Maryland automobile accident victims can have a hard time of it, not only in terms of recuperation from physical injuries but also when it comes to recovering damages. As a Baltimore injury attorney and car accident lawyer, I have represented dozens of victims and their families following devastating traffic wrecks. There is no amount of money that will bring back a loved one, nor replace a lost arm or leg, but that doesn’t mean that compensation should be lacking from the responsible parties.
Negligent passenger car drivers, not to mention commercial tractor-trailer operators, who cause serious accidents must be held accountable. Criminal courts can only do so much, which is why I always suggest that people consult a qualified injury lawyer in the event of a car, van or SUV accident.
Back in April of 2008, a three-car accident on Maryland’s Route 10 took the life of Kelly Stinchcomb’s son. Now, two years later, there may be movement some toward stiffer penalties for drivers who cause crashes such as the one that no doubt haunts her to this very day.
Based on news reports, 23-year-old Joseph Norfolk was driving down Route 10 in April 2008 when a Ford Contour ahead of him hit the brakes and stopped suddenly in front of Norfolk’s vehicle, which caused the man’s Escalade to slam into that vehicle. Norfolk’s vehicle was then struck from behind by a flatbed truck.
Norfolk was reportedly killed when his SUV burst into flames. That truck driver, Jason Fisher, was just convicted in January of this year for reckless and negligent driving. The Contour’s driver, Bobbi Steiner, was convicted of negligent driving. Both drivers were fined $500 each by the court and had three points added to their licenses.
What parents and family members like Ms. Stinchcomb feel is these minor fines are not enough. This is why the still grieving mother reportedly went in front of the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis last month — to make her voice heard.
A bill was introduced that would mandate stiffer penalties for negligent and reckless driving when their actions lead to death or serious injury. Called the Joseph Norfolk Act, the proposed law would increase the maximum fine for both charges from $500 to $1,000. If convicted, the driver could also lose his or her license for up to 180 days.
According to reports, this bill was initially inspired by the June 2007 death of Cpl. Scott Wheeler of Millersville, a Howard County police officer who was struck by a passing car while on patrol duty.
Route 10 crash could change state law, HometownAnnapolis.com, February 22, 2010