Injured in a Car accident caused by a Prince Georges County police officer or other Prince Georges County employees.

Injured in a Car accident caused by a Prince Georges County police officer or other Prince Georges County employees.

If you are in a car accident caused by a Prince Georges County police officer or other Prince Georges County employees, there are procedures you must follow in order to be compensated for the damage to your car, loss of use of your car, (rental car) injuries to your body as well as lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Dealing with Prince Georges County in order to resolve these issues can be a slow, tedious process. If you do not pursue your claim in a timely manner and do not file to correct forms, your claim could be lost.

Claims against Prince Georges County should originate with sending a certified letter return receipt requested to the Prince Georges County Jared M. McCarthy, County Attorney at

OFFICE OF LAW
Appointed by County Executive:
Jared M. McCarthy, County Attorney (301) 952-5225; fax: (301) 952-3071
County Administration Building, Room 5121
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 – 3050
web: https://md-princegeorgescounty.civicplus.com/1058/Law

 

An adjustor will eventually be assigned by Prince Georges County to adjust your claim. However, this process can take weeks or months, so that it may be quicker to start the process to fix your vehicle under the collision section of your own insurance and let your insurance deal with Prince Georges County to be reimbursed for the property damage. If, you do not have collision coverage, then you will have to deal with Prince Georges County directly, however this will not likely be a quick process. In addition, unlike an insurance company Prince Georges County will not provide and pay for a rental vehicle upfront and your will have to make arrangements for a rental vehicle on your own if you do not have rental on your own insurance policy.

Your rights to file a claim and the limits on what you can recover when you file a claim against Prince Georges County for a car accident caused by one of their employees depends upon what department the employee works for and who is sued.

  1. Non- police officer car accident- covers all Prince Georges County employees except police and fire department personnel

Suit can be filed against the employee if you have the employees name and address. Suit can also be filed against Prince Georges County under a theory of respondent superior meaning the Prince Georges County employee is an agent of Prince Georges County.

Prince Georges County liability is limited under the Local Government Tort Claims Act section 5-303 of the Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article.

(a) Limitation on liability.  — The liability of a local government may not exceed $ 400,000 per an individual claim, and $ 800,000 per total claims that arise from the same occurrence for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions, including liability arising under subsection (b) of this section.

(b) When government liable.  — (1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a local government shall be liable for any judgment against its employee for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions committed by the employee within the scope of employment with the local government.

(2) A local government may not assert governmental or sovereign immunity to avoid the duty to defend or indemnify an employee established in this subsection.

  1. Police officer car accident- Prince Georges County liability depends on who is sued, whether the police officer was operating an emergency vehicle, whether officer was negligent or grossly negligent.
  2. Claims are paid by Prince Georges County and suits can be filed against Prince Georges County and must be filed against the negligent police officer when the officer is on a non- emergency call. It may be preferable to have police officers as the sole defendants if they live in a friendly tort jurisdiction or venue where the judges or juries may award more money than the county where the accident happened.

Claims paid by Prince Georges County filed against the negligent police officer when the officer is on a non- emergency call are subject to the Local Government Tort Claims Act section 5-303 of the Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article.( $ 400,000 per an individual claim, and $ 800,000 per total claims)

(a) Limitation on liability.  — The liability of a local government may not exceed $ 400,000 per an individual claim, and $ 800,000 per total claims that arise from the same occurrence for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions, including liability arising under subsection (b) of this section.

(b) When government liable.  — (1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a local government shall be liable for any judgment against its employee for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions committed by the employee within the scope of employment with the local government.

 

  1.  If a Prince Georges County police officer was driving a police vehicle on an emergency call at the time of the collision, then, because of a separate statute, a plaintiff would sue only Prince Georges County because Prince Georges County owns the police vehicles.  See CJ § 5-639. See Mayor & City Council of Baltimore v. Hart, 395 Md. 394, 910 A.2d 463 (2006). Injured party can- not sue the police officer operating an emergency vehicle. The injured party is severely limited in the amount that can be recovered when the police officer operating an emergency vehicle to the amount of $30,000.00 dollars per person, $60,000.00 per occurrence and $15,000.00 in property damage. Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland- Section 5-524 provides, in pertinent part:

“An owner or lessee of any motor vehicle registered under Title 13 of the Transportation Article may not raise the defense of sovereign or governmental immunity, to the extent of benefits provided by the security accepted by the Motor Vehicle Administration under §17-103 of the Transportation Article, in any judicial proceeding in which the plaintiff claims that personal injury, property damage, or death was caused by the negligent use of the motor vehicle while in government service or performing a task of benefit to the government.”

