Articles Posted in Fatal Traffic Accidents

When someone pictures a car accident, they usually picture two cars crashing into each other while driving. While this is often the case, and describes many Maryland car accidents, it is important to remember that crashes can occur even when one party is not driving. For example, car accidents may occur when one car crashes into a parked car, or a car stopped at a stoplight, or even into something other than a car such as a light post or traffic sign. This is why it’s important for Maryland drivers to always stay aware of their surroundings while driving.

Take for example one recent Maryland car accident that occurred on I-83 in Baltimore County one Saturday morning. According to a news article covering the incident, a 32-year-old woman was driving a black Dodge Dart along the highway when she pulled over to the right shoulder to tend to a child sitting in the back. As the driver opened the rear passenger side door, a white Toyota Tacoma struck the rear of the Dodge, crashing into it. Tragically, a 7-year-old boy—one of the passengers in the Dodge—was killed as a result. The driver and two other children—a 9-year-old girl and a 9-month-old infant—also suffered injuries due to the crash.

This case illustrates how immensely a single family can suffer as a result of a Maryland car accident. Assuming that the 32-year-old woman and the three children in the car were related, it means that one family is now mourning the loss of a 7-year-old child while three members are also recovering from their own injuries—injuries which may require future surgery, physical therapy, or specialists. For one family, dealing with medical bills and expenses while simultaneously making funeral and burial arrangements can be overwhelming and cause significant psychological despair, not to mention financial strain.

Most drivers know that if they drive recklessly or carelessly, they risk getting into a Maryland car accident and hurting themselves. Driver’s safety school teaches the basic principles of accident avoidance, such as staying aware while driving, never driving while under the influence, and following all traffic rules. While these are all good habits to avoid getting into a car accident and getting hurt or killed yourself, it is important to remember that driving safely is not just about you. Maryland car accidents can, and usually do, have impacts on other people—whether they be passengers in the driver’s vehicle, individuals in another vehicle, or even pedestrians on the road. Maryland drivers should be sure to always drive cautiously to avoid harming others, as well as themselves.

Recently, a tragic Maryland accident illustrated what’s at stake when driving carelessly. According to a news report from the Baltimore Sun, the accident occurred in Baltimore, on Howard street downtown one morning. Around 7:30 a.m., a sedan was driving when it failed to stop at a red light and instead drove onto the Howard Street tracks. The sedan was struck first by a southbound Baltimore Light Rail train, and then additionally a second northbound train.

One witness described how the sedan became sandwiched between the two trains—“one hit them this way; the other hit them that way.” First responders were needed to extricate the driver and the passengers. The woman in the car was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. The 7-year-old child and 30-year-old man fortunately survived but were taken to a local hospital with severe injuries. But the accident did not just harm those in the sedan—the operator of the southbound train was also taken to the hospital with injuries. At this time, it is unclear whether anyone else was hurt.

Maryland car accidents are unfortunately common. In fact, on average there are more than 100,000 Maryland car accidents each year. These car accidents can be caused by a variety of different factors, including vehicle malfunctions, distracted driving, and hazardous driving conditions. Sometimes, accidents are caused by a blatant violation of driver safety laws and road rules. In these cases, the act and the resulting harm may actually result in criminal penalties, in addition to civil liability.

For example, take a recent and tragic Maryland car accident that occurred on Crain Highway on Croom Station Road in Upper Marlboro. According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash occurred at 12:30 PM one afternoon, when a driver in a 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck failed to stop at a red light. The driver went right into the intersection and struck a 2016 Subaru Legacy driven by a 49-year-old woman as it was making a left turn. The pickup truck struck the Subaru in the passenger side door, which caused the car to rotate and strike the guardrail. The pickup also rotated, overturned onto its roof, and caught on fire. The driver of the Subaru and her passenger—a 66-year-old man—both were pronounced dead at the scene by members of the Prince George’s County Fire Department.

