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Although motorcycles and city scooters can often present a more mobile, agile, and compact way of getting around on a daily basis, they can also present a number of unique risks. Unfortunately, when compared to regular passenger vehicle accidents, motorcycle and scooter accidents are often inherently more dangerous. Understanding the additional risks that operating a motorcycle or scooter can pose can help you proactively avoid risky situations when operating one or can make you more aware of your passing motorcycles or scooters as a passenger vehicle driver.

According to a recent news report, a woman died after she collided with a truck while riding a Lime scooter. The woman crashed into the rear tires of a moving truck after she swerved into the roadway. Police pronounced the woman dead at the scene. Following an initial investigation, local authorities noted that there were no indications of alcohol involved in causing the crash. The accident remains under investigation, and further examination of the scooter and toxicology testing conducted by the medical examiner’s office is expected.

Scooters are not exactly the same as motorcycles, but they do share many of the same risks and issues when it comes to being more susceptible to accidents. As scooters have increased in popularity and are more accessible than ever in major metropolitan areas, accidents have increased as well. So, what is it exactly that causes motorcycles or scooters to be more likely to be involved in a collision that causes injury or even death?

Motorcycles can be a mobile, convenient, and fashionable way to switch up your commute or your everyday routine. Unfortunately, motorcycles can also be unsafe and carry risks that other types of passenger vehicles do not possess. In addition to potentially high speeds, motorcycles also do not have the protection of a regular car surrounding the driver that could insulate them from an accident, and can often be difficult to see when road conditions are poor or nearby drivers are not paying attention. In fact, these factors are likely why motorcycle accidents frequently result in devasting injuries, property damage, and in extreme cases, even death.

According to a recent local news report, a Maryland man tragically passed away after his motorcycle was involved in a crash west of Dover. Law enforcement stated that the 25-year-old motorcyclist was traveling east when he approached a car planning to make a left turn at the upcoming intersection. The motorcyclist was subsequently struck by the car and was later transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the car was uninjured. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities and accident reconstruction specialists.

Unfortunately, Maryland is no stranger to motorcycle accidents. In Maryland, the five-year average of fatal crashes from 2016 to 2020 has been 73 accidents per year. In addition, an average of 980 people per year are involved in injur-causing motorcycle crashes and 304 individuals were involved in property damage-related motorcycle crashes for the same time period. Overall, in 2020, 1,288 reported motorcycle crashes took place in Maryland, with 1,091 involving injuries.

Sometimes, when accidents take place on another person’s land, certain liabilities arise for the landowner. These liabilities and responsibilities are known as a landowner’s “duty of care” in the realm of premises liability law. When individuals enter another person’s property under the assumption that it is safe, however, and are injured, it is crucial that they understand laws governing this area to best advocate for themselves in case of legal action.

In a recent appellate decision, the court had to consider a landowner’s potential liability in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. In the case in question, a car collided with a motorcycle, resulting in catastrophic injuries. After the accident, a deputy observed tall grass near the intersection where the accident took place that would have limited or prohibited a view of the motorcyclist while traveling. The grass was growing in a ditch on the defendant company’s property.

The motorcyclist’s wife sued the defendant company, citing negligence for “allowing grass to grow so high on their property that it blocked the view of the roadway.” The defendant moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, with the majority holding that because the grass was wholly contained on the defendant’s property, there was no duty to the traveling public.

Two Maryland residents were killed in separate motorcycle crashes in Charles County, Maryland over a recent weekend. According to one news source, the first crash occurred around 3:30 pm on a Friday afternoon in Waldorf, Maryland.

According to law enforcement, the motorcyclist crashed with a van that was pulling out a driveway. The 20-year-old motorcyclist died at the scene. The second crash occurred on a Saturday morning in Bryans Road, Maryland. Law enforcement reported that the motorcyclist was driving around a curve when she lost control of the motorcycle, crossed the center lines, and was hit by an oncoming vehicle. The 44-year-old motorcyclist also died at the scene of the crash.

What Are the Time Limits for Filing Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?

Most civil lawsuits must be filed within a certain time period—failing to do so generally means that the case will be dismissed. In Maryland motorcycle accident cases involving an injury to a person, there is a three-year statute of limitations that applies in most cases. In Maryland motorcycle cases resulting in the death of a person, a three-year statute of limitations also applies. This means that the case must be filed with the court within three years of the date of the crash. The time limit for a claim, known as the statute of limitations, is meant to limit the liability of a defendant to a certain time period to provide predictability and fairness to potential defendants.

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While many people consider winter weather and rain as one of the most hazardous driving conditions, sun and glare can cause many Maryland car accidents. A fundamental aspect of safe driving conditions is the driver’s ability to see road conditions and potential hazards. Sun glare and excessive brightness can significantly obstruct a driver’s view, making it nearly impossible to view the roadway.

According to reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash statistics, as many as 9,000 glare and sun-related accidents occur every year in the United States. Thereby making sun glare one of the leading causes of environmental-related accidents in the country.

Even though many people prefer to drive on clear and sunny days, excessive brightness or glare can increase the likelihood of an accident. Many of these accidents occur because of glare off the road or other items such as windshields that can reflect onto the driver’s eyes. For example, local news reports described a Maryland accident that took the life of a motorcyclist and seriously injured his passenger. Police explained that an 85-year-old driver stated that he was blinded by the sun when pulling out from a parking lot. As a result, he was in the east and westbound lanes when he slammed into the motorcycle.

