Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is hurt in a traffic accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between 2001 and 2009, nearly 1,700 people were killed in Illinois in pedestrian accidents. Thousands more were injured. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on roads today, and the most likely to suffer catastrophic injuries in the case of an accident.
Common injuries associated with pedestrian traffic accidents include broken bones, brain and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis. These cases may also result in wrongful death. There are many laws in place to protect pedestrians from drivers. For example, drivers must give the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street in a marked crosswalk.
Despite this, drivers regularly injure or kill pedestrians throughout Illinois. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian traffic accident, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as possible to gain legal assistance and guidance about your accident and your eligibility for compensation.
Vehicle Speeding Plays a Major Role
According to a study by the Division of Trauma in Los Angeles, California, both speed and the age of the pedestrian are linked to the severity of the injury and the survival outcome. In 2007 alone, 170 people were killed in pedestrian-related accidents in Illinois, with 49 pedestrian fatalities just in Chicago. Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, but higher speeds often used in rural areas rather than city streets means that one third of pedestrian fatalities happen in rural settings. Even small increases in speed can cause more serious injuries or even death. This is just one of many factors that must be evaluated in a pedestrian traffic accident case.
Cause of Pedestrian Accidents in Chicago
The Chicago Department of Transportation released a study in 2011 that showed alarming trends in the types of pedestrian accidents in the city. Most accidents were caused by drivers who refused to yield or stop for pedestrians. • 48% of accidents were caused by drivers failing to yield. • 33% were hit and run accidents. These accounted for 40% of the fatal pedestrian traffic accidents, which is more than twice the national average. • More than 50% involved a turning vehicle. A vehicle turning left accounted for most of the accidents.
Legal Protections for Illinois Pedestrians
A new law in Illinois requires drivers stop for pedestrians within confines of a crosswalk. Formerly, state law required drivers only yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. This law applies to all intersections. Pedestrians have the right of way as a necessity, as vehicles can do significant damage to a person even traveling at low speeds. Despite this, drivers may still try to sneak through crowded crosswalks or drive fast through neighborhoods with a great deal of foot traffic.
Understanding Pedestrian Accident Cases
If you were hurt in a traffic accident, you may recover damages for the injuries you sustained if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Negligence refers to failure to do or not do something that a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. To establish someone was negligent in a pedestrian accident, you and your attorney will need to prove the other person at fault:
- Owed you a legal duty under the circumstances,
- Breached this duty through their conduct or action, or a failure to act,
- Caused an injury or accident that involved you, and
- Harmed you as a result. In some cases, more than one party may be legally responsible for the accident. This may include the driver that hit you and the party responsible for maintaining the roadway, parking lot or sidewalk where you were injured. Common factors contributing to driver negligence include:
- The driver was not paying attention or pre-occupied
- The driver did not observe posted speed limits
- The driver did not yield the right of way to the pedestrian at a marked cross walk
- The driver disobeyed traffic signs
- The driver did not signal while turning
- The driver did not consider traffic or weather conditions
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
What to Do If You Were Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Those responsible for your injuries may try to blame you for the accident, claiming your negligence was the cause. If you have been involved in a pedestrian traffic accident:
- Contact the police immediately
- Do not leave the scene until help arrives
- Get names and contact information for any witnesses
- Do not make statements to anyone
- Contact a qualified, experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to a pedestrian traffic accident. Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-¬fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.