Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Although reckless driving puts everyone on the road at risk, it poses an extraordinary danger to motorcyclists who have very little protection from a potential crash. Unfortunately, Maryland motorcycle accidents are often fatal, although many are completely preventable. While it’s impossible to ensure that all motorists drive carefully to avoid potentially tragic accidents, the reality is that sometimes accidents will happen. However, when accidents happen as a result of reckless driving, Maryland law allows victims to hold the reckless driver responsible for the harm caused.

Motorcyclists who are injured as a result of another driver’s recklessness can file a negligence action against the driver which, if successful, can result in monetary compensation for their injuries. All drivers in Maryland are expected to exercise reasonable caution while on the roads, acting as careful as an ordinarily prudent person would under the circumstances. If a driver’s failure to drive safely results in an accident, any accident victims can pursue a claim of negligence. To be successful in such a claim, a plaintiff must prove that the driver had a duty to act carefully in the situation, the defendant failed to act carefully, and the plaintiff was injured as a result.

Take, for example, a recent motorcycle accident in Illinois. According to a local news report covering the accident, a motorcyclist and his passenger were driving south on a divided highway when the crash occurred. The driver of a Ford pickup truck, driving north on the same road, attempted to pass another car in a no-passing zone, and at a point where there was a curve in the road. Unfortunately, this resulted in a head-on crash with the motorcyclist. Both the operator and his passenger were thrown off of the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was seriously injured, and his passenger was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the pickup truck was uninjured.

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.

Motorcycle accidents are often traumatic and may lead to significant property damage and physical injuries. It is important that Maryland motorcycle accident victims receive immediate and continuous medical treatment for the injuries they sustain. Unfortunately, it is often impossible for an accident victim to receive the appropriate treatment when the culpable party leaves the scene of the accident. Because the injuries are often preventable, Maryland hit-and-run accidents are some of the most frustrating types of car accidents.

A hit-and-run accident occurs when one of the drivers involved in an accident intentionally leaves the scene without providing their pertinent identifying information or assisting someone else who was injured in the accident. A person might be considered a hit-and-run driver even if they were not at fault. However, most often, the person leaving the scene is the responsible party.

As noted above, in a hit-and-run accident an injured party may not receive appropriate medical treatment. This delay in treatment can lead to worsened injuries or even death. Moreover, the victim may have difficulty pursuing a claim for compensation without being able to identify the at-fault party.

Most Maryland motorcycle accidents are often unavoidable, in that there is nothing that can be done to prevent the accident. By the time another driver makes a mistake, it is typically too late. All a motorcyclist can do to protect themselves is take precautions to ensure that they have done everything in their control to reduce the chances of a fatal accident. This includes always wearing a helmet and keeping a lookout for dangerous drivers.

Of course, it isn’t a motorcyclist’s duty to avoid all accidents, and wearing a helmet doesn’t guarantee against injury. Motorcyclists have to rely on other drivers doing their part. Sadly, that is an expectation that is too frequently left unmet.

Late last month, an accident between a pickup truck and several motorcyclists killed seven and injured several others. According to a local news report, the accident occurred on a New Hampshire highway, just before 6:30 in the evening. Evidently, a group of 10 motorcycles was traveling eastbound as they approached a westbound pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer. The pickup truck inexplicably crossed over the center median and collided with the group of motorcycles. Seven drivers and passengers were killed, and three were hospitalized as a result of the accident.

Determining liability and the appropriate amount of damages in a Maryland multi-vehicle accident can be a complicated process. In many situations, other motorists will attempt to evade responsibility by blaming each other for causing the accident. This can make it more difficult for those injured in the accident to recover for their injuries. To avoid placing the burden of collecting from each defendant individually, Maryland follows the law of joint and several liability, meaning an accident victim can file a lawsuit for damages against both parties and recover the full amount of damages from any party the jury determines is liable.

Recently, an off-duty Maryland police officer died after he was hit by two vehicles on the Beltway. According to a local news report, the police officer was driving his motorcycle when a sedan lost control and veered into his lane. The driver of the sedan reported that he was trying to pass a slow-moving street sweeper. The police officer was thrown over a barrier and landed in the northbound lane. The police officer was then struck by two additional vehicles. He died from his injuries at the hospital later that evening. It is unclear which parties are at fault for the accident, but initial reports do not indicate that the police officer was responsible for the accident. Maryland State Police are still investigating the crash to determine what parties are at fault.

