Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that illustrates an important point to those who have been injured in a Maryland boating accident and believe their injuries were due to the inadequate warnings or defective construction or design of the vehicle. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case against the manufacturer of a personal water craft (PWC) was sufficient as a matter of law.

WaverunnerUltimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s case was not sufficient because it relied wholly on expert testimony that was found to be inadmissible at trial.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding as the fourth passenger on a PWC that was being operated by a 10-year-old child. At the time, the plaintiff had consumed some amount of alcohol, although it was unclear as to her level of inebriation. The plaintiff was wearing a bikini and was not wearing a wetsuit.

Continue Reading

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations that a local police department was liable for an accident that resulted from a high-speed chase that was initiated by police officers. The case is important for all potential Maryland motorcycle accident plaintiffs to understand because it illustrates the importance of ensuring that all procedural requirements are met when pursing a claim against a state or local government.

MailboxThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were riding a motorcycle on the highway when they were struck head-on by another motorist who was traveling the wrong way. One of the motorcyclists was killed in the accident, and the other was seriously injured. As it turns out, the other motorist was fleeing from police when he entered the highway going the wrong direction. As soon as the motorist got on the highway, police abandoned their pursuit.

The surviving motorcyclist believed she had a claim against the police department, arguing that it was responsible for the accident because the officers were negligent in initiating the pursuit. However, the plaintiff did not provide notice of the claim to the local government, as was required by law, but instead proceeded to file a personal injury claim with the court.

Continue Reading

Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an interesting issue that may arise in Maryland motorcycle accident cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s negligent entrustment claim against a rental car agency was sufficient as a matter of law, based on the fact that the agency rented a vehicle to a customer who was under 25 years old in violation of company policy.

Ford MustangThe court ultimately concluded that the fact the agency rented to an underage driver, without any other specific knowledge of the driver’s habits or predispositions, was insufficient to show that the agency should have known the customer posed a risk to others.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident when the driver of a Ford Mustang made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle, cutting him off. As it turns out, the 21-year-old driver of the Mustang had rented the car from the defendant rental car agency. The rental car agency had a policy not to rent vehicles to those under 25 years of age. However, the owner of the agency made an exception and rented the vehicle despite the customer’s age.

Continue Reading

Maryland offers thousands of miles of beautiful wooded roads, perfect for those looking to take a relaxing ride. However, anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on a motorcycle knows the anxiety that comes along with driving a motorcycle. No matter how confident a motorcyclist is in their own abilities, there is always the chance that another driver will cause an unavoidable accident.

SportsterAs with other auto accidents, there are many causes of Maryland motorcycle accidents. However, many of the major causes of motorcycle accidents are different from the causes of car accidents. For example, one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is when a driver makes a lane change into a motorcyclist. While this does occur among cars and trucks, it is much less common because these vehicles have a much larger profile and are easier to spot. Another common danger motorcyclists face is a car door that suddenly opens directly into a motorcyclist’s path, leaving little to no time for reaction.

Of course, other causes, such as drunk driving and distracted driving, are constant threats regardless of which type of vehicle a motorist is operating. In fact, it is estimated that these two causes alone explain about half of all motorcycle accidents. Lawmakers have tried to reduce instances of drunk and distracted driving by criminalizing the conduct, but some motorists do not seem to get the point.

Continue Reading

Not all accidents are created equal. Indeed, Maryland law attaches criminal consequences only to some types of accidents, such as Maryland DUI accidents and hit-and-run accidents. Other types of accidents, while not necessarily excusable, will not result in criminal charges, even if someone is found to have been at fault. This shows that, in the eyes of the law, there are various levels of culpability depending on the type of accident involved.

TachometerHit-and-run accidents are among the most strictly punished types of accidents, and for good reason. When someone flees the scene of an accident, they are not only attempting to evade financial and potentially legal responsibility for their actions, but they are also putting people’s lives in jeopardy by failing to get accident victims the help they desperately need.

As noted above, Maryland hit-and-run accidents can be punished criminally by the local prosecutor’s office. However, the victims of a Maryland hit-and-run accident can also pursue a civil claim for financial compensation from the at-fault party once they are located. Hit-and-run lawsuits can, although not always, present unique legal issues, especially when the identity of the driver is at issue. Thus, it is important for anyone considering a Maryland hit-and-run lawsuit to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Continue Reading

As spring approaches, and the weather starts to get warmer, more and more Marylanders are going to start parking the car in the garage and instead opt to get around on a motorcycle. Using a motorcycle as a primary means of transportation has a number of benefits; however, one of those benefits is not safety. Indeed, each year, there are hundreds of Maryland motorcycle accidents, many of these resulting in serious injuries or death.

