Determining Fault in Rear-End Motorcycle Accident

Determining Fault in a Maryland Rear-End Motorcycle Accident

rear end motorcycle accident

If you drive a motorcycle, you probably weigh the advantages of feeling a euphoric sense of freedom and riding in the open air against the disadvantages of not having a steel and plastic frame and airbags to protect you in case of an accident. Riding a motorcycle can be a blessing or a curse.

Each year in Maryland, 1,400 motorcycle riders and passengers are injured in accidents and an average of 72 motorcyclists are killed.

More than 40% of all motorcycle crashes statewide occur in Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford Counties and Baltimore City, and crashes between motorcycles and cars are more common in the urban areas in the Washington-Baltimore corridor.

Many of these accidents are rear-end collisions. The NHTSA reports that in 2019, there were 10,000 rear-end motorcycle collisions nationally. Of these, 6,000 involved injuries, and 233 resulted in fatalities.

Determining fault:

It is extremely important in Maryland to prove fault in an accident because of our state’s contributory negligence rule. This rule means that if you were even 1% at fault for the accident, you will not receive anything.

In almost all situations in rear-end collisions, the driver of the rear vehicle is assumed to be at fault, and the driver of the front vehicle is found faultless. Typically, the driver in the rear is found to be following too closely without adequate space to safely stop Usually this will put the rear driver 100% at fault for the crash.

Maryland Transportation Section 21-310 reads (in part):

§ 21-310. (a)  The driver of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the other vehicle and of the traffic on and the condition of the highway.

Because so many rear-end collisions occur when the vehicle in front is stationary, it may be tempting to believe that they are not dangerous. This is simply not true, and especially not true for drivers or riders on motorcycles.

If you are hit from behind, the forward momentum will cause your body to be propelled through the air until it lands. Even if you are the rear vehicle hitting a stopped vehicle, the forward momentum will keep your body traveling forward. Either of those scenarios is extremely dangerous.

Possible injuries:

Head and Brain Injuries:

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious head injuries, even when the biker is wearing a helmet, which most motorcyclists do in Maryland. They may have a concussion, swelling, bleeding and other damage inside and outside the head. These injuries are sometimes permanent and can cause long-term memory loss and cognition problems.

Spinal Cord Injuries:

The delicate spinal cord is at risk during a motorcycle accident. It can be pulled, twisted, bent or severed. Spinal cord injuries can cause mobility problems, paralysis and even death in the most severe cases.

Broken Arms and Legs:

Broken limbs are common in motorcycle accidents. Under the force of an impact, a bone will give way and snap within the body. Although broken limbs can usually heal with medical care, the person may need physical therapy and other restorative measures that support healing.


Motorcyclists can experience deep lacerations, or cuts, during an accident. These wounds can cause someone to quickly bleed to death without emergency care. Lacerations can also become infected, interfere with mobility, and may create long-term health problems down the road.

Internal Injuries:

When your body comes to a stop, your internal organs may continue their forward momentum, causing them to be injured badly as they slam into your body.

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision on your motorcycle in Maryland, you need the expertise of a motorcycle accident attorney who has dealt with these types of accidents before.

In Maryland, a motorcycle rider is presumed to be liable, or “at-fault,” if that driver rear-ends a stopped or slower-moving vehicle.

However, there are exceptions to the rule, so it is important to document the details of the accident as thoroughly as possible and to quickly call an attorney. Zirkin and Schmerling Law is a law firm that can help you with your motorcycle accident and can answer any and all of your legal questions.

The strength of your motorcycle accident lawsuit depends on the facts of the crash and the circumstances in which it occurred. You need a fully qualified Maryland motorcycle accident and personal injury attorney to review your case, assess the strength of your claim, and advise you on the best path forward. You need Zirkin & Schmerling Law.