Articles Posted in Head-On Accidents

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations against a local government responsible for maintaining a section of road where the plaintiff was involved in an accident. The case explores an interesting issue for Maryland car accident victims who are considering filing a case against a local or state government agency. Specifically, the case involves the issue of whether the government entity had notice of the hazard alleged to have caused the plaintiff’s accident and subsequent injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle after he lost control of his car after running over a section of broken pavement surrounding a manhole cover. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city that was in charge of maintaining that specific portion of roadway. The plaintiff did not claim that the city was negligent in constructing or repairing the damaged road; the plaintiff’s only claim was that the city was negligent in failing to fix the hazard.

One of the required elements of this type of claim is that the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had notice of the hazard. Otherwise, courts will not find that the defendant had a duty to repair the damaged road. In support of his case, the plaintiff presented photographs of the damaged road that were taken two weeks after the accident. The plaintiff argued that this showed that the government would have had knowledge of the damage.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Ohio issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by a woman who was seriously injured when her vehicle was struck by the subject of a high-speed chase initiated by police. In the case, Agrabrite v. Neer, the court concluded that since the police officers’ actions were not “wanton or reckless conduct,” the officers were entitled to government immunity.

The Facts of the Case

Agrabrite was seriously injured when her car was struck head-on by another motorist’s vehicle. At the time of the collision, the other motorist was being chased by police on suspicion of having committed a burglary. The fleeing suspect died in the car accident. Agrabrite filed a personal injury lawsuit against the police department.

Agrabrite knew that she would have to overcome the presumptive immunity that exists to protect government officials, so in her complaint, she alleged that the police officers’ actions were “willful, wanton, reckless, or malicious.” Under the applicable state law, if the court determined that the officers’ conduct was “willful, wanton, reckless, or malicious,” government immunity would not apply to the officers, and the case could proceed to a trial at which a jury may find the officers liable for Agrabrite’s injuries.

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Head-on collisions are some of the deadliest accidents because they often involve high speeds and direct impacts. In theory, head-on collisions should be rare because drivers should be able to see what is coming up ahead. However, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, there are dozens of fatal head-on collisions across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. each year.

It may come as a surprise that most head-on collisions occur on rural roads. In fact, according to one government source, approximately 83% of all fatal head-on collisions occur on undivided, two-lane, rural roads. Another surprising fact is that only 4% of all fatal head-on collisions involve one vehicle passing another. The largest number of fatal head-on collisions, by far, occurs when both vehicles are going straight, and one drifts out of its lane and into the oncoming lane.

Of course, drivers who are paying attention do not drift out of their lane and into an oncoming lane of travel. Most often, drivers who do drift out of their lane are distracted by their phone or a passenger. In some cases, drivers get drowsy behind the wheel and struggle to stay awake, drifting in and out of their lane in the process. Anyone injured by a distracted or drowsy driver may be able to seek monetary compensation through a Maryland or Washington, D.C. personal injury lawsuit.

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Earlier last month, one juvenile was killed and two others injured in a head-on collision in Mt. Airy, Maryland. According to one local news report, the accident occurred at around ten in the morning near the intersection of Md. 27 and Michael Road.

Evidently, the juvenile was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a 29-year-old resident of Taneytown. At some point, that vehicle began to drift out of its lane and into oncoming traffic. As it did so, the vehicle collided head-on with a dump truck heading in the opposite direction.

The minor was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. Both drivers were taken to the hospital as well. The dump truck driver suffered only minor injuries, while the driver of the car in which the minor was a passenger was in critical condition at the time of the article’s publication.

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