Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Under Maryland case law, courts will impose a presumption of negligence on a rear driver in cases where that driver strikes a vehicle that is stopped in front of them. The presumption allows the fact-finder (either the judge or the jury) to infer that the driver of the rear vehicle was negligent. Maryland rear-end collisions and “fender bender” accidents are the most frequently occurring type of collision in the state. Despite the rate of occurrence, these accidents can result in serious physical and property damage.

Accident reconstructionists explain that rear-ending a stopped vehicle can be the equivalent of hitting a concrete wall at half the speed the moving car was traveling. In an effort to reduce the severity of these accidents, Maryland traffic law § 21-310(a)(2005 mandates that motorists should not follow another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” Further, the statute explains that motorists should have regard for the speed of the vehicles around them and the highway’s condition.

Although the law permits the presumption of negligence in a rear-end accident, there are some cases where the accident was not the rear driver’s fault. For example, a recent news report described a motorcycle collision where it is unclear who was at fault. The preliminary investigation revealed that a motorcycle driver was traveling north when he hit the back of a sedan. The motorcyclist died at the accident scene, and the sedan driver and passenger did not suffer any injuries. Police state that an investigation of the accident is continuing.

Online shopping is one of the most lucrative streams of commerce in the United States. The steady increase in online shopping options combined with competition for quick delivery turnarounds has made the presence of delivery trucks ubiquitous throughout the United States. However, the demand has led to an increase in truck congestion and Maryland delivery truck accidents. After the United States Postal Service, FedEx is the next largest delivery company in America. In most cases, these large delivery companies take steps to ensure the safety of their fleet and the training of their drivers. However, consumer demand in conjunction with company expectations makes accidents an inevitable consequence of modern-day shopping.

For example, recent news reports described a catastrophic accident between a FedEx delivery truck and a motorcyclist. According to witness and police accounts, the motorcyclist was traveling east when a westbound delivery truck turned left into the biker’s bath. The motorcycle slammed into the front of the truck, ejecting the biker from his motorcycle. The delivery truck driver did not suffer physical injuries, but the motorcyclist remains in the hospital in critical condition.

The aftermath of these accidents largely depends on the type of delivery truck involved in the accident. FedEx maintains a variety of vehicles in its fleet, including small trucks, truck tractors-, trailers, and vans. In addition to small parcels and letters, these vans often transport household items, building supplies, machinery, agricultural supplies, and food items. When these trucks are involved in an accident, their cargo may become dislodged, posing a potentially serious health and safety risk to those in its vicinity.

Motorcycle crashes often result in severe injuries, and the aftermath can be overwhelming for Maryland motorcycle accident victims. However, there are time limits for filing lawsuits in Maryland, and a victim has to have time to gather evidence and prepare a claim. One consideration after a crash is whether an expert is required in the case.

An expert is not required in every case but may be necessary in some cases and very useful in others. Maryland courts have explained that expert testimony can be admitted if the court determines that the testimony will help the trier of fact (such as a jury) understand the evidence or decide a fact at issue in the case. A court will require expert testimony in cases where an issue is outside the common knowledge of a layperson. The expert also must be qualified to testify as an expert. Under Maryland court rules, a witness can testify if the witness’s knowledge, experience, education, skill, or training qualify the witness as an expert, the expert testimony is appropriate, and there is a sufficient factual basis for the testimony.

In a lawsuit after a Maryland motorcycle crash, an expert might not be necessary in a case where a driver was not looking at their phone and failing to keep their eyes on the road. However, an expert might be required, for example, to explain how a part malfunctioned on a motorcycle or how the crash caused the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Under the civil procedure rules in Maryland, a party may require another party to identify any experts that are expected to be called at trial, to summarize their findings and opinions, and provide any written expert reports.

The unexpected death of a loved one is devastating. Although nothing can bring a loved one back, a wrongful death claim may allow certain family members to hold wrongful actors responsible for their actions and to recover financial losses after a Maryland motorcycle crash. In Maryland, a wrongful death claim generally can be filed by a spouse, parent, or child of the victim. A spouse, parent, or child is considered a “primary” plaintiff for the filing of a wrongful death claim. In cases in which the victim has no spouse, parent, or child who qualifies to bring a claim, a wrongful death claim may be brought by any family member who is related to the victim by blood or marriage who was substantially dependent upon the victim. These individuals are considered to be “secondary” plaintiffs for the filing of a wrongful death claim—meaning that they can only file the claim if no primary plaintiff exists. There are also circumstances in which a certain family member may not qualify to bring a claim. Only one wrongful death claim may be filed based on the death of the victim.

