Although there are fairly uniform traffic laws across the United States for motor vehicles, the same cannot be said about laws related to bike riders. Since laws pertaining to bike riders vary greatly from state to state, let’s have a look at some of the laws related to bike riders in Maryland. More specifically, here in this post, let’s look at the law involving what part of the road bike riders must use.

Maryland mandates that, apart from certain exceptions, riders stay as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the road, if the riders are riding at a speed lower than the speed of traffic.

Such exceptions include when

  • the rider is making or attempting a left turn,
  • the rider is on a one-way street,
  • the rider is passing a stopped or slower-moving vehicle,
  • the rider is avoiding a pedestrian or road hazard,
  • the rider is in a lane that is too small for a bike and another vehicle to safely ride side by side, or
  • the rider is in a right-turn-only lane.

Additionally, Maryland law requires that a bike rider use a bike lane where available, unless that lane is not smooth and paved.

Now, if you’re a bike rider who has been injured in a collision with an automobile in Maryland, you likely have questions or concerns about where, in terms of the law, you stand. Well, if you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call me. I can answer your legal questions. I would love to chat with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

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Maryland’s Horrendous Law Capping Damages

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the ridiculous law in Virginia that limits the amount of money medical malpractice victims may receive for their injuries. (This law caps “damages.”) But I’ll tell you a secret about the damages caps in Virginia: in some ways, they are much fairer than they are in Maryland.

To be clear, they are not fairer in medical malpractice cases. However, in other kinds of personal injury cases–car crash cases, premises liability cases, truck collision cases, elder abuse cases, and so on–the damages caps in Virginia are significantly fairer. In fact, in some ways, the damages caps in Maryland are some of the least fair in the nation.   

Could this really be true?

Could it, considering the Maryland legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic? (There are two Democrats for every one Republican in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.)

It is true.

Individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries might find it unfortunate that they were injured if they were injured because of someone else’s negligence; they may find it especially unfortunate if they were injured in Maryland.

I’ll tell you why.

Maryland caps the amount injured plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cover losses like the loss of the enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Maryland law caps recovery for non-economic damages to only $845,000. (The cap increases by $15,000 every year.)

Imagine: you’re driving a hatchback, you’re stopped in traffic, and suddenly you get hit from behind–obliterated–by a big SUV. You get medical treatment, of course. But after all the treatment you receive, a doctor tells you that you’ll have severe pain for the rest of your life and she recommends you use a wheelchair.

Activities you used to love, like running every morning and playing a round of golf with your friends on weekends, are now off limits to you. You feel like you’re a burden on your family. You’ll likely live another 40 years.

Now, consider someone gives you a check for $845,000 in exchange for the severe pain, the mental anguish, and the loss of your enjoyment of life. That check would, spread over 40 years, equal about $20,000 a year.

Who in their right mind would consider that amount to be fair?

Make no mistake about it: none of Maryland’s neighboring states limit non-economic damages in all personal injury cases–not DC, not Delaware, not Virginia, not New Jersey, not New York, not Pennsylvania. In fact, only 10 other states in the nation have such a cap on non-economic damages: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Maryland is an outlier.

The Democratic legislature ought to end the caps on non-economic damages, bringing Maryland in line with the vast majority of states and all of its neighbors.

5 More Surprising Facts About Bicycle Crashes

Cities across America will probably continue to encourage their residents to ride bikes. After all, cycling is good for the health of the rider and good for the environment, but cars are not going anywhere. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand for cars–just look at used car prices. Unfortunately, cars and bicycles often don’t share the road in peace; this fact, quite often, manifests into cyclist suffering catastrophic injuries or even dying.  

We previously looked at five surprising facts about bicycle crashes, here we’ll look at five more.

  1. It’s sad but true that cyclist deaths are on the rise. Cyclist fatalities rose 38% from 2010 to 2018.
  2. Sixty-one percent of bicyclists killed in 2018 were not wearing helmets. Helmet use was unknown for 24 percent of the 2018 deaths.
  3. The great majority of people who die in bike crashes in the US are men. In 2018, 84% of deaths were male riders. Between 1975 and 2018, women never made up greater than a 25% share of bike fatalities.
  4. In 2018, between the hours of 6 and 9 pm, 21% of the crashes that resulted in cyclist deaths occurred. These were the peak hours for such crashes.
  5. In 2018, September was the month with the most fatal bicycle crashes, while March was the month with the least. More than double the number of crashes occurred in September, compared to March.

