Articles Posted in Bicycle Injury Accidents

Despite decades of public service announcements and millions of dollars spent on educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving, some motorists continue to refuse to comply with the law. When drivers get behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they put everyone on the road at risk. Indeed, in an average year, there are approximately 170 Maryland drunk driving deaths.

BicyclistsWhile the impact of drunk driving can affect anyone using the road, bicyclists are at a particular disadvantage, given the total lack of protection bicycles offer riders. Aside from wearing a helmet and following traffic laws, bicyclists can do little to avoid drunk drivers. And once an accident occurs, the likelihood of it resulting in a serious injury or death is extremely high.

Maryland lawmakers understand the need for strict drunk driving laws and have implemented a strict set of criminal punishments to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Similarly, civil remedies are available for victims of bicycle accidents through Maryland personal injury lawsuits. Anyone considering filing a personal injury lawsuit against a motorist believed to have been at fault for causing a serious Maryland bicycle accident should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

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The death of a loved one is tragic. In Maryland motor vehicle crashes, the party at fault for the crash should be held responsible for their actions. The wrongful death statute in Maryland allows certain family members to recover compensation after the family members’ death. The purpose of the statute is “to compensate the families of the decedents, as opposed to the estates of the decedents.” Therefore, a wrongful death claim is a separate claim that can be brought by the decedent’s family.

Old-School BicycleThe law allows for certain beneficiaries to file a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. Primary beneficiaries are defined as the spouses, parents, or children of the deceased person. If no primary beneficiaries exist, Maryland law permits secondary beneficiaries to pursue a claim. A secondary plaintiff is any other person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was wholly dependent on the decedent.

In order to prove liability, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s wrongful act resulted in their loved one’s death. Under the statute, a wrongful act is an “act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the injured party to maintain an action and recover damages” if the person had not died. Plaintiffs may recover damages for not only pecuniary losses but also pain and suffering, loss of companionship, parental care, guidance, and more.

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Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by an injured bicyclist against the federal government. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which generally grants immunity to government actors acting in a discretionary manner. Ultimately, the court determined that the government employees were acting in a discretionary manner and that the government was entitled to immunity.

Forest TrailThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was with a friend, mountain biking in the De Soto National Forest. The two began their ride on the Couch Loop Trail. However, the plaintiff did not stop at the trail-head’s bulletin board, which displayed a sign indicating that the loop was closed.

The plaintiff rode on the trail for a while, before taking an “alternate route.” This alternate route contained some obstacles that were illegally built by members of a local bike club. The plaintiff rode over one of the obstacles and fell, seriously injuring herself. She then filed a premises liability lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that it was negligent in maintaining the trail, as well as negligent for failing to warn her about the dangerous conditions present on the trail.

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One of the major causes of motorcycle and bicycle accidents that involve another vehicle is the other driver’s failure to see the motorcycle or bicycle. Most often, the failure of a driver to see a motorcyclist or bicyclist is caused by one of several things. Perhaps most common is the driver’s inattention at the time of the accident. With the prevalence of text messaging and cell-phone navigation, drivers are spending more and more time on their phones while behind the wheel, even though it is against the law in most cases.

BicycleAnother common cause of a driver’s failure to take notice of a motorcyclist or bicyclist is the slim frame that these smaller vehicles have. Most motorists are accustomed to sharing the road with other cars and trucks, and are able to adjust their behavior when they must share the road. However, the average motorist sees a motorcyclist far less often than they see other cars. This can lead a motorist to overlook a nearby motorcycle, and it can also make it difficult for a motorist to gauge the speed at which an oncoming motorcycle is approaching.

Regardless of why motorists routinely fail to notice motorcyclists and bicyclists, at the end of the day, it is the motorist’s responsibility to be familiar with their surroundings. If a motorist causes an accident because they didn’t see a motorcyclist or bicyclist, that will not necessarily be a valid reason to avoid liability.

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Whenever a bicyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the potential for serious injuries is extremely high, even if the bicyclist is wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. In many bicycle accident cases, accident victims will require lengthy stays in the hospital, followed by months of physical therapy, before their life starts to return to normal. Necessarily, this means weeks or months out of work and potentially astronomical medical expenses, not to mention the emotional toll that the accident takes. In some cases, an accident victim is left with irreparable injuries that will stay with them throughout their life.

BicycleAfter a bicycle accident, an injured bicyclist is entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver they believe to be at fault for the accident. In some cases, the driver may not be located or may not have adequate insurance; however, there still may be an avenue of recovery through the bicyclist’s own insurance policy. Through this process, an accident victim may be able to seek financial compensation for the various costs associated with the accident, including their past and future medical expenses and lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering they endured as a result of the accident. Anyone injured in a serious Maryland bicycle accident should seek out a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss their case.

Bicycle Accident Leaves Teen Paralyzed

Recently, a Texas teenager was struck while he was riding his bike on a public road. After the initial collision, the teen ended up crashing into the car’s windshield before bouncing off and landing on the road. According to a recent local news report, after the accident, the driver responsible for the crash fled the scene. Thankfully, another passing motorist did stop and render aid. However, the teen was unable to feel his legs and was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

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Hit-and-run accidents are difficult for most people to comprehend. Not only does a hit-and-run driver potentially evade responsibility for their actions when they leave the scene of an accident, but they also leave the other parties involved in the accident in a potentially life-threatening situation. Indeed, many accident victims survive the initial impact of a collision but require immediate medical care to ensure a full recovery. In most cases, the person who is in the best position to get an accident victim help is the driver of the other vehicle.

