Motorcyclists are more exposed than any other motor vehicle driver. When they’re in an accident, they lack the protection of a car’s doors, tough exterior, seatbelts, and air bags. Motorcycle accident injuries tend to be more serious and can have especially debilitating consequences than car crash ones. They may even be worse than injuries motorists suffer in truck accidents.
If you’ve been hurt in a collision and feel that negligence played a role, a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer from Belsky & Horowitz, LLC may be able to help you file a personal injury claim to help you seek compensation that you need to move forward.
We’re proud to represent the motorcyclists in Maryland. We understand that most motorcyclists are riders who prioritize their safety and deserve to have their rights protected. With the help of our law firm, you may be able to recover motorcycle accident damages, including financial compensation for lost wages, loss of future earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Before we go over the process of filing a personal injury claim with the help of a Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney, let’s go over some statistics and facts about these types of collisions, why they occur, and the injuries often associated with them.
Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle accidents can occur when anyone acts negligently on the road. Wrecks in Baltimore or anywhere else in Maryland are no different.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Zero Deaths Maryland report released in 2021 highlighted how around 1,046 motorcyclists and their passengers suffer injuries in motorcycle accidents every year. An estimated 73 motorbike riders and passengers lose their lives in these motorcycle crashes.
Additional data published by the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) shows that at least 9.9% of Maryland motorcycle accidents occur in Baltimore. An additional 60% of motorbike collisions happen on county or state highways. An estimated 20% take place on US routes.
That same data also shows that the following is true about Maryland motorcycle accidents:
- Over one-half of motorcycle accidents that occur in our state happen on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Nearly one-half of all fatal motorcycle accidents happen on either Saturday or Sunday.
- Most motorcycle crashes occur during the daytime. However, at least 29% of them occur between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Also, an estimated 22% of fatal motorcycle accidents happen when it’s dark and lights are illuminated.
- An estimated two-thirds of Maryland motorcycle accidents occur on roadways where the speed limit is up to 40 MPH. At least 55% of fatal motorcycle collisions happen on roads where the speed limit doesn’t exceed 40 MPH.
- An overwhelming majority (91.7%) of motorcyclists involved in crashes are men. A staggering 98.7% of motorbike fatalities claim the lives of males. Nearly 20% of those victims are between the ages of 40 and 44.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Negligence plays a part in nearly all collisions. However, there are different ways that a motorist can contribute to causing a motorcycle accident. People can unknowingly do something unsafe or purposefully drive in a dangerous manner that puts riders at risk of becoming entangled in a motorcycle accident. Many motorbike wrecks could be avoided if the negligent driver of the passenger vehicle had behaved differently.
How Reckless Driving Causes a Motorcycle Accident
Failing to obey traffic laws is always a reckless decision. Common causes of motorcycle collisions are reckless driving such as the following:
Some motor vehicle operators may be aggressive toward a rider. A motorcycle accident involving this often occurs when a driver was speeding, tailgating, or refusing to share the road. In the case of speeding cars, our motorcycle accident lawyers often find that drivers may not have enough time to spot a biker and slow down before making impact.
A motorcycle accident like this occurs when a driver was doing one of the following:
- On their cell phone
- Changing the radio
- Doing one’s makeup or engaging in other forms of personal grooming
- Having a conversation with someone in their vehicle
- Trying to do something else that took their attention away from the road
Distractions like these tend to remove a motorist’s focus from the road or cause them to remove one hand from the wheel, both of which decrease the driver’s control of the vehicle and can cause a motorcycle accident.
A motorcycle accident like this can occur if a motorist didn’t see the motorcyclist or misjudged how to best share the road with them.
Because a motorcycle accident in Baltimore can easily end in tragedy, it’s even more important to know that safer driving behaviors could have potentially prevented the collision from happening.
Other Negligence That Can Cause a Baltimore Motorcycle Accident
Additional factors that our Baltimore motorcycle accident attorneys often identify as contributing to a crash include:
This happens when a motorist opens their car door and hits a motorcyclist they weren’t aware was next to them. Once drivers park, they tend to stop thinking about traffic. They could swing their doors open without looking. A speeding motorcyclist could get seriously injured if this happens. Alternatively, this practice can also cause a motorbike rider to lose their balance when they collide with the vehicle involved at low to moderate speeds. Soft tissue injuries or more catastrophic ones aren’t uncommon when crashes like these occur.
