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Officials Investigating Fatal Tractor-Trailer, Bus Crash in Prince George’s County
Officials Investigating Fatal Tractor-Trailer, Bus Crash in Prince George’s County

By: Allan M. Siegel

Officials from Prince George’s County Police Department are investigating a multi-vehicle crash in Clinton, Maryland that left one victim dead and several others injured.

According to initial reports, the incident occurred early Wednesday morning, April 10, 2019, around 6:30 am. Police have noted multiple vehicles – including a large tractor-trailer and a school bus bound for Charles H. Flowers High School – were traveling through an intersection at Branch Ave. and Surratts Rd.

The commercial tractor-trailer, school bus (No. 4104), and five other vehicles were involved in the collision. One vehicle became trapped between the bus and tractor-trailer, which had overturned. The driver of that vehicle, who police have identified as a 32-year-old mother from Clinton, MD, died as a result of the crash.

Two other drivers and two teenage students aboard the school bus were injured and taken to a local hospital for evaluation. The truck driver sustained no injuries, police said.

What Happened

Investigators are still looking into what exactly caused the crash, as well as the sequence of events leading up to the collision. Because multiple vehicles were involved, a fatality occurred, and a commercial truck and school bus were involved, officials have stated it could take weeks or months before the investigation is completed.

Though a full analysis will come with time, preliminary investigations and dash cam footage from a witness suggest the tractor-trailer had been traveling south on Branch and was approaching a red light at the intersection of Surratts Rd. Police believe the tractor-trailer drove through the red light, and may have initiated the chain reaction crash.

Tragic Consequences. Challenging Cases.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. expresses our condolences for all involved, and for the family of the young mother who tragically lost her life in this collision. As a firm that’s represented victims and families throughout the DMV in many types of motor vehicle accident cases, we know the personal injury and wrongful death claims which follow can be immensely emotional experiences. Factors like those involved in this particular crash, can also make for many legal complexities.

Wednesday’s crash highlights the importance of vigilant vehicle operation, as well as several issues that can make civil injury and wrongful death claims filed by victims all the more challenging. These include issues such as:

  • Wrongful death and serious injuries;
  • Multiple vehicles and increased difficulty determining / apportioning fault and liability;
  • Intersection accidents, which have several various causes (i.e. traffic violations, distraction, impairment) and require meticulous investigations
  • Commercial trucks, which necessitate in-depth investigations into trucking regulations and potential violations (i.e. overworked / fatigued truckers and HOS violations, drug or alcohol impairment, negligent hiring, texting, vehicle defects or improper vehicle maintenance, and more);
  • School buses, which also implicate regulatory investigations and a higher standard of care, and which may create potential challenges with government / school district liability;
  • Insurance coverage issues, as well as potential disputes and denials by commercial insurance companies.

CSCS has dealt with these issues in many of the cases we’ve handled in our 45+ years in practice, and knows they demand immediate, detailed, and dedicated attention, even as officials and investigators are working to determine an official cause of their own. Following tragedies like these, the support of caring and highly experienced attorneys can be invaluable – both in navigating difficult times, and fighting for the justice and compensation victims deserve.

Our lawyers are readily available to speak with accident victims and their loved ones at all hours of the day. We serve Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and offer free consultations. Call (888) 885-5638 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

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Recent Posts
  • Officials Investigating Fatal Tractor-Trailer, Bus Crash in Prince George’s County

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Officials from Prince George’s County Police Department are investigating a multi-vehicle crash in Clinton, Maryland that left one victim dead and several others injured.

    According to initial reports, the incident occurred early Wednesday morning, April 10, 2019, around 6:30 am. Police have noted multiple vehicles – including a large tractor-trailer and a school bus bound for Charles H. Flowers High School – were traveling through an intersection at Branch Ave. and Surratts Rd.

    The commercial tractor-trailer, school bus (No. 4104), and five other vehicles were involved in the collision. One vehicle became trapped between the bus and tractor-trailer, which had overturned. The driver of that vehicle, who police have identified as a 32-year-old mother from Clinton, MD, died as a result of the crash.

    Two other drivers and two teenage students aboard the school bus were injured and taken to a local hospital for evaluation. The truck driver sustained no injuries, police said.

    What Happened

    Investigators are still looking into what exactly caused the crash, as well as the sequence of events leading up to the collision. Because multiple vehicles were involved, a fatality occurred, and a commercial truck and school bus were involved, officials have stated it could take weeks or months before the investigation is completed.

