When Can the Government Be Held Liable for Causing a Maryland Car Accident?

An evening police chase last month tragically led to a car accident, resulting in one fatality and injuries. The case raises important questions about how and when the government and police may be held liable when they cause Maryland car accidents.

According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash occurred around 8:15 one evening as a man, driving a vehicle and wanted in a homicide, led police on a chase throughout the city. During the chase, the man crashed the vehicle—a dark-colored Jeep—and ran to a nearby gas station where he stole an idling 2016 Nissan SUV. He left the gas station and took off again, with police following. While the police cars were chasing the Nissan, one of them slammed into a Ford Explorer. The police car then spun out and hit a Hummer stopped at a red light. The drivers of the Ford and Hummer, as well as the Hummers two passengers, were all taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the driver of the Ford, a 37-year-old woman, died shortly after.

Typically, Maryland residents affected by tragic car accidents are able to bring a civil suit against the responsible driver to recover for the injuries caused, or the wrongful death of a loved one. The case, however, becomes more complicated in situations such as this one, where the at-fault driver is a police officer. Government employees have historically enjoyed sovereign immunity from tort claims such as negligence or wrongful death arising out of car accidents. However, the Maryland Tort Claims Act changed that and now allows accident victims to bring certain claims against the Maryland government or their employees.

Those wishing to bring suit against the Maryland government or its employees must follow certain procedural requirements, which can complicate the recovery process. Failure to follow the requirements exactly can result in the suit being dismissed, despite the strength of the case.

One of these requirements is that a plaintiff bringing a claim must provide notice to the State Treasurer within one year of the accident. This notice must include the name and addresses of everyone involved, a brief statement of how, when, and where the accident occurred, a description of the injury, a specific demand for damages, and the victim’s signature and contact information. If the one-year deadline is missed, the claim might be unable to proceed, so it is very important for plaintiffs to make sure they correctly file the notice and comply with other procedural requirements that could impact their ability to move forward with a claim.

Contact a Maryland Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have recently been injured due to a government employee’s negligence, you may feel overwhelmed at the procedural hurdles standing in the way of filing a Maryland car accident claim. Allow the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, to help you file the case and pursue the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are dedicated, experienced advocates who will work with you every step of the way. Learn more by calling 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation today.

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