Automobile accidents don’t only injure drivers; pedestrians can be seriously hurt when someone is driving negligently. That means medical bills, lost time from work, and possibly permanent disabilities for the victim. Tragically, a pedestrian accident can prove fatal, leaving the victim’s family to suffer.
The attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP have fought for the rights of personal injury victims for over 40 years. If you or a family member were hurt in a pedestrian accident, put our experience to the test.
How A Pedestrian Accident Can Happen
Automobiles don’t just crash into pedestrians for no reason. Any time there’s a pedestrian accident involving a vehicle, there’s a good chance the driver was negligent. Understanding how and why your pedestrian accident happened will go a long way toward holding the responsible party liable. Some of the most common reasons pedestrians get hit by automobiles include:
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol severely impair judgment, making it difficult to see and stop for pedestrians. Not only is impaired driving a criminal offense, but the driver can be held civilly liable.
Distracted driving. Texting while driving is a major source of distraction, along with talking on a cell phone, conversing with other passengers, and listening to the radio. Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s focus off the road.
Failure to stop or yield. Rolling through a stop sign or intersection can mean serious injury for a pedestrian caught in the vehicle’s path. The same is true for failing to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way.
Turning at intersections. When a driver approaches an intersection, it’s important to check both ways and watch for pedestrians crossing. Left-hand turns are especially dangerous because the driver may be more focused on making the turn than the pedestrian who is legally crossing.
Violating traffic laws. Speeding increases the likelihood that a pedestrian who is crossing the street will be struck and injured or killed. This behavior may be considered reckless, not just negligent, depending on the circumstances.
All motorists are responsible for their driving, which means following traffic laws and observing the effects of nighttime and weather conditions. Failure to drive in a reasonably prudent manner could result in a pedestrian being hit, and thereby give rise to a negligence claim.
Not all pedestrian accidents are due solely to driver negligence. A third party could be at least partly responsible for an automobile accident. For example, there may be a malfunctioning traffic or crosswalk signal. Construction sites are another major factor in pedestrian accidents, because walkways may be closed or re-routed in an unsafe manner.
The risk of a pedestrian accident increases with:
- Lack of sidewalks
- Sidewalks that are closed for repairs
- Inadequate lighting
- Heavy vehicle and foot traffic
- Poor weather
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians don’t have the protections that drivers have in an automobile. There’s no steel frame or airbag in the event of an accident. That means even a low-speed crash can seriously hurt a pedestrian. Some of the most common pedestrian accident injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Dental and facial injuries
Not all injuries are readily apparent after an accident. The seriousness of your injury may also not be known until later. You might develop complications from injuries you initially thought were minor. That’s why it’s critical to see a doctor right away after any kind of pedestrian accident. Even if you think your injuries are minor or non-existent, get medical attention.
Who Is Liable For My Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian accidents are sometimes clearly the result of a negligent driver. However, the exact facts in your case could complicate the issue of liability. As mentioned above, some accidents occur because of crosswalk or traffic signal problems. In cases like these, a government entity may be responsible for your injuries. A contractor charged with repairing or maintaining the signal could also share liability.
After a pedestrian accident, you should speak right away with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will review the facts in your case, explain who might be held liable, and discuss your legal rights.
Proving fault requires meeting the necessary elements of a Maryland personal injury lawsuit:
Duty. The law obligates certain individuals to act with a level of care towards others. Drivers, for example, are required to obey traffic laws and drive carefully under the conditions.
Breach. Next, the injured pedestrian must show that the driver (or another party) breached the duty by acting negligently. Reckless or intentional acts or omissions are also included.
Causation. The defendant’s behavior must have actually caused injury to the pedestrian. This means connecting the defendant’s actions to the accident.
Damages. Finally, the injured pedestrian will need to prove that he or she suffered damages. Defendants routinely dispute this element.
What Damages Am I Eligible For?
Depending on the facts in your case, you may be eligible for these damages:
- Past, present, and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning ability
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In the event the pedestrian dies from his or her injuries, the survivors can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. These are similar to personal injury lawsuits, and our firm can assist with filing and pursuing your claim.
Contact Our Maryland Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrians shouldn’t have to fear walking to work, waiting for a cab, or going out for a jog. But when a driver chooses to act irresponsibly, there’s a good chance a pedestrian will wind up getting hurt. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP represents pedestrians who have been injured by negligent drivers and others. We’re available to help victims in these suburban Maryland counties and other locations:
- Prince George’s County
- Montgomery County
- Calvert County
- Charles County
- St. Mary’s County
If you or a loved one have been injured, reach out to us today to schedule your consultation.