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Although car accidents can be deadly in a number of ways, potentially the most dangerous type of collision is a head-on crash. When two vehicles are going in opposite directions at high speeds and crash directly into each other, serious and fatal consequences ensue. Because many times these accidents take place because of the negligence or recklessness of another driver, it is crucial to understand how to recover from subsequent injuries, property damage, or in extreme crashes, the death of loved ones.

According to a recent local news report, a deadly two-vehicle crash left four individuals dead. Local authorities reported that on the Bel Air Bypass on Route 1 near Rock Spring Road, a Toyota was heading north when it tried to pass another vehicle and crossed into the southbound lane. A Honda was traveling southbound and the Toyota crashed into the Honda head-on. After the initial crash, the Toyota rolled over onto its side and caught on fire. By the time troopers arrived, they had to extinguish the flames and evacuate the driver of the Toyota and its passengers. The driver and passenger of the Honda were both pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Toyota and her passenger were airlifted to a local hospital to be treated for their injuries. The Toyota’s passenger later died from her injuries. The accident remains under investigation by Maryland state police.

Head-on crashes take place because of a number of reasons but are commonly associated with negligent or reckless drivers or maneuvers. Distracted driving involving talking on a cell phone or texting, for example, is one of the most common ways that head-on collisions take place. Other times, drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also cause them to veer into oncoming traffic. Driving the wrong way, drifting into the opposite lane caused by fatigue or drowsiness, speeding around curves, and improper passing are also common causes of head-on accidents.

Car accidents happen every day in Maryland by the dozens. While some of these accidents are clearly the fault of one driver, others are a little more complex. For example, a good number of Maryland car accidents are the result of several drivers making a mistake. While this is common, it can also complicate the recovery process for anyone injured in an accident.

Each state is responsible for creating its own rules when it comes to which drivers can recover for their injuries after an accident. Most states rely on a doctrine of law called comparative fault. Under a comparative fault analysis, a driver who is partially at fault can still recover compensation from other at-fault drivers. However, the injured driver will have their total damages award reduced by their percentage of fault.

For example, assume that Bill crashed into Joe. Joe suffered $100,000 in damages. At a jury trial, the jury found that Bill was 90 percent responsible for the collision and that Joe was 10 percent at fault. In this case, Joe would recover $90,000, rather than the full $100,000.

Establishing fault after a Maryland car accident is critical to recovering damages for an injury victim’s losses. Under Maryland’s strict negligence laws, accident victims face the burden of establishing the other party’s fault, but they must also refute any claims of contributory negligence. Meeting this high threshold requires a significant amount of evidence in conjunction with a compelling argument.

While Maryland law does not require accident victims to report every accident to the police, police reports are a crucial piece of evidence. Moreover, certain circumstances mandate a police report. These situations involve incidents where:

  • A driver or passenger is hurt;

When it comes to determining who is at fault in a car accident, some cases are simple, while others are much more complex and unclear. In a fender bender accident, for example, one may assume that the at-fault party was clearly the vehicle that collided with the car ahead of it. But upon further inspection, if the driver that was ahead suddenly stopped because they were texting and thus caused the vehicle behind them to rear-end them, allocating fault between the parties could get tricky.

In many car accident claims, establishing fault is a crucial part of your case. Understanding how Maryland determines fault and how it impacts your compensatory damages is therefore crucial toward the success of your claim.

According to a recent local news report, Maryland State Police are looking into a fatal two-vehicle accident that occurred in Baltimore County. Based on a preliminary investigation, the driver of a Toyota Prius was parked on the left shoulder of the road after being involved in a separate accident. A Hyundai driver then lost control of his vehicle, collided with a concrete barrier, and crashed into the Toyota Prius that was parked on the left shoulder. The Hyundai driver and its two passengers were transported to a local hospital for treatment and the driver of the Toyota Prius was uninjured. One of the Hyundai’s passengers was pronounced dead at the hospital. Although the accident remains under investigation, Maryland State Police noted that speeding and impaired driving were not factors that caused the crash.

In the United States, the legal system addresses offenses with two different cases: criminal and civil. While there are many distinctions between these cases, many Maryland accident cases involve both criminal and civil charges. Typically, the differences involve the offenses, standard of proof, punishments and constitutional rights of those accused of an offense.

Generally, criminal cases involve crimes against society as a whole, even if the precipitating event primarily affected one person. For example, while a person may assault one individual, the law considers the assault an offense to society. As such, the state prosecutes these crimes, and the prosecutor files the case instead of the victim. In contrast, the wronged party files the case against the at-fault party in a civil case. Further, civil cases generally result in monetary compensation, whereas criminal cases may include fines in addition to incarceration.

Additionally, the civil system requires the plaintiff to establish their case by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that it is more likely than not that the at-fault party engaged in the conduct leading to the lawsuit. Under the criminal system, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Moreover, criminal cases typically allow a jury trial, whereas a judge or jury may decide civil cases. Finally, the constitution provides a wide array of protections to defendants in the criminal system, much broader than those afforded in a civil case.

