Many Marylanders know that they are supposed to walk inside of a crosswalk when crossing an intersection. However, most do not know the potential consequences of failing to do so, and the many nuances in Maryland's laws, like the effect of contributory negligence on pedestrians and crosswalks.
In fact, injury attorneys are confronted with the harsh consequences of crosswalk accident cases every day. This piece addresses some tips on how to avoid being on the wrong side of the Maryland's crosswalk laws. For immediate assistance with your claim, please don't hesitate to call Portner & Shure at (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000 today for a free consultation.
Understanding Maryland's Crosswalk Law
In Maryland, a crosswalk exists where a sidewalk ends at the street. Therefore, there are two types of crosswalks. The first is a "marked crosswalk". The second, and less commonly known, is an "unmarked crosswalk".
An unmarked crosswalk is defined under Maryland law as "that part of a roadway that is within the [continuation] or connection of the lateral lines of sidewalks at any place where 2 or more roadways of any kind meet or join, measured from the curbs, from the edges of the roadway". In other words, there does not have to be a marked path or a sidewalk on both sides of the street for a crosswalk to exist.
If a sidewalk approaches a street and ends, even if there is no sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, an unmarked crosswalk exists where the sidewalk would have extended into the street. Therefore, in unmarked areas automobile accident victims have the right-of-way.
Pedestrians should also know that they may not cross an intersection diagonally, unless there is a crossing device that not only permits a pedestrian to cross the intersection diagonally but also signals the pedestrian to do so. Furthermore, a pedestrian is required by law to walk on the right half of a crosswalk.
In the case of jay-walking pedestrians, Maryland places a high duty of care on the pedestrian. This means that a pedestrian who crosses a street without using a crosswalk has the responsibility of making sure that no car hits them.
This is important because many people believe that the operators of vehicles have the responsibility not to hit pedestrians. Yet, it is pedestrians who have the responsibility of not being struck by a vehicle when crossing at a location other than a crosswalk. Therefore, pedestrian accidents that occur outside of a crosswalk often lead to no personal injury recovery for such automobile accident victims.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Maryland is one of the few states that requires its personal injury attorneys to confront the rule of contributory negligence. Under Maryland Contributory Negligence Law, if a person injured by another is negligent leading up to the automobile accident that caused them harm, that person is completely prevented from recovering against the party that injured them in the collision. In the case of a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle, this means that if a pedestrian fails to follow the proper rules of the road regarding street-crossing, a pedestrian can be out of luck when he or she looks to the Maryland courts for justice in their personal injury claim.
Because of contributory negligence laws in Maryland, even the best and most experienced pedestrian accident attorneys can do little to help a victim recover in an automobile accident case if he or she was negligent in crossing the street. Therefore, it is important to know that when crossing a street pedestrians should make sure to walk within crosswalks and obey traffic signals. By doing this, the right-of-way is on your side, when you need an accident attorney to fight for you.