Articles Posted in Motorcycle Injury Accidents

Motorcycles are a great way to get around, especially during this time of year. However, hopping on a bike also carries its fair share of risks. Motorcycles don’t offer rides the same protection as other vehicles and, not surprisingly, serious injuries are very common in Maryland motorcycle accidents.

Not only are motorcycle accidents more serious than accidents involving other vehicles, but they also happen more frequently. Due to the smaller profile of motorcycles, many drivers have a hard time noticing a rider, and, even if they do, they may have a more difficult time assessing their speed. This is one reason why left-turn motorcycle accidents are so common – drivers misjudge the speed of an oncoming motorcyclist and cut them off.

Recently, a motorcycle accident in Mechanicsville, MD, resulted in a rider suffering serious injuries. According to a local news report, the accident occurred at 6:35 p.m. on Memorial Day near the 27000 block of Three Notch Road, in the area of Old Village Road.

Sometimes, when a Maryland motorcycle accident occurs, it is unclear what exactly happened. These accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and it is surprisingly easy for the people involved and those who witnessed it to actually have no idea what happened. But, in some cases, there is actually a video of the crash. Recently, a certain video of motorcyclists on the interstate made headlines when it showed that the motorcyclists were breaking the law, a huge hazard and potentially leading to major crashes.

According to a local news article, the video shows motorcyclists breaking the law doing slow tricks on the interstate. These slow tricks can be a huge frustration for other drivers on the interstate—they can interfere with the flow of traffic and cause accidents. In short, they put the whole public and drivers in danger. For instance, earlier this year, a group of motorcyclists doing these tricks was in the way of traffic, and a truck tried to pass them but ended up crashing into one. Both the truck driver and the motorcyclist were taken to the hospital, showing how reckless driving can cause serious crashes. And, it is helpful when these motorcycle tricks are caught on camera—if an accident is caused, then officials can refer back to the video to know exactly what happened. These videos can also be used in personal injury lawsuits to prove who caused the accident and who is liable for the ensuing damage.

However, videos like this can cause the general public to believe that all motorcyclists are reckless and constantly causing accidents. But this is an unfair characterization—most motorcyclists are cautious and responsible. If they get into an accident, it is very possible that they were not the cause—but because of videos like these, others involved may assume that it was the motorcyclists’ fault. Even in cases where motorcyclists are hit by cars and injured or even killed, there may be a dominant narrative that it was their fault. Not only is this unfair, but it can really affect the outcome of their personal injury lawsuit, should they choose to file one. They may want to recover against a driver who hit them and caused them injuries, but perhaps the jury is unfairly biased against them and presumes it was their fault. In situations like this, the motorcyclist will want to rebut this assumption and make their best possible case to the judge, but this can be difficult on their own. That’s why many choose to work with a personal injury attorney—an experienced advocate who can defend their legal rights and who understands the laws in this area.

Although many residents are increasingly aware of the risks of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Maryland drunk driving accidents still occur with startling frequency. When an individual drives under the influence, they are more likely to make reckless decisions and harmful errors while driving—swerving into the other lane, running red lights, etc. These acts can cause significant damage or even death when they lead to Maryland motorcycle accidents. While there is of course a risk of accidents with any vehicles, motorcyclists are especially at risk for serious, life-threatening injuries due to the relative unprotection they have around their bodies compared to drivers in cars or trucks.

For example, just recently a motorcycle accident sent two to the hospital. According to a local news report from the second week of February, an intoxicated driver was driving northbound on the road when she veered into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a motorcyclist. There were two occupants on the motorcycle—the passenger and the driver. Following this shocking accident, both were seriously injured, and both had to be transported to a nearby hospital; one via helicopter and the other by ambulance. Their conditions are currently unknown, and the incident is still under investigation.

This tragic accident highlights two things. First, it’s an apt and unfortunate illustration of the risk Maryland motorcyclists face when they or another driver decides to go on the road under the influence. While individuals may think they are only taking a small risk for themselves, the reality is that driving intoxicated puts everyone else on the road at risk and could cause life-threatening injuries or even death. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are especially likely to be harmed due to someone else’s reckless actions.

Maryland motorcycle accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Even one small mistake while driving or another unfortunate occurrence can cause a major crash leading to severe bodily injuries. In addition to the bodily harm that one might face as a result, however, Maryland motorcycle accidents can cause financial strain, primarily through medical bills and lost wages. And in the aftermath of these accidents, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to move forward. But there are some key things Maryland motorcyclists who are injured in motorcycle accidents should do afterward, to protect their legal rights and get themselves on the path to recovery, both physically and financially.

