There was a terrible car accident on Thursday in Rockville Maryland on 355-Wisconsin Avenue. A man named Roberto Nassar was driving on a motor scooter and was stopped at a red light. When the light turned green, a vehicle driven by Mr. Michael C. Dalton from Perkasie, PA crashed into the rear of the motorcycle. Mr. Nassar died as a result of his injuries from the car crash. The Washington Post reports that Mr. Dalton did not immediately stop and he kept going after the crash with the motor scooter lodged into the front of his car. Criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Dalton for failing to stop at the scene of a car accident involving death and failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving death.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Nassar. The family should know that there are likely Personal Injury Protection Benefits (PIP Benefits) that may pay anywhere from $2,500-$10,000.00 towards funeral expenses. While I am sure that the last thing the family is thinking about is a lawsuit, it is important that the family consider hiring a lawyer or private investigator to gather appropriate facts about the crash, and interview any witnesses to the crash. Unfortunately, car insurance companies take advantage of grieving families by getting a head start on the investigation and getting witnesses to commit to statements that support denial of the claim or, at least in Maryland, an argument of “contributory negligence” which would be a complete bar to recovery. In the State of Maryland, Mr. Nassar’s children and spouse would have a “Maryland Wrongful Death Claim”. In addition to that, his estate can bring a “Maryland Survival Claim”.
An important issue that needs to be investigated is the amount of insurance coverage that the vehicle that Mr. Dalton was driving had, and whether Mr. Dalton had an umbrella policy. A accident lawyer or good private investigator can help get at these issues. Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Claims in Maryland can be complicated. There is a cap on non-economic damages in Maryland (i.e. pain and suffering, scarring, etc.) of approximately $690,000.00 and generally speaking, the total cap for the wrongful death claimants and the survival claim would be approximately $1,035,000.00.