Gary Lee Dicks, a Virginia truck driver, was acquitted by a Howard County District Court judge for traffic citations he had received in connection with a tragic accident involving a non-working traffic light that led to the deaths of two Howard County teenagers in January 2006.
Scott Kaplan, a 19-year-old from Columbia, and Theresa Howard, an 18-year-old from Sykesville, died on January 6, 2006 at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Route 175 in Jessup when Dicks exited 1-95 on his tractor-trailer and hit the Volvo that the teenagers were riding in. The traffic light at the intersection was not working at the time, nor was it being supervised by state or county police.
Howard County Police say that a number of incorrect assumptions and missteps resulted in county police failing to staff the non-working light and mark it with safety devices. Because of this accident, Howard County police officers have now been ordered to never leave the scene of a non-working traffic light.
On February 1, Judge Pamila Brown found Dicks not guilty of failure to stop at a through highway and yield the right of way and not guilty of negligent driving.
The Virginia truck driver is still a defendant in two wrongful death lawsuits filed separately by the teenagers’ parents. Each lawsuit is demanding $5 million. The Maryland State Police, a state trooper, a former Howard County police officer, the driver of the Volvo that Caplan and Howard were riding in, and the five transportation companies that subcontracted work to Dicks are also defendants in the suit.
A wrongful death case can be very complex, especially when several parties are named in a claim. Out-of-court settlements, instead of going to trial, tend to be common. When these occur, the damage awards that are sought are often lowered.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Actions Involving Adult Victims in the State of Maryland:
Wrongful Death: This type of claim must be filed no more than three years from the date of death. In cases involving wrongful death due to a toxic substance in the workplace, a claim must be filed either within three years from when the cause of death was discovered or ten years from the date of death.
Medical Malpractice: This type of action must be filed within five years of the occurrence of the malpractice act that led to the injury or within three years of discovering the injury.
Products Liability: A person injured in a products liability case has three years from the date of injury to make a claim.
If you live in Maryland or the Washington D.C. area and you have been injured or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen can help you. We have experience helping clients obtain recovery awards in wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, and other kinds of personal injury lawsuits. Please contact Lebowitz and Mzhen to schedule a free consultation.
Truck Driver Acquitted In Deadly Accident That Killed Two Teenagers In Howard, Howard County Times, February 8, 2007
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