Thursday, October 15, 2009

Major Verdict Rendered in Prince George's County Car Accident Case

A Prince George's County jury has awarded a $4.1 million verdict to the estate and family of a 20 year old male killed in a December 2007 accident.

Plaintiff David Gray was driving to the University of Maryland to attend classes when his vehicle was struck by a police cruiser.  The police cruiser had crossed a double yellow line and collided with the Plaintiff's vehicle, causing the vehicle to be sent airborne across the street.  Paramedics quickly arrived to the scene and transferred the Plaintiff to the Prince George's County Hospital Center, where he subsequently died from injuries sustained in the accident.   

The Plaintiff's mother filed suit on her son's behalf against the Defendant, an off-duty police officer with the Prince George's County Police Department.  In asserting that the Defendant negligently operated his vehicle, the Plaintiff's estate alleged that the Defendant was driving at twice the 25 mile per hour speed limit, that the Defendant was text messaging while driving his vehicle, and that the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol he had consumed the night before.  The jury agreed with the Plaintiff's assertions, and awarded a total verdict of $4.1 million dollars.  Of the $4.1 million awarded, $3.6 million went to the estate of the deceased, $500,000 to the Plaintiff's mother for pain and suffering, $35,000 for past medical expenses and $5,000 for funeral expenses. 

There are a few key points worthy of mention in this case.  It is very curious that the fact that the Defendant had been drinking the night before was not discovered until he was deposed during the civil case.  The Defendant apparently was not asked by his fellow Prince George's County officers arriving on the scene whether he had consumed alcohol the previous evening.  According to the deposition, the Defendant stated that he had drank 3 to 5 Corona's the night before the accident prior to going to sleep at 3 a.m.  The accident occurred just 4 hours after he had gone to sleep, making it entirely possible that the Defendant was still under the influence at the time of the accident.  The Washington Post examined the alcohol consumption issue in this case in greater detail. 

Another interesting point is that texting was used as a means to demonstrate negligent driving.  The Plaintiff's counsel in this case actually brought in an AT&T representative to testify that there was a data transfer from the Defendant's phone at the time of the accident.  I think that the use of texting to show negligent driving in car accident cases may be something we see more and more. 

If you have been in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and believe the person that struck you was at fault, you should contact an experienced attorney.  The attorneys at Portner & Shure many years of experience representing accident victims in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Contact us for a free consultation.