Maryland Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
No one ever expects that they will be hit by a car, however, statistics show that thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed in accidents every year.
A disproportionate number of pedestrian accidents happen in cities like Baltimore, where fast-moving traffic, aggressive drivers, and hectic intersections can make it dangerous to simply cross the road.
If you or one of your family members was hit by a car in Maryland, Rice, Murtha & Psoras trial lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
Talk to an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer about filing a claim for your injuries. For a free case review, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online, or call 24/7 at (410) 694-7291 for assistance.
Common Pedestrian Injuries from Car Accidents in Maryland
Unlike drivers, cyclists, and motorcyclists, who may be equipped with safety gear like helmets or airbags, pedestrians have no protection whatsoever against the impact of a vehicle.
When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, it is almost certain that the pedestrian will sustain at least minor injuries, which are likely to be serious if the vehicle is traveling at high speeds.
Some injuries occur at the moment of impact, while others occur when the pedestrian strikes the ground. For example, the initial impact may cause arm or leg fractures, while the resulting fall to the pavement causes a brain or back injury.
Since there are two impacts – first the vehicle striking, then contact with the road surface – injuries are often severe.
A wide range of injuries, from minor to catastrophic, can result from a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian. Common examples of pedestrian injuries include the following:
- Back injuries or spinal cord injuries (SCIs), which can cause paralysis
- Broken bones, such as pelvic fractures or a broken collarbone
- Crush injuries, if the victim is pinned by the vehicle or trapped beneath debris
- Cuts and lacerations, which may require stitches or staples to heal
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), such as a concussion or fractured skull
- Internal bleeding
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Severe bruising or contusions
- Severe scrapes and skin damage (“road rash”) caused by friction against the road surface
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains
Differences Between Cyclist and Pedestrian Lawsuits in Maryland
If you are riding a bike when you are hit by a car, the legal analysis is a bit different than for pedestrians. Bicycles are technically considered vehicles, so bikers and pedestrians have different rules to follow. Since bikes are vehicles, there are different rules that govern what a cyclist should do compared to what a pedestrian should do.
Bike Laws vs. Pedestrian Laws
For instance, the law usually requires people to ride bicycles on the street rather than the sidewalk, but pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk instead of the street. the same rules apply to crosswalks: bikers should wait at traffic lights and cross the road when they have a green light while pedestrians should cross in a crosswalk when they have a crossing signal.
Many misconceptions lead bikers to think their case should be handled the same way as a pedestrian case, but the law might not be on their side.
Pedestrians typically get the most protection under the law, and many laws are designed to protect people walking on foot from people driving in cars.
Bikers often have fewer protections and must follow the same rules as cars and trucks. Bikers might also have extra rules to follow, such as a requirement to ride in a bike lane instead of the street (even if the bike lane is obstructed).
Many times, these laws are not fair, and you may need the help of an experienced Maryland injury attorney to help with a bike accident case or a pedestrian accident case.
One thing that is the same between bike and pedestrian accidents is that your own insurance might actually help cover your injuries. Since bikes are vehicles, it makes sense (though it might not be obvious) that your own car insurance might help cover you.
This usually only applies if you have first-party benefits, such as PIP or uninsured motorist coverage. This might also apply to you as a pedestrian, even if you were not in a vehicle when you were hit. However, you should always speak with an injury attorney to determine whether you should file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
What Should I Do if I’m Hit by a Car?
The most urgent priority after any pedestrian accident is to receive medical care. Even if your injuries appear minor, it is important to see a doctor to exclude the possibility of hidden or internal injuries that you may be unaware of.
Some injuries may not be obvious right away, especially since pain can be masked by the adrenaline released during an accident. Once the “fight or flight” response fades and adrenaline levels ebb, you may notice that your pain and discomfort grow worse.
Other than getting medical care, there are also other steps you should take after a pedestrian accident in Maryland. For example, you should try to take photographs or video footage of the accident scene, if you can do so safely.
You should also report the accident to a police officer. the officer can make an accident report that, while inadmissible as evidence, will still be valuable to your claim.
