Although it is common to assume that the negligent party in a traffic accident personal injury case is usually the other driver, it is not uncommon to find the passengers of a vehicle filing a personal injury claim against the driver of the car in which they were riding. In such cases, while the potentially injured driver and occupants of a second vehicle may file a suit against the negligent driver of the first vehicle, the focus of the occupants riding with the negligent driver may also be to reclaim medical and other costs resulting from injuries sustained in a car or trucking-related crash.
While we all put our trust in the individual behind the wheel of the vehicle in which we are riding, that trust can sometimes be misplaced, especially if the trusted individual causes and accident that injures you or your family. As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues know from experience that not every personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit comes from a stranger. Although it can be the sad end to a long-term relationship, if a wrong has been committed to the injury or damage of one or more parties, then sometimes there may be no option.
One common scenario is the friendly carpool. As an example, let’s say a number of friends or neighbors decide to save costs by taking only one car to a local or out-of-state event. If, in the course of the road trip, an accident ensues that is determined to be the fault of the driver of the carpool vehicle. If injuries are sustained by one or more occupants, such that associated medical costs and other expenses become a burden to the victim(s), it would not be surprising to see a personal injury suit arise from the incident.
It wasn’t long ago that an out-of-state car crash occurred, which injured a number of occupants of a passenger car when it struck a tractor-trailer along a stretch of roadway in Delaware. Based on the news reports at the time, 44-year-old Wanda Milligan of Federalsburg, MD, was driving her Dodge Caravan in the northbound lanes of Atlanta Rd. just before an intersection.
According to police reports, as the minivan reached the intersection, Miligan apparently failed to obey the stop sign and the vehicle passed into the intersection. As Miligan’s vehicle entered the intersection it hit a passing semi tractor-trailer with such force that the rear wheels where dislodged from the trailer section.
Following the collision with the 18-wheeler, police and emergency responders arriving on the scene found Miligan and another front-seat passenger — 24-year-old Sharvonda Ferguson — apparently still belted in the vehicle. A third occupant — 18-year-old Amber Dobson, also of Federalsburg — was reportedly not properly restrained and had been ejected from the minivan during the wreck.
Based on police reports, Milligan, Ferguson and Dobson were each attended to at the scene and then transported by EMS to a local hospital where they were admitted with serious injuries. The trucker — 29-year-old Ivan Tiburcio — was uninjured in the crash.
At the time of the news article, there was no specific cause cited — such as a possible mechanical failure of the vehicle’s steering mechanism — however, the crash was still under by a state police crash reconstruction unit.
Bridgeville crash seriously injures three, SussexCountian.com, January 13, 2012