Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accident

It may not come as a surprise, but motorcycle riders are at greater risk of injury and or death than their counterparts riding in cars. However, the actual disparity in risk is higher than one might think. In fact, some sources claim that for every mile traveled, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely than car riders to have a fatal accident. Given the tremendous risk of motorcycle accidents and the potentially fatal results of such crashes, both motorcyclists and drivers of cars should take extreme precautions when it comes to navigating traffic situations involving motorcycles and sharing the road. Unfortunately, motorcyclists in Maryland are no exception to these risks.

What About Motorcycle Makes Them More Likely to Be Hit by Other Drivers?

Tragic and concerning accidents are unfortunately all too common in Maryland and show the need for car drivers and motorcyclists to engage in exceedingly careful when driving at high speeds near or around motorcycles. The smaller profile of motorcycles creates a greater likelihood of motorcycles occupying blind spots of larger vehicles and the open nature of motorcycle riding creates unique harm for riders involved in any crashes. When operators of larger vehicles only look out for other large vehicles and cars and fail to pay special attention to motorcycles and smaller vehicles, it places the smaller vehicles at great risk. In the event that a driver fails to see another vehicle, resulting in a crash, they could face both civil and criminal legal liability. A recent news article discussed a local fatal motorcycle crash.

According to the local news article about a Maryland motorcycle accident, the accident occurred on February 3, at approximately 3:52 pm when a motorcycle and an Amazon delivery truck collided. Emergency personnel and vehicles responded to reports of a serious motor vehicle accident involving an Amazon vehicle and motorcycle on Mechanicsville Road in the area of Asher Road. Crews arrived and found a motorcyclist suffering from multiple injuries including femur and ankle fractures. EMS evaluated the motorcyclist and requested a medivac due to the severity of the injuries. EMS began CPR and reported that the motorcyclist died at 4:45 pm.

In a devastating incident that unfolded earlier this month, a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 81 near Maugansville in Washington County, Maryland, left two people dead and three others injured. According to a local news report, the multi-vehicle accident was triggered when an SUV collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer that had come to a halt due to traffic conditions. This initial collision set off a chain reaction, involving three additional tractor-trailers and a pickup truck. Tragically, two lives were lost in the aftermath of this horrific accident. This tragedy demonstrates the unpredictability and potential dangers that Maryland drivers face every day.

How Can You Stay Safe on Maryland Highways?

Maryland drivers need to pay attention to the speed of traffic ahead, and always be ready to slow down if necessary. Drivers following too closely are a leading cause of highway accidents and multi-car collisions. When cars travel at highway speeds, it is advised to leave at least 350 feet between themselves and the car in front of them at a speed of 70 miles per hour. Drivers following too closely may be responsible for any damage or injury caused in an accident.

In the wake of such a traumatic event, the victims and their families may grapple with physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Personal injury cases can be complex, and navigating the legal process while dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. This is where the expertise of a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney becomes invaluable. Victims of accidents and their families often have legal rights that entitle them to compensation for their suffering and loss. The experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen can help.

Road accidents involving motorcycles are statistically some of the most dangerous and deadly types of crashes. According to a press release from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration, over 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. With numbers like that, motorcyclists should educate themselves on the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, and be vigilant in exercising appropriate safety precautions when taking a bike out on the road.

Motorcycles are some of the smallest motorized vehicles on the road, and the vehicles themselves offer little, if any, protection in the event of a crash. Cars and trucks have been designed with safety features in mind since they became widely used on American roads. Most cars include seatbelts, airbags, and are structurally designed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash. Motorcyclists do not enjoy the same safety features on their bikes. These safety deficiencies can be somewhat offset by the improved maneuverability and stopping distance offered by a motorcycle, but the fact remains that if a crash does occur, the biker is at considerable risk.

Motorcyclists have the ability to use additional safety equipment in the event of a crash. By far, the most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of serious injury or death to a rider in the event of a crash. The Maryland Transportation Code, Section 21-1306 requires that anyone driving or riding on a motorcycle wear an approved helmet. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) evaluates and grades helmets that are on the market. Riding with a DOT approved helmet is important, as many less expensive helmets on the market today are not sufficient to protect a rider from an accident occurring on public roads or highways.

