Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Following a major car accident, especially on a busy roadway, the danger of further damage is often not out of sight simply because the initial collision has already taken place. Sometimes, subsequent accidents happen after the cars involved in the initial crash pull over to the side of the road. For busy roadways or areas where there may be low visibility, it is not infrequent that another driver will crash into stalled vehicles pulled onto the shoulder, causing more injuries or damage to what already took place during the initial accident.

According to a recent local news report, Maryland State Police are investigating whether weather played a role in a recent accident that left one pedestrian dead and another seriously injured. Local authorities responded to a call reporting a crash on Maryland Route 16, where three vehicles had been involved in a major accident and two people were located lying in a nearby ditch with significant injuries.

Based on a preliminary investigation, both of the injured victims were riding in a Toyota Tundra truck that slid off the road next to the ditch and both individuals exited the vehicle. For unknown reasons, a Ford Escape stopped on the scene also. Moments after the Ford stopped, a Hyundai traveling in the same direction crashed into the back of the Ford, which sent it careening into the ditch. Accident investigators believe that the Hyundai then slid off the roadway and struck the two pedestrians who had exited their Toyota at the time. The Hyundai also ended up in a ditch. No other injuries were reported and the accident remains under investigation by local authorities.

Head-on car accidents take place when two vehicles moving in opposite directions crash directly into each other. Often, these accidents are deadly or result in significant injury and property damage. Although statistically less common than other types of vehicle accidents, they often account for a significant portion of deaths caused by car accidents because the vehicles are often going at high speeds and the impacts of these accidents result in devastating consequences.

According to a recent news report, a head-on crash between a pickup truck and a passenger van killed nine people last week. Officials reported that the truck collided with a 17 person passenger van carrying members of the men’s and women’s golf teams from a local university other head-on and caught on fire on a two-lane road. Two people who were in the pickup truck were killed, along with seven of the nine people in the passenger van. Among those who were killed, six of the victims in the passenger van were college students and one was their golf coach. Other students who were injured were flown to surrounding hospitals for treatment and were reportedly in critical condition. The accident remains under investigation.

What Are the Common Causes of Head-on Collisions?

Many head-on accidents frequently take place on two-lane roads, where there is only one lane going in each direction. This often means that if you are behind a slow vehicle, you must cross the center line—which may put you in the line of oncoming traffic—to pass the vehicle ahead of you. Unfortunately, many drivers end up in head-on accidents because they attempt to pass the vehicle ahead of them and instead fail to account for oncoming traffic and end up in a major collision. Although this is sometimes caused by reckless and speeding drivers, this also takes place because the driver could not see oncoming traffic or underestimated the speed at which oncoming traffic was moving. Poor road conditions and weather can also exacerbate these circumstances.

Recent studies by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report that 212,500 vehicle fires caused nearly 600 deaths and injuries in the United States in 2018. Key findings of the study indicated that mechanical failures, electrical failures, and collisions were the leading causes of vehicle fires. Vehicle fires caused 4.5 times the number of deaths as nonresidential structure fires and 1.6 times the number of apartment fire deaths. Those that suffer injuries in a Maryland vehicle fire should consult with an attorney to determine their rights and remedies.

The harrowing data imparts how critical it is for vehicle manufacturers to engage in safety measures to prevent vehicle fires. Recently, BMW announced a recall involving more than a million vehicles. The company cited issues with the engine ventilation system in these vehicles; the faulty system can cause the car to catch fire. The recall involves nearly 1 million sedans and SUVs in the United States and thousands more in other parts of the world.

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explained that these vehicles are prone to an electrical short in their valve heaters. Over time the irregularity can lead to overheating and even cause a fire. The fire can occur regardless of whether the car is driven or parked. The company advises drivers who smell smoke or burning plastic or view smoke wafting from the engine to pull over, shut the engine, and exit the car.

