May 21, 2012

City of Baltimore Approves $340,000 in Settlements for Traffic Accidents Involving City Vehicles

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Baltimore_Tunnel_05212012.jpgThe City of Baltimore approved settlements in three civil claims filed against the city, totaling $340,000. The city’s Board of Estimates, a five-member board that includes the mayor, the president of the City Council, and the city comptroller, approved the settlements by a unanimous vote. The three claims all involved traffic accidents with city vehicles, including a 2007 collision between a fire truck and a car that killed three people.

Sovereign immunity, the legal principle that the government cannot be sued unless it consents to the lawsuit, governs claims made for accidents involving public vehicles, and requires that injured persons or their representatives file claims with a designated government agency before attempting to file suit. In Baltimore, for example, claims go through the city’s Law Department.

The fire truck accident occurred early on Sunday, December 9, 2007, when a fire engine ran a red light on Park Heights Avenue and struck a vehicle. The fire truck was reportedly responding to a report of smoke in an apartment building, and had its emergency lights and siren activated at the time. The smoke turned out to be from burning food in an apartment unit. Traveling at forty-seven miles per hour, the fire truck hit a Nissan Murano traveling at twenty-three miles per hour.

Continue reading "City of Baltimore Approves $340,000 in Settlements for Traffic Accidents Involving City Vehicles" »

April 11, 2012

University of Maryland Study Shows Increased Risk of Pedestrian Injuries with Electronics Use

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

800px-Headphones_Sony_super-light_04092012.jpgA study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center has found that the number of pedestrians killed or injured in traffic accidents while wearing headphones tripled over a six-year period beginning in 2004. The researchers examined records of accident reports maintained by online news archives like Google and Westlaw, as well as data obtained from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The study was published in the January 16, 2012 online edition of the medical journal Injury Prevention.

The study identified 116 reported injuries or fatalities of pedestrians wearing headphones. They found that sixty-eight percent of the victims were male. Sixty-seven percent were under thirty years old. Fifty-five percent of the vehicles involved were trains, while most of the rest were automobiles. Only seventy-four percent of the reports explicitly stated that the victim was wearing headphones at the time of the accident. The remainder of the reports noted that the vehicle honked or sounded some sort of warning before the accident, suggesting that the pedestrian could not hear the warning. Seventy percent of the pedestrian accidents reviewed by the researchers resulted in the pedestrian’s death.

The number of pedestrians injured or killed in traffic or train accidents while wearing headphones tripled during the time period reviewed by the researchers. They found that sixteen injuries or deaths occurred in 2004, the first year reviewed. The last year reviewed, covering the period from 2010 to 2011, had forty-seven such accidents.

Two primary risks associated with headphone use by pedestrians became clear from the statistics. First is the risk of distraction, causing a pedestrian not to notice an imminent threat like an approaching car or train. The other is what the authors called “sensory deprivation,” or the inability of the pedestrian to hear an approaching vehicle or its warning sounds. The original inspiration for the study was reportedly the case of a Maryland teen who died after being struck by a train while crossing the tracks. Reports indicated the teen was wearing headphones and did not respond to warning sounds.

Continue reading "University of Maryland Study Shows Increased Risk of Pedestrian Injuries with Electronics Use" »

February 13, 2012

Paralyzed Construction Worker Receives One of the Largest Workers' Compensation Settlements in History After a Long Fight

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

622729_52924098_02142012.jpgA former Pennsylvania road worker who was paralyzed by a drunk driver as he directed traffic has reached a workers’ compensation settlement agreement for $3 million. This is believed to be one of the largest settlements in the U.S. In getting to this point, he has also gone through a Dram Shop Act lawsuit and a bad faith insurance claim.

Joseph Tuski was directing traffic on January 17, 2001 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. At about 10:30 a.m., a car driven by Michael Petaccio struck him. Petaccio reportedly sped around a line of cars Tuski had stopped, hitting Tuski and throwing him about sixty feet. The accident rendered Tuski a quadriplegic, and he must spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair with 24-hour care. Petaccio had reportedly just left the Ivyland Cafe, a bar in Warminster owned by Petaccio’s family where Petaccio was the manager. Petaccio pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and aggravated assault later that year, and he was sentenced to three years in prison but received work release.

Tuski first filed suit against Petaccio and the Ivyland Cafe, claiming negligence and Dram Shop Act liability. Dram Shop Acts hold businesses who serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals liable for damages subsequently caused due to that person’s intoxication. Tuski presented evidence that, at the time, he had $1.6 million in medical bills and future medical expenses of at least 12 million. A Philadelphia jury awarded Tuski an enormous but largely symbolic verdict in 2004 totalling $75.6 million in damages. This included $50.6 million in compensatory and $25 million in punitive damages, but neither defendant had the ability to pay such an amount. Petaccio only had $100,000 in liability insurance coverage, while The Ivyland Cafe had coverage of $1 million.

