Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcyclist is one of the most vulnerable drivers on the road. Unlike a car or truck driver, they have no steel frame surrounding them and no seatbelt to protect them. When an accident occurs, a motorcyclist can easily be severely injured.

In an accident where the other driver is negligent, a motorcyclist needs a lawyer to help protect their rights. An attorney helps you put the responsibility where it belongs and receive the compensation required to heal and move forward. You deserve the advocacy of Zirkin & Schmerling.

We have secured high-dollar results for our clients. For example, when one of our clients was struck by a piece of flying aluminum that fell off a vehicle in front of him, we helped him get $1,850,000 for his injuries. This is exactly the kind of scenario that can happen to a motorcyclist on the road.

Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Catastrophic

Each year, about 65 to 75 people are killed in Maryland motorcycle accidents and about 1,200 are injured. Motorcycle injuries tend to be much more severe than automobile injuries due to the exposed bodies of the riders. Even a minor accident can cause serious injuries.

Most motorcyclists we encounter make safety a priority by wearing protective gear from head to toe. In fact, the majority of Maryland motorcyclists who die in accidents were wearing helmets at the time of the collision. For example, in one year with 74 fatalities, 63 were wearing helmets and 11 were not.

The high rate of deaths and serious injuries, despite the use of safety gear, is largely due to the fact that motorcyclists collide with passenger vehicles or trucks that far outweigh them. While the average motorcycle weighs about 700 pounds, a passenger car or SUV weighs about 4,500 pounds and a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds by federal law.

There are many factors that contribute to the causes of motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one-third of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve speed as a factor. Another 25% involve driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the rest include various causes, like sleepiness, distracted driving and aggressive driving.

In Maryland, most motorcycle accidents occur outside of city zones on county roads and state routes. About 34% occur on Maryland rural state routes and 28% occur on county roads, possibly because motorcyclists tend to take rural and scenic routes for pleasure drives.

Prince George’s County typically has Maryland’s highest number of motorcycle accidents. It is followed by the city of Baltimore/Baltimore County, with the second-highest number of motorcycle crashes, likely due to its high population.

Road accidents can traumatize victims for decades afterward, and can be even more upsetting if the accident was a hit-and-run. One government-funded study finds that vehicle accidents are the #1 most traumatic life event for U.S. men and the #2 most traumatic for women. People often face disabling psychological conditions like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), depression and anxiety, on top of a lifetime of chronic physical ailments.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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Types of Motorcycle Accidents We See In Maryland

Although motorcycle accidents happen with less frequency than passenger car and semi-truck accidents, they are more serious for the motorcyclist. There are 35 times more deaths from motorcycle accidents than passenger vehicle accidents.

Some collisions involve the motorcyclist only and some involve other motorists. When another motorist is part of the accident, there may be a negligent act. These situations can be complex to understand, but it’s important to put the responsibility for an accident where it belongs.

Common types of motorcycle accidents we tend to see in Maryland include:

Head-On Collision

When two vehicles collide face to face, it’s called a head-on collision. Any head-on collision can be devastating for a motorcyclist. They may slide under the other vehicle, pop up over the hood and windshield, and sustain serious injuries as a result. Motorcycle head-on collisions commonly happen on country roads, where one of the drivers drifts into the lane of oncoming traffic.

Getting “Doored”

A “dooring” occurs when a motorist fails to see a motorcyclist and opens their door into them. In these situations, the motorcyclist usually either smacks into the door, as a result of the car driver’s error, or the door knocks into the motorcyclist and causes them to teeter and crash.

Left-Hand Turn Accidents

A motorcyclist’s relatively small size sometimes makes them less visible to other drivers. For this reason, they are more prone to left-turn accidents where the other driver strikes them during a turn. The motorcyclist may be flung a long distance, sometimes into traffic. These are horrible accidents that are likely to end in serious injury or death.

Traffic Jam Accidents

When traffic is at a standstill, drivers often become impatient and make unwise choices that can lead to accidents. Sometimes a driver even plows right into stopped traffic, causing a cascade of damage. Traffic jam accidents are extremely dangerous for motorcyclists because they are so much smaller than the surrounding vehicles.

Lane Splitting

Sometimes a motorcycle will momentarily share a lane with another vehicle, intentionally or unintentionally. Lane splitting can occur in slowed and stopped traffic, at turn points, during passing on open roads and in construction zones. These accidents involve unexpected moves that create dangerous situations.

Excessive Speed

One of the top contributors to all accidents, including motorcycle accidents, is excessive speed. Speeding makes every collision more serious due to the forces involved. For a motorcyclist, high-speed collisions almost always result in serious injury or death.

