Our lawyers handled motorcycle accident claims in Maryland and Washington, D.C. This page discusses how these personal injury claims are handled in Maryland and provides information on the average compensation payout for a motorcycle accident.
This page is also a job interview. Our Maryland motorcycle accident lawyers focus on serious injury and wrongful death motorcycle accident cases. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Our law firm, Miller & Zois, wants to represent you if you have a severe bike accident claim.
At our law firm, Miller & Zois, LLC, our injury attorneys have handled many serious motorcycle accident and wrongful death cases. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. For a free consultation of your motorcycle accident claim in the Baltimore or Washington, D.C. areas, contact our Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys at (800) 553-8082 or get a free consultation online.
Below we discuss motorcycle accidents, the value of these accident cases, and how insurance affects motorcyclists. If you are interested in a specific topic, follow the links below.
Commonly Asked Questions
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
As of 2023, Maryland is averaging 72 motorcycle accident fatalities each year and 1,046 motorcycle accidents resulting in serious physical injuries. These accidents result in injuries and deaths. Additionally, severe injuries are ten times more likely with motorcycle crashes than with car crashes. (Our lawyers would love to give you 2021 but the Maryland Department of Transportation is woefully behind.)
Motorcyclists pay more for their injuries than drivers of other vehicles. The average total cost of a motorcyclist’s injuries is $211,000, compared to about $17,000 for all other vehicles.
“Severe injuries are ten times more likely in motorcycle crashes than in car crashes.”
A significant amount of fatal accidents for motorcyclists are single-vehicle crashes as opposed to a motorcycle crashing into a car. These crashes are often attributed to a lack of training, speeding, and driving while under the influence. Helmet use also contributes to fatalities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 800 lives could be saved annually if riders wore helmets. Maryland law stipulates that motorcycle riders must wear helmets that meet MVA standards and visors if their bike has no windshield.
The negligence of other drivers on the road is another significant contributing factor to motorcycle fatalities. Approximately 40% of fatal motorcycle crashes occur when another vehicle turns left in front of an unsuspecting motorcyclist.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Lawsuits Are Different?
What Types of Motorcycle Accidents Lawsuits Are Frequently Litigated?
Left-turn accidents frequently result in severe injury and death for riders of motorcycles. 40% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve a left-turning vehicle. We can’t tell you how many of these types of motorcycle accidents our lawyers have seen. One common scenario is when a driver turns left off a two-way road without noticing an oncoming bike, causing the bike to collide with the side of the vehicle. This may also occur when drivers blow through stop signs or yellow lights.
“Around 40% of accidents involving motorcycles are caused by an inattentive left-turning vehicle.”
Failure to yield is another common cause of motorcycle accidents that involve other vehicles, and many left-turn accidents involve failure to yield. A car may, for example, make a right turn onto a roadway and fail to notice a motorcycle already traveling in the lane they are entering.
These kinds of accidents happen because drivers are not paying careful attention to the road and fail to notice motorcycles, which are smaller and more challenging to see. In other words, these crashes are the result of negligence. In left-turn and failure-to-yield cases, it is usually relatively simple to determine who was at fault for the accident and to prove that the at-fault driver was not paying attention to what they were doing.
What Is Unique About Motorcycle Personal Injury Claims?
With every accident case, it is imperative to establish who was at fault for the accident. This is especially important in Maryland because our state has a contributory negligence doctrine that means the court cannot compensate victims if they are only 1% responsible for the accident.
Fault is complicated in motorcycle personal injury claims because, given the small size of the vehicles and the stereotype about reckless motorcycle drivers, juries are not likely to favor riders.
This makes what motorcycle accident lawyers do all the more critical. Determining who is legally responsible for a traffic accident usually involves visiting the crash’s location, analyzing the location on Google Earth, and getting witness statements to corroborate a plaintiff’s testimony.
Additionally, motorcyclists are not treated fairly by insurance companies. There is a crucial insurance difference for motorcycle riders and attorneys in Maryland regarding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP is additional insurance coverage on your policy that pays for your medical bills or lost wages if you are injured in a crash.
The policy is usually between $2,500 and $10,000 and covers you even if the accident was your fault. Insurance companies are required to offer PIP to the drivers of most other vehicles however, they are permitted to withhold PIP coverage from motorcyclists based on Maryland Insurance Code § 19-505.
