Baltimore auto accident lawyers

Baltimore Motorcycle Wrongful Death Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents are some of the deadliest auto accidents. Drivers on motorcycles are often equipped with safety gear like helmets, goggles, jackets, and gloves, but many of these pieces of safety gear cannot stop fatal injuries caused by negligent drivers. Cars and trucks on the road can cause serious injuries and deadly accidents if their negligent driving leads to a crash with a motorcycle.

The exhilaration of riding a motorcycle often stems from the feeling of freedom and sense of danger the bike provides. Unfortunately, this danger is real. Motorcyclists are exposed to other vehicles and the roadway. When an accident occurs, the injuries a rider suffers are usually severe and sometimes fatal. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you deserve justice.

The Baltimore motorcycle accident wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras may be able to help if a member of your family was killed in a motorcycle accident in Baltimore. Our lawyers represent families seeking compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one and fight to get them the justice they seek from the responsible parties. To set up a free legal consultation on your case, call our lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.

Common Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Maryland

Motorcycle accidents are often deadly. Riders lack the protection a car or other vehicle provides. A simple fender-bender could prove fatal for a motorcyclist. Below, we examine some of the common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.

Left-Hand Turns

Nearly half of all accidents that involve motorcycles and other vehicles occur when a driver makes a careless or reckless left-hand turn. A driver that does not notice or mistimes a motorcycle coming in the other direction can cause a fatal accident.

Blind Spots

All vehicles have blind spots. These are areas where a driver cannot see due to the design of the vehicle. Because of the size of a motorcycle, it is easily lost in a blind spot. If a driver is switching lanes and does not ensure that there are no smaller vehicles in their path, they could strike an unsuspecting motorcyclist. When this type of accident occurs on a busy highway, a rider can be killed if they are thrown in front of oncoming traffic.

Reckless Driving

Speeding plays a role in most deadly automotive vehicle accidents. This is especially true if one of the vehicles is a motorcycle. Unfortunately, speeding is only one form of reckless driving. When drivers tailgate, swerve, or ignore traffic signals, they put riders at risk.

Drunk Driving

Drunk drivers are a danger on the road. Drinking impairs a driver’s physical and mental capabilities. Alcohol could also cause a motorist to become tired. When a drunk driver crashes into a motorcyclist, the injuries sustained will likely be severe or fatal.

Distracting Driving

One of the major causes of car accidents is distracted driving. Texting, talking, changing radio stations, or looking at a GPS all cause a driver to take their eyes from the road. it only takes a split second to miss a much smaller motorcycle that is sharing the road.

Poor Road Conditions

Poor road conditions are especially hazardous to a motorcyclist. Someone in a car might feel an uncomfortable bounce if they hit a pothole. When a motorcycle hits one, the rider could easily lose control. When mixed with rainy weather, a pothole becomes even more dangerous. Additionally, debris in the roadway might not bother someone in a car while it presents a deadly obstacle to a motorcyclist.

Motorcycle Defects

Sometimes, a motorcycle accident is caused by a defect in the bike or a faulty part. If this occurs, a grieving family might have a wrongful death claim against the bike manufacturer.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Baltimore

A driver who is injured in a car accident or other auto accident is typically entitled to sue the driver who was at fault for the crash. Under Maryland law, this typically means finding the driver who committed errors or mistakes behind the wheel that resulted in a crash. In cases where there was not only injury but also death because of a driver’s negligence, the surviving family of the deceased can often file a lawsuit in place of the victim.

Typically, the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased would file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a loved one. This lawsuit might also be able to benefit other family members under the deceased’s care if there are no spouses, parents, or children available to file the lawsuit. There are two types of lawsuits that could arise out of a wrongful death in Maryland: a wrongful death claim and a survival action.

Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim is filed by a close family member of the deceased. Only family members with proper “standing” are entitled to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Maryland law, only the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents have standing. the compensation sought stems from the harm the surviving family members suffered because of the person’s death, including emotional pain, grief, and loss of companionship.

Survival Actions

On the other hand, a survival action focuses on the pain and suffering of the person who was killed and not the grief and economic losses of the surviving family members.

