Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accident

A lawsuit filed last year alleges two types of liability in a Washington DC automobile accident. The plaintiff in Lewis-Shephard v. Burch, et al filed suit against two defendants: the driver of a vehicle that allegedly struck her when she was on foot, and the owner of said vehicle. The lawsuit alleges that the driver’s negligent operation of the automobile led directly to the accident and her injuries. It also alleges that the automobile owner is liable for the plaintiff’s damages because, under D.C. law, she made the driver her agent by entrusting the vehicle to him.

The accident occurred during the afternoon of September 19, 2008. According to her complaint, the plaintiff, Kathy Lewis-Shephard, was walking east through the crosswalk on 12th Street NW, at the intersection with I Street. The vehicle driven by the defendant, Phillip Burch, Jr., was allegedly traveling west on I Street and turned right to go north on 12th Street. The plaintiff alleges that Burch failed to yield the right of way to her, and his vehicle hit her.

Lewis-Shepard filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September 2011, asserting diversity jurisdiction between herself, a Maryland resident, and the two defendants, both New Jersey residents. She named Burch and the owner of the car Burch was allegedly driving, Agnes Dalley, as defendants.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), an office within the U.S. Department of Transportation, has delayed a final rule regarding rear visibility requirements in cars. This is the second delay of the rule since the agency began working on it. The purpose of the rule would be to prevent “backover” accidents due to a driver’s inability to see people or objects behind the vehicle. The Secretary of Transportation has said that they expect to have final standards ready by the end of 2012.

The rule is required by the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, passed by the U.S. Congress in early 2008. This law addresses several child safety concerns, including the risk to children of vehicles moving in reverse where the driver cannot see the child. It is named for a two year-old child who died when his father accidentally backed his car over him in their driveway. According to the NHTSA, 292 deaths and 18,000 injuries result each year from “blind zones” behind vehicles. The majority of the fatalities involve light vehicles, meaning those weighing 10,000 pounds or less. Those most vulnerable to these kinds of accidents are children and the elderly. In addition to addressing visibility issues, the law requires rules for auto-reverse in power windows and transmission systems that prevent cars from easily shifting out of “park.”

The proposed rule would require additional mirrors or even camera devices to enable drivers to see the area behind the vehicle while driving in reverse. In December 2010, the NHTSA announced that it expected to require new passenger cars, minivans, pickup trucks, and other vehicles to have “rear mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays” to allow an expanded field of vision for drivers.

The New York Times reportedly found that backup cameras are already standard issue in forty-five percent of new vehicles, and that they are available as an option in twenty-three percent. For all other vehicles, owners would have to purchase cameras. The NHTSA reportedly estimates that, for vehicles without an embedded navigational screen, the cost to a vehicle owner would be between $159 and $203, and between $58 and $88 for cars with a screen already installed. The total annual cost for the country would be between $1.9 and $2.7 billion.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced in February that the NHTSA would need to do further research before formally issuing the new rules. The rule has also proven to be controversial politically, considering the large price tag attached to it. The controversy persists even though it was actually President Bush who signed it into law in 2008. Bloomberg Businessweek says that it is among the five most expensive regulations still pending in the Obama administration, and it is one of many facing delays.

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While motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child fatalities, our Washington DC personal injury lawyers want to warn you of other auto vehicle-related dangers that could put a kid at serious risk. Here are a few of these safety hazards, as identified by the National Highway Safety Administration:

Backover accidents: This usually involves a vehicle backing out of a driveway or parking lot and the driver not realizing that there is a child behind the auto. Backover accidents can prove fatal. Because the vehicle is being operated in reverse, the motorist must take extra precautions to check all viewing mirrors, footage from the backup camera, and perhaps even physically look back to make sure there is no one there.

Power windows: Power windows can entrap a young child’s hands, fingers, feet, neck, or head. It is important to make sure that power window switches have been locked. Otherwise, a child can accidentally activate the switch.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, up to 25% of motor vehicle accidents in this country occur because motorists were distracted driving and more often than not using cell phones and other handheld devices. The GHSA’s report, which was released last week, is called “Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do.”

As our Washington DC personal injury law firm has reported in past blogs, distracted driving is very dangerous and can dramatically increase the chances of injuries or deaths. It also can be grounds for a DC car crash lawsuit against the driver. Other findings from the study:

• Some drivers are distracted as much as 50% of the time they are on the road.
• Texting while driving, which is both a manual and visual distraction, is even more dangerous than talking on a phone.

• Examples of other common types of distracted driving behavior include talking to other passengers, looking for tapes or CD’s, switching radio stations, drinking, eating, reading directions or a map, reading books or newspapers, dealing with kids or pets, shaving, putting on makeup, shuffling through an iPod, and reading your GPS.

