Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Fatal accidents can take a devastating toll on the victim’s loved ones. These accidents are particularly tragic when they are preventable. For example, a person can easily prevent a DUI accident by refraining from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While not all accidents are preventable, you can take several precautions to stay safe on the road.

Sadly, a recent news article reported on a fatal car accident in Waldorf, Maryland. A preliminary investigation indicates that a Chevy Malibu was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane of Route 228. The Chevy then collided head-on with a Ford traveling in the westbound lane. The Chevy driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The Ford driver was transported to the hospital in serious condition. According to local authorities, driving under the influence (DUI) appears to be a factor in the collision.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Virginia?

In Virginia, the personal representative must bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased person. However, any damages from the lawsuit will go to the deceased’s beneficiaries as specified by § 8.01-53. Under this statute, the deceased’s surviving spouse and children can recover damages from a wrongful death action. If the deceased’s children are also deceased, their grandchildren can also recover damages. If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse, child, or grandchild, the surviving parents and siblings or any other dependent relatives can recover damages. Finally, if the deceased has no surviving relatives that fall into these categories, any surviving family member may inherit the deceased’s estate, including a damages award from a wrongful death action.

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First responders have a responsibility to protect the safety and lives of their communities. Consequently, it is especially devastating when a first responder’s negligence leads to significant injury or death. Following a serious accident, a victim or their loved ones may pursue a negligence lawsuit against the municipality who employed the first responder. Recently, a jury in D.C. awarded more than $13.5 million to the family of a man who died in an accident involving a speeding fire truck.

Facts of the Case

The events giving rise to this wrongful death lawsuit arose when a speeding fire engine was responding to an emergency. The fire truck sped through a red light at an intersection, which caused it to plow head-one into the victim’s car. Sadly, the victim died from his injuries. The crash injured two other people. The victim’s spouse filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the District of Columbia.

The Trials

There were two trials in this case. The first trial functioned to determine who was at fault. According to the original D.C. police report, the victim was at fault for the crash by failing to yield right of way to the fire truck, which can legally run a red light in the event of an emergency. The report also noted that the victim’s toxicology report revealed he had PCP in his system at the time of the accident. However, at the second trial, evidence showed that the fire truck driver actually violated D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services policies by failing to slow down or stop before running the red light. Instead of slowing down, the driver was speeding excessively. Additionally, the D.C. Superior Court judge excluded the toxicology report. While it reported PCP in the victim’s system, it did not necessarily indicate that he ingested PCP on the day of the accident. This led the judge to find that PCP did not contribute to the accident, nor was there evidence that the victim acted recklessly.

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Chain reaction accidents often start with one driver who fails to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle. A single driver’s negligence can lead to multiple crashes, particularly if other drivers are distracted and fail to react in time to avoid a collision. Chain reaction accidents pose complicated questions of causation that can affect the legal proof required in a successful personal injury lawsuit. One recent Maryland chain reaction accident demonstrates how one driver’s negligence can lead to widespread damage.

For example, a recent news article reported a chain-reaction crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge involving 23 vehicles. According to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), a vehicle that was speeding and driving erratically may have caused the accident. Multiple people suffered injuries, and the MDTA closed the Bay Bridge for several hours. While first responders provided assistance at the scene, several drivers found themselves stuck on the bridge with nowhere to go.

How Can You Prove Fault in a Maryland Chain-Reaction Accident?

If you bring a lawsuit after a chain-reaction accident on a bridge or highway, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the factual and legal cause of your injuries. However, proving causation may be complicated in a chain-reaction accident. For example, one driver may have struck your vehicle, but a second driver may have crashed into the first driver while speeding, causing the first vehicle to move forward. In this example, even though the first driver hit your vehicle, the second driver’s negligence may be the legal cause of your injuries. If so, the first driver likely has a strong defense that they did not cause your harm, meaning they would not be liable for damages. Conversely, if the second driver was speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence, they will have a tougher time proving their negligence was not the cause of your injuries.

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Driving under the influence (DUI) places everyone on the road at risk of serious injury. If you are hit by a drunk driver, you may incur medical bills, lost wages, or property damage. To recover damages for these losses, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. Civil lawsuits are separate from criminal cases, which often do not result in just monetary compensation. When bringing a civil case, Maryland DUI accident victims should understand the types of damages awards they can recover from a successful personal injury lawsuit.