If the officer was driving the vehicle in the course of “emergency service” at the time of the accident, the officer would be immune from liability absent malice or gross negligence, see CJP sec. 5-639(b), but the “owner or lessee” of the vehicle would be liable for any negligence to the extent of Maryland’s minimum financial responsibility limits, see CJP Sec.5-639(c)

19-103(b)(1) of the Transportation Article, Md. Code Ann. (1987 Repl.Vol.).  That subsection provides, in pertinent part: (1) An operator of an emergency vehicle, who is authorized to operate the emergency vehicle by its owner or lessee, is immune from suit in his individual capacity for any damages resulting from a negligent act or omission while operating the emergency vehicle in the performance of emergency service

Under Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 11-118(1), an emergency vehicle means any of the following vehicles that are designated as entitled to the exemptions and privileges set forth in the Maryland Vehicle Law for emergency vehicles:

  • Vehicles of federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies.
  • Police vehicles are entitled to special driving privileges when responding to an emergency, Md. Code Ann., § 21-106(a)(1), and using audible signals. Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-106(c).
  • Police vehicle equipped with a siren is still designated by the administration as entitled to these privileges regardless of whether or not the siren is ever used.  The failure to sound the audible signal merely strips the authorized vehicle of its privilege to proceed without regard to speed limitations, right of way provisions, traffic control devices and other rules of the road.  Failure to sound the audible bell, siren or exhaust whistle does not make driving an authorized emergency vehicle on a highway illegal, it merely results in a requirement that such vehicle be operated in accordance with all appropriate rules of the road, the same as any private or conventional vehicle. Sullivan v. Costanza, 258 Md. 672, 675, 267 A.2d 87, 89-90 (1970).
  • emergency vehicle must be equipped with a device capable of giving an audible signal. Md. Code (1977, 1987 Repl.Vol.), Transportation Art., § 22-218(a).21-106. Emergency vehicles(a) Circumstances for which privileges granted. — Subject to the conditions stated in this section, the driver of an emergency vehicle registered in any state may exercise the privileges set forth in this section while:

    (1) Responding to an emergency call;

    (2) Pursuing a violator or suspected violator of the law; or

    (3) Responding to, but not while returning from, a fire alarm.

    (b) Enumeration of privileges. — Under the circumstances stated in subsection (a) of this section, the driver of an emergency vehicle may:

    (1) Park or stand without regard to the other provisions of this title;

    (2) Pass a red or stop signal, a stop sign, or a yield sign, but only after slowing down as necessary for safety;

    (3) Exceed any maximum speed limit, but only so long as the driver does not endanger life or property; and

    (4) Disregard any traffic control device or regulation governing direction of movement or turning in a specified direction.

    (c) Use of audible and visual signs required. —

    (1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the privileges set forth in this section apply only while the emergency vehicle is using audible and visual signals that meet the requirements of § 22-218 of this article, except that an emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle need not be equipped with or display the visual signals.

    (2) The privileges set forth in subsection (b) (1) of this section apply only while the emergency vehicle is using visual signals that meet the requirements of § 22-218 of this article.

    (3) (i) The driver of an emergency vehicle may not use flashing lights or a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle while returning from an emergency call or fire alarm, except that fire apparatus carrying standing firemen may use flashing lights that are visible only to the rear.

    (ii) The driver of an emergency vehicle, while parking or backing the emergency vehicle, may use flashing lights within 100 feet of the entrance ramp to a:

    1. Fire station; or

    2. Rescue station.

    Driver not relieved from duty of care. — This section does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons. Although the driver of an emergency vehicle is ordinarily not limited in speed, and is authorized to drive with caution past a red light, he may nevertheless be held liable for damages if, in the exercise of his special privileges, he fails to give audible warning of his approach and pays no attention whatever to traffic on an intersecting street. Baltimore Transit Co. v. Young, 189 Md. 428, 56 A.2d 140 (1947).
    The driver of an emergency vehicle cannot be expected to use the same care that the law requires of the ordinary motorist who has no emergency duty to perform. To stop at every slight indication of danger might often be a failure of duty on the part of the emergency driver. On many occasions his prompt and fearless action is imperatively necessary to prevent loss of property or loss of life, or both, or even widespread disaster. Baltimore Transit Co. v. Young, 189 Md. 428, 56 A.2d 140 (1947).

