Earlier this month, an Upper Marlboro man was fatally injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident when he collided with another vehicle that was in the process of making a U-turn. According to a local news report, the fatal crash occurred around 10 in the evening on northbound Route 301, in Waldorf.

Apparently, the motorcyclist was traveling on 301 northbound at a high rate of speed. As the motorcyclist approached Central Avenue, a pick-up truck that was heading southbound on 301 began to initiate a U-turn. As the truck was in the middle of the U-turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pick-up truck. The force from the collision spun the pick-up truck 18 degrees.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The driver of the pick-up truck was injured and transported to the hospital. Police told reporters that they believe speed to have been a factor in the accident.

Earlier this month, a Maryland motorcyclist was killed after he intentionally laid his motorcycle down to avoid an imminent collision. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the crash occurred near the intersection of Abingdon Road and Windy Laurel Drive in Abingdon, shortly before noon. Weather conditions were clear.

Evidently, the motorcyclist was traveling eastbound on Abingdon Road when a westbound minivan attempted to make a left turn in front of the motorcycle. While there have not been any eyewitnesses that have come forward, after investigating the scene of the accident police believe that the motorcyclist laid down the motorcycle in an attempt to avoid a collision with the minivan. The motorcyclist was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where he later died from the injuries he sustained in the accident.

Police urged all motorists to “pay attention,” explaining that motorists should be especially careful this time of year, when more motorcycles are on the road. The accident remains under investigation, and no criminal charges have been filed against the driver of the minivan.

Maryland motorists have a duty to ensure the safe operation of their vehicle at all times. However, given the high rates of distracted driving and aggressive driving, Maryland car accidents involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists continue to remain at an unacceptably high level.

Indeed, in 2017 alone there were approximately 500 people serious injury and over 110 killed in Maryland pedestrian accidents. That same year there were over 75 fatal Maryland motorcycle accidents, more than half of which involved at least one car or truck. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, “in a crash between a car and a motorcycle, the car driver is more likely to be at fault than the motorcyclist.”

Under current Maryland law, a motorist who strikes a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian with their vehicle is subject to a fine of up to $500 and a mandatory court appearance. However, practically speaking, most motorists are able to send in advance payment of a $110 fine and can avoid the court appearance altogether. Some state lawmakers rightfully believe that this lets those who cause these accidents off the hook too easily and have proposed a bill to increase certain penalties.

While every accident is different, generally speaking Maryland motorcycle accidents often result in very serious injuries. In most cases, a motorist who causes a motorcycle accident will not have the financial means necessary to pay for the damages sustained in the crash. This is why it is so auto insurance is so important.

Maryland law requires that all motorists maintain a certain amount of insurance on their vehicle to compensate anyone who may be injured as a result of the driver’s negligence. In Maryland, there are three types of mandatory car insurance:

  • Liability: this coverage compensates those who have been injured as a result of the insured’s negligence
  • Property Damage: this coverage compensates accident victims for the damage to their property caused by the insured’s negligence; and
  • Un/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Protection: this coverage kicks in when another motorist’s liability insurance coverage is insufficient to fully compensate the insured for the injuries they sustained in an accident.

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One of the most frustrating aspects of being involved in a Maryland motorcycle accident is dealing with insurance companies. Vehicle insurance is required in Maryland, and for a good reason. However, unfortunately, insurance companies often make the recovery process harder on accident victims by creating additional stress and anxiety.

After being involved in a Maryland motorcycle accident, accident victims often have sustained serious injuries and have missed time away from work. However, life’s expenses do not stop and, when combined with potentially astronomical medical bills, accident victims find themselves in a difficult financial position. Too often, insurance companies prey upon these vulnerabilities be denying a claim they know that the accident victim will not have time to pursue or offering an accident victim a low-ball settlement offer in hopes of making the case go away.

A recent case illustrates the lengths that insurance companies will go to in an attempt to avoid financial responsibility for an accident.

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For those who are fortunate enough to be awake and sufficiently oriented to know what has just happened, the moments immediately following a Maryland motorcycle accident can be stressful. An accident victim will have almost certainly sustained serious injuries themselves, their motorcycle may not be anywhere near them, and there may also be concern about a passenger. While this is an incredibly stressful and anxiety-producing time, there are a few essential things that all Maryland motorcyclist should keep in mind after an accident.