Left turns present some of the most dangerous situations on Maryland roads. When compounded with nighttime driving, the operators of any vehicles may be rightfully concerned for their safety when other vehicles are making left turns. Maryland motorcyclists are even more threatened in these situations, as their vehicles can be harder to see, and the consequences of a crash are often more severe. A tragic crash earlier this month killed a motorcyclist after a driver failed to yield the right of way when making a left turn on a Southern Maryland highway.

According to a local news report discussing the accident, a 73-year-old man was driving a pickup truck on MD Route 6 and performed a left hand turn onto a smaller road near the town of La Plata. The 18-year old victim, who was operating a motorcycle on Route 6 in the opposite direction, crashed his bike into the pickup truck after the older man failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic while performing the turn. First responders were called to the scene and first aid was rendered as the victim was transported to a nearby hospital, but the medical professionals were unable to save the man and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The article notes that driver error appears to be the cause of the crash, and no mention was made that drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.

How Dangerous Is Driving a Motorcycle in Maryland?

Maryland motorcyclists have always been at an elevated risk of being seriously injured or killed while using the roads in our state. This increased danger causes many motorcyclists to use enhanced safety equipment while riding their bikes, but some serious injuries cannot be prevented, even by the most advanced safety equipment. The bottom line is, Maryland motorcycle riders have just as much right to travel safely on our roads as any other drivers. When a negligent driver causes an accident that seriously injures or kills a motorcyclist, they must be held accountable for the damages caused by their mistakes.

Motorcycles can be harder to see when on a busy road for a variety of reasons, and this means that it is especially important for all drivers and pedestrians to take extra precaution. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and trucks, which can lead them to be more difficult to see from a distance. The average motorcycle ranges from 75-100 inches long, with a heigh of 40-60 inches. A car’s blind spot may cause motorcycles to be hidden from view temporarily, which can be dangerous for motorcyclists. In addition, some drivers may misjudge the speed at which a motorcycle is going, which can result in injuries.

In a recent news report, a motorcycle collided with a car in Pennsylvania, resulting in a 58-year-old motorcyclist’s death. A trauma doctor pronounced him dead shortly after his arrival at the local hospital. According to preliminary investigations, the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. A car was headed northbound and began to turn left, and the motorcyclist was heading south and unable to avoid a collision, striking the passenger side of the vehicle. The driver of the car revealed to police that she didn’t see the motorcycle approaching due to the low sun.

Driving and riding in any type of motor vehicle comes with its own set of risks, and motorcycles are no different. According to the National Higway Traffic Safety Admnistration, 42 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes that involved another motor vehicle involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking a vehicle. When drivers approach an intersection and are turning, their view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, but driverss should take the time to wait until they are able to see around an obstructions to ensure it is safe to proceed. Any time you approach an intersection, it is important to take extra time to ensure that you use your rear and side view mirrors to ensure that nobody is in your blind spots.

Motorcycle accidents are one of the most dangerous incidents and often result in serious injuries and fatalities. According to the most recent statistics by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDT), Maryland motorcycle accidents accounted for about 2% of the total number of accidents in the state. However, motorcycle crashes comprised almost 15% of all the fatal accidents in the state. Moreover, four out of five of the passengers killed in these accidents were not wearing any safety equipment. In combination with the steady increase in motorcycle accidents, these startling statistics highlight the importance of motorcycle safety for both operators and passengers.

Motorcycle passengers and operators are more vulnerable to serious injuries because of the lack of protection from impacts with other vehicles or objects. Moreover, motorcycle passengers are often thrown from the bikes after a collision occurs. These situations can result in the passenger being run over by oncoming traffic, slammed into the concrete, or thrown into a guard rail or similar static object.

For example, a news report recently described a tragic motorcycle accident that involved a bike and a sedan. According to a preliminary investigation, the motorcycle crossed through a center line and slammed head-on with the sedan. Law enforcement reported that the motorcycle driver suffered serious injuries, and the passenger died.

