Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in many cities. Unfortunately, the number of pedestrian accidents is rising, and it’s not getting any better. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019.
- Why Pedestrian Accidents Occur
- When a Pedestrian Accident Occurs
- What Legal Rights Can I Pursue?
- Crosswalk Injury Accidents
- Illinois Law Protecting Pedestrians in Marked Crosswalks
- Traffic Safety Facts – Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities
- What Causes Pedestrian Accidents in Crosswalks?
- Is a Pedestrian Ever at Fault If They Were Hit by a Car?
- What Is a Pedestrian’s Percentage of Responsibility?
- What Is a Driver’s Percentage of Responsibility in a Crosswalk Accident?
- How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents at Crosswalks
- Laws Do Not Prevent Accidents Where Pedestrians Are Injured or Killed by Inattentive Drivers
- Chicago Crosswalk Accident Lawyers Helping Pedestrians Recovering the Cost of Injuries & Medical Expenses
- Hiring Chicago Crosswalk Accident Attorneys
Were you hurt in an accident caused by another’s negligence? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers are legal advocates for surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident.
Contact a Chicago crosswalk accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Why Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Pedestrian accidents are a serious and growing problem in the United States. In 2016, 4,977 pedestrians were killed, and an estimated 66,000 were injured by motor vehicles on roads across the country.
Despite these statistics, pedestrian safety is often overlooked as a public health issue because it doesn’t receive much attention from government officials or media outlets.
Data reveals that pedestrian accidents occur most often when one of the following occurs:
- A vehicle turns or enters a crosswalk at an intersection. It can be due to distractions inside the car, such as using a cell phone or applying makeup while driving
- A pedestrian steps into an intersection without enough time to clear the crossing before it’s too late
- A vehicle turns too quickly to avoid a collision with another car and hits a pedestrian instead
- A pedestrian crossing the road against a traffic signal, jaywalking, walking outside of a designated crosswalk crossing, or crossing traffic in the middle of the street
For these reasons, pedestrians must do everything they can to safeguard themselves against motor vehicles, including using crosswalks properly and staying alert for risky actions from drivers whenever crossing the road.
However, statistics show that thousands of pedestrians die every year in car accidents. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 alone.
These accidents could have been prevented in many cases if either party had been more responsible and less distracted during their commute. Unfortunately, a driver is usually at fault for failing to yield or stay aware of a pedestrian’s presence in most pedestrian accidents.
When a Pedestrian Accident Occurs
If someone is hit by a car or truck, it can be life-threatening. People struck by a motor vehicle suffered blunt force trauma, striking various internal organs and bones.
The resulting injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury: Approximately 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities involve TBIs.
- Spinal cord injuries: Due to the significant force during a crash, pedestrians are often thrown into the air or slammed onto the roadway by an impact. It can cause damage to the spinal cord, resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Skull fracture: The skull is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body to serious injury during an accident, particularly if the head strikes the windshield or another part of the vehicle’s interior.
- Broken bones: When struck by a car or truck, mobs can sustain fractures in any number of places. These injuries may not be immediately apparent until after x-rays are taken later.
- Crush injuries: If pedestrians are caught underneath the vehicle during a collision, they may suffer severe muscle and tissue damage, leading to serious infections when blood can’t reach the affected areas.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, we realize that this type of information doesn’t make it any easier for you or your family following an accident involving a motor vehicle.
However, if someone you love was killed in a pedestrian accident, you need to know what legal options may be available to help you seek justice and resolve your case.
What Legal Rights Can I Pursue?
A personal injury claim can provide monetary damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses that result from an accident.
If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian-vehicle collision, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. This type of claim is filed in civil court and does not involve criminal charges.
Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit takes time and requires specific requirements and steps to be taken. To get started with your claim, please call our legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today for a free consultation.
We are on your side and will work hard to ensure that the negligent party is held accountable for its actions. We have recovered over $250 million in damages for injured clients across Chicago, including more than $10 million in pedestrian accident cases.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to start your personal injury or wrongful death case.
Crosswalk Injury Accidents
Pedestrians rely on crosswalks to give them safe passage across streets, expecting drivers to respect the painted lines that outline a path between curbs.
Unfortunately, the law is almost always on a pedestrian’s side in traffic accidents involving motor vehicles hitting a pedestrian. As a result, law enforcement usually determines the person on foot has the right-of-way when in a designated crosswalk.