Yield SignIt’s a known fact that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. However, only so much of that danger is within a motorcyclist’s control. While it is estimated that approximately half of all motorcycle accidents involve only the motorcycle, of those accidents involving two or more vehicles, most are caused by another driver’s negligence.

Establishing liability after a Maryland motorcycle accident can be difficult, depending on the specific facts of the case. One of the primary difficulties motorcycle accident victims face is the doctrine of contributory fault. Under the doctrine of contributory fault, an accident victim cannot legally recover compensation for their injuries from any other party if the accident victim is determined to have shared responsibility in causing the accident. Thus, it is very important that motorcycle accident victims reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their case. An experienced attorney can help accident victims present a compelling case for compensation, reducing the chance that a defendant is able to shift a small portion of fault onto the victim, which would essentially destroy their case.

Continue Reading

While many accidents are solely the fault of one party, some Maryland bicycle accidents are results of both parties having been negligent in some way. In most states, this would not necessarily present a major problem for the bicyclist because they would be able to file a claim against the driver even if the bicyclist shared fault for the accident. However, in Maryland, accident victims who are determined to be even the slightest bit at fault for the accident resulting in their injuries are completely precluded from recovering compensation for their injuries.

BicyclistIf this sounds harsh, that is because it is. In fact, most states employ a more relaxed analysis when determining which accident victims can pursue a claim of compensation after an accident, called the comparative fault model. Under a pure comparative fault analysis, an accident victim can bring a lawsuit against anyone they believe to be responsible for their injuries. If the jury determines that the plaintiff is also at fault, the jury will reduce the plaintiff’s total recovery amount by their percentage of fault.

Maryland, however, employs a contributory negligence model. As stated above, under a contributory negligence analysis, if the plaintiff is found to be at all responsible for the accident, the plaintiff’s case will be dismissed. This is even the case if the plaintiff is determined to be 1% at fault.

Continue Reading

No matter which types of vehicles are involved, Maryland hit-and-run accidents can be deadly. However, when a motorist strikes a bicyclist and then leaves the scene without making sure that the cyclist needs medical care, the chance of the accident resulting in serious injuries or death greatly increases.

BicycleOf course, leaving the scene of a serious accident is not just shocking to the conscience, but it is also against the law. Under Maryland Transportation Code section 20-102, drivers involved in accidents that result in bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death are required to remain at the scene of the accident. This is regardless of who was at fault.

Additionally, any driver involved in an accident resulting in any bodily injury must also “render reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in the accident, and they must also provide their name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license. The penalty for failing to comply with these statutes can result in up to a $10,000 fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.

Continue Reading

Maryland bicycle accidents are a major concern across the state. Indeed, cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are constantly taking steps to make their roads more bike-friendly in hopes of reducing the number of serious and fatal Maryland bicycle accidents. There are many causes of bicycle accidents, but most commonly these accidents are caused by distracted drivers.

Open RoadEarlier this month, one man was killed and another woman seriously injured after they were struck by a pick-up truck while participating in a bike race. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the driver of the pick-up truck evidently lost control of the vehicle and ended up crossing into oncoming traffic and driving on the gravel median on the opposite side of the road.

As the driver realized he was outside his lane, he attempted to get back into his lane, overcorrected, and ended up striking two bicyclists. The bicyclists were participating in a race at the time and were among many other bicyclists on the road at the time.

Continue Reading

Motorcyclists have the very same rights to use the roads as other motorists, and this means that other motorists must yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists when necessary. However, each year, there are thousands of motorcycle accidents involving a motorist’s failure to yield to a motorcyclist.

Yield SignOf all Maryland motorcycle accidents, the most common are when a motorcyclist is traveling straight and another vehicle attempts to make a left-hand turn in front of the motorcyclist. Indeed, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data suggests that approximately 40% of all motorcycle accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle are caused by the driver making a left-hand turn in front of the motorcyclist.

Left-turn motorcycle accidents are common for a number of reasons. First, motorists may not be accustomed to sharing the road with motorcycles, which have a slimmer profile than cars. This often results in a motorist’s inability to accurately gauge how fast a motorcycle is traveling at the moment the motorist decides to initiate a left-hand turn. Another common reason for left-turn motorcycle accidents is the motorist’s failure to see an approaching motorcycle. This is often due to distracted driving on the motorist’s part.

Continue Reading

Contact Information