Articles Posted in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

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.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can be incredibly dangerous. Motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection when they get into a crash than those in other vehicles, such as cars and trucks. Their body is exposed, and as a result, they are more likely to suffer severe injuries or even death when they’re involved in a crash. For example, just last weekend a 42-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a tragic crash.

According to a news article reporting on the accident, the crash happened Saturday evening around 10:40 PM on a highway. The motorcyclist was heading south on the highway when a 59-year-old man driving a 2013 Mini Cooper heading south turned left, failing to see the motorcyclist approaching the intersection. The front of the motorcycle ended up slamming into the passenger side of the Mini Cooper. The force of the impact caused the motorcycle to break apart into several pieces. Tragically, the motorcyclist was seriously injured and transported to the hospital, where she died shortly after. The investigation of the crash is still underway.

This tragic accident is a sad reminder of how dangerous Maryland motorcycle accidents can be for riders. Because of this, a large number of Maryland residents may know what it feels like to lose someone they love in a motorcycle accident and may be wondering if and how they can recover. While, unfortunately, nothing can bring their loved one back, the state’s laws do allow victims to recover financially for their losses through what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are brought against the individual or party who caused the accident and the death, so in this case, it might be brought against the driver of the Mini Cooper. If successful, these lawsuits can result in monetary damages granted to families to cover medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even funeral and burial costs.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can happen very quickly—in the blink of an eye. One moment, drivers and motorcyclists are on their way, and the next, there might be a tragedy. Because of this, sometimes, in the aftermath, it is unclear what exactly happened, or what caused the collision. While in some cases it may be clear—a driver ran a red light, for example—in many other cases, the individuals involved will have no clue what occurred, just that they were driving and suddenly everything changed. In these cases, there may need to be a significant amount of investigation after a motorcycle accident to determine what happened. This is what accident reconstruction experts specialize in.

For an example of an accident requiring this type of investigation and reconstruction, take a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred just this month. According to the news article covering the incident, the accident involved a motorcycle and a 2007 Jeep Cherokee SUV and occurred around 4 PM one Saturday afternoon. The motorcycle was traveling east on one road, and the SUV was attempting to cross that road when they collided. Sadly, the driver of the motorcycle, a 27-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two children in the SUV were seriously injured. The 2-year-old child’s injuries were life-threatening, and they were transported by helicopter to a children’s hospital. The 7-year-old’s injuries were critical, but not life-threatening, and they were taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance before also being brought to the children’s hospital by helicopter. The crash is still under investigation, and it’s not known at this time what happened or what the cause was.

Motorcycle crashes with unclear causes can be very frustrating for those impacted. Without knowing what happened, Maryland residents are unsure if they caused it or if someone else did. The lack of answers can be difficult for many, especially while mourning a loss or recovering from injuries. But injury victims should know that even with an unknown cause and an ongoing investigation, they can still reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss the case, their options, and their legal rights. Doing so can help prepare them and their family for when the cause of the accident is identified, and help the family feel in control during a precarious and difficult time. This early preparation can also be helpful to avoid missing the window of time within which one must file suit—the statute of limitations. As such, motorcycle accident victims are encouraged to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after a crash.

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