I have good news to report. The Governor has signed the bill that we fought for last year which increases the jury demand threshold in Maryland District Court from $10,000.00 to $15,000.00.
What does this mean for the typical Washington DC car accident victim?
It means that your lawyer should be able to get your case to trial faster and with less expense and headache. This is a good thing.
Previously, the jury demand threshold was only $10,000.00 and if a Maryland resident injured in a car crash filed a lawsuit in District court (asking for a quick bench trial instead of a full blown jury trial) asking for more than $10,000, the defendant’s insurance company would typically demand a jury trial forcing the case to go to the Circuit Court, forcing expensive discovery and dragging out the entire legal process in a relatively minor car crash case.
Now, plaintiff lawyers in Maryland can file suit in District Court for up to $15,000.00 and get a quick bench trial without the expense of circuit court discovery without having to fear that the defendant’s insurance company would jury demand. This is great news for Maryland accident victims. I am proud that we passed this legislation that helps Maryland car crash victims during my term as President of the Maryland Trial Lawyer’s Association.
Since the legislation involved a change to the Maryland Constitution (aka Maryland Declaration of Rights), the voters had to vote for or against the change. The Maryland voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of the change and now the threshold at which point a defendant can demand a jury trial is $15,000.00. In other words, in Maryland, there is not a constitutional right to a jury trial in a civil case if the amount in controversy is less than $15,000.00.