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Update: Jury exonerates Maryland authorities in wrongful death suit

For many of us, including Maryland residents, when we think of a car crash, we assume that driving negligence was involved. However, sometimes a poorly designed or improperly maintained road or bridge can also contribute to an accident and serious injury. This is precisely what the father of a fatally injured Hartford County resident argued in a wrongful death civil suit against the state of Maryland.

According to the woman's father, it was the state's failure to repair the bridge properly and install a crash barrier separating the oncoming lanes of traffic that contributed significantly to the accident and subsequent injuries that killed his daughter. But after a back-and-forth deliberation, a jury of six decided that the state of Maryland was not negligent in the tragic accident.

The crux of the plaintiff's case was that a report issued sometime before the accident recommended, based off previous crashes, that a crash barrier be installed. During the trial, witnesses of the crash testified in front of the jury. However, the state's expert witness testified that the crash barrier would have done nothing to prevent this accident.

Since the crash, the state did install a barrier on the bridge. But evidence of this subsequent measure was held inadmissible by the judge.

While the family may not have financially recovered from the state, their ability to recover compensation for their losses including pain and suffering is not completely hindered. They may seek monetary compensation from their insurance, the driver's insurance and perhaps they may appeal this recent decision.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Harford jury finds state was not negligent in 2001 Hatem Bridge deaths," Nov. 20, 2012

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