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School Zone Pedestrian Accident Attorney: Chicago, Illinois

pedestrian-accident-school-zone-lawsuit-chicago-illinois In 2019, there were over 2,000 pedestrian-related injuries and deaths in the United States alone. Most of these accidents occurred near schools and at school zones during the morning or school hours when children walked to and from school.

Was your child injured in a school zone accident while walking or cycling on the sidewalk or road? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for young pedestrians injured or killed through another's negligence.

Contact a Chicago, Illinois pedestrian accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) 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.

Illinois implements school zones to alert drivers of the presence of young pedestrians coming and going to school. The zone promotes a safer environment for them to travel through.

Some motorists do not respect school zone laws, while others are distracted behind the wheel. As a result, over 25,000 children suffer injuries each year in school zone auto accidents, and these incidents cost the lives of 100 innocent pedestrians annually.

We owe it to our children to teach them how to safely travel when walking near or crossing roads and slow down and pay attention when cars are in a school zone.

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent children and adults hit by vehicles in Chicago school zones. We invite you to discuss your school zone pedestrian accident case with a lawyer who has experience winning these cases.

The consultation is free, and there is a fee charged only upon a successful outcome for you. While our firm is headquartered in Chicago, our injury lawyers represent clients across Illinois and nationwide involved in a school zone accident.

The Importance of School Zone Laws & Regulations

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, school zones and school crossing regulations were implemented to enhance the safety of children while they go to and from school. However, when these precautions are not followed, tragic accidents involve pedestrians who get hit by vehicles.

The following areas are designated as school zones:

  • Around schools before and after normal operating school hours
  • Near bus stops where students get on or off of school buses
  • Around senior citizen homes

The importance of these regulations and laws is spelled out in the Illinois Vehicle Code: 625 ILCS 5/11-1407. When pedestrians are present, the law states that drivers must bring their vehicle to a complete stop before entering a crosswalk and remain stopped until any pedestrian has completely crossed the road.

This law is enforced around Illinois schools, making it illegal for drivers approaching a school zone crossing to pass another vehicle that has stopped letting young pedestrians pass. Drivers caught breaking this law can be fined up to $150 and receive three penalty points on their license.

Negligent drivers could also be jailed for up to 30 days or charged with a petty offense, especially if ticketed for reckless driving.

Drivers should always be aware of young pedestrians in school zones who might be on the road, on the sidewalk, or even crossing at designated crosswalks where they are not allowed to do so. In addition, it is very difficult for drivers to see small children when backing cars out of driveways in residential areas, so extra care must be taken.

Drivers can avoid pedestrians' accidents by slowing down in school zones and looking out to protect children instead of chatting or texting on a mobile device while behind the wheel.

Impact on Child Pedestrians

When drivers are distracted, they are not aware of where they are going or what is happening in the vicinity. As a result, innocent children are seriously injured or killed when hit by vehicles in school zones.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that over 1,500 child pedestrians suffer severe injuries each year. One hundred teenagers lose their lives out of these numbers while trying to get to and from school every year safely.

Of the total number of children involved in accidents in school zones, 11% are between 3-5 years old, 16% are 6-8 years old, and 28% are 9-12. The percentage of student pedestrian accidents is highest during weekdays at noon when many adolescents walk home for lunch or hail a ride.

Drivers who are not paying attention may not notice children crossing the road, and this lack of awareness can result in a tragedy. If your child was involved in an accident while trying to cross the street or enter or exit a school bus, you have legal options to hold the driver responsible for their negligent actions.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident

If you or your child was involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver fled the scene, you should take photographs of the scene and any skid marks left by tires. You should also get contact information from anyone who saw what happened, including any other drivers present at the scene, and information from people walking in the area.

As soon as possible after an accident, you should get checked out by a doctor to determine if any injuries need immediate attention. Once your health is stable, you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney about your legal options. You can use our free case evaluation form to get started today.

Only after an attorney has represented an individual can they sign a release of liability, if required. This document may be presented to the insurance company so that the at-fault driver's insurer can begin making payments for medical expenses and other accident-related costs.