After the verdict, the bar lost its appeal, although a judge cut the jury’s award in half. The bar’s insurer then reportedly refused to pay the policy limits of the award. Tuski sued the insurance company for bad faith refusal to pay a claim. Although a plaintiff in an injury case has no direct relationship with a defendant’s insurer, since the insurance company’s obligation to pay is based on a contractual relationship with the defendant, many states allow a plaintiff to pursue an insurer for payment of a specific award. In this case, the bar assigned its rights under its insurance contract to Tuski. In June 2007, Tuski reached a settlement with the insurance company for $20 million.

Continue reading "Paralyzed Construction Worker Receives One of the Largest Workers' Compensation Settlements in History After a Long Fight" »

January 23, 2012

Maryland Traffic Cameras Seek to Deter Speeding, Promote Safe Driving

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

To combat decreases in revenue from the state and county, the town of Takoma Park, Maryland has turned to traffic cameras as a source of city funding. City officials maintain that their main purpose is to promote driving safety. The city has installed at least six cameras at major intersections. Locations were chosen, the city says, based on the prevalence of past speeding offenses. Between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, the city reportedly collected almost $1.74 million in traffic fines from tickets issued through camera evidence. After administrative costs paid to the vendor that manages the system, the city’s net revenue was $898,018. Maryland law requires that money obtained from traffic camera citations go solely towards public safety projects.

The city issued 6,530 tickets for violations captured by the cameras between October 1 and November 22, 2011. Not all tickets are paid, of course, but the system has apparently given the city a much-needed boost in revenue.

Despite any possible concerns over enforcement of criminal issues, the effect of the cameras on public safety, according to city officials, has been profound. Takoma Park Police Chief Ronald Ricucci told that the city’s two main “target areas,” New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, have seen reductions in auto and pedestrian accidents since the city began using the cameras. It is not entirely clear how the cameras could improve driving safety while also increasing revenue from speeding tickets, unless a reduction in auto accidents is not directly related to the amount of speeding in those locations.

The cameras may prove to be useful when traffic accidents do occur, as a source of evidence. Traffic cameras typically take a photograph of an intersection or stretch of road with a wide enough angle to capture a vehicle and its surroundings, but also with enough detail to see features like license plates numbers. Images from the cameras could assist in resolving disputes over whether a driver ran a red light, which driver had the right of way, whether a driver made an improper merge, and so forth. This is still a new technology, especially in our legal system, which is slow to adapt to many new technologies. As such, evidence rules and court procedures are still adapting to this new type of evidence.

Continue reading "Maryland Traffic Cameras Seek to Deter Speeding, Promote Safe Driving" »

August 15, 2011

$2M Maryland Truck Accident Verdict Awarded to Family of Elderly Couple

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A Montgomery County jury has awarded the family of Xiufeng Wang and Yunshu Li $2.032 million for Wang’s Maryland personal injuries and Li’s wrongful death. The elderly couple were hit by a dump truck in a backover accident On October 9, 2008.

Wang, 78, fractured his back and wrist. His wife Li, 74, was pronounced dead at the Germantown truck accident site. The couple were walking in a crossed traffic lane at a road construction site when the truck struck them.

In their Montgomery County truck accident complaint, their family sought damages from multiple parties involved in the construction project. They contend that Hakes Contracting Incorporated and Milestone Construction Services Inc. did not give pedestrians a safe alternative route in the construction area after taking off a portion of the sidewalk. They also accused the dump truck operator of negligence.

Backover Accidents
A vehicle that runs over pedestrians while backing up can cause serious personal injuries. The motor vehicle doesn’t have to be going at a fast speed for a fatality to occur. Skateboarders, elderly persons, small kids, joggers, and bicyclists are among those at high risk of getting hurt in a Maryland backover crash. Backover accidents most often occur when a motor vehicle is backing out of a driveway, alley, or parking spot. The drivers of large vehicles with huge blind spots must be especially careful to check to make sure there is no one behind them when backing up.

The Maryland backover accident that injured Wang and Killed Li is a case of how sometimes more than one party can and should be held liable for Montgomery County personal injury and wrongful death. The parties responsible for the construction site should have made sure that all safety precautions were implemented so that motor vehicle crashes and pedestrian accidents don't happen.

Successful Lawsuit Sees Jury Award Over $2 Million in Compensation, News4Us, August 2, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Trucking Accidents, Nolo

Backover Crashes, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Commercial Trucking Accident News: Cement Mixer Truck Overturns on I-270; Four People Seriously Injured, Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, July 8, 2011

Maryland Injury Accident News: Local HS Coach Seriously Hurt in Head-on Crash with Dump Truck, Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011

Family of Baltimore Bicyclist Settles Maryland Tanker Truck Accident Lawsuit Over His Wrongful Death, Maryland Accident Law Blog, December 2, 2010

July 31, 2011

Harford County, Maryland Car Accident Kills 14-Year-old Pylesville Pedestrian

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Heather Greer, 14, died on Thursday after she was injured in a Harford County pedestrian accident. The Pylesville teenager was crossing Route 136 when she was hit by a motor vehicle.

According to Maryland State Police, Greer died from injuries she sustained from the impact of being hit by a 2009 Toyota Highlander. She was pronounced dead at the R. Adams Cowley, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where she was flown by helicopter after the Pylesville car crash.

