All drivers should be aware of Maryland traffic laws by virtue of having obtained a Maryland driver’s license. Most drivers can rely on their gut instinct when determining who has the right-of-way in a traffic situation, since the traffic laws have become ingrained in our minds through years of driving. However, there are some situations in which determining who has the right-of-way is not as easily determined.

Left Turn ArrowOne situation in which it is not always clear which person has the right-of-way is left-turn accidents. Of course, the general rule is that the vehicle turning left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle that is continuing straight. However, that is not always the case. For example, if the motorist who is continuing straight is traveling in excess of the speed limit, that driver can be said to have lost the right-of-way, potentially absolving the left-turning motorist of fault.

The idea behind the shifting right-of-way makes intuitive sense when thinking about the knowledge each driver possesses in the moments before an accident. For example, a driver waiting to make a left turn has no knowledge of how fast the oncoming vehicle is traveling and can only make a rough estimate judging by how fast the vehicle is approaching. In most cases, that motorist will reasonably assume that the oncoming motorist is traveling at the posted speed limit and will make the decision of when to turn accordingly.

Continue Reading

Maryland motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence, and too often, they result in the serious injury or death of the motorcyclist. Many times, these accidents are due in no part to the motorcyclist’s actions but are caused by another driver’s negligence. This may be due to the other motorist being distracted or intoxicated or driving in an aggressive manner.

MotorcycleAnyone who loses a loved one in a motorcycle accident is entitled to seek compensation for their loss through a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. In Maryland, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by a primary beneficiary, if one exists. A primary beneficiary includes a surviving spouse, parent, or child of the accident victim. If no primary beneficiary exists, a secondary beneficiary can bring the claim. This opens up the class of putative plaintiffs to anyone who was related to the accident victim by blood or marriage and was substantially dependent on the accident victim.

Once it is determined that the proper party is bringing the wrongful death claim, the claim itself must be established. This requires the plaintiff to show that some negligent act or omission of the defendant resulted in the death of their loved one. Proof of negligence can be shown through the admission of cell phone records, traffic citations, accident reports, or eyewitness testimony. If successful, damages normally include not only amounts for actual losses incurred, such as medical expenses, but also amounts for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.

Continue Reading

Most cyclists fairly believe that as long as they have insurance, they will be covered in the event of a Maryland bicycle accident. However, insurance contracts can be tricky, and insurance companies often try to interpret insurance contracts in their own favor, potentially limiting the amount of coverage provided to a motorist and at the same time limiting the insurance company’s overall risk.

MotorcycleIn some cases, the insurance company has little to do but settle a case fairly. However, other cases present unique situations in which an insurance company’s clever argument may result in a decrease in the company’s obligations. A recent case illustrates one insurance company’s attempt to characterize the deaths of two bicyclists as a single “accident” under the terms of the policy.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in the case was the surviving wife of a man who was killed in a bicycle accident that was caused by a negligent driver. At the time of the accident, both the plaintiff and her husband were riding on the shoulder of the road. Weather conditions were clear. At some point, a driver came from behind at about 50 miles per hour and first struck the plaintiff’s husband. He was thrown about 165 feet from his bike.

Continue Reading

Motorized scooters have become popular over the last decade as an affordable and quick way to get around town, especially when the distances traveled are longer than someone could comfortably ride a bicycle. Along with the increased use of motorized scooters, however, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of Maryland scooter accidents. These scooter accidents often result in serious injuries or death, due to the lack of protection a scooter offers its rider.

Moped RiderLike motorcycles, motorized scooters are powered by gasoline, but the engines in the motorized scooters are much smaller. In addition, due to their boxy design, scooters have a bit more of a bulky feel. As a result, scooters are not able to accelerate as quickly as motorcycles, and drivers have a more difficult time evading upcoming obstacles.

Compounding the difficulties faced by scooter riders is the fact that the general public is not familiar with scooters or their limitations. This creates a situation in which other motorists may drive dangerously around scooters, increasing the chance of a serious or fatal scooter accident. As is the case with any motor vehicle accident, the accident victim’s choice of transportation does not change the duty owed to the victim by other motorists. Anyone injured in a Maryland scooter accident should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss their case.

Continue Reading

While there are many causes of fatal Maryland motorcycle accidents, one of the most frequently seen causes is a motorist’s failure to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist. Of all the failure-to-yield accidents, left-turn accidents are the most common. Indeed, it is estimated that approximately 40% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve a motorist making a left turn in front of a motorcyclist who is going straight.

Motorcycle CrashIn most cases, these accidents are results of a motorist’s inability to properly gauge the speed at which a motorcyclist is traveling. However, aggressive driving may also be a cause. Regardless, motorists are responsible to safely operate their vehicles while on the road, and neither of the above reasons is an excuse for causing a motorcycle accident.

Motorcycle accident victims who are injured in a left-turn accident may be entitled to recover compensation for their injuries – both physical and emotional – through a personal injury lawsuit. In order to successfully bring a motorcycle accident case, an accident victim must be able to establish that the other driver was somehow negligent in the operation of their vehicle. This can be shown though the issuance of a traffic citation, or, if no citations were issued, through the presentation of convincing evidence at trial.

