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Motorcycle Accidents

Although they may have higher performance capabilities than the average closed car, motorcycles also come with higher risks. Compared with other types of vehicles on the road, motorcycles:

  • Are less visible to cars and pedestrians
  • Are less stable than four-wheeled vehicles
  • Offer less protection than an enclosed vehicle during a crash

The United States government estimates that for every mile traveled in 2016, the number of deaths on motorcycles was almost 28 times the number of deaths in cars.

If you are a motorcycle driver or passenger, then it’s important to understand the steps you can take to mitigate your risk of injury — and what to do if you are injured in a crash.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

In an accident, motorcyclists are far more prone to serious injury than drivers in enclosed vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2017:

  • More than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in crashes nationwide (76 in Maryland), accounting for 14% of all motor vehicle crash deaths
  • 28% of motorcyclists killed were younger than 30, and 36% were older than 50
  • 91% of motorcyclists killed were male
  • Of the 9% of female motorcyclists killed, 59% were passengers
  • 39% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were not wearing helmets
  • 31% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a license
  • 28% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were above the blood alcohol concentration limit
  • 38% of motorcyclist deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities peaked in July and were lowest in January

 

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Even if a motorcycle accident does not result in death, there are a number of common injuries that drivers or passengers may sustain. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that medical bills for a motorcyclist collision average about $2.00 per mile traveled, compared with $0.20 per mile traveled for other vehicles, and that the average total cost for a motorcyclist’s injuries is $211,000, compared to about $17,000 for all other vehicle types.

Some of the most common types of motorcycle injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Head injuries that damage the brain are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents, and even when they are not fatal, they can result in lifelong disabilities.
  • Facial injuries: In an accident, motorcyclists may sustain broken jaws, burns, and abrasions on their face. Helmets may help reduce the severity of facial injuries, but they can never completely eliminate the risk of facial disfigurement.
  • Burn injuries: Sometimes, motorcyclists are vulnerable to burns from gas tank spills or explosions, resulting in burn injuries that may require skin grafts.
  • Skin abrasions: “Road rash” is one of the most common types of motorcycle injuries, often occurring when the cyclist is thrown from their bike and skids on the asphalt. Wearing protective gear and clothing can greatly reduce the risk of skin abrasions.
  • Spinal cord injuries: An estimated 12% of all motorcycle accidents result in injuries to the spinal column, causing pain, dysfunction, and sometimes paralysis.
  • Broken bones: Fractures and broken bones are also common in motorcycle accidents, and when severe enough, can result in disfigurement and nerve damage.
  • Emotional trauma: Physical injuries are not your only concern after a motorcycle accident. When a person has been in a serious wreck, they may suffer from psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Maryland Motorcycle Laws

To help reduce motorcyclists’ risk of injury or death in an accident, Maryland has several motorcycle-specific laws in place. It’s important to familiarize yourself with them not only so that you are in compliance with the law, but also so that you can maximize your safety on the road.

*Note: to make sure you are always receiving the most up-to-date information about Maryland law, please refer to the state’s website at Maryland.gov. The information on this page is current as of September 2019.

Licenses

Operating a motorcycle requires specialized knowledge and skills, which is why Maryland requires all motorcycle drivers to hold a valid Class M license in addition to their standard Class C noncommercial driver’s license. Operating a motorcycle without this could result in a fine, points added to your driving record, a suspension of your driver’s license or license privileges, the towing of your motorcycle, and increased risk of injury or death on the road. Unlicensed drivers are disproportionately represented in fatal motorcycle accidents.

Drivers who are interested in obtaining their motorcycle license must already have a valid Maryland driver’s license and pass special vision, knowledge, and driving skills tests to receive a Class M endorsement. Maryland uses a graduated licensing system wherein applicants must:

  1. Complete a Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program education course (required for all drivers under 18 or brand-new drivers; recommended for all drivers regardless of age or experience)
  2. Pass a Class M knowledge test
  3. Practice driving with a learner’s permit while accompanied by someone who is at least 21 years old and has been Class M licensed for a minimum of 3 years
  4. Pass an on-cycle rider skill test
  5. Maintain a clean driving record for 18 months with a provisional license before receiving an official license without restrictions

Fast Track Licensing

To encourage all drivers to obtain appropriate licensing before operating a motorcycle on the road, and to make the process as quick and stress-free as possible, Maryland relaxes some of its licensing requirements for more experienced motorcyclists. If you already have on-street experience on a motorcycle, then you can go through a fast-track licensing program. There is no learner’s permit required and no waiting period between the knowledge and skills tests.