Maryland car accident victims can recover from multiple parties under the theory of joint and several liability. Joint and several liability allows a victim to recover damages either from each defendant separately or collectively. A typical scenario is when two drivers merge onto the highway and cause an accident or injury to a third driver. In these instances, a judge or jury will determine whether more than one party is responsible for the accident. If it is determined that multiple parties shared responsibility, each defendant will be responsible for all of the damages owed to the plaintiff.

The tragedy of losing a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident is an experience that no one should ever have to go through. However, on average, there are approximately 70 fatal Maryland motorcycle accidents each year. While some of these accidents are attributable to rider error, many involve negligent motorists who failed to take account of their surroundings.

Under Maryland law, when a person is killed due to another’s negligence, the surviving loved ones of the accident victim can pursue a Maryland wrongful death claim against all responsible parties. It is important the families of accident victims understand that Maryland law requires that a proper party file a wrongful death claim. Under Maryland Code § 3-904, a “primary beneficiary” must be the one to bring the claim. Primary beneficiaries are defined as the “wife, husband, parent, or child of the deceased.” If no primary beneficiary exists, “any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was substantially dependent upon the deceased” can bring the claim. These are referred to as secondary beneficiaries.

Once a party establishes that they are a proper party, they must be able to prove that the defendant’s actions were the cause of their loved one’s death. In this sense, a wrongful death case is similar to a traditional Maryland personal injury case, requiring a plaintiff to establish the four elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

In most Maryland motorcycle accidents, the parties involved each has their own version of what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. Often, this results in both sides telling their story to the jury, and the jury determining which of the parties’ version of the events is most credible. Of course, the other evidence presented at trial also plays an important role in assessing a witness’ credibility.

One particularly strong type of evidence is a motorist’s decision to leave the scene after an accident before the police arrive. Jurors may rightly wonder why an innocent driver would attempt to flee the scene of an accident. Additionally, a motorist’s decision to leave the scene while there are others who were involved in the crash and may be in immediate need of medical attention shows a certain callousness. For these reasons, Maryland hit-and-run accidents are often strong cases for the accident victim.

After any Maryland traffic accident resulting in injury, property damage, or death, all motorists involved in the collision must stop and provide their name, address, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Additionally, motorists must “render reasonable assistance” to anyone who was injured in the accident when the injured party requests assistance or if it is reasonably apparent that they require medical assistance. A motorist’s failure to comply with these requirements can not only result in criminal sanctions, but can also be the basis of an independent Maryland personal injury lawsuit.

In April 2019, a woman was killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident when a dump truck backed into a motorcycle she was riding on as a passenger. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision occurred around 11:30 in the morning in St. Mary’s County, near the intersection of Mt. Wolf Rd. and Chappelear Drive.

Evidently, a group of county public works employees were working alongside the road. One of the crew members passed the work crew while driving a dump truck. The employee pulled the dump truck over to the side of the road, intending on backing the truck up next to the crew. However, as the driver began to back up, he ran into a motorcycle. The driver told police that he checked his mirrors before proceeding to back up, but that he did not see the motorcycle behind the truck.

The motorcycle passenger was taken to the hospital, but soon after died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident. The driver of the motorcycle was also hospitalized with serious injuries, but is expected to recover.

Earlier this month, an Upper Marlboro man was fatally injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident when he collided with another vehicle that was in the process of making a U-turn. According to a local news report, the fatal crash occurred around 10 in the evening on northbound Route 301, in Waldorf.

Apparently, the motorcyclist was traveling on 301 northbound at a high rate of speed. As the motorcyclist approached Central Avenue, a pick-up truck that was heading southbound on 301 began to initiate a U-turn. As the truck was in the middle of the U-turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pick-up truck. The force from the collision spun the pick-up truck 18 degrees.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The driver of the pick-up truck was injured and transported to the hospital. Police told reporters that they believe speed to have been a factor in the accident.

Earlier this month, a Maryland motorcyclist was killed after he intentionally laid his motorcycle down to avoid an imminent collision. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the crash occurred near the intersection of Abingdon Road and Windy Laurel Drive in Abingdon, shortly before noon. Weather conditions were clear.

Evidently, the motorcyclist was traveling eastbound on Abingdon Road when a westbound minivan attempted to make a left turn in front of the motorcycle. While there have not been any eyewitnesses that have come forward, after investigating the scene of the accident police believe that the motorcyclist laid down the motorcycle in an attempt to avoid a collision with the minivan. The motorcyclist was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where he later died from the injuries he sustained in the accident.

Police urged all motorists to “pay attention,” explaining that motorists should be especially careful this time of year, when more motorcycles are on the road. The accident remains under investigation, and no criminal charges have been filed against the driver of the minivan.

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