How to Deal with Being Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

Our office is in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore City.  So our lawyers see a lot of pedestrian accident cases.

Walking on the street should not be a dangerous activity, right?  But, my goodness, it is. Pedestrians struck by a vehicle are far more likely to experience severe or fatal injuries than vehicle occupants. This is because — and I’m not telling you anything you did not already know —  they lack a vehicle’s physical protection. If

Pedestrian-vehicle accident statistics

Certainly, pedestrian accident statistics in 2020 will look much better with COVID.  But they looked awful in Maryland pre-COVID and will come back with a vengeance, just like the rest of the country after this vaccine.

  • Over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018. This was a 3.4 percent increase from 2017.
  • 17 percent of traffic fatalities in 2018 involved a pedestrian.
  • 81 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas.
  • Over 1 in 4 pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6 and 9 PM
  • Pedestrian fatalities increased by 3 percent in 2019’s first six months compared to 2018’s first six months.
  • About 70 percent of pedestrian deaths were men.
  • Alcohol was involved in 47 percent of collisions involving a pedestrian fatality. This includes both driver and pedestrian use.
  • 89 percent of fatal pedestrian collisions involved one vehicle.
  • About 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities were hit-and-runs

Maryland pedestrian accident law

This is more reading for Maryland pedestrian accident lawyers than anything else.  But here are some of the key cases and laws our lawyers frequently use.

  • Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-203 (e) (2020):  If a pedestrian has partly completed crossing on a “walk” or “walking person” signal, the pedestrian shall proceed without delay to a sidewalk or safety island while the “don’t walk”, “wait”, or “upraised hand” signal is showing.
  • Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-203 (e) (2020): If authorized to cross diagonally, a pedestrian may cross only in accordance with the traffic control device.”
  • Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-501 (2020):  At an intersection, a pedestrian is subject to all traffic control signals, as provided in §§ 21-202 and 21-203 of this title. However, at any other place, a pedestrian has the rights and is subject to the restrictions stated in this title.
  • Maryland Code Annotated Transportation Section § 21-506 (2020)(a): “Where sidewalks provided – Where a sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian may not walk along and on an adjacent roadway.”
  • Maryland Code Annotated Transportation Section § 21-506 (2020)(b): “Where sidewalks not provided – Where a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian who walks along and on a highway may walk only on the left shoulder, if practicable, or on the left side of the roadway, as near as practicable to the edge of the roadway, facing any traffic that might approach from the opposite direction.”
  • Absolon v. Dollahite, 376 Md. 547; 831 A.2d 6 (2003)
  • Dalmo Sales, Inc. v. Steinberg, 43 Md. App. 659 (1979).
  • Schweitzer v. Brewer, 280 Md. 430 (1977)
  • Azar v. Adams, 117 Md. App. 426, 700 A.2d 821 (1997)
  • Haley v. Mayor and City Council, 211 Md. 269 (1956).

What are the causes of pedestrian-vehicle accidents?

Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians crossing a crosswalk in many states. However, not all drivers follow this. This can result in severe injuries or fatalities. There are many different reasons why pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur. They include the following:

  • Distracted driving: Focusing on one’s phone or other distractions makes drivers less likely to view and timely brake for pedestrians.
  • Excessive speeding: Excessive speeding makes it difficult for drivers to timely brake to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
  • Intoxicated driving: Intoxicated drivers are more likely to hit pedestrians because their vision and reaction time are severely impaired.
  • Road rage: Waiting for pedestrians may infuriate impatient drivers who may hit pedestrians out of anger and frustration.
  • Poor weather conditions: Poor weather conditions including snow, rain, hail, and fog affect a driver’s visibility. Wet roads can also impact braking abilities.
  • Driving at night: Drivers experience limited visibility at night, making it very difficult to see pedestrians.
  • Backing up: Drivers backing up without looking cannot see behind them. This endangers pedestrians walking by their vehicle.
  • Negligent left turns: This occurs when a vehicle turns left on a green light while a pedestrian crosses the sidewalk.

 Other pedestrian hazards

Motorists are not the only ones who cause pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians face many other hazards. They include:

  • Cyclists
  • Unleashed dogs
  • Electric scooters
  • Runners
  • Distracted pedestrians
  • Trip hazards

Pedestrian safety precautions

When going for a walk, take these safety precautions:

  • Always follow the rules of the road and traffic signs and signals.
  • Always walk on sidewalks when possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk against traffic and stay far from it as you can.
  • Always stay alert. Refrain from using electronic devices including smartphones and headphones.
  • When you can, always cross at marked crosswalks and intersections. Always look both ways. Anticipate turning vehicles.
  • Always make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they see you. Never assume that they will.
  • Always stay visible. Wear brightly colored clothes during the day and a reflector at night.
  • Keep an eye out for vehicles entering or exiting driveways.
  • Look out for vehicles backing out of a parking spot
  • Avoid using intoxicants while walking. They impair your physical abilities and judgment

Driver safety precautions

When driving, please pay extra attention to pedestrians on the road. The following safety tips will help you do this:

  • Always keep an eye out for pedestrians, especially in low-visibility conditions such as nighttime or poor weather.
  • Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk or where there are posted pedestrian signs.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.
  • When approaching a crosswalk, always slow down and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
  • Never drive intoxicated. It will impair your ability to look out for pedestrians
  • Always slow down when pedestrians are around. This is especially true where children are present including a school zone or a neighborhood.

How can I get compensation for pedestrian injuries?

If you were injured by another person’s negligence in a pedestrian accident, you can file a claim with your insurer.  You can receive compensation for the following:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Past lost earnings
  • Future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

So the “how much is my pedestrian accident case worth?” question is answered by those 6 categories above.

Can I get PIP in Maryland for my pedestrian accident?

As a pedestrian, PIP coverage in Maryland comes from the striking vehicle.  Section 19-505(a)(3)(i) of the Marylnad Insurance Article states that PIP coverage must cover anyone “who is injured in a motor vehicle accident that involves the insured motor vehicle . . . as a pedestrian.” So you may get PIP coverage even for pedestrian accidents that are your fault.