After a Maryland multi-vehicle accident, determining who caused the crash can be difficult. In some cases, there may be multiple contributing causes of the crash. If a plaintiff files a Maryland negligence against one or more defendants involved in the crash, the plaintiff must show that a defendant’s wrongful action or inaction was a cause-in-fact and a legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Cause-in-fact means proving that a defendant’s conduct actually caused the injury, whereas legal cause means proving that a defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injury.

If two or more independent negligent acts caused the plaintiff’s injuries, Maryland courts will determine whether a defendant’s conduct was a “substantial factor” in bringing about the plaintiff’s injuries. Even if a defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries, the harm must have been sufficiently related to the defendant’s negligent conduct. That is, Maryland courts will consider the foreseeability of the harm and the relationship between the defendant’s conduct and the harm. Maryland courts may decline to hold a defendant liable due to policy considerations and fairness. In addition, because Maryland follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, if a plaintiff is found to be even partially at fault for their own injuries in a Maryland negligence case, the plaintiff cannot recover compensation in court. Maryland is one of the few states in the United States that continues to apply the doctrine of contributory negligence. This means that plaintiffs often have to defend against claims that they were negligent in order to succeed in court.

The plaintiff must prove all elements of the case, including causation, by a preponderance of the evidence—that the defendant’s actions were more likely than not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff may prove the case through either direct or circumstantial evidence and the plaintiff must identify specific actions or inactions of the defendant that were negligent.

Drunk driving is frequently listed as one of the leading causes of Maryland car accidents. Sadly, we take this as a given, as drunk driving accidents are not uncommon. However, every single DUI accident is entirely preventable and, despite the decades-long efforts of lawmakers, people continue to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Consuming alcohol has several negative effects on a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. For example, those who consume alcohol have slower reaction times, their judgment becomes clouded, they often get sleepy, and their ability to gauge risk is greatly compromised. The end result is that anytime someone gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they place everyone on the road at risk. Drivers who engage in this reckless conduct can—and should—be held accountable for their actions.

DC Teachers’ Union President Legally Impaired Following Fatal Accident

A tragic example of a drunk driving case comes from neighboring Washington, D.C. Back in April of this year, a D.C. musician was fatally struck by a driver while waiting at a traffic light. According to a local news report, the tragic collision took place at the intersection of Crain Highway and Harbour Way in Prince George’s Count. As it turns, out the driver of the striking vehicle was the president of the D.C. Teacher’s Union.

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Recently, a fatal Maryland hit and run accident made headlines, reported by multiple news outlets including CBS Baltimore. According to CBS Baltimore, the crash happened around 3 PM one Thursday afternoon late last month. Maryland State Police said that a 49-year-old Baltimore woman was heading west on Route 50 near Nesbit Road when she tried to pass a box truck by using the left shoulder of the road. Unfortunately, she hit the box truck while trying to return to the road and then lost control of her vehicle. Her car went down an embankment, where it hit multiple trees before finally stopping. But the driver of the box truck did not stay on the scene, making this a hit-and-run crash, so named because one driver hit another (whether or not they were at fault) and then fled the scene. When officials responded to the scene, they transported the woman to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Hit-and-run accidents are infuriating for many Maryland drivers, particularly those who lose a loved one as a result. In fact, a hit-and-run is actually a crime in the Maryland criminal code. Because it is punishable through criminal law, many Maryland hit-and-run accident victims wonder if they can receive punitive damages—damages designed to punish the defendant—through a civil lawsuit against a driver who hit and ran. The answer, usually, is no.

Civil lawsuits, as opposed to criminal suits, are not meant to punish the defendant who caused harm. Instead, they are meant to make a plaintiff who suffered harm whole, and so typically the defendant is ordered to pay them monetary damages to put them back in as close to the same position as they would have been if the car accident had not happened. These damages typically cover medical expenses, both past and future, as well as lost wages, incidental costs, and pain and suffering. In a wrongful death action, they might also cover funeral and burial costs.

One of the elements that individuals filing a Maryland negligence claim have to prove is causation. But even if a court finds a defendant’s acts or omissions were the cause-in-fact of the plaintiff’s injuries, the court will also consider whether the defendant’s negligent actions are a legally cognizable cause—that is, whether the defendant should be held liable under the circumstances. This consideration generally centers on whether the plaintiff’s injuries were within the harm that the defendant should have anticipated or expected due to the defendant’s negligent actions. Thus, a defendant may not be liable if the plaintiff’s injuries resulted only because of very unusual and unexpected circumstances. In considering whether a defendant may be liable for a plaintiff’s injuries, the court will consider any intervening negligent acts or omissions in the foreseeability analysis. If an intervening negligent action or omission is found to be a superseding cause, the defendant will not be held liable. Intervening acts may include the criminal acts of a third party after the defendant’s original act of negligence, as in the following case.

