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Maryland Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Do you want a bicycle accident lawyer that will work to get you the right compensation from the responsible person or persons? What if you could hire a biking injury attorney that listens to your needs and makes the process after the crash easier for you? 

Well, there is….keep reading to learn more.

Did you know hiring a lawyer can increase your settlement or verdict up to 3.5 times more for your claim after a biking accident that is not your fault. Insurance companies are more willing to settle or pay bigger checks to injury victims than if they don’t have a personal injury attorney.

In this article, our injury compensations lawyer will outline common causes of biking accidents, the types of injuries and what can happen throughout your recovery and claim after the accident. Keep reading and call our biking accident lawyers for immediate legal help and guidance after your bike accident.

Road Rage Bike Accidents

How and Why Bicycle Accidents Occur

Bicycles play a major role in our society. People bike for recreation, for exercise, and, of course for transportation in our increasingly congested cities.

Families bike together, bike clubs arrange group rides, people take their bikes to work and use them to go shopping.

Unfortunately, bikes don’t handle rough roads that well, and are at the mercy of the much larger motor vehicles with which they usually share the road. The result is that many thousands of bicyclists are involved in accidents every year.

In 2012, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show, 700-plus bicyclists died and almost 50,000 were injured in accidents with motor vehicles.

Many, many more bicycle accidents happen for reasons other than colliding with a motor vehicle. In Maryland alone there are more than 500 bicycle accidents serious enough to cause reportable injuries each year. Most occur in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Maryland Traffic Rules and Bicycles..Why they Matter

Bike Accident Attorney in MD

In Maryland, bicyclists are entitled to the same courtesy and protection as other vehicles on the road, and are subject to the same duties.

Notably, there are several situations in which the law gives bicyclists the right of way over motor vehicles, and bicyclists in many places are required to have lights, reflectors, and warning bells.

Many bicycle-related accidents involve either the bicyclist or a motorist violating these rules of the road.

A bicyclist’s violation of a traffic rule may prevent recovery for injuries in an accident, while the motorist’s violation of a traffic rule makes it much easier for the bicyclist to recover.

Bicycles Offer Little Protection in Accidents…and thus why the injuries are so severe

A bicycle obviously provides far less protection than a car or truck when it is involved in an accident. Bikes have none of the safety devices that motor vehicles do—seatbelts, airbags, etc.—and there is no reinforced passenger compartment.

A collision with comparatively massive motor vehicles can cause severe injuries or death even if the bike rider is wearing a helmet and travelling at a low rate of speed.

Bike accident injuries occur in numerous ways:

Who May be Liable in a Biking Accident and how to prove it

In most bike accident cases involving a collision with a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle is the likely defendant. But every bike accident is unique. Under some circumstances, any of the following could be liable for the injuries suffered in a bicycle accident:

Claims That Cyclist Caused the Accident

Few people readily admit fault in any accident, and bicycle accidents are no exception. Some motorist actually did not see the bicycle at all and simply assume the cyclist must have been doing something wrong.

Others simply throw up any defense they think may get them off the hook.

Attempts to blame the cyclist typically involve claims that the cyclist was violating traffic rules, ignoring traffic signals or stop signs, travelling at excessive speed, simply riding recklessly, or riding while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Overcoming these claims requires careful gathering of witness statements and reconstruction of the accident. An experienced Maryland bike accident attorney can anticipate many of these claims, and effectively refute them.

Additional Information for Victims of Bike Accidents

hospital, injury, operating table, x-rayCycling Injuries Sustained in an Accident

Cycling has become a very common type of transportation in Maryland cities. While cycling is an attractive option for many people, there are numerous bicycle accidents that occur each year resulting in particularly serious consequences.

The state of Maryland reports that in 2016, there 16 fatal bike accidents and 676 bike accidents that resulted in cycling injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further clarification about this risk: while bicycles represent only 1 percent of travel in the United States, bicyclists face a much greater risk of serious injury than other vehicle operators.

If you experience a cycling injury in Maryland, do not hesitate to speak with attorney Randolph Rice who can help make sure that you obtain the compensation that you deserve.