Recently, a driver pleaded guilty to felony manslaughter charges after a Maryland DUI accident. The charges stem from a crash involving two drivers who were under the influence. The first driver was speeding on I-70 when the second driver clipped his car while attempting to change lanes. The first driver then crashed into a work zone, striking several construction workers. Sadly, six of the workers died from their injuries. Both drivers were traveling at over 100 miles per hour when the crash occurred. The second driver also faces DUI charges.

What Damages Are Available After a Maryland DUI Accident?

If you pursue a negligence lawsuit against the responsible driver, you may be able to seek compensatory damages. This type of damages award intends to restore you to the position you were in before the accident. Compensatory damages can include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for expenses incurred from the accident. These often include medical bills and lost future wages if your injuries prevent you from performing your usual job functions. In addition, you can seek non-economic damages, which compensate for emotional harm resulting from the accident. These often take the form of damages for “pain and suffering.” Finally, your spouse may be able to seek damages for “loss of consortium,” which refers to the loss of a spouse’s companionship. To recover compensatory damages, you must prove it is more likely than not that the driver’s negligence caused your injuries.

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When an accident involves multiple vehicles, determining fault can be unclear. The accident may also have more than one cause with more than one responsible driver. When a person suffers injuries in a multi-vehicle accident, they may sue more than one defendant for their harm. Maryland multi-vehicle accident victims should be aware of the state’s rules for recovery against multiple defendants.
For example, a three-car crash injured ten people in Columbia, Maryland. The accident occurred as a car was entering Route 29 south when the driver lost control, striking two other cars. As a result of the crash, ten people were transported to the hospital. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
How Does Maryland Determine Fault Among Multiple Defendants?
To apportion fault among multiple defendants, Maryland follows a system of joint and several liability. Under this theory of recovery, a plaintiff can recover the entire damages award from a single defendant regardless of fault. For example, a defendant who is only 30% at fault may be liable for 100% in damages if the other defendants are insolvent, meaning they cannot pay. However, that same defendant can then sue the other defendants to recover their share of the award. For example, the defendant could sue another defendant for 70% of the total damages amount. Joint and several liability ensures plaintiffs can recover the full damages they deserve even if one defendant is insolvent.

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is so dangerous that it can lead to both criminal and civil penalties. If a person driving under the influence causes injury, the victim could sue them for negligence, and the state could bring a criminal DUI charge. Virginia accident victims should understand the important differences between a negligence lawsuit and a criminal prosecution. Even if the responsible driver faces a criminal conviction, you can still hold them accountable for damages through a civil negligence lawsuit.

For example, a recent Fairfax County, Virginia DUI accident injured six teenagers. The accident occulted in the early morning hours as an intoxicated teenage driver was speeding in a residential neighborhood. Eventually, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which rammed into a large tree. Witnesses remarked that the vehicle started to spin before rolling over. Multiple passengers were ejected from the car. As a result, six teenagers suffered injuries. Debris from the accident also struck a parked car nearby.

How Do Criminal and Civil DUI Accident Cases Differ?

According to the Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 42,939 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021. Fatal accidents may involve anywhere from a single vehicle to multiple vehicles caught in a chain-reaction crash. When a person loses a loved one in a car accident, they may decide to hold the responsible driver accountable for the deep emotional and financial harm resulting from the crash. In the event of a fatal accident, a Maryland personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and pursue the compensation you need and deserve.

As a news article recently reported, two people died and three others suffered injuries following a six-vehicle crash in Maryland. The accident occurred on I-81 when the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe hit struck the rear of a tractor-trailer that had begun to brake. The crash then caused three other tractor-trailers and a pickup truck to collide. When emergency responders arrived at the scene, they found five people trapped in their vehicles. The Chevrolet driver and a passenger both sadly died from their injuries. Two other passengers in the Chevrolet and one tractor-trailer driver were transported to the hospital for their injuries.

Can You Sue an Employer for Their Driver’s Negligence?

If a tractor-trailer driver’s negligence led to a fatal accident, you may be able to sue the driver’s employer under a theory of vicarious liability. To hold an employer vicariously liable for an employee’s actions, a Maryland plaintiff must prove that the employee was working to further the employer’s business at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs must also show that the employee was working in their designated workspace, such as a planned travel route, and within their designated shift, such as completing a delivery at a certain time. If a plaintiff meets these requirements, they have shown that the employee acted within the scope of their employment during the accident, which is key to showing vicarious liability.

