Common Car Accident Causes in Montgomery County

Car accidents in Maryland occur for any number of reasons. Alcohol or heavy traffic conditions can be a factor. Distracted driving through texting, the use of a cellphone, or something else that’s going on inside the vehicle may also be a factor that contributes to the occurrence of an accident.

Typically, there is not a single factor that causes an accident, but instead, a few factors occurring around the same time that cumulatively contribute to an accident. For example, there may be inclement weather, such as rain or snow, along with heavy traffic conditions that together may result in a traffic accident. Whereas, that same accident may not occur if traffic were heavy and it were not snowing. Likewise, the driver may be younger and less experienced and distracted by friends in the vehicle, or the use of a cellphone, and together those few factors coupled together can culminate in a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of the cause or the reason behind the accident, it is always important to seek the guidance of an experienced Montgomery County car accident lawyer.

Impact of Texting and Driving

Maryland has outlawed the hand-held use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. In Montgomery County, a driver is required to have a hands-free device to use a cellphone while they are driving. In that situation, if a person is operating the motor vehicle while they are holding a cell phone, the fact that this is a violation of the law can be used as evidence of negligence.

If a person was texting while driving and they hit another car or pedestrian, the fact that they are texting while driving can be used as a factor to convince the judge or a jury they are at fault for the accident. Conversely, if a person is texting while driving and is struck by someone else, the issue of contributory negligence comes into play. In that case, the use of a cellphone to text while driving can be introduced as evidence of negligence by the injured person. Even if a person is struck by another driver, who is seemingly solely at fault (for example a someone driving while under the influence), if the injured person was texting while driving, a judge or a jury could find that the injured person contributed to the accident by violating the law and they could receive zero compensation.

Drunk or Impaired Driving

Drunk driving, according to the law, affects a case because it is illegal to consume sufficient levels of alcohol that render the driver impaired. The blood alcohol level of the driver can be used as evidence of negligence, meaning the effects of the alcohol caused or contributed to the accident.

The use of alcohol by a driver is used as evidence of negligence. Thus, it can often be an issue for the jury to decide whether someone was negligent in the operation of their motor vehicle and the use of alcohol is evidence of that negligence. Alcohol use is strong evidence of negligence, and the more alcohol the more likely the jury is going to find a driver negligent. However, it is also important to keep in mind that alcohol consumption does not inflate the recovery of a case. Yes, it can be an aggravating factor sometimes, and typically juries frown upon those who have driven while under the influence, but objectively the fact that the driver of a vehicle is intoxicated does not significantly increase the value of the claim. The recovery is based upon the totality of circumstances, and should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Speeding in Montgomery County Car Accidents

Speed is a difficult issue to evaluate in most Montgomery County car accident cases and typically testimony or witness statements regarding a driver’s speed is not given substantial weight in determining who is at fault. Drivers of vehicles always say they were traveling at or below the speed limit. Injured persons usually describe the other vehicle as “speeding.” Unless there is some objective or scientific evidence to determine speed, the witnesses statements are not give too much credence because one person will say they were going slow and the other will say they were going fast, and the truth is usually somewhere in-between.

However, when speed is a factor in the collision, it is readily apparent from the nature and extent of the person’s injuries. For example, a few years ago there was an auto accident that was widely publicized because it involved street racing, late at night, along a rural stretch of the highway in Prince George’s County, Maryland. There, speed was most definitely a factor in the collision and the pedestrians’ injuries were catastrophic. In that instance, speed was a factor, but speed is typically not a factor in most traffic accidents.

Bad Weather in Montgomery County

Bad weather affects a Montgomery County car accident case simply because accidents occur more often in bad weather. Someone who has driven a vehicle can understand that snow or icy conditions allow for a motor vehicle accident to occur much more easily than under normal conditions. A person confronted with snowy or icy conditions must use the amount of care that a normal person would under similar circumstances to avoid a collision. If the driver does not does not operate his/her motor vehicle in a safe and prudent manner, then that information can be used as evidence of negligence in Montgomery County. Conversely, if a person is careful and cautious but is in an accident anyway due to the bad weather conditions, it is possible that a jury determines that the prudent driver was not at fault. It is important to remember that simply because an accident occurs does not mean that one of the drivers must be liable to the other. Stated differently, the fact that a collision occurred is not evidence of negligence. Accidents that occur during bad weather conditions require special attention and should be evaluated by an experienced car accident attorney in Montgomery County.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Running a red light is much like driving under the influence of alcohol or texting while driving because driving through a red light is a violation of the rules of the road. The non-conformity to the rules of the road may be offered as evidence of negligence by the operator of that motor vehicle. Anyone who operates a motor vehicle knows how an accident can occur if someone were to run a red light. The fact that the driver runs a red light is not an automatic conclusion as to who is at fault. It is simply used as evidence to convince a judge or a jury that the operator of that motor vehicle is at-fault for the accident.

Running a stop sign in Montgomery County is also a violation of the rules of the road. When a person fails to stop in observance of a stop sign, that infraction can be used as evidence of negligent driving.

Driving at Night in Montgomery County

Driving at night in Montgomery County simply requires the operator of the motor vehicle to conform to the circumstances that exist at that time. If the surroundings or time of day require the operator of the motor vehicle to operate the motor vehicle more slowly or in some other way due to the conditions that exist, then that driver is required to do so. If a driver does not conform to his/her driving to the surroundings, then that driver is likely to be found negligent.

Unsafe Lane Changes and Driving the Wrong Way

The fact that an accident occurred due to an unsafe lane change, does not necessarily affect a case. The fact that a person changed lanes unsafely is simply evidence that that driver was negligent in the operation of his/her motor vehicle.

Anyone who violates the rules of the road in Montgomery County, such as wrong way driving, can have that violation used as evidence against them to establish that they are at-fault for the accident.

Tailgating in Montgomery County

Tailgating is a term that is generally used to describe a vehicle following very closely to the vehicle directly in front of it. Typically, tailgating does not affect a claim other than being evidence of negligent driving. However, sometimes, the fact that a driver was not only negligent but also aggressive can have a negative impact on jurors, who can take this issue into consideration when rendering their verdict.