Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania man entered a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving charges stemming from a 2012 accident that left a motorcyclist dead. According to a report by the Observer Reporter, the accident occurred in April of 2012 when the man was on his way to work early in the morning. As he attempted to pass a slow-moving garbage truck in a no-passing zone, he collided with the motorcyclist head on.
The victim, a firefighter, was unable to be saved by fellow firefighters and emergency crews. At sentencing, the judge told the man “You, of course, forever changed the lives of [the victim] and his family, and also for you and your family…You have a brief snapshot of the life that was lost due to your negligence.”
Negligent Driving Can Result in Criminal and Civil Liability
In the story above, the focus is on the criminal sanctions that the driver of the truck faced when charged and convicted of the motorcyclist’s death. However, this is only half of the picture. The victim’s family may also have a claim against the truck’s driver for the wrongful death of their loved one.
Wrongful Death Actions in Maryland
In Maryland, the family of a victim wrongfully killed in an accident may be able to recover damages from the person who was negligent in causing the victim’s death. To meet the basic elements of a wrongful death case, a plaintiff must prove:
- That they had a qualifying relationship with the deceased. In Maryland, a wife, husband, parent, or child may qualify as a proper plaintiff. Note, that if the victim does not have any relatives that meet this requirement, the court may allow more distant relations or contacts to qualify.
- The conduct of the person causing the accident was negligent or reckless.
Oftentimes, wrongful death cases come down to whether the person who caused the accident was acting negligently. Generally speaking, evidence of a criminal conviction for the same conduct is relevant and admissible in proving negligence in a civil action. That is why often a civil suit for damages is filed after the criminal case has been completed.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you should speak with an experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. If you lost a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to damages based on a Maryland wrongful death action. If you were involved in an accident, you may be able to secure a monetary award yourself based on the other driver’s negligence. At the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, a team of dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case. Click here to speak to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney, or call 410-654-3600.
More Blog Posts:
SUV and Motorcycle Collide in Texas, Injuring Four, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 20, 2014.
Motorcycle Accident in Florida Results in Another Motorcycle Fatality, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 13, 2014.