The Most Common Types of Cycling Injuries

Bicyclists can experience several different types of injuries as the result of an accident involving a commercial truck, a motor vehicle, another bicyclists, or a pedestrian. Some of the most common types of cycling injuries include the following:

Fractured collarbones

Injuries involving a person’s clavicle or collarbone are common when a bicyclist falls from their bicycle. In many cases, when accidents occur, bicyclists place their hands in front of them to brace their fall. As a result, a bicyclist’s hands often absorb shock created by the fall which can result in fractures of the collarbone.

Fractured Hips

Some bicyclists fall to one side after an accident which results in them landing on their hip. Given the significant force when bicyclists fall and considering that their hips in these situations are the first area to strike the ground, fractured hips are one of the most common types of cycling injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Head injuries are one of the most common damages that arise from bicycling accidents. Traumatic brain injuries can result in fatalities as well as very serious physical impairments that impact the rest of a person’s life. While wearing a bicycle helmet helps to decrease the significant risk of these accidents, helmets are unfortunately not capable of protecting a person against all bicycle accidents that occur.

These are just some of the most common types of bicycle accidents. Some of the other common types of injuries include dental injuries, elbow fractures, facial injuries, jaw injuries, and leg fractures.

Steps to Prevent Cycling Injuries

To avoid facing cycling injuries, there are some important safety tips that a person can take to avoid the risk of being seriously injured. Some of the most important steps that a person should take when riding a bicycle include the following:

Additional Common Bike Accident Injuries

The United States Census Bureau reports that bicycling was the fastest growing type of transportation from 2000 to 2012. Maryland is just one area that has seen a significant increase in the number of bicyclists in the area.

While cycling is an excellent mode of transportation, eco-friendly, and a good form of exercise, bicyclists are at substantial risk of being seriously injured when accidents with other vehicles occur. While minor bicycle accident can result in riders facing small bruises and scrapes, more serious accidents can leave drivers facing very serious injuries.

Some of the reasons for common bike accident injuries include lack of adequate safety protection as well as drivers who do not wear helmets. No matter how your accident occurs, it is a wise idea to obtain the assistance of a skilled bike accident attorney no matter how you are harmed. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our legal counsel has significant experience helping bicyclists who face many different types of injuries.

bicyclesThe Severity of Bicycle Accidents

The severity of bicycle accidents depends on a variety of factors which include the following factors:

These factors significantly influence which one of the most common types of bike accident injuries a person receives.

The Most Common Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries

Some of the most common bike accident injuries include the following:

Compensation in Bike Accidents

Bicyclists who are injured in motor vehicle accidents are able to obtain compensation for several different types of damages. The first issue in determining a bicycle accident case is establishing that another party is responsible for an accident.

To obtain adequate compensation in bike accidents, it is often a wise idea to obtain the assistance of experienced legal counsel like attorney Randolph Rice who knows how to create a strong legal strategy to make sure you obtain the compensation you deserve.

These Maryland laws were created to restore the injured bicyclist to the state they were in prior to the accident which is why these damages are often referred to as “compensatory” in nature. This article will review some of the various types of compensatory damages that a person is able to obtain.

Compensation Economic Damages

Injured bicyclists are able to obtain compensation in bike accidents for economic damages, which refer to the various types of damages that a person suffers financially after an accident.

The exact amount of economic damages that a person faces are determined by calculating bills and receipts. This category further divides into several types of damages which include the following:

Costs of repairs or replacement property

If a bicyclist’s vehicle or any other type of personal property is damaged as the result of an accident, the bicyclist is often able to recover either the costs or fair market value of the property on the data that the accident occurred. A bicyclist might also be able to recover compensation for the loss of use of personal property.

Lost earning capacity

A bicyclist who is seriously injured in an accident is able to obtain compensation for their inability work and earn a living in the future. Some examples of lost earning capacity include workers who lose the ability to start a business, pursue employment opportunities, and even situations where a bicyclist loses their current job due to injuries incurred from the accident.

