When someone is injured or killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident, either the injury victim or their loved ones can bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the responsible party or parties. To establish liability, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated a duty of care that they owed to the accident victim, and that the defendant’s breach of that duty was the cause of the accident victim’s injury or death. This is the legal definition of negligence.

Even in situations where a defendant is negligent, the plaintiff may still run into problems pursing a claim for compensation. For example, under the Maryland doctrine of contributory negligence, an accident victim who shares responsibility in causing an accident cannot recover for their injuries. This is the case even if the accident victim is found to be just five or ten percent at fault. Maryland insurance companies routinely rely on principles of contributory negligence when looking for reasons to deny an insured’s claim. For this reason, it is crucial that accident victims or their family members work with an experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney who is familiar with the doctrine of contributory negligence and how to minimize any possible role an accident victim played in bringing about the accident resulting in their injuries or death.

Man Killed in Maryland Motorcycle Accident on Crain Highway

Earlier this month, one man was killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident when a minivan changed lanes, colliding with the motorcyclist. According to a local news report, both the motorcyclist and the minivan were heading southbound on Crain Highway just north of Capitol Raceway Road. As the minivan began to move over into the left-turn lane, it did not see that the motorcyclist was already occupying the lane.

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Learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage for many children and can become a hobby that boasts health benefits as well as practical ones. However, while riding around town is a great, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective alternative to driving, there are risks involved when one rides a bicycle on or across roads. Bicyclists, even when wearing helmets and other protective gear, are vulnerable on the road, and are more likely to be severely injured if they are tragically involved in a Maryland motor vehicle accident.

Collisions between bicycles and cars are rare but not unheard of. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedal cyclists deaths account for about 2.1% of motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In 2017, there were 864 Maryland crashes involving bicycles, with 725 resulting in injuries and 11 resulting in at least one death.

These accidents can be extremely tragic, especially since children are a significant portion of those riding bicycles. Last month, a child riding his bicycle around his neighborhood was hit while crossing the street, resulting in serious injuries. A local news report covering the incident stated that the child had to be airlifted to two different hospitals in the aftermath to be treated for his injuries. Apparently, the driver is fully cooperating with officials, and has not been charged. The Chief of Police stated the crash was an accident.

As hoverboards have gained popularity, so have injuries related to their use. Over 26,000 children ended up in hospital emergency rooms from hoverboard injuries during a two-year period, according to research published in 2018. Over 500,000 hoverboards were recalled in 2016 after reports that batteries had burst into flames. However, while there were reports of batteries overheating and bursting into flames, falls were the most common cause of injuries. From 2015 to 2016, there were 26,854 hoverboard injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments. The highest number of injuries from hoverboard accidents occurred in 12-year-old boys. Maryland accident victims may be able to pursue compensation for hoverboard injuries where another party is at fault, including the manufacturer.

According to the research, injuries to the wrist were the most common, followed by those to the forearm and the head. Fractures occurred in 40 percent of cases. The study also found that most hoverboard injuries occurred at home. Hoverboards have a very low center of gravity, which increases the risk of falls, one emergency room physician in New York City stated. He explained that hoverboards require significant core strength to maintain balance.

Hoverboard accident victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries if another person or entity is at fault for the accident, including a negligent driver. In a negligence claim, victims have to prove that a defendant acted negligently in acting or failing to act in some way. A negligence suit must show that a defendant had a legal duty to use due care toward the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s breach of that duty resulted in the plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiffs in negligence cases may able to recover monetary compensation for medical expenses, wage losses, mental suffering, and other damages. Generally, Maryland personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the date of the injury, although the time may be shorter in some instances.

Drunk and drugged driving accidents continue to occur despite strict laws in the state of Maryland and across the country. Driving under the influence can result in both criminal charges and civil liability. Maryland enacted the Drunk Driving Reduction Act, or Noah’s Law, which took effect in October 2016. The law mandates that an ignition interlock device be installed if anyone is convicted of driving under the influence. Even with the state’s strict laws, there were still around 7,000 crashes in 2018 involving at least one driver’s use of alcohol or drugs. Victims of DUI accidents may be able to recover compensation for their injuries and losses through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit.

A plaintiff may be able to file a negligence claim or another type of claim to recover damages stemming from the DUI crash. In a civil case, the liability of the driver must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence—a lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that applies in criminal cases. In some cases, evidence from a criminal case or traffic offense can be admitted in a civil proceeding. In Maryland, if a driver pleads guilty to a criminal charge or a traffic offense in court, evidence of the plea normally can be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding. when admissible, the evidence may be rebutted or explained by the driver. Notably, if a driver pays a traffic ticket outside of court, courts in Maryland generally will not admit evidence of the payment of the fine as an express acknowledgment of guilt.

Six-year-old Boy Hit by Suspected DUI Driver While Riding Bike

Motorcycle accidents are among the most likely to result in serious injury or death due to the lack of protection riders have while on a bike. While wearing a helmet can help to reduce the risk of injury, some accidents are so severe that even wearing a helmet won’t change the outcome. In fact, each year, approximately 69 people die as a result of Maryland motorcycle accidents.

Whenever someone gets onto a motorcycle, they are placing their lives in the hands of other motorists. While some motorcycle accidents can be avoided, many cannot, even when exercising the utmost care. Those who have lost a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident may be eligible for compensation for their loss through a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit.

A Maryland wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury case that is intended to compensate the family members of an accident victim. In most cases, a wrongful death claim must be filed by a “primary beneficiary,” which are defined as spouses, children, and parents. If there are no primary beneficiaries available to file the claim, a secondary beneficiary can pursue a wrongful death case. Secondary beneficiaries are defined as “any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was substantially dependent upon the deceased.”