Child on TrikeWhen a driver flees the scene of an accident, they are putting others in grave danger and can be held accountable under Maryland law. In order for a hit-and-run accident victim to successfully recover compensation for their injuries, they must be able to prove that their injuries were caused by the hit-and-run driver’s negligence. Even if a hit-and-run driver was not at fault for the initial collision, he may still be liable to an accident victim he leaves on the side of the road without the necessary medical assistance. This is especially the case when an accident victim can show that their injuries were worsened because they did not receive timely medical attention.

One of the most difficult parts of recovering after a hit-and-run accident is locating the driver. However, thankfully, police generally take these cases very seriously and scour the scene for evidence that can be traced back to the at-fault driver. Anyone who has been struck by a hit-and-run driver – regardless of whether the driver has been located – should reach out to an experienced attorney to determine if they may have a right to financial compensation.

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Of all types of motorcycle and bicycle accidents, hit-and-run accidents are perhaps some of the most upsetting. This is not just because of the fact that the injured victim may not receive medical attention in a timely manner, but also because these accidents show just how selfish and uncaring some motorists can be.

Skid MarksIn general, motorists have a duty to stop and render aid after they are involved in any kind of accident. This duty even requires drivers to stop after accidents that are not caused by the motorist’s negligence. The purpose for this broad general rule is two-fold. First, this rule ensures that anyone injured in an auto accident receives timely medical attention, regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident. Second, it prevents the need for motorists to make snap decisions about their own liability before deciding if they should stop and assist the others involved in the accident. In addition to ensuring anyone who needs medical treatment receives it, a motorist must also exchange all pertinent information with the others involved in the accident and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

Hit-and-run accidents are criminal offenses, and police take investigations into hit-and-run accidents seriously. Often, through a police investigation, hit-and-run-drivers are caught in the days or weeks following the accident. When a bicyclist or motorcyclist is a victim of a hit-and-run accident, they may be entitled to monetary compensation once the driver is located, regardless of whether any criminal charges are filed or substantiated. A skilled personal injury attorney should be consulted prior to filing any case arising from a traffic accident.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in New York affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a 12-year-old boy who was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on a four-lane road. In the case, Turturro v. City of New York, the court ultimately denied the City’s challenge that it was entitled to governmental immunity. However, had this case arisen in Maryland, the jury would have been unable to award the plaintiff anything, due to a difference in the substantive law between the two states.

Bicyclist at SunsetThe Facts of the Case

Turturro was riding his bicycle on Gerritsen Avenue at around 6:30 in the evening. At the specific location where the accident occurred, the road was four lanes wide with two lanes in each direction, and the speed limit was 30 miles per hour. Turturro filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver as well as the City of New York.

Evidence presented at trial suggested that the motorist who struck Turturro was traveling at approximately 54 miles per hour. Turturro also presented evidence showing that the specific location where the accident occurred was a known high-risk area for speeding and drag racing. In fact, Turturro showed the jury several letters written by members of the community to the City, asking for something to be done about the problem.

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Earlier this month in a Chicago suburb, a fatal bicycle accident claimed the life of one woman. According to a news report covering the tragic accident, police decided not to issue any citations to the other driver involved because there was no evidence that the driver violated any provision of the motor vehicle code.

IntersectionEvidently, the intersection where the accident occurred has a history of problems, since there are six entries into the intersection, and several of the roads come into the intersection on a curve. The article notes that the city where the intersection is located has conducted a study to come up with ideas on how to improve the safety of the intersection. For example, the city recently put up yield signs, requiring east- and west-bound drivers to yield to north- and south-bound drivers.

Authorities determined that the driver of the car that struck the bicyclist was not at fault for the accident because it appeared as though the bicyclist failed to yield to the car. At this point, no citations have been issued.

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While most car accidents involve the negligence of at least one driver, the cause of some single-vehicle car accidents can be traced back to a poorly designed or improperly maintained roadway. In some cases, this may mean that the roadway obscures the vision of motorists, making it more difficult, or even impossible, for them to see what lies around a corner. In other cases, a rough or deteriorating road surface makes it difficult for vehicles to maintain control or come to a safe stop.

Sunny RoadUltimately, the duty resides with the state or federal government to design and maintain a safe network of roads and highways. However, liability for the design or maintenance of a roadway is not always present and depends on a number of factors. Generally speaking, if a government agency has knowledge that a road is dangerous, the government should take action to remedy the danger. Many times, this comes down to presenting a court with statistics of car accidents that have occurred on the same stretch of road, or submitting evidence that an inspection of the road was completed but no action taken.

Road to Be Redesigned after Several Fatal Accidents

Earlier last month, a bicyclist was killed on a stretch of road in Chicago when she was struck by a passing cement truck. According to a local news source covering the tragic accident, the 18-year-old bicyclist accidentally turned into the side of the passing cement truck. The exact details are unclear, but authorities believe that the bicyclist misjudged the length of the truck and initiated her turn too soon.

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