Single-Vehicle Traffic Accidents in Maryland can be Caused by Driver Error or Defective Vehicle Equipment

We see the headlines quite often: “Car Leaves Road, Rolls Over, Driver Dies at Scene” or “Driver Loses Control of SUV, Smashes into Storefront, Pedestrians Severely Injured.” On the face of it, these headlines indicate that one or more people were affected by a traffic accident; one that may have been caused not by driver error, but a failure of one or more of the vehicle’s critical control systems — such as steering or braking systems. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my legal staff know how serious a car crash can set an individual or family back if they aren’t financially prepared for such an event.

Just like driver error, defective vehicle equipment can result in loss of vehicle control or an inability to correct a bad situation following a collision or avoidance of same. In single-vehicle accidents, it can usually be assumed that the driver perhaps lost control of his or her car or motorcycle prior to the crash, however there can be instances where a catastrophic failure of one or more safety-related systems may have resulted in the initial loss of driver control. Occasionally, a mechanical failure can possibly exacerbate the effects of a crash by not allowing the motorist to regain or maintain control of the vehicle.

Statistically, a percentage of multi-vehicle traffic accidents likely are the result of a system malfunction. This can be as “simple” as a blown-out tire or as complicated as a problem with a car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) or drive-by-wire throttle control. Whatever the cause, the associated loss of control can send a passenger car into opposing traffic or cause a big-rig semi to jackknife in heavy traffic. The resulting injuries can range from cuts, bruises and broken bones to neck and back injuries, even closed-head trauma.

Understanding the various causes and effects of mechanical failures is one way in which an experienced personal injury lawyer can identify which, if any, party may be responsible for a traffic accident involving one or more cars, trucks or motorcycles. For those traveling in smaller cars, and especially in the case of motorcycle and scooter accidents, life-threatening injuries and even deaths can sometimes be the result.

Take, for instance, a crash that occurred on a Friday morning during the early rush hour. According to news reports, the accident happened just after 7am and involved a private car and an MTA mobility coach in Baltimore, Co. Based on police reports, the collision occurred along a stretch of Baltimore National Pike when a passenger car rear-ended the coach at the intersection of Ingleside Ave. in Catonsville, MD.

While there was no mention of any mechanical malfunction on the passenger vehicle, police apparently had yet to conduct a complete investigation of the wreck to determine a cause — the coach, however, was reportedly stopped when the car hit it from behind. The male driver was reportedly taken to Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center with non-life-threatening injuries, according to authorities.

At the time of the crash, police stated that the MTA coach was carrying only the driver and one passenger, both of whom were unhurt in that collision. The driver, whose name was not released by police at the time of the news article, was the only person sent to the hospital following the event.

Man in hospital after rear-ending MTA coach in Catonsville,, May 18, 2012

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