Thursday, April 29, 2010

Accident Caused Truck to Hang Off Bridge: Possiblity of Workers' Compensation and Auto Accident Insurance Benefits

On April 16, 2010, there was a dangerous truck accident between two work vehicles. Early that Friday morning in the 1600 block of Pennington Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland a utility work vehicle and a tanker truck collided. The truck accident caused the tanker truck to go off the roadway. The drawbridge located at Ordinance Road and Pennington Road was temporarily closed. Both drivers suffered injuries and were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for evaluation.

A claim can be brought against the "at fault" party for property damages and bodily injuries. However, liability must be determined. If the facts of the accident are unclear then the assistance of an accident reconstructionist may be needed. An accident reconstructionist can help determine the cause of an accident.

However, if it is found that either or the drivers contributed to this collision then they may both be barred from any recovery under the rules of "contributory negligence." Contributory negligence is a popular defense that insurance companies use in order to deny claims. An experienced attorney would be able to help determine if this argument has merit.

Moreover, if the drivers were operating, these vehicles while working, they would be able to pursue a claim for Maryland workers' compensation benefits. Maryland workers' compensation benefits could assist them with loss of income, medical expenses as well as compensation for any permanent injury sustained as a result of this truck accident. Workers' Compensation benefits apply regardless of fault. In other words even the at fault driver in this truck accident could obtain such a recovery.

The Maryland accident attorneys at Portner & Shure have handled thousands of claims involving truck accidents as well as workers' compensation claims. For a free legal consultation or more information on car accidents or work related injuries, feel free to visit us for a free consultation.

Senate Votes to Increase the Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

The State Senate voted 27 to 20 to increase the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage allowed by the state of Maryland. The state minimum was set at $20,000 and $40,000 and had been set without an increase since 1972. The current bill would increase this minimum to $50,000. The bill is currently on the desk of Governor Martin O'Malley to sign.

This bill faced widespread opposition by insurance carriers, the American Insurance Administration. The American Insurance Administration reported that two million car insurance policies in the state of Maryland carried only a minimum liability policy at the end of last year. The administration opposed the bill because it would cause an increase in insurance premiums of between 5 percent and 15 percent. They argued, an increase in premiums could also cause a drastic increase in uninsured motorist drivers. In other words, if people are unable to afford the insurance coverage they may be forced to not carry insurance at all.

The bill is meant to protect those involved in serious automobile accidents. Currently, if you are involved in a serious or fatal motor vehicle collision with an individual who has a minimal insurance policy, the most that you would be able to collect for your medical expenses, loss of income or pain and suffering is $20,000. With the increase of health costs, $20,000 doesn't go very far. In most of these cases, the injured party has medical expenses that exceed the amount of the policy. This bill would increase the minimal policy and assist those severely injured as the result of an automobile accident.

The bill was necessary and has been needed for sometime. Countless serious automobile accidents occur every year wherein the at fault driver has minimal insurance coverage. At least in the future more money will be available to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle or truck accident, or if you would like more information on car accidents please contact Portner & Shure and speak with our Maryland accident lawyers for a free legal consultation.

Intersection of Hayward Road and US 15 Hot Location for Car Accidents

A large number of accidents in Frederick County, Maryland are attributed to the cross traffic at Hayward Road and US 15. The Maryland State Highway Administration has made this area a top priority in Frederick. They have recently installed signs, new pavement markings, as well as a fresh rumble strips along the road in an effort to deter speeding and to help with awareness of the potential cross traffic. The Frederick County Sheriff's Office is also expected to increase speed enforcement on the Hayward Road.

Although these changes will most likely not have an immediate effect on the traffic in that area but the State Highway Administration is hoping that the combination of engineering tactics and law enforcement will help to encourage drivers to be more cautious.

Drivers who speed or fail to yield to the right of way can cause some of the most severe automobile collisions. Not only to car accidents cause damage to property and bodily injuries, traffic citations can be issued for these offenses and carry hefty fines. Insurance carriers can increase your insurance rates and repeat offenders could lose their driving privileges.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident wherein speed was involved or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure. Our Maryland accident lawyers are available to provide a free legal consultation.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Repeat Impaired Driver Crashes with Retired Montgomery County District Court Judge Who Spared Him in 1998. Who Will Spare Him Now?