    Under a proper construction of this section, the provision that requires the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle to do so “with due regard for the safety of all persons using the street” renders him liable for ordinary negligence, namely, a failure to exercise reasonable care and diligence under the circumstances. Mayor of Baltimore v. Fire Ins. Salvage Corps, 219 Md. 75, 148 A.2d 444 (1959).

    The drivers of emergency vehicles are liable for ordinary negligence (though their conduct may not be measurable by the same yardstick as is applicable to drivers of conventional vehicles) and must use reasonable care under the circumstances. Altenburg v. Sears, 249 Md. 298, 239 A.2d 569 (1968).

    Operators of authorized emergency vehicles are liable for ordinary negligence under this section does not, of course, mean that their conduct in the operation of such vehicles is measured by exactly the same yardstick as the actions of the operators of conventional vehicles. The urgency of their missions demands that they respond to calls with celerity and as expeditiously as is reasonably possible. Mayor of Baltimore v. Fire Ins. Salvage Corps, 219 Md. 75, 148 A.2d 444 (1959).

    DUTY OF CARE DURING HIGH SPEED PURSUIT. –Although a police officer may owe a duty of care to third parties, it does not follow that the mere engagement in the high-speed chase of a criminal suspect constitutes a prima facie breach of that duty whenever the fleeing suspect strikes a third party; the police officer’s conduct should be judged not by hindsight but should be viewed in light of how a reasonably prudent police officer would respond faced with the same difficult emergency situation. The officer is not to be held to the same coolness and accuracy of judgment of one not involved in an emergency vehicle pursuit. Boyer v. State, 323 Md. 558, 594 A.2d 121 (1991).

Under Maryland law police officers owe a duty of care to a plaintiff injured by suspected criminals fleeing the officers if the officers set in motion a chain of events which they knew or should have known would lead to the plaintiff’s injury by the criminals or by the police effort to stop the vehicle A police officer’s conduct should be judged, not by hindsight, but should be viewed in light of how a reasonably prudent police officer would respond, if faced with the same difficult emergency situation. The officer is not to be held to the same coolness and accuracy of judgment of one not involved in an emergency vehicle pursuit. An officer deciding to maintain pursuit of a fleeing person must take into account a number of factors, such as road conditions, vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic, time of day, weather, dangerousness of the person fleeing, and make what is virtually an instantaneous judgment. A police officer deciding to maintain pursuit may not be negligent even if the course of action he chooses leads to serious injury to an innocent third person. It must be remembered that foresight, not hindsight, is the standard by which negligence is determined, and that even an action which in retrospect turns out to have been ill-advised may still have been reasonable under all the circumstances. … Negligent operation of a car is not limited to the negligent manipulation of the gas pedal, steering wheel, or brake pedal, such as involved in speeding, failure to pay attention to what may be in front of the vehicle, failure to apply the brakes, etc. A decision to operate or continue operating the car, when a reasonable person would not do so, clearly can be “negligent operation.” Boyer v. State, 323 Md. 558 (Md. 1991)
The failure to sound the audible signal merely strips the authorized vehicle of its privilege to proceed without regard to speed limitations, right-of-way provisions, traffic-control devices and other rules of the road. Sullivan v. Costanza, 258 Md. 672, 267 A.2d 87 (1970). Failure to sound the audible bell, siren or exhaust whistle merely results in a requirement that an authorized emergency vehicle be operated in accordance with all appropriate rules of the road, the same as any private or conventional vehicle. Sullivan v. Costanza, 258 Md. 672, 267 A.2d 87 (1970).

SAFETY OF NONPARTICIPANTS IS ONLY CONCERN. –Statute is only concerned with safety of nonparticipants in chase. Martin v. Rossignol, 226 Md. 363, 174 A.2d 149 (1961). DUTY OF CARE NOT PRESCRIBED AS TO OFFICER HIMSELF OR OFFENDER. –This article does not, in terms, prescribe a duty on the part of the officer to use care for his own safety, or for the safety of an offender whose reckless conduct is the only occasion for the exercise of the officer’s privilege, if not duty, to disregard the ordinary speed regulations. Martin v. Rossignol, 226 Md. 363, 174 A.2d 149 (1961).