Yet regardless of the law, thousands of pedestrians are killed every year. In addition, thousands of more pedestrians are injured while crossing those magic-painted lines.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC helps people injured in Chicago crosswalk accidents get compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers are dedicated to your success and only charge a fee when we recover compensation for you from a driver or another party responsible for your accident.
We offer free case reviews, and our personal injury lawyers are happy to meet with you at our office or your home.
Illinois Law Protecting Pedestrians in Marked Crosswalks
Although most urban crosswalks are outlined at intersections, there do not need to be painted lines to make an area a crosswalk. Designated crossing places and most intersections are crosswalks.
According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, a crosswalk is defined as:
“That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway, and in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the highway, that part of the highway included within the extension of the lateral line of the existing sidewalk to the side of the highway without the sidewalk, with such extension forming a right angle to the centerline of the highway.”
Illinois law gives pedestrians the right-of-way at a designated crossing area under most conditions. However, the vehicle code also elaborates on the following points:
- When traffic controls are not working or in place, drivers must yield to pedestrians when they are in a crosswalk on their side or lane of the roadway or approaching it
- Vehicles may not pass another vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Vehicles should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing whenever stop signs, flashing red signals, or a marked crosswalk (as outlined in Section 11-904)
Traffic Safety Facts – Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. have grown at an alarming rate over the last decade, increasing by nearly 50 percent while overall traffic deaths decreased during that same period.
In 2016 alone, 4,977 pedestrians were killed, and an estimated 66,000 were injured by motor vehicles on roads across the country. This statistic represents about 16 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that only 6.3 percent of U.S. roads are marked with crosswalks, while drivers expect to see them at every other intersection they approach.
Crosswalk accidents are rising because pedestrians are forced into unmarked areas, which is often dangerous and unsafe due to high-volume vehicle traffic.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents in Crosswalks?
While speed limits have been traditionally established for vehicles, a pedestrian’s risk of being hit by a vehicle is higher at lower speeds. In fact, as both drivers and pedestrians, we tend to overestimate our ability to cross safely at higher speeds.
Approaching vehicles are by far the largest risk to pedestrians walking in crosswalks. When an approaching vehicle is speeding or fails to yield, it represents a significant danger for pedestrians trying to cross the road. Similarly, when drivers are distracted behind their wheel, they are more likely to miss seeing pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk. In most cases, drivers are at fault.
In some states, such as Colorado and Arizona, statistics show that most accidents occur due to driver inattention – not road design or vehicle speed. In Illinois, accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians occur for a variety of reasons – including, but not limited to:
- Failure to yield: Both drivers and pedestrians play a part in keeping themselves safe on the road. Someone who fails to heed signs and crosswalk markings puts themselves and other drivers at risk for a pedestrian accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI): Even one drink can cause drivers to slow their reaction time and make it harder for them to see pedestrians on crosswalks.
- Road rage: Someone angry about another driver’s actions (such as jockeying for position) may pay less attention, leading to a pedestrian accident that would not have occurred otherwise.
- Distracted driving: A person texting, dialing a number, putting on makeup, or any other activity that takes their mind off the road can be a significant hazard to pedestrians.
Is a Pedestrian Ever at Fault If They Were Hit by a Car?
According to our injury attorneys, the injured party could be found completely or partially at fault for causing the traffic accident that led to their injuries.
In Illinois, a pedestrian injured in a crosswalk accident will have their percentage of responsibility calculated based on the type of intersection when the accident occurred.
If a pedestrian crossed at an unmarked or uncontrolled intersection, that person was 100 percent responsible for being hit by a car. So, it is because pedestrians should only cross where it is safe to avoid oncoming traffic when crossing the street.
However, suppose a pedestrian crosses using a marked crosswalk. In that case, the car driver must obey the posted speed limit signs and yield to pedestrians before entering or crossing at a sign-marked or signal-operated intersection.
If the driver did not obey these road rules, they were 75 percent responsible for the accident. If both parties were at fault, they were each responsible for the accident equivalent to their percentage of responsibility.
What Is a Pedestrian’s Percentage of Responsibility?
