Court Finds Maryland Driver At-Fault in Fatal Carroll County Automobile Accident

Being charged with negligence following a fatal car crash can seem worlds away from the events leading up to the incident itself. Many people cannot imagine themselves on the receiving end of a wrongful death civil suit, much less a criminal trial resulting from a traffic accident weeks or months prior. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues see scenarios such as this one play out on a regular basis all across the state.

And so it is, that being possibility of being involved in a fatal car, truck or motorcycle collision is not so remote as many drivers might believe it to be. All it takes is a moment of indecision, inaction or thoughtlessness for a pleasant Sunday drive to turn into a nightmare scenario. Surely for the victims and their families, a fatal car or commercial trucking accident is nothing that can be expected, not planned for. But once it happens, the survivors’ world may be turned completely upside down.

Simply the loss of a loved one is enough to cause serious emotional pain on the part of the victim’s family. But the financial toll that the death of a mother or father can also send shockwaves through the family unit, especially those with toddlers or younger children who will never again see their loving parent’s face or feel their comforting touch.

For our part, we understand the emotional rollercoaster that victims’ families experience following a time of loss and financial uncertainty. Recovering costs, such as hospital and medical expenses, not to mention lost wages that the deceased will never again earn, can seem less important to the emotional wellbeing of the remaining family members, but it is nonetheless very important for the future health and well-being of the individual family members.

Often, the court will find a person guilty of negligence in the death of another individual. One such episode occurred not too long ago in Carroll County. Based on news reports, the defendant, a Reisterstown resident, was determined to be at fault in connection with an automobile accident that took place last February along a stretch of road in Westminster, MD.

Based on news reports, last February 12, Mary Graff was attempting to make a left-hand turn when she apparently failed to yield to oncoming traffic. When Graff turned her VW Beatle it reportedly struck a passing Honda Civic in the leftmost opposing lane. The impact caused the Civic, carrying a driver and passenger, over to the right-hand side of the roadway where it was hit by a Nissan SUV.

In the aftermath of the three-car wreck, the person riding in the Civic’s front passenger seat was fatally injured. According to police reports, the victim was transported to Carroll Hospital Center for emergency treatment of her injuries. Unfortunately, doctors did not even have the opportunity to try and save the woman, who was pronounced DOA at the hospital. At the time of the crash, Police cited Graff for failure to yield to oncoming traffic, as well as negligent driving.

These types of crashes take place all of the time in Maryland, such as one that happened within days of Ms. Graff’s trial. In that more recent case, two individuals — including a professor from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County — died along a portion of the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy when a minivan reportedly came across the median of the road and hit the victim’s vehicle head-on. According to police, the early-morning accident also killed the driver of the minivan.

Reports indicate that the car collision took place sometime after 6am at the intersection for Greenbelt Rd. (aka MD Rte 193). At the time of the news report, police investigators stated that the 22-year-old minivan driver crossed the median and went into the oncoming northbound lanes prior to the crash. The victim, 49-year-old Judith Shinogle was a resident of Southeast portion of Washington, D.C. One of the woman’s pet dogs also died in the head-on wreck. Ms. Shinogle, who held a PHD, reportedly taught at University of Maryland, College Park, as well as UMBC.

2 dead after head-on collision,, May 21, 2012
Reisterstown Woman at Fault in Fatal Westminster Collision,, May 17, 2012

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