Earlier this month, the former Episcopal bishop who was charged in the December 27 fatal hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a father of two young children pleaded guilty to several offenses in relation to the accident. According to one local news source, the woman pleaded guilty to automotive manslaughter and several other related charges in return for a maximum sentence of incarceration that could not exceed 20 years. By agreement with the prosecution, the woman will likely serve just 10 years in jail, with the remaining sentence suspended.
Back in December of last year, the woman was driving on Roland Avenue when she drifted into the bike lane as she was texting on her phone. She struck a bicyclist, sending him flying off onto the side of the road. Initially, the woman circled back to the scene but then left and did not return until she was advised to by a friend. As it turns out, she was found to have been operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Her blood alcohol content was over three times the legal limit.
The family of the accident victim was present in court for the woman’s plea but declined to comment on what had just occurred. One family member did tell reporters later that the family would “advocate the maximum penalty allowed under law.”
Drunk Driving Accidents in Maryland and Negligence Per Se
In most accident cases, the plaintiff must prove four main elements before they are entitled to recover compensation. These elements are:
However, when the allegedly negligent conduct at issue is against the law, as drunk driving is, the plaintiff may be able to take advantage of a “shortcut” in proving their case by using the doctrine of negligence per se.
Negligence per se is a Latin term meaning negligence in and of itself. In other words, the conduct at issue is predetermined to be negligent, so the plaintiff does not need to establish this fact at trial. Generally speaking, a plaintiff can take advantage of a negligence per se theory if the allegedly negligent act of the defendant is made illegal by statute, and the harm suffered by the plaintiff is the type of harm the statute is designed to protect against. In the case of the drunk driving statute, the statute is specifically designed to prevent drunk driving accidents, so this is often not a contentious issue. To learn more about negligence per se and other legal theories of recovery, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a serious or fatal Maryland bicycle or motorcycle accident, the skilled attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC want to talk to you about your case. Through diligent representation and tireless research, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have a successful track record when it comes to bringing personal injury cases against negligent drivers, including drunk drivers. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
22-Year-Old Dies in Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident in Timonium, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 12, 2015.
Former Navy Seal Killed in Bethesda Bicycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published September 18, 2015.