In Maryland, the effects of a motorist’s reckless driving can often be severe, especially for those riding motorcycles. Indeed, Maryland motorcycle accidents are among the most fatal type of traffic accident, and reckless driving is a major cause of these accidents. Under section 21-901.1 of the Transportation Code, reckless driving is defined as driving a motor vehicle “[i]n wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property,” or “[i]n a manner that indicates a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Not only are drivers who drive recklessly subject to criminal penalties, but they may also be liable for negligence or gross negligence claims. Drivers in Maryland have a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. This duty requires drivers to exercise the degree of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under similar circumstances. The extent of a driver’s duty may change depending on conditions of the weather, the time of day, and other circumstances.
For an accident victim to succeed in a Maryland personal injury claim, they must show that the defendant acted negligently by acting or failing to act in a certain way. General negligence claims require showing that: the defendant had a legal duty to use a certain level of care toward the plaintiff; the defendant failed to meet the standard of care required; the plaintiff suffered damages; and the defendant’s failure to meet the standard of care caused the plaintiff’s damages. In more extreme cases, gross negligence claims may be pursued. Gross negligence refers to willful and wanton misconduct, or a wanton or reckless disregard for others.