A passenger on a motorcycle is trusting that the driver will operate the vehicle with care. However, a simple mistake by the driver or the negligent actions of another motorist could place the passenger in a precarious position. Fortunately, an injured passenger has options to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. Our firm is here to explain whether a motorcycle passenger can sue after a crash.
A passenger on a motorcycle who is injured in an accident in Maryland may file a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the accident. Sometimes, the responsible party is another driver, but in many cases, that party is the driver of the motorcycle. Passengers may sue whichever of these parties is responsible for causing the accident.
If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident in Maryland, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Rice, Murtha & Psoras understand how a victim’s life can change after a severe motorcycle accident, and we are here for you. Call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Do Motorcycle Passengers Have a Right to Sue After an Accident in Maryland?
Motorcycle accidents are often catastrophic because the body of the rider is exposed and can be struck by other vehicles. For example, a motorcycle rider can be thrown from a bike and suffer multiple bone fractures if the bike collides with another vehicle. For a motorcycle passenger, there is a question of who can be held liable for their injuries after an accident.
Fortunately, passengers in a motorcycle crash have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, there could be multiple parties that are liable to the passenger.
As you might expect, the negligent motorist that caused the accident could be held liable by the passenger that was injured. However, there is a possibility that the passenger was injured because the driver of the motorcycle acted negligently. For example, if the driver of the motorcycle decided to drive through a red light, the passenger may have a valid claim against them.
Under other circumstances, the driver of the motorcycle and another motorist could be jointly responsible for the injuries of the motorcycle passenger. For instance, if the motorcycle rider was speeding and the other driver changed into a lane without checking their mirrors, both parties could be responsible for the passenger’s injuries.
It is important to note that a passenger of a motorcycle crash can seek compensation from all parties that caused their injuries. This means the victim can file a lawsuit against the driver of the motorcycle and other negligent individuals.
While an injured passenger also has the option to seek compensation through an insurance claim, this may not be a wise decision. Insurance companies often seek to minimize liability for an accident. This means that the insurance company for the negligent driver may try to diminish your claim in order to avoid paying out a large sum of money. Additionally, if a victim is successful when filing an insurance claim, they may not receive adequate compensation in comparison to their injuries and other losses.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident in Maryland, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney.
Calculating Damages for Motorcycle Passenger Injuries After an Accident in Maryland
If you have a valid claim against another motorist for injuries you sustained in a motorcycle accident, you should be aware of how much you stand to recover if you pursue your case in a Maryland state court. Damages, or the compensation available through a lawsuit, are calculated based on both the economic and non-economic harms that you have sustained as a result of the accident.
Economic factors involved in damage calculations include the direct and indirect financial expenses required to deal with the consequences of the accident. For instance, the cost of the medical care that you receive for your injuries will be included within economic damages. Ambulance fees, emergency services, prescription medication, specialist appointments, and physical therapy for rehabilitation are all examples of compensable medical expenses. Even hospital parking fees can be included in the calculations, so be sure to keep an accurate and thorough record of everything that you spend on your care.
If your injuries prevent you from working, you can also seek damages for lost wages. Your compensable loss of income may include any paid time off that you were forced to take, any opportunities for advancement or promotion that you missed out on, or the value of your training and experience in your field if your permanent injuries render you incapable to work in that field. For instance, a plumber who lost the use of their hand due to an accident could get more in damages for their inability to work than they might if they suffered severe burns that didn’t limit their function.
Non-economic damages are what separates lawsuit damages from insurance claims. Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering is not available through insurance policy coverage. However, that fact doesn’t make these difficulties any less real or harmful.
Motorcycle accident victims with serious injuries are likely to experience severe chronic pain, both from the injury itself and from the surgeries or other procedure that are likely required to treat them. This chronic pain can also be a limitation, not just to the functions of the victim’s occupation, but to how they live their daily life. Strain to personal relationships and inability to engage in recreational activities are just two of several categories through which courts will evaluate non-economic damages.
