In March 2013, Michael Lewis was driving a four-wheel ATV on Karen Boulevard in Prince George’s County, Maryland at the same time that two police cruisers were driving in the opposite direction. Lewis was driving the ATV on a public road without a helmet, and as a result, the police officers tried to pull him over. During this attempt, one police car crossed over the double yellow line in the direct path of the ATV. The first police car narrowly missed hitting the ATV, but the second police car crashed into the ATV.. Lewis sued Prince George’s County because he claimed the police used excessive force and that is the cause of his accident injuries.
Trial for this case began on Monday, and Lewis’s attorneys argued that the police officers used a special tactic called “heading off,” which is only allowed to be used when attempting to stop a violent suspect. Lewis was only breaking basic local traffic laws. PG County officials claim the incident was a “miscalculation resulting in an accident.” All 16 traffic citations were dismissed after the accident.
Yesterday, Lewis and his attorneys accepted a settlement offer from PG County. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but Lewis’s attorneys said their client was “fairly compensated for everything he has been put through.” Because a settlement was reached, the trial does not continue and the County never has to accept any liability for the accident. The uncertainty of trial likely prompted the County to try and settle the case out of court.
In personal injury cases similar to this one, where both sides cannot agree on a settlement before trial, there is still usually a high probability of a settlement being reached before trial is over. Oftentimes, the party at fault in the accident does not want to risk having trial completed and leaving everything in the hands of a judge or jury. In a settlement agreement, the at-fault party does not accept responsibility for the accident, but instead usually just offers to pay the injured party a sum of money. Once a case gets to trial, attorneys fees start to increase rapidly and most clients do not want to rack up a large number of legal fees.
If you or a family member have been injured or killed in an accident and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Personal-Injury/