So, Your Saying There’s a Last Clear Chance: Pedestrian Accidents in Maryland

Pedestrian accidents in Maryland can be tough. Pedestrian accidents are particularly difficult because Maryland is one of only a handful of states that adopt the doctrine of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence basically means that a person is partially at fault for their own accident. In Maryland, if you are only 1% at fault for an accident you can be totally barred from recovery. Contributory negligence is a common defense in pedestrian accident cases. One reason for this common defense is that pedestrians often cross streets outside of crosswalks or cross streets where they are not supposed to, essentially jaywalking. I recently had a pedestrian accident trial where my client was crossing the street and there was no crosswalk for 100 yards. To make matters worse he was wearing dark clothes at night. I initially didn’t think the case stood a chance. I explained to the client that we were huge underdogs.

At trial, in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, I had a couple things going for me. First, the Landover, Maryland roadway where the pedestrian accident occurred was extremely straight and flat. Second, according to my client, he was hit while standing on the double yellow lines. Third, the driver who hit my client was not a good witness.

Contributory negligence is the Achilles Heel for a pedestrian accident injury victim but there is a way to defend against it. The defense is “last clear chance”. An individual who contributed to a pedestrian accident can recover if they can show that the other party had a “last clear chance” to avoid causing the pedestrian accident. In this case, the defendant had a clear view of the road in front of her for over 100 yards. This fact combined with my cross examination of the defendant was enough to convince the Prince George’s County jury to rule in favor of my client. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Parr for a free consultation.

Deadly Prince George’s County Car Accident in Laurel, Maryland

This week I heard a report of a fatal car crash in Prince George’s County on Laurel Bowie Road and Bowie Road. I was curious as to what led to the fatal car accident and how it occurred. It turns out the woman who lost her life was a passenger. She was a passenger in what appears to be the at fault vehicle. The vehicle appears to be at fault because it was making a negligent left turn. So what can the family and loved ones do in this tragic situation? In Maryland, wrongful death and survivorship claims can be made.

A wrongful death action seeks to compensate the family. For example, a child who loses his or her father in an automobile collision due to a reckless driver can sue the driver for the emotional suffering the child may experience. In addition, the child may be compensated for the economic losses, such as the father’s income that would have contributed to the child’s care during the father’s life expectancy.

A survival action seeks to compensate the injured individual who died. Since the injured victim is no longer alive to pursue the claim, a personal representative of the decease’s estate acts on behalf of the deceased. Using the example given above, if the deceased father experienced pain and suffering before he died and/or had medical expenses as a result of the collision with the reckless driver, then the survival action can seek to compensate the father for the harms and losses he experienced while he was living.

So who does the family and estate make their claims against? A claim would have to be made against the driver of the vehicle in which the deceased was a passenger. To some this may seem odd but it happens all of the time. If you are driving with someone who causes an accident then you make your claim against that driver. There is another huge issue and that is policy limits. If the at fault driver has minimal coverage, in Maryland $30,000.00 per person and $60,000.00 per incident, then there is a problem. No amount of money can cover the loss of a loved one and minimal coverage isn’t going to come anywhere close. If there is minimal or low coverage, then an experienced Maryland wrongful death attorney would make an underinsured motorist claim with the deceased passenger’s own auto insurance. Even when you are driving in someone else’s car you are still covered by your own underinsured motorist coverage.

These are not the only issues but they are the major issues that an experienced Maryland wrongful death attorney can spot within minutes of reviewing the case. If you have lost a loved one as a result of a car accident, Nicholas Parr is the experienced Maryland wrongful death attorney you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Beware of Judges Who Extend Interlock for DUI in Maryland

Harford County DUIIf you are charged with a DUI in Maryland Interlock is often required in order to avoid suspension of your license. If you refuse a breathalyzer or if your blood alcohol content is greater than .15 your license will automatically be suspended unless you elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. If you enroll in the Ignition Interlock Program, you are required to have Interlock installed in your vehicle for one year. Ordinarily for DUI guilty pleas or convictions, Maryland judges are inclined to issue conditions of probation including MADD Victim Impact Panel, Shock Trauma, suspended sentence, supervised probation, fines, alcohol evaluation and classes, and Interlock.

In most cases, if you already have Interlock, judges will allow the time period required to expire as mandated by the MVA-whatever is remaining of the one year. However, there are some Maryland judges who extend Interlock as a condition of probation for DUI. The extension of Interlock for a DUI plea or conviction can be a huge inconvenience and added expense. Experienced Maryland DUI attorneys know what judges are likely to extend enrollment in the Ignition Interlock Program. These judges should be avoided if at all possible.

Harford County District Court is an example of a court where DUI penalties are among the harshest in Maryland. Harford County’s judges have the reputation of being conservative. Stiff penalties including jail time and extended interlock are not uncommon. An experienced Harford County DUI attorney can prepare you and advise you of what to expect if you are arrested for DUI in Harford County.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Harford County Blues

I found myself in Harford County Court quite a bit this past August. I appeared in Harford County Circuit Court twice for pretrial hearings. One client was charged with attempted murder and the other client was charged with driving while suspended, big difference between the two charges. I was able to get a Stet for the client who was charged with driving with a suspended license in Harford County. Stet means that the charge is placed on an inactive docket and as long as you don’t break any laws the State will not prosecute the charge. As for the attempted murder, that case will go to trial or be dismissed. I also appeared in Harford County District Court for a DUI. One thing to remember if you are charged with a DUI in Harford County is that the judges in the district court and the circuit court have a reputation for dishing out some harsh sentences. There are a couple judges who lawyers may want to avoid entirely if possible. Sometimes you have no choice but to proceed with the judge who is on the bench on your trial date. For Harford County DUI cases preparation is key. I always advise my clients to immediately get an alcohol evaluation and to enroll in alcohol education and treatment.

My client was prepared and he needed to be. He had a blood alcohol content that was over double the legal limit. In addition, to alcohol evaluation and classes my client also attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The judge agreed to give my client the benefit of a probation before judgment. In a Harford County DUI with a high blood alcohol content a probation before judgment is an excellent outcome. Probation before judgment is a disposition that is not a conviction and also prevents any points from appearing on your MVA record. If you are charged with a crime or a DUI in Harford County it is important to hire an attorney who knows how to navigate those hazardous waters. They don’t call it “Hazard County” for nothing! Call The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Parr today for a free consultation.