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Critical Issues After a Fatal Multi-Vehicle Accident in Maryland

Maryland continues to follow outdated and strict contributory negligence laws that pose many challenges to accident victims. First, the state is one of the few jurisdictions that permit contributory negligence as a defense instead of comparative negligence. Other states calculate damages by calculating damages in proportion to the amount each party was at fault. Injury victims are more likely to be fairly compensated for injuries under the comparative negligence model. In contrast, the contributory negligence theory creates an “all or nothing” approach, and injury victims cannot recover if they are even 1% at fault for their injuries. These accidents can cause significant injuries, and fair compensation is necessary. As such, Maryland injury victims involved in an accident, especially a multi-vehicle accident, should contact an attorney to ensure that they secure the compensation they deserve.

For example, Maryland State Police described a multiple vehicle accident that resulted in several fatalities. Troopers responded to a report of a head-on collision in Westminster, Maryland. An initial investigation revealed that a Camaro was traveling east when it attempted to pass another car. While passing the vehicle, the Camaro slammed into another sedan. The Camaro driver and passenger and sedan driver suffered fatal injuries. The occupants of the third vehicle involved in the accident did not require immediate medical treatment. The accident is still under investigation; however, authorities believe that excessive speed was a factor in the incident.

This case brings up another critical issue in that Maryland wrongful death operates as two claims. The first claim is the wrongful death action, which asserts damages the person suffered because of the deceased person’s absence from the claimant’s life. The second action is a survival action, which allows compensation to the victim’s estate for the damages the victim incurred because of the accident up until they died.

Another problematic aspect of Maryland accident claims is the state’s reluctance to award punitive damages. Maryland law only allows punitive damages in incredibly narrow circumstances involving tort claims. Plaintiffs must be able to establish the defendant’s intent to injure with actual malice. The law defines actual malice as “conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, wrongful motive, intent to injury, or fraud.” Plaintiffs who wish to pursue these damages must abide by strict procedural rules, including filing specific claims for punitive damages that include a statement of fact.

Similarly, most pain and suffering damages are non-collectible unless they are economic damages. However, it is exceedingly hard to quantify grief, heartache, and sadness. However, an attorney can help clients gather evidence and present a compelling case to the fact-finder.

Contact a Maryland Car Accident Attorney Today

Those who have suffered injuries in a Maryland car accident should contact The Schupak Law Firm. Maryland accident cases are arduous and pose many challenges to accident victims and their loved ones. Attorney Sidney Schupak has extensive experience successfully handling these cases and securing the compensation that his clients deserve. The firm handles Maryland and Washington, D.C. cases involving medical malpractice, slip and falls, product liability, nursing home neglect, wrongful death, construction defects, vehicle accidents, birth injury, and medication errors. Contact The Schupak Law Firm at 240-833-3914 to discuss your Maryland accident claim with an experienced attorney.

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