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After a Maryland truck accident, victims may have to deal with immunity defenses if one or more defendants are government entities. For example, if a truck driver or other vehicle driver was working for a city government or another government entity at the time of the crash, the defendant may assert immunity as a defense to the lawsuit.

Generally, state and local governments in Maryland are protected from lawsuits through immunity. Similarly, employees of state and local governments are generally protected from lawsuits while they are acting within their official capacity. They are generally immune from lawsuits unless immunity is waived in some way. Immunity is specifically waived in some circumstances under the law. For example, a city government generally is not protected when carrying out proprietary functions—generally, propriety functions that are done for the benefit or profit of a corporation. In contrast, city governments are protected when carrying out government functions—generally, those that are sanctioned by the legislature, are only done for the benefit of the public and have no element of private interest. Employees also may lose the protection of immunity if they act with malice or gross negligence. Immunity for states such as the state of Maryland, as opposed to city and county government, is generally broader. But immunity may still be waived if, for example, the employee was not acting within the scope of their public duties or if the employee acted with malice or gross negligence.

Additional requirements may also apply in claims against the government. For example, in claims against the state under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, normally, a claimant is required to submit a claim in writing to the state’s treasurer within one year of the injury. Then if the treasurer denies the claim, the claim can then be filed in court—generally within three years of the cause of action arising.

As physics has taught many a student, the greater the mass of an object, the larger a force is required to make it move or yield. When it comes to roadway accidents, it is often the vehicle with greater mass that comes out ahead, all things being equal that is. Still, at highway speeds, even a small vehicle can put quite a dent into a larger, more massive one, though the passengers will not necessarily fare any better either way. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues are always ready to help the victims of car, truck and motorcycle collisions.

Whether one is injured during a traffic collision in or near Gaithersburg, Rockville, Annapolis or the District of Columbia, the range of injuries can be just as varied as the venue in which it occurs. Although the details of each commercial trucking accident or passenger car wreck are always different, the seriousness of various accidents can cause extensive injuries and require numerous medical treatments and a variety of rehabilitative procedures before a victim is back to a relatively normal life.

For those not as lucky, the families of deceased victims can sue to recoup hospital and other costs, such as the victim’s lost wages, as well as the loss of that person’s companionship. Punitive awards can also come in the wake of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a victim’s estate as well.

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Like many citizens of the D.C. metropolitan area, the negligence attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers are following the developments of the recent horrific D.C. Metro train crash that has so far claimed nine lives.

The complete facts concerning why the June 22, 2009 D.C. Metro Red Line train wreck occurred will not likely be known for several months. What is now know, however, does not inspire confidence in those running Metro for nation’s capital.

For example, news reports indicate that in 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) advised the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)—the authority that operates Metro—to replace the model of the train that caused this deadly train wreck. The reason for the recommendation: there was a concern that the train car would not be safe in a collision.

Then, there is the issue of routine maintenance that was not performed on the lead car of the striking train. News reports indicate that the lead train car was to have had new brakes and brake components installed approximately two months ago.

Metro has not commented on whether the non-replaced train cars, or the overdue maintenance, had any role to play in the tragedy. As to replacing the older train cars, with news trains, the Metro leadership decided not to make the changes because of cost and complexity.

This tragic accident that has resulted in at least nine deaths highlights what we have observed for years: corporations place profits over people. Metro could have done better for its riders, but it did not. Jeanice McMilian, David Wherley, Ann Wherley, Lvonda King, Dennis Hawkins, Marry Doolittle, and Anna Fernandez paid the ultimate price. We send our deepest sympathies to their families.

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Maryland legislators are currently considering a bill that would make exchanging text messages while driving in the state, illegal. In the age of I-Phones and Blackberries, text messaging is increasingly common and deceptively easy, especially for younger people. However, Maryland truck accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers believe that text messaging while driving is distracting and may lead to unnecessary car accidents.

Sending and receiving text messages while driving is dangerous for the driver of any car or SUV. However, when a trucker driving a 90,000 pound commercial vehicle, is distracted by text messages, the results can be catastrophic. Russell Hurd, a resident of Harford County, Maryland, told state legislators how a truck driver sending a text message irreversibly changed the course of his life.

Thirteen months ago, Russell and his wife, Kim, traveled to Orlando Florida to help their daughter, Heather, and her fiancée plan their upcoming wedding. Heather and her fiancée stopped at a traffic light on their way to meet the Russell and his wife when a trucker traveling at 65 mph slammed into nine cars, including Heather’s. The distracted trucker instantly killed Hurd’s daughter, another woman, and seriously injured Heather’s fiancée. A subsequent investigation uncovered that when the accident occurred, the trucker was exchanging text messages with his employer in an attempt to fix a mechanical problem with the truck.

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