Many of the surprising facts about bike crashes may offer hints into how we can keep ourselves safe as we ride our bikes.

However, if you or a loved one has been involved in a bike crash in Maryland, you may have questions about your legal options. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

5 Surprising Facts About Bike Crashes

During the pandemic, many people have rediscovered the joy of cycling. I personally love to ride my bike. There are few recreational activities I enjoy more. However, even I’d admit there is a significant issue with cycling. The issue is that, while being an activity that provides many health benefits, cycling can be dangerous–even deadly.

Here we’ll look at five surprising facts about cycling crashes.

  1. In the United States, each year, many cyclists die. In 2018, for example, over 854 cyclists in the US were killed in crashes with motor vehicles.
  2. The great majority–nearly 80%–of these cyclist deaths occurred in urban areas. Historically, things were different. In 1975, cyclist deaths occurred about equally in rural and urban areas.
  3. According to one study, 37% of cyclist deaths involved alcohol, either consumed by a motorist or cyclist.
  4. For every cyclist death in the US, there are about 550 injuries. In 2015, there were almost 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in the US.
  5. Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bike accident in Maryland, you may have questions about your legal options. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

Number of Pedestrians Killed Highest in Nearly 30 Years–Cyclist Deaths Rise

The number of pedestrians killed rose to its highest level in nearly three decades, the U.S. auto safety agency said this week. More pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2018 than in any year since 1990.

In 2018, deaths of pedestrians rose, compared to the prior year, 3.4% to 6,283. In the last decade, deaths of pedestrians have jumped by 42%.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed on roads while using bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles also rose in 2018, climbing 6.3% to 857.

Three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths take place at night, the U.S. auto safety agency said, while 38% of pedestrians killed had alcohol in their systems and 74% were not at intersections when hit.

Auto safety experts say the growing number of drivers distracted by mobile devices is at least partly to blame for the increase in deaths. Relatedly, the Governors Highway Safety Association said the increasing shift in U.S. vehicle sales, away from passenger cars and toward light trucks, is also a factor in the rising number of deaths.

What Damages Are In Maryland?

In personal injury cases that start when a victim is injured by a wrongdoer who does not intend to cause injury, the victim has to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for his or her injuries. Let’s imagine you’re the victim here. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted[1] in a negligent manner. Another thing you must establish is that the wrongdoer’s negligence caused your injuries. Finally, you must prove that you sustained “damages.” In past posts, we looked at how to show negligence and how to show causation. Here, let’s focus in on damages.

Damages in personal injury cases can range from a couple hundred dollars for an emergency room visit to many millions of dollars for catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. Calculating damages can be a very complicated process, so you should seek the assistance of an attorney.

You must show that you suffered actual losses due to the accident and your injuries. Common losses include the following:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income or benefits
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering.

If you have suffered injury and believe another party has acted negligently, you should not delay in consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney in Maryland. Damages can be complicated and a qualified attorney will know how to sufficiently gather and present evidence of negligence in court so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

I realize you may have questions or concerns about your matter, which occurred here in Maryland. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, but still have questions, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.


[1] Sometimes the negligent behavior is a failure to act, an omission, like a doctor failing to diagnose a condition that he or she should have diagnosed.

What Causation Is in Maryland

In personal injury cases that start when someone is injured by a wrongdoer who does not intend to cause injury, you have to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for your injuries. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted in a negligent manner–and we looked at what negligence is in a past blog post. However, establishing negligence is not enough, to surprise of many people. In addition to establishing the wrongdoer was negligent, you must establish “causation” and “damages.” Here, we’ll look at causation in Maryland.

A big issue in all personal injury litigation, including the malpractice area, is the issue of causation. The heart of many personal injury cases is not what the injury is, not the amount of damage or harm, but whether the wrongdoer caused the injury or damage.

In Maryland, you must prove that the individual’s “breach of duty” was a “proximate cause” of your injury. At a minimum, as part of the proximate cause issue, you must show “causation in fact.” This means, you must show, at a minimum, that the wrongdoer’s conduct actually produced your injury.

For example, in a medical malpractice case, this might be established by asking a medical expert, among other questions, whether–under the facts of the case–the expert has an opinion if the damages or harm you suffered were caused by the acts of the wrongdoer.