Immediately after the crash, a motorcyclist should report the accident. Letting authorities know about the crash and speaking with a police officer about what happened can aid the official investigation of the crash and help an accident victim understand what exactly occurred and who else was involved.

Individuals should also immediately seek medical treatment. Sometimes, motorcyclists may not realize the extent of their injuries right away and may not immediately seek help. But this can be a mistake. Not only can prompt medical attention prevent injuries from getting worse, but not seeking it immediately may weaken an accident victim’s future civil case against the individual who caused the accident. It is also important to continually keep up with medical appointments and treatment and follow the doctor’s advice while recovering from the injuries.

One of the fundamental things all Maryland residents learn when learning to drive is how to safely change lanes. Changing lanes is a common part of driving, and when done safely, it does not cause any harm. However, failure to follow safety protocols whilst changing lanes, or even just not paying attention, can cause serious harm to others—especially motorcyclists on the road. In fact, negligence while changing lanes can cause serious or even deadly Maryland motorcycle accidents, since motorcyclists have far less protection around their bodies than drivers of other vehicles and are more easily knocked onto the road.

Take, for example, a recent fatal motorcycle accident that killed a Maryland motorcyclist. The crash occurred on I-95, according to a local news report, around 4:30 one afternoon. A 29-year-old woman from New Jersey was driving along the interstate when she decided to merge left. However, she merged into the path of a motorcyclist, a 30-year-old woman from Odenton, Maryland. The cyclist was thrown from her motorcycle, causing severe injuries. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The crash is still under investigation, but it provides a tragic illustration of how dangerous negligent lane changing can be. While the car could have changed lanes into the path of other vehicles—cars and trucks—the odds are that the resulting crash would have been less deadly, since drivers in cars and trucks are better protected by their vehicles. In addition, it is easier for drivers to spot cars and trucks in the other lanes, but harder to spot smaller motorcycles.

Motorcyclists face the unfair stigma that they are reckless and aggressive drivers, which often leads to the conclusion that they are at fault after a Maryland motorcycle crash. In reality, most motorcyclists are generally safe drivers. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one-half of all motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. Almost 40 percent were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist. Further, according to the NHTSA, when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. In fact, in two-vehicle crashes involving passenger cars and motorcycles, 35 percent of the driver-related factor was the failure to yield the right-of-way compared to only 4 percent of motorcyclists who failed to yield the right-of-way.

A non-motorcycle driver may violate a motorcyclist’s right-of-way for various reasons. For example, motorcycles are smaller and may be less noticeable and more easily obscured, such as in a larger vehicle’s blind spot. Non-motorcycle drivers also may not be accustomed to motorcyclists’ movements and driving with them in general. Yet, motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as other vehicles on roadways. Motorcyclist advocates say that other drivers should look out for motorcyclists and educate themselves about motorcycles and how to drive safely with them in the roadway. To drive safely with motorcyclists, other drivers are supposed to allow motorcyclists a full lane width to allow motorcyclists to maneuver safely.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are over-represented in traffic crashes and fatalities throughout the United States. According to the NHTSA, almost 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2018. Motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as occupants in cars to die in a motor vehicle crash. In addition, seemingly minor crashes can result in serious injuries for a motorcyclist. But while insurance companies and juries may be quick to blame motorcyclists for causing the accidents, the stigma against motorcyclists can be overcome. For example, investigation after a crash, accident reconstruction, discovery tools, and litigation are some of the ways experienced legal advocates can build evidence in a party’s favor after a crash in order to hold the negligent party responsible. Injured motorcyclists should seek the compensation that they deserve if they are injured in a crash, despite any stigma they may face in the claims process and in court.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), accidents are among the leading causes of death in the United States. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) reports that their most recent data indicates that the state experienced an average of over 500 car accident-related deaths and 48,000 injuries over the most recent five-year period. Although some accidents are avoidable, the vast majority of accidents occur because of one or more parties’ negligence. Statistics indicate that these accidents are especially deadly when a motorcycle is involved.

Most Maryland motorcycle accidents involve a read-end or head-on collision, left-turn collision, low-speed crash, or hit-and-run accidents. The majority of these accidents involve a negligent motorist. The most common reasons for these accidents are speeding, driving while impaired, distracted driving, driver fatigue, weather conditions, and sudden, unsafe traffic movements, such as hasty lane changes.