Distracted Drivers Are a Major Factor in School Zone Accidents

Nearly seven in ten surveyed motorists admitted distracted driving while on a phone call, text message, or electronic device. In addition, distracted drivers are three times as likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident.

Studies have likened driving while speaking on a cell phone or sending a text message to drunk driving car accidents. However, drivers who consumed alcohol tested better on a road course than those driving while using a cell phone.

How distracted driving can contribute to an accident include the following:

Distractions make it more challenging to be aware of the surroundings. For example, an at-fault driver might not be aware that they are in a restricted zone before involvement in an emergency with a child pedestrian.

Distracted drivers may drive at unsafe speeds or be unaware of speed limits. The reaction time of a distracted driving time runs parallel to that of an intoxicated driver or operating a vehicle while fatigued.

Texting or dialing a phone forces the driver to take their eyes off the road. When it takes to check a text message, type a response, or dial a phone number, a child could pass in front of a vehicle.

Distracted drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks close to school zone and shopping centers. An at-fault driver might not be able to stop in time before hitting a child.

Cell phones are not the only distractions that endanger drivers and pedestrians—eating, applying makeup, smoking, tuning radios, yelling at children, or checking on pets while behind the wheel also pose dangers to everyone on the road.

Although some motorists assume they can manage these secondary behaviors while driving, they put themselves and others at risk for an accident. Therefore, we encourage all drivers to avoid these distractions while driving safely to reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in a school zone accident.

Who Is Liable for School Pedestrian Accidents?

Even young children have rights that those responsible for their safety on or near roads must be upheld. Failure to do so leads to preventable tragedies that leave parents searching for answers, medical expenses piling up, and families traumatized by the loss of a child.

Negligent motorists can be held liable for damages caused in school zone accidents. For an injured person to win compensation, they must prove that another party was at fault and that the accident was due to this person's careless or reckless behavior.

Proving Fault in a School Zone Pedestrian Accident

The prosecuting party must establish that an accused individual acted negligently concerning their duty of care. Some examples of negligent actions include:

Drivers who speed through school zones fail to stop at crosswalks for pedestrians, make abrupt turns without first scanning the road and oncoming traffic, and tailgate other drivers are more likely to cause a collision.

Drivers who violate school zone rules by passing buses on either side or blocking traffic while dropping off students may have an accident involving children.

Drivers who do not exercise due care in driving around pedestrians, obey crosswalks and stop sign laws, and abide by posted speed limits greatly lower their chances of becoming involved in a school zone accident.

Comparative Negligence: Contributing Factors to School Zone Pedestrian Accidents

In cases where more than one party contributed to the collision, juries typically determine the percentage of fault for each party. Thus, for example, a driver found 60 percent liable for causing a collision may still recover damages from an at-fault party found to be 40 percent responsible.

For instance, an individual crossing the street during rush hour at sunset while wearing dark clothing might contribute to their injuries in a school zone accident if the other driver was traveling the speed limit and obeying other school zone laws.

In some cases, a pedestrian or bicyclist may be partially at fault for causing an accident with another individual if they jaywalked without proper surveillance of oncoming traffic. Other examples include:

  • A child darting into the street across from an elementary school where no crossing guards, rails, or crosswalks exist
  • A parent allows a child to walk home from school alone without looking both ways first
  • A driver stopping at a green light with oncoming traffic proceeding through the intersection despite the lack of a crosswalk

While comparative negligence may determine responsibility for accidents between two parties, gross driver negligence typically results in full liability. It is most common when a negligent driver is operating under the influence and causes a collision.

What to Do After an Accident Involving Pedestrians

Were you involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death? If so, it is essential to remain calm, call for emergency assistance if necessary, move vehicles out of traffic lanes if possible, and avoid leaving the accident scene.

It is critical to make written records of your accident as soon as possible, taking care not to alter your notes over time. Be sure to take down names, phone numbers, and addresses for passengers, witnesses, and other parties involved in the collision. Also, try to get photos of any damage done before moving vehicles or waiting for police.

If you were not responsible for causing the accident, you may file a claim with your insurance company and arrange to have repairs made through them.

