Does Illinois Law Protect Pedestrians in Crosswalks?
Yes. Illinois has granted broad protections to pedestrians in the form of rules imposed on motor vehicle drivers. Generally, the law puts the onus on those operating cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles to avoid colliding with persons traveling on foot in most circumstances.
Illinois statute requires motorists to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian” (625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1). The state legislature has further refined the responsibilities of drivers when they encounter a pedestrian at a marked crosswalk, where they must yield to the pedestrian. This means they must slow, stop completely, or do whatever necessary to allow the person to go through the crosswalk.
Here is what Illinois law specifically says about pedestrians' right-of-way at crosswalks:
- When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
- No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
- Paragraph (a) shall not apply under the condition stated in … (b).
- Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
- Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.
(625 ILCS 5/11-1002)
There are other ways in which Illinois law protects pedestrians, but this is the overall framework: Drivers must exercise care when walkers are present and yield to them where appropriate.
The law also imposes some responsibility on pedestrians to avoid being struck. Pedestrians must obey traffic signals, yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing a road outside of a marked crosswalk or intersection, and must not cross intersections diagonally unless permitted by traffic-control devices (625 ILCS 5/11-1003).
How can Pedestrians Protect Their Rights Following an Accident?
If you are involved in an Illinois pedestrian accident, you must first seek immediate medical attention and make sure the doctors who treat you document your injuries extensively. If an insurance adjuster for the driver who hit you attempts to contact and question you, avoid answering any questions about the incident or your injuries, and most importantly, avoid signing any document they present to you.
Second, you should seek the counsel of a qualified Illinois personal injury attorney and have them deal with the insurers. Once you have retained legal representation, cease all communications with the defendants, their lawyers, representatives, insurance carriers, or any of their agents. This will protect you from any attempt by the defendant to diminish your claim for damages. Your attorney can advise you whether it is in your best interests to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver or their insurer, and can make sure such lawsuit is filed within the two-year Illinois statute of limitations to bring a claim for personal injuries.
Want to Know More About how Illinois Law Protects Pedestrians?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped hundreds of injured pedestrians in Illinois get the financial recovery they deserve. We can do the same for you. We work on contingency, so you don't pay us a dime unless we obtain compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.