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Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

motorcycle accident lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can cause particularly devastating road rash, other injuries, or death. Motorcycles present an uncommonly small profile in traffic, and vehicle drivers are not always looking out for them as they should be.

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer at Leppler Injury Law for help. As experienced personal injury lawyers we understand the dangers of riding and the law surrounding motorcycles and are ready to fight for the rights to your just and fair financial compensation.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Maryland

According to the state of Maryland, of the 1,343 crashes that involved motorcycles in 2021, 961 led to someone getting injured. Even if you pull back and use the five-year average for motorcycle crash data, you will find that the rate of injury remains pretty much the same.

Notably, 305 of those 1,343 crashes also led to property damage. Even if you managed to avoid injury, you could still sustain a substantial loss because of the accident. We must also note that 77 people paid the ultimate price due to their involvement in motorcycle crashes back in 2021. That number is also in line with the five-year average for motorcycle crashes in Maryland.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Cars colliding with motorcycles are the most common type of motorcycle accident, and large commercial trucks colliding with motorcycles are the most damaging. Some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents are caused by:

  • Impaired or distracted riding
  • Speeding vehicles
  • Another driver failing to see a motorcyclist and cutting them off
  • Road defects like potholes, construction zones, or sharp turns
  • Limits of visibility and dangerous road conditions caused by inclement weather
  • Another driver suddenly stopping when traveling at a high rate of speed on the highway
  • A driver is distracted and swerves into a motorcycle’s traveling lane
  • Failure of a motorcycle part while in use

Maryland Law Concerning Motorcycle Accidents

In Maryland, the law doesn’t allow victims to sue for their injuries if their own negligence contributed to a motorcycle (or other vehicles) accident. In the case of motorcycle accidents, for a successful legal claim, it’s important to show that the rider complied with Maryland traffic laws that specifically prohibit motorcyclists from:

  • Driving on a highway on a motorcycle with inadequate brake horsepower or a capacity of less than 70 cubic centimeters piston displacement.
  • Carrying a passenger in any way other than (1) on a seat designed to carry a passenger, or (2) in a way that does not interfere with the operation of the motorcycle.
  • Passing another vehicle by driving in the same lane or between two lanes.
  • Having more than two motorcycles operating abreast in the same lane.
  • Clinging to any other vehicle.
  • Driving with handlebars more than 20 inches higher than the driver’s seat.

However, if a seriously injured biker whose own negligence factored only minimally in the accident, a favorable settlement might still be reached.

What to Do Immediately after a Motorcycle Accident

Being involved in an accident can be disorienting. You may be at a loss regarding what to do following the crash, which could expose you to considerable risk. Mistakes you make during that time could make it virtually impossible for you to claim compensation for what happened.

In this section, we will lay out the things you must do following your motorcycle crash. Keep them in mind so you will know what to do if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Move to a Safe Area

If you get into an accident while riding your motorcycle, you may be left vulnerable on the road after the crash. Passing motorists may not see you while you are lying on the ground. Before you do anything else, start moving toward an area on the side of the road where you can stay away from passing vehicles.

Examine Your Body for Injuries

Now that you are in a safer area, you can start checking yourself for injuries. Do the same thing for your passenger if you were riding with one.

Dial 911

You will need emergency assistance whether or not you received injuries during the crash. Get the help you need by calling 911. Request an ambulance if you and/or your passenger are injured. You should still call 911 even if no one was injured to get police officers to the scene of the accident as soon as possible.

Get the Other Party’s Information

Next, you will need to get information from the careless driver who hit your motorcycle. Ask them for their name, contact details, and insurance information. You should also take a picture of their vehicle with the license plate if your phone is still working. Make sure you get these bits of information because you will need them later.

End Your Conversation with the Other Party

Do not be surprised if the other motorist tries to have a long conversation with you. They are probably doing that in the hopes that you will make a mistake that could cost you potential compensation.

