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Maryland girl killed in 3-car accident; drunk driving suspected

Anyone who commutes on a regular basis on Maryland's roads accepts some level of risk. We all know in the back of our minds that car accidents are an inevitable part of modern life, but we tend not to think about that risk from day to day. So when a serious accident happens, it's both upsetting and shocking -- especially when someone is injured or killed due to the careless actions of another driver.

The recent death of a 7-year-old girl in a car accident in Charles County, Maryland, is no exception. The accident, which involved a total of three vehicles, happened the afternoon of June 24 when a man driving an SUV north on Route 210 crossed the median and into southbound traffic. The vehicle first ran into the side of another SUV before colliding with a sedan. The young girl was a passenger in that sedan, and after suffering fatal injuries she was pronounced dead at the crash scene. The woman driving the car suffered life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital.

Police suspect the SUV driver accused of causing the crash was drunk at the time. The 73-year-old Fort Washington, Maryland, man will likely face criminal charges of driving while intoxicated, but he might also find himself the defendant in a civil lawsuit if the girl's family chooses to file one.

A successful wrongful death lawsuit effectively demonstrates that someone who caused a fatal accident exhibited negligence and should pay damages to the people affected by the death. In many cases a wrongful death lawsuit demands compensation for lost wages, such as when the primary wage earner in a household is killed. But the death of a child is also a significant loss. In addition to compensation for medical, funeral and burial costs, a family may receive an award of damages for their emotional pain and suffering. This girl's family may have understood the risks associated with her traveling in a car, but it would have been nearly impossible to anticipate her death in such a sudden accident.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "7-year-old girl killed in 3-car, alcohol-related crash," Kevin Rector, June 24, 2012

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