In some Maryland car accident cases, the actions of multiple drivers may be the causes of the collision. Proving a defendant’s liability in these injury cases can be difficult, and the plaintiff may not be able to recover damages in a Maryland personal injury lawsuit if her own negligence was a proximate cause of the accident. In a July 9, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland grappled with a tragic wrongful death case brought by the family of a young driver who killed in a fatal car accident.
The victim in the case was driving on her learner’s permit. Traveling westward on a side road, the victim reached a stop sign at the intersection of a four-lane highway. The defendant was driving a truck northbound on the highway, traveling at 11 miles over the speed limit. As the victim entered the intersection, the defendant’s truck collided with her vehicle. Following the fatal accident, the victim’s family filed a negligence suit against the truck driver and his employer.
The issue on appeal was whether or not the victim was contributorily negligent in causing the accident, as she was required to yield the right-of-way to vehicles traveling on the highway. In Maryland, the Boulevard Rule requires the driver of a car approaching an intersection from a road controlled by a stop sign to stop and yield the right of way to cars traveling on the main road. Nevertheless, a failure to yield will not necessarily relieve the driver on the main road of liability. If the negligence of the highway driver was the proximate cause of an accident, they may be held liable, despite the other driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way.