Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In Baltimore, pedestrians who are simply crossing the street, even at designated crosswalks, jogging alongside the street, walking through a parking lot, or walking on the sidewalk, are struck by motor vehicles of all types. Clearly, a pedestrian does not have the protection of a seat belt, the steel protection of a car, or even the safety of a motorcycle helmet.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact a Maryland pedestrian accident lawyer at Leppler Injury Law for help. We understand the law and are ready to fight for the rights to all of your financial compensation.
What Is a Pedestrian Accident?
Several laws are in place to protect pedestrians from motorists. Unfortunately, no laws can physically stop reckless drivers from harming the people around them. If you are ever hit by a negligent driver while walking through Baltimore County, make sure you go after the responsible party with a personal injury lawyer.
A pedestrian accident may involve a driver hitting someone using the sidewalk. Even if the pedestrian is crossing the road, a driver can still be liable for hitting them under certain circumstances. Note that a pedestrian does not necessarily need to be on foot.
Anyone using a non-motorized form of transportation can still be considered a pedestrian. Technically, folks using skateboards, rollerblades, and even bicycles are still considered pedestrians. A motorist will still be liable based on existing pedestrian safety laws if they hit someone using one of those forms of personal transportation.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration, 3,452 pedestrians were involved in car accidents back in 2017. Of those 3,452 crashes, 3,098 involved injuries.
To put it another way, nearly 92% of the pedestrian accidents in Maryland that year led to someone either getting injured or dying. That is an alarmingly high number, and it speaks to how dangerous the roads can be for pedestrians in Baltimore, Towson, and other parts of the state.
It is important to emphasize how dangerous the roads in urban areas can be for pedestrians. Per the CDC, most pedestrian deaths stemming from accidents occur in urban areas. Children under fifteen and senior citizens are also the most vulnerable to these accidents.
We all need to be mindful of how dangerous the roads are for pedestrians. Whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, exercising the proper level of caution is crucial. Significantly reducing the number of pedestrian accidents should be a goal for everyone.
Types & Causes of Baltimore Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are rarely the pedestrian’s fault. Some common reasons for pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted Driving and Texting. Drivers who are busy with other things while driving are less likely to notice when pedestrians suddenly appear.
- Drunk Driving. Impaired drivers are more likely to fail to notice a pedestrian who is crossing the street.
- Left-Hand Turns. Left turns are problematic for both pedestrians and drivers. Many drivers are more concerned with getting through the intersection than with watching out for pedestrians crossing the road.
- Failing to Use Crosswalks Appropriately. Crosswalks allow pedestrians on busy corners to cross. However, failing to pay attention to these signals or jaywalking across an unmarked crossing is a common reason for many pedestrian accidents.
- Children. Children commonly do not appreciate the risk of running in and around the street. Additionally, because children are smaller than adults, it can be difficult for drivers to see them if they dart out between two cars, particularly parked cars.
- Bicycle Accidents. Bicycles and pedestrians don’t mix well. Both have trouble seeing oncoming traffic, and both are difficult to see by automobile traffic. Fortunately, bicycle-on-pedestrian accidents cause relatively little damage.
Dangerous Crosswalks in Downtown Baltimore
Every metropolitan area has its share of dangerous intersections, and Baltimore is no exception. Some of the most dangerous crosswalks in Baltimore include:
- Gwynns Falls Parkway and Reisterstown Road
- Northern Parkway at Jones Falls Expressway (JFX)
- Orleans Street at Gay & Enstor Streets
- West Cold Spring Lane at Jones Falls Expressway (JFX)
- South Monroe Street at Washington Boulevard
- West Northern Parkway at Falls Road
What To Do In a Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian hit and run accidents are very similar to typical hit and runs, except the injuries tend to be much more severe and, of course, one-sided. In the immediate aftermath, you, your hit and run lawyer, or someone you can trust should:
- Check yourself for injuries.
- Contact law enforcement. Call 911 if you have severe or life-threatening injuries. Otherwise, contact the state highway patrol, sheriff, or local law enforcement.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with any witnesses, including full names and contact information, along with the location of the accident. Take phone video for simplicity’s sake.
- Document the accident. Take photos of all your damages and injuries.
- Record the names and badge numbers of the assisting officers and get a copy of the police report, if possible.
- Contact a pedestrian accident attorney at the Law Office of John J. Leppler before you speak with your insurance company.
- Do not speak to anyone about the accident, except to give very basic information.
- Avoid social media and do not agree to any insurance company’s request for a recorded or signed statement.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
The assistance of an experienced attorney is useful in any personal injury case. A good attorney could provide services even more helpful if you were recently involved in an accident. Learn more about the valuable assistance your attorney can provide by continuing below.
Give You More Time to Recover
Taking legal action quickly is important in personal injury cases. However, you may be in no shape to manage your legal affairs following the accident. At this point, your main focus should only be your recovery. Hire an accident lawyer so they can get the ball rolling while you continue to recuperate.