Sudden speed changes carry many risks for drivers and can result in a serious Maryland car accident. Sudden braking is a type of harsh driving that can put motorists at higher risk for a crash caused by overheating and wear and tear on tires. Most drivers can modify their behavior and reduce these dangerous events. However, the story is different for those operating driverless vehicles, such as Teslas. The driver may maintain little control over the circumstances leading to an accident in these cases.

Recently, federal auto-safety regulators began a preliminary investigation into sudden braking by advanced driver-assistance systems in Tesla vehicles. The investigation primarily focuses on 2021 and 2022 Tesla Model 3 sedans sold in the United States. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report documents over 350 consumer complaints over the previous nine months. Consumers reported that their Tesla’s suddenly braked when there were no road hazards. The claims explain that their vehicles “unexpectedly apply its brakes” while traveling at highway speeds. For many, the rapid deceleration occurred randomly, without warning, and repeatedly.

This latest concern only joins many other issues the car manufacturer has confronted over the past few years. Earlier this year, Tesla recalled over 50,000 vehicles equipped with the manufacturer’s “full self-driving software.” The recall was in response to reports that cars were rolling through intersections and stop signs without stopping. The company recalled the vehicles to disable this dangerous feature. Moreover, the company faces another investigation into its Autopilot system and a recall to correct a brake defect. Finally, the company agreed to disable a feature that allows front passengers and drivers to play video games while the car is in motion.

Recently, a woman who was convicted following a Maryland drunk driving accident was sentenced to a prison term of 20 years, with all but six years of the sentence being suspended. As a result, the woman will serve six years in jail for killing two people in a March 27, 2021, DUI accident.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Blackberry Drive, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Evidently, the woman was speeding and under the influence of alcohol when she crashed her BMW into the couple’s Toyota RAV 4, killing the couple and their dog, who was also in the vehicle. The woman accepted responsibility, pleading guilty to several serious felonies and, in early February of this year, was sentenced. The sentencing judge accepted the prosecutor’s recommended sentence of 20 years in prison with all but six years suspended followed by five years of probation.

Criminal Cases Following a Fatal DUI Accident

After a fatal drunk driving accident, grieving family members may not know where to turn for answers. However, it is important that families understand their options, because a criminal case against the driver does not necessarily mean that they will obtain the justice they are seeking.

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Under Maryland law, drivers owe a duty of care to other road users to avoid causing harm. These duties include behaviors such as following traffic rules, maintaining proper licensure, and modifying behaviors to comport with inclement weather. However, the duties become muddled when the accident or injury results from a sudden medical emergency that makes a driver unable to operate their vehicle safely.

The party bringing forth a Maryland personal injury lawsuit maintains the burden of proof; however, the adverse party can avoid liability by establishing a valid defense. As such, the party claiming a sudden medical emergency must prove that:

  • They became suddenly incapacitated before the accident;
  • The incapacitation caused the driver to lose control of their vehicle; and
  • The incapacitation and loss of control was a result of the sudden medical emergency.

A sudden medical emergency can involve various types of events such as:

  • Fainting
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Brian Aneurysm
  • Choking

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Red-light running is a frequent occurrence that can have deadly consequences on Maryland drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In Maryland, red-light running refers to situations when a vehicle enters an intersection at any point after the signal changes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most recent statistics indicate that nearly 850 people died in a traffic accident invovling red-light running. Many cities and towns throughout the United States implement red-light cameras to deter negligent driving. While these reduce the rate of fatalities, serious accidents continue to occur.

For instance, Maryland news reports described a fatal crash in St. Leonard, MD. According to witness statements, physical evidence, and vehicular damage, it appears that a Jeep driver failed to stop at a left turn light and ran a red light. The Jeep driver attempted to pass a tow truck and turned when the signal was red. As the Jeep driver turned, a Ford pickup truck entered the intersection and slammed into the Jeep. The Jeep driver and a 13-year old passenger suffered serious injuries, and a 16-year-old passenger died from his injuries. The Ford driver and passenger did not request medical treatment.

