The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed Maryland residents’ way of life, including their transportation habits. While there are fewer motor vehicles on the road than usual, in part because people are working remotely and generally staying at home, an increasing number of people have begun riding bicycles, either as a form of exercise or for transport or leisure. Individuals who used to rely on public transportation to get around town, for example, may choose to bike to avoid the crowds and possible contagions. Individuals working from home may also go on bike rides to stretch their legs and get outside of their house safely and responsibly. Generally, more people riding bicycles is a good thing—biking is cost-efficient, good for the environment, and a great form of exercise. However, something for all Maryland residents to keep in mind is that bicyclists are particularly susceptible to serious injuries when they are involved in a bicycle accident.

For example, take a recent bicycle crash that occurred just this month. According to a local news article covering the incident, the crash occurred one Sunday at 5:00 PM when a driver in a car struck a bicyclist. The local police department reported that the driver failed to use proper care when entering the lane, and thus hit the bicyclist. The bicyclist was injured and taken to the local hospital, but fortunately has since been released. Still, the crash is a recent example of the hazards that bicyclists could face on the road, particularly since they do not have the protection surrounding their body that those driving cars or trucks do, for example.

Maryland residents who are biking or plan to start biking soon can and should take certain steps to protect themselves from these potential hazards. First, bicyclists should always wear proper protective equipment. One important piece of this is a sturdy helmet that fits properly. While hopefully, one will not need it, a well-fitting helmet can be the difference between life and death in some Maryland bicycle accidents. Bicyclists should also make sure to take proper care of their bike by taking it in for regular inspections, and should inspect it at home as well—checking the tire pressure, making sure the brakes work, and checking on the chain and gears before going on a ride. While riding, bicyclists can protect themselves by driving with the flow of the traffic, obeying street signs and signals, staying vigilant and aware of the surroundings and any potential danger, and refraining from texting, listening to music, or doing anything else distracting.

Although many residents are increasingly aware of the risks of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Maryland drunk driving accidents still occur with startling frequency. When an individual drives under the influence, they are more likely to make reckless decisions and harmful errors while driving—swerving into the other lane, running red lights, etc. These acts can cause significant damage or even death when they lead to Maryland motorcycle accidents. While there is of course a risk of accidents with any vehicles, motorcyclists are especially at risk for serious, life-threatening injuries due to the relative unprotection they have around their bodies compared to drivers in cars or trucks.

For example, just recently a motorcycle accident sent two to the hospital. According to a local news report from the second week of February, an intoxicated driver was driving northbound on the road when she veered into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a motorcyclist. There were two occupants on the motorcycle—the passenger and the driver. Following this shocking accident, both were seriously injured, and both had to be transported to a nearby hospital; one via helicopter and the other by ambulance. Their conditions are currently unknown, and the incident is still under investigation.

This tragic accident highlights two things. First, it’s an apt and unfortunate illustration of the risk Maryland motorcyclists face when they or another driver decides to go on the road under the influence. While individuals may think they are only taking a small risk for themselves, the reality is that driving intoxicated puts everyone else on the road at risk and could cause life-threatening injuries or even death. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are especially likely to be harmed due to someone else’s reckless actions.

Most drivers and motorcyclists make left turns every single time they drive, usually without giving them a second thought. Left turns are a common part of driving, but they can actually be incredibly dangerous for motorcyclists. Many Maryland motorcycle accidents occur when a car or another vehicle attempts to make a left turn but crashes into a motorcyclist that had the right-of-way. Because motorcycles do not offer the same structural protection that cars and other vehicles do, motorcyclists involved in these accidents are particularly susceptible to serious injuries or even death.

Just last week a tragic left turn motorcycle accident was reported by a local news station. The accident is said to have occurred around 12:50 PM one weekday afternoon. A 75-year-old woman driving a Nissan Versa sedan was traveling northbound on the road when she approached an intersection. At the intersection, she attempted to make a left turn. Unfortunately, a 17-year-old motorcyclist was traveling eastbound when the car turned in front of him, and although he tried to slow down, he was unable to avoid the collision. Officials responded to the scene of the crash and emergency responders later pronounced the motorcyclist dead, a tragic accident.

