Few things are as shocking as suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident. When you step onto a crosswalk you expect other drivers to stop because it’s the law. However, far too many drivers keep on going.
Motorists cause broken arms, legs and more and the pedestrian almost always suffers the worst injuries in the accident. Our lawyers are often asked what is the compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car in Baltimore? This is not a straightforward question. The answer depends on a series of variables. However, the growing danger cars pose to pedestrians is not in dispute. Baltimore pedestrian accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains below.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
America’s cities are becoming more dangerous for people on foot. This is surprising given the attempts by planners to add safety features like more crosswalks, sidewalks, underpasses, and multi-use paths to urban roads in recent years. At the same time, carmakers have added more sensors to vehicles and safety features like backup cameras.
A recent report by the advocacy group Smart Growth America pointed out that while the number of Americans killed in car crashes declined over 10 years to 2017, pedestrian deaths rose. About 50,000 people died in cities including Baltimore and Washington D.C. in that time, equating to 13 pedestrian deaths a day. The Smart Growth report ranked Maryland as the 18th most dangerous state for pedestrians in the country with 1,059 pedestrian deaths from 2008-2017.
Florida is the most deadly state for walkers. It saw a staggering 5,433 on-foot deaths in that timeframe. Generally, cities in the southern United States are less safe for pedestrians and lack safety features like crosswalks.
In recent years, the distracted driving epidemic placed pedestrians at increased risk, particularly in cities. More drivers are texting or using navigational devices instead of concentrating on the road ahead. Congestion and the high cost of parking in many cities means more people are on foot or riding bikes or scooters in cities like Baltimore.
Factors that Determine the Compensation for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in Baltimore
Not all pedestrians who get hurt crossing the road or even at deadly intersections like Gwynns Falls Parkway at Reisterstown Road – the most dangerous intersection in Maryland – will be eligible for compensation. The following factors decide what compensation a pedestrian hit by a car in Baltimore is entitled to.
Who Was at Fault for the Accident
Fault is the most important building block of a successful personal injury claim. The fact the driver hit and hurt you is not always enough for you to make a case. The driver and his or her insurance company will often claim you strolled across the road away from a crosswalk, you failed to look in both directions, you were drunk or on your smartphone. Under Maryland’s strict contributory negligence rule, a driver only needs to successfully claim you were one percent (1%) to blame for your injuries for your claim to fail. A study of pedestrian behavior in South America found “a high proportion of risky behaviors” observed among walkers. If you are jaywalking, you are unlikely to win compensation.
Important factors include whether a pedestrian was in a crosswalk at the time of the injury, and whether he or she was permitted to walk. The pedestrian should also have looked both ways. However, driver behavior is also important. A recent Allstate survey found Baltimore’s drivers are the most dangerous in the nation.
Speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, tiredness, distraction, and carelessness are all relevant factors in auto-pedestrian cases. In some cases, drivers injure pedestrians when they are not even crossing the road. Cars have mounted sidewalks or hit people by the side of the road after their cars broke down. People even suffer injuries inside buildings like stores when cars crash into them. Make sure to call the police after a pedestrian accident in Baltimore. The officer’s report is not admissible at a trial but can be powerful ammunition in your claim with the insurance company. You should also obtain:
- Statements of witnesses at the accident scene, ideally people with no relationship to the victim;
- Video or photographs of the scene. Our attorneys can obtain traffic camera footage or evidence from nearby businesses.
- Make notes and observations as soon as possible.
- Your Baltimore personal injury lawyer can obtain cell phone records showing the driver who caused the pedestrian accident was talking or texting at the time of the incident
The amount of insurance available to a driver determines the amount of compensation available to an injured pedestrian in Baltimore. Drivers in Maryland are required to have insurance coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. These minimums may leave you facing a big shortfall for medical treatment. You may be able to make up the difference by using underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your own policy.
Hit-and-run accidents are more common when the victim is a pedestrian. Drivers whose cars are not damaged are more likely to leave the scene. If a hit-and-run driver cannot be found you may be able to claim for your injuries under your Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM).
The Extent of the Pedestrian’s Injuries
If a driver was clearly to blame for your Maryland auto/pedestrian accident and has adequate insurance, the extent of your injuries will dictate how much compensation you receive. The law considers the long-term effect of the injury on your life. It calculates economic losses such as reduced wages and hospital bills.
It also compensates you for pain and suffering. Sadly, some pedestrians who are mown down on the roads of Baltimore suffer terrible disabilities. They can no longer walk again, all because of a few seconds of madness by a driver. In some cases, children live the rest of their lives with disabilities because a careless driver backed up and hit them in a parking lot.
Other Sources of Money in Pedestrian Accidents
Injured pedestrians who are unsuccessful in getting a payout from a driver or lack access to a UM/UIM should consider making a claim under the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund’s (MAIF) Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment (UCJ) division. This can be used if the driver cannot be found or is out-of-state. MAIF can pay up to $30,000 for claims.
In some cases, pedestrians get injured on the job. Highway workers or others who are on the job may also be able to make a worker’s compensation claim for their injuries. This is a no-fault system.
Talk to a Baltimore Pedestrian Accident Lawyer About Getting Compensated for Your Injuries
Although a lawyer cannot put an exact value on your case, he or she will be able to tell you if you have a good case. The amount you will likely recover depends on a range of circumstances. Recoveries in pedestrian accidents are often five or six-figures but all cases are unique and different. Call our Baltimore pedestrian accident attorney to set up an appointment at 410-431-0911.