Bicycle and Pedestrian Injury Attorneys in Maryland
Skilled representation for bicycle riders and pedestrians injured in car accidents
Maryland is a friendly state for bike riders and pedestrians. Between Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Appalachian Trail, and the myriad parks, paths and trails, there are plenty of places for people to spend time with their friends and families. When you leave the safety of those designated areas, however, you must contend with cars and trucks, which increase your chance of being seriously injured.
For more than 30 years, Plaxen & Adler, P.A. has provided comprehensive representation on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians in Maryland. Our team of attorneys works to obtain justice for people who were injured because of the negligence of other drivers, construction workers, property owners, and other cyclists or pedestrians.
Causes of pedestrian accidents and fatalities
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed, on average, in a traffic-related accident every two hours in this country. Injuries happen approximately once every 8 minutes. The vast majority of these car crashes are related to driver error, in the form of:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Failure to yield to people in crosswalks
- Blind spots in left-hand turns
- Improper crossing and/or lane use
- Speeding or reckless behaviors
There is, however, another common cause of pedestrian accidents: quiet cars. Hybrids and electric cars produce far less noise than the standard gas-powered vehicle. Because of this, the Obama Administration passed a rule in 2016 that requires hybrids and electric cars to produce noise when traveling at low speeds, so that pedestrians are alerted to their presence. Because manufacturers were given until September of 2019 to comply, however, these cars may still pose risks to pedestrians and cyclists who are navigating busy streets with these vehicles.
What dangers do cyclists face on the road in Maryland?
Bike riders, like pedestrians, are also at risk of being injured by negligent drivers. Drivers and passengers who open their doors without looking (either into traffic or at a sidewalk or curb) can easily knock a rider down, or cause the rider to veer into traffic. Cyclists also need to wear protective clothing in order to be better seen at night, and often must contend with drivers who are frustrated by having to share the road with them at all. Throw in autonomous vehicles, which seem unable to “see” bikers at all, and the road can become a pretty hazardous place.
Bike accidents by the numbers
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration compiled the following information about bicycle safety in the state, and the numbers are shocking:
- Accidents involving bicyclists and pedalcyclists in Maryland are increasing. Between 2009 and 2013, Maryland saw an average of 738 bicycles and pedalcycle-involved crashes each year. However, over the past five years there was a six percent increase in the number of crashes. More than 80 percent of the accidents resulted in a death or injury.
- Injuries are high in bicycle and pedalcycle crashes. Each year nearly 600 people were injured in cyclist-involved accidents. Eighty percent of all crashes involving a bicycle and pedalcyclist resulted in an injury, more than twice the rate of those of all crashes statewide. Although the number of injury crashes declined slightly, fatalities resulting from bicycle or pedalcycle accidents increased in 2013.
- Bicycle and pedalcyclist crashes are highest in metropolitan areas. Baltimore City saw an average of 181 cycle-involved accidents each year accounting for 25 percent of the state’s cyclist accidents. Over 85 percent of the accidents occurred in the Baltimore and Washington Metropolitan areas.
What types of injuries occur in a car crash with a cyclist or pedestrian?
Riders and pedestrians are far less protected in an accident than a driver. Because of this, people on bikes and on foot are more likely to sustain serious, catastrophic injuries than the people in the vehicle. Some of the more common types of injuries a rider or pedestrian may sustain when hit by a car include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Organ damage
- Loss of limb
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Broken or crushed bones
Even collisions that might be considered “minor” between two cars or trucks can be deadly for bikers and pedestrians. If the worst comes to pass, the Maryland wrongful death attorneys of our firm can guide you through the process of bringing a claim against the person responsible for your loved one’s death.
Seeking damages in a crash involving a bike rider or pedestrian
You should know that Maryland is a contributory negligence state. This means that if you are found to have contributed to your injuries in any way, you may be barred from collecting compensation. This makes the burden you bear as a victim even heavier, so you should seek legal counsel immediately. A skilled Maryland injury lawyer can document the evidence of your injuries, work with your doctors, deal with the insurance companies, and bring in outside expert testimony to help bolster your claim. By taking an aggressive approach to your case, our team can help you obtain compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including medication, hospitalizations and rehabilitation
- The cost of fitting your home with adaptive technologies, such as wheelchair ramps
- Funeral expenses, in the event of a wrongful death
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Property damage
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. is the firm cyclists and pedestrians turn to when they sustain serious injuries as a result of a car accident or other act of negligence. Let us fight for justice for you, so you can focus on the healing process.
Knowledgeable attorneys helping Maryland bike and pedestrian accident victims
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. is a premier personal injury law firm in Maryland. If you were injured while walking or riding your bicycle, we want to help. Please call 410.988.4449, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Maryland injury attorney from our firm.