Stewart A. Sutton has successfully represented hundreds of clients in personal injury and accident cases. Most personal injury and accident cases settle without litigation. Even if a lawsuit is filed, the case is likely to settle before trial.
Mr. Sutton has tried personal injury cases throughout Maryland and has won many six-figure verdicts.
An accident victim is entitled to the following types of damages: (a) their past and future medical expenses; (b) their past and future pain and suffering; and (c) their past and future lost wages. As of October 1, 2008, Maryland caps a victim’s pain and suffering damages at $710,000; and this limit increases by $15,000 on October 1 of each succeeding year.
Mr. Sutton represents personal injury and accident clients on a contingency fee basis, usually one-third of any settlement or jury award. He is only paid if the client’s case is resolved with either a settlement or a jury verdict.
The most common type of personal injury case is a motor vehicle accident. For most accidents, usually one driver is at fault, meaning that individual caused the accident by being inattentive or by not obeying the rules of the road. A person who is injured as a result of another’s negligent driving is entitled to be compensated for his or her injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, and lost wages.
Stewart A. Sutton has successfully represented countless clients who have been injured in automobile accidents.
Stewart A. Sutton has represented many families who have lost a family member as a result of another’s negligence.
Most wrongful deaths are caused by automobile accidents. Each year, over 40,000 Americans die in automobile accidents. Almost everyone knows a friend, family member, co-worker, or classmate who died in an automobile accident.
Stewart A. Sutton represented two families whose children perished in a house fire during a sleepover in Gaithersburg. The home’s AC-powered smoke detector failed to wake up the sleeping children due to an area wide power outage. As a result of this tragedy, Maryland enacted a law that requires home sellers to disclose whether or not the smoke detectors in their pre-1990 homes have battery back-ups. All homes built since July 1, 1990 are required to have dual-power smoke detectors.
Members of the victims family are entitled to many different types of damages, including: (a) medical bills incurred; (b) the decedent’s pain and suffering; (c) the decedent’s lost wages; and (d) loss of companionship. As of October 1, 2016, the parents’ non-economic damages (pain and suffering) are capped at $1,245,500 for the death of a minor child; and this limit increases by $22,500 on Octoer 1st of each succeeding year.
If the decedent (adult or child) suffered pre-death pain or fright, the decedent’s Estate can recover emotional distress damages. The Estate’s non-economic damages (pain and suffering) are capped at $830,000 as of October 1, 2016; and this limit increases by $15,000 on October 1st of each succeeding year.
Note that there are different caps on non-ecomonic damages in medical malpractice cases in Maryland.
Even the smallest dog can inflict a serious injury. Dog owners are required to maintain control of their dogs to prevent unwanted contact with others.
In May 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that owners of pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are strictly liable for the damages caused by an attack on a human, because it is presumed that this breed of dog has vicious propensities. The same applies to a person who has the right to control the dog’s presence on the subject premise, such as a landlord or HOA. Tracey v. Solesky. This decision changes the commonlaw that a pet owner was only liable for an attack if the owner had prior knowledge that the animal was vicious. Pit bulls are responsible for about one-third of dog bite fatalities in the U.S. Most of the victims are children.
Stewart A. Sutton successfully represented an 11-year girl who was bitten by a dog during a sleepover at a friend’s home. The homeowners had failed to supervise the girl when she played with their dog.
Premise Liability (Slip and Fall)
Premise liability concerns any personal injury that occurs as a result of a property condition. The most common premise liability case is when someone slips and falls as a result of a dangerous or defective condition.
Stewart A. Sutton obtained a jury verdict for a customer who was accidentally locked inside a national retail store for over two hours and who suffered hearing damage as a result of exposure to the store’s alarm system.
Many children are injured in the unfamiliar environment of a friend’s home. When parents host parties or sleepovers for their children, the parents are responsible for supervising their minor guests, especially when the children swim or engage in other risky activities.
Stewart A. Sutton successfully represented a 12-year old girl who broke her foot on a trampoline at a friend’s sleepover party. The homeowners were liable for the girl’s injuries, because they had failed to prevent the girl from misusing the trampoline.
Product liability cases involve injuries caused either by a defective product or a product that lacks a proper warning. Stewart A. Sutton has represented many clients who were injured by defective products. He obtained a settlement for a client who needed hand surgery to remove glass shards when a defective snow globe exploded while she was holding it. Another client received a settlement when a staple from a fashion shoe pierced her finger and tendon, resulting in delicate hand surgery.
Defense Medical Experts
Insurance companies and their defense attorneys rely upon a small group of physicians to testify that victims’ injuries were either not caused by the accident or that the victims are exaggerating their injuries. These so-called defense medical experts have been used hundreds of times by the same insurance companies; and they spend as much of 20% of their time reviewing medical records and testifying for insurance companies.
These defense medical experts have been known to testify that they cannot state with 100% medical certainty that a victim broke his arm in a car crash in the absence of a x-ray taken immediately prior to the automobile accident. Fortunately, jurors often disregard the biased and self-serving testimony of these defense medical experts.
Stewart A. Sutton’s position is that defense medical experts should be prohibited from testifying as to causation after 3 juries have rejected their dubious medical opinions. Such a prohibition would require insurance companies and their defense attorneys to obtain medical opinions from truly independent physicians.