Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Being involved in any Maryland bicycle accident is often a very traumatic experience. Hit-and-run accidents are no exception. In fact, for several reasons, Maryland hit-and-run accidents are considered by most to be one of the most traumatic types of motorcycle accidents.

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in an accident and then leaves the scene before checking to see if anyone else involved in the crash requires medical care. Because the identity of the at-fault motorist is not initially known, accident victims cannot focus solely on their recovery, and must work with law enforcement to help them locate the hit-and-run driver.

Often, police can locate a hit-and-run driver eventually, although that is not always the case. In the event that a Maryland hit-and-run driver is not ever found, an accident victim may still be able to pursue a claim for compensation. However, rather than file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company – as would be the case if the at-fault motorist was known – a hit-and-run accident victim must file a claim with their own insurance company, under the uninsured motorist provision. An experienced Maryland personal injury attorney can help those injured in a hit-and-run accident to pursue a claim.

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Last month, a motorcyclist was killed in a fatal accident near Waldorf involving one other vehicle. According to a local news report covering the tragic Maryland motorcycle accident, the man was heading southbound on Poplar Hill Road when an SUV crossed into his lane of traffic and collided with the motorcyclist head-on.

Evidently, the driver of the SUV was traveling north when the traffic in front of him began to slow down. The driver applied his brakes in an attempt to avoid rear-ending the traffic in front of him, but lost control of the vehicle. The SUV then began to skid toward the center median and eventually into oncoming traffic, where it collided with the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have begun an investigation into the fatal motorcycle accident, but have not yet determined whether the driver of the SUV will face criminal charges.

Recovering After Losing a Loved One in a Fatal Maryland Motorcycle Accident

The pain of losing a loved one in any type of traffic accident is immeasurable. And while nothing can be done to bring a loved one back, family members may be able to pursue a claim for financial compensation for the losses they have suffered.

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Losing a loved one is always a very difficult and trying experience. However, when a loved one is killed in a preventable accident, such as a Maryland motorcycle accident, the feelings of frustration, anger, and loss are difficult to push aside.

In cases involving a negligent driver, the criminal justice system is often disinterested in pursuing a claim against the responsible driver. This is because criminal courts are typically concerned with intentional actions that result in injury, rather than a motorist’s negligence or poor decision-making. And even when a criminal charge is filed, the family of the deceased is typically just along for the ride, having no real role in the proceedings. In addition, even a successful criminal case against a negligent driver will do little to provide for the loss of financial support provided by the deceased. Overall, a criminal charge does little to comfort the family of the deceased other punishing the at-fault driver.

Under the Maryland wrongful death statute, the family members of a Maryland motorcycle accident victim can pursue a civil claim for damages against a negligent driver. Unlike a criminal case, the objective of a Maryland wrongful death case is less focused on the at-fault driver’s violation of the law and more concerned with the loss of life that resulted from the driver’s negligent actions. If successful, the surviving loved one may recover amounts for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of financial support, as well as for emotional damages.

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When law enforcement officers respond to a serious Maryland motorcycle accident, the scene is often chaotic. The injured individual must be attended to, witnesses must be located and spoken to, and the scene must be secured and eventually cleaned up promptly as to not create an increased risk of causing a subsequent accident. As a result, determining fault in a Maryland motorcycle accident has always been an art as much as it has been a science, and extraneous factors such as inclement weather and the amount of traffic on the road at the time may influence how thoroughness of a post-accident investigation.

Often, investigators base their conclusions on assumptions. Of course, assumptions must be made, especially when there are conflicting accounts of what happened. Investigators will often “play out” the various witness accounts of what occurred to see which account makes the most sense. This is a time-consuming process, but also a necessary one because it is only after concluding an in-depth investigation that a cause of an accident can be confidently determined. And even then, investigators cannot be sure that they got it right.

According to a local news report, some law enforcement agencies are hoping to use recent advances in technology to assist them in determining the causes of serious traffic accidents. Earlier this month, a Chattanooga police received a call for a motorcycle accident. When officers arrived on the scene, they could immediately tell that there were two fatalities.

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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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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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When it comes to determining who was at fault in a Maryland motorcycle accident, the task is not always a simple one. While some motorcycle accidents involve only two vehicles and what happened in the moments leading up to the collision can be readily determined by surveying the scene, other accidents present a more complex scenario.

Law enforcement gets the first crack at investigating an accident. For the most part, law enforcement officials are concerned with determining who was at fault and whether that party’s conduct that gave rise to the accident constituted criminal behavior. And while a law enforcement investigation is important in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit filed by the injured party, it may not be sufficient in some cases.

Law enforcement investigators can also make mistakes, or may change their opinion of what caused the accident as new information comes in. For example, investigators changed their theory of how an accident occurred while investigating a recent motorcycle accident. According to a local news report, a motorcyclist was killed when he struck a turning semi-truck. A semi-truck cut in front of the motorcyclist, and the motorcyclist was unable to avoid the collision. The motorcyclist struck the side of the semi-truck, causing the driver to be ejected from the bike. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

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Each year, about 60 people are killed in Maryland motorcycle accidents. Improper lane changes, including passing another motorist where it is prohibited or unsafe to do so, account for a large number of these fatal accidents.

A motorist may make an improper lane change for a number of reasons. The most common types of improper lane changes are illegal passing and changing lanes without signaling. In each of these cases, other motorists are put in serious danger. While most of the time, those who make an improper lane change do not end up causing a serious accident, when an accident does occur, the motorist can be held liable for any resulting injuries.Recovering compensation in a Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit is much like any other personal injury lawsuit. However, motorcycle accident victims often encounter a difficulty that the drivers of other vehicles do not:  the stigma that is associated with riding a motorcycle. When people hear about a motorcycle accident, they often think “I wonder how fast the motorcyclist was going?” as though the default is that the motorcyclist was somehow at fault. Of course, that is not how the law views motorcycle accidents, and an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney can assist motorcycle accident victims in proving that they were a victim of another motorist’s negligence.

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When someone gets on the back of a motorcycle, the last thing they are expecting is that they are going to be injured or killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident. Indeed, the vast majority of motorcycle operators are responsible motorists, but not everyone appreciates the risks involved in operating a motorcycle, and some motorcyclists take unacceptable risks.

A passenger who is injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident may have a claim for damages against several parties. If the accident was caused by another driver, that driver and their insurance company may be on the hook for any injuries sustained by the victim.

In single-vehicle motorcycle accidents, passengers may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the driver of the motorcycle and the driver’s insurance company. In the event that the at-fault party does not have adequate insurance coverage, the passenger may be able to also file a claim with their own insurance company under the underinsured motorist provision.

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