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Pedestrian Accident FAQ

When a motor vehicle collides with a person walking on foot, the consequences are often catastrophic. Victims of some of the worst pedestrian accidents don’t survive, and survivors can face a myriad of life-altering injuries, ongoing medical expenses, and months or years of being unable to make a living while in recovery. 

They also must often deal with insurance companies unwilling to provide adequate coverage to ensure they receive needed care and physical therapy.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people who have suffered pedestrian injuries in motor vehicle collisions, construction accidents, and other types of negligence. 

Our legal team has assembled answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning pedestrian accidents, which we hope will help injured individuals and their families make an informed decision about their legal options.

Chicago Pedestrian Accident lawyer

What are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

The most frequent causes of a pedestrian accident in Illinois are failure to yield; intoxication and alcohol use; emotional distress; poor visibility; roadway interference; running out into the road; crosswalks; roadway interference; and bad weather.

What are the Most Common Injuries Suffered by Pedestrians Hit by Vehicles?

In the pedestrian trauma cases our law firm office handles, we continually see similar injuries sustained by our clients who were struck by a motor vehicle, like these:

  • Bone fractures including broken ribs, legs, arms, and other broken bones caused by impact with a truck, car, or motorcycle.
  • Spinal cord injuries where a piece of the backbone is ruptured, damaged, or jolted out of place from impact. Typically, these injuries result in severe pain and loss of muscle function, and can even lead to partial or complete paralysis.
  • Traumatic brain injuries that can leave the victim with severe, life-altering disabilities affecting hearing, vision, cognition, motor function and behavior.

What is the Likelihood of a Fatal Accident involving a Pedestrian?

Each year, a little more than five thousand pedestrians die in accidents which is about 2 for every one hundred thousand people. 

Pedestrians are one and a half times more likely to die in a crash than passengers in a vehicle.

Do Illinois Drivers Owe Pedestrians Special Duties Especially in Crosswalks?

Yes, there are several laws to protect people crossing streets and people in close proximity to motor vehicle traffic. The following summarizes the main rules from these laws from the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code to prevent traffic accidents involving pedestrians and crosswalks.

  • Drivers must stop when people are in crosswalks or on school days when they enter/leave a school zone. Drivers must also stop if doing so would prevent further injury or accident.
  • Drivers must yield when turning at a red light or intersection; when people are on their side of the road; when foot traffic has the right of way; when people are already in the crosswalk when the light turns green; when people are leaving a driveway, alley, private road, or building; and when yielding would prevent an injury or pedestrian accidents.
  • Drivers must use all due care to avoid pedestrian accidents with people and other vehicles on the roadway. It is incumbent on them to operate their cars or sound their horns to prevent a collision.
  • Illinois law also prohibits drivers from texting and using their cell phone when operating their vehicles.
  • The onus is on drivers to avoid an accident, including pedestrian accidents. When incidents arise, the assumption is that the driver caused it. These laws protect individuals and penalize negligent drivers.
  • When encountering a person at a marked crosswalk, drivers must yield to the individual. This means they must slow, stop completely, or do whatever necessary to allow the person to go through the crosswalk.

Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

In Illinois, whoever did not utilize reasonable care and caution is considered responsible and at fault in a pedestrian accident. This is called negligence.

If you work with a pedestrian accident lawyer or read the rest of this FAQ pedestrian accident set, you can learn more about liability in these situations.

When is it Considered Driver's Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

An insurance company will deem the driver at fault if they initiated the collision due to negligence or willful disregard for the circumstances. 

In that case, you may seek compensation from them for your past medical bills, future medical expenses, and other damages. Contact our law firm office for a free consultation to discuss what you may recover in a case over the phone or in person at our office. We almost always may be able to answer your questions.

When is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident and What Happens if a Pedestrian Caused an Accident?

You may recover compensation for your injuries, even if your actions contributed to your pedestrian crash. However, your damages will be reduced. Illinois applies the doctrine of comparative fault to all personal injury and other tort cases.

Comparative fault means that a person's financial recovery is reduced by the degree to which the plaintiff (injured person) contributed to their own damages.

Further, the injured pedestrian must be 50% or less to blame for their accident in order to recover anything at all. If they are deemed to be more than 50% responsible for causing it, they are barred from any recovery.

For Example: If your case is worth $250,000 and you are deemed to be 25% responsible, you would recover $187,500. However, if you are deemed to be 51% responsible for the crash, you will recoup nothing.

Chicago Pedestrian Accident attorney

What can I do if my Child was Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

The parents of a minor child injured in a pedestrian accident can pursue a claim or lawsuit on their behalf to receive compensation from the responsible party in Illinois.

Here are some other things you need to do to protect his or her rights after an incident:

  1. Try to find out how the event unfolded—weather and road conditions; who was involved; if they were intoxicated; how it happened; etc.
  2. Make sure your child’s medical treatment is carefully documented. 
  3. Finally, contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can initiate the many tasks required in preparation for a lawsuit including investigation, analysis, and correspondence with the applicable insurers and other parties. This will free you to focus your time and energy on taking care of your child’s needs.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if my Family Member was Killed in a Pedestrian Accident?

Yes. After a pedestrian accident death, Illinois law allows the decedent’s next of kin to pursue a wrongful death claim for damages including medical and burial expenses, lost financial support, and loss of companionship. 740 ILCS 180. 

This generally applies to immediate family members such as spouses, parents or children.

The rule is that if the deceased person could have brought an action for their injuries against the responsible party had they survived the accident, then the state allows their next of kin to bring a wrongful death claim for harms that the death caused them.

To see if you can pursue a wrongful death case in Illinois, consider the following questions:

  • What was your relationship to the pedestrian who died?
  • What was the nature of the defendant’s (at-fault driver) involvement in the accident?
  • Did the driver’s conduct cause your loved one’s death?
  • How did the loss of your loved one affect you both financially and emotionally?

What Compensation is Possible in a Pedestrian Accident Case?

The driver who hit and injured accident victims in an incident is liable to the victims for their pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, lost wages, and possibly even punitive damages among other compensation types.

Note, the driver, person, or party at fault for the accident, or even partially so, for the pedestrian accident case must pay this. You may even go after their insurance company or yours if they are uninsured for these sums. 

To learn more about what you could get, talk to a personal injury lawyer in a free case consultation today. In addition to these frequently asked questions, our attorneys can expand on the answers further and may help you get the compensation you deserve.

How Long Does My Lawyer Have to File an Injury Complaint on a Pedestrian Accident?

Your personal injury attorney will likely have a few years, most likely two, to file a case for harms after a pedestrian accident depending upon the type of harm suffered and the specific statute of limitations that applies.

It is critical to meet early with your Illinois accident attorney because there is much to do before that deadline and it can come and go quickly. Plus, certain exemptions or extensions might be relevant so you can figure out exactly how long you have to file in a free consultation.

What Can I Do if the Driver Who Hit Me Did Not Have Auto Insurance?

If you are injured in an accident with a driver who did not have auto insurance, you may make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim under your personal automobile insurance company policy.

When pursuing a UM claim, you can recover the same elements of damages as the law would allow you to receive as if you were pursuing a case against the at-fault party.

There are some procedural requirements with uninsured motorist claims involving hurt pedestrians, so it is advisable to have a lawyer review your auto insurance policy to determine the best course of action. Also, you should never talk to an insurance adjuster without your counsel.

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Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
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Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
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Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa