Speeding Might Not Kill Your Claim
Transportation Article Section 21-801(a) Reasonable and Prudent Speed Required: You are instructed that it is the law this State that a person may not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed that, with regard to the actual and potential dangers existing, is more than that which is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.
This instruction is often sought by the defendant in Maryland personal injury/auto accident cases in an effort to prove the contributory negligence of the Plaintiff. Their argument is essentially “if you were not driving so fast this accident would never have happened.” You can beat this two ways.
First, it is really tough for either side to show speed absent an accident reconstruction report. Witness and even parties are awful at estimating speed so it hard to get it into evidence. Maryland courts exclude a witness’ opinions of speed as being speculative when the testimony has no factual basis, or if witness concedes to facts, conditions or circumstances that make it evident the testimony was a mere guess.
Second, even if the driver is speeding, it does not necessarily follow that speed is the proximate cause of a crash, assuming the victim/alleged speeder’s car was where it was supposed to be o the road but for the speed of the vehicles.
If you are in this situation, you need to read Myers v. Bright, 327 Md. 395 (1992).