Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

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.

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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