Recently in Motorcycle Accidents Category

Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Laws: They Work

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Twenty years ago in October, Maryland enacted its first universal helmet law.  The number of wrongful death motorcycle in Maryland dropped precipitously.  The statistics:   motorcycle fatality rate dropped from 10.2 per 10,000 registered motorcycles prior to enactment of the law to 4.5 per 10,000 registered motorcycles after enactment of the law.  

I don't have the statistics but I think it is reasonable to assume that there were less traumatic brain injury motorcycle crash after the helmet law was passed.  

Still, it is worth noting.  You are unlikely to get penalized for not wearing a helmet when bringing a claim for the same reasoning that it is not contributory negligence to not to wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle accident.  (t does not make the victim any less stupid for not wearing a helmet or a seat belt.)

Maryland Car Accident Wrongful Death Damages

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There are two fundamental limitations on how much a plaintiff can recover in a wrongful death car accident case in Maryland.  The first is our pain and suffering cap which is anywhere between $755,000 and $1,887,500 for accidents occurring today (the high includes a survival action, another claim that can be brought when someone is killed by a negligent driver of a car or truck.

The other practical limitation is often the insurance policies.  Generally not a problem with truck accident cases because commercial policies are larger (by law) and because trucking companies usually have assets to pay settlements and judgments.  

But there are some car accident cases in Maryland where there are insufficient insurance from the at-fault driver and also insufficient uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  The key in these cases is to uncover every possible stone to find additional insurance coverage.  But that is not always possible.  We have had clients is wrongful death cases whose recoveries are topped out at $30,000.  

The take home message: get high uninsured motorists limits to protect yourself and your family. 

Car Accident Settlement Calculator

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Laura Zois writes on the Maryland Accident Lawyer Blog about the search for the elusive car accident settlement calculator.  Sneak preview: there is a formula but no calculator.  

Maryland Lawyer: Car Accident

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How do you pick a lawyer for your car accident claim/lawsuit?  

First, don't let anyone kid you.  While there are a lot of lawyers out there who will take your accident claim that shouldn't be handling car accident cases of any level of complexity, there are a lot of competent Maryland auto accident lawyers who can handle your accident claim.  

But the key to finding a quality Maryland accident lawyer is to ask the lawyer the tough questions about their experience.  You need to first admit that this task is not as easy as it sounds.  I've asked my own treating doctors about their level of experience and qualifications to perform the job. It is not fun and it is no easy.  But you really have to suck it up and ask the right questions.  Here are three you may want to consider:

  1. Have you every received a settlement or verdict in excess of $1 million?  This question is misleading for lots of reasons but it is still a good question.  Why?   Accident lawyers who have not handled large cases are more likely to blink the moment that the insurance company makes some thing that approaches a real offer. You may want to feel like your accident lawyer's only client but you don't want to be the lawyer's only client.  
  2. How many cases have you tried in the last few years?  Few successful Maryland accident lawyers are trying 10 cases a year.  Good lawyers handle good cases and this means a lot of time put into the case before trial and good accident cases, more often than not, settle.  But if the lawyer and his/her law firm are only rarely trying cases, it is unlikely they take cases to trial.  Even if your goal is to settle your case, you want an accident lawyer who is ready to go to trial (and one the insurance company knows is ready for trial).
  3. What kind of cases to you handle?  If the lawyer handles criminal, domestic,and everything else under the sun, you can reasonably question whether that lawyer has the experience to handle all that comes with a complex personal injury case.  Not to say that some lawyers can't be successful handling many different types of cases.  But it does raise a red flag that should be fully explored.

Motorcycle and Bike Accident Cases in Maryland

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Juries don't like motorcyclists.  Motorcycle accident cases can be a battle even in cases where liability seems obvious.  Our lawyers have had to battle hard to establish liability in motorcycle accident cases where the same dispute would never if the victim had just been driving a car.  

But juror have even more concern about bicycle accident claims. A study by the Jury Verdict Research found that 67% of car-injured motorcyclists recover an award at trial.   In contrast but only 45% of bicyclists lawsuits that go to verdict end in a recovery for the victim.See Nelson Pena, Double Standard: Why Injured Cyclists Usually Lose in Court, Bicycling, Dec. 1991.

In motorcycle accident and bike accident cases, you need a lawyer that is going to fight with you every step of the way.