Drug and Alcohol Impairment

Drugs and alcohol are also common contributors to motorcycle accidents. These substances impair drivers’ reaction speeds and may cause them to misjudge their distance from a motorcyclist. After an accident, the police will commonly perform a field sobriety test to determine if anyone is under the influence.

Hitting Fixed Objects and Road Hazards

Sometimes a motorcyclist collides with a fixed object. These collisions can happen anywhere, and may involve objects like fallen trees, construction materials, trash debris, road surface hazards and stalled vehicles. The city or county is sometimes held liable for hazards or it may be the fault of a private property owner. Consult your lawyer for help assigning responsibility.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
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Types of Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents

There are many types of injuries that can result from a motorcycle accident. Because motorcyclists’ bodies are exposed to impact from other vehicles, they can sustain body-wide damage in an accident. Some of the most common types of injuries that occur during motorcycle accidents are the following:

Road Rash

When the motorcyclist slides along asphalt or gravel, they can sustain a burn-like wound known as road rash. In addition to the wound that comes from friction with the ground, there can be dirt and other debris that rips the skin and causes serious damage. Just like a burn, road rash can be classified as first, second or third degree and sometimes needs skin grafts and plastic surgery to repair properly.

Head and Brain Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious head injuries, even when the biker is wearing a helmet. 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.

Lacerations

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.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
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Maryland Motorcycle Accident Laws

Motorcycle laws in Maryland are based on a fault system, where fault must be assigned to the person responsible, assuming it was not a hit-and-run. It can be the motorcyclist, another motorist, a pedestrian or even another party, like a city government that failed to fix a road hazard.

A motorcycle accident claim has two factors: liability and damages. For liability, we look to who was assigned fault and whether they were negligent in their actions. Negligence can involve acts like:

  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Driving while distracted by a cell phone, person or other distraction
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to follow traffic laws
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Performing an unsafe lane change

Motorcyclists should be aware that Maryland also has motorcycle helmet laws. All motorcycle riders must wear a Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet. DOT-approved helmets contain the following four protective features:

  1. Exterior shell: The hard outer shell that prevents crushing and object penetration.
  2. Shock-absorbing liner: A minimum one-inch thick liner that absorbs/disperses impact.
  3. Comfort liner: Keeps the helmet comfortable and snug, so it stays in place.
  4. Chin straps/retention system: Keeps the helmet firmly on the head, using a strap.

Unfortunately, despite safety gear like a helmet and body protection, motorcyclists still face the widespread stigma that they are unsafe drivers. You may feel that the system is biased against you or that you are being viewed as a risk-taker who causes accidents, even if you are not at fault in one.

See a lawyer before believing anything your friends, family or the other motorists tell you after a motorcycle accident. And remember: An insurance company will always offer you far less than the amount you deserve under the law. Don’t be fooled. They only have their own best interests at heart.

With the help of a Maryland motorcycle accident lawyer, you can refuse unfair offers from an insurance company and file a civil lawsuit instead. Take your case in front of a judge or jury. Let them decide what you deserve. You’ll likely be much happier with the results.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Laws

Motorcycle laws in Maryland are based on a fault system, where fault must be assigned to the person responsible. It can be the motorcyclist, another motorist, a pedestrian or even another party, like a city government that failed to fix a road hazard.

A motorcycle accident claim has two factors: liability and damages. For liability, we look to who was assigned fault and whether they were negligent in their actions. Negligence can involve acts like:

  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Driving while distracted by a cell phone, person or other distraction
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to follow traffic laws
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Performing an unsafe lane change

Motorcyclists should be aware that Maryland also has motorcycle helmet laws. All motorcycle riders must wear a Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet. DOT-approved helmets contain the following four protective features:

  1. Exterior shell: The hard outer shell that prevents crushing and object penetration.
  2. Shock-absorbing liner: A minimum one-inch thick liner that absorbs/disperses impact.
  3. Comfort liner: Keeps the helmet comfortable and snug, so it stays in place.
  4. Chin straps/retention system: Keeps the helmet firmly on the head, using a strap.

Unfortunately, despite safety gear like a helmet and body protection, motorcyclists still face the widespread stigma that they are unsafe drivers. You may feel that the system is biased against you or that you are being viewed as a risk-taker who causes accidents, even if you are not at fault in one.

See a lawyer before believing anything your friends, family or the other motorists tell you after a motorcycle accident. And remember: An insurance company will always offer you far less than the amount you deserve under the law. Don’t be fooled. They only have their own best interests at heart.

