A tragic Maryland car accident last month resulted in the death of a 2-year-old boy and left an infant and two adults seriously injured. According to the Maryland State Police, the crash happened around 2:30 PM one afternoon in Waldorf, Maryland on Route 5 (Leonardtown Road) near Pika Road. The toddler’s mother, a 21-year-old woman, was driving a 2017 Hyundai Elantra when the crash happened. Although it’s not clear exactly what happened, her vehicle crashed into a 2018 Ford F-250 truck in what was described as a “nearly head-on” collision. After the crash, the 2-year-old was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead shortly thereafter. His mother and 2-month-old brother were also taken to the hospital with injuries, along with the driver of the other vehicle. Information on the extent of the injuries of those individuals has not been released. The crash is still under investigation since the cause remains unknown. Police did report that they are investigating what role, if any, the children’s car seats may have played in causing the death or injuries.

In the aftermath of such a tragic accident, families can face some significant financial costs whilst also mourning their loved one. There are medical bills and funeral and burial costs. Affected individuals may end up having to miss some work, causing them lost wages. The financial stress that fatal Maryland car accidents cause can be incredibly difficult for families to deal with, especially as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

While there is, unfortunately, nothing that can undo the accident or the damage it caused, Maryland law allows those injured in these accidents—or those who lost loved ones—to recover financially through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits can provide financial compensation for all damages actually suffered, helping the family at least not worry about finances while they mourn. These lawsuits can be brought against another driver who was at fault and caused the accident—a driver who ran a red light, for example, or was texting while driving and swerved into the other lane.

A recent Maryland car accident, occurring in Gaithersburg, Maryland, left one person dead and others injured, highlighting how dangerous car accidents can be. According to a local news article covering the accident, the crash occurred early one Sunday morning, before 6 AM, along Clopper Road at the intersection with Orchard Hills Drive. The initial investigation of the accident showed that a 29-year-old man was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu west on Clopper Road when, for unknown reasons, he crossed the center line of the road and hit the driver of a 2018 Nissan Sentra traveling east. Unfortunately, the driver of the Chevrolet Malibu died at the scene of the crash, and the other driver, a 27-year-old woman, was taken to a local hospital with injuries. Although the details are not known now, the news report noted that another passenger from one of the vehicles suffered traumatic injuries and that a firefighter was injured at the scene as well.

Accidents like this show how Maryland car accidents can have a range of negative outcomes. Individuals may be seriously injured—perhaps even suffering broken bones or internal bleeding—and require emergency medical attention. Even in less serious cases, car accidents can cause pain and soreness days or weeks later. And of course, in the worst cases, Maryland car accidents can be fatal, leading to the death of drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. Clearly, Maryland car accidents can have severe negative impacts. But what some people do not realize is that the state law allows for individuals to seek financial compensation when they suffer in these accidents. Personal injury lawsuits, filed against a defendant responsible for the accident in some way, can provide injured car accident victims with monetary damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, funeral and burial costs, and more.

To be successful in these personal injury lawsuits, a plaintiff generally must prove four things. First, that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Generally, this duty of care is just to be reasonably careful while driving and follow safety rules. Second, that the defendant breached that duty. Usually, this is proved by showing that the defendant was being careless—maybe texting while driving, ignoring traffic signs, or blowing through red lights. Third, that this breach actually caused the accident. And fourth, that the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result—either injuries or death. If these four things can be proved, a plaintiff can generally recover. But proving them may be more difficult than one expects, and many accident victims choose to work with a personal injury attorney through the process rather than going it alone.

When a Maryland car accident occurs, one of the first questions everyone has is “what happened?” Did a car malfunction? Did a tire suddenly blow out, were some taillights not working, or did the emergency brakes fail to work? Perhaps there was debris in the road or an animal that caused one vehicle to swerve. Or, there may have been a driver error—a distracted or intoxicated driver, for instance. There are many possible causes of Maryland car accidents. But one that often is not thought of is road rage—when drivers act aggressively and perhaps recklessly while on the road.

