The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reported that Maryland had 547 traffic-related fatalities in 2009, many of which were caused by reckless drivers. Additionally, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration, 24,379 accidents were the result of distracted driving and a significant portion are attributed to cell phone use.
Fatal Accidents: Reckless Drivers Now Face Jail Time
The Washington Post reported that, under the old law, reckless drivers who caused a fatality could receive punishment as insignificant as a traffic ticket or a fine.
Imagine someone who was speeding, admits to drinking the night before, and kills a pedestrian crossing the street, and receives a punishment that is the equivalent to a parking ticket. Many victim advocates believed justice was not being served, so they voiced their opinion loudly to Maryland’s policy makers.
In response to these lobbying efforts, CBS reports that Maryland has passed legislation allowing prosecutors to bring criminal charges against reckless drivers if their actions result in the death of another. While parents and loved ones of reckless driving victims know this cannot bring back their loved ones, they are nevertheless joyful that future offenders will receive punishments that better fit their crimes.
Texting While Driving Now a Primary Offense
Maryland originally enacted texting while driving legislation several years ago. Unfortunately, this law was difficult for police to enforce because it was a secondary offense and an officer needed a separate reason (a primary offense) to pull a motorist over and ticket the driver for texting while driving.
Maryland’s legislature decided to erase this loophole in light of the car accident statistics that show the dangers of distracted driving. New legislation now make it possible for police to pull over a driver solely for texting while driving. The Washington Post details that those caught texting — unless texting the 911 emergency system — can be fined $70 and receive a point towards the suspension of their driver’s license.
While these new laws should help increase the safety of Maryland’s roads, it is obvious that not all car accidents can be prevented. Some individuals will still make the mistake of texting behind the wheel or driving irresponsibly. But victims can hold these negligent drivers accountable.
Those who have been injured in a car accident should stand up for their rights and speak with an experienced auto accident attorney immediately to discuss their options and potential legal claims.
This is the first blog on the Fratusbrady law firm website. We will blog on issues directly relating to current legal events as well as issues with a broader impact on society. It seems like an appropriate time of the year to touch on the tort liability relating to snow and snow removal. The east coast experienced another snow “storm” that caused overly protective local and governmental officials to shutdown schools and governments not to mention created that immediate need to stock up on bread, milk and toilet paper. In Maryland, like many states, municipalities, generally, owe a duty to persons lawfully using public streets and sidewalks under its control to make such public ways reasonably safe for passage, but such duty is not an absolute one making municipality insurer of safe passage. Weisner v. Mayor and Council of Rockville 245 Md. 225, 225 A.2d 648 Md. 1967. A pedestrian, who seeks to recover from municipality for injuries sustained because of dangerous condition of sidewalk, must show that condition was more perilous than general condition of sidewalks throughout municipality and that particular situation had prevailed for such period of time that municipality should have known about it and failed to take steps to remedy it. Id. In some case, the courts may imposed a more stringent duty upon the owner of a commercial property to keep its property cleared of ice and snow than that imposed on a municipality.
It is easy to understand why governments and schools need to be cautious before, during and after snow storms but recently the threat of lawsuits have taken this to the extreme. Why is it that as soon as there is a threat of snow the schools and governments close the workers and students immediately drive to the local mall to shop or out to a restaurant to enjoy their snow/vacation day. What type of message is this sending to the students when a dusting of snow means they can’t attend school yet there is not enough snow to sled. Everyone has heard the stories from their parents and grandparents about walking to school in five feet of snow and uphill both ways. You may hear how they attended or watched the 1967 NFL championship game played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with the official game-time temperature of -15°F / -25°C, with a wind chill around -48°F / -44°C . Typically the tales are dismissed as being over exaggerated tales of hardship but the truth is that out parents and grandparents were not coddled in the manner we are in this day and age. Is it the “wussification” of America or the result of an overly litigious society? Either way, I can’t wait to hear the tales of the current generation when they tell their grandchildren about being forced to walk to school in nearly an inch of snow or how the NFL game between the Viking and Eagles in Philadelphia, PA was postponed by snow.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said it best when asked about the game postponement, “I’ll give you an idea of the wussification of America…have you ever watched those commercials for the most ordinary product, and after you’re through hearing the disclaimers, thought: ‘Who in the world would take that product?’ … We’re so worried about liability.” National Journal by Jim Sullivan, Dec. 29, 2010 the governor added. “Forget this football game; how many times have you seen schools close? Washington, D.C., closes with two inches of snow… We’ve lost our boldness, we’ve lost our courage, we’ve lost our pioneer spirit, we’ve lost our sense of adventure,” Rendell continued. “I don’t think Americans are willing to take prudent risks anymore.” Id. It does make you wonder about the decisions our future leaders concerning the economy, laws or foreign relations. To think that it all stems from not walking to school in the snow.
Subrogation is an essential right of the insurance industry and the primary method of recovering loss for most companies. In essence, quality representation throughout the subrogation process could mean the difference between profit and loss. Retaining an experienced insurance subrogation claims attorney is necessary to ensure the best possible result.
The attorneys at Fratus Brady will review any claim, free of charge, and provide you with an accurate assessment of the subrogation potential. This partnership allows insurance carriers the opportunity to only pursue claims that have a high recovery value. We maintain constant communication throughout the process and pride ourselves on deftly handling complex matters involving multiple liable parties.
We have developed a network of experts in the areas of accident reconstruction, mechanical, electrical, construction and fire investigation to aid in the recovery process. Our attorneys have handled thousands of claims involving motor vehicle negligence as well as commercial and residential product liability and construction defect claims.
Our lawyers have gained a reputation as an exceptional legal resource through representing the nation’s largest insurance carriers. We have recovered millions of dollars over the past 15 years in both Maryland, Washington, D.C. as well as intercompany arbitration. We have the skill, knowledge and experience necessary to design an effective and compelling case. Our attorneys will diligently fight to recover as much of your loss as possible from the liable individuals or companies.