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Cyclist seeks $3 million in streetcar track accident

As Maryland readers may know, the law holds that property owners and occupiers have a legal responsibility to take some measures to prevent accidents and injuries on the property under their control. Accidents frequently occur when a member of the public is injured by a defect on a public sidewalk or roadway or due to negligence by a public employee. In these instances the accident victim may have cause to file a dangerous premises lawsuit against the governmental entity responsible for safety and maintenance. However, bodies of government often try to avoid liability by asserting that the doctrine of sovereign immunity protects them against private lawsuits. Maryland residents injured in an accident on public property need to be aware that the government is not immune from liability for negligence and that it is important to act quickly after an accident in order to preserve their legal rights.

A good example comes from the story of a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she crashed her bicycle on newly installed streetcar tracks. The woman filed a claim against the local Transportation Authority. The woman argues that the responsible government entity was negligent in the way it constructed and maintained the tracks and that it failed to post adequate warning signs. Lawyers for woman notified the local government entity saying they were will to settle the claim for $3 million.

The crash happened in August, 2012, when the woman was thrown into the street after her bicycle tire got caught between the tracks and the asphalt. The woman is now permanently disabled and suffers with memory loss and communication problems. She has racked up medical bills totaling roughly $450,000.

A liability claim against government entities involves very specific rules and procedural requirements. In addition, the law limits the time in which a victim is allowed to file a claim after an accident. Any Maryland resident who may have been injured by the negligent construction or maintenance of public property should seek the consultation of an attorney with experience in municipal claims as soon after the accident as possible.

Source: Arizona Daily Star, "Injured cyclist files $3 million claim over Tucson streetcar tracks," Becky Pallack, April 5, 2013.

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