546518_baltimore_city_3Greetings from Maryland, and welcome to our Maryland Injury Attorney Blog! My name is Jeff Butschky, and I will be your host and (hopefully) your source of practical help and information from within the Maryland Legal Community.

Perhaps nothing affects an individual or family more than a sudden accident or injury — whether due to a motor vehicle accident, a work-related accident, or some other unforeseen incident. When we are hurt, we understand that there will be hospitals and doctors, pain, stress and inconvenience. What isn’t often appreciated is the fact that the injured person must also now deal with (gulp) lawyers and (even worse) the insurance industry. Like visiting the dentist, filing taxes or other mild forms of torture, no one wants to do this, and I don’t blame you.

This blog will untangle and demystify the frustrating and complicated world of injury claims. As a practicing attorney in Baltimore County, Maryland, for more than 20 years, I’m going to do my best to make this as easy as I can. So let’s get started!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that despite people driving less during the COVID-19 pandemic, motor vehicle accident fatalities have actually increased.

NHTSA estimates for 2020 show that 38,680 people died in U.S. motor vehicle traffic crashes — the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. This figure represents an increase of about 7.2 percent over the 36,096 crash fatalities reported in 2019.

This rise in traffic accident deaths is in contrast to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) report that overall vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 decreased by about 13.2 percent, compared to miles traveled in 2019. The decrease in driving during the 2020 coronavirus crisis can be attributed to a number of factors, including…

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In late May, we reported on how the Maryland courts have continued to move through their phased reopening plan. The good news is during Phase V, the courts have resumed full operations (with some social distancing and public health safety measures still in place), including jury trials — many of which had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The not-so-great news is despite the Maryland courts’ efforts to get back to business as usual (which can move at a glacial pace), insurance claims continue to be backlogged. This can be a source of great frustration for Marylanders with auto accident injury claims. Being injured due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness is bad enough. Waiting for insurance claims to be processed and badly needed compensation payments to be made just adds insult to injury.

This is one more reason why we urge anyone with a motor vehicle accident claim to consult with an experienced Maryland injury attorney who knows how to deal with the insurance companies. The current backlog of insurance claims is due to a number of factors….

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Despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis during the past year plus, we have worked hard to keep our clients’ personal injury cases and Maryland Worker’s Compensation claims moving forward. The Law Offices of Butschky and Butschky have been advocating for our clients throughout the pandemic, following every public safety order issued by Governor Larry Hogan’s office, while fighting just as hard as ever for our clients’ rights.

Now, the Maryland Courts are getting back to business as they resume Phase V of emergency operations, including jury trials. These changes, which began April 26, 2021, have a direct impact on our clients’ Maryland personal injury cases as well as Work Comp claims….

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We are now more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic. Little did we know last year at this time how all of our lives would be severely impacted. Our thoughts go out to anyone who has lost someone due to the virus. Nationally, while COVID-19 cases have been on the decline or leveling off in recent weeks, the virus is by no means done with us. Our Baltimore personal injury law firm continues to see clients whose lives have been turned upside by this deadly virus.

If you believe you were exposed to COVID-19 at work and became ill, you might assume you’d be covered by Maryland Workers’ Compensation — as is the case with other workplace illnesses and injuries. Unfortunately, COVID-19 work comp cases are far more complicated that you might think.

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Several new Maryland motor vehicle laws went into effect on October 1, 2020 — on issues ranging from motor vehicle insurance coverage to license plate border violations, to electronic sales of motor vehicles, and emissions law exceptions for active duty military personnel.

The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) reports of the 300 bills it monitored in the 2020 Maryland General Assembly session, 35 have a direct impact on the department, its customers, transportation-related issues, and potentially—your driving. Here are a few of the new Maryland traffic laws now in effect.

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The Workers Compensation Insurance Organizations (WCIO) now lists COVID-19 among its reporting codes for Occupational Disease or Cumulative Injury, describing it as “respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus.” The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) began accepting these codes on April 1, 2020, to be used for reporting any claim effective December 2019 or later.

Filing a successful Maryland Workers’ Compensation claim proving employer liability for injury or illness can be very challenging. Proving employer liability for a worker becoming ill in Maryland from COVID-19 — in the middle of a pandemic in a state with community spread — is not necessarily an open-and-shut case.

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The last few months have been difficult and challenging for all of us, to say the least. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our Maryland law firm has remained open as an essential service. We’ve continued to communicate with and advocate for our personal injury clients. After all, it’s our job to keep their cases and claims moving forward in the courts, despite court building closures that started in March and other severe restrictions.

As we blogged about back in May, the Maryland Judiciary proposed a phased reopening plan for the state courts system, with limited services and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Phase 2 of the plan began June 5, with courts remaining closed to the public except for those whose cases needed to be heard.

Most recently, on July 20, the courts entered Phase 3 of the reopening plan, making a few more services available to the public with many restrictions still in place. Here’s how it breaks down for our Maryland accident injury clients and anyone else in Maryland needing the services provided by our courts system.

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Many residents of Maryland kept their cars in park the last few months, due to statewide shutdowns of businesses and schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that restrictions are being lifted as the state slowly gets back to business, some motorists may find their driving skills have become rusty.

If you’re one of those Maryland drivers who’s feeling a little out of sorts behind the wheel, you’re not alone. The last few months of coronovirus restrictions saw a vast reduction in daily commutes and road travel. Now, with Maryland businesses reopening and people moving about more freely, drivers getting back behind the wheel may fall into old, bad driving habits. This, combined with sharing the road with new teenage drivers, could lead to increased motor vehicle accidents this summer.

What’s worse? A majority of motorists admit to knowing dangerous driving habits are wrong, but too many engage in them anyway. The AAA Foundation has released its findings from a national survey on the top dangerous driving offenses for 2019. To learn more about those—and the percentage of motorists admitting to them—read on….
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On March 23, 2020, when much of the state of Maryland shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Larry Hogan deemed law offices to be essential businesses. We are grateful for this decision, which has allowed us to continued serving the public during these extraordinary, challenging times. Though the courts have been physically closed to the public, accidents and injury on the road and at work do not take a break.

Throughout the pandemic, the Law Offices of Butschky and Butschky have continued to serve our clients with their Maryland personal injury claims. We have consulted with them by phone, email, and through virtual meetings to gather timely information and build their cases—including motor vehicle accidents and Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims.

Now, the Maryland courts have announced a plan to gradually open in five phases.

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We’d like to reach out to our Maryland clients and the greater community to provide some guidance on personal injury lawsuits and claims during the COVID-19 emergency. On March 25, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued a new order extending the length of statewide restricted judiciary operations.

Due to the extended order, all Maryland courts and court offices have been restricted to emergency operations and are closed with limited exceptions from March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020; in addition, the courts are closed to the public with limited exceptions through May 1, 2020. As with other court systems in states around the country, this decision was made to limit exposure to and spread of the COVID-19 virus among members of the public as well as court personnel and law enforcement.

So what does this mean for your Maryland personal injury claim, whether related to an auto accident, a work accident or Worker’s Compensation claim, a slip and fall accident, or some other cause of injury?

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