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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years experience in the practice of law, including representation of clients in Traffic Court.
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I was driving a rental car on a rural county road in Maryland,

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I was driving a rental car on a rural county road in Maryland, within the speed limit, following signs to a Barn sale. Signs were at regular intervals, but did not indicate the distance to the sale. Suddenly an arrow pointed into a driveway where the barn sale was. I started to slow and turn in tightly, but the driveway was gravel and I came off the driveway and landed in a bog / field. The police came and said if the car could drive off it would be fine. The tow truck removed the vehicle - and the engine started fine. But the oil was leaking, and I was advised not to drive it. The police then issued me a citation under TA-21-801(b) and a fine of $130 - 'failure to control vehicle speed on highway to avoid collision'. It does not mention points. I accepted it at the time as I was not really thinking, and happy not to be injured.
However, should I dispute this, and how should I deal with the insurance company as the claim starts to get processed?
I head from the truck driver that pulled me out that anotehr vehicle came off the road at the same place one week before.

Good morning Phil,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

It is very fortunate that you were not injured. As for any legal basis to challenge the citation, the fact of the matter is that you transitioned from a paved roadway to a gravel roadway, and the coefficient of friction (what keeps your vehicle from sliding around) was much less on the gravel road, and you ended up off the roadway. From a standpoint of physics, this was simply a matter of traveling too fast for the roadway conditions.

The citation is essentially proved by the fact that you lost control of the vehicle and had the accident, and you can not point to any mechanical failure that might have caused the loss of control---leaving nothing else to suggest a cause other than driver error.

In terms of dealing with the insurance company, there is really very little for you to do. The collision coverage for the vehicle you were operating applies regardless of your fault.

I am sorry, but based on your description of the incident, it does not appear that there is any viable legal argument whereby you might prove your innocence in this situation.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

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