Another distinction has to do with uninsured motorist claims. If you drive someone else’s motorcycle and get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, uninsured motorist benefits are typically available under your own insurance policy. However, if you own both a motorcycle and a car, the policy limit for your motorcycle is applied even if you have higher uninsured benefits on another vehicle.
What Is the Average Payout for a Motorcycle Accident?
However, according to a study by Jury Verdict Research, the average motorcycle accident verdict nationally is approximately $560,000. The median verdict award is just over $70,000. The average is so much higher because it is driven up by a smaller number of high-value cases that involve severe injuries or death.
“The average motorcycle verdict is $560,000.”
Based on this average payout statistic, our motorcycle accident lawyers cannot tell you how high of a settlement or verdict you might receive. A motorcycle accident case’s value is determined by medical costs, financial losses, and non-economic damages like the victim’s pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. The jurisdiction is so important, too. The same case in Baltimore might have a settlement value twice what you would get in, for example, Howard County.
Beyond this data, there are two ways to estimate the value of your case. First, you can look at sample verdicts and settlements for specific injuries. View accident injuries here, from herniated discs to broken legs. Secondly, you can look at sample verdicts and settlements in other motorcycle accident cases. These are provided below.
How to Calculate Maryland Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amounts
In Maryland, the settlement amounts for motorcycle accidents begin with how serious the victim was injured. But it also includes factors like the specifics of insurance coverage and the venue of the case.
Economic damages in these settlements typically cover medical costs, lost income, and property damage, while non-economic damages compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of life’s pleasures. In cases where insurance policies are insufficient to cover these damages, especially in severe injury or wrongful death cases, the venue can significantly influence the compensation awarded by juries.
The insurance coverage plays a critical role, as it dictates the maximum payout possible from the at-fault party’s insurer. Settlements will consider the limits of the liability insurance policy held by the negligent party. It might also include underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage the victim may have but our lawyers do not see that too often in motorcycle accident cases.
Venue is another important factor in Maryland, with some jurisdictions being known for more favorable jury verdicts in personal injury and accident cases. Specifically, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County have reputations for juries that are more sympathetic to plaintiffs in motorcycle accidents, often resulting in higher settlement amounts and verdicts. So this gets baked into the settlement negotiation process, prompting more substantial settlements in pre-trial negotiations in venues known for higher jury awards.
Sample Verdicts and Settlements
Below are sample verdicts and settlements that motorcycle crash victims have won.
While these cases serve as examples of how these cases are valued, remember that every case is unique and that yours may be worth more or less depending on the circumstances.
- $1,885,602 Verdict (North Carolina 2023): The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a postal truck. To postal truck attempted to make a left turn at the intersection, turned into his lane of traffic, and struck his motorcycle. The plaintiff reportedly was ejected from the motorcycle and was thrown into a wooded area adjacent to the intersection. The plaintiff suffered multiple leg fractures, a wrist fracture, and multiple toe fractures leaving him unable to work for a long time.
- $148,172 Verdict (Maryland 2023): A motorcyclist died after being struck by a police cruiser at an intersection in Baltimore City. The cruiser failed to yield, causing the motorcyclist to suffer a skull fracture, intracranial hemorrhage, and multiple leg fractures. He passed away the next day. In a death case, particularly in Baltimore City, you expect a verdict in the millions, more than the cap on noneconomic damages in Maryland. Instead, the jury’s payout was a paltry $148,172, the lowest our lawyers have ever seen in a death case in Maryland. It must have been a compromise verdict based on facts we do not have on the case.
- $75,845 Verdict (Iowa 2022): The defendant made a negligent left turn in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle causing a collision. The plaintiff suffered significant physical injuries. The verdict included $22,000 for medical expenses, $23,000 for lost earnings, and $30,000 for pain and suffering.
- $1,986,884 Settlement (Virginia 2020): a motorcyclist is struck by a tractor-trailer and suffers numerous fractures, dislodged eyes, two collapsed lungs, and head injuries. He was out of work for an entire year and had physical limitations when he came back to work. He hired an attorney to fight a reasonable settlement payout. The trucking company settled the case for $1.9 million.