Prove Your Innocence
Maryland is a state that follows the principle of contributory negligence. That is a big deal because it can directly affect your compensation. If the court deems you partially responsible for the accident, you will not receive any payout from the defendant. Some defendants will resort to falsely casting blame on their victims to avoid making payouts. Your accident lawyer can counter those claims by investigating your case and proving your innocence.
Negotiate with the Driver and Their Representatives
The driver responsible for your accident may recognize that they are fully to blame for what happened. To avoid putting themselves in a worse position, they may approach you with an offer to settle your case. Settlement negotiations can be intense and nerve-wracking. You may not be able to handle them yet, so leave those negotiations up to your injury lawyer and save yourself from getting stressed out.
Represent You in Court
Even though the defendant offers to negotiate, it does not mean they will present you with a fair deal. Negotiations may break down if they refuse to present a reasonable offer. Even if that happens, you can feel confident about your chances of receiving adequate compensation because you have a good lawyer representing you.
What Types of Compensation Can You Expect after a Pedestrian Accident?
Securing compensation is necessary following your accident. If you were injured, you probably have bills you need to pay. Still, you cannot settle for any kind of payout. You need to be certain that you are receiving compensation that covers all your losses.
Economic Damages: The compensation package you get must include economic damages. For those who may be unaware, economic damages compensate plaintiffs for their monetary losses. In accident cases, economic damages almost always include payment for medical bills.
If you are dealing with a concussion due to the accident, your compensation package should help you treat that. It should include treatment for other injuries also. Compensation for any property damage and lost wages should also be in the payout you receive.
Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages compensate plaintiffs for losses that you cannot quantify. In personal injury cases, many plaintiffs will note an accident’s impact on their mental health. They may note that the traumatic experience has made them fearful of using the sidewalk or even heading out in public.
An unquantifiable loss could also be a lost opportunity. A plaintiff can claim that they can no longer pursue certain job prospects due to the accident’s impact on them. Lawyers are typically involved in calculating non-economic damages. Using the calculation method preferred by the specific Baltimore County court handling your case, your pedestrian accident lawyer will get to work on figuring out the right number to present.
How Does Insurance Work in a Pedestrian Accident?
Insurance plays a big role in pedestrian accident cases. The defendant in your case may lean on their insurer to complete the payout they otherwise would not afford. You and your attorney can file a claim against the irresponsible driver’s insurer to receive compensation for the accident. Of course, the insurer will likely not hand the payout over without a fight.
They will call for the case to be investigated thoroughly and look for anything that can relieve them of the duty of making a payout. Since Maryland follows the rule of contributory negligence, the insurer does not need to foist all the blame on you. If they can cast even a bit of blame on you, then they have already succeeded.
Work closely with your pedestrian accident attorney to prevent that from happening.
How Uninsured and Underinsured Policies Can Affect Your Pedestrian Accident Case
The state of Maryland requires drivers to purchase an auto insurance policy with a minimum of $30,000 allotted for bodily injury, $60,000 for two or more accident victims, and an additional $15,000 set aside to cover property damage.
Considering the serious injuries victims in pedestrian accidents typically sustain, there is a chance that the defendant’s policy may not offer sufficient compensation. If that is the case, you can turn to your underinsured policy.
Folks who have underinsured coverage written into their auto insurance plan can use that to secure additional compensation. However, you can only use your underinsured coverage once the other driver’s policy has been exhausted.
Meanwhile, the uninsured coverage in your plan could prove useful if the driver fled the scene following the accident. You can still go to your insurer to receive some form of compensation. Uninsured coverage is also helpful in those situations where the at-fault driver has no insurance.
Determining Liability in a Maryland Pedestrian Accident
Can you be blamed for an accident even if you were a pedestrian? The answer to that question hinges on who made the mistakes that led to the accident. Like other states, Maryland has established right of way rules that both motorists and pedestrians must follow. If one party ignores the right of way rules and causes an accident, they can be held responsible.
Right of way laws determines how pedestrians and motorists should approach crosswalks. If a pedestrian uses a crosswalk, the vehicle closest to them must stop to let them pass. Any driver following that vehicle must also stop. They are not allowed to overtake the vehicle that stopped first.
Restrictions also apply to pedestrians. You cannot cross the road when a moving vehicle is already close to your current position. In that scenario, you may be responsible for the accident because you gave the driver no time to yield. Pedestrians should also use tunnels and overhead crossings if they are available. If there is a traffic control signal nearby, a pedestrian must follow its instructions when crossing the road.
Whichever side violated those right of way laws will likely be the one that has to provide compensation. Keep them in mind at all times so you can stay safe as a pedestrian.
Contact a Baltimore Pedestrian Accident Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Leppler Injury Law provides the kind of personal attention that you can’t find at large firms, such as 24/7 accessibility and attention to detail throughout the legal process, free, no-obligation consultations, no fees charged unless you win, same-day responses to messages, an aggressive approach for dealing with insurance companies and opposing attorneys, and personalized attention your unique circumstances.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Baltimore, first seek immediate medical attention, then contact a pedestrian accident lawyer either by email or by phone at 443-955-1989 for a same-day response, even before you contact your insurance company. We will handle your claims with the kind of personal attention we’ve become famous for. Contact us today for a free consultation.