Continue Reading

Despite decades of public service announcements and millions of dollars spent on educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving, some motorists continue to refuse to comply with the law. When drivers get behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they put everyone on the road at risk. Indeed, in an average year, there are approximately 170 Maryland drunk driving deaths.

BicyclistsWhile the impact of drunk driving can affect anyone using the road, bicyclists are at a particular disadvantage, given the total lack of protection bicycles offer riders. Aside from wearing a helmet and following traffic laws, bicyclists can do little to avoid drunk drivers. And once an accident occurs, the likelihood of it resulting in a serious injury or death is extremely high.

Maryland lawmakers understand the need for strict drunk driving laws and have implemented a strict set of criminal punishments to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Similarly, civil remedies are available for victims of bicycle accidents through Maryland personal injury lawsuits. Anyone considering filing a personal injury lawsuit against a motorist believed to have been at fault for causing a serious Maryland bicycle accident should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

Continue Reading

The death of a loved one is tragic. In Maryland motor vehicle crashes, the party at fault for the crash should be held responsible for their actions. The wrongful death statute in Maryland allows certain family members to recover compensation after the family members’ death. The purpose of the statute is “to compensate the families of the decedents, as opposed to the estates of the decedents.” Therefore, a wrongful death claim is a separate claim that can be brought by the decedent’s family.

Old-School BicycleThe law allows for certain beneficiaries to file a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. Primary beneficiaries are defined as the spouses, parents, or children of the deceased person. If no primary beneficiaries exist, Maryland law permits secondary beneficiaries to pursue a claim. A secondary plaintiff is any other person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was wholly dependent on the decedent.

In order to prove liability, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s wrongful act resulted in their loved one’s death. Under the statute, a wrongful act is an “act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the injured party to maintain an action and recover damages” if the person had not died. Plaintiffs may recover damages for not only pecuniary losses but also pain and suffering, loss of companionship, parental care, guidance, and more.

Continue Reading

Drunk drivers pose a serious risk to everyone on the road; however, bicyclists are at an especially high risk of being seriously injured or killed if they are involved in a Maryland drunk driving accident. Not just are bicyclists more likely to be injured if they are struck by a drunk driver, but also, due to their slim profile, they are more likely to be overlooked by an intoxicated driver. Additionally, since most bicyclists ride near the side of the lane or on the road’s shoulder, a drunk driver could easily drift off the road and into a biker.

Bicycle CrashWhile Maryland law permits the victims of drunk driving accidents to seek compensation for their injuries through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit, filing a case is by no means a guarantee. For example, the other driver’s insurance company may defend against the lawsuit if it believes that there may be a way to avoid paying out what may be a large sum of money. If an insurance company believes that the accident victim was partially at fault for the accident – even if the other driver was intoxicated – it may defend the case on behalf of the other driver.

In some cases, insurance companies will pretend to be on an accident victim’s side and present an offer to settle the case if the accident victim agrees not to sue. Accident victims should be wary of these offers, especially when they are made early in the process, since they are often low-ball offers designed to settle for as little money as possible. With the assistance of a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney, accident victims can ensure that they are treated fairly throughout the process and stand a good chance of recovering fully for their injuries.

Continue Reading

When a motorist negligently causes an accident with a motorcyclist, resulting in injuries to the motorcyclist, the at-fault driver may be held liable for their negligent actions through a Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit. However, when the at-fault party is a government employee, there are often additional complications, due to government immunity that attaches in some situations.

Police CarGovernment Immunity in Maryland Motorcycle Accidents

It used to be that governments and their employees were never liable for any accident that occurred while carrying out official government business. However, with the passage of the Maryland Tort Claims Act, this official government immunity is waived in certain circumstances.

Under the MTCA, small claims against the government are permitted as long as liability does not exceed $200,000 per claim. It is important to note that these claims will not be automatically approved, and most need to be litigated before compensation will be available. Claims under the MTCA have strict notice and timeliness requirements that must be followed, or cases will be dismissed. Anyone considering filing a Maryland personal injury claim against a government entity should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by several men who were injured in a multi-vehicle motorcycle collision they claimed was caused by the defendant’s aggressive driving. Since the lower court prevented the defendant from admitting certain evidence, the appellate court was tasked with determining whether the evidence should have been excluded. Finding that it was improperly excluded, the case was reversed.

Vintage MotorcycleThe below case is important for Maryland motorcycle accident plaintiffs because it illustrates how important pre-trial discovery motions can be. Indeed, many cases are won and lost before the jury is even empaneled. This is because a party that loses a pre-trial evidentiary ruling may be more willing to consider a settlement offer, reducing the risk of taking the case to trial.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were three men who left the bar at around 11:00 p.m. Two men were driving a motorcycle, and the third was a passenger on the back of one of the motorcycles. The passenger was on the rear of a bike that was operated by a driver who only had a learner’s permit and was not legally permitted to carry a passenger.

Continue Reading

Contact Information