Pedestrians and bicycle riders in Baltimore, Annapolis, D.C., and Rockville will likely all agree that brushes with motor vehicles are some of the more harrowing experiences in these urban areas. Even on suburban and rural roads the potential for serious injury accidents is quite high. Lucky individuals may only receive bumps and bruises, but those who don’t escape injury can be sent to the hospital with head or neck injuries, broken bones and internal bleeding.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys and auto accident lawyers, we commiserate with the families of those who have been hurt, permanently injured or killed in traffic collisions around the state. Naturally, everyone needs to follow the rules of the road and obey state laws, but the size and weight disparity between motor vehicle such as passenger cars, delivery trucks and commercial tractor-trailers, and people on foot or riding a bike certainly leaves the latter group at a disadvantage.
A little while back, prosecutors cited an elderly woman in connection with a car-bicycle collision that left a Johns Hopkins student Nathan Krasnopoler critically injured and in a coma. According to news reports, the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City and the Baltimore City PD issued two traffic citations against 83-year-old Jeannette Walke for her part in a February 26 accident near Johns Hopkins University.
The woman reportedly struck the 20-year-old’s bike with her car, sending him to the hospital with very serious injuries. Based on news items at the time, Krasnopoler suffered two collapsed lungs as well as multiple broken ribs and a broken collarbone. He also received facial fractures, eye damage and a traumatic brain injury.
At the time of the news article, Walke had been cited for negligent driving and failure to yield right-of-way to a bicyclist. For those unfamiliar with the law, negligence is defined as the “careless or imprudent” operation of a vehicle “that endangers any property or the life or person of any individual.”
Based on reports, the Baltimore police had issued the citations following a thorough investigation, after which it concluded that the charges were appropriate when weighed against the facts of the incident. The police reportedly did not find any evidence of “gross negligence,” which is necessary in order to support a charge of vehicular manslaughter.
The victim’s family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Walke for her alleged negligence in their son’s injury and current condition. The suit says that Krasnopoler went into cardiac arrest during transport to the hospital and has remained in a coma since the crash. Meanwhile, each violation that Walke received carries a maximum fine of $500 and three points.