When all other forms of compensation fail or do not provide sufficient funds for injury recovery, you can pursue legal action against those accountable for your damages. Keep in mind that it is possible to win money damages without filing a lawsuit.

Educating Children on Dangers Will Reduce School Zone Accident Rate

Most young pedestrians are ignorant of or do not understand traffic laws in rural and urban areas. Educating children on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tools on pedestrian fatalities has proven to save lives.

Teaching pedestrians the value of obeying rules at stop signs, traffic signals, school buses, and crosswalks can stop fatal accidents caused by the school bus driver or car driver's negligence.

When speaking with your child about safe travel, it is essential to cover these critical areas of focus:

  • Where and how to cross the street safely: Most children follow traffic control devices or the instructions of crossing guards. However, they should be encouraged to perform a scan of their surroundings before crossing the street. As a bus driver would, children should look to the left, back to the right, and to the left one additional time before crossing. All crossings should be made at a crosswalk.
  • Many motorists are distracted or in a hurry: This lack of attention means that children should be instructed never to assume that motorists are aware of their presence or that the car will stop. Instead, look the driver in the eyes and wait for a vehicle to come at the stop before walking. This action can help to avoid a pedestrian accident with a serious injury.
  • Other children may not be educated on pedestrian safety: Children should not merely be aware of themselves but of others around them. They should intervene if another child is about to be placed in harm's way. Children should not endanger themselves to do so, but when possible, they should prevent others from walking in front of moving vehicles and crossing where they shouldn't.

The Illinois Department of Transportation implemented restricted school area zones to provide young pedestrians safe passage from their homes to school. However, most parents and children incorrectly assume that the road crossing zones work as they were designed. Not everyone follows the rules. Taking a proactive rather than a reactive approach is best to avoid serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident.

A Driver's Responsibility

Pedestrians who are aware can avoid the dangers they may encounter to and from school each day. Additionally, it is vital to review your driving habits to determine whether you contribute to the problem or are a part of the solution.

Use these final tips as a guideline:

  • Always assume that children are around and be prepared should a child run into the street behind a building or object obstructing your view.
  • Slowly driving will improve your reaction time and reduce potential injuries if you are involved in an accident.
  • Stay alert when around school buses. Remember the basic rules that the school bus has the right of way.
  • Turn off your electronic devices and cell phone while you drive. The phone calls and text messages can wait, mainly if the delay in responding saves a life.

Every motorist must protect children and avoid accidents in school zones. Unfortunately, studies show that the most common causes of school zone accidents result from driver negligence. In many cases, school zone accidents are catastrophic, even if the motorist was within the speed limits at the collision.

Illinois Law Regarding Drivers in School Zones

There are inherent dangers of having large numbers of children and vehicles around a school and school bus. The Illinois law section of the Vehicle Code addresses how drivers proceed in school crossing zones to minimize motor vehicle accidents.

"On a school day when children are present and so close to that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of the motorized traffic, and when the traffic control signals are not in place or not 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 motor vehicle traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger." 625 ILCS 5/11-1002.5)

Seeking Financial Compensation

Was a loved one injured in a crossing zone or school bus accident that required medical attention in the United States? Was the victim transported to an emergency room for serious injuries? Did their severe injuries caused by a negligent driver result in a wrongful death?

Are you facing substantial medical expenses from a motor vehicle accident? If so, the victim or surviving family member might be entitled to receive financial compensation paid by an insurance company or trial award.

Were You or Your Child Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in a School Zone?

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has successfully represented children and young adults who have been hit by cars, school buses, and other types of vehicles in the Chicago area. Call Jonathan Rosenfeld anytime (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. Also, speak with a pedestrian accident attorney who has worked on cases similar to yours.

Your personal injury lawyer will provide immediate legal advice on how to move your case forward. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures that you pay for our personal injury services only after securing compensation on your behalf.

We will obtain monetary compensation through a trial or a negotiated settlement with the defendant's insurance carrier. Additionally, we will seek to recover your medical bills, lost time away from work, pain, and suffering.

Contact us for more information on Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, school bus accidents, truck accidents in school crossing zones, and dealing with the insurance carrier.

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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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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