Following the incident, the driver of the pickup truck who ran the red light was arrested and charged with two counts each of motor vehicle manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter. The charges in the case may be confusing, since this blog talks about civil cases against negligent Maryland drivers. However, it is important for Maryland drivers to know that, when they are injured in a Maryland car accident, they may be able to file a civil negligence suit against the irresponsible driver who caused the accident regardless of whether or not criminal charges have been filed.

An evening police chase last month tragically led to a car accident, resulting in one fatality and injuries. The case raises important questions about how and when the government and police may be held liable when they cause Maryland car accidents.

According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash occurred around 8:15 one evening as a man, driving a vehicle and wanted in a homicide, led police on a chase throughout the city. During the chase, the man crashed the vehicle—a dark-colored Jeep—and ran to a nearby gas station where he stole an idling 2016 Nissan SUV. He left the gas station and took off again, with police following. While the police cars were chasing the Nissan, one of them slammed into a Ford Explorer. The police car then spun out and hit a Hummer stopped at a red light. The drivers of the Ford and Hummer, as well as the Hummers two passengers, were all taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the driver of the Ford, a 37-year-old woman, died shortly after.

Typically, Maryland residents affected by tragic car accidents are able to bring a civil suit against the responsible driver to recover for the injuries caused, or the wrongful death of a loved one. The case, however, becomes more complicated in situations such as this one, where the at-fault driver is a police officer. Government employees have historically enjoyed sovereign immunity from tort claims such as negligence or wrongful death arising out of car accidents. However, the Maryland Tort Claims Act changed that and now allows accident victims to bring certain claims against the Maryland government or their employees.

Many Maryland residents go out driving every day, and most of the time, they get to their destination safely. However, small mistakes while driving can immediately lead to deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, more than 500 people are killed in Maryland car accidents each year. These accidents are often caused by negligent drivers, who drive under the influence, drive texting or otherwise distracted, or just make careless mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes may cost one or more people their lives.

Recently, two people were killed in a Maryland car accident caused by a driver’s mistake. According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash happened early one morning, just past 1 a.m., as two vehicles were driving on Brandywine Road in Brandywine. The responsible driver, traveling North, crossed the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes, crashing headfirst into the other vehicle. While victims are still being identified, police have confirmed that two individuals were killed in this accident, with another taken to the hospital.

Unfortunately, nothing can undo this tragic car accident, or the others that claim Maryland lives every day. While the mistake may have been a seemingly small one, the impact it had cannot be overstated. Although the families of Maryland car accident victims have no way of getting their loved ones back, Maryland law does allow them to file a wrongful death suit against whoever is responsible for the accident. These suits can help the family to recover for the immense financial costs they may incur after the accident, from medical expenses to funeral and burial costs, and can help take care of them financially while they are recovering psychologically.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently decided a Maryland car accident case in which the court considered whether the state’s cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. In Maryland, there is a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury and wrongful death claims. In a personal injury claim, non-economic damages include damages for “pain, suffering inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury.”

In a wrongful death claim, non-economic damages include damages for “mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education,” or other noneconomic damaged authorized under the statute. If a jury awards party an amount that exceeds the non-economic damages cap, the court will reduce the amount to the maximum allowed. A jury also cannot be informed of the cap.

In the case before the appeals court, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a car accident in 2017. She was driving near her home in Lanham, Maryland, when a car crossed over the median and hit her car. The other driver was driving a commercial vehicle for his employer and was intoxicated at the time of the crash. His employer knew that he had charges for driving while intoxicated prior to hiring him. The plaintiff’s injuries included losing almost all use of her left arm or hand. She had to undergo almost continuous medical care since the accident occurred, in addition to psychological treatment.

Ridesharing company Uber employs thousands of cyber taxi drivers in states like Maryland and cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The company’s online ride-hailing service, like its competitor Lyft, has had a huge impact on the urban commuting landscape by making public taxi services available with just a press of a button on any smartphone. But while this relatively new way of catching a ride across Maryland and the surrounding area much easier, the risks to passengers is still the same as has always been when traveling in a taxi cab, rented limousine or other passenger vehicle available for hire.