Child Pedestrians
It’s been awhile since our Baltimore personal injury law firm has posted on a story on this site about a Maryland child pedestrian accident. However, our child injury lawyers continue to remain concerned about the hundreds of kids that are killed each year because they were struck by a motor vehicle.

As Baltimore injuries to minor attorneys, we are familiar with the kinds of serious injuries that can occur during a child pedestrian accident (For example: traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, organ damage, disfigurement, and burn injuries) and we know how important it is to get the financial recovery you need to help cover medical expenses and other costs.

Our Maryland injury lawyers work with accident reconstructions and medical experts that know how to prove exactly how your injuries happened. We are experienced in building solid cases for our clients while providing you with the legal counsel and support that you need during this difficult time.

Depending on the details of what happened, possible liable parties might include a driver, the entity responsible for maintaining/designing the road, the manufacturer of the motor vehicle or one of its parts, or the party that served alcohol to an intoxicated driver.

14-Year-Old Pylesville Girl Struck by Vehicle and Killed While Attempting to Cross Route 136,, July 29, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Child Pedestrians, NHTSA

Pedestrian Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More Blog Posts:
Maryland Pedestrian Accident Report: Two Teens Die in Hospital Following Fatal Baltimore Street Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 29, 2011
$3.3M Prince George’s County Pedestrian Accident Awarded Over Woman’s Maryland Wrongful Death, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 14, 2011

Toddler and Teen Pedestrians Injured During East Baltimore Car Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 12, 2010

March 14, 2011

$3.3M Prince George’s County Pedestrian Accident Awarded Over Woman’s Maryland Wrongful Death

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A jury has awarded the family of Kelay Smith $3.3 million against the state of Maryland for her Prince George’s County pedestrian accident death. Kelay, 26, died when she was hit by a driver while walking on the 5700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, which is also called Route 4, on August 12, 2008. At the time Kelay, who was five months pregnant, was walking home with her sister Krystal Fletcher, 22, who was not injured. She and her unborn child died at the hospital.

The Maryland pedestrian deaths happened when a car driven by Petrello Cabbagestalk drove onto the shoulder of the road, striking Kelay and pedestrian Derrick R. “Mooky” Jones. The 30-year-old Forestville resident died at the accident site. Cabbagestalk, whose car slammed into a tree, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The family’s Maryland wrongful death lawyer contends that the pedestrian deaths were preventable. He says there is a 200 feet gap on the street where there are no guardrails or sidewalk. That is where the Prince George’s County traffic crash happened. He believes that the state could have done more to make that area of the road safer for pedestrians.

The jury's verdict awards $800,000 to Kelay’s mom Vicki Muhammed and $2.5 million to her daughter Kayla, who was 2 when the tragic accident happened.

Maryland Pedestrian Accidents
There are many reasons for why a pedestrian death might happen. Driver error or recklessness, pedestrian negligence, faulty traffic signs, poorly designed roads, and auto defects are some of the more common causes. Although nothing will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, you may be able to hold all negligent parties liable. An experienced Prince George's County personal injury law firm can determine what happened and help prove your case.

$3M jury award in Md. pedestrian death, The Washington Post, March 11, 2011

Jury finds Maryland liable for failing to include a sidewalk, Greater Greater Washington, March 11, 2011

Third Victim in District Heights Crash Identified; Family Speaks Out, WJLA, August 2008

Driver in Pedestrian Deaths Had Recent Traffic Ticket, WUSA9, August 14, 2008

More Blog Posts:
Car Accidents Caused by Negligence, Nolo

Pedestrian Safety,

More Blog Posts:
Maryland Mother and Children Hit, Severely Injured By Taxicab Driver Speeding on Suspended License, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 10, 2011

Early Evening Pedestrian Traffic Accident Leaves Grandmother and Grandchild Injured in Rockville, Maryland, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 27, 2011

Maryland Auto Injury News: Three Restaurant Customers Injured When Car Crashes into Building, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, December 13, 2011

February 16, 2011

The Fight Against Distracted Driving: Baltimore County Lawmaker Pushes for Tougher Cell Phone Driving Law

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

According to Maryland lawmaker James Malone, the state’s law regarding handheld cell phones while driving is not tough enough. Delegate Malone, a Democrat from Baltimore County, is supporting a bill that would make using a handheld cell phone while operating a motor vehicle a primary offense. Hopefully, such a bill will stop more people from distracted driving with their phone or PDA so that they don’t cause a Maryland car crash.

Under the current law, talking on a handheld phone while driving is a secondary offense, which means that the ban can only be enforced if the driver is being cited for another violation. Also, although drivers are banned from sending text messages, they are allowed to retrieve and read them. Malone and others also want to make the text messaging ban tougher. Sen. Jim Brochin, D-Baltimore County is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would make it illegal to also read texts while driving.

