Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accident Case Law

While every accident is different, generally speaking Maryland motorcycle accidents often result in very serious injuries. In most cases, a motorist who causes a motorcycle accident will not have the financial means necessary to pay for the damages sustained in the crash. This is why it is so auto insurance is so important.

Maryland law requires that all motorists maintain a certain amount of insurance on their vehicle to compensate anyone who may be injured as a result of the driver’s negligence. In Maryland, there are three types of mandatory car insurance:

  • Liability: this coverage compensates those who have been injured as a result of the insured’s negligence
  • Property Damage: this coverage compensates accident victims for the damage to their property caused by the insured’s negligence; and
  • Un/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Protection: this coverage kicks in when another motorist’s liability insurance coverage is insufficient to fully compensate the insured for the injuries they sustained in an accident.

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One of the most frustrating aspects of being involved in a Maryland motorcycle accident is dealing with insurance companies. Vehicle insurance is required in Maryland, and for a good reason. However, unfortunately, insurance companies often make the recovery process harder on accident victims by creating additional stress and anxiety.

After being involved in a Maryland motorcycle accident, accident victims often have sustained serious injuries and have missed time away from work. However, life’s expenses do not stop and, when combined with potentially astronomical medical bills, accident victims find themselves in a difficult financial position. Too often, insurance companies prey upon these vulnerabilities be denying a claim they know that the accident victim will not have time to pursue or offering an accident victim a low-ball settlement offer in hopes of making the case go away.

A recent case illustrates the lengths that insurance companies will go to in an attempt to avoid financial responsibility for an accident.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case requiring the court to determine if a group of city contractors that designed and landscaped the foliage around an intersection could be held liable after a motorist was killed at the intersection. Ultimately, the court concluded that because the city approved the work and the alleged hazard was readily apparent, the contractors were absolved from liability.

The case is important for Maryland car accident victims because, while the exact doctrine applied in Maryland differs slightly from that which was applied in this case, the concepts and considerations underlying the court’s rationale are consistent with Maryland law.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the mother of a man who died after being struck by a truck upon entering an intersection on his motorcycle. The plaintiff claimed that the foliage surrounding the intersection obstructed the motorists’ view of the intersection as they approached, causing the accident.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raises an important issue for Maryland motorcycle accident victims who believe that their injuries were due to a poorly designed road or intersection. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff established that the government’s negligent planning and design of the road were the proximate cause of her injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger on a northbound motorcycle being driven by her husband. The couple approached an intersection in which they did not have a stop sign. At the same time, a pick-up truck was traveling in a perpendicular direction and had stopped at a stop sign. The driver of the pick-up truck looked both ways before entering the intersection; however, as he pulled into the intersection, the plaintiff and her husband collided with the side of the truck.

The plaintiff was seriously injured, and her husband died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the government in charge of designing and maintaining the road, claiming that the road was negligently designed. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the government was negligent in failing to install a four-way stop at the intersection, allowing too high a speed limit, and failing to provide adequate signage in advance of the intersection.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an interesting perspective on an issue that commonly comes up in Maryland motorcycle accidents. The case involved an accident victim’s claim that he was an “occupant” in the vehicle that struck him because, after the collision, the man landed atop the car, which was insured by the defendant insurance company.

While the court rejected the plaintiff’s creative argument, the case illustrates the type of outside-the-box thinking that can sometimes be successful in Maryland personal injury cases.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was stopped at a red light when he was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. After the collision, the plaintiff fell backwards, landing on the hood of the defendant’s car and rolling up the windshield before falling onto the ground. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries in the accident and filed a personal injury claim against the defendant.

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As a general matter, Maryland government employees, entities, and organizations are entitled to immunity from Maryland personal injury lawsuits. However, under the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), accident victims can pursue a claim for compensation against the government in certain limited situations.

Under the MTCA, victims can pursue a variety of claims against government entities up to the statutory limit of $400,000 per claimant per incident. However, certain conduct is removed from the MTCA and will not be covered. Namely, this is if the person or entity that caused the injury acted with malice or gross negligence or took actions not within the scope of the person’s employment. Other important exceptions also apply, and anyone considering a claim against a government agency or official in Maryland should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

A recent case discusses one motorcycle accident plaintiff’s difficulties when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a local government for the condition of the roads that she believed caused the accident. While the state’s tort claims act involved in the case is different from Maryland’s, the case illustrates some of the common difficulties plaintiffs have when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a government entity.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations that a local police department was liable for an accident that resulted from a high-speed chase that was initiated by police officers. The case is important for all potential Maryland motorcycle accident plaintiffs to understand because it illustrates the importance of ensuring that all procedural requirements are met when pursing a claim against a state or local government.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were riding a motorcycle on the highway when they were struck head-on by another motorist who was traveling the wrong way. One of the motorcyclists was killed in the accident, and the other was seriously injured. As it turns out, the other motorist was fleeing from police when he entered the highway going the wrong direction. As soon as the motorist got on the highway, police abandoned their pursuit.

The surviving motorcyclist believed she had a claim against the police department, arguing that it was responsible for the accident because the officers were negligent in initiating the pursuit. However, the plaintiff did not provide notice of the claim to the local government, as was required by law, but instead proceeded to file a personal injury claim with the court.

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Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an interesting issue that may arise in Maryland motorcycle accident cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s negligent entrustment claim against a rental car agency was sufficient as a matter of law, based on the fact that the agency rented a vehicle to a customer who was under 25 years old in violation of company policy.

The court ultimately concluded that the fact the agency rented to an underage driver, without any other specific knowledge of the driver’s habits or predispositions, was insufficient to show that the agency should have known the customer posed a risk to others.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident when the driver of a Ford Mustang made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle, cutting him off. As it turns out, the 21-year-old driver of the Mustang had rented the car from the defendant rental car agency. The rental car agency had a policy not to rent vehicles to those under 25 years of age. However, the owner of the agency made an exception and rented the vehicle despite the customer’s age.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Kentucky issued a written opinion in a motorcycle accident case that illustrates a very important principle that also applies to many Maryland motorcycle accident cases. The case required the appellate court to determine if sufficient evidence existed to support the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant. Finding that sufficient evidence did exist, the court affirmed the jury’s verdict.

The Facts of the Case

A few days after a major wind storm, the plaintiff was injured when he struck a fallen tree in the middle of the roadway. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the county engineer, as well as the engineer’s supervisor, arguing that they were negligent in failing to follow their duty to maintain a clear roadway.

Initially, the engineer argued that he was entitled to government immunity because he did not believe tree removal to be a part of his job. However, that issue was appealed, and it was determined that the engineer was not entitled to government immunity merely because he was unaware of his full duties. After that decision, the case was sent back to the trial court to proceed toward trial.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a motorcycle accident case illustrating what can happen if a party fails to comply with the pre-trial discovery process. While the decision was issued by a South Carolina court, the same principles apply in Maryland motorcycle accidents.

The case arose from a motorcycle accident that the plaintiff claimed was caused by the defendant’s negligence. After the case was filed, the parties each requested discovery from the other side. In the pre-trial discovery process, a party is able to request relevant information that it believes may be in the possession of the opposing side. Once a judge approves a discovery request, the party who has the information is required to pass it. A failure to pass the ordered discovery can result in various penalties, up to and including the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim.

In this case, the defendant requested certain income tax documents from the plaintiff. The judge granted the defendant’s request and ordered that the documents be passed by December 17, 2015. About a year after the deadline, the defendant filed a motion to compel discovery with the court. The court granted the motion and also ordered that the plaintiff pay some of the defendant’s attorney’s fees that related to the prolonged litigation over the documentation.

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