- $908,000 Settlement (Pennsylvania 2020): A 20-year-old motorcyclist was struck and killed by a SEPTA transit bus. They hired a motorcycle crash attorney and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both SEPTA and PennDOT (for failing to maintain traffic lights). The case settled for just under $1 million.
- $81,000 Settlement (Ohio 2020): Motorcyclist suffered severe road rash and soft tissue injuries to his shoulder, back, and knee. He treated with an orthopedist and a chiropractor for six months but has residual knee pain and permanent scarring. Case settled for $81,000.
- $250,000 Settlement (Virginia 2020): Motorcyclist was t-boned and suffered rib fractures, brain bleed, vertebral compression, and leg injuries. Case settled for policy limits of $250,000.
- $100,000 Settlement (Missouri 2020): Motorcyclist was forced off the road by another vehicle and crashed in the shoulder lane. He suffered six fractured ribs and spent two nights in the hospital. The case settled for policy limits of $100,000.
- $75,000 Verdict (Georgia 2019): A motorcyclist is rear-ended, causing him to fly off of his bike and suffer unspecified personal injuries. The defendant driver admits liability but disputes that she was the proximate cause. She also disputes the damages that the plaintiff claimed. Despite the defense’s arguments, a jury decides with the plaintiff and awards him $75,000 in damages.
- $63,600 Verdict (Oklahoma 2019): A woman turns right onto a road and moves into the far-left lane in front of a motorcyclist. He swerves and crashes his bike, resulting in personal injuries and property damage. The biker’s lawsuit claims that the at-fault driver was negligent, failing to yield the right of way and driving with disregard for others. The defense argued that he was partially at fault for the accident. A jury awards the plaintiff $70,600 but also finds that he was 10% negligent for the accident, so the court reduces the damages to $63,600.
- $2,460,000 Verdict (Maryland 2019): A truck driver makes a left turn into a parking lot, causing an oncoming motorcyclist to collide with the side of the truck. The motorcyclist fractures his right leg in numerous places, resulting in a permanent loss of feeling in his right foot. The truck driver flees the scene of the accident after saying he had “legal issues,” and the company that owned the truck claims that the driver had stolen their truck. The jury finds that the driver was the company’s employee and awards the plaintiff nearly 2.5 million dollars in pain & suffering and past lost wages damages.
- $80,000 Verdict (Maryland 2019): The defendant makes a U-turn and strikes the plaintiff, who is riding a motorcycle. According to the plaintiff, the driver entered the motorcyclist’s lane of travel, was traveling too fast, was not keeping a proper lookout, and ignored traffic signals. A jury finds with the plaintiff and awards $80,000 for damages.
- $36,200 Verdict (Maryland 2018): A young driver with a learner’s permit collides with a motorcyclist when making a left-hand turn in Baltimore. He hires a Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney and filed a lawsuit, alleging he had injuries to his back, neck, and limbs because the car failed to keep a proper lookout or yield the right of way. Additionally, the plaintiff alleges negligent entrustment against the vehicle’s owner since the driver only had a learner’s permit. The defendants admit liability, and the case proceeds to trial over damages. A jury awards $8,400 in medical expenses and $27,800 in lost earnings.
- $2,500,000 Settlement (New York 2018): A 35-year-old motorcyclist is forced to ditch his motorcycle and crash due to a left-turning vehicle. His injuries are fatal, and his widow files a wrongful death lawsuit to recover economic losses, loss of consortium, and loss of parental guidance for their children. The two parties negotiated a $2.5 million settlement before trial.
The Baltimore motorcycle accident attorneys at Miller & Zois will fight to get you fair financial compensation. We understand the importance of getting the facts right. The odds are stacked against bikers in these cases, but our experience levels the playing field.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call our motorcycle accident attorneys at (800) 553-8082 or click here to contact us online. Whether you call or contact our law firm via the Internet, you will receive a free consultation. In fact, there is no fee at all unless you win a settlement or verdict.
More Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits Information
- Motorcycle wrongful death cases
- Helmet laws
- Left-turn motorcycle accidents
- Failure to yield accidents
- Sample demand letter in a personal injury motorcycle accident lawsuit
- Sample motion before trial to keep out evidence about the type of bike the motorcyclist was riding
- Sample depositions