According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, in the past five years, there have been over 380 distracted driving fatalities in the state. Distracted driving, as described by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is an epidemic. It was the cause of 5500 fatalities in the US in 2009—yet many people, when they can get away with it, continue to text, talk on the phone, send emails, surf the Internet, or play games on their cell phone while driving. Although talking on a handheld device is not safe either, at least the driver has both hands on the steering wheel.

A distracted driver can be held liable for Baltimore County personal injury or wrongful death if his/her failure to pay attention caused a catastrophic Maryland car accident. There are steps that an experienced Baltimore personal injury law firm can take to prove that a driver was distracted when the Maryland traffic crash happened. For example, there may be phone records that can be obtained to match up when the crash happened and when a call was taking place. A witness may have observed the distracted driver texting.

Md. Bill to Tighten Cell Phone Use While Driving, ABC News/AP, February 16, 2011

Distracted driving epidemic: U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood calls issue a 'personal crusade', Sea Coast Online, October 24, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Related Blog Posts:
US DOT Holds Second Annual Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010

Maryland Injury News: Distracted Driving Blamed for Increasing Number of Fatal Teenage Automobile Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 17, 2010

Maryland Auto Injury News: Distracted Driving Blamed in Baltimore Woman’s Death following Fatal Howard County Crash, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 26, 2010

Continue reading "The Fight Against Distracted Driving: Baltimore County Lawmaker Pushes for Tougher Cell Phone Driving Law" »

September 15, 2010

NHTSA Reports 547 Maryland Traffic Fatalities and 29 Washington DC Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in 2009

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued its 2009 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note, which includes its motor vehicle traffic crash statistics for the year. According to the NHTSA, 33,808 people were killed in auto collisions in the US, which was a 9.7% drop from the 37,423 people that died in traffic crashes in 2008. This is the lowest number of US highway deaths to occur in a year since 1950.

The drop in traffic deaths happened even as estimated vehicle miles traveled went up by 0.2% in the past two years. NHTSA also says that the lowest injury and fatality rates at 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled occurred last year.

Locally, our Maryland motor vehicle crash lawyers and Washington DC car accident attorneys are happy to report that there also was a decline in the number of traffic deaths for the year. There were 549 Maryland traffic fatalities last year—down from the 591 motor vehicle deaths in 2008 and 29 Washington DC auto crash deaths in 2009—a drop from the 34 Washington DC motor vehicle traffic deaths the year before.

The nation also saw a reverse in the yearly increase in motorcyclist deaths, which has been on the rise for 11 years. In 2009, there were 4.462 US motorcyclist fatalities. Compare that to 2008 when there were 5,312 motorcyclist deaths.

More 2009 US Traffic Facts:
• 23,382 passenger vehicle deaths
• 503 large truck crash fatalities
• 4,092 pedestrian accident deaths
• 630 pedalcyclist crash fatalities
• 2,217,000 traffic crash injuries
• 1,976,0000 passenger vehicle injuries
• 17,000 large truck injuries
• 90,000 motorcyclist injuries
• 59,000 pedestrian injuries
• 51,000 pedalcyclist injuries
• 10,839 drunk driving deaths
• 162 Maryland drunk driving deaths
• 10 Washington DC drunk driving deaths

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, Traffic Safety Facts (PDF)

2009 Data Show Major Across-the-Board Declines in all Categories
Despite a Slight Increase in Road Travel
, NHTSA, November 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Maryland Department of Transportation

District Department of Transportation

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

Continue reading "NHTSA Reports 547 Maryland Traffic Fatalities and 29 Washington DC Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in 2009" »

August 27, 2010

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Killed in Baltimore Tractor-Trailer Accidents

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Police have identified the pedestrian killed in Thursday’s Baltimore tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95 as Michael A. Coll, 36.The cause of the Maryland traffic crash is still under investigation. Following the deadly collision, all northbound roads were temporarily closed.

Coll’s death comes just two days after New Windsor bicyclist John Martin Jr.,51, was fatally struck in Union Bridge on Route 75 by a semi-truck that was making a right turn. According to a preliminary probe, trucker Anthony Edward Woodie failed to yield to the bicyclist when turning. He may face criminal charges.

Our Baltimore truck crash lawyers want to remind you that it is important that you not speak with the other party’s insurer without exploring your legal options first. Many trucking companies will take persuasive action to get you to settle for less than you may be owed for your injuries or a loved one’s death. It is important that you have a Maryland personal injury law firm advocating on your behalf.

In other recent Maryland truck accident news, the driver of a Corvette was injured on August 20 when his vehicle was mangled during a collision with a tractor-trailer on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Police have said that they believe the truck rear-ended the car.

Our Owing Mills truck accident law firm represents vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, and truck drivers injured in Maryland traffic crashes. We represent Maryland injury victims from all towns, cities, and counties. Your first consultation with Lebowitz & Mzhen is free.

