Baltimore Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Certain parts of Baltimore are highly accommodating to pedestrians. If you have never walked through Mount Vernon before, we can assure you that the experience is delightful. During your stroll in Mount Vernon, you can check out museums in the area, enjoy al fresco dining, or participate in outdoor festivities.
Baltimore is also working to improve several areas via its Main Streets program. Areas including Belair-Edison Main Street, Fell’s Point Main Street, and Waverly Main Street are among those being improved.
The busy streets of Baltimore can be fun to explore. Unfortunately, recent trends have also shown that those streets are becoming more dangerous for pedestrians. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report, the past decade has featured a noticeable uptick in pedestrian accident deaths.
Do not hesitate to contact a Baltimore pedestrian accident attorney if a negligent motorist recently struck you. Work with an attorney and recoup the compensation you deserve.
What Exactly Is a Pedestrian?
The dictionary definition of a pedestrian is a person who travels on foot. Therefore, whether an individual is walking along a path far from the road or a crosswalk, they are still a pedestrian.
However, the term pedestrian is not limited to people who get around by walking or running. From a legal standpoint, someone who uses a wheelchair is also considered a pedestrian. The same applies to individuals who use skateboards, rollerblades, or foot-powered scooters.
Notably, things get trickier when bicycles are involved. Generally speaking, you can consider bicycles as pedestrians and vehicles. It depends on where they are using the bicycle.
A cyclist riding on the sidewalk is a pedestrian. However, they must yield the right-of-way to the other types of pedestrians we mentioned previously. On roadways, bicycles are considered vehicles per Maryland law. Therefore, cyclists must adhere to the same rules as motorists to avoid trouble.
Your claim may hinge on your ability to prove that you were a pedestrian at the time of your accident. For example, if your accident occurred while cruising down the sidewalk on your bike, the other motorist involved may contest your claim. Work closely with a Baltimore pedestrian accident lawyer to disprove those false claims and hold the negligent motorist responsible for their actions.
Pedestrian Accident Types and Causes
As noted earlier in this article, pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Why are they becoming more prevalent? Examining their common causes can give us some valuable insight.
Some drivers are careless even when pedestrians are nearby. They can be negligent in different ways, too.
A driver using their phone while moving through a crosswalk can be considered negligent. However, you can say the same thing about a motorist who struck a pedestrian because they did not know about right-of-way laws. Their inability to recognize that the pedestrian had the right-of-way is the main cause of the accident, and they must accept responsibility.
Reckless driving is arguably worse than negligent driving. A negligent driver can point to a lapse in judgment or ignorance of the law as the reason for their accident. You cannot make those claims about your incident if you were reckless.
Speeding is an example of reckless driving behavior. Anyone who takes to Baltimore roads while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also being reckless and endangering their fellow residents.
Blind Spot Accidents
Sometimes, a pedestrian accident can be the product of bad luck. While at a stoplight at night, a driver may not notice the pedestrian at their side because they are in their blind spot. After the light turns green, they turn and accidentally hit the pedestrian.
Even if you do not think the driver was negligent or reckless when they struck you, it would still be prudent to take legal action against them. Hire a pedestrian accident attorney in Baltimore and see what they have to say about your ordeal.
The motorist does not always cause a pedestrian accident. However, on some occasions, the pedestrians could be the ones to blame.
Pedestrians who fail to use allotted crosswalks and those who run into moving traffic are at great risk. In addition, because of their recklessness, they may not recover damages even if an accident occurs.
Who Is At Fault in a Maryland Pedestrian Accident?
Which party is to blame following a Baltimore County pedestrian accident? To answer that question, we need to consider the facts of the case and the actions of the parties involved.
More often than not, motorists are the ones found at fault for causing pedestrian accidents. That is because they have more responsibilities.
For example, a motorist must always be aware of their surroundings. They should recognize if a pedestrian is crossing the road and act accordingly. The ensuing crash will be their fault if they fail to notice the pedestrian in time.
Motorists are also tasked with yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians most of the time. Any accident that stems from the motorist’s failure to yield the right-of-way will be on them.
Of course, we have already established that pedestrians can also receive the blame for accidents. Even if you are a pedestrian, you cannot cross wherever you please, whenever you want. There are still laws dictating where pedestrians can cross. You can find yourself blamed for the accident if you are being negligent.
Why Is It Important to Assign Blame Properly in Pedestrian Accidents?
Figuring out who shoulders the blame for an accident is critical. More specifically, correctly figuring out who should receive the blame for the accident is vital.
In Maryland, a plaintiff is disqualified from recovering damages if they share even 1% of the blame for an accident. That is because the state follows the rule of contributory negligence.
In your case, the other party may not deny their role in the incident. Instead, they may pass some blame on you, so they do not provide compensation. If they can show that even a small mistake on your part helped cause the accident, they have already succeeded.
Prevent that from happening by partnering with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Baltimore.
