Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Columbia
Standing Up for You & Your Family
Every year pedestrian accidents claim more than 500 lives in Maryland. Many more pedestrians endure painful and catastrophic injuries as a result of being hit by a car. Here in Columbia, pedestrian accidents are increasingly common due to all of the foot traffic.
Accidents involving a car and a pedestrian are multifaceted. Insurance companies fight back vigorously to avoid any liability. Do not worry., though. Our skilled pedestrian accident lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. are ready to protect you and your family and pursue the compensation and justice you deserve.
Although past results are no guarantee of future success, in 2020 Portner & Shure alone, obtained $2.15 million on behalf of a pedestrian accident victim and her family. We have helped many other families successfully navigate pedestrian accident cases, too. After 25 years of experience, our skilled litigators can predict the arguments the other side will make. We understand how to present your case in the best light.
We proudly serve Columbia residents, and members of our professional staff speak English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), and Vietnamese.
Contact us onlineor call our office at (855) 954-4141 to talk with a member of our Columbia team about your pedestrian auto accident case.
What is a Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian accidents involve a collision between someone walking and someone driving a vehicle. In Maryland, a “pedestrian” is defined as an “individual afoot.”
- Police officers;
- Motorcycles riders who dismount to push their motorcycle on a public highway;
- Maintenance workers;
- Workers on a roadway;
- Person pushing a disabled vehicle on a public highway;
- Shoppers leaving or entering a retail store;
- People going to see the doctor;
- And many more.
Many people wonder if an injured pedestrian can make a PIP (personal injury protection) claim as a result of a Maryland pedestrian auto accident? The answer is yes. The pedestrian victim can bring a PIP claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If two cars were involved/contributed to in the accident, then the pedestrian can obtain PIP from both vehicles. If the pedestrian has PIP coverage, based on their own car insurance policy, they may also utilize this coverage. PIP is a first-party benefit for injured persons in Maryland auto accidents and is provided by the victim’s own insurance company. PIP benefits include medical expenses, and lost wages, up to the amount of the PIP policy.
Fault in Pedestrian Accident Cases
After a pedestrian-vehicle collision, most people believe that the driver of the car is always at fault. Under Maryland law, however, this is not true. If the person walking behaved negligently, and that negligence contributed to the incident, the pedestrian may be prohibited from obtaining compensation. Even if the pedestrian was only 1% at-fault, they will not be able to recover any money.
Initially, pedestrian laws may seem absolute, but they can be extremely complicated. The rights of motorists and pedestrians are equal and reciprocal. This means that both the driver and the pedestrian must behave in a way that is cognizant of the corresponding rights of the other, i.e., everyone owes it to everyone else to behave safely.
However, the responsibility can shift between the pedestrian and the motorist. For example, a pedestrian is required to use “due care to look for oncoming vehicles before entering the roadway at a crosswalk and cannot cross blindly without looking for approaching traffic.”
Fundamental questions to ask when determining liability in a pedestrian accident are:
- Where was the victim at the time of impact?
- Was there a crosswalk?
- Was the motorist speeding at the time of the accident?
- Did the motorist have the opportunity to see the pedestrian in a position of potential danger?
- Did the pedestrian exercise ordinary/reasonable care (and not act in a way that opposes that of an ordinarily prudent person under the same circumstances)?
These are simply some considerations, but the answers to these questions do not define whether you have a viable pedestrian accident case. Motorists are mandated to stop for people crossing at a crosswalk. Drivers are also obligated to stop for pedestrians at non-marked intersections, for example, when a pedestrian is walking on part of the roadway.
Generally, it is easier to succeed if you can prove that the driver did something wrong, like ran a red light, ignored a stop sign, or something along those lines. The skilled pedestrian accident attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. know how to conduct a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident and evaluate your claim and avoid the traps the defense will try and spring on you.
Legal Defenses in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Pedestrian accident victims and their families oftentimes find themselves faced with aggressive and relentless attorneys representing the insurance company. These lawyers have spent their careers diminishing victims' claims and will do everything they can to shift the blame to the victim. Do not let this happen without a fight.
In our 25 years of experience litigating on behalf of pedestrian accident victims, insurance companies primarily rely on two arguments to avoid liability. Insurance companies like to contend that the victim’s own actions negligently contributed to the accident. This affirmative defense, referred to as contributory negligence, which we touched upon before. If the victim is partially to blame for the accident or acted in a way that contributed to the incident, then no recovery can be obtained. In pedestrian accident cases, the defense of contributory negligence comes up in situations where the victim did not look before crossing the street or failed to follow traffic safety regulations.
Last Clear Chance Argument
Further, when a pedestrian knows of danger (or by exercising reasonable care should have anticipated the danger), it is negligence for the pedestrian to leave a place of safety and voluntarily expose himself to that danger. A pedestrian may be deemed contributorily negligent in failing to avoid an accident when the pedestrian saw/knew of the car approaching, and had sufficient time to avoid the accident, but failed to do so. This negligence may preclude recovery for injuries endured by the pedestrian when struck by a motor vehicle unless the facts of the case indicate that the doctrine of last clear chance is applicable. This is a difficult legal argument to make, and you should get a team experienced with these situations on your side.
Assumed the Risk Argument
Defendant insurance companies also argue the victim “assumed the risk” of the accident. Under this strategy, the Defense presents evidence that the victim recognized the risks of their behavior, comprehended them, and nonetheless persisted in this risky course of action. In accidents involving pedestrians, the affirmative defense of the assumption of the risk comes up in a few scenarios.
For example, the pedestrian was:
- Walking on the shoulder of a highway.
- Entering an intersection without a crosswalk.
- Failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
- Crossing the street at nighttime, and there was limited visibility.
We Want to Fight for You & Your Rights
Pedestrian accident victims should be able to focus on their recovery instead of fighting for the compensation they are owed. The award-winning and skilled Columbia pedestrian accident lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. become invaluable at this time. Our compassionate team members will work tirelessly on your behalf, so you can focus on getting your life back to “normal.” Although we can never alleviate the trauma and pain that comes from a pedestrian accident, compensation can assist your family with expenses moving forward and provide a sense of justice.
After successfully advocating on behalf of a mother who was wrongfully hit by a car, this is what her family members had to say about the legal representation provided by Portner & Shure:
“I do not have the words, and thank you is not sufficient, for me to express my gratitude for everything Portner & Shure has done for me and my children. I am eternally grateful and indebted to them for their patience, persistence, fortitude, and for keeping me grounded through all we encountered to get the case resolved.”
This review is merely one family’s experience with Portner & Shure. A quick Google search can show our countless five-star reviews from prior clients. We are ready to put our skills to use on behalf of your family.
Members of our professional staff speak English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Portner & Shure, P.A. receives no attorneys’ fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or judgment on your behalf. Our team only wins if you win.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us at (855) 954-4141.