This tragedy is just one example of how dangerous left turn accidents can be for Maryland residents riding motorcycles. But what causes left turn accidents? Well, there can be many different causes and factors, which is one of the things that makes filing a personal injury lawsuit in the aftermath so difficult. It’s possible that alcohol may have played a role, with one or both drivers involved driving under the influence and making poor decisions on the road. Or, drivers could be distracted by their phone, or by a passenger in their car, causing them to not notice that the light was red, or that a motorcycle was entering the intersection. There’s also the possibility that a traffic light was malfunctioning, or that slippery weather conditions caused the crash.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Even one small mistake while driving or another unfortunate occurrence can cause a major crash leading to severe bodily injuries. In addition to the bodily harm that one might face as a result, however, Maryland motorcycle accidents can cause financial strain, primarily through medical bills and lost wages. And in the aftermath of these accidents, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to move forward. But there are some key things Maryland motorcyclists who are injured in motorcycle accidents should do afterward, to protect their legal rights and get themselves on the path to recovery, both physically and financially.

Immediately after the crash, a motorcyclist should report the accident. Letting authorities know about the crash and speaking with a police officer about what happened can aid the official investigation of the crash and help an accident victim understand what exactly occurred and who else was involved.

Individuals should also immediately seek medical treatment. Sometimes, motorcyclists may not realize the extent of their injuries right away and may not immediately seek help. But this can be a mistake. Not only can prompt medical attention prevent injuries from getting worse, but not seeking it immediately may weaken an accident victim’s future civil case against the individual who caused the accident. It is also important to continually keep up with medical appointments and treatment and follow the doctor’s advice while recovering from the injuries.

A victim of a Maryland motorcycle accident may be dealing with a tremendous amount of stress in the aftermath of an accident. But accident victims have to keep in mind the time in which a claim must be filed to preserve their rights and their right to recover compensation. In Maryland, the time in which a claim must for filed (known as the statute of limitations) in a personal injury case is three years. A Maryland wrongful death claim also must be filed within three years.

The three-year period in an accident case generally begins to run when the crash occurs, but may begin later if the injury is not evident right away. A statute of limitations can be tolled, or extended, in some circumstances. For example, a victim may be so seriously injured that they lack the capacity to file a claim for some time. However, in general, statutes of limitations must be strictly followed. Failing to file a negligence claim within the prescribed statute of limitations will generally result in the claim being dismissed.

An experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney can help victims file a legal claim against all the defendants responsible for their injuries. In a Maryland negligence claim, a victim must show that a defendant was negligent by acting or failing to act in some way. That is, a plaintiff must establish that: the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to exercise due care, the defendant failed to meet that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s act or failure to act caused the plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiffs in Maryland accident cases may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, wage losses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages that may be applicable in their cases.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can be incredibly dangerous. Motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection when they get into a crash than those in other vehicles, such as cars and trucks. Their body is exposed, and as a result, they are more likely to suffer severe injuries or even death when they’re involved in a crash. For example, just last weekend a 42-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a tragic crash.

According to a news article reporting on the accident, the crash happened Saturday evening around 10:40 PM on a highway. The motorcyclist was heading south on the highway when a 59-year-old man driving a 2013 Mini Cooper heading south turned left, failing to see the motorcyclist approaching the intersection. The front of the motorcycle ended up slamming into the passenger side of the Mini Cooper. The force of the impact caused the motorcycle to break apart into several pieces. Tragically, the motorcyclist was seriously injured and transported to the hospital, where she died shortly after. The investigation of the crash is still underway.

This tragic accident is a sad reminder of how dangerous Maryland motorcycle accidents can be for riders. Because of this, a large number of Maryland residents may know what it feels like to lose someone they love in a motorcycle accident and may be wondering if and how they can recover. While, unfortunately, nothing can bring their loved one back, the state’s laws do allow victims to recover financially for their losses through what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are brought against the individual or party who caused the accident and the death, so in this case, it might be brought against the driver of the Mini Cooper. If successful, these lawsuits can result in monetary damages granted to families to cover medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even funeral and burial costs.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can happen very quickly—in the blink of an eye. One moment, drivers and motorcyclists are on their way, and the next, there might be a tragedy. Because of this, sometimes, in the aftermath, it is unclear what exactly happened, or what caused the collision. While in some cases it may be clear—a driver ran a red light, for example—in many other cases, the individuals involved will have no clue what occurred, just that they were driving and suddenly everything changed. In these cases, there may need to be a significant amount of investigation after a motorcycle accident to determine what happened. This is what accident reconstruction experts specialize in.

For an example of an accident requiring this type of investigation and reconstruction, take a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred just this month. According to the news article covering the incident, the accident involved a motorcycle and a 2007 Jeep Cherokee SUV and occurred around 4 PM one Saturday afternoon. The motorcycle was traveling east on one road, and the SUV was attempting to cross that road when they collided. Sadly, the driver of the motorcycle, a 27-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two children in the SUV were seriously injured. The 2-year-old child’s injuries were life-threatening, and they were transported by helicopter to a children’s hospital. The 7-year-old’s injuries were critical, but not life-threatening, and they were taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance before also being brought to the children’s hospital by helicopter. The crash is still under investigation, and it’s not known at this time what happened or what the cause was.

