When a car hits a pedestrian, the question of fault is critical in a pedestrian accident case. That’s why you need to speak to a pedestrian accident lawyer.

A car pedestrian accident must be thoroughly examined if you’re hit by a car and an accident victim.

Can you file a personal injury lawsuit under Maryland’s contributory negligence law? Did the pedestrian crash involve a speeding driver, or did the accident occur for another reason?

Fault when car hits pedestrian

If you were an at fault pedestrian, you’re barred from receiving compensation for your injuries. Most states in the US follow a comparative negligence doctrine. However, Maryland is still one of the few states that supports this legislation in a car accident or pedestrian car accident claim.

If a pedestrian causes an accident and is hit by a car, they are barred from requesting compensation. Therefore, filing personal injury claims can be difficult, as one of the parties – the vehicle driver or the injured pedestrian – must be completely at fault.

For instance, injured pedestrians, such as jaywalking pedestrians, must assume legal liability, as they’re typically assumed to be the negligent party. To determine fault and prove negligence, a pedestrian must show that the driver of a motor vehicle was speeding, distracted, driving under the influence, or failing to follow reasonable care.

How Maryland Contributory Negligence Laws Affect Pedestrian Accident Claims?

How Maryland Contributory Negligence Laws Affect Pedestrian Accident Claims

Comparative negligence laws in other states make it easier to collect damages, as each party is allocated a certain degree of fault. For example, a pedestrian’s negligence in a case might be 20%. Therefore, if they filed a personal injury claim, they’d receive 80% of the settlement.

Comparative negligence may be classified as modified comparative negligence or pure comparative negligence. In modified comparative negligence cases, claimants may file lawsuits against another party as long as they’re 49% or 50% at fault.

Pure comparative negligence allows you to file a claim even if you’re 99% at fault. Therefore, you can still recover 1% in damages if you’re almost entirely at fault.

In Maryland, these less stringent doctrines are not part of the legal landscape. Therefore, you won’t find the driver and pedestrian sharing the damages.

In some extreme cases, if a car hits a pedestrian where they should’ve yielded the right-of-way, they may be able to recover damages if the driver was inebriated at the time of the incident.

However, in most cases, even if a pedestrian suffers significant injuries, and they are considered at fault, an insurance company will not pay their claim.

For example, if you fail to abide by a crosswalk signal, you will typically be found at fault for an accident. This is because you did not show the duty of care another walker might have shown, given the same circumstance.

This same duty also applies, if, for instance, you did not give the right-of-way to cars when crossing a highway and were not at a crosswalk or you emerged into a thoroughfare from between two parked cars.

When Is A Driver at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

When Is A Driver at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

In Maryland, a driver is often found at fault in a pedestrian accident if they violate traffic laws designed to protect pedestrians. This includes not yielding to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk or speeding in areas with high foot traffic.

If a driver is distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving recklessly, they can be held responsible for hitting a pedestrian.

Fault is also considered when drivers fail to stop at stop signs or signals, or when they do not exercise caution in poor weather conditions.

In essence, whenever a driver’s actions or neglect leads to a pedestrian being injured, the driver is typically considered the liable party. Understanding these situations helps both drivers and pedestrians recognize the importance of shared road responsibility.

When Is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?

In some cases, a pedestrian can be at fault for a car accident. This happens when pedestrians do not follow the rules set for their safety.

For example, if you cross the street outside of a marked crosswalk or against the traffic signal, you may be held responsible.

Also, if you step onto the road suddenly and a driver cannot stop in time, the accident is normally considered the pedestrian’s fault.

Pedestrians who are distracted by their phones or other devices and do not pay attention to their surroundings can also be liable.

How Do You Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

How Do You Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

Proving fault in a pedestrian accident requires gathering evidence that shows who acted negligently. This involves collecting witness statements, which can offer unbiased accounts of the incident.

Security or traffic camera footage is also important, as it can provide clear visual evidence of what happened. Additionally, police reports often contain valuable information on the accident, including any traffic violations that may have contributed to the incident.

Examining the accident scene can offer clues about fault, such as skid marks or pedestrian signals. Sometimes, experts reconstruct the accident to understand the events leading up to the incident.

Traffic Laws That Apply to Pedestrians

In Maryland, several traffic laws are designed to protect people who run or walk.

  • Crosswalk Laws: Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks when the walk signal is on. Drivers must stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  • Sidewalks: When sidewalks are available, pedestrians should use them instead of walking on the road. If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Pedestrian Signals: Pedestrians must obey walk/don’t walk signals at intersections. Crossing against a signal can put a pedestrian at fault when a car is approaching the intersection.
  • Jaywalking: Maryland law prohibits jaywalking, or crossing the street outside of a crosswalk or intersection. Anyone who jaywalks may be found at fault if a mishap occurs.
  • Standing or Loitering on Highways: It is unlawful for pedestrians to stand or loiter on the roadway or highway, especially in areas where a sidewalk is provided.

Failure to adhere to the above rules can lead to an incident where the pedestrian is determined to be at fault.

