When someone is injured in a Maryland car accident due to another driver’s negligence, state law allows them to sue the responsible driver in a personal injury suit. However, what is less well known is that someone who is injured in a single-vehicle Maryland car accident may still be able to obtain compensation for their injuries. For example, in some situations, dangerous and hazardous conditions on the roads may lead to accidents, and injured victims may be able to sue their city government, who is responsible for maintaining roads and ensuring their safety.
For example, take a recent state appellate court decision. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was driving in August of 2016, when she suddenly hit an uncovered manhole. This caused an accident, and the plaintiff was seriously injured as a result. She decided to file a personal injury suit against the city, alleging that the manhole was a public nuisance and presenting evidence in the form of photographs. The photographs showed that the manhole sat several inches below the surface of the street and that there were cracks in the surrounding pavement. According to her expert witness, this meant that there was an increased risk of the cover being dislodged. The jury in the case sided with the plaintiff and found the city to be liable, and the city appealed.
On appeal, the court reversed the jury verdict and directed a verdict for the defendant city. The court found that the plaintiff did not establish the elements required to hold a city liable for a public nuisance, because she had to show that the deteriorated condition of the manhole existed on the day of the accident or that the city had notice of the condition before the accident. Because the photographs she submitted into evidence were taken over a year after the accident occurred, the court found that she had failed to establish these elements, and a jury could not find the city liable. As such, the verdict was reversed, and the plaintiff’s suit ended.