Seek Medical Treatment

Motorcycle accident victims may not immediately realize that they have sustained serious injuries after an accident. In some cases, adrenaline kicks in and masks pain that would be otherwise intolerable. Some accident victims who sustain a blow to the head may have suffered a concussion or other brain injury. The signs and symptoms of these may not be readily apparent, but may get worse if untreated. Additionally, proof that an accident victim received medical treatment immediately after an accident strengthens their case.

Report the Accident

Calling the police after a Maryland motorcycle accident can help provide an accident victim with an objective account of what the scene of the accident looked like. Police will also obtain all the necessary information from the other drives involved, which will be required for filing a personal injury lawsuit down the road.

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Being involved in any Maryland bicycle accident is often a very traumatic experience. Hit-and-run accidents are no exception. In fact, for several reasons, Maryland hit-and-run accidents are considered by most to be one of the most traumatic types of motorcycle accidents.

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in an accident and then leaves the scene before checking to see if anyone else involved in the crash requires medical care. Because the identity of the at-fault motorist is not initially known, accident victims cannot focus solely on their recovery, and must work with law enforcement to help them locate the hit-and-run driver.

Often, police can locate a hit-and-run driver eventually, although that is not always the case. In the event that a Maryland hit-and-run driver is not ever found, an accident victim may still be able to pursue a claim for compensation. However, rather than file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company – as would be the case if the at-fault motorist was known – a hit-and-run accident victim must file a claim with their own insurance company, under the uninsured motorist provision. An experienced Maryland personal injury attorney can help those injured in a hit-and-run accident to pursue a claim.

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Maryland law imposes a duty on landowners to keep their property safe for those whom they invite onto their land. This includes both a duty to remedy any known dangers, as well as a duty to warn visitors about any hazards that may not be readily apparent. However, under Maryland’s recreational use statute, landowners who allow the public to use their land for recreational purposes cannot be held liable by those who are injured on their property as long as the landowner does not charge a fee for the use of their land.

The Maryland recreational use statute is not absolute, and there is an exception for a landowner’s “willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition.” A recent decision issued by a federal appellate court discusses this exception and when it may apply.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a bicycle accident that occurred on land that was owned and maintained by the Air Force Academy. Evidently, the plaintiff was riding his bike along a bicycle path when he encountered a large sinkhole. The sinkhole spanned the width of the path and, despite its large size, was difficult for riders to see as they approached it.

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Anytime someone gets in a vehicle – whether it be a car, truck or motorcycle – there is a risk of being involved in a Maryland auto accident. While any accident poses a risk of serious injury to those involved, motorcycle accidents result in a disproportionate amount of fatalities due to the lack of protection motorcycles offer riders.

According to the most recent government statistics, there are approximately 1,450 Maryland motorcycle accidents each year. In 2017, there were 85 people killed in Maryland motorcycle accidents. While this may not seem like a high number, consider the fact that there are only about 123,000 motorcycles registered in the State of Maryland compared to almost 2 million cars and trucks.

When someone is killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident, their surviving family members may be able to pursue a claim for financial compensation through a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. Under Maryland Code Section 3-904, a wrongful death claim is primarily for the benefit of a surviving spouse, child or parent. These are considered “primary beneficiaries.” If, however, there are no primary beneficiaries, a claim may be brought by “any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was substantially dependent upon the deceased.”

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Maryland is a state that values higher education. Indeed, according to the most recent data, there are over 50 colleges across Maryland. Bicycles have long been the preferred method of travel for budget-conscious college students, especially in colleges and universities in large urban centers such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Thus, it isn’t surprising that many Maryland bicycle accidents occur on or around college campuses.

For the most part, colleges do a good job ensuring that bike travel on campus is safe. This means providing bike lanes, signage, and driver education about the presence of bicyclists and how to safely drive in an area where there is a large population of bicyclists. However, despite these efforts, Maryland bicycle accidents continue to occur.

When a bicyclist is injured in a Maryland bicycle accident, they can pursue a claim for compensation against one or more parties. Generally, this includes the driver that struck them, as well as any other potentially liable party such as the college or university, the driver’s employer, or another motorist that was involved in the collision. However, it is essential that an injured bicyclist understand Maryland’s strict contributory negligence laws and how they can preclude an injured cyclist from recovering for their injuries.

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