This page will look at motorcycle accident personal injury cases in Maryland. We will explain what makes motorcycle accident cases uniquely challenging and we will examine what the average payout for a motorcycle accident claim is in Maryland.
The personal injury lawyers at Miller & Zois have handled countless motorcycle accident cases involving serious injuries and death. We have recovered millions for motorcycle riders and their families.
About Motorcycle Accident Cases
Personal injury accident cases in which the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle are more difficult to handle than a typical car accident claim. The underlying reason for this is that juries tend to have a negative bias against motorcycle riders. Juries have a tendency to view anyone who chooses to ride a motorcycle as a reckless, risk taking, daredevil. The sad truth is that when a motorcycle rider gets injured in an accident, many people automatically assume that it was their fault.
This pervasive negative bias makes it very difficult for injured motorcyclists to get a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies are very well aware of this negative bias and they use it to push down settlement values and dispute liability.
In reality, however, motorcycle riders are not any more likely to cause accidents than their counterparts in regular vehicles. In fact, most motorcyclists are particularly concerned about their own personal safety and have usually taken one or more safety courses, and their motor vehicle records are cleaner than the average driver.
Contrary to popular belief, a high percentage of accidents involving motorcycles are actually caused by inattentive drivers who simply don’t see the motorcycle coming. The most common example of this is when a car or truck makes a left-hand turn without noticing the motorcycle in the opposite lane, resulting in a head-on collision.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Each year in Maryland there are an average of around 1,800 roadway accidents involving motorcycles. Not surprisingly, motorcycle accidents in Maryland have a high fatality rate. The average number of motorcycle accident fatalities in Maryland over the last 5 has been around 70. Serious physical injuries are also much more likely to occur. The rate of serious physical injury in a motorcycle involved accident is ten times higher than the rate of serious injury in accidents involving passenger vehicles. The very obvious reason for these statistics is that the rider on a motorcycle is completely unprotected and much more vulnerable compared to occupants in a car.
The high rate of death and injuries in motorcycle accidents is clearly reflected in the average insurance claim payout for motorcycle accidents. The average insurance payout for personal injury claims involving motorcycle riders is $211,000, compared to about $17,000 for all other vehicles.
A very high percentage of motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents, meaning that the motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the accident. This is largely due to inexperience and the increased difficulty of maintaining control of a motorcycle. When motorcycle riders are killed in accidents, however, it usually involves another vehicle and nearly half the time the driver of the other vehicle is at-fault for the accident. Approximately 40% of fatal motorcycle crashes occur when another vehicle turns left in front of an unsuspecting motorcyclist.
Gather Evidence in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Our accident lawyers are very well aware of the unique challenges presented by motorcycle accident cases. Whenever we represent a motorcyclist injured in an accident our primary goal is collect all potentially relevant evidence so we can build the strongest possible case on behalf of our injury client. The evidence in a motorcycle accident case includes:
- Medical Evidence: Since motorcycle accidents tend to involve very serious physical injuries, documenting the extent of those injuries can be particularly important, otherwise you risk leaving money on the table. Our lawyers focus on collecting all medical records and bills related to the accident. If necessary, we will even try to contact the victims treating physicians and get statements from them. All of this evidence helps us prove the extent of injuries and their long-term implications.
- Economic Injury: If you are seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, it can force you to miss time from work or even result in a long-term disability. Documenting all lost wages and income, both past and future, is a very important aspect of a motorcycle accident case.
- Liability Evidence: The negative bias against motorcycle riders often means that they have to work harder to prove that the other driver was at-fault for the accident. Obtaiing evidence to establish liability is very important. This includes the police accident report, photographs of accident scene, witness statements, and more. In complex cases, we will retain accident investigators to reconstruct the accident.
Damages Available in Maryland Motorcycle Accident Cases
Maryland law allows plaintiffs in motorcycle accident cases to recover all the standard types of economic and non-economic damages. These damages include the following:
Medical Expenses: If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, Maryland law allows you to recover damages for all medical expenses incurred for treatment of physical injuries caused by the accident. So let’s say Jill is on her motorcycle and gets hit by a car and goes to the hospital. She gets diagnosed with a back injury and undergoes physical therapy treatment for several months along with medication. Jill can get money damages for the cost of the hospital trip, the physical therapy, the medication, and everything else.
