Sadly, in the age of all this innovative technology, a new fatal hazard has erupted. Unfortunately, it is a hazard for which there is no third party to pursue in a personal injury or wrongful death case. Today almost everyone owns some kind of portable device such as an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Even owners of standard cell phones and blackberries are culprits. These products allow those who are walking to listen to music, text friends or family, return work emails or play games as well as those running for exercise to enjoy listening to their favorite music. Unfortunately, as people are walking or out jogging, their attention is on their handy dandy electronic device and not on the cars and trucks traveling the roadway. Many are aware of the hazards associated with texting and driving, however, the same dangers are present when texting and walking or listening to music while jogging.
A new study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore shows that the number of pedestrian injuries that have occurred while users listened to their iPods and MP3 devices with headphone has more than tripled in the past six (6) years.
Unfortunately, when you are walking outside while engaged with your electronic device you are not paying attention to the cars and traffic around you. Thus, many pedestrians are struck by vehicles and some are killed as a result of these accidents. The study further showed that two-thirds of those killed in these accident from 2004-2011 were male, under 30 years old.
Sadly, if you are walking with earphones or headphones and listening to music, you may not hear drivers who attempt to honk their horn to warn pedestrians of danger. If you are not paying attention and are struck by a car and sustain injuries, even if the driver was wrong and at fault, you as a pedestrian may be deemed contributorily negligent in the accident because you were unable to hear a car's horn or were not fully paying attention to traffic. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, if you are contributorily negligent and your actions make you as little as 1% at fault for the accident (where the driver is 99% at fault due to speeding or by some other violation), you are forever barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries. Therefore, if you are distracted when you listen to music, text, or play games as you are out and about and get hit by a car, you most likely will not be able to receive any compensation for the medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering incurred as a result of the accident. I hope after reading this, all of you make sure to turn your music down so that you can hear a vehicle's warning horn sound, if necessary. The bottom line is enjoy the convenience that these electronic devices offer us, but please be safe while doing so and do not use any of these devices at the cost of your body or your life.