Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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The law firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White takes on a limited number of plaintiff’s personal injury cases each month. We limit our intake so we can provide the highest quality representation to each of our clients. To better equip our clients with an understanding of the process, we have broken down the phases of what to expect of our attorney-client relationship.

THE INITIAL CONFERNCE:

General information regarding the incident will be obtained when you are first interviewed. Certain other material relating to things you should not do will be furnished to you. You will be asked to sign authorization forms which will allow us to obtain necessary information. We will schedule a follow-up appointment for you to meet with the attorney handling your case shortly after you retain Silverman Thompson Slutkin and White.
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Experienced personal injury attorneys know there is no question asked more often and as difficult to answer than; What is my case worth? The answer to this question is based upon many factors which an experienced personal injury lawyer can best answer.

Our system of civil justice is terrible at valuing the loss, but rather consistently values the lawsuit. For instance, there are many cases involving horrific tragedies such as the death of a child, the loss of which can never be compensated for. Nonetheless, our judicial system attempts to assign a value to such an incomprehensible losses. Hence, the value of most lawsuits never truly compensate for the irreplaceable loss of life or limb. So how do we lawyers come up with a value for injury cases? Understanding this is an imperfect science, lets get cracking.

Most experienced personal injury lawyers will consider the below factors, as well as personal experience, to provide clients with a range of what a case may be worth. The factors that determine value of a personal injury case include:

1) Strength of liability
2) Venue
3) Severity of Injury
4) Medical Bills: past and future
5) Economic Loss: Wages and Loss of services
6) Aggravating Factors
7) Skill of Attorneys

Strength of liability: The settlement value of a case will often be greatly affected by the strength of the liability. For instance, if two auto accident plaintiffs have the same injury (broken back) the pretrial settlement offers may vary greatly based upon the strength of the liability argument.

If liability is clear (rear end collision), than the pretrial offer will be higher to take into account that there will be a verdict, and it is just a question of how much. On the other hand, if liability is disputed and the defendant has a chance of winning on liability, the pretrial settlement offer will be considerably less to reflect the real possibility that the defendant may walk away paying nothing.
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Nissan recently decided to recall 204,361 vehicles from its 2007 and 2008 model years in the United States due to the possibility that a passenger side airbag could fail to deploy properly in an accident. The recall covers 2007 and 2008 Nissan Altima, Altima Coupe, 350Z, Murano and Rogue; and Infiniti G35 Sedan, G37 Coupe and EX35 built from March 12, 2007 to May 27, 2008. Please click here for the full article.

The defect was in the passenger side “Occupant Classification System,” which figures out whether the front passenger is present, and if so, whether it’s a child or small adult. Apparently, the problem is with Nissan’s “Occupant Classification System,” which didn’t work properly since it was out of spec. As a consequence, the passenger airbag may not deploy in a serious crash.

For more information regarding Nissan’s recall, or to speak with a trial attorney with experience litigating similar product liability claims against automobile manufacturers, please contact us for a free consultation.

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As leading Maryland personal injury lawyers, we are often asked to explain Maryland law regarding wrongful death lawsuits.

Generally, a wrongful death claim is brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent. A Survival claim is brought by the personal representative of an estate.

To recover for a Wrongful Death cause of action, plaintiff must prove: 1) death; 2) negligence of the defendant; and 3) defendant’s negligence proximately caused death of decedent. Weimer v. Hetrick, 309 Md. 536, 547 (1987). In addition to the elements set out by case law, the Wrongful Death statute provides that the plaintiff must be within a category of defined beneficiaries under the statute and the claim must be brought within the applicable time period, 3 years after death of decedent. Md. Cts & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-904.

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Each year, more than forty percent of the total number of traffic fatalities are alcohol related. In this country, nearly 17,000 thousand people are killed on an annual basis in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Sadly, notwithstanding these horrific statistics, Maryland law does not permit a cause of action against a bar owner, restaurant, homeowner or other individual or entity responsible for negligently serving alcohol to individuals who later get behind the wheel of a car and cause serious, and oftentimes catastrophic, injury to others. See Veytsman v. New York Palace, Inc., 170 Md.App. 104, 122 n.11 (2006). Such a claim is known as tavern liability or “dram shop” liability. In fact, Maryland is one of only three states that do not permit such lawsuits. Maryland law also does not allow an injured victim to recover punitive damages in automobile accident cases, even in instances where the driver that caused the injury has consumed excessive quantities of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs. See Komornik v. Sparks, 331 Md. 720 (1993).
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Maryland is a major transportation corridor for trucking and other interstate travel with Interstate 95 running from North/South and Interstate 70 running East/West. As such, accidents involving tractor trailers and other large motor carriers oftentimes occur on Maryland’s frequently traveled roadways. In many of these cases, the tractor trailer is equipped with a “black box” containing critical information, such as average speeds of travel, top speeds, braking information for “hard stops” or other valuable information just prior to the point of impact. It may also contain information regarding the number of hours the truck was in operation; information that can be compared with the log books the driver and trucking company are required to keep. The black box can be a gold mine of information. The information contained in the black box can be critical to proving liability not just for the negligent truck driver, but for the company that employs him or her. This information can be used to show that a trucking company should have known there were problems with a particular driver.

