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Half The Wheels, Twice The Danger: Handling Motorcycle Personal Injury Claims In Maryland And DC

Half The Wheels, Twice The Danger: Handling Motorcycle Personal Injury Claims In Maryland And DC Lawyer, Gaithersburg, MDThis article contains essential information for motorcycle riders or passengers. It explains key details about the personal injury claim process when injured in a motorcycle accident, such as:

  • How personal injury claims work for no-contact motorcycle accidents,
  • How negligence is established and fault can be proven with the help of a personal injury attorney, and
  • What laws exist to protect motorcyclists and how you and/or your passengers can claim damages, including lost wages and medical expenses.

What Makes Motorcycle Accidents Different?

Sometimes motorcycle accidents are very similar to automobile accidents, but oftentimes they are radically different. The operation of a motorcycle from the rider’s perspective is not at all the same as driving a car.

The actions of a motorcycle rider in certain situations are necessarily different from how a regular automobile driver might react. This is a fact that needs to be taken into account if ever you are injured and present your claim to an insurance company, judge, jury, or fact finder. Whoever is making a decision about your case and compensation needs to understand how motorcycle riders operate their vehicles.

That means that having a personal injury lawyer on your side who understands how to operate them is essential. Including why, in many cases, a motorcyclist will choose to swerve and/or take a fall even without being hit.

I Was Severely Injured In A Motorcycle Accident Caused By Another Driver But Our Vehicles Never Collided. Can I Still Raise A Personal Injury Claim?

One of the fundamental truths of motorcycle riding is vulnerability. While a car can hit or take a hit from another without too much risk to the driver, any impact on a motorcycle puts the rider in grave danger. This means many motorcycle accidents and injuries often occur without any direct contact whatsoever, as the rider swerves and/or falls to avoid the crash. Luckily, however, if this happens to you, you may still be able to file for personal injury damages.

If the other driver’s actions were negligent and you were free from negligence, you can recover compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for your injuries. Admittedly though, doing so can certainly be a little more complicated when there is no contact between the two vehicles.

It is possible to make a successful “uninsured motorist” claim against your own insurance company even when you don’t know the other driver’s identity or insurance information. Doing so will just require you to convince them that you were free from negligence and that your evasive maneuver was appropriate under the circumstances.

What Constitutes Negligence On The Part Of The Motorist In A Personal Injury Case?

Negligence is the central pivot around which personal injury cases turn. In personal injury law in Maryland, negligence is defined as doing something that a person using reasonable care would not do or not doing something that a person using reasonable care would do. Reasonable care means, broadly speaking, behaving as someone with a reasonable degree of caution, attention, or skill would in the same circumstances.

While that is the legal definition a jury would receive and a judge would make a decision on, it is really quite intuitive: don’t put someone in danger, be careful, and react quickly. A reasonable person, for example, would…

  • stay to the right side of the center line,
  • stop at a stop sign,
  • look in both directions before pulling out, and
  • not go 95 miles per hour on a highway, even if there’s no traffic there.

While each situation varies and the law cannot account for each one, the important thing is to follow the law, common sense, and avoid endangering anyone. When someone is negligent, however, and puts your life in danger or causes you injury, then you can make a claim against them for personal injury.

How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Prove Fault In A Maryland Motorcycle Accident?

Every case is unique, but they often follow a similar pattern. Your personal injury attorney will examine the particular facts of the case and determine what the other driver did or did not do in the situation, as well as what rules of the road may be applicable.

Then this information, hopefully along with testimonies from witnesses, medical professionals, and any experts necessary, is gathered to be presented to the applicable insurance company. It is worth noting that this does not need to be the insurance company of another driver.

There could be negligence from another vehicle, but it could also be on the part of the operator or maker of the vehicle or bike you are on, or a combination of the other driver and your host vehicle, if you are the passenger. The actions of all parties need to be taken into consideration for showing fault and determining who may be responsible and negligent.

Can A Passenger On A Motorcycle File A Personal Injury Claim If They Were Injured In An Accident?

Even passengers can sue for personal injury if the accident they were injured in was caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. You just have to determine who was negligent. Was it the operator of the motorcycle, another vehicle operator, a third party, or a combination thereof?

In one Maryland case, a motorbike passenger was injured in an accident when a speeding bike they were on hit a car pulling past a stop sign. The case was ultimately resolved with the insurance of both the motorcycle rider and the car driver, as both were held responsible for the passenger’s injuries.

How Can Medical Expenses And Lost Wages Be Recovered In A Motorcycle Personal Injury Case?

When you have been injured, endured medical expenses, and lost time from work as the result of an accident, you can sue the insurance company of the at-fault driver or rider. This is easier for car accidents because car drivers are required in Maryland to have personal injury protection (PIP) in their insurance, while motorcyclists are not.

If you were injured by a motorcyclist without PIP coverage, you can turn to your health insurance for medical expenses, though they will not be able to pay for other damages, such as time lost from work.

What Laws And Regulations Protect The Rights Of Motorcyclists In Personal Injury Cases?

Motorcyclists in Maryland have no greater or lesser protections under the law than drivers, operators of other vehicles, or even cyclists. If they are negligent and cause harm, they can be held accountable.

However, it is also important to remember that Maryland operates under a zero-tolerance policy for contributory negligence. If you are injured, but were even partially at fault for the accident or injury, then you will not be able to recover any damages for those injuries whatsoever.

Given the needs and demands made of motorcycle riders for their own safety, this rule can often be used to deflect or deny their claim. Luckily, experienced motorcycle personal injury attorneys like Monty Yolles can advise riders on their rights and their chances of a claim, as they know the tricks of the insurance companies’ trade and will not let you be taken advantage of by them.

For more information on Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claims In Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 670-0443 today.

The Yolles Legal Group

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