Earlier last month, a Maryland appellate court heard a case that was brought by the family of a man who was killed in a motorcycle accident involving a police officer. In the case of Beall v. Holloway-Johnson, the plaintiff who was the personal representative of a man who was killed when a police cruiser struck his motorcycle sought compensatory and punitive damages from the officer for his negligence.

Beall v. Holloway-Johnson:  The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s written opinion, the deceased was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident when the defendant, an on-duty police officer, struck the deceased’s motorcycle with his police cruiser. Evidently, the police officer had previously received a radio call about a motorcycle and a Mercedes chasing each other.

The officer arrived in the vicinity and saw a motorcycle. Uncertain if this was the same motorcycle, he followed the motorcyclist. At some point, the motorcyclist sped up, and the officer followed. During the pursuit, the officer’s commanding officer told the officer to cease the pursuit. However, the officer continued to purse the motorcycle. Eventually, the motorcyclist exited the highway and began to slow down in order to do so. As the rider slowed down, the officer collided with the back of the bike, knocking the rider off and killing him instantly.

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The design defect lawsuit filed by parents on behalf of their minor son, who became permanently injured when his Christmas gift of a Kawasaki motorcycle crashed, survived a motion to dismiss earlier this month.

The couple bought a new Kawasaki motorcycle as a Christmas present for their minor son in 2010. When the boy first rode the motorcycle on Christmas Day, the bike crashed, which resulted in a serious and permanent injury. The parents claim that negligent assembly of the motorcycle’s throttle mechanism was responsible for causing the accident.

One of the defendants in the action moved to have the case, which was filed in federal court, dismissed against it, claiming that the court lacked the requisite personal jurisdiction over the company. However, the U.S. District Judge disagreed, and denied the motion, finding that the defendant had sufficient minimum contacts with New Jersey to justify keeping the claim against it.

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A three judge Commonwealth Court panel recently ruled that a Maryland couple cannot sue the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation for the injuries they suffered during an accident that occurred in 2007.

According to state police, the couple was riding a Harley-Davidson MC at approximately 12:30 p.m. July 22, 2007, when they swerved suddenly in order to avoid a vehicle that careened into their path, and attempted to pass it on the right hand side. Police said that the motorcycle then veered off the road, striking several different obstructions, then became airborne, and traveled approximately 10 feet before coming to a stop.

In the published opinion, the panel ruled that state law precludes the couple from suing PennDOT for the injuries they suffered while riding a motorcycle, because they had left the paved road when the accident occurred. Therefore, because the state has no duty to maintain any area beyond the portion of the road regularly used for or intended for travel, the exception to sovereign immunity (which allows for the ability to sue the state with its consent) does not apply, and the motion to dismiss the lawsuit was thereby granted.

This case is an unfortunate example of what can result when motorcycle accidents happen. It seems clear from the facts that the accident was initially caused due to the vehicle that first swerved into the path of this Maryland couple. However, the actual cause, or in this case proximate cause, of the undisclosed injuries suffered by the couple were the result of the issues with the roadway–presumably the pipe and cement fixture that they hit off of the road. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania is one of two intermediate appellate courts in the state, meaning that the couple may potentially have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

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The mother of Haines Holloway-Lilliston is suing the city of Baltimore and Police Officer Timothy Everett Beall for Maryland wrongful death. Holloway-Lilliston died last year in a Baltimore motorcycle accident that occurred during a high-speed police chase. Now, Connie Holloway-Johnson is seeking $40 million.

Holloway-Johnson believes that her son’s death was caused by Beall, who, per an investigation report by he Maryland State Police, kept following the 27-year-old even after he was ordered to “end the chase” and he had turned off is siren and lights. Distracted by radio communication and his telephone, Beall’s police car rear-ended Holloway-Lilliston, whose body ended up bouncing off the vehicle. These findings are counter to what Beall told investigators when he said that the motorcyclist “crashed out in front of him.” No criminal charges have been filed against Beall.

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