Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

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.

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.

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