Earlier this month in Woodlawn, a pedestrian accident claimed the life of one Maryland woman and seriously injured a second person. According to one local news report, the accident took place in the early morning hours at the intersection of Security Boulevard and Gwynn Oak Avenue.
Evidently, the pedestrians were crossing at an intersection that was not well lit and was not marked with a crosswalk when a Toyota Prius struck them both. The driver of the Prius remained on the scene and has cooperated with the police investigation, which is still ongoing. The 56-year-old woman was taken to Sinai Hospital, where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. Her male companion was also taken to the hospital, although his condition is not currently known.
The crash remains under investigation, and the driver of the Prius has not yet been cited by authorities for her role in the fatal accident.
Pedestrian Accidents and Contributory Negligence
In many accidents, fault is not apportioned in an all-or-nothing manner. In fact, there is often much litigation over what percentage each party is at fault, since damages are often divided up according to each party’s respective percentage of fault. In Maryland, however, when the accident victim is potentially at fault for the accident, even if that percentage is as low as five percent, they may be completely barred from recovery under the doctrine of contributory negligence.
The doctrine of contributory negligence is an old legal doctrine only in effect in a few states across the country, Maryland being one. The doctrine stands for the proposition that an accident victim should not be able to recover financially for injuries that were the result of an accident that was due to any fault of their own. While that may make some sense initially, the doctrine is exceptionally harsh in that it bars financial recovery altogether for any accident victim who is even the slightest bit at fault.
The alternative, which is used in most states, is called comparative fault. The doctrine of comparative fault looks to the respective fault of each party – the plaintiff included – and divides the responsibility according to those figures. Plaintiffs who are less than 50% or 51% or fault (depending on the jurisdiction) are entitled to recover, although their damages may be reduced by their own percent of fault.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?
If you have been injured in any kind of Maryland car or pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you should be prepared for the defendant’s attempt to shift blame onto you, effectively destroying your chances of recovery. Given the legal landscape of these claims, it is exceedingly important that a dedicated attorney get involved in your case as soon as possible in order to prevent an unfair shift of fault. Contact the skilled personal injury advocates at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers by calling 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation. Our representation will not result in any fees on your part unless we are able to obtain financial compensation for you.
More Blog Posts:
State Supreme Court Reverses Plaintiff’s Award for Punitive Damages, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published October 7, 2015.
Driver Arrested and Charged with DUI Homicide After Fatal Southern Maryland Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published September 23, 2015.