Various officials in Maryland are still investigating the causes behind two disturbing traffic accidents involving vulnerable road users. The Southern Maryland Chronicle reported on an August 1, 2020 incident, in which a pedestrian was struck by a passenger car and transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. Two days later, ABC affiliate News Channel 47 WMDT published an article regarding a bicycle rider who was hit by an SUV and had to be extracted from underneath the vehicle. Both victims were pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
These two tragedies demonstrate the extreme dangers to pedestrians and bicycle riders who share the road with much larger, faster, heavier vehicles. Still, even though you may not be traveling in a motorized vehicle, your rights as a victim stem from the legal principles that apply to Maryland auto accidents. An overview of the causes behind vulnerable road user collisions and options for seeking compensation may help you understand these cases.
How Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Happen:
In most cases, a person on foot or bicycle is involved in a collision because the driver of the motorized vehicle was careless. This concept goes by the legal term ‘negligence’ It requires you to prove that the motorist failed to exercise reasonable care when operating the vehicle. Some examples of negligence in pedestrian and bicycle accidents include:
- Failure to yield to the individual walking or biking;
- Driving while intoxicated;
- Running a red light;
- Texting, talking on the phone, or other forms of dangerous distracted driving; and,
- Many other violations of traffic laws and careless misconduct.
Challenges in Pursuing Your Rights as a Victim
The description of negligence above does not do justice to how complicated pedestrian and bicycle accidents can be. These cases are unique because they present a number of legal hurdles, including:
- People on foot or bike are termed “vulnerable” road users for a reason. They are smaller, lighter, and more susceptible to serious injuries when struck by a vehicle.
- Due to the size differential, it is likely that a pedestrian or bicyclist will be tossed into the air. Leading to a second impact when the victim hits the ground.
- Vulnerable road users typically do not have a metal shell to protect their body from a violent collision.
- The victim’s injuries are more likely to be permanent, catastrophic, and disabling, which means astronomical medical bills for treatment.
- A victim’s pain and suffering can be extreme considering the diminished quality of life. Implications for personal relationships, inability to enjoy favorite activities.
- In serious cases, a victim may lose independence and be forced to rely on others for care.
Set up a Free Consultation with a Baltimore County, MD Auto Accident Attorney
If you were hurt in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you will need legal assistance to overcome the unique challenges and complicated legal concepts involved with the claims process. For more information on how we can help get the compensation you deserve, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to schedule a no-cost case evaluation today.