insurance companies can now be required to disclose the policy limits of coverage provided as a result of a Maryland automobile accident prior to a lawsuit being filed. However, there are specific steps that a Maryland lawyer must take to obtain this policy limits information. Read more

Distracted Driving Could Account for Up to 30% of Auto Accidents

July 18, 2011 by  
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According to the findings of a new study, more than a quarter of all auto accidents are likely caused by distracted drivers, who are often using cell phones and other electronic devices. Read more

Maryland Is Among Top 10 States for Seatbelt Use

January 14, 2011 by  
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Nine out of every 10 occupants of an automobile on Maryland roads buckles up, placing Maryland among the top 10 states for seatbelt compliance, according to a new federal study. Read more

Insurance for Maryland Auto Accidents Could See Increase If Legislation Passes

March 22, 2010 by  
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The Maryland House of Representatives is considering legislation that would raise the minimum required automobile insurance coverage in Maryland, providing much needed protection for motorists and pedestrians injured in Maryland auto accidents. Read more

Baltimore County Carbon Monoxide Law Expands Alarm Requirements

January 19, 2010 by  
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Landlords in Baltimore County have eight months to install carbon monoxide alarms in all units heated by fuel-burning equipment, according to a new law enacted last month. The law is designed to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in Baltimore-area apartments, which could result in severe and potentially life-threatening injuries for tenants. Read more

Maryland Hospital Infection Risk Will Be Reduced With Monitoring of Hand Washing

November 5, 2009 by  
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State health officials have unveiled a new program to lower the number of Maryland hospital infection cases through improved hand washing at hospitals across the state.

handwashing-225-190Teams of staff members at 45 of the state’s 47 hospitals will covertly monitor the hand washing practices of Maryland hospital staff in an effort to improve hand washing habits at hospitals statewide. The program, called the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, was made possible through $100,000 in federal stimulus money that was part of a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at lowering the rate of Maryland hospital infections.

Hand washing has been repeatedly identified as an excellent tool in reducing the rate of hospital infections, which would result in a reduction in the number of Maryland hospital infection lawsuits. The CDC reports that there are more than 2 million U.S. hospital infections acquired each year, leading to more than 90,000 deaths annually.

State officials say the program is not designed to penalize hospital staff spotted not undertaking the best hand washing practices. Instead, the program will gather data on hygiene practices at facilities across the state to help determine where hospital staff needs the most improvement in hand washing hygiene practices. Officials also hope that the program will raise awareness for hospital hand washing hygiene.

A number of health care organizations representing doctors and patients have gotten behind the initiative. Supporters say that the program costs very little to implement, but is likely to provide excellent results in combating hospital infections.

Maryland Texting While Driving Ban: Designed to Prevent Maryland Accidents

September 30, 2009 by  
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Maryland Text Messaging Ban

A new Maryland traffic law will go into effect tomorrow, banning text messaging while driving in an effort to reduce the number of Maryland accidents caused by distracted drivers.

The new law will make it illegal to type or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Being caught texting while driving in Maryland will be a misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $500. It will also be a primary driving offense, meaning that police will be able to pull people over and fine them if they suspect them of sending text messages.

Going into effect October 1, 2009, the new Maryland law allows sending messages to contact 911, and does not ban talking on the phone while driving. Playing games and using applications are not banned by the law either, and the law does not explicitly address e-mail, using twitter or updating Facebook, but their legality is up for interpretation and engaging in such activities likely carries the same distractions as text messaging.

The law is seen as a victory for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which seeks to have texting-while-driving bans in all 50 states by 2013. The law goes into effect just before AAA’s “Heads Up Driving Week.” from October 5 through October 11, which is designed to bring attention to driving behavior and encouraging distraction-free driving.

A recent study by Virginia Tech has found that truck accidents are 23 times more likely when a commercial driver is sending text messages while driving. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute looked at a number of different potential distractions for drivers of cars and trucks by adding cameras and instruments to the vehicles of drivers. Above any other distraction, text messaging truck drivers were putting themselves and others at the most risk.

