For more than a decade, our personal injury lawyers at the Hanover, MD law firm of Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP have been helping people harmed in a pedestrian accident. We have compiled a list of answers to questions that our clients often ask. While not intended to replace specific legal counsel on your case, we hope this information from our pedestrian accident attorneys is helpful.
- Where and under what conditions do most pedestrian accidents occur?
- What happens if my child was injured by a driver?
- Is the driver always responsible for a pedestrian's injury?
- Do I need an attorney, or can I just settle with the insurance company?
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Q. Where and under what conditions do most pedestrian accidents occur?
A. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more pedestrian accidents and injuries occur in urban than rural areas. In fact, 67 percent occurred on city streets – with Washington, D.C. recording the fourth highest number of pedestrian accident fatalities. Saturdays, January 1 and October 31 are the most dangerous times for pedestrians. While weather conditions do not figure into the majority of accidents, light conditions do – and more accidents occur after dark.
Q. What happens if my child is injured by a driver?
A. While a driver has a “duty of care” for every pedestrian, the level of caution is expected to be higher where children are concerned. In Maryland, as in most states, penalties are often harsher on those who hit children, especially if they do so while illegally passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights. If your child was injured, an attorney with experience in child pedestrian accidents can discuss your legal options with you.
Q. Is the driver always responsible for a pedestrian's injury?
A. The driver is often the liable party in a pedestrian accident – particularly if he or she was not complying with traffic laws. However, other entities may bear responsibility as well. For example, if a car encountered debris that fell from a truck and that caused the driver to momentarily lose control, the owner of the truck may also be liable. Pedestrians also have responsibility for their own safety, so if you crossed against a no-walking sign, you may be at least partially accountable for your injury and may be assessed for contributory negligence.
Q. Do I need an attorney, or can I just settle with the insurance company?
A. Of course, you can settle with the insurance company – but you may be losing out on full and fair compensation. It costs you nothing to discuss your case during a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP. We will give you an honest evaluation of your claim and work to maximize recovery for damages.