Police identify man struck, killed by tractor-trailer on I-95 in Dundalk, The Baltimore Sun, August 27, 2010

Carroll Co. cyclist killed after collision with truck, The Baltimore Sun, August 25, 2010

Tractor Trailer Rear Ends Car On Bay Bridge, WJZ, August 20, 2010

UNION BRIDGE: Man dies after being struck by tractor-trailer, Carroll County Times, August 24, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

July 12, 2010

Toddler and Teen Pedestrians Injured During East Baltimore Car Accident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A 14-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy were injured during an East Baltimore car accident yesterday afternoon. The two children were close to the intersection of North Highland Avenue and East Fayette Street when they were hit by a car. Charges are pending against the motorist that struck them.

Child Pedestrian Accidents
Many children lack the judgment and experience to protect themselves from Maryland pedestrian accidents. Although drivers must always refrain from negligent driving to avoid striking pedestrians of any age, they must exercise extra caution around children.

Steps motorists can take to avoid striking child pedestrians:
• Drive at a slower speed in residential neighborhoods and areas where children are likely to be playing or walking to and from school.

• Obey traffic signs and signage and respect crosswalks and speed limits.

• When backing up your car, do so cautiously and slowly. Many child pedestrians are injured in backover accidents each year.

• Don’t text message or talk on the phone while driving.

• Keep your eyes and attention on the road at all times.

In 2008, 270 children in the 14 and under age group were killed in US pedestrian accidents. Our Baltimore injuries to children and minors lawyers have seen the devastating toll pedestrian accidents can take on the victims and their families.

Serious Maryland pedestrian injuries have included traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and wrongful death.

Teen, toddler hit by car, injured; charges pending against driver, Baltimore Sun, July 11, 2010

Children: 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Pedestrian Safety, CDC

Pedestrians, NHTSA

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Continue reading "Toddler and Teen Pedestrians Injured During East Baltimore Car Accident" »

March 2, 2010

Maryland Semi-Truck Crash Kills Husband and Seriously Injures His Wife

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A Harford, Maryland tractor-trailer crash has killed one man while critically injuring his wife. Leonard Clark, 38, and his wife Kimberly, 39, were standing next to I-95 on the night of February 24 when they where hit by a semi-truck.

The seriously injured couple was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center where Leonard was pronounced dead. As of last Friday, Kimberly’s condition was considered very serious.

Our Maryland tractor-trailer crash attorneys extend our sympathies to the Clark family. Losing someone you love and/or getting seriously hurt in a semi-truck crash is catastrophic. Tractor-trailers are so huge in size and heavy and weight that anyone struck by a semi-truck is at high risk of sustaining serious injuries and/or dying.

Just the day before the Maryland truck accident involving the Clarks, 22-year-old Boonsboro pedestrian Anthony Allen McChesney died when he was hit by a United Parcel Service semi-truck on I-81. The Hagerstown truck crash occurred at around 4:31 am.

Also last month, during the early afternoon of February 11, a State Highway Administration worker got hurt when a tractor-trailer hit his truck as he warned motorists that a crew was removing snow off the Baltimore Beltway. The SHA worker, James Flutka, sustained injuries. Truck driver Robert Scolaro, who was transporting diapers, was not injured. He did receive a traffic citation for failure to control speed.

D.C. man killed, wife injured in accident, The Washington Post, February 25, 2010

Boonsboro man struck and killed by tractor-trailer on I-81, The Herald-Mail, February 23, 2010

Even with the worst of two severe winter storms behind them, state police and roads officials are warning against complacency on the part of drivers, Carroll County Times, February 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Maryland State Highway Administration

Continue reading "Maryland Semi-Truck Crash Kills Husband and Seriously Injures His Wife" »

November 23, 2009

Maryland Pedestrian Accidents: US 40 Considered a Leading Danger Zone for Injuries and Deaths

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

According to the Baltimore Sun, since January 2003 at least 29 Maryland pedestrian fatalities have occurred in the 52-mile section of US 40 where it merges into Interstate 70 in Western Howard County. At least 8 of the pedestrian deaths occurred in Baltimore City, and except for 2 fatalities, the other pedestrian deaths occurred in West Baltimore. 21 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Harford County, with the 3-4 fatalities that took place in the Maryland cities of Rosedale, Ellicott City, and Aberdeen occurring within a few hundred feet of each other.

Maryland State Highway Administration spokesperson Dave Buck says US 40, a main arterial highway, was constructed before pedestrian safety was considered a priority. A recent report by Surface Transportation Policy Project and Transportation for America recently pointed to highway design as one of the main causes of pedestrian deaths.

The report noted that 56% of pedestrian fatalities occur on roads that weren’t designed with pedestrian safety in mind. The report says arterial roads usually have multiple lanes, high speed limits, and few (if any) crossing signals or crosswalks.

Other arterial loads linked to Baltimore pedestrian accidents include Ritchie Highway, US 1, Reierstown Road, Liberty Road, and Mountain Road. With so many pedestrians continuing to die and get hurt in US traffic crashes each year—4,378 US pedestrian fatalities, 69,000 pedestrian injuries, and 116 Maryland pedestrian deaths in 2008—local, state, and federal entities must make sure that roads are properly designed to limit the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths.

