In a busy city like Baltimore, it’s common to see many people opting to walk to their destinations, whether they’re going to work, running errands, exercising, or enjoying the city. Pedestrians can follow all the rules to keep them safe, like only crossing at crosswalks and staying on the sidewalks, but even this doesn’t guarantee their safety. A negligent driver may fail to look or stop in time to avoid walkers and cause an accident that can result in debilitating injuries.
Negligence can happen in many ways, but when it results in injury, the victim may have grounds for legal action. As a victim of a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accident in Maryland, you may be able to seek legal help from a Baltimore pedestrian accident lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC. We’ll do everything possible to get you the compensation you need to recover.
Baltimore Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Overall in Maryland, there has been a five-year average of 3,291 pedestrian crashes yearly from 2015-2019. The five-year average of fatal crashes was 114 yearly, the average for injury-related crashes was 2,917, and the average for property damage-related crashes was 261.
Just in the city of Baltimore, the following statistics were determined between the years 2015 and 2019:
- Baltimore averaged 1,066 total crashes in that time.
- There was a five-year average of 954 injury crashes per year.
- The fatal crash five-year average was 16 incidents yearly.
Because many people in the city walk to their destinations year around, there is a relatively even number of crashes per month, with the lowest of 2019 occurring in July at 213 and the highest in December at 305. This shows that motorist negligence can occur at any moment.
While there are safety precautions in place to help reduce the number of collisions, like traffic signals and crosswalks, these aren’t always enough to prevent crashes. Let’s take a look at how negligence contributes to these issues.
When Negligence Causes Foot Traffic Accidents
A large percentage of accidents could have been prevented if the parties responsible refrained from acting negligently while on the road. The main cause of most pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accidents is negligence from drivers. Those walking can also act negligently, of course. It’s a simple fact that when someone fails to follow basic safety and traffic laws, behaves recklessly, or makes a mistake when operating a motorized vehicle or when traveling where vehicles frequently travel at high speeds, lives are placed at risk.
The main forms of negligence that lead to pedestrian collisions include:
- Distracted Driving. Drivers often have their cell phones with them in the car. This leads to distractions like texting or checking social media. A driver may be using their phone’s navigation system or using it to play music. In these instances, they’re distracted from what’s in front of them, may not see a someone walking, and can cause an accident.
- Dooring. When a driver or passenger is exiting their vehicle, they may neglect to stop and look to see if anyone is approaching the vehicle on foot. Opening the door and hitting either a cyclist or someone walking is called “dooring” and can cause painful injuries like multiple fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or organ damage.
- Drifting Out of Lane. There may be a designated lane for cyclists and pedestrians, but this doesn’t mean that all drivers will follow it. A driver may be trying to pass another car and misjudge their distance to the person in the non-motorist lane next to them and cause a collision.
- Refusing to Stop. If a driver is busy paying attention to other vehicles on the road or traffic signals, they may not notice someone crossing the road–even when the crosswalk is properly used. Some drivers also improperly feel that pedestrians don’t have the right-of-way. When a motorist fails to stop for either reason and someone starts to use the crosswalk, a collision may result.
- Aggressive Driving. When drivers are aggressive, they may not properly share the road. This can be precarious for a walker who is expecting to be given enough space to walk comfortably or cross when it’s legal to do so. Drivers that are speeding may also be going too fast to notice other people walking on the road.
Pedestrian Injuries Can Be Catastrophic
A person on foot has nothing blocking them to cushion the blow of the impact of a vehicle when a crash occurs. This makes foot traffic injuries more severe than injuries sustained in other types of wrecks–and sometimes catastrophic. A catastrophic injury will have a lasting effect on the person and could cause major limitations with mobility in the future. A catastrophic injury could cause a person to completely change their lifestyle, including their job and favorite activities or hobbies.
Injuries can include the following:
- Brain Injury. Without airbags or even a helmet, a pedestrian’s brain is at risk of receiving a major impact. The rattling could cause the brain to swell or bleed and the person would need immediate medical attention. Consequences could involve lasting cognitive impairment or issues with memory. Severe brain injury could result in death.
- Head and Neck Injury. Concussions and whiplash are a couple of injuries that a person could sustain in an accident. While those injuries often heal on their own over time with rest, other injuries could require surgery or significant treatments. Debris like broken glass could also penetrate the person’s head.
- Spinal Cord Injury. Broken parts of the spine can lead to issues with mobility in arms and legs. In serious cases, a person may experience paralysis. While some paralysis may be temporary and surgery or physical therapy could restore a person’s movement, other paralysis could be permanent.
- Dental Injuries. Crashes can hurt jaws and teeth, which are both painful injuries and will take time to heal. These injuries can impede communication and eating.
- Broken Bones. The impact of a walker collision could shatter bones and cause severe nerve damage. Severe fractures often require surgery and recovery can last a long time.
- Lacerations, Cuts, and Bruises. An individual who isn’t in a car will probably only have their clothes to protect their skin, but in a crash this may not be enough to stop debris from causing cuts or the impact of the crash to stop major bruising.