Lost wages After a Bicycle Accident

Injured bicyclists often lose time at work due to injuries caused by bicycle accidents. An injured bicyclist is able to obtain compensation for both work they already lost as for earnings that they will lose in the future provided that this amount is reasonably certain.

Medical Expenses from a Bike Accident

This category includes all medical costs that a person incurred as the result of an accident. Injured bicyclists are often able to also obtain compensation for future medical costs provide that these costs are necessary and related to the resulting injury.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages includes various consequences that are not capable of being directly calculated. Instead, non-economic damages include intangible losses that arise due to the accident. Some examples of non-economic damages that bicyclists are able to obtain as compensation in bike accidents include the following:

Emotional Distress

This category includes the emotional difficulties that a bystander who witnesses a particularly traumatic accident might have.

Loss of Consortium

This category includes the loss of companionship that a spouse might have as the result of a bicycle accident.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

This category encompasses significant changes in a person’s life that leave them unable to participate in activities they enjoy.

Pain and Suffering

This category includes physical injuries that a person incurs as the result of an accident.

Outlining the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law

Cycling has become increasingly popular across the United States in recent years. However, many riders are unfamiliar with the rules of the road including whether they should wear a helmet. There is evidence that the Maryland bicycle helmet law is beneficial and saves lives.

The highways of Maryland are not for the faint-hearted bicyclist, particularly in big cities like Baltimore. Sadly, cyclists are killed and injured every month in our state. Drivers often fail to give cyclists the room they need. If you or a loved one has been involved in a cycling accident, you should contact a Maryland cycling accident lawyer.

What is the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law?

In contrast to its motorcycle helmet laws, Maryland does not have a universal bicycle helmet law. However, its law is more stringent than those of many other states. While 21 states have a bicycle helmet law, a further 29 have no law, states Claims Journal.

The Maryland bicycle helmet law requires all riders under the age of 16 to wear a helmet when they are riding on public property, according to the State Highway Administration.  The law was introduced in 1995. The law goes beyond highways to include trails and sidewalks. Some local jurisdictions have drawn up rules of their own.

An ordinance in Sykesville makes helmets mandatory for all riders including adults. In Montgomery County, all cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet.

Maryland has seen unsuccessful attempts to introduce laws to make helmets compulsory for all riders. Groups such as the Washington Area Bicyclist Association opposed this legislation, arguing compulsory helmet laws would make fewer people ride bikes and cycling would become less safe.

Do Helmets Have to Meet a Standard Under the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law?

The Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law sets out three standards. Your helmet must comply with at last one of them. They are.

How Effective Are Helmets in Reducing Cyclist Injuries?

Research suggests wearing a helmet reduces your chances of sustaining a serious or a fatal brain injury in a cycling crash. Studies suggest helmets are most useful for protecting cyclists in low impact crashes.

As part of a recent study in the Czech Republic, scientists looked at the autopsy reports of 119 cyclists who were killed while not wearing helmets in two regions between 1995 and 2013. The research team considered whether the helmets would have helped the bicyclists survive and studied police reports from the bike crashes.  

The research indicated that helmets would have been most useful in single-vehicle crashes when cyclists fell off their bicycles or struck obstacles. About 44 cyclists (37 percent) of this study would have survived their injuries if they had been wearing helmets during the crashes. Helmets would have been less effective in high impact crashes with cars, trucks, or trains.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cycling helmets reduce rider head injuries by 80 percent, while the League of American Bicyclists says people should “never ride without one.” 

How Many Cyclists Wear Helmets?

According to the National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, only three out of 10 riders said they wear a helmet at all times on their bikes. About 63 percent of the response favored cycling helmet laws for adults as well as for children.

How to Fit a Helmet in Line with Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law

Failing to fit a cycling helmet properly, can undo the protection afforded by a helmet. Maryland’s State Highway Administration says you should:

Advice on helping kids to wear their helmets is provided by Bike Maryland. Adults are encouraged to model behavior by wearing their helmets and asking their children’s friends to do the same.

Contact an Experienced Maryland Cycling Accident Injury Lawyer

Cyclists are more vulnerable to head injuries than many other road users. Wearing a helmet in line with the Maryland bicycle helmet law can reduce your risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury or losing your life. However, there are no guarantees.

