What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Maryland or D.C.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, the first thing you should do is call 911 for emergency medical help and to summon the police. The police report may provide information that could be critical in establishing responsibility for the accident. The police will also collect contact and insurance information for any drivers involved in the accident.
You should obtain medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you decline emergency medical care at the scene of the accident, you should follow up with a doctor shortly afterward. While symptoms of injuries you may have suffered in the accident may take time to manifest themselves, a physician may be able to identify your injuries through examination.
Prompt medical attention means not only that you begin treating your injuries more quickly, but also that you are better equipped to argue that your injuries were caused by the accident.
If possible, you should take photographs of the accident scene. If you can take photos at the time of the accident, try to capture the positions of vehicles before they are moved, any damage to vehicles, skid marks on the road, crosswalks and traffic controls, road surface conditions, and lighting and weather conditions.
How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, a dedicated, experienced attorney can be the key to seeking compensation for your damages. A pedestrian accident lawyer can begin an investigation of your accident to determine how the accident occurred and identify the party or parties who may be responsible.
A lawyer can handle negotiations with the insurance companies to pursue a fair settlement of your claims with full compensation. When a settlement is not possible, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you pursue your claim in court. An attorney can advocate on your behalf before a judge and jury to seek a favorable verdict and judgment for you.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to two different categories of compensation. These categories include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to provide compensation for specific financial losses that can be calculated from documentation such as bills or paystubs. Examples include:
- Past and future medical expenses (such as hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ office visits, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment, and prescription medication)
- Past and future lost income (including wages lost due to missed work and the difference in pre- and post-accident income due to your injuries)
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate for more subjective losses. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering damages, which provide compensation for the physical and emotional anguish caused by injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident
- Loss of consortium or companionship damages, which provide compensation to a pedestrian accident victim’s immediate family for the loss of their loved one’s society and services to the family
Finally, in rare cases, a pedestrian accident victim may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate a claimant for losses, but instead are intended to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are limited to those cases where a liable party engages in especially egregious conduct.
Understanding Your Insurance Coverage for Pedestrian Accidents
Under Maryland and D.C. law, you may be entitled to immediate coverage under certain automobile insurance policies. This coverage, known as personal injury protection (PIP), can provide immediate funds to cover losses such as medical expenses and up to 85 percent lost income due to missed work.
Payment is quick because PIP is considered no-fault coverage. Your insurer must cover you regardless of who was at fault for your pedestrian accident. The amount of PIP coverage depends on the amount elected when the policy was purchased, and usually ranges between $2,500 and $10,000.
Even if you do not own or drive a car, PIP coverage extends to a policyholder, the policyholder’s immediate family, passengers in the covered vehicle, occupants of another vehicle involved in an accident, and pedestrians involved in an accident with a covered vehicle.
Even if you do not have your own auto insurance policy, you may be able to seek PIP coverage from a policy held by another family member in your household or from the policy of the vehicle involved in your pedestrian accident, without having to first determine whether the driver of that vehicle was responsible for the accident. If you use your own or a family member’s PIP coverage, you also do not need to be concerned about raising your rates by making a claim against your own policy.
If you carry auto insurance, you may be entitled to uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits even if you were a pedestrian at the time of the crash. These types of coverage can provide important compensation when the at-fault driver carried too little insurance, no insurance, or was a hit-and-run motorist.
Time Limits for Filing a Pedestrian Accident Claim in D.C. or Maryland
In Maryland and D.C., the law imposes a time limit for someone injured in a pedestrian accident to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for their injuries. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
Under both Maryland and D.C. law, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim arising from a pedestrian accident is three years from the date of the accident. A pedestrian accident victim who fails to file a lawsuit within three years will usually be forever barred from filing a court claim for compensation arising from their accident.
In certain narrow circumstances, courts may pause or extend the statute of limitations. This is often called “tolling” the statute of limitations. For example, Maryland and D.C. law tolls the statute of limitations for minors, allowing a minor to bring their claim within three years after their 18th birthday.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a vehicle, they lack the protections available to occupants of cars, trucks, or buses. As a result, victims of pedestrian accidents are far more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries that can temporarily or permanently restrict their ability to work or perform the tasks of daily living.
Once a vehicle is moving more than 10 or 15 mph, the risk of catastrophic injuries in a pedestrian accident dramatically increases. Some of the most common injuries in pedestrian accidents include:
- Broken bones, especially arms, legs, shoulders, ribs, or vertebrae
- Lacerations, some of which may be sufficiently severe to cause massive bleeding, require surgery to repair, or leave a victim with permanent scarring
- Internal injuries, including internal bleeding or perforated or torn internal organs, all of which will likely require surgery to repair
- Soft-tissue injuries, including strains and tears of muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Head trauma, including a fractured skull, concussion, brain bleed, coma, or other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including temporary paralysis caused by swelling on the spinal cord and permanent paralysis due to severed nerves
In the most violent accidents, pedestrians can be so severely injured that they die at the scene of the accident or shortly thereafter.
Talk to a Charles County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Now
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident in Charles County or elsewhere in Maryland or D.C., don’t wait another day before pursuing the compensation you need and deserve to help you recover from your injuries.
Contact Trollinger Law today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Talk to our pedestrian accident lawyer near you in Charles County and learn more about how we can help you pursue your claim for compensation.