Pedestrian Accidents

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pedestrian accident

When you are crossing the street, you aren’t thinking of the potential car or other motor vehicle that may strike you, or the bicyclist who may run into you on the crosswalk. Instead, you’re thinking of all of the numerous things you need to accomplish for the day, getting to your destination, or anything else besides being involved in an accident. So when that accident does happen, it can be incredibly jarring, leaving you shaken and unsure what to do. Hiring an experienced pedestrian accident attorney is one of the first steps you should take if you are struck by a car while crossing the road, or even walking on the sidewalk. A lawyer will be able to take the stresses of your case, such as dealing with insurance companies and negotiating settlements, off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

The most common causes of pedestrian accident cases are distracted driving and alcohol. If a driver is not paying attention to the road and to traffic signals, there is a very high chance that they will strike a pedestrian. Texting while driving in particular plays a very large role in distracted driving accidents. This can lead to a driver going through a red light, driving up onto the sidewalk, or swerving into another lane.

Accidents caused by alcohol, whether the pedestrian or the driver, account for 47% of all pedestrian accidents. If the driver was drinking, they are more likely to swerve out of their lane and have slower reaction times, meaning, they won’t be able to stop as quickly as a sober driver would otherwise be able to. These can have serious consequences for the pedestrian, because many times the drunk driver is unaware of the speed they were traveling at the time of the accident.

Other causes can include a driver failing to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk (§21-502) and failing to yield the right-of-way when turning on a green signal. A pedestrian who is in the crosswalk at the correct time has the right of way. Any driver who ignores this and proceeds to travel through the intersection and strikes the pedestrian is at fault.
There are instances where a crosswalk is “unmarked”, or implied. A pedestrian has the right to use this implied crosswalk if they are facing a green signal, unless it is a turn arrow, or if the implied crosswalk is directed by pedestrian control signs. The same rules that a driver would follow for a marked crosswalk also apply for unmarked crosswalks.

Key Factors in Pedestrian Accident Cases

When someone has been injured in a pedestrian accident, their attorney will be looking at the following criteria when preparing their suit:

  • Fault
  • Severity of the injuries
  • Type and duration of medical treatment
  • How the injuries have impacted their life
  • Lost opportunities
  • Amount of time spent out of work
  • Loss of future income
  • Possibility of a full recovery

Each of these factors plays a role in the amount of damages the injured party can recover. Fault plays an incredibly important role in personal injury cases. Maryland is one of only four states to have contributory negligence, which means that if the victim is found to be even one percent at fault in their accident, they are barred from receiving any recovery, as their actions contributed to their injury.

If it can be proven that they are not at fault, the severity of their injuries will be assessed. Typically, the more severe they are, the higher the settlement value they may receive. There is something similar that applies to their treatment. Traditional methods and licensed physicians will carry more weight, were as non-traditional methods like acupuncture and seeing a chiropractor will carry less weight in determining the amount of damages. Any type of permanence or long-term effect from their injuries, including the ability to work, receive any type of income in the future, and make a full recovery, are also accorded a certain amount of weight depending on how severe each factor is. In extreme cases, for example, the plaintiff may expect to receive six or even seven figures in damages, whereas a minor injury that was quickly healed and where the plaintiff made a full recovery may only see several thousand dollars in damages.

Process of a Pedestrian Accident Case

Generally, the first thing the injured party will do after their accident is seek medical attention. This will also establish any injuries they may have, provide treatment, and create a patient file. When they retain a pedestrian accident lawyer, the attorney will use this patient file to help them construct their suit against the defendant and come up with something called a demand package. This demand package will be sent to the defendant’s insurance company and lawyer, and negotiations about a settlement figure will begin.
If neither side can come to an agreement on an amount, the case will progress into litigation. Depending on the dollar amount, it will either be filed in District Court or Circuit Court. District Court is the lower court, and does not require the stringent research, discovery process, expert witness testimony, and drawn-out court process that Circuit Court requires. Instead, each party has the opportunity to describe the events of the accident to the judge, with the defendant being able to cross-examine the plaintiff as well.

District Court cases can take anywhere from between six months to at least a year to be completed, and Circuit Court cases between two and three years, depending on the complexity of the case. Settlements out of court tend to achieve the fastest results, but the plaintiff is barred from pursuing further damages or publicly naming the defendant as the cause of their injury after a settlement is reached. A pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to counsel their client on which option will be the best to pursue regarding their case.

Benefits of Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Because personal injury law can be so complex and time-consuming, anyone who was injured in a pedestrian accident can easily become overwhelmed trying to handle their case on their own. A lawyer who has extensive experience with the court system, and pedestrian accidents in particular, can easily lift the burden of their case from the injured person’s shoulders, allowing them to focus solely on their recovery.

Because they have a multitude of legal resources at their disposal, including police reports, medical records, and even witness statements, a lawyer will be able to gather the facts of the case, work with an adjuster, and come up with a settlement figure that can take care of the plaintiff’s medical bills, lost income, and even assign a value to their pain and suffering. The attorneys here at Malloy Law Offices, LLC are highly skilled in all areas of personal injury law. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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