Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only dangerous but highly illegal. The chances of crashes and fatal accidents increase when drivers are inhibited because they are less able to react to situations that come up on the road or exercise poor judgment while driving. Unfortunately, Maryland drivers are all too familiar with the dangers of drivers operating their vehicles under the influence. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland drivers reported driving after drinking at a higher rate than the national reporting rate. In fact, between 2009 and 2018, 1,515 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in Maryland. The CDC has found that over 10,000 people per year die in such crashes throughout the country.

Does My Negligence Affect My Maryland Car Accident Case?

Contributory Negligence is a legal concept that potentially prevents plaintiffs in an accident case from receiving recovery for injuries resulting from a crash if their negligence contributed to the accident to any degree. Essentially, even if the negligence of the operator of another vehicle is largely responsible for the accident if the plaintiff was even a little negligent, it is possible they will not be able to recover compensation. In Maryland, contributory negligence is interpreted very broadly, allowing minor negligence by the plaintiff in personal injury cases to defeat even very strong claims. A recent article discussed a local fatal crash where the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

According to the news article, the accident occurred in the evening on Friday, September 29, around 7:30 p.m. A passenger SUV with four people in it was heading east on Whitmore in Bowie, Maryland when it left the road and crashed into a tree. The SUV became engulfed in flames when it struck the tree, and by the time paramedics and EMTs arrived on the scene, all four people inside the car had died. The cause for the SUV’s sudden departure from the road and into the tree is still under investigation by the Prince George’s County Police Department. Police investigators not only closed off the road to continue conducting their inquiry, but the police spokesperson said they expected to be working late into the night trying to identify the four bodies, as the fire that engulfed the SUV made identification much more difficult.

In a devastating incident that unfolded earlier this month, a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 81 near Maugansville in Washington County, Maryland, left two people dead and three others injured. According to a local news report, the multi-vehicle accident was triggered when an SUV collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer that had come to a halt due to traffic conditions. This initial collision set off a chain reaction, involving three additional tractor-trailers and a pickup truck. Tragically, two lives were lost in the aftermath of this horrific accident. This tragedy demonstrates the unpredictability and potential dangers that Maryland drivers face every day.

How Can You Stay Safe on Maryland Highways?

Maryland drivers need to pay attention to the speed of traffic ahead, and always be ready to slow down if necessary. Drivers following too closely are a leading cause of highway accidents and multi-car collisions. When cars travel at highway speeds, it is advised to leave at least 350 feet between themselves and the car in front of them at a speed of 70 miles per hour. Drivers following too closely may be responsible for any damage or injury caused in an accident.

In the wake of such a traumatic event, the victims and their families may grapple with physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Personal injury cases can be complex, and navigating the legal process while dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. This is where the expertise of a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney becomes invaluable. Victims of accidents and their families often have legal rights that entitle them to compensation for their suffering and loss. The experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen can help.

When a child is injured in a car accident, a parent’s worst fear comes true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 63,000 children suffered injuries in a car accident in 2020. Issues such as ill-fitting booster seats and riding without a seatbelt have worsened those statistics. Fortunately, parents and caregivers can take a few extra precautions to ensure their child is as safe as possible in the event of a car accident.

Sadly, four children and one adult suffered injuries after a serious vehicle accident in Waldorf, Maryland. As a news article reported, the accident occurred on the southbound side of the highway. Emergency personnel responding to the accident found two damaged vehicles with multiple injured occupants. Two ambulances transported three children and one adult to the hospital for their injuries. A fourth child, who suffered head injuries, was medically evacuated by chopper to the hospital. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

How Can You Keep Your Children Safe in a Car Accident?

Parents can follow a few steps to protect their children in case of an accident. First, make sure your children use a seat belt. In the event of a car accident, seat belts can often be the difference between a minor and major injury. If your children refuse to wear a seatbelt, try to explain the importance of wearing one for their safety. For small children, wearing a seatbelt is only the first step to preventing serious injury. In addition to wearing a seatbelt, make sure to place your children in a car seat. Small children may not be able to wear a seatbelt without the boost of car or booster seat. The right car seat for your children will depend on their age, weight, and height, and it is important that the seat is the proper size.

