Illinois Pedestrian Accidents Lawyers
The number of pedestrian deaths on America’s roadways has risen significantly in recent years. According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 6,283 people died in traffic accidents as a pedestrian in the United States in 2018. This number is the highest it has been since 1990. Approximately 4% of the pedestrians killed that year were children.
The Illinois pedestrian accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are ready to help you seek financial compensation to recover your medical expenses, hospital costs, and other losses. Our law firm represent accident victims throughout Illinois, helping them pursue their personal injury case or wrongful death lawsuit. We can help your family too!
The law clearly states that pedestrians maintain the right-of-way over cars and trucks on Illinois roadways. Evening cases when a walker or bicyclist does not clearly have the right-of-way, the judicial code could hold the motorist legally liable if they failed to notice the pedestrian and caused a collision.Common Causes of Illinois Pedestrian Accidents
While every accident involving pedestrians is unique, certain aspects tend to be involved in most cases filed for compensation in Illinois. The common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- A Lack of a Sidewalk – Pedestrians crossing in areas without a designated sidewalk could be at risk of being hit by a car or truck swerving out of the driving lane.
- Distracted Driving – A pedestrian accident can happen quickly when the motorist is operating their car or truck distracted while on the phone, using GPS, turning the radio station or speaking with passengers in the vehicle.
- An Unmarked Crosswalk – Marked crosswalks create a defined area that is easily recognized by pedestrian and motorists. Unmarked crosswalks fail to warn motorists that there could be pedestrians in the area. The driver in areas without crosswalks could fail to observe walkers, bicyclists, and others attempting to cross the street.
- Driving under the Influence – The use of drugs or alcohol can impair a motorist’s ability to operate their vehicle safely to ensure they avoid hitting and injuring or killing pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Driving in Reverse – A high percentage rate of pedestrian accidents are the result of the motorist driving in reverse. Backing up can impair the driver’s view and cause them to miss seeing pedestrians and bicyclists crossing behind the car or truck. Many pedestrian accidents involving small children are injured when a vehicle is backing up.
- Insufficient Lighting – Areas that are not well-lit create a dangerous scenario, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists wearing dark clothing.
Any time a pedestrian suffers injury or dies in a car accident caused by the negligent actions of another, the victim or their surviving family members can demand financial compensation. Pedestrian accident victims are usually entitled to various damages to recover compensation due to the harm they have suffered. Economic losses and non-economic damages that can be obtained through an insurance claim or jury trial award include:
- Medical Expenses, Hospital Bills, and Cost of Surgery – Typically, the injured victim suffering catastrophic injuries require ongoing physical and occupational therapy, prescription medications, and medical equipment/prosthetics.
- Lost Earnings – If the pedestrian victim is of working age, they can lose wages and earnings due to their temporary or permanent injuries. A financial claim for compensation can help recover money lost due to missed work.
- Diminished Earning Capacity – Accident injuries causing extensive disabilities that prevent the victim from going back to work or performing prior duties can have a devastating financial impact on the family. The victim could receive money for what they would have earned had they been able to maintain their job if the accident not occurred.
- Loss of Quality of Life – The physical, mental, and emotional injuries associated with the accident could cause significant negative consequences to the victim and their family. Any disability or disfigurement that prevents the victim from accomplishing normal activities and daily tasks should be compensated for through a claim or jury award.
Any pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle must protect their rights to ensure that they get the maximum compensation they are entitled to receive under the law. The following steps should be taken as quickly as possible after the accident.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention – Receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis can help improve the victim’s chances of recovery and provide a detailed timeline prognosis on how long it will take to recover fully. A competent professional medical team should adequately document all the victim’s injuries. The attorney will use this information to help strengthen the case.
- Call the Police – Even if the victim thinks their injuries are not severe, it is crucial to make a report by local law enforcement. In the weeks after the accident, it is vital to obtain a copy of the accident report that may have assigned responsibility (fault) of the accident. Getting a police report is especially important if the driver received a traffic violation citation or was arrested for a criminal offense.
- Gather Evidence – If possible, take the time to collect all valuable evidence obtained at the scene of the accident. Someone should take photographic evidence and capture essential elements, including traffic control lights, road signs/painted street lines, skid marks, and the position of the car or truck involved in the accident. Additionally, take notes on all aspects of the accident scene including lighting in the area, the condition of the road, and a description of the weather at the time the accident occurred.
