Maryland Speeding Car Accident
Speeding in Maryland is a common occurrence. In fact, it is safe to say that, whether on US-40, I-95, the beltway, or some other highway in Maryland, the majority of drivers are going over the speed limit. Despite the regularity of this form of negligent driving, it is still a dangerous way to drive. On average between the years of 2018 and 2022, there are roughly 3,610 accidents per year due to speeding between vehicles. Of these, approximately 1,230 result in personal injuries to someone in the car. This equates to about one-third of all Maryland speeding car accidents resulting in injury.
Fortunately, the number of fatal crashes is far lower than the 1,230 crashes resulting in injury. Of the roughly 3,610 accidents, only 37 result in a fatality. But while a relatively low number, it is still startlingly high when realizing two things. First, this is only the number in one year in our relatively smaller state. And worse yet, 37 motor vehicle crashes result in death, on average. This means the number of deaths due to speeding may be much larger than the 37 total crashes.
Consequences of Speeding
There are medical consequences to speeding accidents in Maryland and there are legal consequences. We will touch on both. Regarding medical consequences, the injuries one can suffer from a high speed accident are clear. The laws of physics dictate that mass times acceleration is equivalent to force. Accordingly, the faster one speeds, the more force will be involved in a car accident. With excessive force between cars colliding, the injuries can be catastrophic.
When you have serious medical injuries from a car accident, recovery can take months to years. Some injuries require multiple surgeries and months of follow-up treatment and recovery time. Speeding accidents in general are particularly frustrating because they are often preventable. Almost always, speeding is a choice. If a driver chooses to speed, he or she is endangering the lives of everyone around them. This is arguably different from an accident such as a rear-end accident or a sideswipe, where the driver is merely negligent due to lack of control. If you are in an accident while speeding, chances are, you speed plenty of other times as well.
Fortunately, the legal consequences tend to match the medical consequences. In fact, that is the very intent of the legal system in this respect. While of course, money is an imperfect substitute for injuries and certainly loss of life, it is the best system we have under the law. Moreover, in a successful negligence action, the plaintiff should recover for each dollar of medical expenses incurred which was reasonable and causally related to the accident. Of course, to recover, you must prove this as an element of your claim. There is also an argument to be made that a plaintiff in a speeding accident in Maryland is able to recover punitive damages.
Punitive damages are an aspect of tort law that act to punish a defendant for particularly reprehensible conduct. In Maryland, we have a system for punitive damages that is unique from most other states in the country. The standard is one of malice. This requires knowledge by the tortfeasor. Of course, it can be difficult to prove knowledge. Especially if a driver is going, for example, 60 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, proving knowledge may be difficult. However, if a driver is drag racing his friend and going 105 mph on the highway, we may be able to argue that a driver did know or should have known that he was speeding when he collided with your vehicle, seriously injuring you.
Calculating Punitive Damages
If we can get punitive damages after proving the defendant acted with malice, we calculate them by taking your compensatory damages and multiplying it by a number between one and nine. The Supreme Court has ruled that punitive damages should be no more than nine times the amount of your compensatory damages, but can be less. It will take sharp legal work to get the punitive damages you deserve. In a case in which a defendant driver is going 105 mph when he crashes into you, it would be far easier to get a large sum of punitive damages than if the defendant is going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Final Thoughts on Maryland Speeding Car Accidents
Speeding car accidents in Maryland are an ongoing problem we face, even in 2023. While there is only so much we can do proactively, if you do find yourself in an accident in which the adverse driver is speeding, do not hesitate to reach out for a free consultation. We are happy to explain to you what the typical trial process looks like for a car accident in Maryland.