A skateboard rider who was hit by a car while crossing the road last month in Montgomery County has succumbed to his injuries. The now fatal pedestrian collision happened on Montrose Road at Evelyn Drive on Friday, November 27. The 1st and 2nd District officers and Fire & Rescue personnel responded to a report of a collision at around 10:10 pm.
Alberto Barreto, 15, of Rockville, was crossing Montrose Road while riding a skateboard when he was struck by a 2012 Prius. Najeem Amin, 47, of Dumfries, Virginia, was traveling west on Montrose Road when he collided with Barreto close to Evelyn Drive.
Barreto, who was transported to a local hospital where he was being treated for life-threatening injuries, died last weekend. Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police continue to investigate the collision.
Contributory negligence and assumed risk
Maryland is one of only four states and Washington, DC, that still recognizes the legal principle of contributory negligence as a negligence defense. Most states adhere to the doctrine of comparative negligence, in which the injured party can recover compensation determined by a percentage of blame they share in an accident.
Contributory negligence, on the other hand, will not award damages to the victim if his actions contributed to the accident, regardless of the extent of his injuries or if the court finds his activities or presence even marginally responsible for what happened.
Where a judgement of comparative negligence might find the skateboard rider 20% at fault for having entered the street outside a crosswalk and given him a partial award for damages, in Maryland that small portion of negligence on his part will prevent him from recovering any damages.
The other legal doctrine that works against an accident victim in Maryland is the assumption of risk. The defendant in a negligence suit can argue that the injured party knew the inherent dangers of engaging in a particular activity, and so must have assumed the risks that were part of the activity. A skateboarder who entered the street assumed the risk of being hit by a car.
Seeking compensation after a serious accident
Although many personal injury cases are settled out of court, the victim or his family can pursue a negligence or wrongful death suit if the insurance company or other party does not agree to a fair settlement. It is important to find an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the laws and will fight for you to get the maximum compensation for your claim.