In a recent decision issued by a state supreme court, the court considered a case in which an employee at an Avis rental company stole an SUV from the rental lot where he worked after it had closed for the day. He drove the SUV around for hours in hopes of selling the vehicle. Police officers saw him driving erratically and approached him, and the driver sped off in an attempt to escape. As he was trying to escape, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall where two people were sitting, severely injuring them. The two individuals sued the driver and others, including Avis rental car company, alleging negligence and vicarious liability. The juries in both cases found in favor of the plaintiffs.

However, the Supreme Court of George found that the plaintiffs could not recover because the driver’s intervening criminal conduct severed the chain of events for causation. The court held that the driver’s criminal acts were the intervening and independent wrongful act of a third person. The court decided that even if Avis was negligent in allowing the employee to gain access to a car and steal it after hours, the injuries to the plaintiffs were not a probable or natural consequence that could have been reasonably foreseen by the defendants. No evidence showed that the defendants could have reasonably foreseen that the driver would lead police on a high-speed chase and crash into the plaintiffs.

Maryland car accidents happen every day, and many of them even make headlines in the local news. Maryland residents may see headlines every week about new car accidents happening across the state. But often, the news report discusses the accident and then notes the crash remains under investigation. Readers then likely move on and forget about the crash, and do not fully see or understand the aftermath of these crashes, especially the more serious ones.

For example, just recently, the Southern Maryland Chronicle reported on a fatal car accident occurring on Route 4/Southern Maryland Boulevard at Lower Marlboro Road in Huntingtown, Maryland. According to the report, the accident occurred just around 12:00 pm on a Monday afternoon. A 2003 Dodge Ram, driven by an 18-year-old man, was traveling south on the boulevard when a 2005 Suzuki SUV, driven by a 49-year-old woman, made a left turn onto the boulevard. Both vehicles entered the intersection at the same time, resulting in the Suzuki being struck on the driver’s side. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the Suzuki on its side and the Dodge with damage to its front end.

The driver of the Suzuki was immediately transported to Calvert Health Medical Center, where she sadly died from her injuries. The driver of the Dodge was not seriously injured. As of now, the crash remains under investigation and it is not clear who is at fault.

Car accidents happen in all types of configurations—from fender benders to T-bone accidents, they can all be dangerous, injurious, and even fatal. Perhaps the most dangerous among different types of car accidents, however, are head-on collisions. When these accidents take place as a result of one party’s negligence or lack of care, those who are responsible can be held accountable through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent news report, a local car accident killed two people. Preliminary accident reports indicate that a Hyundai was being operated negligently by its driver driving westbound in an eastbound lane. The Hyundai then collided head-on with a Toyota that was traveling eastbound. The driver of the Hyundai was ejected from her vehicle and was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Early reports also suggest that the Hyundai driver was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Toyota was trapped in her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. In addition to local troopers, fire and emergency medical services also responded to the accident, and the crash remains under investigation.

In Maryland, when an accident results in the death of another because the at-fault party conducted themselves in a negligent or reckless matter, you may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed for financial compensation. In this way, personal injury cases are separate from criminal cases, where a conviction results in jail time or fines owed to the state by the responsible party.

Recently, a major Maryland car accident made headlines when a two-year-old girl, a passenger in one of the cars, was thrown from her vehicle into the Assawoman Bay. According to The Baltimore Sun, the accident happened on a Sunday afternoon earlier this month. The cause of the multi-vehicle accident is still unclear, but witnesses report that on Route 90 in Ocean City, a pickup truck seemed to lose control before it spun, hit a concrete barrier, and flipped over a guardrail. The truck hit a BMW, which propelled it towards another car. The car swerved, and the BMW then crashed into another vehicle.

One of the drivers got out of his car to check on the driver of the BMW, and then ran over to help a man trying to get out of the pickup truck hanging off the side of the bridge. Once he was freed, he pointed to the water toward a car seat and a toddler floating on her back, kicking, before she rolled over and was face-down in the water. At that point, the driver of the car jumped into the water to save the toddler, who spit up a lot of water. A boat came and picked him and the girl up, and she was flown to Baltimore hospital. Seven other people associated with the crash were also treated at the hospital, but fortunately, no one was killed.

This unbelievable story made headlines, and at a press conference, the rescuer was publicly thanked, and the Ocean City Mayor commented on how fortunate it was that everyone survived. However, although the media attention will soon fade, the long-term impacts of these crashes can last months if not years. Even when the injuries do not seem too serious at the time, many individuals involved in Maryland car accidents find themselves sore and dealing with pain long after the crash occurs. Some individuals may find themselves needing physical therapy or to visit a chiropractor to deal with the impacts.

