Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

There are two fundamental things we need to do to reduce auto accident injuries. First, we have to decrease the number of accidents. Driver inattention is a tough problem to fix, but real gains can be made with drunk drivers and drivers using their cell phones or text messaging.

The second is reducing the severity of injuries after an accident occurs. This means safe cars, trucks and motorcycles that can withstand an impact and occupants wearing seat belts. With respect to the latter, John Day’s Day on Torts reports that seat belt use in 2009 stood at 84 percent, a gain from 83 percent use in 2008.

Most of our country’s fatal car, truck and motorcycle accidents occur on rural roads, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fifty-six percent of 37,261 traffic deaths occurred on rural roads during 2008. Researchers say that the higher death rate on rural roads stems from a combination of faster driving speeds, poorer road engineering, behavioral influences and slower delivery of acute medical care.

I would think you would have to add more single lane, curvy roads where vehicles are traveling at excessive speeds.

Certainly, State Farm is a major player in the auto accident insurance market share in Maryland, getting barely nudged out of the top spot by GEICO. According, Maryland accident lawyers see plenty of State Farm cases… over and over again. State Farm is not a bad company. They have quality accident lawyers in Maryland and good adjusters. In fact, the only issue our Maryland accident lawyers differ with State Farm over typically is the value of individual accident cases. The problem is, of course, is that value is the key ingredient in Maryland accident cases.

Our Maryland car accident lawyers lift up the veil behind State Farm in Maryland and explain some important details worth knowing in attempting to achieve a settlement with State Farm in the Baltimore-Washington area. Click on the preceding link for our attorneys’ analysis of State Farm.

 

Maryland accident lawyers should not be discussing the value of the client’s accident claim in the accident lawyer’s first conversation with the client. Why? Because no accident lawyer knows the value of any accident claim until they review the medical records. This is true in 99.99% of the cases. A lawyer cannot even begin to estimate the value of the claim until they evaluate all the facts. The facts in an accident case are not in until the bills, reports, and other documents are received and evaluated.

Accident lawyers are often told never to ask your client’s opinion of value. I appreciate the point, but there can be a benefit to it because you can compare the client’s view with your own with an eye toward managing client expectations. If you see the case value very differently than the client, you need to have a frank discussion about the merits of the case, the damages that may be claimed, and any pertinent legal issues.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that juries hate motorcycles. The image of a crotch rocket driving past at 100 mph is lodged deep in the mind of most of us. I found some very old data today suggesting another juror antipathy: bicyclists. An article in Bicycling almost 20 years ago reported that 67% of car-injured motorcyclists recover an award through litigation, but only 45% of bicyclists recover. (Nelson Pena, Double Standard: Why Injured Cyclists Usually Lose in Court, Bicycling, Dec. 1991)

The motorcycle thing drives our lawyers crazy is when we know our client is a motorcyclist who did the right thing and the defense lawyer is just using the bias against motorcyclists in a way that completely ignores the actual facts. But I’m amazed this same bias also exists to bike riders.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released the 2007 numbers for motorcycle fatalities and injuries. The news on the safety of motorcycles does not surprise any lawyer handling motorcycle accident cases in Maryland: it is bad and it is getting worse. Fatal motorcycle accidents rose 7% in 2007 to 5,154. Motorcyclists are 35 times – think about that – more likely to die in an accident. Motorcycle injuries have also increased, there were 103,000 reported injuries—a 15 percent increase from 2006’s 88,000 injuries. Motorcycle riders are also 8 times more likely to suffer an injury in an accident than an occupant of a car.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers have handled a lot of wrongful death motorcycle accident cases in Maryland. I cannot remember one fatal motorcycle accident we have accepted where I believed that the victim was at fault for the accident. But have I often wondered what would have happened if the victim had been in an automobile? Of course.