A recent report from the Maryland government roadway fatality reduction initiative, Zero Deaths Maryland, indicates that Maryland is currently on track for a higher number of roadway fatalities in 2023 than in 2022. At this time last year, Maryland had 321 roadway fatalities reported, while currently Maryland has 353 roadway fatalities reported. Since 2018, the number of fatal crashes in Maryland has gradually increased year by year. In 2018, there were 485 fatal crashes, but the total rose to 546 by 2020.

There are various causes of fatal automobile accidents, including the size of the vehicles involved and whether any of the vehicle operators were impaired. According to Zero Deaths Maryland, the state has been relatively stable when it comes to fatal car accidents involving driver impairment and overall accidents involving impaired drivers. In 2017, Maryland had 170 driver-impaired fatal crashes while in 2021, the state had 154 driver-impaired fatal crashes. Similarly, in 2017 there were 6,654 total driver-impaired crashes, while in 2021 there were 6,522.

Accidents involving large seized vehicles such as trucks or RVs and campers are also inherently more dangerous than other types of crashes for a number of reasons. Trucks, especially semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are heavier and larger than standard passenger vehicles, resulting in more serious accidents when they are involved in crashes. Additionally, the conditions that many truck drivers operate under force them to drive extreme distances, resulting in fatigue. Finally, shipping trucks are also potentially carrying hazardous cargo, complicating truck crashes and accidents. While many people intuitively understand the greater risks involved in truck accidents, they may not know that according to the statistical analysis organization Policy Advice, truck accidents have increased by 52% since 2009, and 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents include a large truck. A recent news article discussed a local fatal truck crash.

In today’s fast-paced world, speed seems to be a common theme both on and off the roads. Unfortunately, the consequences of speeding can be devastating, especially when young and inexperienced drivers are involved. A recent tragic incident in Leonardtown, Maryland serves as a sobering reminder of the dangers associated with speeding and young drivers.

According to a local news report discussing the tragic collision, emergency services were called to a horrific head-on motor vehicle collision on Newtowne Neck Road in Leonardtown, Maryland on July 26, 2023. The collision involved a 2013 black Kia Rio and a 2015 silver Dodge Durango. The Dodge Durango was being driven by a 39-year-old individual with two passengers. Despite the chaos, all three occupants of the Durango survived the collision with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tragically, the news was not as favorable for the occupants of the Kia Rio. The driver, a juvenile male, was flown to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. However, the young passenger,a 14-year-old boy, lost his life in the collision. This heart-wrenching incident underscores the need for heightened awareness of the dangers posed by speeding, especially for young and inexperienced drivers.

Maryland, like many other states across the country, sees its fair share of car accidents every year. Understanding the common causes of these accidents is crucial for both policymakers aiming to improve road safety and drivers looking to protect themselves and their loved ones. Below, we delve into some of the most prevalent causes of car accidents in Maryland, in the hopes of raising awareness and potentially reducing their frequency.

  1. Distracted Driving: In the era of smartphones and constant connectivity, distracted driving has emerged as a major concern. Texting while driving, using apps, or even just glancing at a notification can lead to a loss of focus. Even a few seconds of distraction can be enough to cause a catastrophic accident. It’s not just phones though; adjusting the radio, eating, or any activity that diverts attention from the road can be hazardous.
  2. Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions remains a significant cause of accidents. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to steer safely around curves, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to dangerous situations.

Speeding is a massive cause of car accidents throughout the country. Some estimates project that speeding is a contributing factor in over a third of all accidents nationwide. Approximately 41 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to frequently or sometimes driving 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit on the highway (roads with speed limits over 55 miles per hour). An additional 37 percent of drivers admitted to driving 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit on residential streets (roads with speed limits over 30 miles per hour) in the past 30 days.

How Does Speed Impact the Seriousness of a Car Accident?

Unfortunately, the probability of death or serious injury rises with impacts at higher speeds. According to some estimates, the risk of serious injury or death doubles for every ten miles per hour over 50 miles per hour that a vehicle is traveling. As a result, pedestrians and bicyclists struck by cars driving 40 miles per hour are eight times more likely to die than a pedestrian or bicyclist struck at 20 miles per hour. A recent news report detailed a fatal car accident.

