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July 15, 2021


What Is Wrongful Death?

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Does a Pedestrian Hit by a Car Need an Attorney?

If you’ve fully recovered from only minor injuries and only missed several days of work after the car struck you, you might be able to negotiate a fair insurance settlement without a lawyer. The more evidence you have, the better your chances will be for a fair insurance settlement.

But, what about someone who have suffered severe injuries? The answer is simple: severe injuries require an attorney.

If you’ve been severely injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, you’ll need the care, the knowledge, the dedication, and the skills of a personal injury attorney to get you fair compensation. Get a free consultation with Fintus Injury Firm today! Call us at 1-888-542-4743 or contact us through our website.

Severe injury claims include permanent scarring, spinal cord injuries, multiple fractures, and traumatic brain injuries.

You shouldn’t trust the insurance company to look out for you or your family. After all, they don’t have any incentive to treat look out for you or family. Their claims adjusters, even if they are nice and likeable, are taught to avoid large payouts to people like you. There’s too much at risk to face a large insurance company on your own, and it costs you nothing to find out what a personal injury attorney can do for you.

Maryland’s Horrendous Law Capping Damages

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the ridiculous law in Virginia that limits the amount of money medical malpractice victims may receive for their injuries. (This law caps “damages.”) But I’ll tell you a secret about the damages caps in Virginia: in some ways, they are much fairer than they are in Maryland.

To be clear, they are not fairer in medical malpractice cases. However, in other kinds of personal injury cases–car crash cases, premises liability cases, truck collision cases, elder abuse cases, and so on–the damages caps in Virginia are significantly fairer. In fact, in some ways, the damages caps in Maryland are some of the least fair in the nation.   

Could this really be true?

Could it, considering the Maryland legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic? (There are two Democrats for every one Republican in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.)

It is true.

Individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries might find it unfortunate that they were injured if they were injured because of someone else’s negligence; they may find it especially unfortunate if they were injured in Maryland.

I’ll tell you why.

Maryland caps the amount injured plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cover losses like the loss of the enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Maryland law caps recovery for non-economic damages to only $845,000. (The cap increases by $15,000 every year.)

Imagine: you’re driving a hatchback, you’re stopped in traffic, and suddenly you get hit from behind–obliterated–by a big SUV. You get medical treatment, of course. But after all the treatment you receive, a doctor tells you that you’ll have severe pain for the rest of your life and she recommends you use a wheelchair.

Activities you used to love, like running every morning and playing a round of golf with your friends on weekends, are now off limits to you. You feel like you’re a burden on your family. You’ll likely live another 40 years.

Now, consider someone gives you a check for $845,000 in exchange for the severe pain, the mental anguish, and the loss of your enjoyment of life. That check would, spread over 40 years, equal about $20,000 a year.

Who in their right mind would consider that amount to be fair?

Make no mistake about it: none of Maryland’s neighboring states limit non-economic damages in all personal injury cases–not DC, not Delaware, not Virginia, not New Jersey, not New York, not Pennsylvania. In fact, only 10 other states in the nation have such a cap on non-economic damages: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Maryland is an outlier.

The Democratic legislature ought to end the caps on non-economic damages, bringing Maryland in line with the vast majority of states and all of its neighbors.

Baltimore Pedestrian Accidents–Still Too Many Deaths

Pedestrian traffic deaths have been on the rise. In the US, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes  in 2018. Of course, the United States is a huge country, so you might rightfully wonder how Baltimore has fared. A recent study by Smart Growth America, titled “Dangerous by Design 2019,” provides statistics to support the position that there are far too many deaths and injuries from pedestrian accidents in the Baltimore metro area.

In the ten-year period captured in the study, between 2008 and 2017, there were 496 deaths from pedestrian accidents in the Baltimore metro area. That amounts to a little less than a death a week, to say nothing of the serious injuries pedestrians suffer that don’t result in death.

Between 2008 and 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in the Baltimore metro area exceeded the national average. While the Baltimore metro area is not at the bottom of the list of the 100 largest US metro areas when measuring the “Pedestrian Danger Index,” the Baltimore metro area is in the bottom half. The Baltimore metro area ranks 55th out of 100 metro areas–making it more dangerous than the Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City metro areas.

Who are the victims of these tragic crashes?

While the study reveals that people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels die in pedestrian accidents, certain people and communities carry a larger share of the burden: the study found that “[o]lder adults, people of color, and people walking in low-income communities are disproportionately represented in fatal crashes involving people walking.”

What can be done to prevent pedestrian deaths?

There are things that local and state governments can do to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths, but here I’ll focus on what we pedestrians can do.

