Anyone who has been involved in a serious Maryland traffic accident knows that the recovery process – physically, emotionally, and financially – can take quite a bit of time. Accident victims are often left upset, frustrated, confused, and with lingering physical ailments. And all too often Maryland accident victims are also left without adequate compensation to help them cover the medical expenses and other costs incurred as a result of the accident.

Arguably, Maryland hit-and-run accidents present accident victims with the most hurdles and roadblocks to a complete recovery. One reason for this is that the at-fault party may never be located, leaving an accident victim without someone to hold responsible for their injuries.

Thankfully, Maryland law requires all motorists maintain uninsured motorist protection, which will generally cover a Maryland hit-and-run accident. However, a victim’s recovery will be limited to the policy-maximum under their policy. In Maryland, the coverage limits for uninsured motorist protection are just $30,000 per person or a total of $60,000 per accident.

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Perhaps the single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists is when they are approaching an intersection in which an oncoming driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn. These left-turn accidents are responsible for a significant portion of the total Maryland motorcycle accidents that occur each year. Indeed, it is estimated that left-turn accidents account for about 42% of all motorcycle accidents.

Left-turn accidents are not unique to motorcycles; however, the slim profile of a motorcycle makes it more difficult for other motorists to see that a motorcycle is approaching and correctly assess its speed. Thus, motorists routinely begin a turn when they do not have time to complete it, cutting off the motorcyclist as they enter the intersection. The motorcyclist is then left with little to no time to react.

As a general rule, a motorist making a left turn is required to yield to motorcycles that are continuing straight through an intersection. Thus, most left-turn accidents are determined to be the fault of the turning motorist. However, if the motorcyclist is speeding at the time they enter the intersection, the motorcyclist may be found to have caused the accident.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a bicycle accident case discussing a plaintiff’s claim against a city that maintained the park where he was injured. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the precision with which a personal injury plaintiff must plead their case in an initial complaint. The case raises an important issue for Maryland bicycle accident victims, especially those who were injured while riding on public property.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his bike through a park owned by the defendant city. While riding through the grass, the front tire of the plaintiff’s bike got caught in a storm drain that was covered up by some grass. The plaintiff fell off his bike and fractured several bones.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the city, making a single claim of “negligence.” Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the city was negligent in allowing the hazard to exist in the first place, and also for failing to warn park visitors of its existence.

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Earlier this month, one man was killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident in Berkeley County. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the early morning hours on the 4000 block of Winchester Avenue.

Evidently, a pick-up truck was traveling northbound when it collided head-on with a southbound motorcycle. After the initial collision, both vehicles immediately caught fire. Emergency responders were quick to arrive on the scene, were unable to save the motorcyclist’s life.

Police began a preliminary investigation into the fatal Maryland motorcycle accident, and at this point believe that the pick-up truck had started to drift out of its land an into oncoming traffic prior to the collision. It remains to be seen if the driver of the pick-up truck will face criminal charges for his role in the fatal accident.

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Given the state of today’s technology, one hardly has to go a single minute without having access to their music. Indeed, on any given day it is common to see people with their headphones in while engaged in a wide variety of activities including running, walking their dog, riding on public transportation, shopping and riding their bike. And while this unrestrained access to media provides comfort for many, it can also be dangerous.

According to a recent news report, bicyclists are being warned not to ride with large noise-cancelling headphones. The article discusses the death of a 30-year-old investment banker who was run over by a bus while he was riding his bike while wearing over-the-ear headphones.

Experts explained that it is important for bicyclists to be able to hear – and not just see – their surroundings, and that having headphones in while riding prevents bicyclists from taking in much of the surrounding noise. These experts argue that this may result in a situation where a bicyclist is involved in an accident that they may have otherwise been able to avoid. If you were injured while riding a bicycle, contact a Maryland bicycle accident attorney to discuss your options.

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Under Maryland’s contributory negligence law, only those accident victims who are completely free of fault are able to recover for their injuries. This strict law, which is not applied by the majority of states, precludes many Maryland motorcycle accident victims from recovering for the injuries they’ve sustained. Thus, in a motorcycle accident case against an allegedly negligent driver, the focus is not just on the defendant’s conduct, but also on the plaintiff’s.

