Drivers carry a great responsibility to ensure the safety of pedestrians, even if they are not acting in a responsible manner themselves. Nobody wants to live with the death or permanent injury of another person on their conscience, which is why drivers should always offer the right of way to pedestrians under all circumstances. The Chicago pedestrian injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers protect the rights of those individuals who have been harmed or killed because of the actions of a negligent motorist and believe that understanding the causes of pedestrian injuries will help others avoid these tragic accidents.
The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Injuries
The NHSTA estimates that 70,000 pedestrians are injured and 4,000 are killed every year in auto related accidents. Pedestrians are far more likely to die in accidents than motorists, motorcyclists or bicyclists, which is why it is important for drivers to do whatever it takes to notice and avoid them on the road. Pedestrians share responsibility in a lot of accidents too, however, and must exercise appropriate caution and common sense. Here are the most common causes of pedestrian injuries our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers have noticed.
- Left turning drivers— if you didn’t know that left turns are one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers, you are not alone. It is a surprising revelation that left turn accidents are both common and extremely dangerous to everyone involved. This is because it is easy for drivers to misjudge the speed and distance between their vehicle and others. The majority of pedestrians struck by left turning drivers are never seen. The driver may be in a hurry to make the light or, in some cases; the pedestrian may be running across the street at the time that the driver turns.
- Pedestrians not crossing at crosswalks— jaywalking can be extremely dangerous, especially if a pedestrian enters the street from between parked vehicles. It is much safer to cross at a marked crosswalk or controlled intersection and drivers may be excused from liability if you cross in front of them at an undesignated crossing area.
- Distracted driving— the last decade has seen amazing advances in safety technology and more drivers are being made aware of common dangers on the road. The number of accidents occurring does not reflect these changes, however, and this is due to a rise in distracted driving. Technology has also afforded many more people an opportunity to multitask behind the wheel, and taking their eyes off the road for a few seconds to respond to a text message or pick up a phone call can result in an accident.
- Distracted walking— pedestrians themselves may be tied up in their mobile devices and not paying attention to where they are walking. The use of cellphones, iPods, tablets and other mobile devices can make it more difficult for pedestrians to hear or to see where they are walking. Some accidents are the result of a pedestrian stepping into the street while looking down at a phone or not hearing the car that is approaching when he or she chooses to cross.
- Reduced vehicle noise— hybrids and electric vehicles do not make nearly as much sound as vehicles with combustion engines and many newer cars have technology that will cut off their engines while they are stopped. This can make them unnoticeable where they once made distinct sounds in the past and pedestrians that forget to look in all directions before crossing the road never hear or see the vehicle before their accident.
- Poor visibility— weather, nighttime and dark clothing can all make pedestrians difficult to detect for even the most vigilant of drivers. If you are planning on walking in heavily trafficked areas, you can do drivers a favor and reduce your chances of being in an accident by wearing bright colors or carrying a flashlight. According to the NHSTA, 50% of pedestrian accidents occur on the weekend and 70% occur at night, so anything you can do to make yourself more visible will help ensure your safety.
- Drunk driving— nearly one third of all traffic related fatalities are due to drunk driving and there is little that you can do to prepare for a driver who is under the influence. Drivers who harm others due to their careless choices should be held fully accountable for their actions.
- Main thoroughfares— busy streets with high-speed limits can be very dangerous for pedestrians in the city. There is no avoiding these streets as many people use them to access public transportation such as buses and trains in order to get to their destinations. Any time there is an increase in the volume of traffic; more accidents are likely to result.
- Rolling stops— drivers who are in a hurry may roll their stops and fail to look for pedestrians before entering the intersection. This is solely the fault of the driver, who failed to follow the law by not coming to a complete stop.
- Speeding— speed is one of the factors in many accidents, including those involving pedestrians. Drivers who are driving well past the speed limit have less time to react in the event that a pedestrian crosses their path. Even if the pedestrian acted negligently, the driver can be held accountable if he or she drove in excess of the posted speed limit.
- Illegal passing of a school bus— drivers who pass school buses dropping off children don’t only risk a hefty penalty, but may also threaten the lives of the children who are exiting the bus and crossing the street.
Even though it is possible for a pedestrian to be negligent, the rule that the passenger always has the right of way should be exercised in order to prevent causing serious harm to others. You can sleep easier at night having taken the time to slow down for pedestrians than you would if you ever seriously injured someone— regardless of who was at fault. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in an accident with a negligent driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and other related expenses.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped countless clients move forward with their lives following tragic accidents by pursuing the maximum amount of compensation available on their behalf and assisting them in accessing the medical treatment and rehabilitative therapy they required to tend to their physical needs. Seeking legal representation shortly after you have been injured will allow your attorney to gather the evidence needed to build a solid case, so contact us today to learn more about your rights and schedule a free consultation.
Our Chicago pedestrian injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis so that we are able to offer premium award winning services to anyone regardless of their means or financial situation. You will never be asked to pay a fee upfront or otherwise for our services and we will only be paid after we have secured damages on your behalf. Schedule your free consultation today so that we can answer your questions, perform a detailed investigation into your matter and review your legal options with you in the setting of your choice.