Your attorney can assist you with tasks like obtaining medical records, obtaining surveillance footage from nearby businesses, analyzing insurance policies, and taking statements from witnesses.
It is important not to leave your injuries too long without getting medical care and compensation. If you forego medical care, the defendant or the insurance company will try to argue that your injuries were not that severe if they did not need care.
If you wait too long to file your case, you might run afoul of the statute of limitations. Cases filed more than 3 years after the accident can be automatically dismissed.
How Much Can I Be Compensated for a Pedestrian Injury in Maryland?
The answer to this question is different in every case, because of the unique variables that affect each claim. the worth of a personal injury claim involving a pedestrian accident depends on numerous factors, such as the severity of the injury, whether it causes permanent disability or impairment, and how the victim’s earning power is affected.
While most claims are settled without going to trial, it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney, especially if your injuries are catastrophic or the at-fault driver is denying responsibility.
Your lawyer will help you avoid unfair or “low-ball” settlement offers, ensure that your treatment costs are calculated appropriately, scour insurance policies to make sure no coverage is overlooked, and fight to increase the worth of your accident claim.
Who is Liable in a Pedestrian Car Accident in Maryland?
Determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident might seem simple, but various traffic laws and a unique issue in Maryland’s personal injury law can often complicate liability. Typically, courts look at all the factors and facts in a car accident to assign blame, but the driver is typically found at fault.
Assigning Fault to Other Drivers
Drivers have a lot of traffic laws to follow. These rules are put in place to protect other drivers and especially to protect pedestrians walking alongside the road or crossing the street.
If the driver who hit you was speeding or driving under the influence, your Maryland pedestrian accident lawyer can use these traffic violations to prove they were at fault. the same is true if the driver who hit you was violating safe-driving practices that are not explicitly included in the law.
In some pedestrian accident cases, the court will assign fault to multiple drivers. This is common in accidents where two drivers crash into each other and you are caught in the middle of it. There, the court could find that either driver was solely at fault, or they could find that both drivers share fault in causing your injuries.
Shared fault is also common when one driver swerves to avoid hitting another car and ends up hitting a pedestrian. In these kinds of cases, the driver who swerved might have been doing everything right to avoid the crash, but you still got hurt in the process.
Alternatively, it could be that the driver who caused the other car to swerve did not even crash their car at all. This could create legal questions about which driver you should sue.
Pedestrian Traffic Laws
However, the same is true for you as a pedestrian: if you were breaking the law, the driver’s defense attorney can use that against you. Crossing not at a crosswalk or crossing when you do not have a signal are some of the most common ways people are hit by cars.
There are typically laws against both of these acts throughout Maryland, and that violation can be used to say you were partly at fault for the crash.
Contributory Negligence Rules
Unlike many states that weigh the victim’s fault against the driver’s fault, Maryland uses a contributory negligence rule. This means that any negligence on the part of the victim that contributes to the accident can block them from recovering.
Even if the court considers your jaywalking to be only 25% of the cause of the accident, these contributory negligence rules could block your recovery entirely. In fact, these laws consider any contribution – even only 1 or 2% – to be enough to block your lawsuit.
Talk to a Maryland pedestrian accident lawyer for help with your case. it is important to understand that your idea of something that “contributed” to the accident might be something that a court of law might not give the same weight. Your attorney might be able to argue that your actions did not actually “contribute” to the crash because the driver would have hit you even without your minor indiscretions.
Contact a Maryland Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
No one should have to fear for their lives while they are out jogging or taking a walk. If you were hit by a car or other vehicle, you should talk to a Maryland pedestrian injury lawyer about your options for filing an accident claim.
The lawyers with Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent injured pedestrians against negligent drivers and insurance companies, including hit-and-run drivers, intoxicated drivers, distracted drivers, fatigued drivers, reckless drivers, cab drivers, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, and commercial drivers such as truckers or bus drivers.
If you or one of your family members was hurt in a pedestrian accident anywhere in Maryland, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case review.