Fatal Car Accidents in Maryland
Fatal car accidents in Maryland occur with unfortunate regularity. As of September 19, 2023, there have been 428 fatal car accidents in Maryland this year. Sadly, this is already more than the entire year of 2022, which was 404 total fatalities. This is particularly disheartening given the advance in safety technology that car manufacturers advertise as so great. Despite these claims, fatalities in Maryland are on the rise.
While it is difficult to pinpoint precisely the causes for these accidents, there are still steps we can take to ensure safer roads for all drivers. Below we highlight suggestions for staying safe on the road, as well as how to make a claim for a fatal car accident in Maryland.
Suggestions for Staying Safe
The best thing to do is to avoid distractions and focus on the road. In 2023, distractions are abundant. There is also an argument to be made that our attention spans are shrinking. However, on the road, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Thus, it is imperative to stay alert at all times. To be clear, some accidents are unavoidable. But you can still drive defensively.
The best tip to driving defensively is maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. What you should deem safe depends on surrounding circumstances. For example, if it is raining or snowing, you may want to maintain a larger gap than if the weather conditions are ideal. Further, if you are traveling on I-95, US-40, the beltway, or some other highway in Maryland where speeds are higher, a larger gap may be prudent.
A second tip to avoid fatal car accidents in Maryland is anticipate likely or potential hazards. Again, this is not always possible. However, there are some circumstances where a driver is clearly behaving erratically, and avoiding that driver is defensive and safer for everyone. One clear example is when a driver is clearly speeding. Your best bet is to stay away from them if possible. This does not mean unsafely conduct a lane change as quickly as possible. Rather, if at all possible, slightly reduce your speed or, at the least, do not move into the lane the reckless driver is in until they have safely passed. You should also be wary of pedestrians, road work, and other hazards that may be on the road. Each of these can be unpredictable and leave something that should not be in your path on the road.
Making a Claim for a Fatal Car Accident in Maryland
Making a claim for a fatal car accident in Maryland acts similarly to most other claims for negligent or intentional conduct. For a negligence claim, you must prove the four elements that go into a valid claim. Those elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Of course, each element requires work from a competent attorney as each element is complex. The difference that distinguishes a fatal car accident claim in Maryland from a traditional negligence claim is the parties able to make a claim. First is the estate of the decedent. The estate, before being distributed according to the will, has a claim against the defendant tortfeasor. Once that claim is taken care of, the estate will be distributed. Second, close family members of the decedent are able to make a wrongful death claim. Notably, this is an independent cause of action from the estate’s claim against the defendant.
The amount you can recover for a fatal car accident in Maryland varies depending on the amount of damages suffered. While it may feel bleak to think of a fatality in terms of dollars and cents, that is the court’s imperfect remedy for the death of a party in a car accident. The court considers factors such as age of the decedent, income, pain and suffering, medical expenses if applicable, funeral expenses, property damage, and more.
Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss
Fatal car accidents in Maryland are among the most devastating cases we handle. We have handled thousands of cases like these and are well-versed in the intricacies of Maryland tort law and civil procedure. If you have any questions regarding the information above, call today for a free consultation.