The results were compiled from several driving studies conducted by the institute, and the collected data equaled about six million miles of driving. Heavy vehicle and truck drivers were 23.2 times more likely than a non-distracted driver to have a truck accident if they were texting, 6.7 times as likely to crash while reaching for, or using, an electronic device, and 5.9 times as likely to have an accident while dialing on a cell phone.

Drivers of light vehicles and cars were at much less risk of having a car accident, but still faced a 2.8 times greater risk of crashing while dialing a cell phone than a non-distracted driver and were 1.4 times more likely to crash while reaching for an object and 1.3 times as likely to have an auto accident while talking on the cell phone.

Researchers from the institute said that it was the tasks that drew the drivers’ eyes away from the road ahead of them that were the activities with the highest risk. Sending a text message took a driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a 6-second interval, which equates to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the road. The study found that just talking on a cell phone, which does not distract a driver’s eyes from the road, made little difference in the likelihood of an accident.

Baltimore City Lead Poisoning Recovery Act

March 16, 2009 by  
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UPDATE: Please note that House Bill 1156 died in committee and it is unclear whether it will be reintroduced in the next legislative session

This week, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider new legislation which would make it easier for individuals who were injured by elevated lead levels to obtain compensation through a Baltimore city lead paint lawsuit.

The Baltimore City Lead Poisoning Recovery Act, House Bill 1156, is designed to enable property owners and victims of lead poisoning in Maryland to file a lead paint lawsuit against the various manufacturers who used the additive in paint they sold under a “market-share liability” theory. This would allow Baltimore City lead poisoning victims to file a lawsuit, even in situations where it is impossible to identify the specific manufacturer who caused their injury.

According to an article in the Maryland Daily Record from March 6, 2009:

[Baltimore City Del. Samuel I. "Sandy"] Rosenberg’s proposal would require poisoned individuals or landlords suing to recover remediation costs and lost rent to show that the lead-pigment manufacturers listed as defendants made, produced marketed or sold their product in the relevant Baltimore area before the poisoning occurred. If a judge or jury finds for the plaintiff, damages would be apportioned among the lead-pigment manufacturers based on their share of the relevant market.

Supporters of Rosenberg’s measure say it would make it easier to recover damages because the plaintiffs could recover against manufacturers to the extent they contributed to the general risk of lead poisoning. Many plaintiff attorneys say it is nearly impossible in Maryland to recover damages in these cases because of the immense difficulty in proving that a specific paint caused the poisoning.

A similar bill was defeated last year by corporate lobbying groups, but that legislation would have allowed lead paint victims throughout the state to file lawsuits without identifying the specific manufacturer of the paint used in the property. The current legislation would only apply to Baltimore City, which has the largest number of reports of lead poisoning in Maryland, accounting for roughly 70% of the elevated lead level blood tests were found for the entire state in 2007.

In recent years, the overall number of Maryland lead poisoning cases are down, but problems associated with lead paint continue to cause substantial health issues in Baltimore City. If young children or infants inhaled lead paint dust or ingested paint chips that flaked off of the walls, it could lead to long term health issues throughout their life, including:

  • Brain Injury
  • Damage to the Nervous System
  • Seizures or Convulsions
  • Decreased Growth Rate
  • Mental Retardation
  • Coma
  • Death

BALTIMORE LEAD PAINT LAWYERS

If your child, a friend or family member have been diagnosed with elevated lead levels or lead poisoning in Maryland, request a free consultation and claim evaluation with our Baltimore Lead Poisoning Lawyers.

St. Joseph Hospital Legionnaires Disease

March 11, 2009 by  
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Patients and employees at Towson’s St. Joseph Medical Center have been warned not to use the hospital’s water supply after the presence of Legionnaires’ disease-causing bacteria was found in the hot water supply. Read more