With the help of a Maryland motorcycle accident lawyer, you can refuse unfair offers from an insurance company and file a civil lawsuit instead. Take your case in front of a judge or jury. Let them decide what you deserve. You’ll likely be much happier with the results.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

What Are The Causes of Most Maryland Motorcycle Accidents?

The Maryland DOT tracks crash data that reveals the causes, timing and locations of motorcycle accidents, and it reveals a lot about what happens to motorcyclists on Maryland roadways.

Here are some interesting facts about Maryland’s motorcycle accidents:

Most occur on the weekends. Friday, Saturday and Sunday have many more motorcycle crashes than other days.

Most occur in warmer weather. Maryland’s beautiful days of late spring, summer and early fall are prime time for motorcycle accidents.

Males/passengers have higher risk. Men comprise 86% of all motorcycle fatalities. But 90% of all passenger fatalities are women sitting to the rear of the motorcycle driver.

Aggression is a factor. Aggressive driving is a major contributor to these accidents, including close tailgating, close passing and refusing to share the road with motorcycles.

Motorcyclists can seem invisible. “I didn’t see you” is one of the most common excuses for hitting a motorcyclist.

Distractions come in many forms. At-fault drivers are often talking on a cell phone, texting, adjusting dashboard controls or doing something else that takes their hands off the wheel.

Doors are a downtown hazard. In Baltimore and other populous Maryland cities, there is a particularly high chance of “dooring,” where someone swings a car door into a motorcyclist.

Speeding is a major culprit. High speed is a big contributor to motorcycle accidents. The higher the speed, the more difficult it is for motorists to react in traffic.

Youthful drivers are risky drivers. Age is a factor in a larger proportion of motorcycle accidents than other types with younger drivers causing more accidents.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
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Possible Damages Awarded for a Motorcycle Accident

If someone hits you while you’re riding your motorcycle, you could have major injuries and bike damage. You may be eligible to receive several types of damages. Discuss them with your motorcycle accident attorney.

Medical Expenses Due to a Motorcycle Accident

Maryland uses a rule called the collateral source rule to allow plaintiffs who have been injured in auto accidents to recover damages for medical expenses. Even if insurance covered your costs, you can still use the collateral source rule. You may be able to recover damages for past and future medical expenses that can be attributed to your motorcycle crash caused by the other driver.

Motorcycle Damage Caused by Vehicles and Semi-Trucks

Almost any other vehicle on the road is bigger than a motorcycle. If you are in a motorcycle collision with a semi-truck, the rig will probably survive mostly intact but you may be severely injured. Sue to recover the cost of your motorcycle, on top of your other medical bills.

Lost Income After the Motorcycle Collision

If you are injured on your motorcycle due to someone else’s negligence, you may need a long period of recovery time. Your injuries could be extensive and prevent you from working. If you missed workdays or lost business as a result of the accident, hold the other driver responsible. A lawsuit can help you recover both past and future lost wages/income.

Pain & Suffering Since the Accident         

After coming close to losing your life in a motorcycle accident, the pain and suffering you experience can cause deep emotional damage. The accident itself is traumatic, but the effects don’t end there. You could experience mental and physical effects for the rest of your life. Your lawyer can help you seek compensation for your suffering, so you have the resources you need to move forward.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

When Should Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Be Filed in Maryland?

If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, your injuries are likely to be extremely severe. Of course, your top priority will be healing and recovering from your injuries – but don’t wait too long before contacting a lawyer or you may lose your chance to file a lawsuit. Even if the accident was a hit-and-run, you have a case and can be compensated.

Maryland has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including those involving motorcycle accidents, of three years from the date of the injury, stated in Maryland Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101: “A civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues unless another provision of the Code provides a different period of time within which an action shall be commenced.”

So, unless a different law makes an exception, you have three years to file your claim. That might sound like a long time, but the time after your motorcycle accident will pass faster than you might expect. Within three years, you must try to heal from your injury, secure medical and financial documentation, retain any evidence gathered at the scene and handle all of the legal ins-and-outs with your lawyer.

Your three-year-timetable is based on the date of the accident, not the date you reported it, not the date an insurance company contacted you, not the date of your medical bills. It’s possible that you could have lingering after-effects for many years, like psychological damage and emotional trauma. Nevertheless, the three-year limit applies.

Please don’t allow the statute of limitations to expire. If you do, it is rarely extended by the court and would likely require special circumstances. Don’t gamble on your claim being barred from filing. Work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

We Can Provide a Helping Hand in Your Motorcycle Case

A motorcycle accident is traumatic. You may feel overwhelmed by your physical injuries, the arrival of first responders and a trip to the hospital. You’ll hear a mishmash of messages from paramedics, doctors, police officers and family members. It may be hard to recall what happened.

