Friday, January 29, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Attorney: What You Need to Know About Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

All over the United States, courts disagree about whether claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress should be recognized.  Many states choose not to recognize this type of claim unless there was a physical injury as well, or at least an impact.  Other states will allow a person to make this type of claim if they can show that their emotional distress resulted in a physical injury.  The courts further disagree on what signs or symptoms qualify as a physical injury.

Maryland has quite a permissive rule on claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Years ago, Maryland courts used to require a strict physical injury to result from the emotional distress.  Later, the modern rule was adopted which held that the “injury” resulting from the emotional distress could be a “mental state capable of objective determination.”  To succeed in a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim in Maryland, typically you need to show that the effect on the individual’s functioning was extremely severe, or in the nature of posttraumatic stress syndrome.

Virginia, on the other hand, requires strict proof of a physical injury or actual physical manifestation of emotional distress.  Virginia courts go further to require that the physical manifestation not be a typical or expected result of mental distress.  This means that things like anxiety attacks and uncontrollable crying do not qualify.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Lawyer: Important Steps to Remember for Safe and Responsible Driving

             The last week, Maryland drivers have been battling snow and ice on the roads.  As the mounds of snow begin to melt and everyone gets back into their normal driving routines, it is important to remember to drive responsibly.

    ·         Maintain your vehicle: All vehicles require regular service to keep the vehicle on the road longer and to prevent any safety concerns.  Important parts such as tires, brakes, lights, wipers, and fluid levels are crucial for driving safely on the road.  Without proper maintenance, your chances of getting into an accident are much higher.

    ·         Stay focused and keep distractions to a minimum:  it is extremely important to pay attention to the road in front of you as well as the other vehicles surrounding you.  Distractions such as cell phones, passengers in the car, and music can lead to an accident.  Do not text or talk on the phone while driving.
    ·         Avoid driving recklessly: The most common reckless driving behavior and leading cause for fatal accidents is speeding.  Speed limits are in place for one reason: safety.  When drivers go well above the speed limit, they have very little control over their vehicle.  Another form of reckless driving is tailgating.  We have all been stuck behind one of those cars that drives under the speed limit and you cannot get around them.  Many of us think the best thing to do is drive very close to their bumper because we think it will make them drive faster.  That simply is not safe at all because if that car stops suddenly, it is impossible for you to stop without hitting them.  It is always important to maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you, especially in wet weather.
    ·         Always wear your seatbelt: The one safety device in a car that saves the most lives is the seatbelt.  Countless accident victims were either seriously injured or killed because they were not wearing their seatbelt.  These devices were created in order to protect people in the event of an accident.  If you do not use your seatbelt, there is nothing stopping you from going through the windshield.

If you or a family member have been injured or killed in a Maryland car accident due to the negligence of another person and would like to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Rockville or throughout Maryland or visit us online at

Monday, January 18, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Lawyer: Litigation News January 2016

            On December 5, 2014, our client was involved in an accident where the Defendant driver attempted to make a left turn onto Annapolis Road in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  The Defendant struck our client in the rear driver side corner while it was idle at the light.  Our client suffered head, neck, and back pain as a result of the action and required treatment.  The Defendant’s insurance carrier denied liability, thus, our litigation team filed suit.  Our paralegal Lora Hatton was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement for our client in which he got top dollar offers for his injuries and property damage to his vehicle. Our client was extremely happy with the result in his case.

Maryland Accident Lawyer: Recent Case Result January 2016

            This month, Portner & Shure settled a Maryland workers’ compensation case from an incident that arose at a voluntary work event.  Our client worked at Target, and the company was holding an event for children where it was not mandatory for employees to attend.  Our client attended the event wearing her Target uniform.  The police had a booth at this event where individuals could wear drunk goggles, which allows them to see what it is like when someone is drunk.  Police officers placed these goggles on our client and she fell down a hill.  As a result, she severely injured her left knee, tearing her medial meniscus.  Her injuries required surgery to repair. 

Target claimed that they were not liable under their workers’ compensation insurance because our client was not working at the time of the accident.  Based on the information gathered from the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act, Section 5, Part C, subsection 2b, “The courts have applied a ‘positional risk’ test to determine whether an accident arose out of the employment. Under this test, an injury arises out of the employment if it would have occurred but for the fact that the employer's job required him to be in the place or position where he was injured.”  Using this information, we were able to settle the case for $71,000, which our client was very happy with.

Maryland Car Accident Lawyer: Employee Spotlight January 2016

Sharina Taveras Lopez, one of our bilingual receptionists and legal assistants, has been an integral member of the Portner & Shure family.  She and her family moved to New York from the Dominican Republic when she was 11 years old for a better education.  She later moved to Providence, Rhode Island with her parents, and became very involved in the Latino community. Part of her involvement included campaigning to help three Latino leaders get elected to the Senate, Secretary of State, and Mayor for the city of Providence. In addition, Sharina taught English to Spanish speaking people at the church in her community.

