Baltimore Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can be traumatic experiences. Sadly, they are traumatic experiences that are too familiar for many Maryland residents. You can manage that ordeal better if you hire a Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer. They can offer guidance regarding relevant laws, help you understand your current legal position, and make it easier for you to claim the compensation you deserve.
The aftermath of a bicycle accident is a difficult time, but there is a light at the other end of the tunnel. Our Baltimore personal injury law firm will help you fight for your rights to get your life back on track following that accident.
Bicycle Accident Trends and Statistics
Much of the general public is unaware of how prevalent bicycle accidents are. That needs to change. People need to be aware of how common those accidents are in Baltimore, Towson, and the rest of Maryland to protect themselves better. The Maryland Department of Transportation has some eye-opening statistics concerning bicycle accidents. Per the department, 734 bicycle and other pedalcycle crashes occurred in Maryland in 2021.
That number is already surprising, but it is not the only troubling statistic you need to know. Of those 734 bicycle accidents, 583 involved someone who got injured. To put it another way, nearly 80% of bicycle accidents in Maryland involved someone getting hurt. In total, 613 people were injured in bicycle accidents back in 2021. Six people also died following their involvement in bicycle accidents.
It is also worth noting that the numbers we are discussing here are not outliers. If you look at the five-year average for bicycle crash data, you will discover that a near 80% injury rate for crashes is slightly below the norm. In addition, the six fatalities recorded in 2021 are also slightly below the five-year average.
These numbers speak to the dangers that Maryland cyclists routinely face. Always be aware of your surroundings whenever you are out riding to avoid potential accidents. Picking up the contact details of a cyclist attorney is also a good idea so you can contact them immediately if something bad does happen.
Where Are the Bicycle Accidents Taking Place?
Some areas in Maryland are more dangerous than others for bicycle riders. Baltimore City leads the state in total crashes. A total of 163 crashes took place in Baltimore City in 2021. Also, 122 of those 163 crashes involved someone getting injured. Meanwhile, Baltimore County recorded 93 accidents within that same timeframe.
Unfortunately, those two places combined to record 36% of the bicycle accidents in Maryland that year. Montgomery County is a dangerous place for cycling, as 124 accidents happened there. That is followed by Prince George’s County, with 92 bicycle accidents. Taking great caution is an absolute must, no matter where you live in Maryland. Stay on guard at all times so you can avoid those accidents.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Baltimore, Maryland
Understanding the common causes of cycling accidents in Maryland can help you become a safer rider. Let’s discuss those common causes in this section of the article.
Lack of Visibility: Some drivers may have difficulty seeing cyclists around them due to carelessness or bad luck. Both motorists and cyclists can do something about this. Cyclists can wear accessories that make them easier to spot, while drivers can make more effort to observe their surroundings before moving.
Distracted Driving: Motorists become more prone to accidents when they are distracted. Since cyclists are already difficult to spot, drivers cannot afford to be distracted behind the wheel. Hire a cyclist lawyer if you believe a distracted driver caused your accident.
Cyclist Error: The cyclist may also be at fault for causing that accident. They could be the one who was not paying attention to their surroundings in the moments before the crash. If you are using your bicycle to get around town, you must always be a responsible rider.
Poor Road Conditions: Do not discount the impact of poor road conditions on bicycle accidents. A cyclist may experience poor riding conditions due to different factors. For instance, the issue for some riders could be the condition of the road itself. The road may be so rough that navigating it safely can be a real challenge.
Bad weather can also make it difficult for cyclists to get around. Consider staying home or using a different mode of transportation if the weather conditions are far from favorable.
Animal Interactions: Animals can cause bicycle crashes as well. A dog, cat, or wild animal may run out onto the road and catch you off guard. You may end up crashing into something nearby as you try to avoid that animal.
Do I Need a Bicycle Lawyer if I Have Been in an Accident?
In the immediate aftermath of your accident, you may need the assistance of paramedics and the Baltimore police department. However, they are not the only people you should seek help from. It would be best if you also got in touch with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Why is reaching out to a bicycle attorney so important? The reasons detailed below will help explain why.
Collect Evidence to Back Up Your Claims
If you are aiming to secure compensation from a negligent driver who caused your accident, you want to provide more evidence beyond your testimony. In response to your claim, the driver may provide a plausible account of their own, which could be enough to derail your case. You want to collect evidence that can speak for themselves. That is something your Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer can do.
They can gather witness statements, police reports, and video recordings to prove that the other party was the one who caused the accident. The driver will have a much harder time brushing off those solid pieces of evidence.