U.S. 40 among top danger spots for pedestrians, Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2009

Pedestrians, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Read the Report (PDF)

Maryland Department of Transportation

Continue reading "Maryland Pedestrian Accidents: US 40 Considered a Leading Danger Zone for Injuries and Deaths " »

November 2, 2009

John Hopkins University Student Dies from Injuries Sustained During Baltimore Pedestrian Accident involving Hit and Run Pickup Truck

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Miriam Frankl, 20, died on October 17 from the serious head wounds and other injuries she sustained during a Baltimore hit and run accident that occurred the day before. Frankl, a Johns Hopkins University student, was struck by a white Ford F-250 moving at a high speed on St. Paul Street during a hit and run Maryland truck crash. Witnesses say that the driver of the truck, a man, did not stop. Instead, he allegedly made an illegal left turn onto East University Parkway.

Frankl was placed on life support at Maryland Shock Trauma Center where she died at 2:30am the next day. Thomas Meighan Jr., the 39-year-old truck owner, was initially arrested on at least 18 driving offenses.

Witnesses say that Meighan’s truck drove erratically for hours that day, tailgating, attempting to cut off other motorists, making abrupt lane changes, running several red lights, driving at high speeds on small roads and driving the wrong way.

Most of the lesser charges have been dropped. The remaining charges against Meighan include driving on a suspended license, failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving death, failure to stop vehicle at bodily injury accident, failure to stop vehicle at death accident scene, failure to render reasonable assistance to injured person, failure to furnish required ID and license, failure to stop after accident involving vehicle damage, and failure to remain at scene of vehicle damage accident.

Police are trying to figure out whether they can charge Meighan with vehicular manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of Frankl. Meighan claims he was not driving his car on the day of the deadly Baltimore car crash that claimed the 20-year-old’s life.

Prior to the October 16 Maryland pedestrian accident, Meighan already had 21 motor vehicle convictions. 8 of those convictions were for drunk driving. Over six of the offenses took place in Carroll County.

Driver's truck terrorized Baltimore before killing student from Wilmette, Chicago Tribune, October 27, 2009

Charges pared in hit-and-run, The Baltimore Sun, October 28, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Hit and Run Maryland, Deadly Roads

Maryland Department of Transportation

Continue reading "John Hopkins University Student Dies from Injuries Sustained During Baltimore Pedestrian Accident involving Hit and Run Pickup Truck" »

July 23, 2009

Cell Phone Use While Driving: NHTSA Withheld Research Warning About Dangers

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reportedly recommended as far back as 2002 that motorists not talk on cell phones while driving—unless in an emergency situation. The federal agency also recommended that drivers not use hands-held, as well as hands-free phones and even went so far as to note that establishing laws banning only handheld cell phones might not be enough to minimize the risks of using a phone while operating a motor vehicle.

The reason for this recommendation was that the NHTSA had in its possession hundreds of pages of research documenting the dangers associated with cell phone use while driving. Yet the recommendation and the research were never made available to the public. One reason for this was concern that Congress and other public officials would see the proposal as a form of lobbying.

The information finally became public after Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety, two public interest groups, managed to access the information via the Freedom of Information Act.

The question now being asked is how many lives could have been saved if people knew then what they know now about the risks involved with cell phone use while driving? When the NHTSA first made its proposal several years ago, there were more than 170 million people using cell phones in the country—now, there are more than 270 million cell phone subscribers. And now, more than ever, cell phone use while driving has become a bad driving habit that millions of motorist are finding hard to break.

Yet as more motor vehicle accidents are reported involving motorists that caused auto crashes because they were talking on a phone or text messaging, the consequences of cell phone use while driving can no longer be ignored. Even train operators have been found negligent for engaging in these bad habits and causing catastrophic train collisions.

While Maryland doesn’t have a ban on any kind of cell phone use for adult drivers—only for minor drivers—all drivers will be prohibited from text messaging beginning October 2009. The Maryland Highway Safety Foundation says it had been pushing for a hand-held cell phone ban, but with the latest revelations about the NHTSA’s suppressed findings, they may recommend a total ban on the use of all cell phones while driving.

U.S. Withheld Data on Driving Distractions, WBOC 16, July 22, 2009

Suppressed federal study having ripple effect in Md., Baltimore Sun, July 2009

The Truth About Cars and Cellphones, NY TImes, July 22, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Center for Auto Safety

Public Citizen


Maryland Highway Safety Foundation

Continue reading "Cell Phone Use While Driving: NHTSA Withheld Research Warning About Dangers " »

July 10, 2009

Maryland Wrongful Death Settlement Reached in 2007 Pedestrian Accident on Coastal Highway

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A little over two years after 21-year-old Tyler Adams was killed in a Maryland motor vehicle crash while crossing Coastal Highway on June 17, 2007, his family has settled their wrongful death lawsuit with the defendant.

Adams, an Easton resident, and his friend Dale Blankenship were crossing the highway before 2am when a Jeep Cherokee driven by Brian Scott, 19, struck them. While Blankenship, also from Easton, sustained minor injuries, Adams died from his injuries.

