According to officials, last month, a Columbia man was charged with felony driving under the influence after his vehicle killed two motorcyclists.
A South Carolina Highway Patrol Senior Trooper reported that the man was traveling north on Highway 21 one Monday evening, when his 2008 Saturn crossed the center line. The Saturn then reportedly collided with two BMW motorcycles head-on. The two motorcyclists both died instantly due to blunt force trauma, according to the local county coroner. The 21 year old was transported to a local hospital for unreported injuries. His passenger was uninjured.
The driver of the Saturn was subsequently charged with two counts of felony DUI, and one count of second-offense driving under suspension.
This tragic motorcycle collision is an unfortunate example of the dangers associated with driving under the influence, and also how criminal charges may be appropriate in addition to a civil lawsuit.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States in 2010 alone. Additionally, motorcyclists are one of the groups at greatest risk for being killed as a result of DUI collision due to their vulnerability on the road.
Although this unfortunate tragedy happened in South Carolina, similarly tragic motorcycle collisions happen in Maryland as well. In cases like this one, where the rider was killed as a result of another person’s (alleged) negligent driving, the individual’s family members may be able to bring a wrongful death action, in an attempt to compensate for the loss of the loved one. Whereas criminal charges are intended to punish the wrongdoer, these civil lawsuits are intended to attempt to make the affected individuals whole again, to the extent possible through financial awards.
In the state of Maryland, the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute governs a wrongful death claim. The statute defines which family members are eligible to bring a suit, among other elements. Perhaps the most contested aspect of a wrongful death claims are the damages. Under Maryland law, there is no statutory cap on the amount of economic damages that one can be awarded in a wrongful death suit, which includes things such as loss of future earnings, and other quantifiable economic losses. There is, however, a cap on non-economic damages, meaning that the amount of money that can be awarded for things like loss of companionship, love, and support is limited. An experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney can further explain the way that wrongful death claims operate under Maryland law.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC immediately. We have successfully represented many motorcyclists and their passengers who have been injured or killed as a result of another driver’s negligence. Our attorneys are well versed in the nuances that motorcycle accidents present, and we can advise you how best to proceed with your case. Call us today at 1-800-654-1949, or contact us through our website in order to schedule your initial complimentary consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Abingdon Woman Killed in Motorcycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published September 30, 2013
Germantown Motorcyclist Killed in Rockville Collision, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published September 23, 2013