Maryland voters in the past election passed, by a significant margin, Ballot Measure Three, which increases the minimum amount of damages required to guarantee a right to a jury trial for civil proceedings from $15,000 to $25,000. While on its face, this may seem bad (it limits your right to a jury trial) it is actually a significant win for our clients.
Prior to this ballot measure, insurance companies could demand a jury trial where the amount requested was greater than $15,000, which is a significant portion of all motor vehicle collision lawsuits. This would cause the case to be transferred to a different court, where the case would get heard by a jury. It takes a lot longer to get a jury trial, and the procedures related to cases where a jury trial is demanded are much more complex and expensive. Thus, insurance companies employed this tactic to both increase the litigation costs to injury victims and to delay the trial of the case. However, now with the passage of this new law, if a case is filed for $25,000 or less, the case will not be transferred, and delayed. This new law makes it much more expeditious and less costly for us to get justice for our clients.
The ballot measure will not be a part of the Maryland Constitution until Governor Hogan certifies the results of the election and issues a Proclamation to that effect, which should happen in January of 2023.