Pedestrian accidents in Maryland can be tough. Pedestrian accidents are particularly difficult because Maryland is one of only a handful of states that adopt the doctrine of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence basically means that a person is partially at fault for their own accident. In Maryland, if you are only 1% at fault for an accident you can be totally barred from recovery. Contributory negligence is a common defense in pedestrian accident cases. One reason for this common defense is that pedestrians often cross streets outside of crosswalks or cross streets where they are not supposed to, essentially jaywalking. I recently had a pedestrian accident trial where my client was crossing the street and there was no crosswalk for 100 yards. To make matters worse he was wearing dark clothes at night. I initially didn’t think the case stood a chance. I explained to the client that we were huge underdogs.
At trial, in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, I had a couple things going for me. First, the Landover, Maryland roadway where the pedestrian accident occurred was extremely straight and flat. Second, according to my client, he was hit while standing on the double yellow lines. Third, the driver who hit my client was not a good witness.
Contributory negligence is the Achilles Heel for a pedestrian accident injury victim but there is a way to defend against it. The defense is “last clear chance”. An individual who contributed to a pedestrian accident can recover if they can show that the other party had a “last clear chance” to avoid causing the pedestrian accident. In this case, the defendant had a clear view of the road in front of her for over 100 yards. This fact combined with my cross examination of the defendant was enough to convince the Prince George’s County jury to rule in favor of my client. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Parr for a free consultation.