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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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The owners of businesses and nonprofit organizations, including churches, are required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for employees, customers, and other members of the public. In the event that a hazardous condition results in an injury to an employee, customer or guest, property owners can be held accountable with a personal injury lawsuit. A case recently filed by a woman who was injured on the premises of a church has been dismissed, however, as the organization that she sued was not the legal owner of the property where she was injured.

According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant church as a security guard at the time of her injury. While at work, the plaintiff was instructed to escort a person off the property, when she tripped on a small piece of fencing surrounding a garden and suffered injuries. In addition to a workers compensation claim that she filed through her employer, the plaintiff also filed a premises liability claim against the church, alleging that they were negligent in failing to maintain their premises in a safe manner.

In response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, the defendant put forth three defenses. First, the defendant argued that they were not the owners of the property where the plaintiff was injured, as another separate organization owns the property and the plaintiff simply uses it for church services every Sunday. Additionally, the defendant argued that the fence was an open and obvious hazard and that the plaintiff herself was negligent by failing to look out for and avoid the hazard. The trial court accepted all of the defendants’ arguments and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. Importantly, the court found that the plaintiff presented no evidence that the defendant actually owned the property where she was injured.

Patrons who choose to attend cultural or sporting events on private property are entitled to expect the owners of the property and organizers of the event to keep the premises reasonably safe from dangerous conditions. Although businesses and property owners may attempt to fully disclaim themselves from liability for injuries by using waivers, signage, and other methods, acts of negligence that harm a patron while attending an event still may be actionable in a court of law.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently entered a ruling in a case that was filed by a patron who was injured at a professional football game in 2015. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff attended a Baltimore Ravens football game in 2015 and was struck by a football that was kicked by a Ravens player during pregame warmups. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, she lost consciousness after being hit, and is suffering from after-effects of the injury to this day.

The plaintiff sued the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League, as well as the player who kicked the ball that caused her injuries. In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent and reckless by placing her in the situation to be injured as she was. In response to the complaint, the defendants moved to dismiss the charges without a trial, arguing that the plaintiff knew of the risks of attending a game and assumed them by showing up. Furthermore, the defendants noted that the ticket for the game had a disclaimer printed on the back that absolved the defendants of responsibility for injuries that may occur to patrons.

For many Americans, soda and juice products are essentials for their household. In fact, you may restock them several times a month when you do your regular grocery shopping. Whether you or your children drink orange juice with breakfast or enjoy a canned soda as a midday refreshment, many families have a variety of beverages in their homes. Many people specifically purchase products from brands like Coca-Cola because of their trust in an established beverage brand and the quality and consistency of their products. What happens, however, when these beverages have undisclosed foreign substances that could harm your health?

According to a recent news report, Coca-Cola announced two recall actions involving drinks potentially contaminated by foreign substances. Minute Maid, which is owned by Coca-Cola, noted that Berry Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, and its Fruit Punch flavored drinks are sold in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Maine, and New Jersey were impacted by the recall. Coca-Cola and Sprite also issued a similar recall caused by foreign substances recently, which involved 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola and Sprite. Because approximately 7,000 cases of these drinks were sold before the recall and the products will not expire until 2022, they may still be in some consumers’ homes. Thus, if you have purchased any of these flavors of drinks from Minute Maid or Coca-Cola recently, you should stop consuming them immediately and seek a refund or dispose of the products.

Unfortunately, because many of these Coca-Cola products were sold in Maryland, the recall may affect Maryland residents. Sellers and manufacturers of products are required to ensure that their products are safe for consumption or use and that they will not cause any injury. When a seller or manufacturer distributes or sells their products, they essentially create a contract with the consumer that the product that is being purchased is as advertised. If a consumer is then injured by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, they may have grounds to file a products liability claim.

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:

Maryland product liability laws govern many situations involving consumers or patients who suffer injuries because of a defective or dangerous object. These lawsuits may arise after a consumer suffers injuries or damages from a defective product. Recently, the Coca-Cola Company announced a recall of certain Minute Maid products after receiving reports of foreign objects in their products.

Under the law, foreign objects in food refer to situations when users discover an object in their drink or food. The item is generally one that the consumer would not expect to be in their meal or drink. Some common examples of a foreign object may include:

  • Metal;

Like much of the east coast, the winter months bring snow and ice to many parts of Maryland. Naturally, this weather can increase the risk of injuries from a slip and fall. While many weather-related accidents occur at businesses, especially in parking lots or sidewalks, individuals can suffer injuries anywhere snow and ice accumulate. Under Maryland law, property owners have a duty of care to those who enter their property. The standard of care varies depending on the type of visitor; however, generally, property owners must ensure that their property is reasonably safe from dangers.

During the winter, property owners have the duty to exercise reasonable care in areas that they should reasonably expect people to be. The duty includes inspecting the property for dangers like icy patches and other slick areas. Further, property owners should remediate dangerous conditions that may lead to a slip and fall. Those who fail to do this may be liable for negligence under the state’s premises liability laws.

Are Maryland businesses responsible for clearing sidewalks after a snow storm?

Many businesses and government properties contract with snow removal companies to ensure that their property is clear of dangers; However, in most cases, liability for a slip and fall injury still falls on the property owner. For example, a property owner may be liable for injuries if their snow removal company did a poor job or failed to remove the hazards. The inquiries in these cases tend to hinge on the totality of the circumstances and whether the property owner’s conduct was reasonable.

Medical devices often play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating serious medical conditions. However, patients who use defective or dangerous medical devices may end up in a less desirable position than they started. Companies whose products cause harm to patients may be liable under Maryland’s product liability laws. While a defective product lawsuit may not make a person whole again or undo the harm they experienced, it can relieve some financial burdens.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a recall statement alerting those who use specific Philips ventilators, CPAP, and BiPAP machines. The recall follows a June 2021 safety report that advised healthcare providers and consumers that these devices may pose potential health risks. The FDA’s investigation in conjunction with the company’s testing revealed that foam degradation in the product is toxic and might emit carcinogens. Philips explained that the foam might release toxic fumes and particles that users may swallow or inhale. While the company stated that they were replacing and repairing the machines, the process may take upwards of a year. Further testing also showed that the replacement foam poses many of the same risks as the original product.

Many users have reported injuries related to defective machines, such as:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Respiratory Distress System
  • Heart Failure and Attack
  • Liver Cancer, Damage, and DIsease
  • Lung Cancer, Damage, and Disease

These injuries can have lifelong consequences on the user and their loved ones. In addition to these conditions come users reported side effects such as:

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