Most Maryland motorcycle accidents involve the negligence of one or more motorists. Negligence takes many forms, such as impaired driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving, and failure to abide by traffic laws. However, road conditions or poor road design may be the sole cause or contribute to a motorcycle accident in some cases. Road conditions such as missing guardrails, large potholes, erosion, and other unsafe aspects of a roadway can result in serious accidents. Similarly, faulty road design can also contribute to a car accident. However, establishing that faulty design contributed to an accident can be challenging to injury victims and their loved ones.

For example, news reports described an accident involving a 22-year-old man. According to police, they responded to an accident on a highway exit ramp. An investigation revealed that the motorcyclist was proceeding west when he reached the crest of a hill jammed with traffic from a red light. Police speculate that the motorcyclist lost control of his bike while avoiding colliding into the stopped traffic. Emergency responders transported the man to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

After accidents of this nature, the injury vicitm or their representative must prove that the faulty road conditions caused the accident. For instance, a victim may allege that the accident was caused by missing signs, unkempt trees blocking views, or faulty traffic lights. However, more pertinent is whether the agency, company, or organization responsible for the roadway was negligent in the road’s design, maintenance, or repair. After determining the party responsible for maintaining the roadway, the victim must prove that the entity was negligent in their responsibilities or duties.

Left turns are one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers for drivers, especially novice drivers, older adults, and motorcyclists. Even the most careful drivers can find themselves in a precarious situation when they are making a left turn. Maryland left-turn accidents, especially those occurring during a yellow light can have disastrous consequences to drivers, passengers, and bystanders. Those who suffered injuries involving a negligent driver may be able to recover compensation against the at-fault parties. Presenting an iron-clad case for recovery is especially important in Maryland because of the state’s strict contributory negligence statute

According to Maryland’s Traffic Code, yellow lights are a warning to notify drivers that they should slow down because the light is about to change to red. However, many people read this signal as a notice to quickly make the light before it turns red. While accidents involving yellow lights may stem from various situations, most of them involve one driver proceeding straight and another driver trying to make a left, before the light turns red.

The law imposes a duty on turning drivers to ensure that the roadway is safe to make the maneuver. As such, in most cases, the driving turning left will be liable for the accident. However, each case presents unique facts and circumstances, and an attorney can assist injury victims in presenting a compelling case for recovery.

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.

Can Families File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?

Yes, however, 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.

As roads are often being repaired, traffic is frequently reconfigured as a result. Maryland’s current “Traffic Relief Plan” includes improvements to I-495, I-270, I-695, and I-95, potentially affecting traffic patterns on major roadways in the state. And while repairs can improve the safety and condition of roads, changes in traffic configurations can also lead to Maryland motorcycle crashes as people adjust to the new configurations. Particularly on routes they are familiar with, drivers may not expect the detours, shifting or narrowing of lanes, new roads, or other new configurations. If they are not paying close attention, they may veer off the road or lose control. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects have continued in Maryland. And although there was less traffic in Maryland in 2020 due to the pandemic, fatal crashes in the state increased by 12 percent from the previous year, and overall crashes increased by nine percent.

Maryland drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care while driving, which includes being vigilant and looking out for new traffic configurations. Even if a driver encounters a dangerous situation because of a new traffic configuration, the driver must still exercise reasonable care considering the circumstances. The driver is expected to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable, prudent person would, considering the circumstances and in light of the time that the driver has to evaluate the choices.

Are Maryland Drivers Financially Responsible for Accidents They Cause?

Yes, if a driver fails to exercise reasonable care and injures another person, the driver may be liable for those injuries. In a Maryland negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that a defendant had a legal duty to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet that duty by acting or failing to act in some way, the defendant’s wrongful act caused the plaintiff damages, and the plaintiff suffered damages. A plaintiff has to prove all elements of a negligence claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Maryland motorcycle crash victims may be able to recover financial compensation through a civil claim for medical bills, wage losses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

When a person has been killed in a car or motorcycle accident, the family may get confused about whether they can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Often in these cases, criminal charges will be brought against the person who caused the accident. And because of this, most families assume they also cannot bring a lawsuit as well. However, this is not true. Families can still bring a wrongful death suit—even if the individual has criminal charges pending against them—in order to obtain compensation for their loved one’s death.

Last week, a man died in a two-vehicle collision on Route 50 near Berlin. According to a local news article, a driver of a Jeep was crossing Route 50 to continue northbound when a motorcycle struck the Jeep from behind. The motorcycle driver was then ejected and thrown into the median. The motorcycle driver was pronounced as deceased, and according to police, charges are pending against the Jeep driver.

What Is the Effect of Criminal Charges on a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Individuals who have lost a loved one in an accident often assume that if there are criminal charges, they cannot bring a civil lawsuit too. However, family members can still bring a wrongful death lawsuit to financially recover from the loss of a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action filed by the loved one of the deceased with the help of a personal injury attorney. There can be no criminal penalties in a wrongful death case; instead, the only available recovery is money. This is because criminal charges are brought by criminal prosecutors and can lead to incarceration—not monetary fines to be given to the family.

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