Negotiate with the Other Party
Once the other party hears about the evidence you have collected, they may not feel good about their chances of winning the case. Acknowledging that, they may start negotiations with you on a potential settlement. Settling is fine if you need the money quickly. However, make sure your bicycle accident lawyer in Baltimore handles those negotiations so you can get a fair deal.
Represent You in Court
Is the other side only presenting lowball offers? If so, you do not need to continue negotiations.
Go ahead and take the matter to court. You still have a good chance of winning as long as you have an experienced Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer working on your case.
Buy You Additional Recovery Time
Considering that 80% of bicycle accidents in Maryland involve someone getting hurt, you may not take legal action quickly if you are acting solo. Partner with a cyclist attorney so they can set things in motion while you continue to recover. Take your time recovering and let your bicycle accident attorney in Baltimore handle things for now.
How Is Fault Determined in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
You must prove a few things to establish liability in your bicycle accident case. You can start by proving that the other driver owed you a duty of care. This is easy enough to prove, as all Maryland motorists owe each other a duty of care. If the accident was a hit-and-run the claim gets a little more tricky since the Baltimore driver fleed the scene of the accident. A skilled Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer can help you either way.
Next, you must demonstrate that the other driver breached their duty of care. You can prove that by showing that the driver broke some traffic rules. A driver can also breach their duty of care if they are careless behind the wheel of their vehicle.
Once you have proven the breach of duty, you can focus on establishing the link between that and your injuries. Show that the driver’s breach of duty is why you are currently hurt. Of course, the driver could also argue that you share the blame for what happened. They may mention examples of you breaching your own duty of care.
Because Maryland follows the principle of contributory negligence, it would be a huge win for the defendant if they could share some of the blame with you. Unfortunately, a plaintiff can lose the right to recover damages if they share even 1% of the blame for the accident. Work closely with your bicycle accident attorney to prevent that from happening.
Bicycle Laws in Maryland
The difference between winning or losing your bicycle accident lawsuit could boil down to the relevant Maryland laws. If you can prove that you broke no laws in the lead-up to the collision, you can make a strong argument that you deserve compensation. Continue below to learn more about the Maryland laws that could prove relevant to your case.
Right of Way Laws for Cyclists
Per the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, motorists must yield the right of way to cyclists whenever they are making a turn. Therefore, you must let the cyclist pass first and not hinder their progress. Motorists must also yield the right of way to cyclists staying in bike lanes or shoulders if they are trying to enter or cross those areas themselves.
Cyclists are also allowed to ride in a crosswalk. However, motorists are obligated to yield the right of way when they do. Fail to give the cyclists the right of way, and you could find yourself on the hook for a big payout if an accident occurs.
Motorists Opening Doors
A motorist cannot open their door whenever they want if a cyclist is nearby. If a motorist opens their car door with the intent of striking a cyclist, they could be violating Maryland law. You and the motorist may argue over why you opened the door—resolving that dispute may require the court’s involvement.
Motorists Passing near Cyclists
If a car clipped you while they were passing close by, you might have a case on your hands. Maryland law prohibits motorists from getting too close to cyclists when they are passing by. More specifically, a motorist is not permitted to pass any closer than three feet when they attempt to move ahead. You could sue the vehicle driver if they injured you because they got too close to your bicycle.
Maryland’s Bicycle Helmet Laws
Are you planning to head out for a ride on your bike? If so, ensure you abide by Maryland’s bicycle helmet laws. The state requires all cyclists under sixteen to wear bicycle helmets. Cyclists in Montgomery County must wear bicycle helmets until they are at least eighteen years of age. All cyclists in Sykesville must wear bicycle helmets regardless of age.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect after a Bicycle Accident in Baltimore?
Compensation awards in bicycle accident cases are for economic and non-economic damages. We detail the purpose of those damages below.
- Economic Damages: The economic damages awarded in bicycle accident cases are to cover medical expenses. They should also cover the wages you missed and repair or replacement costs for your damaged property.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages awarded in personal injury cases compensate plaintiffs for their unquantifiable losses. For example, you may have endured significant pain and suffering following the accident, and the non-economic damages should account for that.
Other unquantifiable losses, such as missed opportunities and the loss of enjoyment of life, may also be covered by the non-economic damages.
Bicycle Accident Law Firm
John Leppler started Leppler Injury Law to make expert legal assistance available to everyone. If larger law firms have not deemed your case important enough to champion, you can approach John for help. He will hear your case out and give you the support you need so you can eventually secure proper compensation.