Other major injuries like internal organ damage and internal bleeding may present during an accident. These types of injuries may not be obvious right away. Other “invisible” injuries of a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accident include mental and emotional trauma which may not present for quite some time after the incident. “Invisible” injuries are just as dangerous as obvious ones and can seriously affect an individual’s future.
While it’s common to feel shaken up after an accident, if your feelings of fear or anxiousness persist, or symptoms of depression start to develop, you may need professional mental health care to deal with the trauma of the accident.
Seeing a psychiatrist or therapist may give you the help you need to recover. This form of care is just as important as your physical care. You shouldn’t have to choose. We’ll seek damages for all aspects of your losses so you can get the care you deserve.
What Should You Do If a Negligent Driver Hits You?
The moments after a collision can be confusing, but critical. The actions you take can both help you get on the path to recovery and preserve evidence of what happened, which your lawyer can use when fighting for you.
If you were injured, you may need immediate medical attention. Either call for help or tell someone to contact emergency services for you. It’s also possible you weren’t the only person injured in the collision and they could need medical attention as well.
When emergency services arrive, receive first aid treatment. This will allow professionals to examine your injuries and administer care. If you need to go to the hospital, they can facilitate that transport. However, if you’re able to stay on the scene, you can give a statement to police and also record evidence of the accident.
Your statement to the police should be as detailed as possible. However, it’s important to not guess or try to fill in details. For example, you may automatically think the driver was at fault. If you place blame on them, but later during the investigation it’s found that they had a faulty auto part that malfunctioned and caused the crash, then they may not be responsible for your injuries. Discrepancies in your statement could call your credibility into question and possibly affect the compensation you’re able to recover.
Take photographs of the scene if you can. This will capture details of the scene like the weather, the place where it happened like a crosswalk, an intersection with a stop sign or traffic light, and the vehicle’s position.
After the accident, you should seek a medical evaluation from your doctor as soon as possible. They’ll go over how you were hurt, start treating you, and will help you begin recovery. The sooner you’re able to get treatment, the sooner you can heal.
If you allow symptoms to develop or continue, the injury can worsen and could require more intense treatment. Since you waited before seeing a doctor, your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries may be affected. Having your medical records show that you visited a doctor soon after a crash will show your injuries were severe enough to seek medical attention.
When you’re handling your treatment, our lawyers will be dealing with your legal matters. We’ll fight for you to get the justice you deserve. We understand how complex these cases can become, which is why it’s important to have experienced representation on your side. For you to have a successful case, we’ll need to establish the following:
- The person operating the motor vehicle acted negligently.
- Their negligence caused the accident.
- You were involved in the accident and suffered injuries.
- Your injuries caused economic and noneconomic damages.
Let’s examine the steps we’ll take to show how the other party is responsible for your injuries and damages.
Determining Fault After a Crash
Maryland is one of a handful of states that still operates under the contributory negligence system. This all-or-nothing system means that if someone bears any amount of fault for an accident, they cannot file a liability claim against the other at-fault party. Your Baltimore pedestrian accident attorney will need to prove that you did nothing wrong at the time of your accident.
If you were involved in an accident with a car or other type of motorized vehicle, it’s possible the driver who hit you will claim you failed to follow a traffic law and that’s why you were hit. In Maryland, pedestrians are required to follow traffic laws in the same way as motor vehicle drivers. For example, they’re supposed to yield to motor vehicles in the road if they are not crossing in a designated area like a crosswalk.
The defense that the person on foot was breaking the law when hit can usually be proven wrong in the event the crash was witnessed by someone else or there were video cameras recording the incident. Witnesses and video proof are often the strongest forms of evidence when it comes to a collision claim involving a car hitting a person.
Video can come from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras from surrounding businesses or houses, depending on the accident scene. If those are not available, your injury attorney will investigate the incident and determine what happened.
What Damages Can You Recover?
You may be juggling substantial medical costs from previous treatment and care for the future on top of missing work while you heal. Your representative from our law firm will calculate the economic losses you’ve suffered.
While your lawyer will fight for you to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses, we’ll also seek compensation for your emotional losses as well. These are different from the financial losses because they aren’t in the form of bills.
Also known as noneconomic losses, you may be experiencing loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and mental anguish because of your injuries. Your attorney will look at how your injuries are affecting your everyday life. If you’re dealing with a life-changing injury or are temporarily disabled until your injury heals, our lawyers will take these consequences into account when determining your compensation.
How Can Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LCC Help You?
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accident, you need experienced legal representation who will examine your case thoroughly and with compassion. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC knows what it takes to get a favorable settlement for a Maryland pedestrian accident claim.
We’ll investigate the incident to show that you weren’t at fault. Our Baltimore pedestrian accident lawyers will get statements from witnesses, gather evidence from the scene which includes photographs of where the accident happened, injuries, and the car. We will also look into the possibility of any cameras capturing footage of the accident and even phone records from the driver to see if they were distracted when the accident happened.
You can have peace of mind that someone is fighting for your rights and won’t settle for anything less than you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us today.