Maryland motorcycle accidents occur in a split second, and most riders do not have time to react before an imminent collision. However, riders should always be prepared to lay the bike down if the need arises. Of course, laying down a motorcycle is a big decision that will result in the damage to the bike and may result in serious injury to the rider. Thus, riders only should ditch a motorcycle in the event of an immediate and unavoidable motorcycle accident.
As we have noted in previous posts, Maryland accident law is unique in that it precludes an accident victim who is partially at fault from pursuing a claim against any other driver involved in the accident. This concept is referred to as the doctrine of contributory negligence; if a plaintiff is found to be contributorily negligent by a judge or jury, then they can recover nothing for their injuries. While the doctrine of contributory negligence is outdated, and most other jurisdictions in the United States have shifted away from its use, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. still employ the doctrine.
Laying down a motorcycle is technically a choice. However, it is not a choice that any rider wants to make. The question arises, then, if a motorcyclist chooses to lie down their bike are they then foreclosed from pursuing a Maryland personal injury claim against another driver whose negligence forced them to make the decision. In reality, a rider’s decision to lie down their motorcycle should be viewed as the rider attempting to mitigate their own damages; however, courts do not preclude defendants from arguing that the plaintiff laid the bike down unnecessarily. As is often the case in the law, these are fact-specific determinations that will come down to the specific circumstances of each individual accident. So, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to the question.