Eleven years after the Honorable Edwin Collier spared a repeat offender for driving under the influence for two DUI(s) within three months, he veered into the Judge's lane of travel and struck his vehicle head on.  Judge Collier and his wife, Ellen, were driving in Gaithersburg when the head on collision occurred.  Judge Collier suffered a broken leg and fractured ribs, and his wife, Ellen, suffered a compound leg fracture, fractured hip, fractured ribs and a neck injury.  It was determined that the repeat offender, Rene E. Fernandez who was tested after the accident, had more than two times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

According to Montgomery County Circuit Court records, Mr. Fernandez was to plead guilty to one count of causing a life threatening injury, while intoxicated.  The remaining charges would be dropped according to a plea agreement.  The sentencing guidelines call for up to two years in prison. Mr. Fernandez is presently awaiting disposition from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.

Judge Collier and his wife, Ellen were forced to move from their Bethesda home to a retirement community due to diminished mobility caused by Mr. Fernandez.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident involving a drunk driver or you need more information on automobile accidents or drunk driving laws, please contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers or DUI lawyers at Portner & Shure for a free consultation.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pedestrian dies in Montgomery County Automobile Accident

On April 2, 2010, at approximately 5:54 p.m., Shu Bing Huang had just exited a bus at Veirs Mill Road and Randolph Road when she was struck by a motorist who jumped the curb striking her and then proceeded on to strike another vehicle.  Ms. Huang was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the vehicle, 79 year old Thomas McCargo Rankin is alleging he does not know what caused him to lose control of his vehicle.  The Huang family has retained the law firm of Portner & Shure.  

An accident reconstruction is currently being conducted which can take anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks to complete.  The reconstruction unit will determine the approximate impact speed and the possible causes of this tragic automobile accident.  

In some states once a person reaches a certain age they are required to take their driver's test again to ensure they are still capable of operating a motor vehicle in a safe manner so as not to endanger the life of another individual.  This should be a law in all states to ensure the safety of other pedestrians and motorists on the highways.  Some other states have even gone further and once an individual reaches 80 years of age they are no longer permitted to drive.  

If you, a family member or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident or you would like more information on automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents or medical emergency defenses, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fatal Three Vehicle Car Accident in Severn

There was a deadly head on car collision that took place on April 7, 2010, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Anne Arundel County Police are currently investigating the cause of the collision. However, the preliminary evaluation has revealed that the driver of a Ford F-150 was traveling westbound on Donaldson when he crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a Ford Expedition head on. The collision caused the SUV to burst into flames.

When emergency response vehicles arrived on the scene, the SUV was engulfed in flames. The driver of the SUV and his passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pick up truck was rushed to Baltimore Washington Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

While the cause of this collision is under investigation at this time, witness statements and an accident re-constructionist could certainly assist in determining what happened. If the driver of the pick up truck is found to have been at fault for this accident, the families of those in the SUV could pursue a claim against his insurance carrier. They may be entitled to death benefits which could assist the family with burial costs.

Our Maryland accident attorneys have handled thousands of claims and are familiar with wrongful death claims. If this unfortunate event should happen to you or someone you know, please contact Portner & Shure for a free legal consultation.

Car Accident with Unmarked Police Vehicle

On April 8, 2010, a woman crashed her motor vehicle into an unmarked police car in Ellicott City, Maryland. The woman collided with the police cruiser when the police officer was making a left hand turn onto Court House Drive and sustained bodily injuries to her arm. Paramedics arrived on the scene and transported her to an area hospital. The police cruiser was not operating in an emergency capacity. Sirens and lights were not being used at the time of this collision. Further investigation into this accident is underway.

Emergency vehicles have their own set of rules to which they adhere while driving. The law clearly states that emergency vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, or fire trucks cannot be held to the same standard of care as other drivers. Designated emergency vehicles that are responding to an emergency have special privileges. For instance, they are permitted to exceed the speed limit (so long as they do not endanger other drivers), pass a red light or stop sign, and disregard traffic control devices. However, it is important to keep in mind that these privileges only exist if the responding vehicle is using its audible and visual signals except in the even event that the police vehicle is not equipped with such signals. None of the above apply if the police are not operating in an emergency capacity.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been involved in a car accident with an emergency vehicle or if you would like more information on automobile accidents, please contact Portner & Shure. Our Maryland accident lawyers can provide a free legal consultation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Montgomery County Police Officer dies in Single Vehicle Accident: Maryland Workers Compensation Applies

On April 4, 2010 at 2:20 a.m., Officer Hector Ayala was traveling west on Randolph Road in response to a call from another Officer needing assistance at the scene of a fight.  Officer Ayala was killed in route when his vehicle ran off the road and struck a tree.  If this accident were not tragic enough, Officer Ayala leaves behind a wife who is pregnant with triplets and a 14 month old son.  