End the conversation after you get the information you need and tell them they can speak to your motorcycle accident attorney if they have any questions.

Collect Available Evidence

While waiting for the police officers to arrive, you can start walking around to collect evidence. Start by taking pictures of your motorcycle and its surroundings. Those pictures can hint at the chain of events that led to the accident.

You should also look for witnesses who are still around. Get statements from them and ask for their contact details as well.

Talk to the Police Officers

Speak to the police officers as soon as they get to the scene. Give them your side of the accident and pass along any evidence to bolster your statement. Do not forget to ask for the police officers’ contact details so you can reach them later when you are ready to file your lawsuit.

Contact Your Insurer

Contacting your insurer following an accident allows them to document what happened. However, you should avoid saying too much even to them. Simply let them know that you were involved in an accident and leave it at that for now. Let your motorcycle crash lawyer handle future conversations with them.

Go to the Hospital

Wearing proper motorcycle gear can save you from serious injuries. Still, you may end up injured if the collision was particularly forceful. Head to the hospital as soon as you can to get checked out by a doctor. Doing that right away is important because it may help you identify and address injuries before they get worse.

Partner with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you do not have a motorcycle crash attorney currently, now is the time to change that. Successfully suing the other party will be difficult if you do not have legal assistance. Partner with a lawyer now so you can increase the odds of your lawsuit succeeding.

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

A motorcycle accident law firm understands the laws surrounding motorcycles and the legal atmosphere that exists in Baltimore. The services they provide are incredibly useful, some of the ways a motorcycle attorney can help include:

  • Manage Contact and Conversations with the Other Side: The driver who caused your accident is not going to sit idly by. They will likely aggressively come after you with their motorcycle lawyer or insurer. They may try to get you to accept blame for what happened even if they know they are completely at fault. They may also try to talk you into an unfair settlement.
  • Avoid falling for the tricks of the other side by letting your lawyer manage contact with them. You will not need to worry about them compromising your claim as long as your attorney is on the case.
  • Collect Additional Evidence to Bolster Your Case: The evidence you collected may not be enough to win your case. If so, your lawyer can head back to the scene in search of more evidence. They may even obtain video of the accident if there were cameras nearby. Your attorney can also get in touch with witnesses to get more statements. After that, they can also contact the police to see what they have written in their accident report.
  • Get the Ball Rolling on Your Lawsuit: Although Maryland’s statute of limitations for motorcycle accident lawsuits is three years, you should still get that motion started right away. You cannot predict how things will turn out, so file your lawsuit immediately to minimize risk on your end. Entrust your lawsuit to your attorney to file it promptly and properly.
  • Buy You Time to Recover: Hiring a truck accident lawyer is also highly recommended because they can give you time to recover. Instead of worrying about how you will proceed with your lawsuit while you are recuperating, you can leave that job up to your lawyer. Focus mainly on your recovery because that is what matters most.

What Types of Compensation Can You Expect after a Motorcycle Accident?

Once it is established who shares in the liability, victims in personal injury cases are entitled to receive compensation in the form of economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also commonly referred to as actual damages, refer to the tangible losses that a plaintiff suffered due to an accident. These economic damages should compensate you for your past and future medical expenses, damaged property, repair of your damaged motorcycle, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. They should also include future losses related to the accident, such as bills related to your continued care.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are also known as general damages. These are the losses that you cannot quantify. The compensation you receive for non-economic damages should account for your pain and suffering, your lost job opportunities, the inconvenience the accident has caused, and numerous other things.

Since you cannot quantify non-economic damages, the courts will typically use pre-determined methods to calculate them. That means your compensation could vary based on your location in Baltimore, Towson, or elsewhere in Baltimore County. Your lawyer will know which method to use in your case.

Establishing Fault in a Motorcycle Accident

Establishing who was at fault is critical for any accident legal claim. This is particularly important in Maryland because of the state’s contributory negligence rule, which means that victims cannot be compensated by the court if they are found to be even a small percentage, as low as 1%, responsible for the accident.

