Any car accident is risky. We have seen death cases at very low speeds with small amounts of property damage. But freeway accidents that occur on interstates and highways are a far greater concern. Motorists traveling at a high rate of speed, as most of us do on highways, create immense impact when they collide. If you or someone you love has been in a collision while on the freeway, you know first-hand how scary an experience like this may be.
This article addresses:
- The Danger of Highway Driving Accident Cases [jump to]
- What Sort of Highway Driving Accidents Lead to Big Settlements and Verdicts [jump to]
- Who Pays When Highway Accident Cases Are Resolved? [jump to]
- Sample Settlement and Jury Outcomes in Highway Crash Cases [jump to]
Freeway accidents are an especially deadly type of car accident. As motorists accelerate around bends and maintain a high level of speed to stay with the flow of traffic, the danger of fatal crashes becomes extremely high.
One turn that is too wide or one moment of inattention can have devastating consequences. These accidents often mushroom into multi-car pileups because of the traffic congestion typically found on highway roads. When freeway accidents occur, every motorist on the highway is at risk of a high speed, high impact collision that may be fatal.
Maryland alone has 16 interstate highways. And of the 461 fatal crashes occurring a few years back, an amazing 383 occurred on an urban interstate.). That is a staggering statistic that indicates that motorists are at the highest risk of death when traveling at high speeds on major highways and freeways.When Are Highway Accidents The Most Deadly?
The following are examples we see in highway accident reports that involve serious or wrongful death accidents:
- A freeway motorist attempts to change lanes at high speed and fails to look into her blind spot, colliding with a car in an adjacent lane.
- A freeway motorist nearly misses her exit and attempts to make a last-minute cut across numerous lanes, colliding with other vehicles in adjacent lanes.
- A freeway motorist who is speeding too fast to react in time to the braking motorists ahead, slams into the rear of the vehicle in front of her and causes a multi-car pile up.
Mary is heading up I-95 to go home to New Jersey after a week in Florida with her 4 friends. She just bought a new mini-van and is excited to travel up to New Jersey with a few friends who can take advantage of the spacious vehicle. Even though the vehicle is larger than average and contains her 4 girlfriends, Mary does not think that should stop her from having some fun behind the wheel. And by fun, Mary means going fast.
Mary has been driving on interstates for years now and thinks that she has the rules of the road down pat. According to Mary, even though the speed limit says 65 MPH, she doesn’t think anyone would pull her over for going, say, 80 MPH. With that in mind, she leaves sunny Miami and heads for I-95 North. After making a great time for the majority of the trip, Mary hears a loud clap of thunder and driving rain begins to dump down onto the windshield as she passes Baltimore on I-95. As Mary’s windshield wipers wipe away the rain, she sees a 65 MPH speed limit sign. Mary, according to her understanding of the rules of the highway, translates that to mean that the speed limit is 80 MPH. So, Mary thinks, why not go 85 MPH? (Do you think this happens? Spend about 3 minutes on 95. You will have your answer.)
As Mary steps on the accelerator and flies down the left lane of traffic, she sees what looks like a million lights in the distance, but it is tough to tell with the rain coming down. Not thinking it is worth slowing down, she continues her high rate of speed down the wet interstate. As those red lights become closer and closer, Mary realizes what kind of lights they are: brake lights. She is now fast approaching those lights and is forced to try to stop at the last minute to avoid hitting the vehicle stopped in front of her.
She swerves without looking into the middle lane of traffic in an attempt to avoid rear-ending the vehicle. As she switches lanes, she collides with another vehicle, causing both to spin across 3 lanes of traffic. Mary leaves the accident unscathed, but the vehicle she hit was sent head-on into a concrete wall. Both occupants suffered severe neck injuries and facial lacerations. Since Mary was speeding and failed to keep a proper lookout, the injured occupants are going to be entitled to compensation.What Kinds of Freeway Crashes Lead to Large Settlements?
