In a recent decision, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland decided whether summary judgment was appropriate in the case of Farouq v. Curran (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 5, 2016). In Farouq, the plaintiff was struck and injured while waiting at a bus stop by a police vehicle that skidded as a result of wet road conditions. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that the defendant police officer’s negligence led to the collision and was the cause of her injuries. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the plaintiff lacked sufficient evidence to establish negligence, and the motion was granted by the trial court. The plaintiff subsequently appealed that order.
In Maryland, a finding of negligence requires that the plaintiff allege and prove facts demonstrating that the defendant was under a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury, that the defendant breached that duty, that the plaintiff suffered an actual injury or loss, and that the loss or injury proximately resulted from the defendant’s breach of the duty.
In support of its motion for summary judgment, the defendant provided the affidavit of an expert accident reconstructionist who had investigated the scene. The expert reported that the roadway was very slippery and that the potential for loss of control could occur at any speed. In addition, the expert found that the defendant’s speed was approximately 17 miles per hour, which was lower than the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that since a jury is not required to accept the defendant’s expert testimony, it should not have been taken into consideration by the trial court. The Court of Special Appeals, however, held that a trial court may consider any admissible evidence in deciding a motion for summary judgment.
In Farouq, the plaintiff also argued that, although the defendant was driving under the posted speed limit, a jury could still determine that he was traveling too fast for the wet road conditions at the time of the accident. The court did not agree that a reasonable jury could find that the defendant’s speed was negligent, especially in light of the fact that the defendant had driven without incident prior to the accident. The court also noted that there was no authority requiring the defendant to check his tires and brakes before driving, and that merely skidding on a wet road does not warrant an inference of negligence. After reviewing the facts of the case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland ultimately affirmed the trial court’s ruling granting summary judgment against the plaintiff.
Although personal injury claims are sometimes difficult to prove, an experienced attorney can identify favorable facts and present your case persuasively to a judge or jury. The Maryland attorneys at Foran & Foran, P.A. provide experienced and trusted legal guidance to victims of a car accident, an incident of medical malpractice, or another harmful event. To discuss your case with one of our hardworking attorneys, contact us at (301) 441-2022 or online.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Court of Appeals Upholds “Gap” Insurance Policy in Pedestrian Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published October 31, 2015
Maryland Auto Insurance Policy Lapses Day Before Fatal Accident; Court Provides No Relief to Driver, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published October 6, 2015