A wrongful death claim is intended to compensate family members for their losses based on the victim’s death. It also provides an avenue for family members to hold others responsible for their wrongful actions. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the victim’s death. If the victim’s death was caused by an occupational disease, the claim must be filed within ten years of the victim’s death or within three years of the date when the cause of the victim’s death was discovered, whichever comes first.

Defendants in wrongful death cases will often argue that the victim was at least partially responsible for the victim’s death. In Maryland, recovery may be barred if a defendant is successful in proving that the victim was partially at fault. This means that family members often have to defend against such claims in addition to proving the defendant’s fault.

Left turns are generally made without any issue, but they are actually quite dangerous for Maryland motorcyclists. In fact, about one-fifth of all crashes in the United States are caused during a left turn, according to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). Even more alarming, in 42 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, the other vehicle was making a left turn while the motorcyclist was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle, according to statistics from the NHTSA in 2013. This type of tragic left turn accident occurred last week, killing the motorcyclist in the crash.

According to one news source, the motorcyclist was killed in the left-turn crash with a truck. A preliminary investigation by local law enforcement indicated that the 21-year-old truck driver was attempting to make a left turn and crashed into the motorcyclist as the motorcyclist was driving straight in the opposite direction. Police are continuing to investigate the crash and no charges have been filed yet. The 46-year-old motorcyclist had been riding a 2003 Harley Davidson and died at the scene of the crash.

Left turns are dangerous because drivers have to decide a number of things in a short period of time, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The NHTSA advises drivers to make sure to take the time to look in one’s rear and side-view mirrors and to wait until drivers can see around any obstructions and to scan the roadway for all users, including pedestrians and motorcyclists, who can be hard to see. The NHTSA reports that 41% of all motorcycle crashes are due to drivers reportedly failing to see motorcycles. Drivers may be distracted or it may be that weather, signage, or other parties played a role in the crash. Drivers may also have been under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medication. There are a number of factors and assigning blame and liability for the crash can be complicated in a personal injury lawsuit.

About one-third of all traffic fatalities are caused by alcohol, and while traffic has decreased during the pandemic in many places, drug use appears to be more common among drivers. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at five hospitals between March 2020 and July 2020 revealed that almost two-thirds of seriously or fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one drug. Alcohol sales also have reportedly increased in the U.S. during the pandemic. Maryland has serious criminal penalties and sanctions for those drivers guilty of a Maryland DUI crash. First-time offenders in Maryland may face up to one year, and jail can be fined up to $1,000 and face a six-month license revocation and 12 point license sanction. Drivers convicted of certain offenses must also participate in the state’s Ignition Interlock Program.

Injury victims in a DUI crash involving the use of drugs or alcohol may be able to recover financial compensation. If a driver was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that evidence is generally admissible in a civil case. There is also a lower burden of proof in a civil case, and a case may be possible even if a driver was not convicted of a criminal offense.

In a civil case, a victim has to prove that the driver had a duty, failed to meet the duty by acting or failing to act in some way, the victim suffered damages, and the driver’s acts caused the victim’s damages. Victims can also file a claim against people who provided alcohol to the driver in some circumstances. Although Maryland generally does not have a “dram shop” law that would allow individuals to sue a commercial alcohol vendor, a social host may be liable for serving alcohol to a drunk driver if there was a special relationship between the driver and the server.

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As the weather continues to warm, many motorcyclists will take to the roads for daily transportation and leisure. Most motorcyclists understand the importance of driving safely; however, accidents still occur. Whether consciously or not, the media and law enforcement often impose negative biases towards motorcyclists. These biases can significantly impact a motorcyclist’s recovery after a Maryland motorcycle accident. Stereotypes associated with riders often color them as reckless and dangerous. In turn, riders face a disadvantage during settlement negotiations, insurance disputes, and personal injury lawsuits. It is vital that motorcyclists contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies after an accident.

There are many unfair biases that an attorney can help a motorcyclist overcome. The main biases and prejudices that motorcyclists face come from law enforcement, medical providers, jurors, and media depictions of an accident. For instance, recently, a news report described a collision between a motorcycle and a mail truck. According to the article, the mail truck was stopped while attempting to turn left when a motorcycle drove into the vehicle’s side. The rider was ejected from his bike and suffered fatal injuries in the accident.

