While there is never a completely safe time to be on the road, there have been an unfortunate number of fatalities in recent weeks on Maryland roadways. Three fatalities occurred on a recent weekend, for example, with all of the deceased being under the age of 40.
In one of the accidents, a 38-year-old woman was killed when she was struck by a car on the Interstate. The woman, who was riding with a group of motorcyclists, was approaching the car from behind and she moved to the left lane to attempt to pass the car. The car also moved into the left lane, however, and the woman's motorcycle then struck the car and was thrown off the roadway. The woman was pronounced dead at the hospital, while the 19-year-old driver of the car was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
In accidents like the above, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who is at fault for the fatal auto accident. Typically, if a rear end accident occurs, the person who is driving behind the first vehicle and strikes that vehicle will be determined to be at fault. This is because a motorist should leave enough space in front of them to stop properly.
On the other hand, left turn accidents are typically the fault of the person who is making the left turn. This is because the other vehicle typically has the right of way, and therefore the vehicle turning left is impeding that right of way.
The case above, as with many other accidents, involve situations where these "typical" rules are not quite clear. Ultimately, if a wrongful death or negligence action is brought, both drivers' conduct may be examined to determine which one was more at fault for the incident. A jury could apportion the fault between the parties, which could have the effect of reducing the damages an injured party can recover from the other side. Accordingly, it is essential that individuals understand the liability determinations that will be made in a case, and how they can best demonstrate that the other driver caused the accident that left them injured.
Source: Capital Gazette, "Woman killed in motorcycle accident near Millersville," Ben Weathers, Sept. 29, 2014