Many people don’t realize that distracted driving impairs their ability to drive safely. This does not change the fact that this behavior can result in very deadly consequences.

Should other parties aside from a distracted driver be held liable for DC personal injury or wrongful death? A couple of years ago, one woman sued Nextel, Samsung, and Sprint for her mother’s distracted driving death. The plaintiff claimed products liability because the three companies allegedly failed to warn the driver that using a cell phone wile driving is a safety hazard. Samsung countered that it did include safety warnings on its websites and packaging and in its user manuals and advertising.

Report: Gadgets Linked To 25 Percent Of Car Accidents, AutoGuide, July 13, 2011

Read the GHSA’s Distracted Driving Report

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, US Department of Motor Vehicles
Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association
More Blog Posts:
US DOT Holds Second Annual Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010
Preventing Maryland Car Crashes: State Senate Approves Ban on Reading Text Messages While Driving, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 9, 2011
Maryland Lawmakers Want Texting While Driving Ban to Block Drivers From Reading Messages, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 20, 2010

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A jury has found Jorida Davidson guilty of negligent homicide, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene after a crash in the DC car accident that claimed the life of Kiela Ryan. The 24-year-old traffic crash victim died after Davidson, struck her just south of Dupont Circle on October 7, 2010. October 7 just south of Dupont Circle. The Chevy Chase driver then fled the hit-and-run crash site.

Prosecutors had accused Davidson of driving drunk when she hit Ryan, who was emerging from a parked car at the time. Meantime, Davidson’s lawyer argued that she wasn’t inebriated when the collision happened. They also say that she did not report the DC pedestrian accident because she was suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and amnesia—a fallout from watching her dad die from a heart attack, her mother succumb to breast cancer, and growing up in war-torn Albania. When police later found her SUV, Davidson was slumped in the driver’s seat. She also failed two sobriety tests.

Washington DC Car Crashes

According to, the family of Julia Bachleitner is suing Chamica Adams for DC wrongful death. Bachleitner, a Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies student from Austria was killed last September in an Adams Morgan pedestrian accident. The 26-year-old student’s family is seeking $20 million from Adams, who was drunk when she drove a car into a group of graduate students. Other defendants include the bar that served Adams alcohol prior to the deadly collision and her mother.

At around 8:30pm on September 8, 2010, Adams, who was making a left turn, drove over a traffic island to accidentally struck Bachleitner and another woman. She then crashed the vehicle into an empty restaurant. The other woman, Melissa Basque, suffered a concussion with a brain bleed, teeth loss, facial fractures, and a compound leg fracture.

Police say that Adams’s blood-alcohol level was almost two times the legal limit. The 24-year-old Mitchellville woman had consumed alcohol at the District Lounge and Grille right before the DC pedestrian accident. The Washington Times reports that there is security footage from the club showing her consuming several drinks and then stumbling out of the place. The C. Fields Group LLC, which owns the bar, is also a defendant in the Washington DC wrongful death case.

Two Voice of America journalists have filed a Washington DC personal injury case against Joy Ellen Mullinax, who is an FBI employee. They claim that she struck them during a hit-and-run accident on March 23. The plaintiffs, William Greenback and Thomas Bagnall, are each seeking $1 million.

According to the men, on the morning of March 23, Mullinax pulled up behind them as Bagnall was unloading equipment from their SUV that was outside the National Press Club. Greenback was sitting in the driver’s seat.

In their DC car accident complaint, they claim that Mullinax yelled and blew her horn. When Bagnall told her to drive around them, she allegedly accelerated her vehicle, striking Bagnall. Greenback then got out of the SUV and yelled at her to stop. Mullinax allegedly moved her car toward Greenback, pinning him between her car and another vehicle, stepped on the gas again, and hit him with her auto. This caused him to land on the roof of her auto.

DC officials are kicking off their Street Smart campaign this spring to combat last year’s increase in pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Last year there were 83 cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in the Washington region—a 9% rise from the year before. This year, at least four people have died in DC pedestrian accidents.

More DC pedestrian and cyclists facts as reported in The Washington Post:

• There were 436 DC bicycle accidents in 2010.
• The number of bicyclists and pedestrians hit last year was 25% higher than in 2009.
• Ambulances answered 1,299 pedestrian collisions calls in 2010.
• 16 of the DC traffic fatalities were bicyclists or pedestrians.
• The intersection of Howard Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE saw the most number of DC pedestrian accidents—13—with 1 of the victims dying.
• The intersection of New York Avenue and North Capitol Street saw 12 Washington DC pedestrian accidents.

• 11 Washington DC pedestrian injuries were sustained at the Seventh and H streets NW intersection and the H and North Capitol streets N.

Most DC pedestrian accidents take place at intersections when an auto is turning and a person is crossing the street while the “walk” sign is activated. Unfortunately, even if a pedestrian has the right of way, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver has seen him/her.