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When a driver is careless or distracted, they place everyone else on the road at risk of a fatal accident. When a person dies in an accident with a careless driver, that driver hurts not only the deceased victim but also the deceased’s surviving loved ones. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal Maryland accident, you may wish to pursue damages against the responsible driver. Even though a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind, doing so may help you recover from the financial burden you may be feeling in the wake of your loved one’s death.

A recent news article highlighted the ways in which negligently operating a motor vehicle can lead to a fatal accident. As the article reported, a fatal accident in Montgomery County, Maryland left one woman dead and nine people injured. The accident occurred on Maryland’s Capital Beltway after an SUV traveled southbound in the northbound lanes of I-270. As the SUV drove the wrong way, it crashed into a Lexus and a Nissan Pathfinder. Five people in the Lexus suffered injuries and received treatment at a nearby hospital. The Nissan driver was also transported to a hospital, but she sadly died from her injuries. Four passengers in the Nissan also suffered injuries. After the crash, police arrested and charged the alleged wrong-way driver.

What Damages Can You Recover in a Fatal Maryland Accident?

When a person dies in an accident, their surviving loved ones may seek to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver. In a Maryland wrongful death suit, the deceased’s loved ones can seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages allow a deceased victim’s loved ones to recover financial costs associated with the victim’s death, such as hospital and funeral expenses. They can also recover the deceased’s lost future earnings from which they would have otherwise benefitted.

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Fatal car accidents are all too common, especially on the highway. These tragic accidents often occur when drivers traveling at high speeds attempt to pass other vehicles. A driver who is not paying attention or forgets to check their blind spot may crash into another vehicle while changing lanes. Sadly, these passing accidents can have serious consequences.

According to a news article, two people were killed in a recent Maryland passing accident. The accident occurred on I-95 when the driver of a Dodge Charger was driving in the right lane and attempted to pass a tractor-trailer. Instead, the Charger rear-ended a Hyundai Elantra. The impact of the crash sent the Charger to the left side of the highway and the Elantra to the right. As a result of the crash, the Elantra caught fire. Sadly, both occupants of the Elantra died from their injuries. The Charger driver was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

How Can You Bring a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

After a fatal Maryland passing accident, a deceased victim’s loved ones may choose to bring a wrongful death action to hold the negligent driver responsible for their loved one’s death. In Maryland, a deceased victim’s spouse, parent, or child can bring a wrongful death suit. If none of the deceased’s surviving relatives fit these categories, Maryland law also allows the deceased’s other beneficiaries, who may be related to the deceased by blood or marriage. In Maryland, wrongful death lawsuits carry a three-year statute of limitations. This means loved ones must file a wrongful death action within three years of the deceased victim’s death.

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Too often, car accidents can have devastating consequences for accident victims and their loved ones. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you may be unsure of what to do next. While nothing will bring your loved one back, it may be helpful to understand your options for bringing a claim against the responsible driver. Doing so may help you obtain compensation for the economic and personal losses you have suffered after a fatal accident.

As a recent news article tragically reported, a woman lost her life after a serious car accident in Mechanicsville, Maryland. According to a preliminary investigation, the accident occurred when a Corvette traveling southbound struck the rear driver side of a Toyota 4Runner. The Corvette driver then hit a Toyota Camry. All three vehicles ran into a berm, causing the Corvette and Camry to roll over and the 4Runner to cross into the northbound lane. Sadly, the Camry driver died at the scene. The Corvette driver was transported to the hospital for his injuries. Police believe that excessive speeding may have contributed to the crash.

Can You Sue a Driver for a Loved One’s Death in Maryland?

Maryland allows a deceased victim’s loved ones to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for the victim’s death. Under Maryland law, the deceased’s relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit, including their spouse, parents, or children. If the deceased does not have any surviving relatives in these categories, other relatives by blood or marriage may bring a claim if they relied on the deceased financially. Wrongful death lawsuits ensure that a negligent party does not escape responsibility for their actions solely because the victim has died. Consequently, a person can bring a wrongful death suit against a defendant so long as the deceased could have brought a claim had they survived the accident. Anyone bringing a wrongful death lawsuit thus has to prove the same elements of a negligence lawsuit as if the deceased directly sued the defendant. Specifically, plaintiffs must prove the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care, breached that duty through their negligent action or failure to act, caused the fatal accident, and that the deceased passed away as a result.

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