Earlier this month in Upper Marlboro, a man who was charged with motor-vehicle manslaughter in relation to an accident that resulted in his son’s death was found guilty and will be sentenced later this year in August. According to one local news report, the man was originally charged with driving under the influence of PCP, but the jury determined that the prosecution failed to prove that crime beyond a reasonable doubt and convicted him only under the motor-vehicle manslaughter charges.
Evidently, the fatal accident occurred on May 9, 2013, when the man charged above lost control of his vehicle. According to court documents, the man was heading south on Bladensburg Road at a high rate of speed. As he attempted to change lanes, he veered across the center line and into oncoming traffic. As he lost control, his vehicle crashed into several other vehicles before colliding with two utility poles, a tree, and ultimately a retaining wall.
In the car at the time of the accident was the man’s son as well as his girlfriend’s daughter. His girlfriend’s daughter sustained minor injuries but recovered. However, the man’s son was not secured in a car seat at the time of the accident and was ejected from the vehicle upon impact. The four-year-old boy died as a result of the injuries he sustained. The driver was also ejected and suffered life-threatening injuries, although he has since recovered.
The evidence produced by the prosecution at trial suggested that the driver was traveling at between 71 and 88 miles per hour at the time of the accident. There was also some evidence to suggest that he was under the influence of PCP. However, the jury rejected the later claim by failing to convict on that charge.
The Distinction Between Civil and Criminal Cases in Maryland
The above case took place in Maryland’s criminal justice system. These cases are brought by the State of Maryland against those charged with violating the laws of the State. If a person is found guilty in a criminal case, they may face jail time, probation, community service, fines, and so forth. Separate and apart from the criminal justice system is the civil justice system.
Cases in civil court are not brought by any government entity but are brought by a party—called the plaintiff—who is claiming that they were injured as a result of the defendant’s negligent conduct. If the plaintiff is successful in proving that their injuries were a result of the defendant’s negligent conduct, they may be eligible for monetary compensation for their injuries and related costs. It is important to note that, unlike in the criminal justice system, the plaintiff does not need to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is sufficient to show that the defendant “more likely than not” caused the accident resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries. To learn more, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a serious Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, there are often insurance companies involved in these cases whose job it is to ensure that the case is settled for as little an amount as possible. Do not be afraid to tell the insurance companies “no” if they come to you with a lowball offer. Instead, contact one of the dedicated attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC at 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Pennsylvania Police Search for Maryland Man Allegedly Involved in DUI Hit-and-Run Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published May 26, 2015.
Car Struck and Cut in Half By Amtrak Train, No Fatalities, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 10, 2015.