Establishing liability after a red-light collision can pose challenges. Even in cases where the other driver receives a ticket or citation, the injury vicitm must still prove negligence. An attorney can assist claimants in gathering and presenting compelling evidence. Some common forms of evidence after a red-light accident include:

Immediately after a car accident, it may be hard to think clearly because of the adrenaline of the moment. It is crucial, however, to take several steps toward documenting the accident, if you are able, so that you can both aid in your personal stake in recovering following the collision, and also help with ongoing investigations by local authorities into your crash.

According to a recent news report, Maryland State Police are investigating a crash involving multiple vehicles. Troopers responded to a report of an accident with four vehicles, where a preliminary investigation showed that a Volvo tractor-trailer collided with the rear of a Dodge caravan, which pushed the Dodge off the road and into the jersey wall. The tractor-trailer then crashed into the rear of a Hyundai and sideswiped a Toyota. The driver of the Dodge was transported to a local hospital for treatment, where she later died from her injuries. The Hyundai driver was also transferred to a hospital for treatment. Maryland State Police and their Crash Team are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Determining what exactly happened in the course of a collision, especially one with multiple parties, is crucial. Whether it’s the parties involved in the accident or the insurance companies, knowing exactly what took place is important both for subsequent disputes and for maximizing your chances of receiving compensation.

Maryland state troopers are looking into a recent Maryland roadside crash in which a AAA worker was killed while changing a tire. According to one news source, the AAA worker had just finished changing a flat tire on I-70 in Marriottsville when a pickup truck driver hit him and his work van. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash, including possible factors such as distracted driving and speed. The crash occurred at around 11:30 in the morning. The worker was wearing a safety vest and the emergency lights on the work van were flashing.

A AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager said that the crash highlighted the dangers that first responders, police, tow truck drivers, and EMS face every day on the side of the road while assisting others. A AAA representative reported that this was the sixth worker killed on the job within the last six months. A recent AAA survey found that 75 percent of first responders in Maryland report that drivers do not move over or slow down.

Maryland’s Move Over, Slow Down Law and Its Consequences

When Maryland drivers approach emergency, tow truck, law enforcement, transportation, and utility vehicles that are stopped, standing, or parked on the highway with their lights flashing, drivers must move over. If drivers cannot safely move over, then they must slow to a reasonable and safe speed considering the conditions. The law originally applied only to first responders and law enforcement but later expanded to include tow truck drivers. Violators of the law may be fined and may be charged with criminal charges in some cases. They also may be subject to civil lawsuits if anyone is injured as a result.

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State police in Maryland are investigating two fatal crashes that occurred on a recent weekend in Cecil County, Maryland, according to one news source. In the first fatal crash, according to a preliminary investigation, shortly before 10 pm on a Saturday night, a driver was driving a car southbound on MD 272 in North East, Maryland when she struck a pedestrian who was crossing the road. The pedestrian, a 39-year-old woman from Elkton, Maryland, died at the scene of the crash. Law enforcement was deciding whether any charges would be filed in the case. The second fatal crash occurred in the same area just a few hours later. According to a preliminary investigation, the crash occurred around 2 am when a Jeep Cherokee drove southbound in the northbound lanes on MD 272. The Jeep crashed into a Ford F-250 head-on which had been traveling northbound. The driver of the Jeep died as a result. He was 60 years old and was from Delaware.

Filing a Claim After a Fatal Crash

In the tragic event of the death of a loved one, the family members of the victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim against any parties responsible for the loss of the victim. Under Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act, certain surviving family members can file a lawsuit after their loved one’s death to seek to hold responsible parties liable and to seek compensation. A wrongful death claim may provide surviving family members with compensation for the losses suffered due to their loved one’s death, including loss of companionship, loss of financial support, and more.

In a wrongful death claim after a fatal crash, similar to other negligence lawsuits, the plaintiff has to prove: that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care; that the defendant failed to meet the standard of care by acting or failing to act in some way; that the defendant’s breach of the standard of care caused the victim’s injuries; and that the plaintiff suffered damages. A plaintiff has the burden to prove that it was more likely than not that the victim’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s conduct.

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