In some cases, the parties responsible for a serious accident are clear. This can make determining against whom to file a personal injury case clear. In other cases, however, figuring out the proper defendant takes a substantial amount of investigation and research.
In general, most individuals are liable for their negligent acts. However, some individuals may not be liable because they lack the requisite capacity to form intent, and other individuals or entities may be protected through immunity or other laws. For example, children may be too young to be held liable — although their parents may be separately liable in some circumstances. In Maryland, generally, children under the age of seven are thought to be unable to form the requisite intent.
The state and local governments may also be held liable in some circumstances. For example, the State of Maryland can be sued in situations provided by statute. Generally, in claims against state and local governments, plaintiffs must also give notice to certain individuals within a specified time period.
As a general rule, a Maryland municipality is liable for torts committed by its agents or employees while the municipality is engaged in “proprietary” functions. These functions include the maintenance of public streets and highways. This means that in maintaining public streets and highways, a municipality must exercise ordinary care.
Motorist Killed by Fallen Wire, Giving Rise to Claim Against Potential Defendants
In a tragic accident, a 27-year-old motorcyclist was decapitated when he drove into a tension wire that had been stretched across the road. According to one local news article, just before the man drove down the road at around nine in the morning on a Tuesday, another crash had just occurred earlier that morning. Evidently, another car had crashed into a telephone pole, causing the pole to break in half. The loose telephone wire stretched across the street. Minutes later, the motorcyclist drove down the road and into the wire. The motorist’s wife described him as a loving husband, brother, son, and friend. His wife was four months pregnant.
In the fatal motorcycle accident discussed above, there may be a number of potential defendants. Potential defendants could include the motorist in the accident minutes before the motorcyclist was killed, another person who may have caused the original accident, the government if there was poor road maintenance or poor maintenance of signs, and even an entity that may have inadequately constructed the road or the telephone pole.
Figuring out who is a proper defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, however, often requires a great deal of investigation. This may include determining not only who was responsible for causing the accident but also which entities were responsible for the maintenance of the road. Once the appropriate parties have been determined, a further investigation must be conducted to determine if the potentially liable parties are entitled to any form of immunity.
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney
Since a motorcyclist is not protected by a vehicle’s frame and exterior, a rider who is involved in an accident typically sustains serious injuries. Suffering injuries as a result of a motorcycle crash can be a stressful time for a victim as well as his or her family. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our car accident lawyers have represented numerous individuals from throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our compassionate team of attorneys is here to help answer your questions and guide you through the legal process. With decades of collective experience, we have the skill, dedication, and experience to handle all types of motorcycle accident cases, including those naming government defendants. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, so call us today at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Federal Appellate Court Discusses Sovereign Immunity in Recent Bicycle Accident Case, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published April 13, 2017.
Drivers May Have a Difficult Time Seeing Motorcyclists and Bicyclists, But That’s No Excuse for an Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 30, 2017.