Working the midnight shift, Officer Ayala, who was fluent in Spanish, was invaluable to the Wheaton district.  Many residents only speak Spanish, and therefore, he was often called on by other officers to help interpret.  

Little information is being released about the accident as police continue to investigate.  There could be any number of reasons this accident occurred, whether speed, in an attempt to assist a fellow officer, being cut off by another motorist, debris in the roadway, medical emergency, etc.  In this instance, if the accident was the officer's fault, his wife would be entitled to make a workers' compensation claim.  Further, if it was determined another motorist or circumstances other than the officer's negligence was the proximate cause of this accident than his survivors would be entitled to other benefits.  

Workers compensation applies because the officer was working in the course of his employment at the time of the accident.  Since he died the code requires that he have dependents to obtain a recovery.  In this case, he had a wife and several children.  Next, in addition to workers compensation, the family may be able to make a third party claim against the other driver, if it was determined another driver caused this accident.

It is important to always contact a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with these types of claims to assist you and ensure you receive each benefit you are entitled to.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident or you would like more information regarding automobile accidents, please contact Portner & Shure and speak with one of our Maryland accident lawyers for a free consultation. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Motorcycle Accidents Are Among the Deadliest Forms of Accidents in the Nation

Motorcycle accidents are common and often result in serious injuries. Motorcycle drivers need be extremely cautious when operating their bikes has the potential of serious or fatal personal injuries are much more likely if an automobile accident does occur. Although most motorcycle accidents are commonly the result of negligent driving, human error is also a likely contributing factor.

On the morning on April 5, 2010, the driver of a motorcycle attempted to make a left-hand turn near the intersection of Route 75 and New Market Road in New Market, Maryland. At the same time the driver of a Mercedes was driving straight through the intersection. The operator of the motorcycle failed to yield to the right of way and struck the Mercedes. As a result of the collision the motorcycle driver suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Mercedes suffered only minor cuts.

It is imperative that all the rules of the road are followed in order to prevent tragic accidents such as this. Traffic control devices are in place to help maintain the flow of traffic in an orderly fashion. Stop signs and traffic signals should always be given proper attention.

If you, a family member, or someone you know was involved in a car or motorcycle accident wherein a party failed to yield to the right of way or if you would like more information on motor vehicle accidents, please contact Portner & Shure for a free legal consultation with our Maryland accident lawyers.

Hit and Run Accident Results in 10-year Sentence

In February of 2009, Thomas Rouleau was killed as a result of an automobile accident that occurred at McDaniel College in Carroll County Maryland. The 19-year-old student and four of his friends where struck by a pick up truck near the college campus. The passengers in the vehicle with Mr. Rouleau sustained bodily injuries. Charges were pressed against the driver of the pick up and a Carroll County Circuit Court judge ruled in March 2010 that he was guilty of negligent manslaughter.

Whenever any collision occurs with an automobile, it is a crime to flee the scene of an accident. Criminal charges can be filed against you as they were in this case and there are severe penalties associated with charges of this nature. The guilty finding will most likely be admissible in any civil lawsuit that stems from the automobile accident.

In the event that the "at fault" party is located, if they are proven to the cause of the accident, then claims for property damage, bodily injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering can be brought against them. However, in most hit and run collisions, the "at fault" party often does not have auto insurance. In this situation a claim can still be pursued against your uninsured motorist coverage. In these cases, your automobile insurance rates will not rise.

Our Maryland automobile accident attorneys have experience with dealing with uninsured motorist claims. If you would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure.

Three Car Automobile Crash Turns Fatal Near BWI Airport

Multiple car collisions are incredibly common and it is sometimes difficult to determine who is actually at fault. In order to pursue a claim for property damage or bodily injuries liability must first be determined. There are a number of factors that are considered by the insurance carriers before they will assume liability for any collision and a thorough investigation will be done on their behalf.