Road rage may take a few different forms. A driver may actually yell at others, make angry gestures, or honk repeatedly when they feel frustrated on the road. They may start tailgating other cars, aggressively trying to get them to drive faster. Cutting off other cars and trying to block them from changing lanes are both road rage behaviors, and in some intense situations, an angry driver may even hit another car on purpose. Understandably, road rage can lead to serious Maryland car accidents, injuring or even killing others.

For example, a recent Maryland crash is thought to have possibly been caused by road rage. And, unfortunately, it led to the death of a 21-year-old girl. According to a news report covering this accident, the crash occurred around 1 AM one morning over Easter weekend on I-95 North near exit 52 for Russell Street. Three cars were involved in the crash. The victim was driving a red Honda Civic, and there was also a white truck and a white car. Officials believe that road rage may have caused the crash—they think that something happened between the victim’s car and the white truck, which caused her to spin out onto the highway. Since she was then sideways in her Honda Civic on the highway, the white car hit her directly in the driver’s door. Unfortunately, she did not survive this accident. Her family is of course grieving this tragic loss.

Insurance companies play a crucial role in ensuring that Maryland car victims are not left destitute after a disastrous accident. Although insurance companies boast the benefits of their policies, their interests lie in preserving their financial standing. As such, many insurance companies engage in bad faith practices to avoid paying out rightful claims to policyholders. When this occurs, injury victims should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Many car insurance disputes stem from an insurance company’s wrongful denial or failure to adequately settle a claim. Car insurance companies may offer several types of coverage to policyholders. This includes bodily injury protection, property damage liability coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist property damage coverage, and personal injury protection. Before purchasing vehicle insurance, consumers should consult with multiple insurance companies, ask for price quotes, and ask about deductibles and discounts. However, most importantly, motorists should review their policy and fully understand the terms before purchasing the policy.

Insurance disputes often arise because of an unclear or ambiguous term in the policy. This can present injury victims and their loved ones with significant issues while trying to medically and financially heal from an accident. Generally ambiguous terms are liberally construed against an insurer. However, the result of this analysis may still lead to unfavorable results for a plaintiff. For example, a court recently issued an opinion in a case stemming from a dispute between the family of a woman killed in a car accident and an insurance company. The woman died from injuries in a car accident with an employee driving a vehicle for a not-for-profit corporation.

If a victim is injured in a Maryland motor vehicle accident, there may be a question of where a defendant can be sued. Jurisdiction refers to the ability of a court to hear and make a decision about a case. Some courts are limited to hearing certain types of cases and courts can only hear a case if a party has sufficient contacts with the place where the court is located. Personal jurisdiction specifically refers to a court’s power to exercise jurisdiction over the party being sued. Generally, a defendant must have sufficient contacts in the state for a court to exercise jurisdiction over the defendant.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision in a case considering personal jurisdiction after two personal injury lawsuits were filed against Ford after car accidents in Montana and Minnesota. In one case, the tread separated from a rear tire, killing the driver in the crash. In the other case, a passenger’s airbag failed to deploy in a crash, causing the passenger serious brain damage. The victims were residents of their respective states and in each case, the state exercised jurisdiction in the products liability cases. Ford argued that the state courts did not have jurisdiction because the company had not designed, manufactured, or sold the particular vehicles involved in the accident in the states.

Ford is incorporated in Delaware and has its headquarters in Michigan. It markets sells, and services its products throughout the United States and abroad and encourages its vehicles to be resold. The U.S. Supreme Court held that a state court may exercise specific jurisdiction where the defendant purposely availed itself “of the privilege of conducting activities” within the state and the claims “arise out of or relate to the defendant’s contacts” with the state. The Court further held that Ford did not have to sell the car or design and manufacture the vehicle in the state for specific jurisdiction. The Court held that in these cases, Ford purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in each state. Ford advertised and marketed its vehicles in the states and fostered ongoing connections to owners of Ford vehicles. It reasoned that cultivating a market for a product in a state and the product malfunctioning there was sufficient for personal jurisdiction, and thus, the cases could continue against Ford in those states. The Supreme Court’s decision means that a Maryland car accident victim may be able to sue a manufacturer in a product liability suit in Maryland even if the car was not designed, manufactured, or sold in the state.

