As a general matter, Maryland government employees, entities, and organizations are entitled to immunity from Maryland personal injury lawsuits. However, under the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), accident victims can pursue a claim for compensation against the government in certain limited situations.
Under the MTCA, victims can pursue a variety of claims against government entities up to the statutory limit of $400,000 per claimant per incident. However, certain conduct is removed from the MTCA and will not be covered. Namely, this is if the person or entity that caused the injury acted with malice or gross negligence or took actions not within the scope of the person’s employment. Other important exceptions also apply, and anyone considering a claim against a government agency or official in Maryland should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.
A recent case discusses one motorcycle accident plaintiff’s difficulties when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a local government for the condition of the roads that she believed caused the accident. While the state’s tort claims act involved in the case is different from Maryland’s, the case illustrates some of the common difficulties plaintiffs have when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a government entity.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was seriously injured when she was involved in an accident while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the local government agency responsible for maintaining the roadway, claiming that the accident was caused by the poor condition of the road. Prior to the accident, the driver of the motorcyclist was cut off by another driver.
In that state, government agencies were immune from lawsuits unless the act in question fit within a specifically named exception. One exception was when a public road constituted a “dangerous condition” that physically interfered with the movement of traffic. Thus, in this case, the plaintiff claimed that the government waived its immunity because the road was maintained so poorly that it interfered with the movement of traffic and thus should be considered a dangerous condition.
The court disagreed, first noting that under state law, in order to waive liability on this basis, there must be a finding that the hazard created an “unreasonable risk.” The court reviewed the facts as presented and determined that not to be the case. Most important to the court’s analysis was the fact that a third party had cut off the motorcyclist. Thus, the court held that there was no evidence suggesting that the road itself was inherently dangerous.
Again, in Maryland, this case would have proceeded differently based on the language of the MTCA. However, it is important for accident victims to keep in mind that bringing lawsuits against government entities presents additional considerations that, if ignored, can result in the dismissal of a case.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing victims in all types of motorcycle accident cases, including those that are brought against government agencies and employees. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Bicycle Accident Victim’s Case Dismissed Under Recreational Use Statute, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published May 18, 2018.
Evidence of a Motorcyclist’s Failure to Wear a Helmet is Not Admissible in a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published May 4, 2018.