Helmets/Protective Gear

When you are on a motorcycle, your only protection from the elements — and in the event of a crash — is the protective gear you are wearing.

Always Wear a Helmet

The IIHS estimates that helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcycle accident deaths, and 67% effective at preventing traumatic brain injuries. So why do motorcyclists ever choose not to wear a helmet?

Some riders choose to only wear helmets for long trips, or while riding at high speeds. However, according to the Department of Transportation, most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles) and at speeds slower than 30 mph. At these speeds, helmets can cut both the frequency and severity of head injuries by half, and at any speed, helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not helmeted.

Others may insist that helmets limit their peripheral vision. However, a DOT-certified helmet lets you see as far to either side as necessary, and in a study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes, researchers could not find a single case in which a helmet prevented a rider from seeing danger.

In any case, in Maryland, wearing your helmet is not only the smart choice, it’s also the law.

Maryland’s Universal Helmet Law

Maryland has a “universal helmet law” in place, which means that all motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet on the road. Additionally, if the motorcycle does not have a windscreen that is mounted high enough to protect the operator’s face, drivers must wear appropriate eye protection.

Although not required by law, motorcyclists are also advised to wear select personal protective equipment (PPE) that will help to keep them safe and comfortable. This equipment includes:

  • Jacket and pants that completely cover the arms and legs, fitting closely enough to avoid ballooning in the wind, but loose enough to allow freedom of movement. Articles made out of leather will offer the most protection, but sturdy, synthetic “textile” material is a more lightweight option that won’t get too hot. Even in warm weather, you should wear a jacket to prevent dehydration and protect you from abrasions in a crash. It’s a good idea to select bright colors to make yourself more visible to other drivers.
  • Sturdy, low-heeled boots that extend above the ankle and provide support when you place your feet down at a stop. The soles should be made of a hard, non-slip material, and the laces should be safely tucked away to avoid catching on your bike.
  • Full-fingered gloves made out of leather or a comparable durable material, designed to give you a better grip on the handlebars and protect your hands in a crash.
  • Weather-specific clothing to keep you warm and dry in cold or wet weather. Make sure winter jackets fit snugly at the neck, wrists, and waist, and do not balloon in wind. You can also find high-quality rain suits designed for riding at high speeds.

Lane Splitting

“Lane splitting” is the practice of riding a motorcycle on the line between the lanes of a road, usually in between stopped or slow-moving vehicles. Although it sounds dangerous, its proponents claim that it can reduce traffic congestion and make roads safer for motorcyclists, who can utilize it as an escape route when they may otherwise be rear-ended.

Currently, lane splitting is only legal in California, although many other states do not explicitly prohibit it.

However, in Maryland, lane splitting is explicitly illegal. Although legislators have considered passing a bill that would allow it, motorcyclists need to stay in their lanes for now.

Insurance

Maryland law requires all vehicles, including motorcycles, to be registered and carry liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. As of September 2019, the mandatory minimum amounts of coverage are:

  • Bodily Injury (BI) – $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident
  • Property Damage (PD) – $15,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI) – $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist PD (UM/UIMPD) – $15,000 per accident, $250 deductible

Statute of Limitations

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, you can wait up to three years after the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

 

Managing Risk as a Motorcyclist

In any motor vehicle accident, motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of serious injury or death than drivers of other types of vehicles. There are several things you can do to responsibly manage this risk and to reduce your chances of being injured or involved in an accident.

Here are ten tips for staying safe on the road:

1. Enroll in one of Maryland’s Motorcycle Safety Programs.

Although they are not required by law for anyone over the age of 18, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration offers motorcycle training courses for new and experienced riders alike. These programs teach essential techniques and strategies for coming out on the other side of potential life-or-death situations.

Statistics show that more than 90% of riders who were involved in fatal motorcycle crashes had no formal training, were self-taught, or were taught by family or friends, so it is worth it to enroll even if you are an experienced rider. There are 20 approved training centers throughout Maryland, so find a training center near you and request a class schedule to get started.

