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

When a parent allows a child to use their car, they are trusting that the child will operate the vehicle responsibly. However, history has proven that this is not always the case. In fact, due to the inherent risks of sharing the road with motorcycles, many Maryland motorcycle accidents are caused by young and inexperienced drivers.

Vintage MotorcycleMost people assume that when a child causes a motorcycle accident, the child’s parents can be held civilly liable for any damage and injuries caused by the accident, which are often quite serious. In a recent case, a state appellate court discussed when a parent may be liable for their child’s accident. That court applied the “family purpose doctrine,” which confers liability onto the owner of the vehicle that the related minor was operating when causing the accident. This is a blanket rule that applies by default, making it easier for accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries from a minor’s parents. However, under Maryland personal injury law, a different standard is applied.

Maryland employs a different doctrine, entitled negligent entrustment, when determining if a parent can be held liable for the negligent acts of their children. The question in a negligent entrustment analysis is 1.) whether the teen driver was incompetent to operate a motor vehicle, and 2.) whether the parent knew about the incompetence. The idea is that Maryland lawmakers have determined that a parent should not be liable for a child’s negligence unless the minor’s inability to safely operate a vehicle was known to the parent at the time they allowed the child to use the vehicle.

Continue Reading

Probably anyone who knows how to ride a motorcycle remembers navigating their first set of railroad tracks. To be sure, even railroad tracks that are no longer used pose a potential threat to motorcyclists, who can lose traction and skid out over the smooth surface of the tracks unless they are crossed in a perpendicular direction. However, active railroad tracks present a much more serious danger to all motorists, including Maryland motorcyclists.

Railroad TracksWhile not necessarily one of the top causes of Maryland bicycle accidents, several bicyclists and motorcyclists are involved in accidents on or near railroad crossings each year. While most of these accidents do not involve speeding trains, the danger is still present, and motorcyclists should take precautions whenever crossing railroad tracks. This is especially because a motorcyclist may not be able to hear a train’s horn over the sound of the bike’s engine.

Of course, not all the burden of avoiding an accident rests with the motorcyclist. The railroad company is responsible for the maintenance of a track, and local government agencies are tasked with ensuring that railroad crossings are safely designed to reduce the risk of an accident. When a motorcycle accident occurs on or near a railroad track, anyone injured as a result of the accident should reach out to a dedicated Maryland motorcycle accident attorney to discuss their case.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents a very important issue for the victims of Maryland bicycle accidents. The case required the court to interpret and apply the state’s recreational use statute, determining if the conduct of the government defendant in charge of maintaining the land where the plaintiff sustained his injuries rose to the level of “willful or wanton.”

Bike TrailFinding that the government’s conduct was not willful or wanton, the court determined that the government agency was entitled to immunity and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his bicycle on a mixed-use trail on a summer morning. As the plaintiff approached a pedestrian on the trail, he rang his bell and began to pass the pedestrian by moving into the middle of the trail. However, as the plaintiff steered the bike to the middle of the trail, the bike’s tire got caught in a crack that was about three inches wide and two inches deep, and ran approximately four feet in the direction of travel. As the bike’s wheel got caught, the plaintiff lost his balance and fell, injuring his shoulder.

Continue Reading

While many Maryland motorcycle accidents are clearly the fault of one party or another, other accidents present more a complex situation. For example, if both of the drivers involved committed a traffic violation, it may be difficult to determine which party should be held responsible. Similarly, if there are no witnesses to an accident other than the operators of the vehicles, this may create a “he said, she said” situation requiring additional investigation.

On the RoadWhen it comes to establishing who was at fault for a motorcycle accident, the initial job rests with the police. However, in some cases, a police investigation comes up short, failing to name either party. Or in cases of a hit-and-run accident, the at-fault driver may not be located. In either event, an accident victim can always seek compensation through their own insurance policy. However, in some cases, an insurance company will deny a motorist’s claim, leaving them with no means of financial recovery.

If an insurance company denies a motorist’s claim or offers insufficient compensation to cover a victim’s injuries, the accident victim can file a personal injury claim. However, Maryland applies a strict legal doctrine when it comes to determining which parties are entitled to compensation. Under Maryland’s contributory negligence rule, only motorists who are completely free from fault are able to recover damages for injuries they sustained in an accident. Thus, it is very important that motorcycle accident victims reach out to discuss their case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Continue Reading

Maryland bicycle accidents are occurring at a startling rate across the state. The majority of these accidents take place in larger urban areas, such as Baltimore or Washington, D.C., and most occur at intersections. Intersections present a particularly dangerous situation to bicyclists because many drivers are unfamiliar with the traffic laws as they pertain to bicyclists, and they assume that the bicyclist is going to yield to them. However, that is not what the law requires.

Garbage TruckAs a general rule, motorists must treat bicyclists as though they are any other vehicle on the road, with some exceptions. For example, motorists must take care in passing bicyclists and should leave ample room when pulling back in front of a bicyclist after passing. Additionally, motorists must leave at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicyclist. A driver’s failure to safely follow the traffic laws may result in their financial liability to anyone injured in an accident.

Settlement Reached in Bicycle Accident Case Involving Garbage Truck

Earlier last month, a settlement agreement was reached in a case involving a man who was struck by a garbage truck while riding his bicycle on the shoulder of the road. According to a local news report covering the accident and subsequent personal injury case, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit for $2.6 million.

Continue Reading

Contact Information