Jill Kolodner | August 31, 2021 | Maryland Law
Currently, Maryland has no age restriction for children riding on the back of motorcycles. Therefore, the decision to allow your child to ride on the back of a motorcycle in Baltimore is up to you.
However, before you allow your child to ride on the back of a motorcycle, you may want to consider a few things.
Children are not aware of the dangers of riding a motorcycle. Therefore, you must ensure that you protect your child as much as possible.
All motorcyclists must wear a motorcycle helmet according to Maryland law. Purchase a motorcycle helmet for your child that fits their head. An adult helmet is not designed to protect a child’s head. The law also requires that your child have eye protection.
Ensure that your child wears protective clothing, including boots, gloves, long pants, and a leather jacket. In addition, you may want to invest in specialized motorcycle apparel designed to reduce the risk of injury in a motorcycle accident.
Do not allow your child to ride a motorcycle that is not designed for passengers. Moreover, you should never carry a child in front of you on a motorcycle.
Is My Child Old Enough to Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle?
Parents or guardians need to make this decision based on their child’s age, maturity, and physical ability. For example, if your child cannot remain upright and hold on during various riding conditions, they may not be ready to ride on the back of a motorcycle.
Furthermore, your child needs to be able to follow instructions immediately. You may not have but a second to shout a command before encountering a dangerous situation. Children who are not capable of following rules may not be ready to ride a motorcycle.
Common Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident
Your child could sustain multiple injuries in a motorcycle crash, including:
- Lacerations and abrasions (road rash)
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Severe scarring and disfigurement
- Chest injuries
Motorcyclists and riders have a high risk of injury in a collision. There is nothing to protect them from the force of an impact with another vehicle or object.
What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
Your child may be entitled to compensation for injuries. However, childhood injury cases can be complicated. It is in your child’s best interest for you to seek legal advice from a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer.
Children injured in motor vehicle accidents can develop long-term impairments or developmental delays because of their injuries. For example, a brain injury may cause permanent physical, cognitive, or emotional impairments. A broken bone may result in a permanent physical impairment.
You may need to take your child to one or more medical specialists for a diagnosis. An attorney can assist you in locating medical experts that specialize in the injuries your child sustained.
Another complication for childhood motorcycle accident claims is the fault for the motorcycle accident. If another motorist caused the crash, your child’s claim would be against that motorist. However, once you prove the other driver caused the collision, your child should be entitled to compensation for damages.
However, what if you are responsible for the cause of the crash? Your child would have a legal claim against you. Your insurance company might not be willing to pay the claim. Therefore, your child would need to sue you (your insurance will defend the suit) to recover compensation for damages.
What Types of Compensation Can a Child Receive for a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The compensation your child might receive depends on the facts of the case. However, in most injury cases, a child can receive compensation for the same types of damages as an adult would receive.
Damages your child might be entitled to recover:
- Past and future cost of medical treatment and care
- Physical, occupational, and other therapies
- Mental health treatment for emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of future earning potential and future lost wages
- Disfigurement, scarring, impairments, and disabilities
- Physical pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life or loss of enjoyment of life
- Cost of personal care or nursing care
As discussed above, you may not know the full extent of your child’s damages right away. It could take several months or longer for doctors to determine whether your child sustained permanent harm from the motorcycle accident.
A lawyer can help you protect your child’s legal right to fair compensation by monitoring deadlines to file claims and working with medical experts to document damages. When it is time to settle your child’s injury claim, you may need court approval for the settlement. An attorney can also help you with that aspect of the case.