Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to injuries arising out of motor vehicle collisions, many of which are caused by negligence. In a July 11, 2017 case, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a personal injury claim filed by a bicyclist against a driver following a Maryland car accident. The plaintiff was employed as a delivery person by a sandwich chain and was in the process of making a delivery via bicycle when he collided with a van driven by the defendant. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered injuries to his head, neck, and knee. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s negligence caused his injuries.
In the case, the defendant had slowed her van to turn left into a parking spot across the street. The plaintiff hit the back left window of her van while on his bike, shattering the glass. The plaintiff was not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict finding that both parties had been negligent. The plaintiff appealed the verdict, arguing that the trial court erred by admitting evidence that he was not wearing a helmet and by allowing the issue of contributory negligence to go to the jury.
On appeal, the plaintiff contended that the question of whether he was wearing a helmet was irrelevant and therefore inadmissible, since Maryland law did not require him to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. The appeals court agreed that Maryland law did not legally require the plaintiff to wear a helmet. However, the court went on to find that this fact alone did not compel the conclusion that the question of whether the plaintiff was wearing a helmet was completely irrelevant. Furthermore, the court explained that even if the question was irrelevant, at most, the trial judge’s ruling on the issue was a harmless error and would not have affected the jury’s decision.
In Maryland, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation if the plaintiff’s negligence was a cause of the injury under the doctrine of contributory negligence. On appeal, the court concluded that the defendant’s testimony, if believed by the jury, indicated that she was stopped for roughly 10 seconds with her turn signal on when the plaintiff collided with the side of her turning vehicle. Viewing that evidence in the light most favorable to the defendant, the court ruled that a rational jury could reasonably find that the plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout and attempted to pass the defendant’s vehicle when it was not safe for him to do so. Accordingly, the jury could properly have found the plaintiff contributorily negligent. The appeals court therefore affirmed the jury verdict.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident involving a bike, car, or semi-truck, you can explore your legal options with an experienced negligence attorney. The Maryland injury attorneys at Foran & Foran assist plaintiffs with legal claims who are seeking compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. To discuss your auto accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or other accident case with a skilled injury lawyer, call Foran & Foran at (301) 441-2022 or contact us online for an appointment.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Bicyclist Killed by Tractor Trailer, Wife Pursues Appeal in Wrongful Death Action, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published April 25, 2017
Maryland Court of Special Appeals Sides with Plaintiff Regarding Arbitration of Wrongful Death Claims, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 11, 2016