What Are My Rights as a Pedestrian in Maryland?
Pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way in Maryland. Sometimes, they must lawfully yield to drivers and bicyclists. At other times, however, a pedestrian may automatically have the right-of-way. If a driver ignores pedestrian rights-of-way and causes a collision, that driver may be liable for injuries and related bills. Understanding your rights as a pedestrian in Maryland could save your life by preventing an accident. It could also help you fight for fair compensation if a negligent driver causes an accident. Consult with a pedestrian accident attorney for advice regarding your pedestrian rights after a serious accident.
The Right to Cross at Crosswalks
Crosswalks help pedestrians safely and lawfully cross the street. A crosswalk at an intersection or stoplight is typically a safe place to cross, but pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic until receiving the sign to cross. This sign is usually a walking person or a green light. When pedestrians receive the sign to cross, drivers must yield the right-of-way. This includes drivers trying to make left or right turns. Even if they have green lights, turning drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. If the crosswalk signal tells pedestrians not to walk, however, they must yield to drivers. It is your responsibility as a pedestrian to obey all traffic regulations, crosswalk signals, and traffic-control devices.
If you come to a crosswalk that is not at an intersection, federal law always gives you the right-of-way. The crosswalk automatically gives you the right to cross if no control signal is present. A driver must stop a safe distance away from the crosswalk if you are in his or her half of the road, or approaching the driver’s half quickly enough to be in danger. It is illegal for a driver to pass a car that has stopped to allow you to cross at a crosswalk. The only exception to your right-of-way at a crosswalk that is not at an intersection is if it is unsafe to step into the road.
Before you step off a curb at a crosswalk (even if you have the right-of-way), look both ways for oncoming traffic. It is against the law to leave the curb if an oncoming driver does not reasonably have enough time to stop, regardless of who has the right-of-way. If you step out when it is not safe to do so, you may be liable if a driver strikes you – meaning you may not be eligible for compensation from the driver. Be careful when crossing the street, despite lawfully having the right-of-way. If you cross anywhere other than an intersection or crosswalk in Maryland, you could be breaking the law (jaywalking). This could diminish your odds of securing compensation from a driver’s insurance company. Try not to cross anywhere but at marked intersections and/or crosswalks.
The Right to File a Claim
In Maryland, the at-fault party will owe victims compensation for their damages, typically through their auto insurance policies. As a pedestrian, a driver may owe you compensation if you had the right-of-way when your accident occurred. The driver may be at fault for your collision and legally responsible. If you think a driver is responsible for your damages, file a claim with his or her auto insurance company. Maryland’s traditional fault insurance system should make you eligible for damage recovery.
- Health care bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Intangible losses
- Disability costs
If you suffered catastrophic or permanently disabling injuries in a pedestrian collision, your compensation award may include lifelong health care. A pedestrian accident lawyer could help you achieve the best possible compensation award for your unique damages. As a pedestrian in Maryland, you have the right to go up against an at-fault driver in pursuit of damages through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit after a collision. An attorney can help you choose the best outlet for recovery for your particular case, as well as keep you informed about your rights as a pedestrian.