Yesterday there was a three vehicle collision on Aviation Boulevard between Amtrak Way and Stoney Run Road in Anne Arundel County, Maryland near BWI Marshall Airport. The driver of a Jeep Wrangler was believed to have veered into oncoming traffic striking an Izusu truck then struck an unoccupied BWI Shuttle bus. The Maryland Transportation authority responded to the scene. The driver of the Jeep was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the shuttle bus was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma where he treated and released while the driver of the truck was not injured. The accident is still under investigation. The police do not believe that alcohol was involved.

Our Maryland accident lawyers can assist with expediting the investigation process in situations such as this. Our staff has handled thousands of claims ranging from simple rear end collisions to fatal motor vehicle accidents. The insurance carriers are well versed in collecting information that will provide them reason to deny an insurance claim. Defenses such as contribulatory negligence are often used by the insurance company. In these situations if a driver is just one percent at fault the entire claim will be denied.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on car accidents please feel free to contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teen Killed in Motorcycle Accident: Wear a Helmet!

Motorcycle drivers are involved in many of the most deadly and serious accidents in the nation. In the state of Maryland a driver of a motorcycle must possess a special class drivers license. In addition, motorcycle drivers are also held to the same standards as any other driver on the road. However, due to the obvious exposure that the motorcycle provides its driver, the risk of injuries while driving is much greater and both state and national accident statistics continue to prove this point. In Maryland all operators of motorcycles are required to wear a helmet and protective eye wear.

Recently a Lexington Park teenager was killed after his motorcycle crashed into a tree in Calvert County, Maryland. The teenager was operating a Yamaha YZ80, which is considered a type of motorcycle based on the Maryland definition. He was driving off road when he approached a hill and lost control of his bike and crashed. The responding police indicated that the teen was ejected from the bike before the bike came to rest on top of him.

Authorities immediately noted that the teen was not wearing any of the regulated safety gear as mandated by the State of Maryland. The teenager was transported to a local hospital where is was pronounced dead later that same night. No one will know if this teenager would have survived if he had been using a helmet. However, national statistics, as well as our injury law firms past accident cases, reveal that the survival rate goes up exponentially for those who wear a helmet.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident or if you would like more information on car accident, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Alcohol Suspected in Serious Automobile Head on Collision

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on March 18, 2010, a driver of a Ford F-150 is suspected of being intoxicated, he sped on Route 100 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland while traveling in the wrong direction. The driver struck a Toyota Camry head on. The driver of the pick up truck and his passenger were transported to Maryland Shock Trauma where they were reported as being in serious condition. The occupant of the Toyota Camry was rushed via medevac helicopter to the same hospital. The operator of the Camry has to be cut out of his vehicle by firefighters.

The accident remains under investigation and charges are still pending. The police however did issue a statement saying that "driver error, excessive speed and alcohol were contributing factors" in this accident. As a result of the collision Route 100 near Arundel Mills Mall just south of BWI Marshal Airport was temporarily closed.

Charges such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, or speeding have significant impact on your driving record. Repeated charges can result in the suspension or loss of your driving privileges in addition to hefty fines and penalties. It may also become difficult to get car insurance if you have charges such as these on your driving record.

The driver of the Camry could file a claim against the "at fault" party in this accident for property damage in addition to the bodily injuries he sustained as a result of this collision. Unfortunately in Maryland he may not be entitled to punitive damages by is entitled to recover for his pain and suffering as a result of his injuries.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle collision or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation. 

Using a Cell phone While Driving? You May Soon be Required to Use a Handsfree Device.

On March 24, 2010, the Senate voted and approved a bill that will require all Maryland drivers to use a handsfree device if they will to use their cell phone while driving. Drivers will only be permitted to use their hands to turn on and off their phone and will not be allowed to hold their phones during a conversation. Violators could receive a citation of $40.00. The bill has not become law as of yet, but based on recent reports it appears that it will pass. The intent of course is to reduce a known distraction that causes automobile accidents.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been injured as the result of an automobile accident or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Driver Intentionally Hits Four People With Car

In early March, the driver of a vehicle intentionally hit four people in Chillum, Maryland with his vehicle. Two of the victims sustained injuries after being struck on University Parkway. The Prince George's County Police are unsure of the reason behind this assault but indicated that this appeared to be a domestic matter. Although the driver was taken into custody after the assault, the details of the charges pending against him were not made available.