No criminal charges were filed against Scott. Adams’s family sued him for Maryland wrongful death in August 2007. Their civil complaint sought $1.75 million in punitive and compensatory damages. The terms of the Maryland wrongful death settlement are confidential.

While Scott, a minor at the time of the deadly Maryland car crash, ran a red light and was suspected to be driving under the influence, Adams was also suspected of being under the influence and not in the crosswalk when the pedestrian accident occurred. The issue of whether or not there was actual presence of malice in the case has been an issue of debate during two years of legal wrangling.

Adam’s death was one of the 614 Maryland traffic crashes that occurred in 2007. And while one motor vehicle fatality or one pedestrian death is one fatality too many, it is good to note that there were less Maryland traffic fatalities-591 traffic deaths in 2008. There were also less drunk driving-related deaths—178 Maryland alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2007 compared to 152 in 2008. The number of Maryland pedestrian deaths for both years—116 pedestrian fatalities—stayed the same.

Losing someone you love in a Maryland pedestrian accident is devastating and can feel incredibly senseless and unfair. There are steps that you can take, however, to hold a negligent motorist liable for your loved one’s wrongful death.

June 9, 2009

Recent Maryland Pedestrian Accidents Lead to Fatalities and Injuries

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Several recent Maryland traffic accidents have led to a number of pedestrian deaths and injuries. In Ocean City, a 44-year-old pedestrian died while trying to cross the Coastal Highway. The man was reportedly not in the crosswalk when he was hit by a 2008 Nissan Altima operated by Russell Charles Mass, Jr. Mass, 18, was charged with drunk driving. Police are investigating whether the pedestrian, who sustained fatal head injuries, had also been drinking.

In Frederick, Maryland, three men were charged last week for the death of pedestrian Elizabeth DiNunzio. The Mount Saint Mary's University’s college senior was jogging last month when she was struck by a car driven by driver Joshua Cool on Old Emmitsburg Road. According to police, DiNunzio was running against traffic and in compliance with Maryland law.

While Joshua is charged with negligent driving, knowingly driving a vehicle that was uninsured, and not exercising the proper care to avoid striking a pedestrian, passengers Ann Cool and Joseph Cool were charged with knowing that they were riding in a vehicle that was uninsured.

Last month, a Clinton man sustained serious injuries in a Howard County pedestrian accident when he was hit by a car on Route 32 close to 95. Frank Trowell, Jr., 44, was taken to Shock Trauma in critical condition. Police are looking into the cause of the Maryland motor vehicle crash.

Also in May, a pregnant teenager and her friend were hit by a car in Crownsville. Police say that the driver of the vehicle, 23-year-old Karla Wagner, drove her 1999 Jeep off the road, striking the teens. One of the girls, who is 17, is from Crownsville. The other teenager, 19-year-old Melissa Truelove, was 7 weeks pregnant at the time of the Maryland traffic crash. Both pedestrians were knocked unconscious and later taken to a local hospital.

Following the Crownsville pedestrian accident, Truelove complained of bruising on her hip and back, pain in her left side, as well as vertigo. Her friend fractured her neck and both hips and also experienced bleeding in her kidney.

Pedestrian hit by car on Route 32 listed in critical condition, Explore Howard, May 29, 2009

Pedestrian Critically Hurt in Accident,, May 29, 2009

Three Charged In Accident That Killed Local Student, YourState, June 4, 2009

Pedestrian Injured In Late-Night Crash,, June 5, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Pedestrian Safety, Maryland State Highway Administration

Continue reading "Recent Maryland Pedestrian Accidents Lead to Fatalities and Injuries" »

May 30, 2009

Recent Maryland Motor Vehicle Accidents Cause Injuries and Deaths

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Baltimore County police say that two people were sent to an area hospital after they were involved in an Owings Mills multi-vehicle collision on Friday that ended when one car drove into an M & T Bank branch. The Maryland traffic accident occurred when a Hyundai Sonata struck a Toyota RAV4 that was at a red light, which then hit a Lincoln Navigator. Meantime, the Hyundai drove over a curb and into the bank. Fortunately, no one inside the bank was hurt.

In a Baltimore car accident that also occurred on Friday, police are looking for the driver of a van that fatally hit a man riding a dirt bike on Chatham Road. The van’s driver failed to stop at the crash site. Police are asking for any information that could lead to the capture of the driver involved in the deadly hit-and-run Maryland motor vehicle crash.

Also on Friday, Clinton resident Franklin Trowell sustained critical injuries in Howard County when a car hit him on eastbound Route 32 close to Interstate 95. Trowell had been standing on the shoulder of the road examining another accident when the catastrophic Maryland car crash occurred. The driver of the car, Leonard Supsic, 55, reportedly lost control of the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier that struck Trowell.

Maryland Personal Injury
It can take some time to determine how much financial recovery you are entitled to receive after you’ve been injured in a Maryland motor vehicle accident. This is why it is important that you don’t rush to settle your car accident claim immediately. Your injuries may be more serious than you think, which means they could cost significantly more to recover from than what original estimates suggest. There also may be other parties that can be held liable for your Maryland personal injuries.

