Can a Pedestrian be Found “at Fault” in a Maryland Crosswalk Accident?
Yes. People traveling on foot can indeed be determined to have contributed at least in part to a pedestrian-car injury accident. A few of the more common scenarios under which a person on foot may be found to have partial responsibility for a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Crossing in the middle of the street
- Crossing the roadway outside of a marked crosswalk
- Crossing the street against a traffic light or pedestrian “Do Not Walk” signal
Here in Maryland, if a person who is injured in a pedestrian-car collision can be found at least partially responsible for the accident, and hence for his or her injuries, there is a good possibility that the victim's claim could be denied based on Maryland's strict “Contributory Negligence” statute. Contributory negligence is a legal concept that has caused trouble for many victims of Maryland traffic accidents.
Under state law, any monetary recovery for losses suffered as a result of a traffic accident requires the plaintiff to prove that the other driver was 100-percent at fault. However, if the plaintiff’s actions — as a motorist or pedestrian — can be shown to have contributed in any way to the accident, the case may likely be thrown out on the basis of contributory negligence.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we understand that Maryland's “at-fault” auto insurance laws put a seemingly unfair burden on traffic accident victims. In fact, many personal injury claims have been denied if the defendant (or alleged at-fault party) can prove that the victim was even one-percent at fault. In the case of pedestrian injury accidents, the inability of the victim to show that the motorist who hit him was totally at fault can ruin the plaintiff's chances to recover money to pay for his medical bills and other related costs.
The good news, however, is that even a police report stating that the person on foot was partially responsible for a pedestrian-automobile accident is not usually allowed as evidence in such cases. In fact, a skilled Maryland personal injury lawyer will know that a police report typically reflects the officer's opinion about whether the pedestrian was at fault in the collision — and is usually not admissible in court.
The lack of admissibility of a police report is usually a benefit for plaintiffs in pedestrian injury cases. And while Maryland law does lend some deference to injured pedestrians, other evidence to support the victim's claim is also very important. Some of the more important pieces of evidence that can help a victim's claim include:
- Supporting statements of any witnesses (especially those with no relationship to the plaintiff)
- Photos or video of the incident (sourced from red light or traffic cameras, or nearby commercial security cameras operated by local businesses)
- The defendant's cellphone records, which may indicate the negligent driver was distracted at the time of the accident
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Maryland traffic accident, we strongly suggest that you contact a qualified personal injury attorney with experience in automobile accident claims. The lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, are trained to assist you with your personal injury lawsuit. Please consider contacting us to arrange for a free, no-obligation initial consultation so that you may better understand your rights under the laws of the State of Maryland.