Failure-to-Yield Motor Vehicle Collisions

Car, truck, SUV and motorcycle collisions occur with amazing frequency here in the Baltimore area, as well as Gaithersburg, Bowie and the District of Columbia; this is not a matter of any contention. What does come up frequently is who is truly at fault when an automobile accident severely injures or kills an innocent victim as a result of a potentially negligent action. While there are many reasons for the various types of automobile and commercial vehicle collisions, failure to yield the right-of-way by one of the drivers can be a major factor.

Failure-to-yield auto and trucking-related roadway accidents are typical here in Maryland. Whether the incident takes place in a city intersection, along the beltway, or at a rural four-way stop, the consequences can range from minor injuries to sudden death for the occupants of one or more of the vehicles involved. At major intersections controlled by traffic lights, one motorist may be momentarily confused and turn in front of an oncoming vehicle without yielding; the resulting T-bone collision can cause a range of injuries from broken bones and ruptured internal organs to spinal damage and closed-head trauma.

As Maryland automobile and commercial trucking accident attorneys, the professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have the skills and legal know-how to help victims of roadway collisions recover damages from the responsible parties. Our team of experienced trial lawyers understands the causes and effects of failure-to-yield collisions here in Maryland. We begin every case preparation with a thorough and complete investigation followed by aggressive litigation.

When it comes to safety on the road, Maryland’s traffic rules regarding right-of-way have been created to provide motorists with guidance for most any traffic situation where cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, or pedestrians are present on the roadway. This includes right-of-way rules that indicate which driver should yield, as well as what is the proper sequence for entering into and passing through an intersection. While the rules are specific, from an overall safety standpoint it is also recommended that no driver ever automatically assume he or she has the right of way. That is to say, being “dead right” is hardly an enviable position in which to find oneself.

As a point of traffic safety, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) reminds that every motorist is ultimately responsible for controlling his or her vehicle so as to avoid a collision with another vehicle, object or person. Here a few of the basic rules that help to identify which vehicle has the right-of-way when meeting on the road:

  • A vehicle that is already at or arrives prior to your car
  • Oncoming vehicles in the opposing traffic lane when the other vehicle is making a left turn
  • The car or truck on one’s right at an intersection in instances when both arrive at the same time
  • Vehicles already traveling on a public highway when a car or truck is entering from a driveway or private road
  • Vehicles already driving on a limited access highway or interstate when another vehicle is about to enter via an entrance or acceleration ramp
  • The vehicle on one’s right at a four-way intersection controlled by stop signs
  • Pedestrians, cyclists and other motor vehicles that are still in the intersection
  • Cars or trucks traveling on the through portion of a highway when another vehicle is making a left or right turn at a “T” intersection
  • Any other vehicle approaching or in an intersection when a yield sign is facing the other car or truck

Situations that can turn dangerous when right-of-way rules are not followed can include instances where a driver is trying to execute a U-turn or passing other traffic on a two-way street. Whether legal or illegal, any U-turn scenario can be extremely dangerous given the right circumstances. If a driver wishes to make a legal U-turn, he or she should confirm that a U-turn is allowed at that point prior to making the attempt. The motorist should switch on his left-hand turn signal, stop and yield to approaching traffic. Once the way is clear, the turn should be made so that the vehicle ends up in the outermost right-hand travel lane of the roadway.

Safety in passing is another critical area. As Baltimore personal injury lawyers, we at Lebowitz & Mzhen have seen the aftermath of head-on collisions between automobiles and commercial vehicles. The outcome of a head-to-head crash at highway speeds is usually not very good. Many times the drivers and passengers of both vehicles can be left with serious physical injuries or worse. Closed-head trauma, back, neck and spinal cord damage are some injuries that can leave a person paralyzed for life.

When attempting to pass another vehicle in an approved passing zone, it is important to remember the following points:

  • Be very careful to accurately estimate the time and space needed to safely pass the vehicle in front without interfering with any other vehicles in the vicinity
  • Operate your turn signal before passing so that the drivers in the area will better understand your intentions
  • Allow for an adequate amount of space to pass the vehicle at a safe distance
  • Make certain that you can see both headlamps of the vehicle being passed in you rearview mirror before moving back into the original travel lane

Drivers who tend to violate the right-of-way rules often commit one or more errors, either through negligence or ignorance. Unfortunately, the results are very often tragic, especially on densely trafficked or high-speed roads. For safety’s sake, never attempt a passing maneuver under the following circumstances:

  • In a “no-passing” zone
  • When a solid yellow line is on your side of the center of the roadway
  • When a double solid yellow line is present
  • If your maneuver will interfere with safe operation of an oncoming vehicle(s)
  • On the approach to a hilltop or in a curve when there is an insufficiently clear view ahead
  • Within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad grade crossing
  • Anytime the view is obstructed when approaching within 100 feet of any tunnel, bridge or elevated roadway
  • On the left or right shoulder of a roadway

As traffic accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen trial lawyers know personal injury law and how it applies to accidents that result in the injury or death of an innocent person. In most instances, the driver who caused the accident should be held liable for his negligent actions, especially when those actions resulted in permanent injury or the wrongful death of another individual.

If you or someone you love has been hurt as a result of a right-of-way accident, we recommend that you contact a qualified personal injury professional such as the experts at Lebowitz & Mzhen. As skilled personal injury attorney can help victims to better understand their legal rights as they apply to recovery of damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and other monetary consequences of a car, truck or motorcycle collision.

As skilled legal experts, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen can provide a free, no-obligation consultation for those who have been hurt in a Maryland road accident. We will be more than happy to speak with you regarding your motor vehicle-related injuries and discuss your legal options. Feel free to send an email to either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen, or call our offices toll-free at (800) 654-1949.