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Individuals who suffer injuries because of the negligence of a government entity or employee must overcome challenges to file a personal injury lawsuit against the government. Maryland injury victims must understand the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA) if they want to recover damages for their injuries successfully.

Historically, citizens have not been permitted to sue government agencies or employees. However, in an attempt to address the inherent unfairness of this archaic rule, state lawmakers enacted the MTCA to provide Maryland injury victims with some recourse against negligent government actors. The MTCA covers various Maryland state and government employees, as long as they are paid by the Central Payroll Bureau of the Treasury. Additionally, the statute covers county, city, and local government employees and entities, such as the Maryland Transportation Authority, local employees who work for social services, judges in some courts, and sheriffs in Baltimore City.

Maryland accident victims must comply with the statute to avoid dismissal. For example, an appellate court in another jurisdiction recently dismissed a plaintiff’s lawsuit against the government. In that case, the victim rear-ended a stopped waste removal truck while the truck was on the side of the highway. The victim filed a lawsuit against the municipality, alleging that the truck driver was negligent. The appellate court found that the plaintiff did not establish negligence and failed to comply with the state’s torts claims act.

Pedestrians face many dangers when walking or working along the edge of a road. Indeed, each year, there are nearly 3,500 Maryland pedestrian accidents. Of those, roughly 92% result in either injury or death to the pedestrian. Not surprisingly, these figures show that pedestrian accidents are among the most dangerous type of Maryland car accidents.

To be sure, drivers and pedestrians share the duty to prevent Maryland pedestrian accidents. And each must behave safely and predictably. However, ultimately, many of the pedestrian accidents that occur on Maryland roads are the result of negligent drivers who are either not paying attention or consciously make a poor decision. Maryland law requires motorists follow all traffic laws and posted signs when driving, and yield to pedestrians when appropriate. When drivers fail to live up to this duty, they put pedestrians at risk.

Those who work along the road’s shoulder, such as utility workers, law enforcement, construction workers, and other city workers, are at unusually high risk. The state’s “Move Over Law,” attempts to reduce the number of Maryland roadside accidents by requiring motorists to change lanes to avoid certain vehicles on the side of the road. The state’s move over law applies mostly to government workers such as police officers, firefighters, hazmat workers, ambulances, and emergency rescue vehicles. There is a similar law requiring motorists to move over for bicyclists and scooters.

Sending a child to school on a school bus is a fact of life for many Maryland parents. Indeed, school buses make it possible for the children of busy parents to get to and from school. However, while school buses are by and large a safe means of transportation, there are many Maryland school bus accidents each year.

School buses themselves do a reasonably good job of keeping students safe, even in the event of an accident. However, this is not the case when students are not correctly sitting in a designated seat. According to a recent news report, several students spoke up after the bus they were riding in was involved in a traffic accident.

Evidently, one student told reporters that the bus was so packed that some students were sitting on the floor. She explained that the bus was often so crowded that there would be three students to a seat. Some students who did not want to be crammed into the seat, would not allow other students to sit with them, forcing them to sit on the floor. She also explained that it was common for students to ride with their legs in the aisle because there was no room to sit facing forward.

Large commercial vehicle such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, dump trucks, and big-rigs pose a serious threat to motorists when they are not operated in a safe and responsible manner. Indeed, on March 11, 2019, a fatal Maryland truck accident claimed the lives of two people. According to a recent news report, the truck driver responsible for causing that accident now faces criminal charges, including manslaughter, for his role in causing the accident.

The accident occurred near the intersection of MD 24 and Ring Factory Road, at around 7 a.m. Evidently, there were several vehicles stopped at the intersection during rush hour traffic. However, as the truck approached, it did not slow down. The truck ended up rear-ending several of the stopped cars, which then caused a chain-reaction accident involving other nearby motorists. In all, the accident involved a total of 12 cars and trucks. Two vehicles were pinned underneath the semi-truck when it caught fire. A local businessman and a young boy were killed in the collision. Four others, including the young boy’s mother, were seriously injured.

After the fatal accident, police launched an in-depth investigation. They quickly determined that the truck driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, investigators believe that he may have been using his cell phone at the time of the accident. Thus, among the charges the truck driver faces are four counts of causing serious injury while using a cell phone.

When a loved one is injured a Maryland truck accident, the challenges can be overwhelming. The financial, physical, and emotional burden can be enormous, both for victims and their families. Financial compensation from a personal injury lawsuit can help alleviate some of these burdens.

In Maryland personal injury cases, different damages may be available to victims and their families depending on the specifics of the case. Plaintiffs in Maryland accident claims may able to recover compensation for medical expenses, mental suffering, wage losses, and other damages. The plaintiff has the burden to prove damages in the case. Generally, damages can be divided into two types: special and general damages.

Special damages normally include economic damages, such as past and future medical bills, loss of wages, diminished earning capacity, and others. General damages normally refer to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Apart from special and general damages, punitive, or exemplary, damages are available in some cases. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her conduct and also to act as a deterrent to others. To be awarded punitive damages, a plaintiff has to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongful act at issue.