As pedestrians, we can:

  • Forget about our phones. Being preoccupied with our phones can be very dangerous.
  • Keep music at reasonable volumes. Listening to music at such a volume that reduces our awareness of what is going on around us can be dangerous.
  • Make sure we’re visible. During the day, this means wearing vibrant colors. When it’s dark outside, this means wearing reflective clothing. However, for many of us, the suggestion to wear reflective clothing will not be practical; we should try to avoid walking when it’s dark.
  • Follow the traffic signals. Don’t cross a street unless the walk sign directs us to do so.
  • Check for reckless drivers, even when it’s our turn to walk. If we have a walk sign, we should still check to ensure that no driver is recklessly driving.
  • Only cross the street at safe areas. Jaywalking can be dangerous–and also very detrimental to a pedestrian’s legal case against the offending driver.

Get Legal Help

If you find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident where another party’s negligence has caused you a serious injury, seek the advice of an attorney. If you have not yet started a lawsuit, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

How Much Does Collision Speed Matter in Pedestrian Accidents?

Extensive research has been done to understand the factors that increase the likelihood of injury or death when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. In this post, we’ll look at the role a vehicle’s speed plays in the harm pedestrians suffer.

Researchers have extensively studied the factors that increase the likelihood of injury or death when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. In this post, we’ll look at the role a vehicle’s speed plays in the damage a pedestrian suffers.

While it seems obvious that collision speed matters, the role it plays in the extent of damage that a pedestrian suffers may be surprising. It may be surprising that, as the results of a 2011 study show, even at low collision speeds pedestrians frequently suffer serious injuries or die.

Risk of Severe Injury

The results of the 2011 study show that the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of only 16 mph, 25% at 23 mph, and 50% at 31 mph.

At higher collision speeds, the risk of severe injury expectedly increases: the average risk of serious injury is 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph.

Meanwhile, older pedestrians have a significantly greater risk of severe injury than their younger peers. The average risk of severe injury for a 70‐year‐old pedestrian hit at any given speed is approximately equal to the average risk for a 30‐year‐old hit by a vehicle travelling 9.3 mph faster.

Risk of Death

Pedestrians who receive severe injuries may, in some sense, count themselves among the lucky. After all, it’s not uncommon for a pedestrian to die as a result of a collision with a vehicle, even when there is a low impact speed. The average risk of death reaches 10% at the impact speed of 23 mph, and 25% at 32 mph.

At higher collision speeds, the average risk of death increases: 50% at 42 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph. Again, the risks vary significantly by age. The average risk of death for a 70‐year‐old pedestrian struck at any given speed is approximately equal to the average risk for a 30‐year‐old pedestrian struck by a vehicle travelling 10.4 mph faster.  

In a world of distracted drivers and pedestrians, these statistics should be startling. These statistics should also be a serious cause of concern for city and state lawmakers.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Maryland, I recognize that you may have questions about legal options. I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

Number of Pedestrians Killed Highest in Nearly 30 Years–Cyclist Deaths Rise

The number of pedestrians killed rose to its highest level in nearly three decades, the U.S. auto safety agency said this week. More pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2018 than in any year since 1990.

In 2018, deaths of pedestrians rose, compared to the prior year, 3.4% to 6,283. In the last decade, deaths of pedestrians have jumped by 42%.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed on roads while using bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles also rose in 2018, climbing 6.3% to 857.

Three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths take place at night, the U.S. auto safety agency said, while 38% of pedestrians killed had alcohol in their systems and 74% were not at intersections when hit.

Auto safety experts say the growing number of drivers distracted by mobile devices is at least partly to blame for the increase in deaths. Relatedly, the Governors Highway Safety Association said the increasing shift in U.S. vehicle sales, away from passenger cars and toward light trucks, is also a factor in the rising number of deaths.

What Damages Are In Maryland?

In personal injury cases that start when a victim is injured by a wrongdoer who does not intend to cause injury, the victim has to establish certain things in order to get a financial recovery for his or her injuries. Let’s imagine you’re the victim here. One thing that you must establish is that the wrongdoer acted[1] in a negligent manner. Another thing you must establish is that the wrongdoer’s negligence caused your injuries. Finally, you must prove that you sustained “damages.” In past posts, we looked at how to show negligence and how to show causation. Here, let’s focus in on damages.

Damages in personal injury cases can range from a couple hundred dollars for an emergency room visit to many millions of dollars for catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. Calculating damages can be a very complicated process, so you should seek the assistance of an attorney.

You must show that you suffered actual losses due to the accident and your injuries. Common losses include the following:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income or benefits
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering.

If you have suffered injury and believe another party has acted negligently, you should not delay in consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney in Maryland. Damages can be complicated and a qualified attorney will know how to sufficiently gather and present evidence of negligence in court so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

I realize you may have questions or concerns about your matter, which occurred here in Maryland. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, but still have questions, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

[1] Sometimes the negligent behavior is a failure to act, an omission, like a doctor failing to diagnose a condition that he or she should have diagnosed.