- Keep A Diary – the victim will likely be going through physical and emotional changes in the weeks and months after the accident. Keeping a diary or documenting all the physical, mental, and psychological effects of the injury that likely changed the victim’s life can be an invaluable tool to help strengthen the case.
- Hire an Attorney – Resolving an Illinois pedestrian accident case can be challenging. A lawyer working on behalf of the victim can ensure their rights are protected, prevent him or her from making statements that might be used against them, and calculate the fair and full financial amount they likely deserve to recover their damages.
Typically, the insurance company representing the motorist who caused the accident will approach the victim and offer a fast settlement to resolve the case. However, it is crucial to speak with an attorney before signing anything. Usually, the initial settlement offer by the insurance company is far less than the amount the victim deserves. Generally, the offered settlement amount will not completely cover every damage, loss, or future expense to ensure a full or partial recovery. An attorney can explain all the victim’s legal rights and options on moving the case forward.
Additionally, the victim only has a certain amount of time before they lose their right to file a claim for compensation. Based on the aspects of the case, the law will follow the statute of limitations for all documents, and paperwork must be submitted to start the process before the time expires.Practical Steps Pedestrians can Take to Increase Their Safety
The NHTSA offers essential pedestrian tips to ensure your safety when near or on the road. These safety tips include:
- Be predictable to oncoming traffic by following rules, obeying signs, and observing signals.
- When available, only use the sidewalk when walking by a road.
- In areas without a sidewalk, walk while facing oncoming traffic and remain far away from moving vehicles as possible.
- Always remain alert to avoid becoming distracted when using electronic devices. Keep your eyes on the road.
- Wherever possible, use a crosswalk when moving across the street or at an intersection. These marked areas are where motorists expect pedestrians to be.
- When using a crosswalk, look out for vehicles in every direction, including those turning right or left.
- If there is no intersection or crosswalk, cross the street only in well-lit areas that provide optimal views of oncoming traffic. Take the time necessary to ensure there is a gap in traffic that offers enough time to stay safe. Continue looking in all directions for oncoming traffic while crossing.
- Even when you can see oncoming traffic, do not assume that the motorist can see you. Take the time necessary to make eye contact with the motorist while they approach to ensure they can see you.
- Always take steps to remain as visible as possible. You can take steps to increase the motorist’s visibility by wearing bright clothing during daylight hours and reflective clothing at night. Use a flashlight in the dark.
- Watch out for any vehicle that enters or exits the parking lot or driveway.
- Avoid using drugs or consuming alcohol while walking. These substances can quickly impair your ability to make rational decisions and alter your judgment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers tips to drivers on how to improve safety awareness when pedestrians are around. The steps include:
- Always look out for pedestrians that are walking or standing on or by the roadway. Drivers must share responsibility for pedestrian safety.
- When seeing a pedestrian in or crosswalk or while turning your vehicle, be prepared to stop or slow down to ensure the pedestrian remains safe.
- Use additional caution when operating a vehicle and hazardous situations, including during inclement weather or at night.
- Yield to anyone walking or standing in a crosswalk and stop your vehicle far back from the crossing to provide other cars and trucks a view to see the pedestrian so they can react appropriately too.
- Never pass a car or truck that is stopped in a crosswalk because pedestrians in the area might not be in your view.
- Do not operate your vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Always follow the speed limit, especially when pedestrians are in or around the roadway, crosswalk, or sidewalk.
- Travel at a slower speed when moving through a neighborhood or school zone where children might possibly be in the area.
- Remain extra cautious when driving the car or truck in reverse to ensure pedestrians are not in your path.
If you suffered an injury in an Illinois pedestrian accident, you are likely entitled to receive financial compensation through a jury trial award or personal injury claim. It is crucial to quickly pursue monetary recovery to ensure you can get your life back on track as fast as possible.
Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 today to discuss your legal options. Let our attorneys use our years of experience to fight for you and your family and obtain the justice you deserve. All our cases are handled through a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case by winning at trial or settling out of court.
Click on the links below for additional information on pedestrian accidents in some major cities in Illinois.