546518_baltimore_city_3Greetings from Maryland, and welcome to our Maryland Injury Attorney Blog! My name is Jeff Butschky, and I will be your host and (hopefully) your source of practical help and information from within the Maryland Legal Community.

Perhaps nothing affects an individual or family more than a sudden accident or injury — whether due to a motor vehicle accident, a work-related accident, or some other unforeseen incident. When we are hurt, we understand that there will be hospitals and doctors, pain, stress and inconvenience. What isn’t often appreciated is the fact that the injured person must also now deal with (gulp) lawyers and (even worse) the insurance industry. Like visiting the dentist, filing taxes or other mild forms of torture, no one wants to do this, and I don’t blame you.

This blog will untangle and demystify the frustrating and complicated world of injury claims. As a practicing attorney in Baltimore County, Maryland, for more than 20 years, I’m going to do my best to make this as easy as I can. So let’s get started!

School’s out! And that means more teenaged and inexperienced drivers on our Maryland highways, city and suburban streets, and rural backroads. Public safety officials describe the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as “the 100 deadliest days of summer” – due to the historical increase in motor vehicle accidents involving younger, inexperienced drivers.

Traffic crashes remain the number-one cause of death among teenagers. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics and factors contributing to this serious public safety problem.

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No one expects their loved one to leave for work one day and never come back, or to suffer injuries or illness on the job that lead to an early death. But sadly, this is the case for some 80 workers a year in Maryland who die due to work-related injuries.

As experienced Maryland Workers Compensation attorneys, we’re well aware of the risks inherent in certain occupations, including those in the construction and transportation industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down its most recent data on fatal occupational injuries for Maryland as follows:

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Most Maryland drivers have found themselves in this frightening situation. You’re slowly backing out of a parking space, watching your surroundings, when suddenly – a pedestrian walks directly behind your vehicle. You slam on your brakes to avoid an accident. Or maybe you have an automatic emergency rear braking system that stops the vehicle for you, or a system with rear-cross traffic warning that warns of people or other objects behind the automobile.

Backup cameras have been mandatory for all new vehicles manufactured since 2018. So how effective are new automotive safety technologies in preventing pedestrian accidents that occur while the vehicle is backing up? AAA has released reports on backup cameras and other rear-view safety features with interesting findings.

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The Maryland Department of Transportation reports the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities on our state’s highways and roadways continues to grow. According to Zero Deaths Maryland, a public safety program of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), car crash deaths are expected to surpass 600 fatalities for 2023 — the highest number of roadway fatalities in decades.

Zero Deaths Maryland reports that most Maryland car crash deaths are caused by the following driving behaviors:
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Pedestrians are at a serious disadvantage when they are involved in motor vehicle accidents. Even when a pedestrian is struck by a slow-moving vehicle, serious injuries and fatalities can occur. This includes people who are hit while walking, running, standing or simply getting out of their vehicle. The risk of serious pedestrian injury and fatality increases the faster the vehicle involved is going.

In Maryland, roughly 3,000 traffic accidents a year involve pedestrians. Over the last five years, on average, 125 people die annually in Maryland pedestrian accidents involving at least one motor vehicle.

Zero Deaths Maryland — a public safety initiative of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration — compiles data related to all traffic crashes in the state. The top causes and contributing factors in Maryland fatal pedestrian accidents are as follows:

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The allure of motorcycling is unmistakable. Motorcycle enthusiasts describe a feeling of freedom, being close to the environment, and enjoying the open road. It’s all about the ride. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates the number of registered motorcycles in the U.S. doubled from 4.3 million in 2002 to 8.6 million in 2021.

Unfortunately, what makes motorcycling so appealing also creates serious risks for motorcyclists and their passengers when they’re involved in traffic accidents. Unlike motorists in passenger vehicles, who are surrounded by reinforced steel, motorcycle riders are exposed and vulnerable when involved in a crash with a car, truck or SUV. This means motorcyclists are at higher risk for injury or death when involved in traffic accidents.

As Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys, we know too well what can happen when a motorcycle and an automobile collide on the road, or when a motorcycle goes off the road and crashes. Zero Deaths Maryland reports that in 2020, nearly 1,300 motorcycle-involved crashes occurred statewide, with more than 75 percent resulting in injury or death. Between 2016 and 2020, motorcycle-related crashes accounted for about 14 percent of Maryland’s traffic crash-related deaths. Read on for more Maryland motorcycle accident statistics and characteristics.
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Maryland and many other parts of the country are sweating under oppressive heat this summer, with Baltimore temperatures bumping up against 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the area heat index (a combination of heat and humidity) expected to reach as high as 110.

Extreme heat makes construction, landscaping, agriculture, and other outdoor work even more dangerous, as heat-related illness — which can lead to death — can overtake the body quickly. Maryland recently reported its first heat-related death of 2023; in last year’s extreme heat, our state saw five heat-related deaths.

As Maryland Workers’ Compensation lawyers, we’re concerned about the safety and well-being of all our state’s workers. Let’s take a look at what the Maryland Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) want employers and workers to know about avoiding heat illness this summer.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that nationally, a total of 4,714 people died in traffic accidents involving large trucks in 2021 — a 17-percent increase over 2020.

Passenger vehicle occupants are more likely to die in crashes with large commercial trucks. The main reason seems obvious: Automobiles are significantly outsized by large commercial tractor-trailer trucks, with the risk of cars going underneath trucks (underriding) in highway accidents. Many factors contribute to large commercial truck accidents, including the following:
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Anyone who has purchased a new motor vehicle in the last 10 years knows these sure aren’t your grandparents’ trusty old sedans. Today’s driver assistance technologies are designed to make driving easier and safer, with the potential to save thousands of lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2020, sadly, 38,824 people died in motor vehicle crashes — many of which were tied to human error.

Today’s car tech includes warning systems that alert drivers to potential accidents before they happen, as well as collision intervention systems that can react and brake faster than a driver. We even have driving control assistance technologies designed to keep our cars a safe distance from others and make sure we’re staying in our lanes.

How are these new automotive technologies impacting driving safety? Continue Reading

According to Zero Deaths Maryland, 134 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2022. This is up from 125 pedestrian – traffic crash deaths in Maryland in 2019. The increase in pedestrian accident fatalities in our state is in keeping with an alarming national trend.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report in 2020 ranked Maryland 15th highest in the nation for pedestrian accident deaths, with a Pedestrian Fatality Rate of 2.15 per 100,000 population. Worst in the U.S. was New Mexico, followed by South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida. Maine had the lowest rates for fatal pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accidents, followed by Massachusetts and Idaho.

So why have Maryland pedestrian fatalities risen in recent years?

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