Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

In the tragic event of the loss of a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident, family members may be able to recover financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim against those at fault for the crash. A wrongful death claim allows certain qualifying family members to file a claim to recover compensation based on the losses stemming from the victim’s death. However, the victim’s role in contributing to the accident may limit family members’ ability to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.

In a Maryland wrongful death case, if the victim is found to be at least partially at fault for causing their own death, the victim’s family cannot recover in a wrongful death claim. Maryland courts follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, which means that a plaintiff cannot recover if the plaintiff (or the decedent in a wrongful death claim) is found to be even partially at fault. For example, in a recent crash described below a motorcyclist died in a fatal motorcycle crash. In a case such as that one, a defendant might argue that the motorcyclist’s actions contributed to their death.

While most other states will still allow plaintiffs to recover at least some compensation if the plaintiff (or decedent) is found to be partially at fault, Maryland has not yet changed its law on contributing negligence despite calls for reform. However, a defendant will have the burden to prove that the victim was at fault because of the victim’s specific actions or failure to act. The defendant must provide some evidence of the plaintiff’s (or decedent’s) negligence. The standard for proving causation, like other elements of a negligence claim, is whether it is more likely than not to be the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

As roads are often being repaired, traffic is frequently reconfigured as a result. Maryland’s current “Traffic Relief Plan” includes improvements to I-495, I-270, I-695, and I-95, potentially affecting traffic patterns on major roadways in the state. And while repairs can improve the safety and condition of roads, changes in traffic configurations can also lead to Maryland motorcycle crashes as people adjust to the new configurations. Particularly on routes they are familiar with, drivers may not expect the detours, shifting or narrowing of lanes, new roads, or other new configurations. If they are not paying close attention, they may veer off the road or lose control. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects have continued in Maryland. And although there was less traffic in Maryland in 2020 due to the pandemic, fatal crashes in the state increased by 12 percent from the previous year, and overall crashes increased by nine percent.

Maryland drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care while driving, which includes being vigilant and looking out for new traffic configurations. Even if a driver encounters a dangerous situation because of a new traffic configuration, the driver must still exercise reasonable care considering the circumstances. The driver is expected to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable, prudent person would, considering the circumstances and in light of the time that the driver has to evaluate the choices.

If a driver fails to exercise reasonable care and injures another person, the driver may be liable for those injuries. In a Maryland negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that a defendant had a legal duty to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet that duty by acting or failing to act in some way, the defendant’s wrongful act caused the plaintiff damages, and the plaintiff suffered damages. A plaintiff has to prove all elements of a negligence claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Maryland motorcycle crash victims may be able to recover financial compensation through a civil claim for medical bills, wage losses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

When a person has been killed in a car or motorcycle accident, the family may get confused about whether they can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Often in these cases, criminal charges will be brought against the person who caused the accident. And because of this, most families assume they also cannot bring a lawsuit as well. However, this is not true. Families can still bring a wrongful death suit—even if the individual has criminal charges pending against them—in order to obtain compensation for their loved one’s death.

Last week, a man died in a two-vehicle collision on Route 50 near Berlin. According to a local news article, a driver of a Jeep was crossing Route 50 to continue northbound when a motorcycle struck the Jeep from behind. The motorcycle driver was then ejected and thrown into the median. The motorcycle driver was pronounced as deceased, and according to police, charges are pending against the Jeep driver.

Individuals who have lost a loved one in an accident often assume that if there are criminal charges, they cannot bring a civil lawsuit too. However, family members can still bring a wrongful death lawsuit to financially recover from the loss of a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action filed by the loved one of the deceased with the help of a personal injury attorney. There can be no criminal penalties in a wrongful death case; instead, the only available recovery is money. This is because criminal charges are brought by criminal prosecutors and can lead to incarceration—not monetary fines to be given to the family.

In the devastating event of the loss of a loved one in a drunk driving crash, the aftermath can be overwhelming. Figuring out funerals, bills, insurance policies, the loss of wages, and more while dealing with grief is a lot for anyone to handle. Filing a Maryland wrongful death claim against a drunk driver or another person responsible for the loss of a loved one may be one way to ease the financial burden and hold those at fault responsible for the crash.

Wrongful death claims may be filed in Maryland generally by a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased, who are considered primary plaintiffs under Maryland’s wrongful death statute. A secondary plaintiff—another family member who was substantially dependent on the victim—generally may file a wrongful death claim if no primary plaintiff exists. Only one wrongful death lawsuit can be filed arising from one victim’s death.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow family members who suffered a loss to recover compensation for their losses. It also acts as a way to hold responsible parties liable for a loved one’s death. In general, a Maryland wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the death of the deceased. Plaintiffs may be able to recover compensation for their own pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of care, lost income, and other damages.

One person was recently killed in a Maryland motorcycle crash involving a suspected drunk driver, according to one news source. The crash occurred shortly before 5:30 a.m. on southbound I-95 in Elkridge in Howard County, Maryland. According to law enforcement, the motorcycle was reportedly traveling southbound on I-95 when it was rear-ended by a car. The driver of the car continued traveling and crashed into a second vehicle. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car was taken into custody and charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.

Filing a Claim After a DUI Crash in Maryland

Drunk driving remains an issue in Maryland, despite efforts to reduce drunk driving crashes. According to the most recent statistics, thirty-one percent of all driving fatalities in Maryland involved alcohol. Drunk drivers are subject to criminal penalties and license sanctions. First-time offenders in Maryland face a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year behind bars, license revocation for up to six months, and 12 points on their license. Repeat offenders (those who have received a DUI within a 5-year period) face a fine of up to $3,000, three years behind bars, a license suspension of one year and a mandatory ignition interlock device after the suspension is lifted.

If an individual has been injured in Maryland drunk driving crash, they may be able to file a claim against the driver and others who may bear responsibility for the crash.

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Collisions with animals are common in Maryland and can be dangerous for everyone on the road. Motorcyclists and their passengers are especially at risk of injury or death in the event of a collision with a large or small animal that causes the bike to go out of control. A recent motorcycle-animal collision involving a deer led to the tragic deaths of a rider and his passenger.

According to a local news article discussing the accident, the motorcycle rider was traveling on a roadway in a sparsely populated area at night when a deer ran out into the road in front of the motorcycle. The rider was unable to avoid colliding with the deer and he and a passenger were thrown off the bike after the motorcycle struck the animal and cut it in half. When authorities arrived on the scene, both the rider and his passenger were pronounced dead. The article does not state whether the two deceased people were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

In the event of a Maryland motorcycle accident, a collision with an animal is not covered by insurance in the same way as collisions involving other vehicles. The property damage to a bike from an animal collision would not be covered by standard collision coverage, and a motorcycle owner would need to obtain comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to a vehicle caused by something other than a collision with another vehicle (this could also include damage caused by vandalism, theft, or a flood, for example). Injuries or deaths that occur as a result of a motorcycle colliding with an animal will be covered under a liability policy for bodily injury, in a similar manner to other types of collisions.

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.

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