Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Many people are attracted to motorcycles by their power, their image in our culture which historically associates them with freedom and rebellion, the relative ease of maneuverability, and the experience of traveling at speed without a metal compartment separating you from the outdoors. Many of those same factors, unfortunately, also make motorcycles much more susceptible to accidents than passenger cars and trucks.
The openness of the rider to the outdoors also means that accidents, when they do occur, tend to produce severe injuries. That lack of a reinforced passenger compartment and of common safety devices like seatbelts and airbags exposes riders to tremendous physical forces when an accident occurs. Helmets and protective clothing can only help so much when a motorcyclist hits macadam at 50 miles an hour, or when a car traveling 50 miles an hour smashes into the motorcycle.
Motorcycle Accident Background and Statistics
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2013 paints a grim picture of motorcyclist accidents and injuries:
- About 88,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries.
- 4,668 motorcyclists died in accidents.
- Judged on the basis of deaths per mile travelled, motorcyclists were more than 20 times more likely to die in an accident compared to occupants of passenger cars.
- Of the motorcyclists who died in a crash, 25 percent didn’t have a valid motorcycle license, 27 percent were impaired by alcohol (40 percent for those who died in a single vehicle accident)
In Maryland in 2013, 56 motorcyclists died in crashes; of those, 27 percent had blood alcohol levels of .08 or more; 37 percent had levels of at least .01. Metropolitan areas tend to have the highest concentration of motorcycle crashes; in Maryland from 2008 to 2012, half of all crashes occurring in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
Single Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents involve no other vehicle—the motorcycle simply skids and crashes, runs into a guardrail, or the like. That doesn’t mean that the motorcyclist is necessarily responsible for the accident, though. Many of these accidents occur because of conditions that other people caused, for example:
- Defects in the motorcycle itself, either because it was inadequately made or because it was defectively repaired.
- Hazards such as potholes, ridges, and grooves in the road surface
- Substances on the road (oil, sand, etc.)
- Obstructions in the road, such as loose pets, boxes, logs, etc.
- Other motorists whose actions endanger the motorcyclist, causing evasive actions that result in a crash, even though the other vehicle never actually touched the motorcycle
Unfortunately, many police officers investigating the crash are tempted to put single vehicle accidents down to the motorcyclist’s speeding, inexperience, or general inattention. Potential defendants suffer the same temptation for obvious reasons. These can be tricky cases, with the outcome depending on how deftly the motorcyclist’s lawyer handles the evidence.
Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Virtually any injury may result from a motorcycle accident, many of them potentially fatal and life-altering. Among them are:
- Spinal cord injury at any level and of any severity
- Brain injuries
- Severe penetrating injuries that may, depending on where they occur, damage internal organs as well as other structures
- Amputation of limbs, fingers, toes
- Broken bones anywhere in the body (along with the related damage to muscles, nerves, etc. that the jagged bones produce)
- Injuries to the structures of the face, including the eyes, nose, and mouth
- Loss of skin layers from scraping along the road surface
Claims that Motorcyclist was at Fault
Motorcycle accidents frequently involve claims that the motorcyclist was at fault, as a result of such behavior as:
- Speeding, either outright, as in exceeding the posted limit, or in relative terms as in going faster than was safe given the road conditions
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Passing when it was unsafe to pass
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs
Maryland has a very harsh contributory negligence rule, so it is crucial for injured motorcyclists to refute all claims that the accident was their fault. That’s best done by an attorney with long experience in handling motorcycle accident cases, who can quickly gather all the potentially useful evidence, spot the potentially troublesome aspects, and carefully build a wall of evidence to block the defendant’s attempt to avoid responsibility.
Quality Legal Help from A Competent Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Except in the most clear cut cases, the people responsible for your injuries in a motorcycle accident aren’t likely to step up and accept the blame without a fight. The companies that insure those people will likely try to put the blame on you, or at least try to get you to sign a settlement agreement for a much smaller amount of money than could ever compensate you for your injuries.
It’s in your best interest to get experienced legal help as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney who has successfully handled many motorcycle accident cases knows what problems are likely to arise and how to head them off before they become real obstacles to your recovery.
Call the Baltimore personal injury lawyer team at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice and schedule an appointment to discuss your case. You’ll get a free evaluation of your case and advice as to your legal options, and we’ll tell you what information we need to take the next step. There is no fee until we obtain the recovery you deserve. Time to file is limited by law, so call now! 410-844-5333