Motorists who change lanes endanger motorcyclists or pedestrians, and everyone else on the road. These reckless drivers may be liable for their unsafe driving. Sudden, unsafe lane change accidents typically occur when drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings or other vehicles. Similarly, these accidents also occur when a motorist is speeding or cutting through traffic. Further, inclement weather and unsafe road conditions may cause drivers to quickly change lanes, resulting in an accident. Finally, in some cases, sudden traffic changes may occur when a motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In any event, these accidents frequently involve motorcyclists, which are more difficult to see due to their slim profile.

Recently, two individuals riding a motorcycle were seriously injured when they collided with a pickup truck making a left turn, leading to the tragic death of the 27-year-old passenger. According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash occurred at around 9:30 in the evening, and the driver of the motorcycle, who survived, had to be taken to the hospital for their injuries. In addition to being tragic, this accident highlights one of the major risks posed to Maryland motorcyclists: left-turn accidents.

Left-turn accidents can be dangerous for anyone, including those in cars, trucks, and pedestrians. However, motorcyclists are particularly at risk of significant injury and death when these accidents occur because their bodies are relatively unprotected from the impact with other vehicles or the road, even if wearing a helmet. A left-turn accident with a motorcyclist can lead to life-altering injuries, including broken bones, spinal injuries, brain injuries, skull fractures, and more. Unfortunately, this type of accident is also one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents, and those on the road should take extra precautions to avoid them.

There are a number of reasons that these crashes may occur. One of the major reasons is visibility. Because motorcycles are significantly smaller than cars and trucks, it may be difficult for other motorists to see them, and they may not realize the risk when they decide to make a left turn. Distracted driving also increases the risk for these accidents—if a driver is texting, eating, talking on a cell-phone, or even just distracted by a flashy billboard or something he is driving by, he may not notice a motorcycle and may make left turns without stopping to ensure the coast is clear.

Maryland motorcyclists and all other drivers must exercise reasonable care at any time that they are on the road. At times, a driver’s lack of care goes beyond simple negligence. Under Maryland law, gross negligence refers to willful and wanton misconduct, which is considered as something more than simple negligence, and closer to reckless conduct. Gross negligence signifies conduct “in reckless disregard of the consequences” and the actor’s lack of concern for the effect on another person’s life or property. It also suggests a disregard of the consequences without any attempts to avoid them. Whether gross negligence was committed is fact-specific and is generally a question for a jury. A recent case is an example of a situation in which one state appeals court found that gross negligence may have resulted in a motorcycle crash.

According to the court’s opinion, a raceway obtained a license from a racing federation to hold federation-sanctioned motorcycle events. An association managed operations for the raceway. To control erosion, the association placed unmarked sandbags around the raceway. The association did not have any staff with experience or training in track safety, and the placement of sandbags violated federation standards. The plaintiff was competing in a motorcycle racing event and lost control of his motorcycle. He entered the safety zone, collided with the sandbags, and suffered serious injuries. He was not warned of the sandbags, which were the same color as the track.

The plaintiff filed a claim that alleged that the association was liable for gross negligence and that the county was liable for a dangerous condition of public property. After a trial court dismissed the claim, a state court of appeals reversed. The appeals court found that it might have been grossly negligent for the association to divert money to operations instead of erosion protection and to rely on the assessments of an executive with no track safety training. In addition, the raceway association could be found liable for a dangerous condition.

Although many people take left turns every day without issue, left turns can be a factor in many Maryland motorcycle accidents. Left turns have been a subject of research in recent years, including a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). In that study, the NHTSA found that in 22.2 percent of crashes studied, the critical pre-crash event was turning left. Turning right accounted for only 1.2 percent of crashes. One study carried out in New York City found that left turns were three times as likely to produce a serious injury or fatality compared to right turns, and left turns were twice as likely to cause a pedestrian or bicyclist fatality compared to right turns. According to that study, 108 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed by left-turning vehicles during a four-year period.

According to the senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, left turns are difficult because drivers have to make a number of decisions within a short period of time. Left turns are also particularly dangerous for pedestrians, since they have a walk light at the same time that a turning driver has a green light. Another researcher explained that the front piece of the car’s frame can obstruct pedestrians from view. The New York City study also found that the wide turn radius involved in left turns makes them more dangerous because it leads to higher speeds and exposes pedestrians more.

Left turns are also particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. According to statistics from the NHTSA, in 2013, there were 2,182 fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 922 of these cases (42 percent), the other vehicle was making a left turn while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle.

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