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident involving a tractor trailer or other trucking company, it is important to retain counsel early and act quickly. Counsel should send a “spoliation” letter requesting that the trucking company take affirmative steps to preserve evidence, including the data contained in the black box. A substantial amount of the data can be lost if the tractor trailer is put back into service after an accident. Counsel should notice the inspection of the tractor trailer unit. Counsel should also retain expert assistance to download the black box information. You don’t want the defendant-trucking company to beat you to the punch because they can easily erase critical information in the process. In addition to a black box, some trucking companies also use satellite tracking on their vehicles. This too can be a critical resource to explore when prosecuting a trucking accident case.

If you’ve been injured by the negligence of a truck driver, contact an experienced Maryland plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer for a free consultation about how best to pursue your claim.

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It’s a familiar, but fallacious argument. A favorite of defense counsel and insurance companies in automobile accident cases: “There was a minor impact, therefore there can only be minor injury, if any injury at all.” Defense lawyers often try to introduce into evidence distorted, grainy or out of focus photographs of minimal property damage without providing any expert testimony about the causal relationship between the amount of property damage and the victim’s injuries. The purpose of this tactic is to disprove by false implication what has been proven by medical evidence; to rebut the testimony of a licensed physician that has reached an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the victim’s injuries were caused by the accident in question. There is no mention of the sudden and very high energy forces that are transmitted through the vehicle in the milliseconds after the impact. No mention of the fact that most modern cars are built to withstand a 10-15 mile per hour rear impact without suffering significant property damage, particularly if you’re dealing with an SUV or truck.

Armed only with poor quality photos, too many defense counsel will attempt to manipulate the ignorance (or prejudice) of would be jurors. Such a defense lawyer hopes to prove by innuendo what they know they can’t prove legitimately: minimal damage to a vehicle equates to minimal damage to a human in the car.

In reality, a crash with very little visible property damage can cause extensive, painful and permanent injuries. Crash impact forces are transmitted into sudden and high energy forces causing unexpected acceleration of the subject vehicle, while the occupants of the vehicle (heads, necks, etc.) try to stay in place as their seat-belted bodies are thrust forward by the impact. This sequence of events can lead to a myriad of injuries, including, strained or torn ligaments, weakened connective tissue, bulging or blown discs, hyperextension/hyperflexion of the vertebrae and other painful conditions.

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Under Maryland law, an individual or company that entrusts a motor vehicle to another person with knowledge that such person has a propensity for negligent or reckless driving may be held liable for injuries subsequently caused by that person in a motor vehicle collision. For example, a parent that has given a vehicle to a child as a birthday gift (or even if the parent has simply permitted the use of a family vehicle) with knowledge that the child has reckless driving habits may be held liable for personal injuries caused by the child in a motor vehicle collision. The child’s youth, maturity and inexperience behind the wheel may be relevant factors to consider in the appropriate case. Typically, in order to recover under a theory of negligent entrustment it must be shown that the supplier of the vehicle knew or should have known that the driver would operate the vehicle in a manner that posed an unreasonable risk of harm to others.

In some instances, this theory of recovery may apply to an employer that provides an employee with permission to use a company vehicle with knowledge that the employee-driver would be incompetent or reckless behind the wheel. A key component to this theory of liability is the degree of control over the vehicle exercised by the supplier of the vehicle at the time of the accident. The more control exercised by the supplier the better the chance for succeeding on a negligent entrustment claim. In certain circumstances, negligent entrustment can dramatically expand the opportunity to fully and adequately compensate a victim of personal injury.

Experienced Maryland plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers know that it is essential to evaluate whether a negligent entrustment claim can and should be pursued in the appropriate case. Please feel free to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at www.mdattorney.com for a free consultation.

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A Maryland man was tragically killed yesterday when the motorcycle he was driving was struck head-on by a car that crossed a double yellow line in Carroll County, Maryland.The Baltimore Sun reports that the victim was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and died shortly thereafter. The driver of the vehicle that crossed the double yellow line was 80 years old.

I have represented many seriously injured victims and fatalities from motorcycle accidents in Maryland. Motorcycle accident cases are often tragic because the injuries sustained by the cyclist are often exponentially worse due to the lack of protection. Fortunately Maryland requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, but often the head injuries-even with a helmet-are devastating.
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