Lane Changes in Blind Spots
Motorcycles are considerably smaller and more difficult to spot compared to other vehicles they share the road with. A passenger car operator or trucker may be accustomed to looking for another automobile in their blind spot, but not a motorcyclist. Our Baltimore motorcycle accident attorneys at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC often find that motorcycles become crushed when these crashes occur, often resulting in an ejection from the motorbike and consequent fatal injuries.
While motorbike operators often have both a driver’s license that entitles them to operate a passenger car and a motorcycle license, demonstrating competency in operating both vehicles, other motorists only have proven their ability to drive an automobile.
Almost every Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer at our law firm has handled a case in which an inexperienced driver didn’t know how to adequately share the road with motorcyclists. Only with experience do motorists learn how to gauge how much space a motorbike rider needs and gain other insight into how to best share the road with them.
This driving tactic involves a motorcyclist moving through the middle of slow-moving or stopped traffic. The motorcycle’s proximity to the other vehicles puts them at risk of suffering a personal injury as other drivers are not expecting someone to be moving in traffic.
If you’re curious how fault is determined for a motorcycle accident like this, it usually depends on whether or not lane splitting is allowed in a jurisdiction. The practice of lane splitting violates Maryland motorcycle laws per the MDOT MVA Zero Deaths Maryland initiative.
How Cars Making Left Turns Can Cause a Motorcycle Accident
A car turning left can strike a motorcycle rider headed straight through the intersection or passing the automobile. This is another example of a situation where the driver is looking for other cars but can miss the smaller footprint of a motorcycle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are more likely to operate their bikes while impaired from alcohol than any other vehicle operator. If a passenger car driver sharing the road with a drunk motorcyclist is also intoxicated, this makes for an even more combustible mix, potentially resulting in an accident occurring. This is especially the case given how alcohol intoxication causes the following:
- A reduced ability to multi-task
- Short-term memory loss
- Diminished visual acuity
- Slowed processing of information and stimuli
- Declined motor functions, including hand-eye coordination
- Diminished depth perception
While law enforcement officers in Maryland arrest any suspected drunk drivers, that doesn’t do much in terms of helping you secure compensation if you incurred financial losses in the crash. The police accident report made at the scene will come in handy when you explore your legal options with a motorcycle accident attorney at our law firm.
Failures To Wear Helmets
It’s vital that motorcycle riders are familiar with Maryland law so they know they’re not at fault should a collision occur. One of the most important legal constructs regarding motorcycles is the Maryland helmet law.
Maryland law makes riders wear a helmet in our state and it must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT), which are typically comprised of the following four elements:
- An outer shell: This part is meant to prevent objects from penetrating the helmet and transfer the impact of the motorcycle crash to the liner.
- A shock-absorbing liner: At one inch thick, the liner absorbs and disperses the impact.
- A comfort liner: This liner has two purposes. One of its functions is to make the helmet more comfortable to wear. But it does something else, too. The comfort liner also keeps the helmet snug, so it will stay in place at all times. The wearer can depend on the helmet to stay in place in a motorcycle crash.
- A retention system: The helmet needs chin straps to ensure the helmet stays on the wearer’s head. Motorbike riders need to fasten their chinstraps.
Bikers can take as many safety measures as possible, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop accidents from happening. It also doesn’t stop manufacturing errors from occurring.
No matter the cause of your crash, our Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyers will find out why the wreck happened and who among the vehicles involved is responsible for it. These wrecks are traumatizing experiences and often result in injured victims for which the insurance company of the at-fault motorist is responsible for covering.
Our Belsky & Horowitz, LLC accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured motorcyclists like you in dealing with an insurance company. Any accident lawyer on our team can help you secure compensation if you’ve suffered a serious injury inflicted by an at-fault driver.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists have next to nothing when it comes to protection (safety gear) in an accident aside from a helmet and thick, long-sleeved clothing. As you might imagine, this doesn’t help much considering how a motorcyclist is often ejected off their bike in a Baltimore motorcycle crash.
In a high-speed collision, this could have disastrous consequences for a motorcycle operator. Motorcycle accident injuries are often catastrophic, meaning the harm caused will leave the accident victim with permanent damage.