Sharina graduated from Juanita Sanchez High School in 2011 as a Valedictorian. Later that year, she moved to Westminster, Maryland to pursue a Communication and Spanish Literature Double Major with a Minor in Journalism. Sharina graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree and Magna Cum Laude Honors. She recently married and relocated to Ellicott City, Maryland.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Attorneys: 3 Reasons To Choose a Law Firm with an Experienced Litigation Team to Handle Your Personal Injury Case

There are a lot of law firms out there that will tell you they handle personal injury cases.  They'll make a claim for you and try to settle it.  But what if the insurance company's offer is too low?  Or the claim is denied?  The only way you can force the insurance company to pay you fairly is to litigate the claim by filing a lawsuit in court.  Not all law firms, however, are willing - or even know how - to litigate personal injury claims.  Unlike many other law firms, Portner & Shure has an entire department dedicated to litigation.  In fact, law firms that lack a litigation department send the cases they can't settle to us to litigate for them.  Here is why you should come to a law firm with an experienced litigation group from the start:  

1.     Only litigation can secure a verdict for you.

When you've been injured in a car accident, a common thought is that the case will be "cut and dry."  You may think - this accident was clearly the other driver's fault.  Even the police officer said so in his report.  I had to go to the emergency room and the other driver said his insurance would take care of everything.  Although your case may seem straightforward to you, personal injury cases are not always cut and dry.  Insurance companies routinely deny liability for personal injury claims for reasons that are weak, unfair, and unjustifiable.  It's not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to deny a claim based on her insured's statement to his insurance company that he was the one who had the green light, even if this statement conflicts with what the police officer concluded in his report.  If this happens to you and the law firm you've chosen does not litigate, you will find yourself at an impasse.  At Portner & Shure, our litigation team will take your case to court and prove to the judge or jury that the other driver was at fault.  A verdict is not optional; the insurance company will have to pay your claim.

2.     The threat of litigation improves settlement offers.

Insurance adjusters frequently deny claims in hopes that the injured party will get tired of fighting and give up.  Or, the adjuster might give a nuisance value offer in hopes that you will just accept it and go on your way.  The insurance companies keep track of which law firms give up or accept these types of offers, and which ones actually litigate the claims.  Any law firm can tell the adjuster they are going to file suit, but a threat with no teeth isn't a threat; it's a bluff.  Because of our active litigation department, a threat to file suit from Portner & Shure is a credible threat, and it gets results.  Adjusters know they will be faced with the increased costs of litigation if they do not settle the case, and we obtain better settlement offers as a result.     

3.     Our claims team and our litigation team work together.

At Portner & Shure, we make every effort to settle your claim without the necessity of litigation.  But if your case has to go that route, you will be happy to know that our litigation department is just a walk down the hall from the paralegals who have handled your case since the beginning in the claims department.  Your original paralegal will remain involved in your case, providing a seamless transition between the two departments.  It also enables our litigation department to file your suit as quickly as possible.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rockville Pedestrian Accident Lawyers: Dangerous Intersection Results in Death

          Last week, a teenage bicyclist was hit and killed in the crosswalk on Viers Mill Road at Turkey Branch Parkway.  This crosswalk is at the bottom of a hill, and many drivers do not stop for pedestrians.  In fact, most drivers cruise through the crosswalk well above the 45 mph posted speed limit.  The Matthew Henson Trail is a popular trail that runs on both sides of the street.  This is a very wide street with several lanes of traffic for pedestrians and bikers to get through before making it to the other side.  There is currently a safety device in place that will flash lights at the top of the hill when crossing pedestrians hit a button.  Oftentimes, drivers do not notice the lights and fail to slow down when approaching the crosswalk. 

Montgomery County Police Captain wants to constantly remind drivers to be cautious when driving down this section of Viers Mill Road.  Maryland drivers should know that it is state law for cars to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are waiting to cross.  Even though pedestrians have the right of way, they too should be aware of their surroundings and remain cautious when crossing.  Many are urging county officials to take more action to protect lives at this intersection.  One plan calls for installing flashing lights in the crosswalk so that it stands out for drivers to see, especially at night.

Pedestrian accidents are some of the worst, but also some of the most avoidable.  A majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence, such as texting while driving and speeding.  Police statewide have been increasing patrols for cell phone use while driving as part of the state’s plan for zero deaths on Maryland roadways.  Pedestrians must remember to always check for incoming traffic because drivers cannot be trusted to stop at a crosswalk.

If you or a family member have been injured or killed in a Maryland pedestrian accident and would like to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Rockville or throughout Maryland or visit us online at