Articles Posted in Wrongful Death Cases

In the tragic event of the loss of a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident, family members may be able to recover financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim against those at fault for the crash. A wrongful death claim allows certain qualifying family members to file a claim to recover compensation based on the losses stemming from the victim’s death. However, the victim’s role in contributing to the accident may limit family members’ ability to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.

In a Maryland wrongful death case, if the victim is found to be at least partially at fault for causing their own death, the victim’s family cannot recover in a wrongful death claim. Maryland courts follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, which means that a plaintiff cannot recover if the plaintiff (or the decedent in a wrongful death claim) is found to be even partially at fault. For example, in a recent crash described below a motorcyclist died in a fatal motorcycle crash. In a case such as that one, a defendant might argue that the motorcyclist’s actions contributed to their death.

While most other states will still allow plaintiffs to recover at least some compensation if the plaintiff (or decedent) is found to be partially at fault, Maryland has not yet changed its law on contributing negligence despite calls for reform. However, a defendant will have the burden to prove that the victim was at fault because of the victim’s specific actions or failure to act. The defendant must provide some evidence of the plaintiff’s (or decedent’s) negligence. The standard for proving causation, like other elements of a negligence claim, is whether it is more likely than not to be the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

In the tragic event of the loss of a loved one after a motorcycle, family members suffering from the loss may be able to file a claim against responsible parties. A Maryland wrongful death claim allows certain family members to file a claim against responsible parties to recover financial compensation for the loss and hold those parties responsible after a Maryland motorcycle accident or another accident. It allows qualifying family members to recover compensation for the wrongful acts that would have allowed the deceased family member to file a claim if they had not passed.

Generally, a Maryland wrongful claim can be filed by a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased family member. If they did not have a spouse, parent, or child, another person who is related by blood or by marriage and who was substantially dependent upon the deceased family member may file the claim. A wrongful death claim may only be filed once based upon one person’s death. Family members in successful wrongful death claims may be able to obtain financial compensation for their loss, including for mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of guidance, and more. Family members may have to contend with allegations that the victim has partially at fault for the accident. If the victim is found to be partially at fault in a Maryland wrongful death claim, the family members may be barred from recovering through a wrongful death claim. A Maryland wrongful death claim generally is required to be filed within three years of the victim’s death.

E-scooters have become more common throughout the U.S. over the past several years, with e-scooter sharing programs now in cities across Maryland. But the use of e-scooters comes with its own share of issues and dangers. Users should take all the necessary precautions to avoid an accident; however, some accidents are unavoidable.

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.

According to a recent news report, although traffic has decreased with the COVID-19 pandemic and the issuance of stay-at-home orders, bicyclists’ deaths remain high. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, there were 857 bicyclists’ deaths in 2018, making it the year with the highest number of bicyclists’ deaths since 1990. That number remained high in 2019, with 846 bicyclists’ deaths. Although there was a substantial decrease in 2020, with 697 bicyclists’ deaths, the number was shockingly high considering the stay-at-home orders and decreased traffic. According to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, concerning Maryland bicyclist crashes, there was an average of 816 Maryland bicycle and pedalcycle-involved crashes in recent years. Bicycle crashes are especially common in urban areas, with 86 percent of total Maryland bicycle crashes occurring in urban areas in recent years.

Bicycle sales have soared in 2020, which means that there are more cyclists on the road. Other factors contributing to the high number of bicyclists’ deaths include high-speed limits, distracted drivers, and poorly designed roads, according to BikeMaps.org and Outside magazine. Those sources found arterial roads to be the most dangerous, which are defined as busy, multilane streets with traffic signals at the intersections and speed limits above 30 miles per hour. They found that arterial roads made up 65 percent of bicyclist deaths in 2020.

If your loved one has been in a Maryland bicycle accident you may be able to recover compensation from a driver or another person or entity at fault for the crash. Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act (the Act), allows certain family members to file a claim against parties that caused the decedent’s death. The Act was enacted as a way to compensate family members of the decedent based on their losses.

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.

Hit and run accidents can be some of the most tragic and frustrating kinds of Maryland motorcycle accidents. While there is, of course, never a good accident, Maryland hit and runs can be particularly frustrating because not knowing the identity of the responsible driver can prolong—or even prevent—an injured motorcyclist from recovering in the aftermath of an accident.

Hit and run accidents are what they sound like—accidents where one vehicle hits another vehicle (or individual) and then runs from the scene of the crash by driving away. Typically, in the aftermath of an accident, an injured victim is so shocked that they do not think to take down the car’s make and model that hit them, let alone the license plate. And, often, in hit and run accidents, they are not even given the chance to get this information, as the driver usually leaves the scene of the crash immediately. Generally, drivers leave the scene because they are trying to avoid both civil and criminal liability—they may worry about being sued or, depending on the severity of the crash, even arrested.

Hit and run accidents are especially concerning for Maryland motorcyclists because motorcycle crashes are more likely to result in severe injuries and death. This is because motorcyclists do not have the protection around their bodies that drivers in cars do. Instead, they are more likely to absorb the impact of the crash themselves, or to be thrown from their motorcycle. For example, take a recent hit and run motorcycle accident that occurred just earlier this month. According to a local news report that covered the incident, the accident occurred around 6:30 AM one Monday morning when the driver of a passenger van made an illegal U-turn directly in the path of a motorcyclist, driven by a 29-year-old man. Surveillance video captured the incident and saw the driver of the van stopping briefly before fleeing the scene. The motorcyclist was transported quickly to a hospital by firefighter-paramedics, but unfortunately, he was soon after pronounced dead. The search for the driver of the van continues, and the investigation is ongoing.

