Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable while walking along busy Maryland streets. Without the protection of being inside of a vehicle, a pedestrian could be severely injured or killed if they come in contact with a reckless driver. However, there are some situations where pedestrians put themselves at risk because of their own mistakes.
Both pedestrians and drivers must be careful
Failure to exercise reasonable care is considered negligence. Drivers that do not obey traffic laws or fail to look out for pedestrians at crosswalks and turns are being negligent. If a driver strikes a pedestrian because they have been driving while they are distracted, intoxicated or exhausted, the driver would be liable for the accident.
Pedestrians are also responsible for exercising reasonable care for their own safety around motor vehicles. For example, a pedestrian that suddenly jay-walks in the middle of traffic and then gets hit by a car would be either wholly or partially responsible for their own injuries.
Pedestrian accidents that involve small children have a different standard. A child that does not exercise reasonable care around vehicles is usually not found to be responsible for getting hit by a car. The law recognizes that young children cannot protect their own safety like adults can. Therefore, it is up to drivers to be extra cautious near school zones and residential neighborhoods as well as parking lots where children might make unexpected moves.
Maryland is one of only a handful of jurisdictions that follows the principle of contributory negligence. What this means is that a victim who bears even the slightest responsibility for the accident is barred from recovering any damages.