If you or your child has been injured on the roads of Maryland, please call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today for a free consultation at (410) 288-2900.

Get Legal Help from a Maryland Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycles are simple, but bicycle accidents are not. It’s pretty common for witness statements to conflict. The victim’s recollection of events may well be sketchy or nonexistent. If the victim is a child, there are questions of judgment and responsibility.

Getting an experienced Maryland bike accident attorney involved as soon as possible makes it easier to locate witnesses while their memories are still fresh, and to preserve physical evidence from the accident. It also guarantees that you won’t miss any time limits for making claims or serving notices.

Maryland personal injury attorney G. Randolph Rice thoroughly understands all aspects of bicycle accident cases: establishing what happened, why those events entitle you to compensation, and the extent of your injuries.

Give us a call to schedule a free consultation and we can get the recovery process started. Statutory time limits apply, so don’t delay; call now to protect your right to claiming the compensation you need and deserve.

Maryland Bike Accident Lawyer

There are many busy streets in Maryland  that contain commuting workers and tourists. There are also a large number of bicyclists on Maryland’s roads, which unfortunately results in many bike accidents each year.

If you a cyclist who was injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, you are likely left to face very serious injuries. One of the reasons why injuries are often serious is that bicyclists frequently lack helmets to protect them from being harmed in accidents.

Fortunately, an experienced bike accident lawyer at the Law Office of Randolph Rice can help obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact attorney Rice today to discuss how he can help with your case.

Important Laws You Should Know about Maryland Bike Accidents

There are some very important laws that every bike rider should know about how accidents are handled in the state of Maryland which include the following:

How to Handle a Bike Accident With a Car

Are accidents with bicycles and cars dangerous?

Well, according to the CDC, in 2015 over 1,000 bicyclists died and almost 467,000 bicycle-related injuries occurred in the United States alone. The trend for accidents is increasing as more people use bicycles as an alternate form of transportation.

Bicyclists accounted for 2.2 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016. Bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20%) and in urban areas (71%). (from the National Highway Safety Administration)

Who is at Fault if a Car and Bicycle are in an accident?

A bicycle and a car are both considered vehicles bound by the rules and laws of the road. Both cyclists and drivers need to obey them. The standard that will be applied is negligence: Whichever party failed to operate their vehicle in a reasonable manner will be held liable.

However, if both parties are negligent than neither party may be able to hold the other at fault in  Maryland since it is a contributory negligence state. That means if both parties are partially at fault neither can recover.

Which party is usually responsible for accidents involving bicycles and cars?

It’s hard to say. Most studies are mixed as to whether cars or bicyclists are  most often at fault. Generally, because a car is larger than a bicycle and more likely to do rather sustain damages, more claims are brought by bicycle riders against car drivers than the other way around. There are some indications though when an accident occurs it is most likely to occur in an intersection and in the evening.

What Should happen when there is a bike accident with a car?

It should be handled the same way as an accident between two vehicles. Both parties should first check on their physical well-being and in the case of injury, immediately seek medical attention, Cars and bikes should be inspected for damages. Information should be exchanged between the parties and if police are involved, cooperate with providing information.

Can a Bicyclist file a claim with their own car insurance for damages?

Probably not. Damage to your bicycle should be covered under your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Your own health insurance should cover medical bills that are incurred. If the driver is at fault in the accident, then the bicyclist can make a claim under the driver’s insurance policy.

Can a Driver file a claim with their own insurance for damages after an accident?

Yes. A Driver’s insurance policy will cover damages arising out of an accident with any vehicles. This would include bicyclists While it does not seem that an accident with a bike could do much injury to a car, it is possible a car might swerve at the last second to avoid an accident stopped suddenly to get hit from behind as well as other occurrences where a cyclist could induce injury to car and driver.

Can a Driver submit a claim under  the insurance policy of the bike rider?

Usually you should be able to submit a claim for injuries and damages caused by a bicyclist through their homeowner’s or renter’s policy. This would include medical bills, pain and suffering, etc., make a claim up to the policy limit. They can not submit claims under the bike rider’s automotive policy.