The other subset of proximate cause in Maryland, sitting beside causation in fact, is “legal cause.” When it comes to legal cause, the court asks whether the wrongdoer, in light of considerations of fairness and “social policy,” should be held liable for your injury, even when you have established that the wrongdoer’s conduct produced your injury.

If you have suffered injury and believe your injury is another party’s fault, you should not delay talking with a good personal injury attorney. Negligence and related personal injury legal concepts can be complicated, and a qualified attorney will know how to sufficiently gather and present evidence of negligence so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

I realize you likely have questions or concerns about your matter that happened here in Maryland. Well, if you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, but still have questions. What I encourage you to do is pick up the phone and call me. I can answer your legal questions. This is something I do every single day, and I would love to chat with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

What Negligence Is in Maryland

Many personal injury cases start when someone is injured by a person who does not intend to cause injury. In these cases, you have to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for your injuries. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted in a negligent manner. While you may have a basic understanding of the word “negligence,” perhaps you don’t realize the exact definition, in the legal context, of negligence.

It is not enough to simply state that you believe the wrongdoer acted negligently. Instead, there are specific things you must show. The first step in proving negligence is to show that the wrongdoer had a certain “duty of care.”

Duty of Care

The law imposes various duties of care on different people in different situations. Some of these duties of care are set out in past court cases while others are set forth by laws made by lawmakers in Annapolis. The following are examples of duties of care:

  • Drivers have the duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner to avoid injury to others.
  • Doctors and other professionals must act as a similar reasonable professional would in a  particular situation.
  • Mass transit providers, like train, taxis, buses, subways and other common carriers, owe their passengers the highest degree of care to provide safe means and methods of transportation for them.

Breach of Duty

Once you establish a duty of care, you then have to establish that the wrongdoer breached that duty. Examples of breach of duty include:

  • Impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failing to obey traffic laws and signals
  • Medical malpractice
  • Allowing hazardous conditions on a property
  • Providing inadequate security at a business
  • Selling a defective or dangerous product without warning
  • Inadequate supervision at daycare centers or schools.

You have to present evidence that the wrongdoer breached or failed to live up to their duty of care.

Once you establish a duty of care and the breach of that duty, you have established that the wrongdoer was negligent. However, this is not enough to entitle you to a financial recovery from the wrongdoer. In addition to establishing the wrongdoer was negligent, you must establish “causation” and “damages.” In many cases, but not always, once you have established causation and damages, you will be entitled to a financial recovery for the injuries you have suffered.

Of course, negligence, in the legal context, can be difficult concept to understand. If you have been injured in Maryland and believe it may have been due to someone’s negligence, you may have questions. Give me a call today, and let’s discuss your case.

Maryland Bike Rules: Do You Really Have to Stop at Stop Signs and Red Lights?

Although there are fairly uniform motor vehicle traffic rules across the United States, the same cannot be said about laws for bike riders.

Even avid bike riders are often unaware of what their state’s bike laws are. By way of example, I spent an entire summer during college working as a bike messenger and at no point could I confidently tell you whether I was required to come to a full stop at stop signs and lights. I generally treated the stop signs and lights as if they were yield signs.

After all, some states permit what is called an “Idaho stop.” An Idaho stop law lets a bike rider treat a stop sign as a yield sign. Rather than being required to come to a stop, the bike rider is only required to slow down, to stop if required for safety, and to yield the right of way to any approaching vehicle or pedestrian.

What is the law in Maryland, you may be rightly wondering.

In Maryland, there are no Idaho stop laws. Bike riders are required to treat stop signs and lights just like cars must. Bike riders are required to come to a complete stop when directed, by a sign or light, to stop.

Maryland Bike Rules: Laws on Distracted Drivers

Although there are fairly uniform motor vehicle traffic rules across the United States, the same cannot be said about laws related to bike riders. Let’s have a look at some of the laws related to bike riding in Maryland. More specifically, let’s look at laws concerning distracted driving, a cause of many collisions between cyclists and cars.

Maryland has laws intended to reduce distracted driving (some of which are subject to exceptions). 

  • Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a wireless communication device while driving.
  • Drivers cannot write, send or read a text message or email while driving.
  • A driver of a Class H (school) vehicle may not use a handheld telephone when driving a motor vehicle carrying passengers and in motion.
  • A holder of a learner’s instructional permit or a provisional driver’s license who is 18 years of age or older cannot use a handheld telephone while driving.

If you have been struck by a distracted driver in Maryland, call 888-542-4743 as soon as you can.

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