Most people never expect that they will get into a head-on Maryland car accident. These accidents—where the front ends of two vehicles collide—are always shocking and can be incredibly dangerous. By following the basic rules of the road and driving in the proper direction and in the correct lanes, most drivers can avoid these collisions. But sometimes, circumstances outside of the driver’s control occur, and they find themselves hit head-on by another car. In many circumstances, because these accidents involve hitting vehicles close to the driver’s and passenger’s seats, these accidents can be fatal or result in life-changing injuries.

Take for example a recent fatal crash on I-95 implicating four vehicles, and killing three people. The crash was caused when one vehicle went to great lengths to avoid the police during a police chase. According to a local news article, a Dodger sedan, traveling north on the interstate, reached speeds as high as 80 miles per hour when state troopers tried to pull the vehicle over. However, the driver of the Dodge sped away, and police eventually ended their pursuit due to the significant traffic on the interstate. The Dodge continued north, and ultimately entered the Express Lanes only open to southbound traffic by breaking through three lighted Express Lanes gates. While in the Express Lanes, the Dodge hit a pickup truck head-on, causing it to flip over the guardrail. Two other cars then crashed into the Dodge, which caught on fire.

In the aftermath of this tragic accident, three people were reported dead. The driver of the Dodge was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, a 26-year-old woman, died after being ejected from the car. Additionally, a 61-year-old man driving one of the other vehicles involved in the accident also died at the scene. Other drivers and passengers involved suffered injuries, with one being transported to the hospital for treatment. The aftermath of the crash was so intense that portions of the interstate were shut down for almost seven hours, causing major traffic delays.

The Maryland legislature recently introduced a bill “essentially legalizing recreational use” of marijuana in Maryland, as one news source reported. In 2014, Maryland legalized the medical use of marijuana and also decriminalized less than 10 grams of cannabis. Similar bills have been previously introduced in the state, but none have passed. The recently proposed bill would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 years and older. The bill would also allow for the release of individuals incarcerated for marijuana convictions and the expungement of previous records. Proponents say it would increase the state’s tax revenue and promote social justice. However, others claim that the legalization of marijuana would result in an increase in Maryland car accidents and injuries.

According to a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, after marijuana became legal in Washington state, fatal car accidents involving drivers who had recently used marijuana doubled. The organization also reported an increase in insurance claims in Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada after legalization in those states. Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have now legalized marijuana for recreational use. Studies have found varying results on the effects of the legalization of marijuana. One study published by the National Institutes of Health found that three years after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado motor vehicle crash fatality rates were not statistically different from those in similar states without legalization. However, as referenced, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana in Washington state has doubled since legalization. Another study published in the journal BMJ Open in 2019 found that after legalization in Colorado, car accidents increased 10 percent, and increases in alcohol abuse and overdoses that resulted in injury or death increased by 5 percent. The state legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012.

If someone is injured in a Maryland car accident, they may be able to seek compensation. In a Maryland car accident case alleging that a motor vehicle driver was negligent, the plaintiff must prove that the driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the driver’s actions amounted to a breach of the relevant standard of care, that the driver’s negligent actions caused the plaintiff injuries (being both the cause-in-fact and a legally cognizable cause), and that the plaintiff suffered damages. A plaintiff must prove all of the elements in a negligence claim, and the plaintiff has the burden of proving each element by a preponderance of the evidence.

After being injured in a car crash, victims will often wonder if they are partially to blame for the accident. While this is often not the case, it can still be worrying. If a victim wants to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party in Maryland, they can bring a personal injury suit. However, Maryland is one of the few remaining states that rely on the doctrine of contributory negligence—meaning, if the plaintiff negligently contributed to his injuries, he cannot recover damages. Although this may then seem like a lost cause for many potential personal injury cases, personal injury attorneys are skilled at explaining to juries why their client was not at-fault for the accident that resulted in their injuries.