A tragic Maryland car accident last month resulted in the death of a 2-year-old boy and left an infant and two adults seriously injured. According to the Maryland State Police, the crash happened around 2:30 PM one afternoon in Waldorf, Maryland on Route 5 (Leonardtown Road) near Pika Road. The toddler’s mother, a 21-year-old woman, was driving a 2017 Hyundai Elantra when the crash happened. Although it’s not clear exactly what happened, her vehicle crashed into a 2018 Ford F-250 truck in what was described as a “nearly head-on” collision. After the crash, the 2-year-old was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead shortly thereafter. His mother and 2-month-old brother were also taken to the hospital with injuries, along with the driver of the other vehicle. Information on the extent of the injuries of those individuals has not been released. The crash is still under investigation since the cause remains unknown. Police did report that they are investigating what role, if any, the children’s car seats may have played in causing the death or injuries.

In the aftermath of such a tragic accident, families can face some significant financial costs whilst also mourning their loved one. There are medical bills and funeral and burial costs. Affected individuals may end up having to miss some work, causing them lost wages. The financial stress that fatal Maryland car accidents cause can be incredibly difficult for families to deal with, especially as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

While there is, unfortunately, nothing that can undo the accident or the damage it caused, Maryland law allows those injured in these accidents—or those who lost loved ones—to recover financially through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits can provide financial compensation for all damages actually suffered, helping the family at least not worry about finances while they mourn. These lawsuits can be brought against another driver who was at fault and caused the accident—a driver who ran a red light, for example, or was texting while driving and swerved into the other lane.

A recent Maryland car accident, occurring in Gaithersburg, Maryland, left one person dead and others injured, highlighting how dangerous car accidents can be. According to a local news article covering the accident, the crash occurred early one Sunday morning, before 6 AM, along Clopper Road at the intersection with Orchard Hills Drive. The initial investigation of the accident showed that a 29-year-old man was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu west on Clopper Road when, for unknown reasons, he crossed the center line of the road and hit the driver of a 2018 Nissan Sentra traveling east. Unfortunately, the driver of the Chevrolet Malibu died at the scene of the crash, and the other driver, a 27-year-old woman, was taken to a local hospital with injuries. Although the details are not known now, the news report noted that another passenger from one of the vehicles suffered traumatic injuries and that a firefighter was injured at the scene as well.

Accidents like this show how Maryland car accidents can have a range of negative outcomes. Individuals may be seriously injured—perhaps even suffering broken bones or internal bleeding—and require emergency medical attention. Even in less serious cases, car accidents can cause pain and soreness days or weeks later. And of course, in the worst cases, Maryland car accidents can be fatal, leading to the death of drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. Clearly, Maryland car accidents can have severe negative impacts. But what some people do not realize is that the state law allows for individuals to seek financial compensation when they suffer in these accidents. Personal injury lawsuits, filed against a defendant responsible for the accident in some way, can provide injured car accident victims with monetary damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, funeral and burial costs, and more.

To be successful in these personal injury lawsuits, a plaintiff generally must prove four things. First, that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Generally, this duty of care is just to be reasonably careful while driving and follow safety rules. Second, that the defendant breached that duty. Usually, this is proved by showing that the defendant was being careless—maybe texting while driving, ignoring traffic signs, or blowing through red lights. Third, that this breach actually caused the accident. And fourth, that the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result—either injuries or death. If these four things can be proved, a plaintiff can generally recover. But proving them may be more difficult than one expects, and many accident victims choose to work with a personal injury attorney through the process rather than going it alone.

When a Maryland car accident occurs, one of the first questions everyone has is “what happened?” Did a car malfunction? Did a tire suddenly blow out, were some taillights not working, or did the emergency brakes fail to work? Perhaps there was debris in the road or an animal that caused one vehicle to swerve. Or, there may have been a driver error—a distracted or intoxicated driver, for instance. There are many possible causes of Maryland car accidents. But one that often is not thought of is road rage—when drivers act aggressively and perhaps recklessly while on the road.

Road rage may take a few different forms. A driver may actually yell at others, make angry gestures, or honk repeatedly when they feel frustrated on the road. They may start tailgating other cars, aggressively trying to get them to drive faster. Cutting off other cars and trying to block them from changing lanes are both road rage behaviors, and in some intense situations, an angry driver may even hit another car on purpose. Understandably, road rage can lead to serious Maryland car accidents, injuring or even killing others.

For example, a recent Maryland crash is thought to have possibly been caused by road rage. And, unfortunately, it led to the death of a 21-year-old girl. According to a news report covering this accident, the crash occurred around 1 AM one morning over Easter weekend on I-95 North near exit 52 for Russell Street. Three cars were involved in the crash. The victim was driving a red Honda Civic, and there was also a white truck and a white car. Officials believe that road rage may have caused the crash—they think that something happened between the victim’s car and the white truck, which caused her to spin out onto the highway. Since she was then sideways in her Honda Civic on the highway, the white car hit her directly in the driver’s door. Unfortunately, she did not survive this accident. Her family is of course grieving this tragic loss.

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