Posted On: November 21, 2008

Baltimore Jury Awards Woman $250,000 for Baltimore Beltway Construction Site Pedestrian Accident

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury awarded a seriously injured woman $250,000 in damages after she was struck by a car while attempting to cross a Baltimore Beltway construction site on foot. The Maryland car accident that resulted in pedestrian Sandra Lee Meade being hit and seriously injured occurred at a construction site near the Baltimore Beltway on Dec. 3, 2003. Meade had parked her car on the southbound side of Westland Boulevard at Circle Drive in Baltimore, Maryland before planning to catch a bus to her job at the IRS. She was hit by a car while illegally crossing the street at a construction zone operated by Pennsylvania based general contractors Dick Corp.

The area where the pedestrian car accident occurred was under construction to widen the outer loop of the Baltimore Beltway, Route 695. Meade was crossing the intersection diagonally to catch a northbound bus when a car traveling south on Westland Boulevard struck her. The Maryland woman sustained lifelong brain and spinal cord injuries, and has been living in a nursing home since this terrible pedestrian car accident occurred. The driver was not named in the lawsuit, as the plaintiff's family felt he was also a victim.

Ms. Meade’s attorney argued at trial that the general contractor failed to keep the area safe for pedestrians, citing poorly placed barriers and confusing line painting. The jury concluded, however, that because the Plaintiff was crossing the street illegally, they could not hold the Dick Corp. liable for any of her injuries.

Fortunately, Ms. Meade's wise attorney had separately negotiated what is known as a "high/low agreement" with counsel for the Defendant. This type of agreement is legally binding in Maryland, and basically states that, no matter what result a Judge or Jury reaches, basic minimums and maximums of insurance coverage will apply. This one legal maneuver, by an experienced attorney, avoided the $ZERO verdict, which the Jury felt compelled to hand down, based upon Maryland's harsh law of contributory negligence.

Meade's original lawsuit sought $8 million in damages. The $250,000 she was awarded -- which her family must use to cover her lifelong medical and nursing home expenses -- represented the "low" end of the settlement. The bottom line here is that Maryland Law, especially the harsh doctrine of contributory negligence, can be brutal. That is why legal representation is so important to people injured in Maryland car and pedestrian accidents.

Woman Struck in Work Zone to Get $250K Maryland Daily Record, Nov. 16, 2008

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Posted On: November 12, 2008

Maryland Recycling Truck Accident: Worker Dies While Collecting Paper

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland are investigating a recycling truck accident that resulted in the horrible death of a Rockville man. The fatal work accident occurred in the Aspen Hill, Maryland area on Nov. 12, 2008 during a morning recycling truck run.

Juan Antonio Rosales-Lopez, 26, of Rockville, Maryland, was working for the Potomac Disposal Company collecting paper for a recycling truck compactor. According to the truck driver, this terrible work accident occurred when Rosales-Lopez reached into the truck to clear the chute and was accidentally pulled into the compacting machinery. The driver says he tried to free Rosales-Lopez but was unsuccessful.

In addition to the Montgomery County Police investigation, officials from the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Act were called in to determine potential liability in this fatal work-related truck accident.

Maryland employers are regulated by state and federal law to meet safety standards to protect the health and well-being of all of the people who work for them. Mr. Rosales-Lopez was only doing his job on the recycling truck -- a job that most of us would be hard-pressed to handle given the hard physical labor and early morning hours. Something obviously went very wrong, very quickly.

As a personal injury attorney who's advocated for people and families hurt and killed in car accidents, truck accidents, and work accidents in Maryland for decades, I've seen and heard a lot of sad stories. This one is particularly unfortunate, as a young man lost his life while doing hard work in a sanitation job that many people would never apply to do. It makes me wonder if this tragic accident could have been prevented.

Recycling Truck Worker Dies While Collecting Paper The Associated Press,, Nov. 12, 2008

Related Web Resource

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH), Division of Labor and Industry