According to the news report, the fatal accident occurred on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in the early afternoon in Mechanicsville. At 1:44 pm St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Patrol deputies were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on Three Notch Road near the intersection of Mr. Zion Church Road in Mechanicsville. When law enforcement officials arrived on the scene, they found multiple vehicles involved in a significant crash, with two cars overturned. Three vehicles were involved, a white 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, a silver 2008 Toyota Camry, and a silver 2000 Toyota 4Runner.

Road accidents involving motorcycles are statistically some of the most dangerous and deadly types of crashes. According to a press release from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration, over 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. With numbers like that, motorcyclists should educate themselves on the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, and be vigilant in exercising appropriate safety precautions when taking a bike out on the road.

Motorcycles are some of the smallest motorized vehicles on the road, and the vehicles themselves offer little, if any, protection in the event of a crash. Cars and trucks have been designed with safety features in mind since they became widely used on American roads. Most cars include seatbelts, airbags, and are structurally designed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash. Motorcyclists do not enjoy the same safety features on their bikes. These safety deficiencies can be somewhat offset by the improved maneuverability and stopping distance offered by a motorcycle, but the fact remains that if a crash does occur, the biker is at considerable risk.

Motorcyclists have the ability to use additional safety equipment in the event of a crash. By far, the most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of serious injury or death to a rider in the event of a crash. The Maryland Transportation Code, Section 21-1306 requires that anyone driving or riding on a motorcycle wear an approved helmet. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) evaluates and grades helmets that are on the market. Riding with a DOT approved helmet is important, as many less expensive helmets on the market today are not sufficient to protect a rider from an accident occurring on public roads or highways.

Americans love to have fun. The recreational industry in the country is a multi-billion dollar business, and many Marylanders enjoy participating in recreational activities for their amusement. Boating, four-wheeling, skiing, rock climbing, and other recreational sports and hobbies generally have inherent risks associated with them, which can result in participants suffering serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Activities that involve multiple people of various skill levels recreating in the same space can be a recipe for accidents and injuries. The recently popularized negligence trial involving actress Gwenwth Paltrow and a man she allegedly crashed into while skiing at a Utah ski resort has brought attention to the liability for accidents occurring at shared recreation areas.

The case against Ms. Paltrow was relatively simple. The plaintiff sued the actress after allegedly suffering injuries in a skiing accident. The main dispute in the trial was over which of the skiers was at fault for the crash. When skiing, the person farther down the hill generally has the right of way, and another person who causes an accident by failing to yield that right of way could be held accountable for any injuries suffered by the other skier. The jury in the Gweneth Paltrow trial found that the plaintiff could not prove, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the actress failed to respect the plaintiff’s right of way. As a result of the verdict, Ms. Paltrow will not be responsible for any of the other skier’s injuries.

Who Is Liable in a Skiing Accident?

When recreation is enjoyed in a public or private place, there may be other parties who can be held accountable for an accident. A private business, such as a ski resort, race track, or marina does have a duty to ensure that their customers are not placed in unreasonable danger by the actions of the owner. Businesses often attempt to reduce their liability by requiring their customers to sign an express waiver of liability, or implicitly assume the risks of that activity by agreeing to participate. Although these waivers reduce the liability of the business, they are not absolute. Businesses still have the responsibility to adequately train their staff and prevent acts of gross negligence by their employees. If employees act outside the scope of their job description, they may be held accountable in their individual capacity.

Every day, road users share the road with a multitude of vehicles, pedestrians, and bikers. This includes smaller cars sharing the road with much larger trucks that vary in size and weight. Truck drivers also need a different type of licensing in order to be able to properly share the road with other vehicles. According to the International Used Truck Centers, on average, semi-tractor trailer trucks are around 72 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. When a car collides with a semi-truck, it can be devasting and shocking. Dealing with the aftermath of a serious crash can be challenging.

In a recent news report, a 25-year-old man was killed in a car crash in Indiana. According to police reports, the two vehicles crashed when a semi-tractor trailer was crossing the road to make a left turn. While the semi-tractor trailer was attempting to make the left turn, a passenger vehicle struck it, driving under the truck. Investigators determined that the driver of the semi-tractor trailer is at fault because the driver failed to yield to the right of way. The driver of the passenger vehicle was taken to a local hospital but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

[sc_fs_faq html=”true” headline=”h3″ img=”” question=”What Should Families Know About Fatal Truck Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

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