Motorcycle accident injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), have a high correlation with the onset of certain psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders. These conditions are real and can have harmful effects on the victim. If you believe you may have suffered a TBI or are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression or anxiety, we urge you to reach out to the appropriate medical care provider as soon as possible.
The third type of damages that you might be able to claim are punitive damages. Punitive damages are not available through insurance and are rarely available in court cases. They are only available if the conduct that caused the accident was so heinous or reprehensible that it deserves additional punishment.
The most common examples of situations where courts will award punitive damages to vehicular accident injury victims are those involving extremely reckless driving practices, such as driving under the influence, highly excessive speeding, or illegal street racing. If they are awarded, however, they may be the greatest value of compensation proportionally to the other two categories. Therefore, it is important that you and your Maryland motorcycle accident attorney identify whether punitive damages might be available in your case.
How Do I Pay My Medical Bills While Suing for Motorcycle Passenger Accident Injuries in Maryland?
While negotiating the terms of a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance provider or preparing to file a lawsuit, you still may find yourself facing large, outstanding medical bills. Fortunately, you may be able to get at least some of your medical bills paid through your own insurer, even if someone else was responsible for the accident.
Auto insurance companies in Maryland are required to provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Though Maryland is an at-fault state for insurance purposes, PIP coverage is no-fault, meaning you can recover compensation through this plan even while your other claims are still pending.
PIP claims are limited in value and scope. Your PIP coverage will only cover as much as the policy limit allows. This means that if you have $15,000 in medical bills and your policy limit is $10,000, you can only recover up to $10,000. Additionally, as mentioned above, your PIP coverage will not account for the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries. If you sustained serious injuries, you should not rely solely on PIP coverage for your recovery.
Applications for PIP coverage must be filed within a year of the date of the collision. If you need help applying for PIP coverage for your medical treatment for motorcycle passenger accident injuries, we urge you to contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras for assistance.
Contributory Negligence Laws for Motorcycle Passenger Injury Victims in Maryland
Maryland abides by strict laws that prevent personal injury plaintiffs from recovering compensation in a lawsuit if they also shared some responsibility for causing either the accident that led to the injuries or the injuries themselves. Proving that a passenger was responsible for causing the accident is very difficult and only possible in limited circumstances.
However, there is one type of conduct that often hurts a motorcycle passenger injury victim’s chance of recovery: not wearing a helmet. A personal injury plaintiff’s failure to wear a helmet or other common protective gear while riding on a motorcycle can be seen as a negligent and contributory cause of the injuries that they suffered. As a result, these cases often end without compensation for the injured victim.
When to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Maryland
Victims that are injured in a motorcycle accident should waste no time in pursuing compensation for their injuries. A motorcycle accident could leave a victim with severe injuries like a brain injury and even disfigurement, which would result in extensive medical bills for a victim. That is why it would be wise to sue for damages after a motorcycle crash.
When suing for damages, it is important to note that a potential plaintiff only has a limited amount of time to file their case due to the statute of limitations. the statute of limitations dictates the amount of time that a person has to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court of law. Be aware that the deadline set by the statute of limitations is subject to change depending on the circumstances of the plaintiff’s case.
In Maryland, a victim of a motorcycle accident has three years to file a personal injury lawsuit with a court of law. If the plaintiff does not file the case within three years, they risk the possibility of having the court bar their claim. This may occur if a defendant successfully dismisses the case due to the violation of the statute of limitations. As a result, a plaintiff may be left without options to recover damages for their injuries and other losses.
It is vital that a potential plaintiff avoid making assumptions about the statute of limitations for their case. If you are wrong about the filing deadline for your case, it could seriously harm your case. For example, an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney may be hesitant to accept your case if the statute of limitations deadline is quickly approaching.
If you are worried about the filing deadline for your case, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Consult with Our Experienced Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Potential Case
If you or a family member was injured in a motorcycle accident, you should contact an experienced Bethesda motorcycle accident attorney. Personal injury attorney Randolph Rice possesses over 20 years of legal experience, and he would be honored to work with you. Our firm understands the burden of being saddled with medical bills and other issues after a serious motorcycle crash, and we are here for you in your time of need. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291. You can also contact the firm online.