Articles Posted in News Stories

According to the National Safety Council, a person’s risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 88. The risk of being killed by lightning is roughly 1 in 84,000. The risk of being killed in a fireworks discharge is about 1 in 386,000.

A tow truck driver was struck and killed this morning by a hit-and-run driver on Route 100 in Glen Burnie during rush hour. He got killed near where I work. He lives in the same town I do.

Certainly, there is a desire for all of us to sigh a bit of relief and say, “Okay, I would not be helping a sewage truck on the side of the road. That couldn’t have been me.” But have you ever been pulled over on the side of the road. Of course you have. This could have happened to you, me or any one of us.

The next step is to find creative ways to blame the victim. Why was he so close to the road? Shouldn’t he have seen it coming? We all have this attribution bias, to varying extents. When you peel that away, what you have is a poor guy who was probably trying to feed his family and while doing so died for no good reason.

The Baltimore Sun reports today on the tragic death of a Glen Burnie man who died after a car accident with an SUV being driven by an unsupervised teenager on a learner’s permit. Apparently the at-fault driver, a nineteen year old who lived in Millersville, was driving on her learner’s permit with another 19 year-old.

This is the 19th fatal car accident in Anne Arundel County this year. Not every story gets a lot of attention. The angle the media is taking on this one is that the supervising driver was not old enough.

Easy narrative but I doubt it would have made a difference here. Police said they had no evidence that drugs, alcohol or speeding contributed to the crash. Some people just don’t pay attention to where they are going. When this happens, people can die. If my mother and her spotless 50 year driving record had been in the car seat next to this young girl, I doubt it would have made much of a difference. The scary reality is what happened to this man could have happened to your kids or mine if they were in the same place at the same time in Crofton as this man tragically was on Sunday.

The game show “Cash Cab” is a cute game show. I used to watch it back when I watched “Blind Date.” The show’s premise revolves around the driver playing a quiz show host to his passengers. By definition, that guy is a distracted driver.

CNN now reports that the “Cash Cab” struck and killed an elderly pedestrian in Vancouver. (Apparently, the show has a Canadian version.) The driver, a producer of the show, was returning the car to a storage facility after filming finished for the day when he hit the 61-year-old who died at a local hospital from the injuries suffered in the car/pedestrian accident.

I guess more details about this accidental death will come out. It sounds like my narrative may be false: it might not have been during filming when you would think the driver would be most distracted. But, ultimately, doesn’t “Cash Cab” have an “oh, when we were so young and naive” vibe to it? Now we know with greater lucidity in the cell phone/text messaging era that distracted driving kills. “Cash Cab” really should change to a safer premise – the driver of the cash cab is just the driver – or they should kill the show.

Last week, I opined that you pretty much have to be drunk to face jail time after killing someone on the road. I saw a story today that reminded me that I left something out. An Indianapolis woman whose car struck and killed a police officer will certainly spend time in prison?

Right? Sort of. This woman in Indiana pled guilty to failure to stop after an accident resulting in death. She bolted to save herself. In a pathetic attempt to defend her, it is fair to point out that she did see that the victim was receiving assistance. Still, she ran.

So what is the sentence for this wrongful death? Four years on electronic home detention (assuming the judge accepts the terms of a plea agreement).

The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog has listed Maryland Accident Lawyer Blog in the #2 spot for Maryland attorney blogs.

The fact that (1) my partner made the list, and (2) the list is not intended to be in order, does not diminish my accomplishment.

On the arguably more objective Avvo Blog Rankings (which use Alexa rankings), the Maryland Accident Lawyer Blog is 94th nationally.

A plaintiffs’ lawyer in Chicago has filed a ridiculous misguided wrongful death lawsuit blaming Facebook for a driver’s failure to pay proper attention to the road, causing her to hit a 70 year-old pedestrian who was on the side of the road after being involved in a minor traffic accident.

On liability, the Plaintiffs have a good smoking gun. Assuming the facts in the lawsuit are true, the Defendant driver updated her Facebook page at 7:54 a.m., the same time that the decedent made a 9-1-1 call for help.

This is great evidence against the Defendant driver. But, clearly, Facebook is no more to blame than a radio station playing bad music, causing a driver to divert their attention to turning the station.

One thing I have noticed lately is how many injury victims are looking for a female malpractice or accident lawyer. I think some people – almost invariably women – are more comfortable with a female personal injury lawyer. There are times, particularly on sensitive issues such as pain and suffering from an accident, when women prefer to share, confide and trust in another woman.

Women are graduating from law school in massive numbers. But, for whatever reason, few women are becoming malpractice or accident lawyers.

If you are looking for a woman to handle your tort claim, give me a call. 

After a deposition in a Maryland accident case, parties have the right to review and make changes to their deposition testimony. The court reporter sometimes makes mistakes, the witness sometimes talks too fast to be clearly understood, or the witness just got it wrong. It most accident cases, when a witness says the car was going north, there is a 50% probability the witness meant south.

But here is one for the ages. In a Florida case, the witness’ errata sheet was 63 pages long and included 868 changes to her deposition.

The South Florida Lawyers have a good blog post on the case and the sanctions imposed against the Plaintiff’s lawyers that total nearly $400,000.

The CDC reports that Maryland is 9th in the nation in the percentage of people who report they always wear a seat belt. Oregon is first which is surprising because the study also found that seat belt use among rural drivers is much lower than usage in urban and suburban areas. So whatever Oregon is doing, we should be copying them. Ninth is not bad but why can’t Maryland be first? Couldn’t someone start some sort of campaign? Nothing like competition to bring about the best results. The fact that seat belts reduce car accident deaths is underscored by this study: seat belts reduce the risk of death in car accidents by 45-50%.

Wearing a seat belt may become more and more important if oil prices continue to rise. Oil prices so far have not led Americans to buy more fuel efficient but less safe vehicles. Oil is now at $93 a barrel. If it goes to $150, as some have predicted, we are going to see $5 to $6 per gallon at the pump and it is going to cause people to buy smaller cars. If cars are going to get smaller, they need to build safer small cars and we need to improve our driving habits or the recent improvements in the number of car crash fatalities are going to diminish.

Another interesting finding from the study is that seat belt compliance is significantly higher among women, older drivers and Hispanics.