2. Choose a bike you’re comfortable on.

Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew with your motorcycle. If you haven’t ridden in a while, then you may be surprised by the performance capabilities of modern bikes, even models with small-displacement engines. Always choose a bike that fits you and your needs. The right bike:

  • Should not feel too tall (when at rest, both of your feet should be able to rest flat on the ground)
  • Should not feel too heavy
  • Should have handlebars and controls within easy reach
  • Should have the right type of engine for your type of riding (250- to 300-cc engines work well for starter or commuter bikes, while 500- to 750-cc engines may be better for regular highway riding)

3. Invest in anti-lock brakes.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) prevent wheels from locking up while braking, helping to maintain traction between the tires and the road surface and prevent skidding. It gives drivers greater control in an emergency stop or in slippery conditions.

On a motorcycle, this capability is especially important. According to IIHS data, motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes are up to 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

Fortunately, they are a standard feature on most new models. If your motorcycle does not have anti-locking brakes, consider upgrading and having them installed for only a few hundred dollars. The cost can often be offset by insurance discounts, and it may save your life.

4. Always wear a helmet.

The statistics don’t lie. Wearing a helmet will significantly reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in an accident.

  • Non-helmeted riders are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, and nearly 40% more likely to suffer fatal head injuries.
  • In 1997, when Texas and Arkansas repealed their mandatory helmet laws, the states saw a 30% and 20% increase in fatal motorcycle crashes, respectively.
  • Non-helmeted motorcycle crash survivors consistently report higher hospital bills and lower reimbursement charges from personal injury claims.

Nobody wants to have to hire a personal injury attorney or file a wrongful death claim. Follow Maryland law and keep yourself safe by wearing a helmet on the road.

5. Armor up.

Skip the flip flops and T-shirts. The right clothes and personal protective equipment can:

  • Protect you while riding. As a motorcyclist, you have to contend with bad weather, wind chill, debris, and bugs in your mouth. Choose full-face helmets, breathable and reinforced jackets, gloves, and boots to keep you safe from the elements.
  • Help prevent accidents. Choose brightly-colored clothes to make yourself more visible to other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over two-thirds of fatal motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers of other vehicles not seeing the motorcyclist in time to avoid a collision.
  • Protect you in an accident. As a rule, you should always wear the clothes and personal protective equipment that you would want to have on you in the event of a crash. It may be helpful to picture a worst-case scenario: what would happen if you were flung from your bike and skidded across the road? The right gear will protect you from abrasions and even provide extra padding to help absorb impacts.

6. Avoid riding in poor conditions.

Inclement weather can greatly reduce your visibility, your traction on the road, and ultimately, your margin for error. If possible, avoid riding in wind, rain, or snow — but if you have no choice, be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering. Avoid making sudden maneuvers. Be particularly cautious right after it starts raining or snowing, when the precipitation on the road can cause oil to rise to the top and create slippery conditions. When riding in heavy winds, anticipate being “nudged” by gusts by riding on the side of the lane from which the wind is blowing.

7. Look out for road hazards.

Motorcycles have less contact with the pavement surface than cars do, which makes them more vulnerable to sliding on sand, loose gravel, wet leaves, or other slippery materials. Likewise, bumps and potholes that pose no safety risks to cars can be hazardous to motorcyclists.

When driving, always be on the lookout for road hazards that could cause you to skid or lose control of the bike. If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible and try to go over them with minimal steering input, since panicking and over-steering can also cause you to lose control of the bike. When approaching railroad tracks, uneven lanes, or other non-level surfaces, try to ride over them at as close to a right angle as possible to reduce the chances of skidding.

8. Drive defensively.

As important as it is to watch out for awry speed bumps, wet leaves, and other inanimate hazards, your biggest danger as a motorcyclist comes from other drivers. Always follow traffic laws, but do not assume that you will be protected by others doing the same. You can never predict what other drivers will do, so make sure to stay alert and drive defensively. In a study from the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, for collisions involving motorcycles and cars, car drivers were found to be at fault a majority of the time.