Baltimore Crosswalk Laws: Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way?
We have referenced right-of-way laws for pedestrians and motorists throughout this article. Now it is time to learn about the specific laws Maryland residents must follow.
When Drivers Must Yield Right-of-Way
The general rule for drivers is to stop when there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The driver must stay put until the pedestrian has reached the other side of the road. Motorists must yield the right-of-way whether the crosswalk is marked or not.
Stopping is a requirement not only for the driver closest to the pedestrian. Any other vehicles on that side of the road must also stop until the pedestrian has crossed. Motorists who try to overtake stopped vehicles near that crosswalk will receive traffic violations.
When Pedestrians Must Yield Right-of-Way
The obligation to yield the right-of-way does not always fall on the motorist. Pedestrians also must let the motorists pass in certain situations.
Maryland law expects pedestrians to use crosswalks whenever they are available. If a pedestrian does not use the provided crosswalk, they must give the right-of-way to passing motorists. The same rule applies to pedestrians who still cross the road even though tunnels and overhead crossings are available.
Right-of-Way Rules When Traffic Control Signals Are Present
Both pedestrians and motorists should have no trouble following right-of-way laws when traffic control signals are available. However, whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, you must follow what the traffic signal says.
If the traffic signal turns red while a pedestrian is partially across the road, they must be allowed to proceed uninterrupted. The motorist should let them reach the sidewalk or safety island before moving again.
“Hit-and-Run” Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Hit-and-run accidents are nightmare scenarios for pedestrians in Baltimore. Often, these incidents are byproducts of panic. The driver sees that they hit someone, and their self-preservation instincts kick in. They only care about avoiding penalties for their actions. Some drivers intentionally speed away from accident scenes because they cannot afford to deal with law enforcement. They may not even be allowed on the road because their license is suspended.
A motorist may also unwittingly avoid responsibility for hitting a pedestrian. That is the kind of thing that happens when impaired drivers are on the road. They are so out of it that they may not even realize they hit someone with their car. A pedestrian may sustain severe injuries in the wake of a car accident. Hit-and-run accidents are even more challenging for victims because they do not know where their compensation will come from.
Do not be discouraged even in that seemingly helpless scenario. Instead, hire a Baltimore pedestrian accident attorney and ask them to help track down your assailant. Maryland drivers found guilty of causing hit and run may be charged with felonies. You can also hold them responsible for your injuries by filing a lawsuit.
Even if efforts to track down your assailant prove unsuccessful, your attorney can still help you obtain compensation from your insurer.
Tips for Parents on How to Keep Your Kids Safe
Baltimore streets are dangerous for adults. Now, imagine the threat they pose to children. Children can also be exposed to pedestrian hazards when playing outside or walking to a friend’s house. As parents, we must do what we can to keep them safe. Teaching your kids essential safety tips will help them avoid pedestrian accidents.
Teach Young Children to Avoid the Street
If you have kids still in elementary school, you should tell them to stay away from the street altogether. Tell them that there is no situation where they should cross the street alone.
Tell Your Children to Look Both Ways Before Crossing
One of the first lessons we are taught about road crossing is to look both ways before taking a step forward. You also need to pass on that knowledge to your kids.
Remind Your Children to Use Crosswalks and Follow Traffic Signals
Kids need to know more than the steps to take before crossing the road. They should also know the best spots to cross.
Tell your kids to look for crosswalks and traffic control signals if they have to go from one side of the road to the other. You can also tell them to look for overhead crossings, tunnels, or traffic enforcers if they need to cross.
Avoid Playing with Your Children on the Street
Our children will follow our actions, whether they mean to or not. That is how they learn, and you need to be mindful of that as a parent.
Do not mess around whenever you are crossing the road with your child. Instead, walk straight at a good pace until you get to the other side. If your child wants to play, ask them to wait until you are safely across.
Baltimore, Maryland, is one of the major cities in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The city is home to prestigious educational institutions, including Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Sports fans also flock to the city as it is home to MLB’s Baltimore Orioles and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. The Preakness Stakes is also held in Baltimore every May.
Take a walk through Downtown Baltimore, and you will find more reasons to love Charm City.
The Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum are great places for kids to learn more about the world around them. If you wish to expose your kids to more cultural experiences, you should take them to The Walters Arts Museum.
Those are only some of the wonderful establishments in Downtown Baltimore. You can visit them during your walks around town. Remember, be wary of vehicles nearby while crossing the street so you and your kids can avoid becoming the victims of a pedestrian accident.
Contact Leppler Injury Law Today
Pedestrian accident cases are nothing new for attorney John Leppler. He has helped numerous Baltimore residents secure compensation in those cases before. The combination of experience and expertise he provides is what you need in a Baltimore pedestrian accident attorney.
In addition to Baltimore, some of the locations our law firm serves include Towson, Lutherville-Timonium, Owings Mills, Pikesville, and more. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today for a free consultation!