One way to think of a survival action is as a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of the deceased. the only difference is that the injured party died of their injuries. the case is filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. the representative could be designated by the victim’s will or by the probate court if there was no will. the estate could be compensatory for the same type of damages that are awarded in a personal injury case. For example, the deceased’s estate could be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and the pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they died.

Your lawyer will typically file either or both of these lawsuits, as appropriate in your case. When you file this kind of lawsuit, you must prove who was at fault for the crash and prove the damages the victim and the rest of your family suffered because of their negligence.

Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Wrongful Death Lawsuit

To prove that a driver was responsible for a crash that killed your loved one in Baltimore, you must show evidence that they committed some act or omission on the road that was “negligent.” To meet this standard of negligence, you must show the court evidence that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty, that they breached that duty, and that the breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries or death.

Many traffic laws help supply us with these legal duties that drivers on the road owe each other. This means that if the at-fault driver was speeding, ran a red light, was driving under the influence, or committed another traffic violation to cause the motorcycle accident, they are likely responsible. In some cases, there is no law squarely on point to supply a duty, in which case the driver is required to drive with the care and skill that a reasonably prudent driver would have used in the same situation. These are intended to be objective standards the jury can use to compare the driver’s actions to what they should have done.

If the court is presented with evidence that multiple drivers were at fault, they might assign partial blame to multiple parties. For instance, a motorcyclist could be killed in an accident because two drivers next to them crashed and one swerved into their lane. In that case, the other drivers might each pay their fair share of the damages according to their percentage of fault in causing the crash. If the court finds that the motorcycle rider who was killed was partly at fault for their own injuries, the court might block the lawsuit, so it is important to talk to a lawyer to help control the case and fight against any counterclaims.

Damages in a Baltimore Motorcycle Death Lawsuit

If your loved one was killed, there is a range of damages you might be able to claim in wrongful death and survival actions. Some of these damages stem from the crash and the damages that the deceased would have been able to claim had they survived the crash, and others are claimed by the family for harm that they faced because of the death.

If your loved one had lived, they would have been entitled to claim damages for their medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can claim these damages on their behalf, seeking coverage for the medical expenses they faced, the lost wages their injuries and death will cause the family, and the pain and suffering your loved one faced before their death. Other damages, such as damage to the motorcycle, may also be claimed.

Surviving family members can claim compensation to cover the cost of funeral and burial expenses. In addition, the untimely death of a loved one might cause lost money the family would have realized from investments, inheritances, and other sources. the family can also claim the cost of lost companionship, grief counseling, lost spousal services, and lost household services.

Maryland Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. A statute of limitations is a law that governs how long you have to file a lawsuit. Under Maryland’s statute of limitation, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of death.

A wrongful death claim is separate from a personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances, both claims could arise from a single motorcycle accident. it is important to remember that they each have their own deadline. One does not impact the other. For example, your loved one could have been severely injured in a motorcycle accident and failed to file a timely personal injury lawsuit. If they die because of their injuries, you might still be permitted to file a wrongful death claim even though three or more years have passed since the accident.

Contributory Negligence and Fatal Motorcycle Accident Claims in Maryland

Many motorcyclists have a reputation as risk-takers and daredevils. This reputation often presents a challenge in a Maryland injury or wrongful death claim. Only five states still follow the harsh contributory negligence doctrine – and Maryland is one of them.

In an accident case arising from negligence, blame will be apportioned out between the parties involved. If the injured party contributed to the accident, they would be absolutely barred from receiving any compensation. This doctrine adversely impacts some wrongful death claims. If a jury finds that your loved one contributed to an accident in any way, perhaps speeding, the defendant will not be held liable. This is one reason why it is crucial to have our experienced Maryland fatal motorcycle accident lawyers handling your case.

Call Our Baltimore Motorcycle Lawyers for Fatal Accident Lawsuits

If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident in Baltimore, Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Baltimore motorcycle accident wrongful death attorneys might be able to help you seek justice.  While a lawsuit will not alleviate the pain of losing a loved one, it can help ensure your family’s financial stability and help you move forward with your lives knowing that the at-fault parties have been held responsible. For a free legal consultation on the case and the damages you may be entitled to claim, call our lawyers at (410) 694-7291.