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Driver runs stop sign and injures himself and another driver

Two young men were taken to regional hospitals on a recent Wednesday night after a tragic car crash in Fallston. The accident occurred when a Chevy pickup truck ran a stop sign and smashed into an Isuzu SUV on the passenger side.

Maryland state police reported that one of the young men involved in the car accident was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore while the other was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. A Volunteer Fire Company responded to provide medical attention and the Maryland State Troopers were called to assist in the investigation. The status of both men was unknown.

In an auto accident, liability all depends on the determination of fault. Liability means the person or party at fault must pay for all or part of the damages or injuries. There are four basic levels of fault: (1) negligence, (2) recklessness or wanton conduct, (3) intentional misconduct or (4) strict liability. The most common type of fault is negligence, which is proven by showing a driver was careless or inadvertent while driving and as a result of their actions they caused an injury to another.

The driver of the pickup in this instance may have failed or neglected to stop at the stop sign. But in Maryland, establishing negligence on the part of the other driver is not the end of the liability inquiry. Here, it is at least theoretically possible the driver of the SUV may have contributed to the accident if, for example, he was driving too fast. Unfortunately, Maryland is one of only a handful of states, as well as the District of Columbia, which still apply the antiquated concept of contributory negligence. In other states, a victim may be partially negligent and still be entitled to a partial recovery of damages in many cases. In Maryland, however, any fault on the part of the plaintiff, however slight, is a complete bar to recovery. Thus, even if the defendant is 99% at fault and the plaintiff is only one percent at fault, the plaintiff recovers nothing. Maryland's system is outdated, unfair to accident victims, and overdue for reform.

Source: Bel Air Patch, "Fallston Accident Injures 2, Under Investigation," Jan. 31, 2013.

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