Clinton man in critical condition after being hit by car, Baltimore Sun, May 30, 2009

Police seek van driver who fatally hit man on dirt bike, Baltimore Sun, May 30, 2009

Three-vehicle accident sends car into bank, Baltimore Sun, May 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Car Accidents Overview, Justia

Personal Injury, Nolo

Continue reading "Recent Maryland Motor Vehicle Accidents Cause Injuries and Deaths" »

May 11, 2009

Prince George’s County Logs the Most Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths in 2008

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The Maryland State Highway Administration says that of the 589 Maryland traffic deaths that occurred in 2008, 124 of those fatalities took place in Prince George’s County. That’s almost twice as many fatalities than in Baltimore County, ranked number two with the most traffic deaths at 52 fatalities. Montgomery County came next with 52 traffic deaths. Baltimore had 49 traffic fatalities, and Anne Arundel County recorded 48 traffic fatalities. Officials from Maryland, Prince George’s County, and municipal police have vowed to address the issue of traffic safety and determine why so many Maryland traffic deaths occur in this county so they can fix the problem.

The county also recently registered the largest amount of Maryland pedestrian deaths over the past decade. For example, of the 111 Maryland pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2007, a significant number of the fatalities occurred in Prince George’s County:

Prince George’s: 28 pedestrian fatalities
Baltimore: 17 pedestrian deaths
Baltimore County: 17 pedestrian fatalities
Montgomery: 15 pedestrian deaths
Anne Arundel: 8 pedestrian fatalities

There were 115 Maryland pedestrian deaths in 2008—and the fatalities keep coming in 2009. Just last month, in Prince George’s County, two young pedestrians, 19-year-old LaRenta Vondale McFarland and 7-year-old Richard Young, died after a Jeep hit them while they were crossing Central Avenue in Upper Marlboro.

According to Maryland Highway Administration spokesperson David Buck, driver error seems to be the leading cause of traffic deaths in Prince George’s County. Common types of driver error include:

• Driver fatigue
• Speeding
• Drunk driving
• Driving under the influence of drugs
• Failure to obey traffic rules
• Talking on cell phone
• Failure to use seat belts
• Text messaging

More 2008 Maryland Traffic Facts:

• About 100,000 Maryland motor vehicle crashes occur annually.
• 196 drivers died in Maryland auto accidents last year.
• 65 of these motorists were not using seat belts or were riding in cars that lacked airbags.

Too Deadly a Place to Drive, Washington Post, May 10, 2009

Maryland State Highway Administration

Related Web Resources:
Maryland Traffic Information, Federal Highway Administration

Prince George's County, Maryland

Continue reading "Prince George’s County Logs the Most Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths in 2008" »

May 4, 2009

Maryland Injuries to Minor Lawsuit Claims Crossing Guard’s Negligence Led to Daughter’s Pedestrian Accident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

The parents of young girl who was struck by an SUV outside an elementary school in Pasadena have filed a Maryland personal injury lawsuit on her behalf. Brooke M Monday was just 7 when the pedestrian accident happened in April 2006.

Brooke broke her jaw, left leg, and nose in the Maryland pedestrian accident that her parents say occurred because a crossing guard negligently waved her to cross the street just moments before she was struck by the motor vehicle. The defendants in the Maryland injuries to minor lawsuit include Anne Arundel County, SUV driver Alison L Hahn, vehicle owner David Fischer, and Monday’s insurance company. Brooke’s parents, Vernon and Jennifer Monday, are seeking millions of dollars in personal injury compensation.

According to the couple’s Maryland personal injury complaint, Deborah L Johnson failed to keep a proper lookout or enter the middle of the street when she told Brooke she could cross. The Mondays’ attorney has even accused the crossing guard of being distracted from doing her job because she was conversing with a friend at the time the deadly Maryland pedestrian accident happened.

Johnson still works for Anne Arundel County and oversees the same intersection where Brooke got hurt. Meantime, Hahn, 17 at the time of the pedestrian accident, pleaded guilty to negligent driving in Maryland juvenile court. The Mondays have accused her of negligence and of causing their daughter unnecessary emotional and physical injuries.

In August 2006, Brooke transferred schools because she didn’t want to be known as the girl who was run over by a car. The couple also say that their son Tyler, now 12, suffered serious emotional trauma from witnessing his sister get hit by the SUV.

Adult school crossing guards play an important role in making sure that school children safely cross the street. They also serve as a larger, adult presence to remind motorists that they need to exercise caution, slow down, or stop because there are kids crossing the street.

If your son or daughter was injured or killed in an Anne Arundel pedestrian accident because a driver, a school crossing guard, or another party was negligent or careless, you may be entitled to Maryland personal injury recovery. As a minor, your child cannot sue the negligent party directly for Maryland personal injury, but you can file a claim on his or her behalf.

Lawsuit claims crossing guard was negligent, HometownAnnapolis, May 4, 2009

Adult School Crossing Guard Guidelines,

Related Web Resources:
National Strategies for Advancing Child Pedestrian Safety, CDC

Pedestrians, Safe Kids USA