Earlier this month, a Southern California crash between an S.U.V. and a tractor-trailer has led to at least 13 deaths. According to a recent report, an S.U.V. and tractor-trailer collided on a California highway after the S.U.V. had crossed a fence from the U.S.-Mexico border. The S.U.V. pulled in front of the truck at an intersection, where they then collided. Investigators are still unsure what caused the collision. However, the S.U.V. had over 20 people inside the vehicle and all of the accident victims were in the S.U.V.

For individuals injured in similar car accident cases in Maryland, they victims want to bring charges against the responsible party. However, when it is unclear who is at fault for the accident, recovering can be a real challenge, especially when the others involved in the accident claim the injured motorist was at fault. Because contributory negligence is the law in Maryland, plaintiffs’ attorneys in negligence cases are prepared for defendants who assert the plaintiff is also at fault for the injury. Plaintiffs’ attorneys will examine their client’s case and assess whether there are shortcomings in their argument. This often involves an extensive discovery process—interviewing many witnesses, obtaining video evidence of the accident, and finding people who can speak about the plaintiff’s character. While this may seem time-consuming—and defendants do not often argue the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident—it is worth it to ensure the plaintiff is prepared for this argument if it arises in court.

Police are investigating a fatal Maryland car accident that killed a pedestrian on a recent afternoon in Prince George’s County. According to one news source, the pedestrian was reportedly running across the I-495 highway where his vehicle was disabled on the shoulder. Traffic had slowed as the pedestrian was crossing the highway when one vehicle struck the pedestrian in the left lane. After the crash, the pedestrian was transported to a local hospital but unfortunately, he died at the hospital. He was 26 years old.

A pedestrian crash is a crash involving any person on foot, including a driver who has exited the vehicle. According to the most recent statistics from Maryland’s Department of Transportation, there were 123 pedestrian fatalities in 2019. There were 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes throughout the country in 2018, which was the most deaths in almost 30 years. That means that a pedestrian was killed in a traffic crash on average every 84 minutes. That year pedestrian deaths made up 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. The use of alcohol on the part of either the driver or the pedestrian was reported in 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes in 2018. Pedestrian crashes are likely to occur in urban areas. Between 2009 and 2013 about 90 percent of crashes involving a pedestrian in Maryland took place in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

Notably, although vehicle traffic has decreased overall during the COVID-19 pandemic, pedestrian and bicycle traffic has increased. To avoid pedestrian crashes, drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians at all times and should slow down when approaching a crosswalk.

Last month, tragedy struck in Montgomery Village, when a 36-year-old man—a husband and a father—was killed in a Maryland car accident. According to a recent news report, the incident occurred early one morning. The man and his stepson were on their way to work, driving separate cars, when his stepson got into a minor crash on I-95 near Maryland Route 32. He pulled over to assist in the accident and check the damaged vehicle, allowing his stepson to continue on to work. While he was on the side of the road checking the damage, a Honda Civic came speeding by. A witness says the car seemed to be driving 100 miles per hour, despite the wintry conditions on the road. Unfortunately, the car lost control and hit one of the cars on the side of the road. The impact of the crash pushed the second car forward, and essentially pinned the victim between the two cars. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim leaves behind two stepchildren and two young daughters, ages 4 and 10, as well as a fiancée. He and his fiancée were planning on getting married last year, but because of COVID-19, they pushed their wedding date to May, which would have marked 14 years together. The family is, of course, heartbroken, struggling with the tragic loss of their fiancée and father.

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is one of the hardest tragedies a person can face. Unfortunately, hundreds of Maryland residents experience that heartbreak every year as a result of Maryland car accidents. In fact, in recent years there have been over 500 deaths on Maryland’s roads annually. Recognizing that families mourning in the aftermath of fatal car accidents may also be struggling financially to recover, Maryland state law gives them the option to file wrongful death lawsuits against whoever caused the crash that led to the fatality.

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