A circuit court civil jury in Prince George’s County awarded $3.3 million recently to relatives of a woman killed by a motorist as she walked on a stretch of a city street, Pennsylvania Avenue, that did not have a sidewalk or guard rails. The section of street where the incident occurred was maintained by the State of Maryland. The jury found the State of Maryland liable in the wrongful death lawsuit, and awarded $2.5 million to Kayla Martin, the daughter of Ms. Kelay Smith, who was struck and killed by a motorist on August 12, 2008. Kayla was two years old at the time of the accident.
Ms. Smith was walking along the street when a car veered onto the shoulder and struck her and Derrick Jones, who died at the scene. Ms. Smith, who was five months pregnant at the time, died at a hospital. So did her unborn child. On the block where Ms. Smith and Mr. Jones were walking, there is a sidewalk at both ends of the street – but also a gap of about 200 feet where there is no sidewalk or guard rails. The two victims were struck as they walked along that section. It was argued that state officials should have provided a sidewalk, guard rails, or a combination of the two, to improve safety for pedestrians. In addition to the award for Kayla, the jury also awarded $800,000 to Vicki Muhammad, Ms. Smith’s mother. Terrell N. Roberts III, a lawyer from Riverdale, Md. represented Ms. Smith’s family in the lawsuit and did a very good job.
Source: Washington Post
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