With the rise of cell phone use while driving, it’s more important than ever to be aware of your surroundings on the road. Give cars plenty of room; keep a safe following distance and stay out of cars’ blind spots when in adjacent lanes. Watch out for cars suddenly pulling out from side streets or changing lanes. As you approach intersections, double check that they will be clear when you pass through.

Defensive driving, simply put: always give yourself as much time and space as possible to react to another driver’s poor decision.

9. Never drive under the influence.

Driving while drunk, buzzed, high, or even drowsy can cause harm to yourself and to others.

The 1981 Hurt Report — described by famed motorcycle journalist David L. Hough as “the most comprehensive motorcycle safety study of the 20th century” — found that alcohol was a factor in up to half of all motorcycle crashes.

According to a more recent 2017 analysis by the IIHS, 28% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit. 49% of motorcycle drivers who were killed at night (between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM) were over the limit.

Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and make sure you are awake and alert enough to stay safe on the road before getting behind the handlebars.

10. Keep your skills sharp.

Finally, as a responsible motorcycle driver, it’s your job to keep your skills honed. If it’s been a while since you rode, you’re learning how to handle a new bike, or you simply want to make sure you’re staying as safe as possible, consider refreshing your knowledge with a safety course.

You can choose to enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Program through the Maryland state government, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) also offers riding courses around the United States.

Not only will this help you review critical motorcycle driving knowledge and skills, but many motorcycle manufacturers will also offer a credit toward the cost of a new bike if a rider enrolls in a course, and insurance providers often grant discounts on your premiums.

Keep your skills fresh so that you can continue enjoying riding for many years to come.

 

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Unfortunately, even if you take every possible preventive measure, you may still end up in a motorcycle accident one day. If this happens, even if you are able to pick yourself up and brush yourself off, you may be in an altered emotional state that makes it difficult to know what to do next.

Do your best to gather your thoughts and remain calm. The actions you take immediately after a crash may be crucial not only to your health and safety, but also to future insurance coverage and legal action.

These are the steps you should take:

Check for Injuries and Get to Safety

Before you do anything else, make sure that you are okay. If you are in too much pain to move, call out for help, and if you are alone, do everything you can to call for help on your phone. If you are okay, check on others.

As soon as you have gotten your bearings and checked for injuries, get yourself and others to safety. This is your number one priority. After a crash, you, your motorcycle, and others involved in the accident may not be visible to other approaching drivers, especially at night, so it’s important to move off of the road as quickly as possible.

Be careful when moving injured people to safety. Many spinal cord injuries may make it difficult or even dangerous to move a person. If you are not in immediate danger at the crash site, then wait for emergency responders to transport injured people.

Additionally, before you disturb the crash site, try to take photos of your motorcycle, any debris, and any other vehicles that were involved. This is evidence that may be helpful in future insurance claims and legal proceedings. However, crash debris is a hazard to oncoming drivers, and it could cause further accidents or injury for which you could be held accountable. Move it off of the road and out of the way as quickly as you can, whether or not you are able to successfully take photos.

Call for Help

Call 911 (or your local police force, if it is not an emergency) as soon as possible. This does not imply guilt; you will not be held responsible for the accident just because you are the first to place a call for help. You should inform the police about any collision, major or minor.

Avoid Discussing Fault

Maryland is a “fault” insurance state, which means that anyone seeking compensation through insurers must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. Determining fault is rarely a cut-and-dry issue with motor vehicle accidents, so you need to be careful of what you say to others. Do not assume the other parties will admit fault, even if you believe they caused the accident.

Immediately after the crash, and while waiting for responders to appear, try to refrain from talking about the details of the accident with other motorists. This will go against your instincts, but it’s important. Many people will automatically apologize to other drivers, regardless of whether they caused the accident — try to refrain from this. Often, the exact cause of a crash is unclear, and you may not remember important details for hours or even days afterward.

You need time to process so that you do not say anything that may be misconstrued. Even casual or conversational statements at the scene of the accident can have powerful legal consequences down the line.

Only discuss how the accident occurred with the police, and even then, only give the facts. Do not tell them what you think might have happened, make guesses regarding speed or distance, or talk about how you were feeling at the time.

Seek Medical Attention

When emergency responders arrive, direct them to assist seriously injured people first, and make sure all injured parties have received medical attention before speaking with law enforcement officers.

Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, do not refuse or delay medical attention. Some accident injuries (especially whiplash, back, joint, and internal injuries) will not show obvious symptoms for hours or even days.

Also, if you refuse or delay treatment, and then have to claim injuries afterward, some insurance companies may claim that your injuries were pre-existing or caused by something other than the accident and refuse to cover you.

Gather Information and Evidence

If you are able, document the scene and gather as much information and evidence as possible. It could prove crucial in protecting your legal rights and securing compensation for personal injury damages. Gather the following:

  • Contact Information: Talk to witnesses and other drivers and passengers to collect their names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  • Insurance Information: Make sure to get the names and contact information of the insurance providers for all of the vehicles involved.
  • Vehicle Information: For each vehicle involved in the accident, take down the make, model, license plate, vehicle identification number (VIN), and any other descriptive information.
  • Police Report: Write down the name and badge number of the law enforcement officer you spoke with, and also ask for the police report number. The police report will be an important official document in proving the details of your case.
  • Photos: Take as many photos of the accident scene as possible, from multiple angles. If possible, do this first — but if the crash scene is unsafe, make sure to move all people and vehicles off the road before doing anything else.
  • Conditions: Write down details about the location of the accident (using intersections or mile markers as landmarks), the speed limit, weather, current road conditions, and direction of travel.
  • Eyewitness Accounts: Although you should avoid discussing what you think happened, you can take down eyewitness accounts that may be helpful in the future. Try to interview bystanders while their memories of the incident are still fresh. Take notes on what they say, or even better: record their observations with an audio recorder on your phone. Make sure to also get their contact information.

Notify Insurance Companies (With Caution)

Once you are calm and clear-headed, contact your insurance company to let them know what happened, and alert the at-fault driver’s insurance provider that you will be filing a claim. Much like filing a police report, informing insurance providers of a motorcycle accident will help to document the incident for future legal proceedings.

However, keep in mind that insurance companies will look for any way to refuse covering your claim. Speak with caution.

  • Do not give them a recorded statement until you’ve had the chance to speak with an experienced accident attorney.
  • Do not offer information about your injuries or damage to your motorcycle until you have visited a doctor and had your bike professionally assessed. Under-estimating the cost of your damages can significantly reduce your rightful compensation.
  • Do not admit fault or discuss the details of the crash from your perspective. Instead, offer the objective information that you have collected.

Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney

Finally, contact a motorcycle accident attorney who can safeguard your interests and advocate on your behalf. Avoid any lawyer who unexpectedly shows up at your door to persuade you to have them represent you — this is both unethical and illegal, and your case will likely not receive the quality of representation it deserves.

Instead, reach out to an established team like the one at Murphy Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore. Our personal injury lawyers can help to make sure your rights are defended and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Not sure you need an auto accident attorney? In the best-case scenario, they can help you understand how to deal with your medical providers, insurance company, and other parties’ insurance companies. They will also be able to offer legal advice and representation in more serious cases, such as when:

  • The other party claims that you are at fault
  • Your insurance company denies your claim
  • Your damages exceed your policy limit
  • You incur severe, expensive physical injuries

If you or your loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Baltimore, then please contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation. Our accident injury lawyers are ready to help.

 

How to Pursue a Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, or your bike has been damaged, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company isn’t going to automatically write you a check for the damages. You’ll have to build a strong case for your personal injury claim, which means that you’ll have to be able to prove that the at-fault driver caused the accident and that the accident caused your injuries.

A car accident lawyer will be able to help you build the strongest possible case.

Know the Important Terminology

When navigating the world of insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers, it helps to be aware of a few common terms:

  • Duty of care: the legal obligation to be cautious and avoid causing harm to others.
  • Negligence: when a person violates their duty of care by failing to act responsibly or doing something that no reasonable driver in the same situation would do.
  • Direct and proximate cause: the specific action which leads to damages that would not have otherwise occurred.
  • Damages: the financial cost of an accident to its victims. In a motorcycle accident, damages can include: property damage to the bike or your personal belongings, medical expenses for injuries and costs for future care, therapy and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and even costs that are more difficult to quantify like pain and suffering.
  • Liability: fault or responsibility. If a driver is negligent and causes an accident, then they are held liable for any damages suffered by others in the crash.