Plaintiffs are entitled to damages not just for past medical expenses, but also for future medical expenses they expect to incur if they are related to injuries suffered in the accident. For example, let’s say that in addition to the treatment described above, Jill’s doctor says that she will need to have spinal fusion surgery next year to correct her back injury. Jill is legally entitled to recover damages for the estimate cost of that surgery.
Lost Income: Maryland motorcycle accident plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for any wages or income lost from injuries sustained in the car crash. This includes both past and future lost wages/income. Lost income is also available for some family members in wrongful death cases.
Pain & Suffering: Maryland law also allows damages to be awarded for mental pain and suffering related to injuries sustained in a car accident. The more severe and painful the injury, the more pain and suffering damages. The judge or jury determines pain and suffering damages if a case goes to trial.
Settlement Value of Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
The potential settlement payout value of a Maryland motorcycle accident injury case depends on a number of different factors, but the most important factor is the severity level of the plaintiff’s physical injuries. Motorcycle accident cases involving more serious, permanent injuries have a higher settlement value.
Accident cases involving what we call Level I or “minor injuries” (e.g., whiplash, back sprains, and other soft tissue injuries) have an average value of around $22,000 to $41,000. Level II or “moderate” injuries have an average settlement value of $59,000 to $170,000. Motorcycle accident cases involving the most serious or Level III injuries (including death in permanent disability) have a settlement value range of $200,000 to $520,000.
Maryland Motorcycle Accident Settlements & Verdicts
Below are summaries of jury verdicts and publicly reported settlements in Maryland motorcycle accident cases.
$148,742 Verdict (Baltimore City 2023): A 54-year old man, drove his motorcycle across an intersection and struck the rear of a police cruiser operated by the defendant police officer that was stopped in the left lane of traffic without any warning lights. The force of the impact caused Coyne to be ejected from his motorcycle. The motorcycle rider suffered a skull fracture, intracranial hemorrhage, and multiple fractures to his left leg. He died the next day. His family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department and officer.
$729,000 Verdict (D. Md. 2022): The plaintiff claimed to suffer multiple fractures to his left ankle, requiring fusion and resulting in loss of motion and pain, as well as aggravation of preexisting lower extremity edema, requiring bilateral cannulation of the common femoral veins with placement of stents, when the motorcycle he was operating was struck by a USPS mail truck that backed up from a parked position without warning, causing his left leg to be pinned under the motorcycle. The verdict included $155,000 in past medical expenses and $75,000 in future medical expenses.
$60,000 Settlement (Baltimore City 2021): The plaintiff was operating his motorcycle at or near an intersection when an underinsured motorist attempted to switch lanes and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff asserted he incurred injuries to his head, rib cage, legs, shoulders, and neck and post traumatic concussive syndrome. After settling for policy limits with the at-fault driver, the plaintiff sought additional damages under his UIM coverage.
$37,400 Verdict (Baltimore City 2020): The plaintiff was driving her vehicle on Warwick Avenue in Baltimore when a man on a stolen motorcycle ran and red light and struck her vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that she suffered injuries to her head, neck, back, and shoulders and sought UIM benefits from her insurer. The insurance company denied her claim and she took the case to trial.
$2,250,000 Verdict (Baltimore County 2019): The plaintiff was operating his motorcycle when the defendant made a left turn directly in front of him, causing the plaintiff to strike the defendant’s vehicle. The plaintiff suffered crush injuries to his right leg, including fractures to his right femur and tibia and nerve damage requiring surgery followed by physical therapy, and resulting in the permanent loss of feeling in his right foot and a combined right leg/lower extremity impairment rating of 46 percent.
Hire a Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The Maryland motorcycle accident lawyers at Miller & Zois have extensive experience getting maximum compensation for motorcyclists injured on the road. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free consultation.