As legal counsel that has handled a large amount of motorcycle accident lawsuits, some injuries are more common among motorcyclists than others. Common injuries that result in victims filing personal injury claims such as motorcycle accident claims include:
Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Getting thrown from a bike or the impact of hitting one’s head could cause the brain to swell or bleed, especially if the rider was unhelmed when the crash occurred. Motorcyclists may also suffer from concussions. If left untreated, these severe injuries can cause permanent damage that affects cognition and memory and even results in an individual’s passing, warranting the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit under certain circumstances.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If the motorcyclist is thrown from their bike and lands in a certain way on their back, they could fracture or break parts of their spine. This could cause future issues with mobility or even result in paralysis. It may be necessary to file a motorcycle accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover compensation for current and future medical bills and lost wages you have or will incur due to your permanent disability.
The force of a motorcycle crash or hitting the ground can leave you with bone fractures, especially if the personal injury incident occurs when a rider is traveling at high speeds.
Road Rash Lacerations
Motorcyclists can suffer from road rash, which occurs when there is friction between their skin and the ground. The dirt, gravel, or pavement can rip and tear at the skin, and debris on the road can enter the injury site, causing an infection.
The road rash described above and friction with components of the motorbike can also cause serious burn injuries with varying degrees of severity and requirements for treatment. Burn injuries should not be self-diagnosed. They need to be seen by a medical professional, so they can properly assess these severe injuries and create a treatment plan for them.
Different types of burn injuries that motorcyclists commonly suffer at an accident scene include:
- First-degree burns: This is the least dangerous form of road rash a motorcyclist can be left with when the accident occurred. It only affects the outer layer of the skin. The area is usually red and painful, but there is a small chance of tissue damage. First-degree burns can be cared for at home.
- Second-degree burns: These burns reach underneath the outer layer of the skin. Individuals who suffered this type of burn when the accident occurred may have skin that appears red and blistered and is painful. Medical attention is needed for treatment, and the area could be scarred when it heals.
- Third-degree burns: These burns cause deep wounds that reach muscles, tendons, and bones. The nerve damage may take away feeling in the injured area. There’s a high risk of infection of these wounds. These burns require immediate medical attention. Skin grafts may be needed to heal the wound. The burnt area will most likely be scarred, and the nerve damage a personal injury patient experiences could be permanent.
A motorcycle accident victim could need months to recover from their catastrophic injuries. Some personal injury victims will need more time if they must learn how to adjust to a new way of life.
This adjustment can be an emotional time that requires mental health care and rehabilitation. Initial medical bills plus what will be needed in the future can get costly. You may find it necessary to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
With our accident lawyers’ help, you won’t have to worry about these medical expenses. You can rest assured that each Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney at our law offices is looking out for your best interests.
Challenges That Arise When Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorneys File Claims
When a motorcycle accident victim tries to recover compensation from an insurance company for their serious injuries, they may face unfair judgment when filing their claim. There’s a stigma among insurance adjusters against motorcyclists. Those stereotypes characterize them as reckless, dangerous, and risk-takers on the road. This unfortunate generalization can often lead to a rider being unjustly blamed by the insurance company. One of our Belsky & Horowitz, LLC accident lawyers may have to go to great lengths to disprove liability in your case.
When filing a Baltimore motorcycle accident claim, your personal injury attorney will need to make sure a thorough investigation is done. The accident lawyer representing you can discover who acted negligently or made a mistake that caused the collision by doing so.
Our lawyers will ensure that your motorcycle accident case isn’t ignored because of bias. Our accident lawyers will advocate for your rights and work tirelessly to show that you were not at fault and are thus not responsible for your serious injuries.
How Contributory Negligence Figures Into a Motorcycle Accident Case
Your Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer will account for Maryland’s contributory negligence law when determining your legal options in your personal injury matter. Per Maryland contributory negligence laws, no injured victims can claim compensation if they were deemed as an at-fault driver at least partially responsible for the crash.
There are some exceptions to this rule in Maryland, which is why you should consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding your case. For example, there may be evidence that suggests that you didn’t play any role in causing the crash, but instead the at-fault driver is wholly responsible for what happened. One of our personal injury accident lawyers can discuss the probability of using this defense with you at your initial free consultation if necessary.
Seek Justice With a Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorney From Our Law Firm
A motorbike wreck has the potential to turn your life upside down. But you can get it back on track when you have a Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney advocating for you in your personal injury case.
The Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC are prepared to represent motorcyclists injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been hurt, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation. You’ll speak with a compassionate and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who will help you decide the best course of action in personal injury cases like yours.