In cases such as the one above, the article describes the incident through a lens that may lead a reader to infer that the motorcycle improperly went through the light and hit the mail truck. These incidents often get reported to the police with the same inference. Law enforcement may enter a situation assuming that the motorcyclist was reckless. This perception may skew the entire investigation.

In 2019, a major motorcycle accident made headlines when a truck crashed into a group of motorcyclists, killing seven. A subsequent investigation found that the driver of the truck was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. Federal authorities reported that the crash, which occurred on a rural, two-lane highway, was likely caused by the truck crossing the road’s centerline. The trucking company was seen as at-fault, and authorities reported that the company and its owners had a substantial disregard for safety regulations and were not in compliance with them, which could have led to the crash. Now, almost two years after the crash, the owners of the trucking company have been charged with falsifying records and lying to authorities as the investigation continued.

According to a news article covering the update, the owners, a 35- and 36-year-old man, are alleged to have told at least one employee to falsify records and driving logs in an attempt to evade federal safety regulations. After doing so, they lied about it to a federal inspector. They are now facing criminal charges and may end up spending time behind bars for their actions.

This example illustrates the relationship between civil and criminal lawsuits after Maryland motorcycle accidents. While some people may think that having a lawsuit filed against you is the same no matter what, the two systems are actually different, and an individual may face both types of lawsuits at once. For instance, in the case discussed above, the owners are facing criminal charges. They may also, however, be facing civil charges.

Most drivers and motorcyclists make left turns every single time they drive, usually without giving them a second thought. Left turns are a common part of driving, but they can actually be incredibly dangerous for motorcyclists. Many Maryland motorcycle accidents occur when a car or another vehicle attempts to make a left turn but crashes into a motorcyclist that had the right-of-way. Because motorcycles do not offer the same structural protection that cars and other vehicles do, motorcyclists involved in these accidents are particularly susceptible to serious injuries or even death.

Just last week a tragic left turn motorcycle accident was reported by a local news station. The accident is said to have occurred around 12:50 PM one weekday afternoon. A 75-year-old woman driving a Nissan Versa sedan was traveling northbound on the road when she approached an intersection. At the intersection, she attempted to make a left turn. Unfortunately, a 17-year-old motorcyclist was traveling eastbound when the car turned in front of him, and although he tried to slow down, he was unable to avoid the collision. Officials responded to the scene of the crash and emergency responders later pronounced the motorcyclist dead, a tragic accident.

This tragedy is just one example of how dangerous left turn accidents can be for Maryland residents riding motorcycles. But what causes left turn accidents? Well, there can be many different causes and factors, which is one of the things that makes filing a personal injury lawsuit in the aftermath so difficult. It’s possible that alcohol may have played a role, with one or both drivers involved driving under the influence and making poor decisions on the road. Or, drivers could be distracted by their phone, or by a passenger in their car, causing them to not notice that the light was red, or that a motorcycle was entering the intersection. There’s also the possibility that a traffic light was malfunctioning, or that slippery weather conditions caused the crash.

A victim of a Maryland motorcycle accident may be dealing with a tremendous amount of stress in the aftermath of an accident. But accident victims have to keep in mind the time in which a claim must be filed to preserve their rights and their right to recover compensation. In Maryland, the time in which a claim must for filed (known as the statute of limitations) in a personal injury case is three years. A Maryland wrongful death claim also must be filed within three years.

The three-year period in an accident case generally begins to run when the crash occurs, but may begin later if the injury is not evident right away. A statute of limitations can be tolled, or extended, in some circumstances. For example, a victim may be so seriously injured that they lack the capacity to file a claim for some time. However, in general, statutes of limitations must be strictly followed. Failing to file a negligence claim within the prescribed statute of limitations will generally result in the claim being dismissed.

An experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney can help victims file a legal claim against all the defendants responsible for their injuries. In a Maryland negligence claim, a victim must show that a defendant was negligent by acting or failing to act in some way. That is, a plaintiff must establish that: the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to exercise due care, the defendant failed to meet that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s act or failure to act caused the plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiffs in Maryland accident cases may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, wage losses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages that may be applicable in their cases.

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