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death is sudden and unexpected. Unfortunately, far too many Maryland families know firsthand what it’s like to lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident, especially because motorcycle accidents are somewhat more likely to result in death. Because motorcyclists are not protected in the same way drivers are by their cars, accidents involving them can result in motorcyclists being thrown from their motorcycle or otherwise hurt. For example, take a recent tragedy involving a motorcyclist who was killed just this month when a driver pulled out in front of him and caused a crash.

In the aftermath of this and other similar and fatal accidents, families may find themselves struggling, and overwhelmed with grief due to the psychological impact of losing a loved one suddenly. At the same time, they also may find themselves having to figure out how to pay for medical bills, or cover funeral and burial expenses. While nothing can undo the harm that was caused and stop the grief from occurring, Maryland state law allows families to file a wrongful death suit to help with the finances.

Wrongful death suits are civil suits brought in court against the driver who caused the accident and the fatality. Unlike criminal charges, which aim to punish the driver, civil cases focus solely on helping the victim and their family recover financial compensation. In wrongful death cases, a victim’s family generally must prove four things. First, that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. This is usually easy to prove—Maryland drivers owe a duty of care to all others on the road with them and must drive reasonably carefully to avoid harming others. Second, the family must prove that the defendant breached that duty. They may want to offer evidence that the driver purposefully did not stop at a stoplight, or that they were texting while driving—a breach of their duty to be careful. Third, they must prove that this breach was the cause of the injury. If the driver was texting while driving 10 minutes before the accident but then the actual accident was caused by something unrelated, then the texting did not cause the injury. Lastly, they must prove that actual harm was suffered as a result. Usually, the death of a loved one is sufficient to meet this element, but they must prove that the death was actually a result—not a poorly timed independent event.

In the United States, there are two main types of court cases: criminal and civil. Criminal cases are brought by the government against defendants who have allegedly committed a crime. If someone commits (or is suspected of committing) a bank robbery, for example, they might be arrested and charged with robbery, and if they are found guilty, they may be sentenced to jail. Civil cases, on the other hand, are when someone sues someone else. Like criminal cases, civil cases may or may not go to trial, but a civil defendant cannot be sentenced to jail. Instead, they are typically ordered to pay a certain amount of money to the plaintiff who brought the suit. While this difference between the types of cases is relatively clear, it can become complicated in Maryland bicycle accidents, when one accident could potentially lead to both types of cases.

For example, take a bicycle accident that occurred last month. According to a local news report, the crash happened on a Friday morning, when a bicyclist was riding northbound on the edge of the road and was struck by a vehicle. Tragically, the bicyclist, a 35-year-old man, suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. A few days later, state police arrested a 27-year-old man thought to have been the vehicle’s driver. He was booked with failure to report a crash, hit-and-run driving, switching his license plate, driving under suspension, obstruction of justice, and negligent homicide. While it is too soon to know for sure, state prosecutors may choose to pursue a criminal case against him, and the defendant could be facing jail time and/or fines.

However, regardless of whether there is a criminal case, there may also be a civil case against the same defendant, resulting from the same accident. The existence of one type of case already arising from this crash does not preclude the other type of case. The victim’s family, in this instance, could potentially also bring a wrongful death claim against the defendant. In this case, if they were successful, the result would be focused not on punishing the defendant for his wrongs, but rather on making the plaintiffs whole. Thus, the typical damages in wrongful death cases are monetary compensation to cover pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, and other direct costs resulting from the accident. Families may also obtain compensation for their non-economic, or emotional, damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Although drivers make left turns all the time—whether in a car, a truck, or a motorcycle—many people are not aware of how dangerous left turns can be. In fact, many Maryland motorcycle accidents are the result of someone attempting a left turn and then hitting a motorcycle that had the right-of-way. Just recently, a crash exactly like this was reported, giving a perfect example of what might happen.

According to a local news report covering the crash, a 50-year-old woman was driving an SUV and attempted to turn left. However, she violated the right-of-way of two oncoming motorcycles, resulting in a collision of all three vehicles. The drivers of the motorcycles—a 54-year-old man and a 25-year-old man—both tragically died at the scene.

There are many reasons why a driver in this situation might cause this type of accident while turning left. Perhaps the driver is intoxicated, and thus their judgment is clouded. Or, if it’s dark at night, drivers might find it hard to see motorcycles and assume that if they do not see a car coming then the path is clear. Drivers also could make risky moves like this if they are distracted while driving—by their phone, or by someone in the backseat—or if they have been driving many hours and are feeling fatigued. Whatever the reason, drivers who are at fault in causing accidents such as these can be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.

Maryland motorcyclists generally understand the importance of being safe and careful on the road to avoid getting into an accident. Because motorcyclists have less protection than those driving other vehicles, getting in an Maryland motorcycle accident can be incredibly dangerous, leading to serious injuries or even death.

Accidents can be caused by many different things, but one common cause is drivers in cars or trucks driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and then crashing into a motorcyclist. While intoxicated, drivers may not see the motorcyclist, or may mid-judge how far away they are and how fast they are going, causing sometimes fatal accidents.

For example, take an accident from earlier this month. According to a local news report, the accident occurred around 8:30 one night, with a motorcyclist going west and a Chevy Camero going east on the same road. The Chevy Camero, driven by a 51-year-old woman apparently intoxicated from drinking alcohol before driving, made a left turn into the motorcyclist’s path, causing a crash. Tragically, the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene by the responding officials. The driver was brought to the hospital to receive medical care for her injuries. The next day, she was arrested on numerous charges, including vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and careless driving resulting in death.

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