An intentional tort is defined as "a tort in which the actor is expressly or impliedly judged to have possessed intent or purpose to injure." This situation is a perfect example of an intentional tort. If the driver willingly got behind the wheel of a car and struck a crowd of people in an effort to hurt or injure anyone then his actions can be classified as an intentional tort.

Assuming the automobile insurance carrier covers this intentional act, the injured individuals in this situation could pursue a claim for bodily injuries against the driver of the vehicle.. The drivers' insurance carrier could be responsible for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering or even mental distress. Problems may still occur with the amount of automobile coverage available since at least two people were hurt. In cases were multiple people are injured a Maryland automobile accident attorney must quickly determine all possible personal injury coverages.

If you, a family member, or someone you know was injured in a car accident or if you would like more information on automobile accident, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Single Vehicle Car Accident Claims Another Life

Single vehicle accidents resulting in personal injuries are often caused by speed or reckless automobile driving. However, weather conditions can also play an important role in these traffic accidents. The recent rain storms have caused flooding in some areas and left roadways very slippery.

A recent single vehicle accident claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman. She was driving her Lexus on Snowden River Parkway in Columbia, Maryland when she swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle. As a result of her swerving, she struck a tree and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

An accident re-constructionist could be called to the scene to help determine the cause of the accident. If skid measurements were taken by an expert, the speed at the time of the cars impact could have been determined. Proper measurements, done timely, with eye witness testimony, could assist in determining if the driver in this accident either lost control of her vehicle, or was cut off by another driver, or if her vehicle was not working properly.

In some cases, even if the other driver leaves the scene, fault could be attributed to that driver if a proper investigation is conducted. Our personal injury lawyers have been involved in several lawsuits that hinged on a thorough accident reconstruction.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been involved in automobile accident where someone was injured or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Accident in Carroll County Causes Fatality

In March of 2010, there was a fatal car accident in Westminster, Maryland when two vehicles collided. The driver of a Toyota Camry was traveling on Route 140 in Carroll County when the driver of a pick up truck ran a red light at the intersection of Route 140 and Bethel Road. A passenger in the Toyota was injured and transported to Maryland Shock Trauma while the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Automobile accidents resulting in injuries wherein individuals fail to yield to the right of way are very common. Traffic signals and stop signs are put in place to help direct and control traffic. They however, cannot stop human error. Failure to pay full attention and adhere to these signals will result in citations or worse, a serious even, as in this case, a fatal car accident.

Assuming that the driver of the pick up truck did in fact run a red light he could be found liable for this car collision and be forced for pay for any property damage and bodily injury claim for those who were injured. A wrongful death claim could also be brought against his insurance carrier by the family members of the deceased. In the event that the driver did not have insurance coverage a claim can be made under the drivers Uninsured Motorist Coverage. In all automobile cases resulting in fatality asset searches of the defendant must be conducted. In the event the defendant has sufficient assets, he often should be sued since most automobile accident insurance policies do not provide adequate death benefits. The accident attorneys at Portner & Shure carefully determine all available assets in all cases where the injury value exceeds the policy. If you are unsure of what benefits you are entitled to in a case resulting in a death, call one of our Maryland accident lawyers.

Rollover Crash Injures 4 People: Is the Driver Responsible for the Car Accident?

In late March, a vehicle traveling on Interstate 70 in Frederick County, Maryland lost control and rolled over several times. In the vehicle were four people. All the individuals in the vehicle were transported to a local hospital for observations. Although the cause of the accident is unclear, the Maryland State Police noted that there was a steady rain falling at the time of the accident which could have attributed to the cause of the accident.

All automobile drivers need to be cautious when driving in adverse weather conditions to avoid automobile accidents. Failure to do so could be deadly or lead to serious bodily injuries. Remember that in heavy rain, a driver still maintains an obligation to drive his car at a reasonable and prudent speed with is consistent with the current weather conditions. In other words, if a driver is traveling at the posted speed limit, he or she can still be found negligent of exceeding a safe speed if the weather conditions are hazardous.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident and are not sure of your legal rights, you may contact Portner & Shure for a free legal consultation.