Additionally, the fault is particularly difficult to establish in motorcycle personal injury claims because, given the small size of the vehicles and the preconceived stereotypes regarding motorcycle outlaws, juries are not likely to sympathize with motorcycle riders.

Even experienced Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Lawyer John Leppler has his work cut out for him. Our firm will visit the scene of the accident, gather all manner of evidence, and collect witness statements to corroborate the plaintiff’s testimony and piece together the client’s theory of the case.

Furthermore, motorcyclists are treated less than fairly by most insurance companies. There is a problematic insurance difference for motorcycle riders in Maryland regarding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP is the additional insurance coverage you carry that pays for your medical bills or lost wages if you are injured in a crash.

The policy is usually between $2,500 and $10,000 and covers you even if the accident was your fault. Insurance companies are required to offer PIP to the drivers of most other vehicles; however, they are allowed to withhold PIP coverage from motorcyclists.

A final distinction concerns uninsured motorist claims, in that for people who own both a motorcycle and a car, the higher policy limit for your motorcycle is applied even if you have uninsured benefits on another vehicle.

Is Maryland an At-Fault State for Motorcycle Claims?

Maryland is an at-fault state, and that means the party who caused the accident must be the one who compensates the victims for their losses. However, there is a caveat to that law that all motorists must know.

You see, Maryland is also a state that adheres to the principle of contributory negligence. That is a big deal because it will directly affect your chances of claiming compensation. With contributory negligence, they can disqualify a plaintiff from receiving compensation if the court finds them partially to blame for the accident. Bear in mind that even sharing one% of the blame for what happened is enough to disqualify you. Contributory negligence is why you should not talk to the other side as much as possible. Even a minor slip-up on your end can be costly. If the other side wants to talk, remind them that your lawyer is available.

Are Rights for Motorcyclists in Maryland the Same as Other Motorists?

Compared to other states, Maryland is on the stricter side when it comes to laws that govern motorcycle riders. For instance, Maryland is one of only 18 states that require riders of all ages to wear motorcycle helmets at all times. The motorcycle helmet you are wearing must also comply with guidelines established by the Department of Transportation.

The state of Maryland also notes that the helmet must have some form of eye protection that follows FDA safety standards. The eye protection attached to your helmet must also not be tinted. Maryland riders must also provide properly designed seats that accommodate passengers. Riders are also only allowed to control the motorcycle from the permanently attached seat. Baltimore and Towson’s residents need to be aware of all these laws before they hit the road. They can get in serious trouble if they fail to follow those laws.

Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

In cases where a victim succumbs to their injuries, the loved ones they leave behind can continue fighting for justice. The loved ones of the deceased motorist may file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action against the other party as they seek compensation for their losses.

The deceased motorist’s spouse, children, or parents are all eligible to file those claims. The victim’s siblings may also file a wrongful death claim or a survival action if the victim had no spouse, children, or living parents. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Maryland is three years from the date of the victim’s death. Work together with your wrongful death lawyer so you can submit your claims on time.

Contact a Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Leppler Inury Law provides the kind of personal attention that you can’t find at large firms, such as 24/7 accessibility and attention to detail throughout the legal process, free, no-obligation consultations, no fees charged unless you win, same-day responses to messages, an aggressive approach for dealing with insurance companies and opposing attorneys, and customized attention to your unique case.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Baltimore, first seek immediate medical attention, then contact a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer either by email or by phone at 443-955-1989 for a same-day response, even before you contact your insurance company. We will handle your claims with the kind of personal attention we’ve become known for. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

Some of the locations we serve are Baltimore City, as well as locations in Baltimore County including: Towson, Rosedale, Dundalk, Cockeysville, Lutherville-Timonium, Lochearn, Overlea, Parkville, Essex, Glen Burnie, Ferndale, Pikesville, Carney, Catonsville, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Perry Hall, Hampton, White Marsh, and more.