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 a pedestrian 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. 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 3,011 pedestrian crashes yearly from 2012-2016. The five-year average of fatal crashes was 103 yearly, the average for injury-related crashes was 2,569, and the average for property damage-related crashes was 3,011.
Just in the city of Baltimore, the following statistics were determined between the years 2012 and 2016:
- Baltimore averaged 985 pedestrian crashes in that time.
- There was a five-year average of 805 injury crashes per year.
- The fatal crash five-year average was 14 incidents yearly.
Because many people in the city walk to their destinations year around, there is a relatively even number of crashes per month, showing that motorist negligence can occur at any moment.
When Negligence Causes Pedestrian Accidents
A large percentage of the abovementioned pedestrian collisions 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. Pedestrians 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 accidents 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 pedestrian, 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 a pedestrian who is 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 a pedestrian starts to walk in a crosswalk, a collision may result.
- Aggressive Driving. When drivers are aggressive, they may not properly share the road. This can be precarious for a pedestrian 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 pedestrian has nothing blocking them to cushion the blow of the impact of a vehicle when an crash occurs. This makes pedestrian accident 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 pedestrian crash 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 crash 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.
Determining Fault After a Pedestrian Crash
If you were the pedestrian 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 pedestrian 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. If those are not available, your injury attorney will investigate the incident and determine what happened.
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.
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.