A restaurant manager in Hampden was injured as she was crossing the road to go to work at Papi’s Tacos on Falls Road. Danielle Lechert was hit by a vehicle on July 31, 2020. She was transported and admitted to Shock Trauma for treatment of her injuries. 

Ms. Lechert sustained severe injuries in the pedestrian accident. She has bruised lungs, numerous lacerations, possible broken ribs, a concussion, a broken pelvis, and a broken tibia. 

Charlie Gjerde, who owns Papi’s Tacos, says that Ms. Lechert has a long recovery ahead of her. The initial report is that it could take six to eight weeks to walk on her own. It could be months before she recovers from her injuries. 

The driver remained at the accident scene. No other details were available regarding the cause of the pedestrian accident.

A Dangerous Stretch of Road for Traffic Accidents

Several north Baltimore business owners describe this specific stretch of Falls Road in Hampden as very dangerous. They want to see changes in the area to help prevent tragic accidents like the one that injured Ms. Lechert.

The stretch of road they are describing has a 25 mile per hour speed limit from 41st Street through the Avenue. However, business owners complain that drivers ignore the speed limit and “fly through” Hampden. They say they can see cars speeding down Falls Road every day.

According to Julie Lilienfeld, who owns Wishbone Reserve, which is right across from Papi’s Taco, it is frightening to park and walk across the road. They see all types of car accidents as people try to park or walk across the road.

Mr. Gjerde and other businesses want something to be done to slow down the drivers who use this stretch of Falls Road. Speed bumps and a pedestrian crosswalk have been suggested. Anything that can make the drivers slow down and pay more attention.

Pedestrian Fatalities Increase Nationwide in 2019

Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in the United States. The data from the first six months in 2019 indicate that 2019 may be the deadliest year for pedestrians in the U.S. since 1988. The GHSA projects that there will be 6,590 pedestrian deaths nationwide in 2019.

Pedestrians now make up about 17 percent of the total traffic fatalities. From 2009, through 2018, there was a 53 percent increase in the number of pedestrian deaths. All other traffic fatalities during that period increased by just two percent. 

Maryland had one less pedestrian death in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Fifty-six (56) pedestrians died in traffic accidents in Maryland from January through June of 2019. During the same period in 2018, 57 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents on Maryland roads. 

Speed is a common factor in many pedestrian accidents. However, other driver behavior can contribute to an accident. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include drunk driving, fatigued driving, distracted driving, and failing to yield the right of way.

Excessive Speed and Pedestrian Accidents

Failing to follow the speed limit and failing to slow down in areas where pedestrians are present is a common factor in the cause of pedestrian accidents. Drivers either ignore the speed limit or speed through neighborhoods, school zones, parking lots, and other areas where pedestrians are commonly present. If they see the pedestrian before the crash, they are unable to avoid the crash because of the speed the vehicle is traveling.

Speed also plays a factor in the severity of the injuries a pedestrian may sustain. The faster the car is traveling, the higher risk for catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. 

In a crash, a pedestrian does not have any protection from injuries. Common injuries sustained by pedestrians struck by vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • Multiple fractures and broken bones
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord and back injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limbs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Lacerations, scarring, and disfigurement
  • Neck injuries

Thousands of pedestrians do not survive the injuries caused when a car strikes them. For the individuals who do survive, they can face multiple surgeries, months of painful physical and occupational therapy, and substantial financial hardship because of missed time from work, medical bills, and other financial losses.

Filing a Claim for a Pedestrian Accident

Proving that the driver caused the pedestrian accident is crucial. A pedestrian can only recover compensation for damages and losses if the driver was at fault. Evidence that can help prove a case against a reckless driver includes:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Videos of the traffic accident
  • Physical evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks
  • Expert testimony from accident reconstructionists and other professionals
  • Medical records and evidence
  • Cell phone records and data recovered from the vehicle’s onboard systems
  • Data and information from driving apps or insurance apps

A pedestrian accident attorney can perform a thorough investigation to gather the evidence needed to hold a negligent driver responsible for damages caused by a pedestrian accident.