    Though a full analysis will come with time, preliminary investigations and dash cam footage from a witness suggest the tractor-trailer had been traveling south on Branch and was approaching a red light at the intersection of Surratts Rd. Police believe the tractor-trailer drove through the red light, and may have initiated the chain reaction crash.

    Tragic Consequences. Challenging Cases.

    Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. expresses our condolences for all involved, and for the family of the young mother who tragically lost her life in this collision. As a firm that’s represented victims and families throughout the DMV in many types of motor vehicle accident cases, we know the personal injury and wrongful death claims which follow can be immensely emotional experiences. Factors like those involved in this particular crash, can also make for many legal complexities.

    Wednesday’s crash highlights the importance of vigilant vehicle operation, as well as several issues that can make civil injury and wrongful death claims filed by victims all the more challenging. These include issues such as:

    • Wrongful death and serious injuries;
    • Multiple vehicles and increased difficulty determining / apportioning fault and liability;
    • Intersection accidents, which have several various causes (i.e. traffic violations, distraction, impairment) and require meticulous investigations
    • Commercial trucks, which necessitate in-depth investigations into trucking regulations and potential violations (i.e. overworked / fatigued truckers and HOS violations, drug or alcohol impairment, negligent hiring, texting, vehicle defects or improper vehicle maintenance, and more);
    • School buses, which also implicate regulatory investigations and a higher standard of care, and which may create potential challenges with government / school district liability;
    • Insurance coverage issues, as well as potential disputes and denials by commercial insurance companies.

    CSCS has dealt with these issues in many of the cases we’ve handled in our 45+ years in practice, and knows they demand immediate, detailed, and dedicated attention, even as officials and investigators are working to determine an official cause of their own. Following tragedies like these, the support of caring and highly experienced attorneys can be invaluable – both in navigating difficult times, and fighting for the justice and compensation victims deserve.

    Our lawyers are readily available to speak with accident victims and their loved ones at all hours of the day. We serve Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and offer free consultations. Call (888) 885-5638 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

    Read More
  • Manslaughter Indictment Over Fatal Indian Head Highway Crash Shows Inner Workings of Criminal, Civil Auto Accident Cases

    By: Dan Hausman

    On January 24, 2019, a man was indicted on three counts of vehicular manslaughter for his role in a fatal rear end collision. The crash occurred on Indian Head Highway in Prince George’s County in December of 2018. The man is alleged to have been driving drunk, crashing into a vehicle in front of him, and causing the death of three children in that vehicle. Time will tell if the man is guilty of the charges he faces and will be held accountable by the criminal justice system.

    The police took their time in charging the man with a crime because they wanted to make sure they had the evidence to indict on the most serious charge possible. In 1990, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that multiple charges at different dates amounted to prohibited double jeopardy, which has made Maryland police more carefully consider evidence before committing to charges. There are often intricate legal reasons why things are done a certain way that may seem counter-intuitive to people who are not attorneys.

    The loss of young lives in the December incident is an absolute tragedy. Incomprehensibly, Indian Head Highway has been an extremely dangerous road for over a decade. Since 2008, there are reports of more than 60 deaths in crashes on Indian Head Highway. Something must be done by authorities and our community to make safety on that highway a priority. Until Indian Head Highway becomes safe, the best bet could be to avoid it if at all possible.

    Car Accidents: Criminal vs. Civil Cases

    While this blog spoke about the criminal justice system, the civil justice system is also implicated by the crash and is a separate area of law which the victims and their families could use to receive monetary compensation for their losses.

    When tragedy occurs, you can turn to the attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to help you recover. We have been serving the DMV for over 45 years to help victims of car crashes. Whether there is a wrongful death, a serious brain injury, broken bones, or only sprains and bruises, we can help. Whether the cause is drunk driving, failing to pay attention or obey traffic sign, or even if there is a dispute over who caused the collision, we can help.

    Please call (888) 885-5638 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

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  • Two School Bus Crashes in Anne Arundel, Montgomery Counties Raise Questions About Fault & Liability

    A school bus with at least 12 children on board overturned during a crash with an SUV in Anne Arundel County on Wednesday, November 7th. Two days earlier, a school bus carrying middle school students collided with a garbage truck in Montgomery County. Although there were injuries sustained in both crashes, thankfully no one was killed.