Motorcycle crashes with unclear causes can be very frustrating for those impacted. Without knowing what happened, Maryland residents are unsure if they caused it or if someone else did. The lack of answers can be difficult for many, especially while mourning a loss or recovering from injuries. But injury victims should know that even with an unknown cause and an ongoing investigation, they can still reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss the case, their options, and their legal rights. Doing so can help prepare them and their family for when the cause of the accident is identified, and help the family feel in control during a precarious and difficult time. This early preparation can also be helpful to avoid missing the window of time within which one must file suit—the statute of limitations. As such, motorcycle accident victims are encouraged to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after a crash.

The aftermath for accident victims dealing with serious injuries can be overwhelming. Maryland motorcycle and bicycle accident victims may suffer a range of damages available depending on their unique circumstances. Successful parties may be able to recover damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages in a Maryland lawsuit.

Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the out-of-pocket expenses that arise due to the victim’s injuries, such as medical bills, loss of income, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, are damages without a fixed dollar value, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages that may be recovered in a civil car accident case. For cases filed on or after January 1, 2021, the cap is $845,000 for non-economic damages.

Punitive damages may be available in some accident cases, although they are not routinely awarded in such cases. Punitive damages are only awarded in Maryland if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with knowing and deliberate wrongdoing. They are generally awarded only in the most egregious cases. Punitive damages are meant to serve as a deterrent for others and to punish the defendant for wrongful conduct. Statutory damages may also be available in some cases.

Hit and run accidents can be some of the most tragic and frustrating kinds of Maryland motorcycle accidents. While there is, of course, never a good accident, Maryland hit and runs can be particularly frustrating because not knowing the identity of the responsible driver can prolong—or even prevent—an injured motorcyclist from recovering in the aftermath of an accident.

Hit and run accidents are what they sound like—accidents where one vehicle hits another vehicle (or individual) and then runs from the scene of the crash by driving away. Typically, in the aftermath of an accident, an injured victim is so shocked that they do not think to take down the car’s make and model that hit them, let alone the license plate. And, often, in hit and run accidents, they are not even given the chance to get this information, as the driver usually leaves the scene of the crash immediately. Generally, drivers leave the scene because they are trying to avoid both civil and criminal liability—they may worry about being sued or, depending on the severity of the crash, even arrested.

Hit and run accidents are especially concerning for Maryland motorcyclists because motorcycle crashes are more likely to result in severe injuries and death. This is because motorcyclists do not have the protection around their bodies that drivers in cars do. Instead, they are more likely to absorb the impact of the crash themselves, or to be thrown from their motorcycle. For example, take a recent hit and run motorcycle accident that occurred just earlier this month. According to a local news report that covered the incident, the accident occurred around 6:30 AM one Monday morning when the driver of a passenger van made an illegal U-turn directly in the path of a motorcyclist, driven by a 29-year-old man. Surveillance video captured the incident and saw the driver of the van stopping briefly before fleeing the scene. The motorcyclist was transported quickly to a hospital by firefighter-paramedics, but unfortunately, he was soon after pronounced dead. The search for the driver of the van continues, and the investigation is ongoing.

Last Thursday, a group of 20 bicyclists engaged in an annual tradition involving riding the 130-mile stretch between Henderson, Nevada and Nipton, California, and back. But tragically, this tradition was interrupted when a box truck slammed into the group of cyclists who were riding on the shoulder of U.S. 95. In total, five cyclists were fatally wounded, and another four were seriously injured—including one who was initially in critical condition but is now fortunately stable. This accident sheds light on the sobering reality of Maryland bicycle accidents.

According to the New York Times, investigators are unsure how or why the truck hit the cyclists. However, through a preliminary investigation, they know that the driver left his lane, collided with the group of cyclists from behind, and then hit another car that was driving alongside the cyclists. The driver also collided with another group of cyclists that were riding in front of the Subaru. At this point, nothing indicates that the driver was impaired, and Highway Patrol reported that the driver stayed at the scene of the accident and is being cooperative.

Even as the investigation continues, the tragedy of the accident is almost insurmountable. One cyclist, who organized the ride and was cycling ahead of his friends when the crash occurred, said in a phone interview that he could immediately tell three of his fellow cyclists were killed instantly. He explained that he had to watch two die in front of him. He also reported that, although he was a police officer in the area for 22 years, he had never responded to a crash this bad.

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