Despite the confusion of a motorcycle accident, your actions immediately afterward can determine your future. Here are some tips for what to do after a motorcycle accident.

  • Call 911 or contact emergency help immediately.
  • Remember to preserve all evidence you can, like the motorcycle’s dashcam video footage, accident reports, the other driver’s info and paperwork from your insurance company.
  • Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
  • Begin recording your lost days from work.
  • Request a copy of the police report or work with your attorney to do so.
  • Keep track of all visits to the hospital and doctor, including physical therapy and other long-term treatments you pursue as a result of the accident.
  • Document every out-of-pocket expense you make, including fixing damage to your motorcycle, towing fees and the cost to replace any personal property you lost.
  • Use a Maryland licensed/authorized safety inspection repair shop to examine and repair your motorcycle. Get approval for all repairs in advance while working with your insurance company and attorney.
  • Never talk to an insurance company representative, claims adjuster or other party’s attorney without discussing it with your attorney first.

Zirkin & Schmerling Law is here to help you understand your rights and regain peace of mind after a motorcycle accident. Whether you’re suffering from physical pain, lasting psychological damage or financial distress, our motorcycle accident lawyers will help you secure the resources you need to recover.

Don’t fall victim to assumptions and bias against motorcyclists. Protect your rights. We’ll aggressively represent you and ensure you get every penny you deserve. Never settle for a quick settlement check from an insurance company, because it won’t even begin to compensate you fully.

Zirkin & Schmerling Law will help you hold the right party responsible after your motorcycle accident. During this difficult time, we want to help you receive the compensation that helps you move on with your life.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

Take a Look at These Maryland Information Resources for Motorcycle Accidents

A List of Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) Crash Data Resource Page

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Safety Page

FREE Case Evaluation (Online Request Form)

We Have Motorcycle Insurance Claim Experience

Every motorcycle accident is unique, but here at Zirkin & Schmerling, we’ve seen it all. Nothing an insurance company will do will take us by surprise. We’ve seen insurance companies offer lowball checks to severely injured people, try to rush and bully people into making poor decisions and fail to provide the resources people truly need to fully recover from tragic accidents.

When you partner with us, you have an ally on your side after your motorcycle accident. We have the confidence it takes to stand up to insurance companies and anyone else who might try to automatically blame a motorcyclist for an accident. You can trust us to stand up for your rights.

Motorcycles and the Law of Presumed Liability

In most cases, Maryland law presumes that liability for rear-end collisions falls on the rear driver. In other words, if a stopped motorcycle is struck from behind by a car, the car is automatically assumed to be at fault. However, there are always exceptions and accidents can be confusing, so it’s important to document the accident as thoroughly as possible. Consult with a Maryland motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss liability.

Wrongful Death and Survival Action in Motorcycle Accidents

If the death of a loved one occurred as a result of a motorcycle accident, you have rights under two actions: the wrongful death action and the survival action. The wrongful death action allows relatives of a motorcycle accident victim to seek compensation for the victim’s accidental death. The survival action seeks to reimburse the victim’s estate for all of the pain, suffering and other damages the victim experienced up to the moment of their death.

To pursue these claims, you’ll need to prove that there was harm to your loved one. Of course, pursuing this can be a difficult and emotional process after the trauma of a motorcycle accident. That’s why Zirkin & Schmerling is here to help. We handle the legal action so you can focus on everything else.

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation

Contact an Experienced Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Act fast after a motorcycle accident to select an attorney who can truly understand the perspective of a motorcyclist and work as your voice and advocate. Here are some important factors to consider.

Motorcycle case experience. Do they have the credentials to represent you? Are they experienced with serious motorcycle accidents and knowledgeable about what it’s like to be in your situation?

High-dollar settlements. A good attorney has a solid history of getting high-dollar results for motorcycle accident victims. Can your attorney name high-dollar verdicts they have received for their clients in a case like yours?

Reputation among motorcyclists. Ask your motorcyclist friends. You can bet that the insurance companies are very familiar with the names of all the prominent Maryland lawyers. You need a name that will shake them up, so they’re ready to give you the best deal possible. That name is Zirkin & Schmerling.

To learn more, contact Zirkin & Schmerling Law today at 410-753-4611 to get in touch with a qualified, experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Maryland. Our lawyers can provide an initial evaluation of your case entirely free of charge. We can’t erase the damage done in your motorcycle accident, but we can help you heal, move forward, and hold the right person accountable.

CONTACT US NOW ABOUT YOUR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT

If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our Motorcycle Accident Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Zirkin and Schmerling Law
Free Case Evaluation