Who Is at Fault for a Maryland Accident When a Motorcyclist Lays the Bike Down?

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 While the doctrine of contributory negligence is outdated, and most other jurisdictions in the United States have shifted away from its use, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. still employ the doctrine.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.

While on the topic of contributory negligence, another important issue is worth discussing. While Maryland law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet at all times, a motorcyclist’s decision not to wear a helmet is wholly irrelevant in a Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit. This is because the doctrine of contributory negligence is concerned with the cause of an accident, and a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet has no bearing on whether an accident occurs. Thus, Maryland courts have determined that helmet non-use evidence is inadmissible in a Maryland motorcycle accident.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a serious Maryland motorcycle accident, the injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can help. At the Maryland motorcycle accident law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injury victims and their families in all types of accident cases, including Maryland car and truck accidents. We also handle other personal injury matters, such as slip-and-fall accidents. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for financial compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600, or contact us through our online form.

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