Pedestrians and bicyclists have little in the way of protection during a DC traffic crash, and the injuries are usually catastrophic. Spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, head trauma, severed limbs, and organ damage can be costly to treat and recover from. Some injuries are permanent.

Our Washington DC pedestrian and bicycle crash lawyers are familiar with the serious injuries can result. For years, we have helped many victims and their families prove liability and obtain the financial recovery that they are owed.

Hopefully, the Street Smart campaign will bring the DC cyclist and pedestrian injury toll down. In addition to new ads, the campaign will include heightened efforts by police to ticket drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who don’t follow traffic laws.

Campaign to protect pedestrians, cyclists as number of crashes in the District rises, The Washington Post, March 30, 2011
Related Web Resources:

District Department of Transportation

Street Smart

More Blog Posts:
71-Year-Old Dies in Hit-and-Run Washington DC Pedestrian Accident, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2010
Washington DC Pedestrian Accidents At Higher Risk of Occurring After Daylight Saving Time Ends, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 5, 2010
68-Year-old Mount Pleasant Woman Killed in Bicycle Accident with DC Guard Truck, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, April 20, 2010

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A DC cop was rushed to the hospital early today after a car on the Key Bridge hit him. At the time, the police officer was investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident. The victim of that DC traffic crash was a pedestrian with a moped. He was hit by an SUV that then fled the scene. The alleged hit-and-run driver was apprehended on Interstate 270.

DC pedestrian accidents usually result in serious injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries can result from the impact of a motor vehicle striking a human body.

Drivers involved in any traffic crash are required to stop at the scene. If someone else was injured, then the driver should call for help.

Hit-and-run driving is against the law. It can also result in deaths of injury victims who may otherwise have survived if only 911 had been contacted right away.

Police officers or any other worker who is injured during a DC pedestrian accident while doing his/her job may have grounds for filing a DC personal injury lawsuit against the negligent motorist. Most employees cannot sue their employers for injuries sustained on the job. This, however, should not prevent them from filing third party lawsuits if other parties involved caused their injury accident.

Serious pedestrian injuries may require surgery, physical therapy, prescription medication, nursing care, and/or rehabilitation and the bills can mount. Our Washington DC personal injury law firm is here to help pedestrians obtain financial recovery for their traffic crash injuries from al liable parties.

D.C. Officer Struck By Car While Investigating Accident on Key Bridge,, February 28, 2011
Related Web Resources:

Metropolitan Police Department

Pedestrian Accidents, Justia
Related Web Resources:
71-Year-Old Dies in Hit-and-Run Washington DC Pedestrian Accident, Washington DC Injury Lawyer, November 18, 2010
Washington DC Pedestrian Accidents At Higher Risk of Occurring After Daylight Saving Time Ends, Washington DC Injury Lawyer, November 5, 2010
Washington DC Pedestrian Accident Involving Alleged Drunk Driver Claims the Life of 26-Year-old Johns Hopkins University Graduate Student, Washington DC Injury Lawyer, September 15, 2010

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According to the Washington Post, one of the reasons that more red-light cameras are being installed in the Washington region is that per a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, between 2004 and 2008 they helped the number of DC traffic deaths at intersections go down by 26%.

Red-light cameras catch drivers crossing intersections when the light is red by taking a picture of them committing the act. Although some people have complained that the cameras are a tool for raising revenue—these cameras generated $7.2 million in revenue in 2000, under $5 million in 2005, and $7.2 million in D.C. in 2009— stopping people from driving across the street when the light is red can save lives. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told the Washington Post changing driver behavior is the goal. She says that traffic deaths in the District went down 50% in four years.

DC Car Crashes

According to a survey conducted last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, although 93% of drivers reported that they believe that if a motorist can stop safely to obey a red light then it isn’t acceptable to run one, 1/3rd of them admitted that they had done just that in the past 30 days. Regardless of whether or not you approve of red-light cameras, it is important to point out that running a red light at an intersection can prove catastrophic should a Washington DC auto accident occur.

Some reasons why people run red lights:
• Speeding
• Distracted driving
• Drunk driving
• Drugged driving

None of these reasons are good enough reasons to get involved in a DC car crash. Not only can injuries or deaths result but the negligent driver could end up in jail.

Use of red-light cameras in Washington area increases, Washington Post, February 23, 2011
Q&As: Red light cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Related Web Resources:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

District Department of Transportation

More Blog Posts:
Baltimore Automobile Accident News: Kent Island Father and Young Son Die in Rte 50 Car Crash, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 22, 2011
Baltimore Car Injury News: Reckless Driving Suspected Injury Accident in Anne Arundel County, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 20, 2011
Baltimore Car Accident News: Maryland Woman Dies; Other Injured in Charles County Traffic Collision, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 18, 2011

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