Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Police are investigating a fatal Maryland car accident that killed a pedestrian on a recent afternoon in Prince George’s County. According to one news source, the pedestrian was reportedly running across the I-495 highway where his vehicle was disabled on the shoulder. Traffic had slowed as the pedestrian was crossing the highway when one vehicle struck the pedestrian in the left lane. After the crash, the pedestrian was transported to a local hospital but unfortunately, he died at the hospital. He was 26 years old.

A pedestrian crash is a crash involving any person on foot, including a driver who has exited the vehicle. According to the most recent statistics from Maryland’s Department of Transportation, there were 123 pedestrian fatalities in 2019. There were 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes throughout the country in 2018, which was the most deaths in almost 30 years. That means that a pedestrian was killed in a traffic crash on average every 84 minutes. That year pedestrian deaths made up 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. The use of alcohol on the part of either the driver or the pedestrian was reported in 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes in 2018. Pedestrian crashes are likely to occur in urban areas. Between 2009 and 2013 about 90 percent of crashes involving a pedestrian in Maryland took place in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

Notably, although vehicle traffic has decreased overall during the COVID-19 pandemic, pedestrian and bicycle traffic has increased. To avoid pedestrian crashes, drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians at all times and should slow down when approaching a crosswalk.

Last month, a 16-year old boy was tragically killed in a Maryland car accident. According to the Baltimore Sun, which covered the incident, the teenage boy was attempting to cross the road in Hampstead along with three other young people just before 8 pm one night. He never made it across the road—a 2020 Toyota Corolla hit him, and he was taken to Carroll Hospital where he passed away. A sergeant with the Maryland State Police said that the accident is under investigation, and that the other three young people crossing the road were not injured.

The incident is a tragic example of the harm Maryland car accidents involving pedestrians can cause. Pedestrians involved in car accidents are often seriously injured, or even killed, because they do not have any protection. Maryland specifically is plagued by pedestrian accidents—the state was recently ranked as the fourteenth deadliest state for pedestrians. In the first six months of 2018, for example, there were 60 pedestrian deaths due to motorists. This was a 25 percent increase from 2017, highlighting the importance of both drivers and pedestrians taking safety precautions while on the road.

Drivers can do their part to avoid pedestrian accidents by following all traffic signs, posted speed limits, and limiting distractions whilst driving. Many car accidents involving pedestrians occur because drivers are distracted and not paying attention, not seeing the pedestrian until it’s too late. Pedestrians should also take extra precautions to avoid being hit, such as crossing roads at crosswalks and other designated areas, looking both ways before crossing to ensure a clear path, and avoiding crossing roads with a blind turn, where neither cars nor pedestrians can see each other coming.

Maryland car accident claims that are filed against state and local governments can pose additional obstacles. In general, state and local governments are immune from suit, unless immunity is waived. In cases against Maryland cities and their employees, the cities are immune from suit unless the person involved in the accident was carrying out certain duties. Cities and other local governments are normally protected while performing governmental functions, as opposed to proprietary functions. Governmental functions are considered by courts to be functions that are solely for public benefit, do not have an element of private interest, and are sanctioned by the legislature.

When an employee is carrying out a proprietary function of the government, a city is liable for the acts of the employees as long as they are acting within their official capacity. This means that city employees are generally protected as individuals as long as they are acting within the scope of their employment and are not acting with malice or gross negligence. Under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, a claimant generally must submit a claim in writing to the state’s treasurer within one year of the injury. If the treasurer denies the claim, then the claim can be filed in court within three years.

One recent case was dismissed against the city after a city employee hit and killed a pedestrian. The employee was on his way to work at his job at a water treatment plant and was driving his own car. His job rarely required him to travel for work and he was not required to use his car at work. The pedestrian’s surviving family filed a claim against the city, arguing that the city was liable for the pedestrian’s death.

Texting while driving remains a serious issue throughout the country. Despite the seriousness of the issue, prosecutions of drivers remain rare, and proving that a driver was using their phone can be tricky in Maryland car accident cases. Without proof that a driver sent a message just before a crash, it can be hard to show that a driver was using their phone, including reading a text message.

According to a recent news report, a woman was recently convicted of vehicular homicide in a rare texting while driving prosecution. In that case, a woman was out for a walk during a break from her job when she was hit by a car. A driver believed to have been texting had rear-ended another car, which crashed into the pedestrian. The crash occurred at around 8:20 a.m. on a weekday in September. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide because she was texting while driving, and a jury recently convicted the driver after a trial. The case was believed to be the first in which a jury considered whether texting while driving could be considered akin to drunk driving.

The driver’s trial centered on whether the driver had been texting while driving. The driver had received a text asking her about dinner plans. The prosecution argued that she had read the text and had typed the letters “m” and “e” as part of her response. The driver claimed that she was not texting at the time of the crash. She said that she had typed those letters but did not remember when and was planning to call the person instead. The driver testified that she had looked down to turn on a window defogger and that when she looked up, the other car was “right in front” of her.