How are the amount of damages determined when there is a claim made in an accident between a car and bike rider?

Damages are based on two basic categories:

Compensatory damages mean you want to be repaid for the things you lost because of the accident This is  also called “ special” damages since they are unique in every situation as to the actual amount. Bills, reports, estimates, wage stubs, tax returns and other information would all be used to determine how much they should be:

General  or compensatory damages are for losses that don’t come with a cost you can easily show through paperwork or objective information. They are called general damages because all individuals in an accident usually will be able to claim them. The most common types of general damages are:

The severity of the accident between car and bicycle will determine how much could be recovered . Consult with an attorney if you are an accident to explore what your recovery could be.

What are the traffic penalties for being in an accident with a bicyclist if I’m driving a car?

After passing a bicycle rider you must make sure you are completely clear of the bicyclist before making any turns. The bike has the right of way, and you must yield to bike, when you are turning. Failing to yield right of way to a bicyclist, resulting in a crash in which the bicyclist is seriously injured can result in a $1,000 fine and three points on your driving record.

Generally, car or other automotive drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD,(this is an Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Devices, like a motorized wheelchair,  rascal, etc.) or motor scooter being ridden by a person and the driver of a vehicle must not pass any closer than three (3) feet to a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle is operated in a lawful manner.  (Source Maryland State Highway Administration)

Should a Bike rider or Bicyclist ride with or against traffic to be safe?

A bicycle should travel in the same direction of traffic and not against it to be safe. Riding a bike in the opposite direction of traffic is illegal in Maryland and is likely to cause confusion for a car driver who will be encountering a vehicle where they don’t expect it to see it.

What about an accident involving two bicyclists? Is this covered under insurance?

Yes, it is covered under each party’s homeowner’s or renter’s policies, since a bicycle is considered personal property. Each party can recover to the policy limits. Liability will be determined  by the rules and law applying to negligence between the parties.

What if a cyclist does not have Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance? Could there be coverage under  their Auto Insurance?

The cyclist will only have coverage under the personal injury protection of their policy if the accident involves an automotive vehicle. If it is another bicycle or any non-motorized vehicle they will not be able to recover under their automotive insurance policy.

What other Laws could affect liability for Cyclists?

Can a Bicyclist be criminally charged while riding a bike for being intoxicated?

Yes. Maryland DUI and DWI law applies to anyone operating a vehicle, not just cars and trucks. Since bicycles are considered vehicles, anyone intoxicated while using them could face criminal and civil penalties.

There are the same levels of intoxication and penalties that would apply as if an actual motor vehicle was driven while under the influence. This would also affect the ability to recover damages in the case of an accident between a car and a bike if the intoxication is shown to be a contributing factor to the accident.

Can I sue if I am in an accident between  a car and a bike?

Yes, but consider consulting with an attorney first before proceeding. In some ways a lawsuit between a bicyclist and a car is now different than an accident case between two automotive vehicles.

However, in other ways, it is very different. There maybe different rules of the road that apply as well as different legal standards for operation of a car and a bicycle. As noted earlier, there maybe insurance other than automotive involved.

If the cyclist is at fault but does not have homeowners or renter’s insurance, there may not be any insurance available. While automotive insurance is mandatory if you are driving, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is not required.

Issues like jurisdiction, suing the proper party, establishing liability and the amount of damages always  must be established and proven to win a case.

Obtain the Assistance of a Skilled Bike Accident Injury Attorney

If you were involved in a bike accident that occurred in Maryland or the surrounding area, you are likely confused about how to proceed and have questions about whether you are entitled to compensation or any available legal remedies.

The lack of protection and safety features on bicycles that are found in motor vehicles means that bicyclists are often seriously injured and sometimes even killed when collisions with other vehicles occur.

A bike accident attorney at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can analyze your case to determine your best option to receive adequate compensation. A large number of bike accidents are caused by the negligence of pedestrians and motor vehicle operators and our law office knows what steps to take to hold these parties accountable.  Contact our law office today to determine if you are able to obtain compensation for your bike accident.