According to statistics published by the Maryland Department of Transportation for the year 2016, there were 1,291 injuries and 75 fatalities from motorcycle accidents in Maryland. Given a large number of motorcyclists in Maryland, both drivers and cyclists must work to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents, which can result in serious and permanent injuries or even death.
Maryland Law Requires All Motorcyclists to Wear Helmets
According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, individuals may not operate or ride a motorcycle unless they wear a helmet that is certified to meet the standards established by the Department of Transportation. Helmets provide protection to the wearer's head and brain by reducing and dispersing the force created by a blow or impact during a crash and otherwise greatly prevents the occurrence of serious head injuries, which can include concussions, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries and may otherwise result in victims suffering permanent complications and impairments.
Failure to wear a Helmet is Not Evidence of Negligence or Contributory Negligence
Maryland law under Title 21, Subtitle 13, section 1306 of the Transportation Code says the failure of an individual to wear a helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence nor limit liability of a party or an insurer; or diminish recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motorcycle. This appears to send a conflicting message considering that even though the law requires Maryland motorcyclists to wear helmets, it nonetheless entitles motorcyclists to compensation for damages suffered in accidents even when they did not wear helmets. However, due to the benefits of wearing helmets, motorcyclists must comply with the law notwithstanding the lower threshold required for civil responsibility.
Motorcycle Injuries May Be Serious and Permanent
While not all motorcycle accidents result in death, many do cause serious, life-threatening, and even permanent injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (concussions and permanent brain damage), injuries to the spinal cord, perhaps resulting in paralysis, and broken bones to mention a few. The vast numbers of motorcycles on Maryland’s roadways increase the likelihood of accidents. As of 2016, Maryland had around 4,264,875 licensed drivers (automobiles and motorcyclists) and the sheer volume of drivers when considering a host of other factors that are beyond the driver’s control may lead to accidents even when all safety precautions are taken. In accidents, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer injuries than other motorists. Motorcyclists do not have any protective enclosures like drivers and passengers in the bodies of automobiles. Accidents can cause motorcyclists to strike the road or other objects, and they may do so at high speeds. The impacts can, and often do cause serious traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones. A motorcyclist takes a risk to ride a motorcycle but does not give up the right to recover compensation in the event of an accident.
Motorcyclists Can Recover Compensation
Motorcyclists can recover compensation for various expenses and other costs associated with motorcycle accidents including:
Damages for medical expenses help a victim recover the costs of current and future medical expenses for accident-related injuries. This can also include rehabilitation costs.
Pain and suffering damages, designed to compensate a victim’s non-monetary losses Specifically, these damages provide compensation for both the physical and emotional pain that a victim may suffer as a result of the accident.
Lost wages—based on earning capacity—incurred during the period of recovery. Accident injuries may prevent a victim from returning to work, whether temporarily or permanently.
As the victim of a motorcycle accident, you deserve to recover compensation for your injuries and accident-related expenses. After you consult with your physician, seek experienced legal counsel to help recover compensation. A skilled attorney can help motorcyclists navigate the legal process of handling these cases. Call us today at (240)486-5055.