Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is injured in an automobile accident (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). In the course of a year, automobile accidents involving pedestrians claim almost 5,000 lives and result in 70,000 injuries.
A vulnerable group, significant injuries
Due to the mechanism of automobile accidents involving pedestrians, we tend to see some of the most severe injuries, ones that frequently result in life-long disability. Amongst the injuries commonly incurred by pedestrians involved in car accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
- Joint injuries
In a study conducted by the Division of Trauma in Los Angeles CA, over 5,800 pedestrian accidents were reviewed. The most common type of severe injury to pedestrians was head injuries, flowed by chest, abdomen and then extremities. The study linked both speed and age of the pedestrian to the severity and the survival outcome.
Vehicle Speed Playing a Big Role in Severity of Pedestrian Accidents
In 2007 alone, 4,654 pedestrians were killed and close to 70,000 people were injured in pedestrian-related traffic accidents. More than 170 of those fatalities were here in the state of Illinois, and 49 pedestrian fatalities were in Chicago. The Illinois Department of Transportation reported a dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in Chicago, rising to 56 in 2008.
The majority of pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas, in fact the National Safety Council estimates that 85.7% on non-fatal pedestrian accidents happen in these areas. However, most likely due to the higher speeds that are often used in rural areas versus city streets, 27% of fatalities to pedestrians in 2010 happened in a rural setting. The chance of fatality increases exponentially with speed at which a person is struck by a vehicle. At 20 MPH, the chance of fatality is 5%. At 30 MPH, that chance increases to 45% and at 40 MPH, the chance skyrockets to 85%. Small increases in speed can cause much more serious injuries and even death. Speed is one of the factors that must be looked at when evaluating a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident case.
Pedestrian Accidents in Chicago
In a study released by the Chicago Department of Transportation in 2011, the types of pedestrian-vehicle accidents in Chicago showed some alarming trends. The majority of accidents were caused by drivers refusing to yield or stop for pedestrians.
- 48% of these accidents were attributed to drivers not yielding. It was the highest ranked cause of pedestrian accidents in Chicago.
- 33% of all the accidents studied were hit and run. These also made up 40% of the fatality pedestrian accidents, double the national average. There was an average of 2 hit and run pedestrian accidents per day over a 5-year period in Chicago.
- Over 50% of the accidents involved a turning vehicle. Turning left, versus right, accounted for over double the turning accidents.
Legal protection for pedestrians in Illinois
Unknown to many, a new Illinois law forces drivers to stop for pedestrians within the confines of a crosswalk. The new law is far more restrictive than the former law, which merely required drivers to “yield” to pedestrians within crosswalks. Similarly, the new crosswalk law applies to all intersections, not just those controlled by traffic signals.
Free legal consults for injured pedestrians with respected Chicago accident lawyers
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers’ active involvement in both legal associations and consumer advocacy groups allows us to remain on the cutting edge with respect to new developments in the law and how they may impact our clients.
If you suffered a pedestrian-related traffic injury in Chicago, you may have legal rights to recover for the injuries sustained. The Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents pedestrians in all types of personal injury matters including car accidents, hit-and-run drivers and collisions with commercial vehicles. Our legal consultations are free and we will give you a candid evaluation of your case.
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