    When a crash involving a school bus, county bus, or private bus occurs, there is a great risk of serious injury for the passengers on board, the bus operator, and those in the other vehicles involved in the crash. You should know your rights in the event you are ever a victim involved in such an incident.

    Who May Be At Fault?

    Often times the bus crash occurs, not due to pure chance, but because of the fault of a person or of an entity involved, including:

    • The driver of the bus
    • The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash
    • The school board, government agency, or private company that is responsible for operating the bus and / or training the bus driver
    • Other passengers on the bus
    • The company that manufactured and / or maintained the bus

    What Losses May I Face?

    Depending on the details of the collision, you could face significant non-economic and economic injuries. Great pain and suffering, both physical and mental, may result from the crash. The pain and suffering may have occurred during the crash, shortly after the crash, during recovery from the crash, or may never go away. The pain and suffering may even be based simply on how the crash changed your life; the activities you enjoyed that you are no longer able to participate in.

    You may also face current and expected future medical costs including hospital bills, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications. You could also have a diminished ability to earn future income based on injuries from the collision and you may have been forced to miss work.

    Can I Be Compensated?

    In most situations, you can file a personal injury claim if you suffered injuries in a bus collision. It is a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to have the best chance at recovery. An attorney can examine potential liability, injuries and damages, and insurance policies of the entities involved. An attorney can also help you navigate complex insurance and legal systems to overcome barriers to recovery.

    The attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have helped many bus accident victims recover compensation for their losses. Let our firm put our experience and resources to work to help you. You can get a free consultation by contacting us.

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  • Maryland Police Officer Charged with Rape and Assault

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    All sexual assaults are unjustifiable crimes, and those committed by officials sworn to protect the public from harm are especially troubling. In one recent case, a Prince George’s County police officer allegedly raped a woman during a nighttime traffic stop. The officer in question is now facing criminal sexual assault charges, including charges of first- and second-degree rape, and he has been suspended without pay and stripped of his badge.

    If police reports are accurate, this horrific act represents a fundamental misuse of police power— and while prosecutors have chosen to press charges in this instance, there are many cases where the civil justice system provides the only true recourse for victims of sexual violence. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C., our Washington, DC personal injury attorneys are passionate about this issue, and about protecting victims of sexual abuse who for various reasons cannot get their day of justice in the criminal courts.

    The Relationship Between Police Power and Sexual Abuse

    According to the news reports, Officer Ryan Macklin was arrested on Monday, October 15th. On the previous Thursday at 1 a.m., Macklin stopped a woman on University Boulevard for a routine traffic stop. After ordering her to drive behind a nearby store, he forced her to perform a sex act, leaving before the victims’ friend arrived on the scene. Police surveillance videos have since been made public, and given witness testimony and the police precinct reaction, it’s possible that Macklin could ultimately face a conviction.

    Although the media focuses on major shootings and larger-than-life corruption schemes as evidence that government power is misused, sexual assault by police officers is an equally serious abuse of power. In addition to being a violation of the victim’s bodily autonomy, police officer sexual assault is a crime against the public’s trust. The numbers behind police officer sexual assault are grim: A 2013 report published by the Cato Institute found sexual assault is the second most reported claim of police officer misconduct. At the Associated Press, a year-long investigation into police conduct unearthed that more than 1,000 officers were decertified for sexual misconduct, and those only for the reported instances.

    What the Civil Justice System Can Offer Sexual Assault Victims

    When people talk about seeking justice, they usually mean in the criminal justice system, where abusers can be put behind bars. Although our criminal justice system is often thought to be one of the best-designed criminal systems in the world, it isn’t perfect: In many cases, the burden of proof is just too high for victims of sex crimes to get the justice they deserve. After all, sexual assault is notoriously difficult to prove, and evidence is often mishandled or incorrectly gathered from the scene of the crime.

    Sexual assault victims also frequently experience post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of their injuries. PTSD is a serious condition that affects sexual assault victims more than any other group, including veterans of war, and it can affect memory, logical reasoning, and other crucial brain functions. Because these are often required to build an airtight case in a criminal court, meeting the high standard set by the measure of “beyond a reasonable doubt” can be nearly impossible for some.

    However, unlike the criminal justice system, which requires a unanimous jury to even render a verdict, the civil justice system has a lower burden of proof. To meet the standard of proof in a civil case, you must only demonstrate that there is a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it is more likely to have happened than not.