A trial may be the best way for a plaintiff to obtain compensation in a Maryland injury case. It may allow the plaintiff to recover the most compensation, particularly when a reasonable settlement is not attainable. In other cases, a settlement may be preferable. Trials can drag a case out for years, especially if the case is appealed. It can also be draining, as parties often have to relive painful and emotional moments. A settlement may also allow a plaintiff to obtain compensation faster. It also guarantees payment, as opposed to a trial, which may result in the plaintiff receiving no compensation.

Parties may be able to obtain a settlement with one or more other parties, and proceed to trial with claims against others through a class action lawsuit. For example, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate when there is some defect with a motorcycle part or helmet resulting in many riders being injured. Some settlements require that the court approve the settlement, while others depend solely on the agreement of the parties. In the case of class action lawsuits, a court must find that the plaintiffs understand the terms of the settlement and to decide whether to join in or opt-out of the settlement and that the result of the agreement is fair.

There are also limitations on settlements obtained soon after an injury. Under Maryland Code § 5-401.1, a release by an injured individual that is signed within five days of the injury is voidable for 60 days. A party that may be at fault for another person’s injury also cannot negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement within 15 days of the injury. If a settlement or released is obtained while an injured individual is in a hospital or sanitarium and contrary to the law, it cannot be used “for any purpose in any legal action in connection with the injury.”

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.

Victims of Maryland motorcycle or scooter accidents are legally entitled to file a civil negligence claim against the driver responsible. These claims, if successful, can provide injured motorcyclists with financial compensation for the injuries they suffered, including for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and even burial and funeral costs. In order to do so, however, plaintiffs must be able to identify and find the individual responsible. This may be harder in hit-and-run accidents, where the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident before providing identifying information or helping those who were injured.

For example, a man in Texas was recently killed in a hit and run accident while riding a scooter with a passenger. According to a local news report covering the accident, the collision occurred at around 8 p.m., with an SUV hitting the scooter and then driving off. When authorities responded to the accident, they took both the driver of the scooter and his passenger to the hospital, where the driver, unfortunately, passed away.

This incident illustrates the devastation that can occur with hit and run accidents; when an accident occurs and results in bodily injury, Maryland law requires that all drivers involved stop as close to the scene as possible and render reasonable assistance to any injured party. This means they may need to call an ambulance, and they are also required to provide their name and information to the others involved. If the others involved are unconscious or otherwise unable to meaningfully receive the information, the information must be provided to the police. Even if the car is parked and the owner is not around, the individual who hits it must leave a written note with their information. This law protects accident victims by (1) ensuring that, if they are injured, someone is able to call medical assistance for them and (2) ensuring that they have the information needed to file a civil negligence suit if appropriate.

States have different laws concerning the effect of the liability of the plaintiff on their ability to recover. Maryland follows the doctrine of contributory negligence. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, juries in Maryland motorcycle accident cases may consider the fault of the plaintiff along with the fault of the defendants. If the jury considers the plaintiff’s fault and finds the plaintiff is even partially at fault for their injuries, the plaintiff cannot recover from the defendant(s). However, contributory negligence is not automatically considered in every Maryland jury trial. In Maryland, a court is required to give the jury an instruction on contributory negligence only if the evidence supports such an instruction. That is, there must be evidence to suggest that the plaintiff was negligent in order to warrant such an instruction.

Critics say that the consequences of the contributory negligence doctrine can be extremely harsh for plaintiffs, and most states have adopted a different approach. Many states follow the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under that doctrine, a plaintiff generally can still recover compensation even if they are still found to be at fault. In some states, a plaintiff is limited as long as the plaintiff is found to be 50% or less at fault.

In a recent opinion, one court considered the impact of a jury’s decision finding that the defendant was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries in a comparative fault jurisdiction. There, the plaintiff was a passenger on a motorcycle when the motorcycle got into a crash with a tractor. The plaintiff filed a claim against the motorcycle driver and the farmer that was driving the tractor.

Electric scooters have popped up in cities across the U.S. over the past few years. Several electric scooter rental companies operate in Maryland. However, concerns and confusion over electric scooter laws, insurance policies, and liability have also been flagged. These issues may affect those who have been injured in Maryland scooter accidents in the state.

A Consumer Reports survey found that electric scooter riders were confused about whether to ride e-scooters on streets or on sidewalks, and 27 percent were not sure of the traffic laws they should follow. Although generally riders are supposed to ride in the street, many streets are not built to accommodate them, and it can be dangerous. There is also a question of whether scooters are covered under the insurance policies of the rider and/or the injured person. Electric scooters typically are not covered under auto insurance policies, though they may be able to be added to auto policies or other insurance policies. Maryland enacted MD HB748 in April 2019, establishing that a low-speed electric scooter is considered equivalent to a bicycle under the Maryland Vehicle Law. The scooter must meet the state’s definition, including only being capable of operating at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour.

Severe Eye Injuries Seen in E-Scooter Emergency Rooms Visits

A small study from the University of California San Diego reviewed instances of facial injuries caused by electronic scooter accidents over the course of a year. According to one news source, the rates of hospitalization and surgery were high among such cases. The researchers involved in the study were surprised by “both the severity and incidence of the injuries.” After an e-scooter accident, over 90% of the patients had facial fractures, and 24% needed surgery. About 75% of the patients required to be hospitalized. About 20% had intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding beneath the skull. Injuries included eyelid lacerations and retinal hemorrhage. None of the patients had been wearing helmets.

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