The first thing any victim of a serious accident wants to know is: Can I be compensated and if so, for how much? These are the right questions to be asking. The civil justice system can only do one thing for you: provide monetary compensation. Our job, quite bluntly, is to get you as much money as you can for the suffering you have endured.
In answering the first question, a victim of an accident can normally only be compensated if the other driver was somehow at fault, whether negligent or reckless, in the operation of his vehicle. If the victim was also negligent or reckless, the doctrine of contributory negligence in Maryland prevents any recovery.
In answering the second question, if the victim of the accident is not the one at fault, the degree of compensation awarded almost always depends on the severity of the injuries and insurance policies involved. More serious injuries require more expensive medical care, more time off from work, and cause more conscious pain and suffering. Those injuries that are less severe receive less compensation.
If the defendant is a trucking company, the concern about the insurance policies generally disappears. But if the at-fault driver is an individual with little - or even no - insurance, these claims require us to peel and peel the onion to find insurance.Sample Verdicts and Settlements in Freeway Accident Cases
Here are some examples of jury awards for victims of high-speed freeway collisions:
- 2021, Maryland: $253,000 Verdict. A 40-something man drove on Indian Head Highway. He stopped for traffic ahead. The man was rear-ended. He suffered spinal sprains. The man underwent a dozen physical therapy sessions. He experienced sleeping difficulties. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to yield to traffic ahead caused his injuries. He received $253,000.
- 2021, Maryland: $23,940 Verdict. A 39-year-old woman rode in her friend’s vehicle. They traveled on Ritchie Highway. The two were T-boned. The woman suffered soft-tissue spinal injuries. She also suffered a lacerated right leg and a concussion. The woman underwent chiropractic care and physical therapy. She developed an infected right leg. The woman took antibiotics and underwent wound care. Her injuries resolved after three months. The woman sustained no permanent injuries. She alleged at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. The woman claimed she failed to yield the right-of-way and watch the road. She received a $23,940 jury verdict.
- 2021, Maryland: $30,000 Verdict. A 40-something man traveled along Route 40. He was sideswiped by a vehicle that illegally changed lanes. The man suffered soft-tissue spinal, knee, and left-hand injuries. He also suffered chest bruises and headaches. The man underwent conservative treatments, including lumbar support, a neck brace, a heating pad, and physical therapy. He missed work for five weeks. The man also could not perform housework for seven weeks. He did not sustain permanent limitations. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligent lane change caused his injuries. He received $30,000.
- 2020, Maryland: $12,681 Verdict. A woman traveled along I-695. She stopped for traffic ahead of her. The woman was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. She hit the vehicle ahead. The woman suffered soft-tissue injuries. She underwent chiropractic and physical therapy. The woman alleged negligence against the truck driver. She claimed he failed to watch the traffic ahead. The Baltimore City jury awarded $12,681.
- 2019, Maryland: $500,000 Verdict. A woman was a passenger in her friend’s vehicle. They traveled along I-95. The two were rear-ended during heavy traffic. The woman suffered significant cervical trauma, L4-5 spondylolisthesis, and lumbar stenosis. She underwent physical therapy, painkilling injections, and spinal fusions. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she excessively sped during heavy traffic. The woman received $500,000.
- Is your own speeding contributory negligence? Short answer: Usually not. Our highway accident lawyers break down here how Maryland law works when the at-fault driver tries to claim the at-fault driver should not recover damages because he was speeding.
- Aggressive driving on freeways is a huge problem that creates a ridiculous level of danger.
- What is my claim worth? Get information to help you put the puzzle pieces together.
- information about how Maryland car crash cases and what you can expect (and, yes, some bragging about our verdicts and settlements).
Being the victim of an auto accident is traumatic. We can only help you in one way: fighting to get you the compensation you deserve for your economic losses and, more importantly, your pain and suffering. You need an advocate to fight for you if your injuries are significant. Call Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082 or get a free case evaluation online.