Take, for example, a recent out-of-state report of a 40-year-old woman who was killed when the Uber vehicle in which she was riding went out of control and crashed, throwing the unbelted victim from the vehicle. This situation in North Carolina points up the potential dangers that confront any taxi passenger, not only those who ride in a Lyft or Uber vehicle.

Although we often hear about the risks involved with taking a taxi ride across town, it is not until one actually sees the results of a serious traffic accident that has taken the life of an innocent person that we begin to feel the gravity of such random and sometimes life-changing events here in the Baltimore area. Knowing that a quick cab ride can actually lead to a serious injury accident can serve to focus our attention on the aftermath of such a tragic incident and cause us to consider the long-lasting impact on victims and their families.

Texting while driving remains a serious issue throughout the country. Despite the seriousness of the issue, prosecutions of drivers remain rare, and proving that a driver was using their phone can be tricky in Maryland car accident cases. Without proof that a driver sent a message just before a crash, it can be hard to show that a driver was using their phone, including reading a text message.

According to a recent news report, a woman was recently convicted of vehicular homicide in a rare texting while driving prosecution. In that case, a woman was out for a walk during a break from her job when she was hit by a car. A driver believed to have been texting had rear-ended another car, which crashed into the pedestrian. The crash occurred at around 8:20 a.m. on a weekday in September. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide because she was texting while driving, and a jury recently convicted the driver after a trial. The case was believed to be the first in which a jury considered whether texting while driving could be considered akin to drunk driving.

The driver’s trial centered on whether the driver had been texting while driving. The driver had received a text asking her about dinner plans. The prosecution argued that she had read the text and had typed the letters “m” and “e” as part of her response. The driver claimed that she was not texting at the time of the crash. She said that she had typed those letters but did not remember when and was planning to call the person instead. The driver testified that she had looked down to turn on a window defogger and that when she looked up, the other car was “right in front” of her.

Wrong-way car accidents are often more devastating than most types of Maryland car accidents. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, wrong-way collisions are one of the most serious types of accidents that occur on highways. A recent study showed that such collisions are much more likely to result in fatal or serious injuries than other kinds of highway collisions. One study looking at wrong-way collisions on controlled-access highways found that the fatality rate was 27 times that of other kinds of accidents.

A study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that more than half of wrong-way drivers are impaired by alcohol. It also found that many wrong-way controlled-access cases begin when a driver enters an exit ramp. The NTSB study also found that nearly 80 percent of fatal wrong-way crashes occurred at night, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

While each case is different, there are several potential defendants in a wrong-way car accident case. Of course, the wrong-way driver is often to blame, due to intoxication or another negligent act. The driver’s employer may be liable if the driver is driving for work purposes. Finally, a municipality can be liable if the road’s design or signs contributed to the crash in some way. Defendants and their insurance companies generally deny liability and try to point the finger at other parties. Building a strong case against all potential parties sets a plaintiff up for the best possible scenario.

When someone is involved in a Maryland car accident, they have the right to file a claim against any party they believe to be at fault for the accident. Typically, these personal injury claims are made against other motorists. However, when the named defendant has an auto insurance policy – as all Maryland motorists are required to have – the insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault motorist to defend against the accident victim’s claim. Thus, in most Maryland car accident cases, the plaintiff is actually going up against an insurance company, rather than the at-fault driver.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging for accident victims to work with insurance companies. This difficulty is illustrated in a recent opinion released by a state appellate court. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was killed in a car accident after he was involved in a verbal dispute with the defendant outside of a bar. Evidently, as the plaintiff was leaving the bar, the defendant ran him over, killing him. The defendant was charged with voluntary manslaughter.

The plaintiff’s family filed a wrongful death claim against the defendant, who was insured through the defendant insurance company. The policy limit was $20,000 for compulsory insurance and $480,000 in optional insurance. The insurance company paid the $20,000 but argued that the optional insurance coverage did not apply because the defendant’s actions were intentional, and intentional conduct was not covered under the policy.

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