Maryland car accident victims have to carefully build their cases to prove the elements of a negligence claim. In a recent decision from state appellate court, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed after a pedestrian was killed because the plaintiff failed to prove the driver acted negligently. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant left his home to go to work at a brewing company in another town. At around 5:30 a.m., as he was on his way, he was shifting lanes when he hit the plaintiff’s husband. The windshield of the car broke and flew into the defendant’s face, and he parked on the side of the road further down the highway. He walked back to the scene of the crash and saw the plaintiff’s husband. According to the defendant, it was dark out and he did not see the plaintiff before hitting him. The plaintiff’s husband died as a result of his injuries.

The plaintiff filed a wrongful death claim, alleging that the defendant was negligent in failing to exercise due care in driving his car, and striking and killing her husband. The plaintiff presented evidence from an accident reconstructionist who found that if the defendant was properly watching the road, he would have been able to avoid hitting her husband.

The court held that the plaintiff did not establish the required elements for a negligence claim. The court began its opinion by noting that in a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove four elements: a legal duty owed to the accident victim, a breach of that duty, a causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury, and loss or damages to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s breach of the duty.

Accidents involving pedestrians are often some of the most serious due to the extent of the injuries involved. Thus, it is essential for a Maryland pedestrian accident victim to locate all potential sources of compensation. Of course, the defendants named in a lawsuit will almost always be the driver that hit the pedestrian. However, there may be other potentially liable parties as well, such as the government entity in charge of designing and maintaining the area where the accident occurred.

Pedestrian accidents often occur in areas with unique and potentially dangerous traffic features. For example, a poorly maintained, improperly marked, or misplaced crosswalk may give pedestrians a false sense of security as they cross the road. This is essentially the situation in a case discussed in a recent appellate opinion.

According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was killed on Halloween night as she was crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. The motorist was traveling well over the posted 45 mile-per-hour speed limit. The crosswalk is marked, and there are signs notifying approaching motorists of the crosswalk. After the accident, the driver fled the scene, but was later arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter.

One of the most important phases in a Maryland personal injury case is the summary judgment stage. Summary judgment is a procedural mechanism by which a party can file a motion asking the court to enter judgment in the party’s favor without empaneling a jury. One of the reasons why summary judgment is so important is because most cases are settled after the summary judgment stage.

If a plaintiff is able to defeat a defense motion for summary judgment, defendants may not want to risk being found liable after a jury trial, and will offer to settle the case. At the same time, even if a plaintiff is successful in overcoming the summary judgment motion, they too may not want to risk the uncertainty of a jury trial.

In Maryland, summary judgment is only appropriate when there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the [moving] party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The summary judgment analysis can be broken down into two parts. First, that all material facts are undisputed. And second, when the court applies the law to the un-controverted facts, the law requires judgment to be entered in the moving party’s favor. A recent case illustrates how courts conduct summary judgment analysis.

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing when an employer can be held liable when an employee causes a serious car accident on the way to or from work. Ultimately, the court concluded that an employer may be held liable in situations where the employer requires an employee to use the car on the day of the accident. The case is important for Maryland car accident victims because it illustrates the types of arguments employers may make when one of their employees causes an accident.

Vicarious Liability

As a general rule, an employer is responsible for the negligent acts of an employee, if the act is during and within the scope of employment. The idea is that the employee is carrying out the business of the employer, so it is only fair to allow anyone injured as a result of the employee’s negligence to seek compensation not just from the employee, but also the employer.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was serious injured when he was struck by another car as a result of a collision caused by a county public defender (the “public defender”). While the county did not state that the public defender needed a have a car, practically speaking it was not possible for him to perform the functions of his job without a car. For example, the public defender had to attend various courthouses across the county, visit clients in prison, and investigate crime scenes.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the concept of foreseeability. Essentially, in order to establish that a defendant owed a plaintiff a duty of care in a Maryland car accident case, the plaintiff must be able to establish that their injury was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct.

In this case, the court concluded that the unusual and aggressive behavior of a third party was not foreseeable to the defendant, and thus it dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting a food truck that leased space in a parking lot that was owned by the defendant. When the plaintiff pulled into the parking lot, he noticed that the lot was entirely full of cars parked in varying directions. He opted to back out of the lot and find parking elsewhere for fear of not being able to find a spot or not being able to exit once they were finished eating.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case requiring the court to determine if the lower court was proper in precluding the plaintiff from cross-examining an eyewitness to the accident. The case is important to Maryland car accident victims because the rule of evidence at issue in the case is very similar to Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-613.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she was struck by the defendant’s car while crossing the street at an unmarked crosswalk. There was only one witness to the accident. However, the defendant hired an expert witness and also planned on calling the responding police officers to testify at trial.

Before trial, the plaintiff filed a motion to prevent the police officers from discussing what the eyewitness told them at the scene, claiming that such testimony would be inadmissible hearsay. The court agreed and limited the officers’ testimony only to what they personally observed.

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