Earlier this month, the Maryland State Senate heard testimony from a motorcycle safety instructor in favor of a new bill that would potentially make failing to yield a criminal offense in some circumstances. According to one local Maryland news source, the woman who testified told the story of a 50-year-old woman who was riding her 2006 Harley Davidson to Bike Week along Route 50.
At some point, a Toyota Solara heading in the opposite direction attempted to make a left turn in front of the motorcyclist, cutting her off. As a result, the motorcyclist had no time to react and slammed into the side of the Toyota. The 50-year-old motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and the driver of the Solara was named as the at-fault driver.
Another motorcycle and a minivan were also involved in the collision. Currently, the driver of the Solara, who is the son of the Mayor of Pokomoke City, is not facing any criminal charges, although prosecutors may file charges shortly after the conclusion of the investigation.
Adding Teeth to the Existing Law
The pending bill, which is sponsored by Senator C. Anthony Muse, D-26-Prince George’s, would make it a criminal offense to fail to yield in situations where the accident resulted in serious bodily injury or death. This means that a driver who failed to yield and caused serious injury would face criminal sanctions as well as any civil repercussions brought by the victim or the victim’s family. The bill would also assess a mandatory $1,000 fine against the party that failed to yield.
Civil Liability Would Likely Remain Unchanged
While this new bill could affect the criminal penalties that a person may face after failing to yield, the civil sanctions would likely remain the same. That is to say, an accident victim or their family would still be able to file a negligence claim against the offending party for damages. Damages that may be recovered vary depending on the type of accident and the injuries or loss sustained, but generally medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are the kinds of damages that can be expected.
The new bill may, in fact, make it easier to establish a case of negligence against a defendant who failed to yield and caused an accident with a motorcycle, since failing to yield would effectively be criminalized in situations where death or serious injury result. This may allow a plaintiff to more easily show that the defendant was negligent, ultimately making financial recovery after an accident easier.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages based on the other driver’s negligence. Proving a case of negligence at trial is often a complex matter with various elements that must be met. It is therefore best to consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney prior to filing your case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced personal injury advocate.
More Blog Posts:
Episcopal Bishop Asked to Resign After Involvement in Fatal Bicycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 26, 2015.
Head-On Collision between Two Motorcyclists Kills One, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 28, 2015.