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Personal injury and insurance law attorneys share their expertise in Maryland accident lawsuits, trial litigation and other legal news.

Kramer & Connolly's accident attorneys protect the legal rights of accident victims.

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Christmas Roads Are Dangerous -- Put Your Little One in a Child Safety Seat

In the U.S., auto accidents are the number one killer of children aged 1 to 12.  To keep your child safe during your holiday highway trips, place each one in a child safety seat.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010 crash data indicates that an average of nearly 2 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day.   NHTSA reports that this fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.

Recognizing that the best way to protect children from auto accidents is to put them in child safety seats, Maryland law generally requires each person transporting a child under 8 years of age in a motor vehicle to secure the child in a child safety seat.  Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 22-412.2(d).  Any person convicted of violating this section is subject to a $25 fine.

Protect your child.  Get the right car safety seat for your youngster and use it.  If you need more information about finding the right child safety seat, installing the seat, or securing your child in the seat, go to http://www.safercar.gov/parents/carseats.htm

 

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Featured

Is a Skateboarder a Pedestrian or a Driver?

In Maryland, the answer to this question begins with another question: Is the skateboard a vehicle?

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CAUTION: Student Driver | CAUTION: Careless Driving Instructor

While with his driving instructor, a student driver is involved in an auto accident.  May the driving instructor be responsible?  In Maryland, the answer is found in the 1970 decision of Greenway v. Graft.

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In a Personal Injury Case, When Is a Danger So Obvious as to Bar Recovery?

"I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question." – Yogi Berra.

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The Mysterious Flying Bus

If buses could fly, must I prove why before I have a case I can try?


According to the Maryland's highest court, the operator of a bus that became "airborne" while traveling on Route 50 West in Prince George's County cannot be held liable based upon that fact alone.  Rejecting the claims of two passengers injured when a Washington, D.C. bus made a crash landing into a tree off the side of the road, the Court of Appeals found that evidence to be insufficient to warrant an inference of negligence on the part of its driver.

Rather than call witnesses to explain how the bus took off to such unfriendly skies, Plaintiffs Wayne and Jaron Singleton argued that, because such a single-vehicle accident ordinarily would not occur without some fault on the part of the bus driver, the defense should have the duty to prove otherwise under what is known as the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitor (literally, "the thing speaks for itself").  But a unanimous court refused to apply this doctrine, particularly in a case where Plaintiffs' counsel failed to have any actual witnesses speak about what may have caused this unusual incident.

In the Court's view, the doctrine would only apply under circumstances in which one could rule out causes other than driver error.  "With regard to a negligence action based on a perceptually single-vehicle accident, [the doctrine] will be available 'if the accident or injury is one which ordinarily would not occur without negligence on the part of the operator of the vehicle' and 'the facts are so clear and certain that the inference [of negligence] arises naturally from them.'"

Although the Court recognized a number of older cases in which such inferences were made in single-vehicle accidents, it refused to draw this inference where there were a number of witnesses to the accident available to testify.  But because of their attorney's "apparent tactical decision to avoid reasonably available witnesses," Plaintiff's "unnecessarily barebones case-in-chief failed to eliminate sufficiently other causes of the accident, and failed to evince that the bus driver's negligence was the most probable causative factor."  Rather than shift this burden of proof to the defense, the Court refused to let Plaintiffs "merely ... prove that the bus left the road and rest, taking advantage of res ipsa loquitur to plug the hole in the doughnut" of their case.

CASE DISMISSED.

District of Columbia v. Singleton
March 20, 2012

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