Where am I? Jurisdictional Borders in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland

By Cory Bilton

Memorial Bridge 1

If you are the type of person that thinks “jurisdiction” only matters to lawyers and fugitives on the lam, you might be surprised to learn that the moment you cross a jurisdictional line you are subject to a completely different set of laws.  As you are walking across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn to Georgetown, for example, it is “Goodbye, Virginia law.  Hello, DC law.”  This has important consequences because Virginia law and DC law differ in many ways.  By crossing over that bridge you subject yourself to those new laws just by being present in the District of Columbia.

So, jurisdiction matters to everyone in the area.  But where exactly does Virginia end and Washington, DC begin?  The Potomac River, right?  What about the line between DC and Maryland?  It’s those diagonal streets (Southern Avenue, Eastern Avenue, and Western Avenue), right?  Both these answers are close, but not quite right.  The jurisdictional lines between Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland are very specific and do not necessarily match up with common understanding.  Here is what you need to know about jurisdiction in the DC area.

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Filed under DC, For Nonlawyers, Maryland, Virginia

April 2015 Collision Tweets from DC Fire and EMS

By Cory Bilton

Cars in Traffic

DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (“DC FEMS”) has been using Twitter to announce the occurrence of collisions and fires in the District of Columbia (and other, more pleasant things, too). Take a look at their Twitter feed (@DCFIREEMS) and you will see numerous reports of collisions involving vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists almost every day. Although the DC FEMS’s tweets are certainly not exhaustive, I was curious to look at a summary of a month’s worth of collision tweets. So I scrolled through every DC FEMS tweet from April 2015 to gain an overview of the collisions happening in Washington, DC.

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Filed under Bicycles, DC, For Nonlawyers

Case Law Dispatch: Bartolomucci v. Federal Insurance

By Cory Bilton

Case: Bartolomucci v. Federal Insurance

  • Court: Virginia Supreme Court
  • Date of Decision: 4/16/15
  • Opinion by: Millette

Facts:

Vu Vo and Christopher Bartolomucci were involved in a vehicle collision. Vu filed suit against Christopher, who was a partner at the law firm of Hogan Lovells. Christopher’s personal insurance policy provided only $100,000 in coverage, which was insufficient to satisfy the damage he caused to Vu. Therefore, Christopher sought excess coverage from Hogan Lovells’ Federal Insurance policy. Federal Insurance denied that the policy provided coverage for Christopher’s collision.

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Filed under Case Law Dispatches, For Lawyers, Insurance, Virginia

Should I get Bicycle Insurance?

By Cory Bilton

Bike Lane 3

I recently learned that insurance companies are starting to offer bicycle insurance as a separate, stand-alone policy. Many types of insurance—such as health, auto, and home owner’s—already provide some coverage while you are riding your bike. So the idea of a stand-alone bicycle insurance policy intrigues me. What types of coverage does it provide? Who is the intended buyer? Is there any type of coverage that a bicycle insurance policy has that isn’t covered by health insurance, auto insurance, or homeowner’s insurance? Here is a close look at one cyclist insurance policy (offered by Markel Insurance).

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Filed under Bicycles, For Nonlawyers, Insurance

Case Law Dispatch: Payne v. Erie Insurance

By Cory Bilton

Case: Payne v. Erie Insurance

  • Court: Maryland Court of Appeals
  • Date of Decision: 3/30/15
  • Appellate Panel: Barbera, Harrell, Battaglia, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts
  • Opinion by: McDonald
  • Concurrence by: Harrell, Battaglia, and Watts

Facts:

Karen, the adult daughter of Alan and Maureen, lives with her parents and has unrestricted access to drive their vehicle. Karen asks the father of her children, Ameen, to pick the kids up from school using Alan and Maureen’s vehicle. Alan and Maureen have previously forbidden Ameen from driving the vehicle. While Ameen is using the vehicle, he is involved in a collision.

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Filed under Case Law Dispatches, For Lawyers, Insurance, Maryland

DC Superior Court Jury Verdicts from 2014

By Cory Bilton

Each year, the DC Superior Court releases jury verdict data for cases involving automobile collisions, medical malpractice, and slip and falls. Since the Superior Court is Washington DC’s main trial court, this data provides some insight into the characteristics of cases that are going to trial and how juries are deciding them. Here is a summary of the jury verdict data for 2014:

Case Type
# of Cases
Plaintiff Verdict
Avg. Verdict Amount
Defense Verdict

Automobile
57
35
$25,414.32
22

Slip & Fall
7
1
$105,000
6

Medical Malpractice
8
3
$327,908.59
5

Totals
72
39
$50,723.76
33

There are a lot of ways to misinterpret these statistics. So before jumping to any conclusions from looking at these numbers, keep the following in mind:

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Filed under DC, For Lawyers, For Nonlawyers

A Personal Injury Lawyer Walks in His Client’s Shoes: Part 3 – Nerve Conduction Study and EMG

By Cory Bilton

Banneker Park 3 - Aug 2014

Back in December 2014, I woke one morning with significant numbness and tingling in my left arm. After initially visiting an orthopedist, I was referred to a neurologist to perform a nerve conduction study and electromyography (“EMG”). I knew the doctor was looking to see if the nerve signals were travelling down my arm correctly. But I really had little to no idea what a nerve conduction study or EMG involved. It sounded innocent enough. Diagnostic testing would hopefully give me some insight about what was causing these symptoms in my arm.

What I didn’t realize was just how uncomfortable it is to have a nerve conduction study and EMG performed. Allow me to explain what these tests are like for the patient…

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Filed under For Nonlawyers

Case Law Dispatch: Espina v. Jackson

By Cory Bilton

Case: Espina v. Jackson

  • Court: Maryland Court of Appeals
  • Date of Decision: 3/30/15
  • Appellate Panel: Barbara, Harrell, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, McAuliffe

Facts:

Prince George’s County police officer shot and killed plaintiff. Jury returned $11 million verdict for plaintiff’s family finding officer violated plaintiff’s state constitutional rights, assaulted and battered him, and wrongfully killed him.

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Filed under Case Law Dispatches, For Lawyers, Maryland

Case Law Dispatch: Toomer v. William C. Smith & Co.

By Cory Bilton

Case: Toomer v. William C. Smith & Co.

  • Court: DC Court of Appeals
  • Date of Decision: 3/26/15
  • Appellate Panel: Fisher, Beckwith, and King
  • Trial Judge: Epstein

Facts: Plaintiff was injured climbing a fence, which was intentionally coated in grease, while trying to retrieve his dog.

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Filed under Case Law Dispatches, DC, For Lawyers

Great Idea: Using Social Media or Online Forums to Warn of Defects and Dangerous Conditions

By Cory Bilton

Memorial Bridge 1

“We didn’t know it was dangerous.” This is the response you will get in almost every case involving a dangerous product or hazardous condition that causes someone to be injured. Whether we are talking about faulty ignition switches, contaminated spinach, or uneven pavement, the initial response is nearly always that the danger was not known. Without knowledge of the danger, there was no way to prevent the harm. So the argument goes.

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Filed under For Nonlawyers, Technology