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 airbags. Their injuries tend to be more serious and can have especially debilitating consequences. If you’ve been hurt in a collision and feel that negligence played a role, a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer from Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC maye be able to help you with your claim and help you receive the compensation you need to move forward.
We’re proud to represent the motorcyclists of Maryland. We understand that most motorcyclists are riders who prioritize their safety and deserve to have their rights protected. With our help, you may be able to recover damages, or compensation, to recover lost wages, loss of future earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Before we go over the process of filing a claim with the help of an attorney, let’s go over some statistics and facts about these types of collisions, why they occur, and the injuries that are often associated with them:
Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle wrecks can occur when anyone acts negligently on the road. Wrecks in Baltimore or anywhere in Maryland are no different. The Maryland Department of Transportation released a report that details crash data in our state from 2012-2016. Maryland motorcycle accidents averaged 1,153 injury crashes, 67 fatal crashes, and 361 property damage crashes between the years 2012-2016.
Baltimore has its own data for motorcycle collisions within the city. Here are some facts from that data:
- Baltimore has had an average of 212 motorcycle crashes from 2012-2016.
- The average of injury crashes is 159.
- There was an average of 7 fatal crashes.
- Crash incidents tend to happen during late spring, summer, and early fall months.
- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday typically have more crashes than the remaining days of the week.
Many bike wrecks could have been avoided if the negligent driver of the passenger vehicle had behaved differently. Common causes of motorcycle collisions often involve aggressive driving, distracted driving, or inattentive driving:
- The driver was speeding, tailgating, or refusing to share the road.
- The driver was on their cell phone, changing the radio, or trying to do something that took their attention away from the road. Distracted driving tends to remove focus from the road or one hand off the wheel which decreases the driver’s control of the vehicle.
- The driver didn’t see the motorcyclist or misjudged how to share the road with them.
Because bike accidents can easily end in tragedy, it’s even more important to know that safer driving behaviors could have potentially prevented the accident from happening.
What Leads to Motorcycle Accidents?
While negligence plays a part in nearly all collisions, there are different ways that it can contribute. People can unknowingly do something that’s unsafe or people can purposefully drive in a dangerous manner that puts others at risk.
Take a look at some of the ways bike wrecks happen:
- Dooring. This happens when a person opens a car door and hits a motorcyclist that they didn’t know was next to them. When people are parked, they tend to stop thinking about traffic and could swing their door open without looking. If the person on the bike is moving at high speeds, they could get seriously injured. But they can also lose their balance when there’s an impact at moderate and low speeds, as well.
- Lane Changes. When it comes to sharing the road with other vehicles, motorcycles are considerably smaller and more difficult to spot. A person driving a car may be accustomed to looking for a car in their blind spot, but not a motorcyclist.
- New Drivers. An inexperienced driver may not know how to share the road with other bikers. They’re not used to driving around them or gauging how much space the biker needs.
- Speeding. Failing to obey traffic laws is always a reckless decision. Speeding cars may not have enough time to spot a biker and slow down before impact.
- Lane Splitting. This is when a biker moves up the middle of slow-moving or stopped traffic. Their proximity to the other vehicles puts them at risk as well as other drivers not expecting someone to be moving in the traffic. The fault for collisions usually depends on whether or not lane splitting is allowed in the state. In Maryland, lane splitting is illegal.
- Cars Making Left Turns. A car turning left can strike a motorcyclist that’s headed straight through the intersection or passing the car. This is another situation where the driver is looking for other cars but can miss the smaller target of a biker.
- Distracted Driving. Looking at cell phones, eating, doing one’s makeup or other forms of personal grooming all distract the driver from their task at hand.
- Aggressive Driving. Some motor vehicle operators may be aggressive toward a biker. This could include trying to cut them off or tailgating.
No matter the cause, our lawyers will find out why the wreck happened and who is responsible. These wrecks are traumatizing experiences and often result in injury.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists have next to nothing when it comes to protection in an accident aside from a helmet and thick, long-sleeved clothing. Often, riders are ejected off their bike in a crash. In a high-speed collision, this could have disastrous consequences. Motorcycle accident injuries are catastrophic in some cases, meaning the injuries will cause permanent damage to the victim.
Common injuries include:
- Head/Brain Injuries. Getting thrown from a bike or the impact of hitting one’s head could cause the brain to swell or bleed. Motorcyclists may also suffer from concussions. If left untreated, these injuries can cause permanent damage that affects cognition and memory.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. If the motorcyclist is thrown from their bike and lands 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.
- Broken Bones. The force of the crash or hitting the ground can break bones, especially when traveling at high speeds.
- Lacerations. Hitting gravel or the road can rip into unprotected skin. These have the potential to get infected.
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. The friction causes serious burn injuries that have 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 the injuries and create a treatment plan.
- First-Degree. This is the least dangerous form of road rash because it only affects the outer layer of 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. These burns reach underneath the outer layer of skin. It may appear red, blistered, and will probably be painful. Medical attention is needed for treatment and the area could be scarred when it heals.
- Third-Degree. These burns cause deep wounds that reach muscle, tendons, and bone. The nerve damage may take away feeling in that area. There’s a high risk of infection and these burns need medical attention immediately. Skin grafts may be needed to heal the wound. The area will most likely be scarred and the nerve damage could be permanent.
Motorcycle accident victims could need months to recover from their injuries, and some 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 along with rehabilitation. Initial medical costs plus what will be needed in the future can get expensive. With our help, you won’t have to worry about these costs. You can rest assured that we’re looking out for your best interests.
Know the Law: Helmet Use in Maryland
It’s vital that every Maryland motorcyclist is familiar with the law, so they know they’re not at fault should a collision occur. One of the most important laws regarding motorcycles is the helmet law.
In Maryland, riders must wear a helmet. The helmet must be a Department of Transportation (DOT) certified helmet. They are typically comprised of four elements:
- Outer Shell. This part is meant to prevent objects from penetrating the helmet and transfer the impact of the crash to the liner.
- Shock-Absorbing Liner. At one inch thick, the liner absorbs and disperses the impact.
- Comfort Liner. This liner has dual 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 the event of a crash.
- Retention System. The helmet needs chin straps to ensure the helmet stays on the wearer’s head. Bikers need to fasten their chinstraps.
Bikers can take as many safety measures as possible, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop accidents from happening. There’s also another factor that motorcyclists should be aware of when they’re filing a claim—bias.
Motorcyclists Face an Uphill Battle
When motorcycle accident victims are trying to get compensation for their injuries, they may face unfair judgment when filing their claim. There’s a stigma against motorcyclists that stereotypes them as reckless, dangerous, and risk-takers on the road. This unfortunate generalization can often lead to a rider being unjustly blamed for the accident.
When filing a claim, your injury attorney will need to make sure a thorough investigation is done which will discover who acted negligently or made a mistake which caused the collision. We will make sure that your case isn’t ignored because of bias. We will advocate for your rights and work tirelessly to show that you were not at fault and not responsible for your injuries.
Seek Justice with Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC
A bike wreck has the potential to turn your life upside down. But you can get it back on track when you have a motorcycle accident attorney at your side.
The lawyers at Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC are prepared to represent motorcyclists who were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been hurt, get in touch with us today to plan a free consultation. You’ll speak with a compassionate and skilled personal injury lawyer who will help you decide the best course of action for your case.