Pedestrians generally can recover damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering when motorists fail to follow state traffic laws that require them to yield to pedestrians. In Illinois, being involved in an accident as a pedestrian involves four possible scenarios:
- You are crossing with a green light or walk signal: Then you have the right of way, and it is a driver’s responsibility to stop their vehicle and not enter the crosswalk until you have safely crossed in front of them
- You are crossing in a crosswalk that has traffic signals: Then drivers must always obey these signs by stopping for a pedestrian who has entered the intersection when their light is red, yellow, or a walk signal is on, even in areas where pedestrian access is prohibited
- You are crossing without a crosswalk: Drivers must yield the right of way to a pedestrian in unmarked intersections either by stopping for them or by slowing down in case they need to stop suddenly in front of them
- You fail to stop for oncoming traffic while crossing the street: Many traffic crashes that are the result of driver negligence led to pedestrian deaths or serious injury when the motorist fails to follow traffic laws
Our personal injury attorneys know that many intersections throughout Illinois, especially in dense urban areas, have video cameras capturing moving traffic, bicyclists, motorcycles, and pedestrians.
We often obtain video recordings as evidence to show exactly what happened and why the driver was at fault for hurting the pedestrian.
What Is a Driver’s Percentage of Responsibility in a Crosswalk Accident?
The percentage of responsibility assigned to a driver involved in an accident with a pedestrian is usually significant. At the same time, this factor will often play into whether the party at fault is charged criminally for their negligence.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), many people crossing the road or parking lots are unaware of their surroundings while looking at electronic devices. Often, they failed to alert drivers of their presence.
How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents at Crosswalks
Although it may not always be possible for drivers and pedestrians to see each other as they approach crosswalks, there are some precautions that both populations can take to help avoid accidents:
Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians in crosswalks. Even if it appears they have the right of way, you can’t take anything for granted. Driving slowly and using extra caution while approaching a crosswalk will prevent most accidents from occurring.
Pedestrians should be especially cautious when crossing streets at unmarked intersections because both drivers and other pedestrians may not expect them to be there. Even if a crosswalk is available, it’s safer to cross at an intersection where you have control over your surroundings rather than forcing drivers to slow down while approaching a crosswalk.
When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied pedestrian safety on roads with four or more lanes, 22 percent of pedestrians struck in crosswalks had the right-of-way. Therefore, to stay safe, pedestrians need to continue paying attention while crossing even when they have the right to defend themselves and claim their safety if necessary.
Laws Do Not Prevent Accidents Where Pedestrians Are Injured or Killed by Inattentive Drivers
Although the law protects pedestrians in a crosswalk in Lake County, Cook County, and Chicago areas, this does not prevent or stop pedestrian accidents.
In 2017, there were 37,133 pedestrians killed in the U.S. in traffic accidents, including 5977 victims of pedestrian accidents. The Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation released 2019 statistics revealing sixty-six pedestrian fatalities that year, compared to eighty-seven fatalities the year before.
A vehicle weighing several tons that hits a person with no protection at a pedestrian crossing the street can result in severe injuries or wrongful death. Broken bones, spinal injuries, brain trauma, and many other serious injuries have plagued these victims of crosswalk accidents.
Chicago Crosswalk Accident Lawyers Helping Pedestrians Recovering the Cost of Injuries & Medical Expenses
Individuals hit by the driver of a vehicle and injured in a designated crossing area have the legal right to seek a legal remedy. The most common recourse is to file a pedestrian accident case claim with the driver’s insurance company.
Since these accidents often cause serious injuries, the victim’s medical bills, lost income, and other costs can be substantial. In addition, there may be long-term costs as well for years of medical treatments, therapy, and other recovery expenses.
Crosswalk accident victims must have a personal injury lawyer on their side to ensure that they receive adequate and fair compensation to recover their expenses. In some circumstances, the driver flees in a hit-and-run accident or does not have adequate insurance to cover all the damages.
In these cases, an experienced traffic accident lawyer can help victims pursue claims filed with their insurance company for uninsured or underinsured motorist claims.
Hiring Chicago Crosswalk Accident Attorneys
Chicago’s Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents pedestrians injured in accidents throughout Chicago, in Illinois, and nationwide. Before talking with an insurance company about a pedestrian crossing injury or fatal accident, please speak with our law firm for immediate legal advice during an initial free consultation.
Let our personal injury attorneys discuss your situation on a contingency fee agreement, including your injuries and legal options, without any cost or obligation on your end.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757! Contact us for additional information on how to recover compensation, protect your legal rights, hold the negligent driver responsible, and the Illinois statute of limitations.