Elements of a Maryland Pedestrian Accident

A pedestrian accident, generally speaking, is when someone is injured by a motor vehicle when they, themselves, are not in a motor vehicle at the time of the accident, but rather, on foot, usually on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

There are several varying aspects of a Maryland pedestrian accident that can illustrate how serious injuries can be for pedestrians even at low impact speeds. All of the potential impacts to the body and direct blows to the body result in serious injuries to the person with costly medical bills and recovery time.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Usually, these accidents are the result of distracted driving, like when a driver is not paying attention to the roadway in front of someone, texting while at the wheel, or listening to distracting loud music. There have been cases where a pedestrian is lawfully walking on a sidewalk and a driver (who is not paying attention to the road), drives up over the curb and strikes the person, resulting in severe injuries to that person.

Pedestrian accidents also sometimes come about as slip and falls on sidewalks or other outdoor surfaces, usually as a result of snow or ice accumulations, concrete spalling, or debris on the sidewalk surface.

Filing a Claim

An injured pedestrian will rightfully want to make a claim or file suit against the responsible party for their injuries in order to try to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, permanency, loss of companionship, and other types of economic and non-economic aspects of damages after an accident. These damages are available to injured plaintiffs under Maryland law for injuries that directly and proximately result from their the accident.

Insurance Considerations

Essentially, even though the plaintiff is suing the responsible person (i.e. the defendant), the plaintiff is indirectly suing the defendant’s insurance company, in a manner of speaking, because the insurance company is the entity that has the money at its disposal.  Most people do not have a large amount of savings around in order to compensate an injured plaintiff for their injuries.  That is why people have automobile insurance.

If a pedestrian is lawfully walking in a crosswalk, and someone (the defendant) disregards a stop sign or traffic signal and hits the pedestrian, the pedestrian is going to sue the driver of the motor vehicle.  The driver of the motor vehicle, upon receiving a copy of the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff, will then refer the matter to their insurance company who will then appoint a lawyer to represent them, in accordance with their insurance policy.

In Maryland, all drivers are required to have insurance.  The plaintiff wants compensation, so indirectly, the plaintiff is going after the defendant’s insurance company because the insurance company has the money to compensate.

Statute of Limitations

Plaintiffs also want to keep the statute of limitations in mind when considering the various aspects of Maryland pedestrian accidents.  There is only a certain amount of time after a pedestrian or motor vehicle accident when suit can be brought.  In Maryland, that is a period of three years from the date of the accident.  A suit must be filed within that time period in order to receive compensation for injuries sustained in the accident. If a suit is not filed within that time period, a plaintiff is barred from seeking any monetary recovery for injuries/damages sustained in the accident and resulting from the accident.

If the three-year deadline is approaching, and a plaintiff has not taken any action to try to get the case settled, the plaintiff’s lawyer will file suit just to protect the statute of limitations.  The lawyer will then either continue to try and actively settle the case or litigate the case, depending upon the circumstances.

Unique Aspects of Damages

The injuries in pedestrian accidents, compared to motor vehicle or bike accidents, may be more severe, sometimes including disability, disfigurement, broken bones, catastrophic injuries, traumatic brain injuries, etc.

In cases where a pedestrian is walking, running, or lawfully riding a bicycle, they are directly exposed to the environment with little to no protection.  Therefore, upon impact in an accident, they are more likely to make direct contact with the ground and sustain more severe injuries. These injuries are often difficult to diagnose or might not manifest themselves until long after the accident happened.

These manifestations, such as with traumatic brain injuries, might include short or long-term memory loss or serious brain damage.  Most plaintiff’s attorneys encourage their clients to seek treatment as soon as possible after their accident. Serious injuries are going to be one of the primary aspects to consider in pedestrians accidents in Maryland as they will drive an individual to seek compensation for their damages.