  1. If a Prince Georges County police officer was driving a police vehicle on an emergency call at the time of the collision but was driving in a grossly negligent or intentionally reckless manner, then you can personally sue the police officer. In Nast v. Lockett, 312 Md. 343, 352, 539 A.2d 1113 (1988), the Court cautioned that only conduct that is of an extraordinary or outrageous character will be sufficient to supply the requisite state of mind.  Reckless driving is not enough; there must be reckless disregard for human life.  at 352, 539 A.2d 1113.

See Maryland Code (1973, 2013 Repl. Vol.), § 5-639 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. These claims then become subject to Local Government Tort Claims Act section 5-303 of the Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. (a) Limitation on liability.  — The liability of a local government may not exceed $ 400,000 per an individual claim, and $ 800,000 per total claims that arise from the same occurrence for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions, including liability arising under subsection (b) of this section. (b) When government liable.  — (1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a local government shall be liable for any judgment against its employee for damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions committed by the employee within the scope of employment with the local government. However, Prince Georges County may only pay the Maryland minimum of 30,000, 60,000., 15,000. If the officer was driving the vehicle in the course of “emergency service” at the time of the accident, the officer would be immune from liability absent malice or gross negligence, see CJP sec. 5-639(b), but the “owner or lessee” of the vehicle would be liable for any negligence to the extent of Maryland’s minimum financial responsibility limits, see CJP Sec.5-639(c)

  1. Prince Georges County Fire Truck-same rules as city police except the Prince Georges County as well as the driver of the fire truck can always be sued under any of the scenarios whether operating in an emergency or not. Fire department personnel are always employees of the Prince Georges County.

In order to file any claim against Prince Georges County or one of it’s employees including police or fire personnel, there are certain administrative requirements that must be followed exactly as outlined below or your claim may be barred.

 

Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland   Section 5-304. Actions for unliquidated damages

(b)  Notice required. —

(1)  Except as provided in subsections (a) and (d) of this section, an action for unliquidated damages may not be brought against a local government or its employees unless the notice of the claim required by this section is given within 1 year after the injury.

(2)  The notice shall be in writing and shall state the time, place, and cause of the injury.

(c)  Methods of giving notice. —

(1)  The notice required under this section shall be given in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United States Postal Service, by the claimant or the representative of the claimant.

(3)  If the defendant local government is:

(i)  Prince Georges County, the notice shall be given to the County attorney;

(d)  Waiver of notice requirement. — Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, unless the defendant can affirmatively show that its defense has been prejudiced by lack of required notice, upon motion and for good cause shown the court may entertain the suit even though the required notice was not given.

(e)  Section not applicable if actual or constructive notice within 1 year after injury. — This section does not apply if, within 1 year after the injury, the defendant local government has actual or constructive notice of:

(1)  The claimant’s injury; or

(2)  The defect or circumstances giving rise to the claimant’s injury.

In Madore v. Baltimore County, 34 MD App. 340, 367 A.2d 54 (1976) Court said:

“The term `good cause’ for not filing a claim for compensation is not defined in the statute, but it has been uniformly held by the courts of this state that the test for its existence is that of ordinary prudence, that is, whether the claimant prosecuted his claim with that degree of diligence that an ordinarily prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.”

 

 

 

 

 

Can a Prince Georges County employee sue a co-Prince Georges County employee even though they are eligible to or have filed a workers compensation claim and are therefore barred from filing a third party claim against the employer?

A: If the injury is payable under the Maryland Worker’s Compensation Act, then an employee cannot sue a fellow employee for an injury or omission committed within the scope of employment.  Read the Law: Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Section §5-302

Article – Courts and Judicial Proceedings

  • 5–302.

(a)   Each local government shall provide for its employees a legal defense in any action that alleges damages resulting from tortious acts or omissions committed by an employee within the scope of employment with the local government.

(b)    (1)   Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person may not execute against an employee on a judgment rendered for tortious acts or omissions committed by the employee within the scope of employment with a local government.

(2)    (i)   An employee shall be fully liable for all damages awarded in an action in which it is found that the employee acted with actual malice.

(ii)   In such circumstances the judgment may be executed against the employee and the local government may seek indemnification for any sums it is required to pay under § 5-303(b)(1) of this subtitle.

(c)   If the injury sustained is compensable under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee may not sue a fellow employee for tortious acts or omissions committed within the scope of employment.

(d)    (1)   The rights and immunities granted to an employee are contingent on the employee’s cooperation in the defense of any action.

(2)   If the employee does not cooperate, the employee forfeits any and all rights and immunities accruing to the employee under subsection (b) of this section.



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