Unlike car and truck drivers who are protected by the exteriors of their vehicles as well as safety belts and airbags, motorcyclists have just their clothing and helmets for protection in the event of a wreck. They often suffer disabling injuries or death in a motorcycle accident that would cause only minor damage to a car.
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in accidents than were occupants of passenger vehicles. That year, 88,000 riders suffered injuries, and nearly 5,000 were killed. In 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 14% of all motor vehicle crash deaths were motorcycle deaths—more than double the number in 1997.
That's why it's important if you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, that you contact our Hagerstown auto accident lawyer right away so we can help you recover damages for your family.
Motorcycle accident statistics can perpetuate a prejudice known as “biker bias,” which is the stereotypical notion that:
- Motorcyclists are dangerous drivers who cause accidents by riding recklessly and disregarding traffic laws.
- Most motorcycle crashes are caused by the motorcycle driver.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Most often, an accident involving a motorcycle and another vehicle is caused by the driver of the other vehicle. Nonetheless, biker bias persists, even among police, officers of the court, jurors and witnesses, news media, healthcare providers and insurance companies.
According to our Hagerstown auto accident lawyer, there are several factors that put motorcycles at greater risk of an accident than other vehicles on the road:
- Instability. A slight impact that would hardly affect a car can easily knock a two-wheeled motorcycle over and put its rider on the ground.
- Vulnerability to road conditions. Wet or uneven pavement, debris on the road surface, or an animal in the street is more dangerous to a motorcycle than it is to a car or truck.
- Visibility. Motorcycles are small and hard to see among large vehicles, especially at intersections.
Common Causes of a Motorcycle Accident in Maryland
A motorcycle accident in Maryland occur for many reasons, most of which are preventable and avoidable. Understanding some of the common causes of these crashes can help riders prevent them. These causes include:
- Door accidents. If a driver or passenger in a parked car or truck fails to see an approaching motorcycle and opens a door as the bike passes, the impact can easily cause a serious crash.
- Left-turn/intersection wrecks. If the driver of a vehicle at an intersection runs a light or stop sign or makes a left turn without seeing a motorcycle, a serious accident can result.
- Lane-change crashes. Drivers who change lanes without checking their mirrors or blind spots carefully can easily hit a motorcycle in an adjacent lane.
- Rear-end crashes. These are a common motorcycle accident in Maryland and often take place when a car or truck is following a motorcycle too closely.
- Distracted driving wrecks. A car or truck driver who is talking or texting on a cell phone or looking at a GPS device will likely not see a slowing vehicle or a change in traffic patterns and be less likely to see a motorcycle.
Common Maryland Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The injuries suffered in motorcycle crashes are usually severe and often disabling or fatal. These injuries can include:
- Fractured, broken, or crushed bones
- Road rash
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage/internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, with the help of our Hagerstown auto accident lawyer, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the following damages:
- All medical expenses
- Lost wages/earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death compensation if the accident is fatal
Personal injury claims for bike crash injuries are among the most expensive for an insurance company to pay. Thus, insurance adjusters are likely to contact you after your motorcycle accident to ask “routine” questions and offer you a quick, low settlement to save the company money. Any statements you make to them can be used against you in an attempt to dispute your claim. Don’t accept any offers, and provide only basic information. Then refer all adjusters to your attorney.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Maryland
There are several things you can do at the motorcycle accident scene to strengthen a personal injury claim:
- Call 911, and report the accident.
- Move to safety and take photos of:
- The accident scene
- Your injuries
- Your damaged bike and the other vehicle
- Exchange contact information and get written & recorded statements from the other driver and witnesses.
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Consult an attorney as soon as possible.
What Not to Do
After being involved in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, there are important mistakes to avoid to help protect any future claim you may make against the at-fault driver:
- Don’t leave the scene.
- Don’t make a cash deal with the other driver in return for not reporting the accident.
- Don’t be in a hurry to get your bike repaired.
- Don’t make any recorded statements.
- Don’t admit any fault to anyone.
- Don’t post anything about your wreck on social media.
The Role Your Hagerstown Auto Accident Lawyer Can Play
Hiring a Hagerstown auto accident lawyer is a critical step in obtaining fair compensation for the injuries you sustain in the accident. Our personal injury attorney will:
- Conduct an independent investigation of the wreck
- Get the testimony of expert witnesses
- Reconstruct the accident to show the negligent driver’s fault
- Gain access to footage from any nearby security cameras
- Organize and present all your evidence
- Evaluate your claim and demand a fair settlement
- Work to overcome any biker bias you encounter
- Negotiate to get you a fair award
- Take your case to trial if necessary
Many states use a comparative fault model to award damages in an accident. This means, you would collect compensation based on your percentage of fault. Maryland, however, follows a contributory negligence standard. If you are found to be even one percent responsible for your crash, you won’t collect any monetary compensation. The insurance company’s lawyers know this and will do their best to show you were partly at fault in order to deny your claim. This is a primary reason you need an experienced attorney in your corner to prove the negligent driver was completely at fault in the crash.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Maryland? Contact Our Hagerstown Auto Accident Lawyer Now!
When you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to consult with an attorney who has personal experience with motorcycles. At The Poole Law Group, attorney Bruce Poole knows the exhilaration and pleasure of the ride. As a motorcycle enthusiast, he not only understands your passion for riding, he understands the risks a rider faces from both a personal and professional perspective. This gives him a unique viewpoint when representing riders who have been in an accident.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you to overcome biker bias and get fair compensation. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.