Drivers Must Follow a Duty of Care to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents

In Maryland, drivers are expected to take specific actions to prevent pedestrian accidents so they’re not found at fault for the accident. These responsibilities include:

  • Yielding to Walkers in Crosswalks: Drivers must always yield the right of way to people crossing the street in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
  • Slowing Down in Pedestrian Areas: Speed should be reduced in areas with high foot traffic, such as school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Staying Alert: Drivers should remain alert for walkers at all times, especially in conditions of poor visibility or bad weather.
  • Not Passing Vehicles Stopped for Pedestrians: It’s illegal to pass a vehicle that has stopped to allow someone to cross the road.
  • Following Traffic Signals: Obeying traffic signals and signs is mandatory, particularly those directing the movements of people on foot.

By adhering to the above guidelines, drivers play a major role in making roadways safer for all.

What Was the Driver Doing at the Time of the Accident?

What Was the Driver Doing at the Time of the Accident

When a car hits a pedestrian, understanding what the driver was doing at the time of the mishap is critical. Actions that can lead to driver fault during pedestrian accidents include:

  • Texting: Using a phone distracts from road awareness.
  • Speeding: Going too fast reduces reaction time.
  • Ignoring Signals: Running a red light or stop sign can lead to an accident.
  • Driving Impaired: Alcohol or drugs impair driving abilities.
  • Not Yielding: Failing to give the right-of-way at crosswalks risks pedestrian safety.

These actions show negligence, making the driver likely at fault if a car hits a pedestrian walker or runner. In these cases, you should contact a pedestrian accident attorney at a personal injury law firm immediately.

Examples of Pedestrian Liability

Even as a pedestrian, certain actions can lead to being at fault in an accident:

  • Ignoring Walk Signals: Crossing when the signal says “Don’t Walk” puts the pedestrian at risk and potentially at fault.
  • Jaywalking: Crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk or intersection can lead to liability if an accident occurs.
  • Distractions: Walking while distracted by a phone or headphones and not paying attention to traffic, can contribute to an accident.
  • Being Under the Influence: Pedestrians who are impaired by drugs or alcohol may make unsafe decisions, like darting in front of cars.

In these situations, a pedestrian’s actions can directly contribute to an accident, potentially making them liable for damages. That’s why the behavior of both the driver and the pedestrian is taken into consideration.

Recoverable Damages in a Pedestrian-Caused Accident

Recoverable Damages in a Pedestrian-Caused Accident

In a pedestrian accident, you can sue for several types of economic and non-economic damages:

  • Medical Bills: This includes costs for emergency care, ongoing treatments, and any future medical needs related to the accident.
  • Lost Wages: If the injury prevents you from working, you can claim compensation for lost income and potential future earnings.
  • Pain and Suffering: This covers physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and its aftermath.

These damages aim to restore the driver’s financial situation before the accident. Understanding your rights is necessary for seeking fair compensation.

Factors That Influence a Settlement Amount in a Pedestrian Car Accident Case

When a car hits a pedestrian, several factors influence the settlement amount. This determines what you might receive if you file an insurance claim in cases involving pedestrian car accidents:

  • Severity of Injuries: More serious injuries often lead to higher settlements due to increased medical costs and pain and suffering.
  • Medical Expenses: The cost of medical treatment, both current and future, significantly affects the settlement.
  • Lost Wages: If the injury prevents the victim from working, lost income is considered in the settlement.
  • Fault and Negligence: You must show that the driver was totally to blame for the accident under Maryland’s contributory negligence law. If you are hit by a car and can clearly show the driver broke a traffic law, you can recover compensation.
  • Impact on Quality of Life: Settlements may include compensation for any long-term disabilities or changes in the victim’s quality of life.
  • Insurance Coverage: The limits of the driver’s insurance policy can also influence the settlement amount. Uninsured pedestrians who are injured must show the driver was totally at fault before proceeding with filing a claim. Otherwise, they may face some harsh financial burdens if they were the cause of the accident.

Understanding these factors will help you receive the compensation you need if you’re injured while walking or running a long a roadway.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Pedestrian Accident?

Personal Injury Lawyer for a Pedestrian Accident

Yes, hiring a personal injury lawyer after a pedestrian accident is often beneficial. A lawyer can:

  • Assess Your Case: They can evaluate the details of the accident to determine fault and advise on your legal options.
  • Handle Negotiations: An experienced attorney can deal with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  • Take Care of All the Legal Procedures: Lawyers understand the complexities of legal processes. They can guide you through them efficiently.
  • Maximize Compensation: They can help identify all possible damages you’re entitled to, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In short, a personal injury lawyer can offer valuable support and expertise, improving your chances of a favorable outcome.

Deadlines for Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

In Maryland, there’s a strict deadline for filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, is typically three years from the date of the accident. Act quickly to ensure you receive the compensation you need.

Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky for a Free Consultation

If a car hits a pedestrian in Maryland, they may have questions about a driver’s fault, especially if they suffer injuries.

If you believe the driver is at fault for the accident, you need to contact a car accident attorney immediately.

To learn more about your rights, contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky. Let our legal team support you in seeking justice and recovery.

Call us today for a free consultation and case review.