Maryland car accident injury lawsuits are often complex. The state’s strict contributory negligence laws prohibit recovery if the plaintiff is at all responsible for the accident. Insurance companies often use the state’s laws to their advantage and unnecessarily impute liability on a claimant. Fortunately, in most cases, injured passengers fare better during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Maryland car accidents can cause serious injuries, especially those involving head-on collisions or where both drivers were speeding. For instance, national news reports recently highlighted the tragic accident involving NFL player Deshazor Everett and a reputable occupational therapist. According to reports, the victim, a lifelong Maryland resident, was a passenger in the football player’s car when the car clammed into several trees and flipped over. Emergency responders transported the woman to a hospital, where she later succumbed to injuries. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Maryland law requires drivers to have third-party insurance. This system allows passengers to recover from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Typically, the passenger may collect from any responsible party; issues may arise in the rare case that the passenger was responsible for the accident. However, insurance companies may try to deny, delay, or under-compensate claimants unlawfully. In these cases, victims have options such as a bad-faith lawsuit against the insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

A 13-year-old boy died after a recent Maryland car crash in Camp Springs. According to one news source, the crash occurred when the driver of the vehicle with the 13-year-old boy as a passenger was traveling north on Allentown Road. The driver reportedly made a left turn into a shopping center and crashed into another car that was traveling south on the same road. The boy was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead. The drivers of both cars were injured but their injuries were reportedly not life-threatening. An investigation into the crash continues and anyone with information is asked to call the police.

The recent crash highlights the dangers of left turns for Maryland drivers. Research shows that left turns are a factor in many crashes. In one study, left turns were shown to be three times more likely to produce a serious injury or fatality as compared to right turns. In another study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the critical pre-crash event in 22.2 percent of crashes was a left turn. This means that about one-fifth of the crashes were caused by a left turn. In comparison, right turns made up only 1.2 percent of the crashes studied.

Researchers have explained that in making a left turn, drivers have to make a number of calculations within a short amount of time, drivers have to turn against the flow of oncoming cars, drivers’ view can be obstructed, and that such turns involve a wide turn radius.

The pandemic decreased holiday travel the past few years; however, this year marks a return to some semblance of normalcy. Maryland drivers will likely experience more air, auto, and public transportation traffic during the holiday season. Maryland roads become busier starting around Halloween and through New Year, which results in additional road hazards.

This increase in travel combined with winter weather may increase the likelihood of an accident. While the number of crashes decreased on the actual holiday, the rate of accidents increased in the days surrounding the holiday. As such, motorists and passengers should take steps to avoid dangerous driving and protect themselves and others during this season.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while many behaviors may lead to accidents, the holidays bring about additional driving hazards. The four most dangerous holiday driving behaviors include:

Impaired Drivers

Impaired driving is the cause of more than half of all car accidents. This type of driving refers to operating a vehicle while being affected by alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs, sleepiness, distractions, or a medical condition. Although many people assume that December 31st is the most alcohol-related accident, Halloween has three times more fatal accidents than New Year’s Eve.

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The only thing more stressful than a run-of-the-mill car accident is one where the at-fault party leaves the scene without providing any information. Sometimes, these hit and run accidents can have devastating consequences and involve significant property damage or injury to the party that was hit. When this takes place, hit and run accidents can often be extremely dangerous—especially when the at-fault party fails to help someone who was hurt at the scene and may need medical attention.

According to a recent news report, a Newark police officer was charged with reckless vehicular homicide after he struck a pedestrian with his personal vehicle and took the body home, where he consulted with his mother about what to do with it. The officer was off duty when his car slid into the shoulder of the road and struck the pedestrian. Neither the officer nor his passenger in the car contacted local police or provided aid to the pedestrian. Instead, the officer drove away and returned to the scene several times before placing the pedestrian’s body into his car and driving it home to his parents’ house. According to prosecutors, the officer and his passenger then discussed what to do with the body with the officer’s mother.

Eventually, the officer’s father called the police to report that his son had been in an accident. When local authorities arrived, they found the pedestrian’s body in the backseat of the officer’s vehicle. The prosecutor’s office noted that the pedestrian had died of blunt force trauma.

Although traffic nearly disappeared at the beginning of the global pandemic, road conditions have never been more deadly—especially for Maryland drivers. A combination of speeding, recklessness and other dangerous behaviors among local drivers has resulted in an unexpected increase in dangerous or fatal accidents in the last 20 months.

According to a recent local news report, Maryland roads have increased in danger since the beginning of the pandemic and are seeing a new high in rates of deadly crashes due to excessive speeding and distracted driving. Maryland State Police have noted that based on recent numbers, there have been more local drivers dead per collision, drivers moving at higher speeds, and more instances of driving under the influence or while impaired than ever before.

In 2020, the Maryland Department of Transportation noted that it saw its highest number of fatal crashes in six years due to excessive speeding. Although traffic numbers were down at the beginning of 2020, there was an increase in the number of total fatal crashes overall with 573 deaths in 2020 compared to 535 deaths from the year before. Despite fewer drivers traveling in 2020, the accidents that took place were more severe, which led to an increase in car accident fatalities.

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