In March of this year, a Maryland traffic accident involving a semi-truck killed two and injured four. According to a recent news report covering the tragic accident, the driver was using his cellphone while driving a truck in rush-hour traffic one morning. Evidently, the truck crashed into a line of other vehicles, bursting into flames as it came to a stop. Debris from the accident covered the highway for at least a quarter of a mile, and the road was subsequently closed for most of the day.

Two individuals were tragically killed as a result of this crash: a 65-year-old man and a 7-year-old boy. Additionally, four others were seriously injured. Law enforcement recently charged the truck driver responsible for the fatal accident with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, and four counts of causing serious injury while using a cellphone while driving. The case is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, distracted driving and truck crashes are not uncommon. Truck drivers often drive for long hours, leading to boredom or fatigue, which truck drivers may attempt to remedy by looking at their phone. Other common causes of distracted driving include watching television, talking to passengers, eating, grooming, and texting.

While many Maryland truck accident cases do not require testimony from an expert witness, some do. Typically, these are the cases that present complex issues regarding causation. When a plaintiff intends on calling an expert, it is reasonable to assume that the defense will also present their own expert. It is important that Maryland personal injury plaintiffs anticipate testimony from a defense expert.

In a recent state appellate opinion, the court discussed the permissible scope of expert witness testimony that was designated as impeachment evidence. Impeachment is a term used to describe a party’s attempt to discredit an opposing witness by showing the jury that their testimony is biased or flawed.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was arrested and placed in a county bus for transport. During the transport, the van struck a concrete barrier and the plaintiff was injured as a result. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the county. The plaintiff had been in one prior accident, and was involved in another accident after the bus accident, but before this case went to trial. The plaintiff provided notice that he was calling a medical expert.

In a Maryland personal injury case, the jury typically determines not only whether the defendant should be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, but also the amount of damages that the plaintiff is entitled to. Usually, a jury’s damages award is respected by the courts. However, there are a few procedural mechanisms by which a court can review – and alter – a jury’s award.

In a recent state appellate decision, the court was asked to review a jury’s damages award in favor of a truck accident victim. Evidently, the victim was involved in a devastating truck accident when another semi-truck collided with his truck. Initially, the victim thought the injury was minor, but as he sought medical treatment, he realized that it was more severe than he initially thought. The man had doctors give him a steroid shot with only temporary improvement. Then the man went through surgery; however, again, the improvement was marginal at best. He still suffers from back pain.

The victim filed a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, and that driver’s employer. The case went to trial, and the jury awarded the plaintiff over $2.8 million in damages. Among those damages was a $1 million award for future pain and suffering, a $140,000 award for mental anguish, and a $1.1 million award for future physical impairment. The defendant filed an appeal, arguing that four damages awards were improper. However, the defendant only objected to two of those awards at trial.

Despite strict DUI laws, Maryland drunk driving crashes and fatalities continue to occur at a startling rate. Maryland’s Drunk Driving Reduction Act went into effect in 2016. Under the Act, anyone convicted of driving under the influence must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has a certain level of alcohol, based on a breath test. However, despite this, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, in 2018 there still were about 7,000 crashes involving the driver’s use of alcohol or drugs in the state.

New information was uncovered in a recent DUI crash involving a 23-year-old commercial truck driver who killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. According to a news report, the driver, who crossed a double-yellow line on a highway, was high on drugs and reportedly was reaching for a drink just before the crash took place. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a report that was obtained by the media. He had previously been arrested for drug-related and driving offenses in five other states. His license commercial license should have been suspended the month prior due to another drunk driving charge, according to the state motor vehicle department.

The report showed that the driver tested positive for a narcotic or amphetamine, which rendered him incapable of safely operating the truck. The report also indicates that the driver admitted to investigators to reaching for a drink before the crash. The crash revealed that the driver was first charged with drunk driving in 2013 in Massachusetts, and his license was suspended, but he was still able to obtain a commercial license. An investigation into the crash showed that in addition to the driver, over 1,600 Massachusetts drivers should have had their licenses revoked due to out-of-state infractions, but were not processed.

As a general rule, the law imposes a duty on all motorists to drive in a safe, reasonable, and law-abiding manner. When a motorist violates this duty, and injures someone as a result, the accident victim can often pursue a claim for compensation. Bus drivers are no exception, and when a student is injured in a Maryland school bus accident, parents may have a claim against the driver or their employer.

Bus drivers, however, are often employed by the school district, making them government employees. Because of this, Maryland school bus accident cases are often brought against the government, and implicate the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA). Unlike other states’ tort claims acts, the MTCA broadly waives government immunity, allowing injury victims to pursue a broad range of claims against government entities. However, claims under the MTCA are subject to strict procedural requirements and also to a damages cap. As of October 2015, recovery in an MTCA claim is limited to $400,000 per accident victim and a total of $800,000 per accident.

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a tragic bus accident that resulted in the student’s death. According to the court’s opinion, the bus driver stopped the bus across the street from the student’s home. The driver turned on the vehicle’s flashing lights, and lowered the “stop” arm and crossing gate. The student exited the bus as the bus driver told him, “see you tomorrow.”

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