What You Need to Prove

To prove that the other party was negligent and should be held liable for your damages, you or your car accident lawyer will have to prove:

1. The other driver had a duty of care to avoid harming you.

This is easy to prove. All drivers on the road have a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians.

2. The other driver breached this duty of care through acting negligently.

Negligent driving can mean failing to keep a proper lookout, not complying with traffic laws, or not using every reasonable means to avoid an accident.

As a motorcyclist, you also have a duty of care to others on the road. The insurance adjuster will look for any indications that you partially caused the accident by doing something wrong or acting negligently.

3. You were injured directly because of the other driver’s breach of duty.

You will need to be able to prove that your injuries or property damages are the direct result of the accident. This is why it is important to not refuse or delay medical attention, even if you believe you are okay. If symptoms appear later (as they often do with car accident injuries), then the insurance company may try to claim that they are unrelated to the accident.

4. The other driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your damages.

Sometimes, the “at-fault” driver may not be legally at fault for your damages. For example, if you collide with a car whose driver is running a red light, but it is found that they ran the light due to a brake part failure, then the proximate cause of the accident was due to the part manufacturer’s negligence and not the driver’s, and the manufacturer may be held legally responsible for damages associated with the accident.

Contact an Accident Attorney

Why do you need a lawyer? To make sure you receive the justice and compensation that you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you navigate each step after an accident, including:

  • Gathering and preserving important evidence
  • Investigating the crash
  • Identifying and gathering evidence against the at-fault parties
  • Communicating with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Explaining the best legal strategy moving forward
  • Filing the strongest possible personal injury claim
  • Negotiating appropriate compensation for damages
  • Defending or litigating for you at trial if necessary

Many personal injury claims can get complicated when there are disputes regarding the at-fault party or parties, or the proximate cause of damages. An experienced attorney can be beneficial whether or not your claim is disputed, so contact our car accident lawyers at Murphy Falcon & Murphy to arrange your free consultation today.

Key Settlement Factors in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Negotiating an injury settlement after a motorcycle accident can be complex. Some of the key issues related to settlement factors may include:

Pure Contributory Negligence

What happens when a motorcyclist and a car driver are each partly responsible for an accident? For example: in slow-moving traffic on the interstate, a motorcyclist decides to cut ahead by driving between the lanes of cars. The right lane begins to move faster, and a driver in a car in the left lane sees an opening. He abruptly changes lanes without checking his blind spot and strikes the motorcyclist.

Who is at fault? Both drivers acted negligently to cause the accident.

When determining fault in a car accident — and who is eligible for the associated damages — most states have what are called “comparative negligence” laws. This means that even if you are partly to blame for causing an accident, you can pursue damages; the court simply reduces your compensation by the percentage of blame you take in the accident. For example, if you filed a personal injury claim for an accident that caused $100,000 in damages, and were found to be 40% at fault, then your final compensation would be reduced by 40% to $60,000.

However, Maryland is one of only a few states with “pure contributory negligence” laws. This means that if you share even 1% of the blame for causing an accident, you are not eligible to pursue damages. Insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to prove that you slipped up, and even a small mistake can cost you thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is one reason why it is crucial to have a qualified Baltimore accident attorney in your corner. They can help you present the best possible case and prevent you from making mistakes that will allow insurance adjusters to deny your claim outright.

Biases Against Motorcycle Drivers

Although personal biases should never be a factor in compensating an injured party in a personal injury case, humans are fallible. Insurance adjusters, judges, and members of the jury (if your case lands in court) may have preconceived notions about motorcyclists that can harm your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Building an airtight case is your best defense against unfair personal biases. Contact our Baltimore car accident attorneys to schedule your free initial consultation and get started today.

Contact Murphy, Falcon & Murphy’s Accident, Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, then contact the team of personal injury attorneys at Murphy Falcon & Murphy. Our law firm has been a trusted name in Baltimore for more than 70 years, and our lawyers have won millions in damages for our clients.

We offer free initial consultations, and we take personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you’ll only have to pay for our legal services if we win your case.

Contact us now to set up your consultation with one of our attorneys. We’re ready to help you find justice and rightful compensation.