College Park Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents are a scary thought on a college campus. Unfortunately, because so many students at the University of Maryland do not have cars, there is a surplus of pedestrians in College Park. While great in many aspects, walking on the streets or sidewalks can be dangerous on a college campus. Even for College Park’s permanent residents, pedestrian accidents occur with unfortunate regularity. Our College Park pedestrian accident lawyers have been handling pedestrian accident cases in D.C. and Maryland for nearly 70 years.
Of course, not every pedestrian accident involves a motor vehicle. The reality is personal injury can occur in nearly any conceivable facet so long as negligent or intentional conduct results in personal injury to a reasonably prudent individual. But the most common instances our College Park pedestrian accident lawyers encounter involve cars, trucks, or motorcycles. Unfortunately, some even result in viable wrongful death actions for the family members of the decedent.
The law in College Park and the rest of Maryland holds that even if the plaintiff is 1% negligent, he or she will not be able to recover under a negligence cause of action. This is because contributory negligence is a full defense for the defendant, barring recovery by the plaintiff. In a pedestrian accident case, it can be hard to decipher what is negligent on the part of the plaintiff, or pedestrian.
If the pedestrian is on the sidewalk, for example, and behaving reasonably and prudently, then it is highly unlikely that he or she is contributorily negligent. However, if the pedestrian jumps out in front of the motor vehicle at the last second, then the pedestrian will bear some portion of the liability. While it is ultimately a question for the finder of fact, it is highly likely that these facts would lead a jury to fine the pedestrian greater than 1% negligent. Thus, the pedestrian would be unable to recover. Fortunately, Roger Gelb and our College Park pedestrian accident lawyers are able to fight back against this defense in some situations.
Of course, it is not always that clear cut. In 1965, the Court of Appeals of Maryland found the defendant driver was not negligent when he swerved away from a pedestrian who was standing in the center of the road looking to cross. When the defendant driver swerved to avoid the plaintiff, the pedestrian jumped back in front of the car. In this case, the pedestrian was unable to recover. See Morris v. Schneider, 237 Md. 647, 207 A.2d 507 (1965). This case illustrates the mere fact that a driver strikes a pedestrian does not immediately equate to a successful personal injury case. Instead, it is best to discuss your options with a College Park pedestrian accident lawyer to evaluate the viability of your claim.
The 1974 Court of Special Appeals of Maryland case illustrates an example of a successful case. The pedestrian recovered despite stepping in front of a motor vehicle. A pedestrian stepped out into an unmarked crosswalk with no traffic control at the intersection. Article 66.5 § 11-502(a) requires a driver to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk. Of course, a pedestrian cannot nonetheless cross blindly without looking for approaching traffic. This would trigger a contributory negligence defense. The Article states, “a pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. Brown v. Rogers, 19 Md. App. 562, 313 A.2d 547 (1974). The question ultimately comes down to whether the pedestrian acted reasonably in stepping out into the street.
Contact a College Park Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Whether a pedestrian is 1% or more negligent in an accident is often clear, even to the untrained eye. However, there can be complex scenarios. Additionally, proving damages in an accident is an important aspect to a negligence claim. Merely showing that the defendant is negligent is not enough to warrant damages. A plaintiff must prove why he or she is entitled to each dollar of compensation. Focus on your recovery from your accident. Call a College Park pedestrian accident lawyer to handle the insurance companies for you and fight for maximum compensation.