    Although the civil justice system cannot convict those who have harmed you, plaintiffs may be awarded financial compensation based on the level of injury caused by a defendant. In the real world, this can provide more for a victim’s recovery than a criminal conviction. When you’ve been struggling with painful isolation and deep psychological trauma after sexual assault, receiving financial damages may allow you to get the rest, recovery, and peace of mind that you need to begin healing.

    Seek Justice with Our Washington, DC Injury Attorneys

    Our personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata and Siegel, P.C. have more than nine decades of combined experience in the field of personal injury law. More than just a law firm, our team has dedicated our personal and professional lives to helping victims fight for the justice they need in the civil courts.

    When you’ve been victimized and injured by sexual assault, you don’t have to wait for the criminal justice system to prosecute your attacker. Holding your accuser accountable in a civil court will not interfere with any existing criminal proceedings, and can often bring a small measure of peace back to your life.

    If you need to consult with a personal injury attorney on a sexual assault claim, contact us at (888) 885-5638 today. We offer free consultations and serve clients throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

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  • Dallas Police Officer Fatally Shoots Innocent Man in His Own Apartment

    By: Matthew Tievsky

    Another wrongful shooting by a police officer has set off an uproar around the country. On September 6, Dallas police officer Amber Guyger finished her shift and was still in her police gear when she returned to her apartment building. Officer Guyger lived on the third floor of the building, but she went to fourth floor, where she opened the door to someone else’s apartment – a man named Botham Jean, who was at home and was not suspected of any crime. Officer Guyger then shot and killed Jean.

    How exactly this happened is still something of a mystery. News reports have indicated that Officer Guyger claims that she was tired, walked to the wrong floor, and opened the wrong door (which may have been unlatched) because she mistakenly believed she was at her own apartment. These reports further indicate that Officer Guyger, believing she was at her own apartment, was surprised by Jean’s presence, believed he was an intruder, and shot him. However attorneys for Jean’s family have claimed that witnesses in the building overheard Officer Guyger shouting at Jean to let her into the apartment, suggesting that the shooting may have been intentional.

    Cases like these illustrate that police officers sometimes make terrible mistakes. Cases like these also test the proposition that every person is accountable under the law for wrongfully injuring or killing someone. We at Chaikin Sherman Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. believe very strongly in that principle. If anyone you know has been hurt by police misconduct, you should contact our attorneys for a free consultation.

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  • Loose Beach Umbrella Impales Woman on Maryland Beach

    By: Joseph Cammarata

    On Sunday July 22, a woman was struck by a loose umbrella and impaled in the chest while visiting a Maryland Beach. The incident is the second case within a week in the local area involving an umbrella that was swept off the beach into the air.

    According to officials from Ocean City, the 54-year-old woman was impaled in the chest when a gust of wind lifted an umbrella off the ground and sent it flying across the beach. Authorities report that she was struck by the sharp end of the umbrella, used to drive it into the sand, and was conscious after the incident. Emergency personnel had to cut off a portion of the umbrellas shaft before she was transported by a Maryland State Police helicopter to a local hospital.

    The Ocean City injury was the second in a week to involve an umbrella being blown out of the ground by wind on an East Coast beach. Early last week, a beach umbrella on the New Jersey shore struck and pieced a woman’s ankle.

    Protecting the Rights of Victims

    At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our personal injury lawyers represent victims who suffer harm through no fault of their own throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Over the years, we have seen similar cases involving preventable injuries sustained on local beaches, and have handled cases involving umbrellas which were not properly secured.

    While every accident and personal injury case is unique, there are certainly questions raised as to whether or not these types of injuries can and should be prevented. When investigating cases on behalf of injured victims, we conduct the necessary investigations to determine whether umbrellas and other items which cause injury were properly secured, and to determine who can be held liable for victims’ damages, including their medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

    While cases of flying umbrellas may involve liability on the part of individuals who owned and failed to properly secure them, they may also involve entities that failed in some capacity to address potential hazards and keep guests safe. This is often the case when injuries occur at private beaches, beach clubs, or pools and resorts where staff have an obligation to address dangers that may potentially harm guests.

    If you have questions about beach-related injuries involving umbrellas or other objects that were not properly secured, or other preventable accidents, our firm is available to review your case and determine whether you may have a viable personal injury claim. To request a free consultation, contact us today.

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