Of course, some motorcycle accidents cannot be avoided by even the most attentive and skilled riders. Thus, an accident victim cannot be faulted for failing to avoid an imminent collision caused by another’s negligence; otherwise, no Maryland motorcycle accident would ever be able to recover for their injuries. Courts will usually look to the plaintiff’s conduct leading up to the accident to determine whether the plaintiff bears any responsibility in bringing about the accident.

Courts may also consider a plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages. For example, if a plaintiff is injured in an accident and is told that she needs a certain surgery but does not get the surgery, the defendant may not be liable for the injuries caused by the plaintiff’s failure to get the required surgery. In other words, a plaintiff’s post-accident conduct can also be relevant to the availability of damages.

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Not long ago, this blog discussed the growing popularity of scooter-share companies across major U.S. cities. A scooter-share is a city-wide system where customers can rent motorized scooters on a short-term basis, and drop the scooters off at any of the scooter stations across the city.

The scooter-share companies experienced some significant pushback when expanding into new cities based on the fear that the presence of a scooter-share would result in roadways and sidewalks being more crowded with inexperienced riders. Notwithstanding these concerns, Dallas, Texas recently approved a scooter-share program proposed by the company, Lime.

Unfortunately, Dallas just recently suffered its first fatal accident involving the scooter-share program. According to a recent news report, the scooter’s rider was killed in what at this point seems to have been an accident of unknown cause. An incident of this nature is relevant to Maryland scooter accident victims as scooter-shares become increasingly popular throughout the nation.

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Off-road vehicles, including dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, can be a great activity for most of the year, making them a common hobby in Maryland. However, off-road vehicles also pose a serious danger to riders, passengers, and pedestrians alike.

As is the case with those who operate vehicles on the road, the operators of off-road vehicles must take certain precautions to avoid causing a Maryland ATV accident. This includes operating the vehicle in a responsible manner, following common etiquette when off-road, and remaining free from the effects of drugs and alcohol while operating the vehicle.

When an ATV accident does occur, there may be multiple parties who are liable to those injured in the accident. This may include the owner of the land where the injury occurred, another driver who caused the accident, or the manufacturer of a faulty or defective part.

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Each accident is different, and when it comes to determining which party was responsible for causing a Maryland bicycle accident, courts consider a number of factors. Of course, accidents involving drunk driving, or other violations of the traffic law, make determining fault easier; however, even in these situations the accident victim may encounter a difficult time recovering financial compensation for their injuries.

The reason Maryland bicycle accident victims may have a difficult time is due to the state’s contributory negligence rule. Under Maryland law, anyone who is even the slightest bit at fault for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries is precluded by law from recovering from any other party involved in the accident.

Most other states employ a much more victim-friendly approach, under which a partially at-fault accident victim can be awarded damages for their injuries, but the amount of damages awarded will be reduced by their own percentage of fault. Under Maryland law, however, even a bicycle accident victim who is determined to be just five percent at fault will be precluded from obtaining compensation for their injuries.

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Most Maryland motorcycle accidents involve only one person on the motorcycle because, while motorcycles are designed to carry a single passenger, they are more commonly operated by the driver alone. However, each year, there are hundreds of motorcycle accidents in which there is a passenger on the bike who is injured in the accident. In single-vehicle accidents or accidents in which the motorcyclist was at fault, the accident victim may look to the driver of the motorcycle for compensation for their injuries.

A motorcycle passenger can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver based on the driver’s violation of the duty he owed to the passenger. All drivers owe a duty of care to those whom they share the road with, and this includes passengers. When a driver’s negligence causes an accident, they can be held liable for any injuries that were caused as a result.

In most of these cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for the accident victim’s injuries. Of course, dealing with an insurance company following a serious motorcycle accident can be difficult, especially when the insurance company denies the claim or refuses to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations. In these situations, a Maryland personal injury attorney can assist accident victims in obtaining fair compensation for their injuries.

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