A Baltimore County trial involving a pedestrian accident in a construction zone resulted in an interesting verdict this month. On November 5, 2008 a Baltimore County jury returned a defense verdict in a case tried under a high low agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, despite the defense verdict, the plaintiff will receive $250,000. The case involved a woman who was struck by a car while illegally crossing the street in a construction zone.
The plaintiff’s attorney alleged that the defendant construction company failed to ensure the safety of pedestrians through a Maintenance of Traffic Plan, and improperly placed barriers in the roadway.
At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was crossing the street to catch a bus. The police investigation concluded that the plaintiff was at fault for crossing the intersection illegally. The plaintiff lost the trial.
However, the attorney for the plaintiff, Nathaniel Fick, Jr., should be commended for obtaining $250,000 for his client even though the case was decided in favor of the defendant. Maryland is among a minority of states that still observe “pure contributory negligence.” In effect, this makes fault in an accident all-or-none: if a jury finds the plaintiff even 1% at fault, the plaintiff is barred from recovery. Most jurisdictions have abandoned this harsh rule, and hopefully Maryland will one day follow suit, adopting instead the comparative negligence rule that has been adopted by a majority of states.
The contributory negligence law in Maryland means that accidents involving pedestrians are difficult to win: a skillful defense lawyer is often able to prove the minimum 1% fault on the part of the plaintiff. However, even with these difficult legal circumstances, our attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have had great success in Litigating pedestrian accident cases.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident contact one of our experienced Silver Spring personal injury attorneys today for a free, no obligation consultation or contact us by calling (888) 213-8140 for a free telephone consultation.