Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injuries or death in a collision with a motor vehicle. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our team of Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers is well-versed in pedestrian accidents. It is our mission to protect your rights, hold those who caused you harm accountable, and pursue compensation for your injuries to the fullest extent of the law. If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, speak with an experienced Chicago pedestrian accident attorney.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that in a recent year, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. In the state of Illinois alone, as reported by the Illinois Department of Transportation, 843 people were killed and 4,749 were injured in pedestrian accidents in the most recent year for which statistics are available.
How Can a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help?
Pedestrian accidents can become incredibly complex. You will be dealing with insurance companies and possibly even legal teams that do not want to make a large settlement payout. A Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer is going to be the person to ensure you are treated fairly throughout this entire process. Your attorney will:
- Obtain all of the evidence from the incident. This can include police reports, video surveillance, photographs from the scene, eyewitness accounts, and more.
- Ensure you are evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can attest to the cause and severity of your injuries.
- Work to calculate your total economic losses by obtaining your medical bills, proof of lost income, necessary home and vehicle modification bills, and more.
- Work to calculate your total non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and mental anguish damages.
- Negotiate with all parties involved in order to reach a fair settlement, but be ready to go to trial if necessary to secure the compensation you truly need.
Recovering Damages for Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians injured in traffic crashes may recover damages if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Negligence involves doing (or not doing) what a reasonable person in a similar situation would do to protect others from the risk of harm.
To show negligence in a pedestrian accident case, the plaintiff (injured party) must prove the defendant (responsible party):
- Owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff
- Breached that legal duty through action or inaction
- Caused the accident or injury
- Harmed or injured the plaintiff as a result
Who Can be Held Liable After a Pedestrian Accident?
There are various people that can be held responsible for a pedestrian accident injury.
Vehicle drivers have a duty to care. They are responsible for driving safely and obeying all traffic laws. This also includes driving with extra vigilance when there are pedestrians nearby. For example, if a driver sees someone that could fall off of the sidewalk, but continues to travel at the posted 30 mph, they could be held liable if they did not slow down. The argument here is that any normally cautious person would slow down in similar circumstances. When a driver fails to exercise a duty of care and strikes a pedestrian, they can be held liable for any pedestrian injuries they cause.
A pedestrian can be held liable for an accident if they act in a way that makes it impossible for someone driving in a normal, cautious manner to avoid a collision. This could include a pedestrian purposefully jumping in and out of traffic, walking in an area off-limits to pedestrians, or walking along a freeway at night while wearing dark clothing.
There are times when government agencies or other entities could be held liable for a pedestrian crash. This could be the case if pedestrian crosswalk lights are out of order and have not been repaired, if a sidewalk is in ill-repair and causes the pedestrian to fall and get struck by a vehicle, and more.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Most car accidents are preventable, and pedestrian accidents are no different. When we look at statistics of pedestrian versus vehicle collisions, we can see that many of these incidents are caused by:
- Distracted driving. This can include drivers who are talking or texting on their cell phones, sending or reading emails, eating in the vehicle, adjusting the radio, putting on makeup, and more. Distracted driving is dangerous driving.
- Impaired drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the leading causes of traffic accident fatalities in Illinois.
- Driving too fast for conditions. A driver does not have to be going over the speed limit to be driving too fast for conditions. In many cases, traffic conditions or weather necessitate slower driving. Pedestrians who are struck by fast-moving vehicles will likely suffer severe injuries.
- Turning without looking. Whether due to inattention or bad driving habits, many drivers do not check their surroundings before they turn.
- Turning without signaling. Drivers often turn without signaling their intent to do so. This can lead to confusion for other drivers and pedestrians in the vicinity of the vehicle.
- Not stopping at crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right to cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections. In many cases, these crosswalks are controlled by lights that all drivers and pedestrians must obey. In other cases, there are no lights, but drivers are required to stop to allow pedestrians to cross.
Factors that Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents in Chicago
GHSA reports that over a decade, pedestrian fatalities increased by 27%, while all other types of traffic deaths decreased by 14%.
Under the law, pedestrians must exercise reasonable care for their own safety. In some cases, pedestrians may contribute to accidents by:
- Darting in front of a vehicle
- Failing to comply with “walk” signals at intersections
- Failing to use marked crosswalks
- Entering and disrupting the flow of traffic
Driver negligence causes a large percentage of pedestrian accidents. All drivers must exercise reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle, and failure to do so is negligence. Drivers have a special duty of care under the law when operating a motor vehicle around children, as they are smaller, less visible, and less predictable than adults. Common ways in which negligent drivers cause collisions with pedestrians include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Distracted driving
- Failure to obey traffic signals and signs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to signal when turning
- Disregarding traffic or weather conditions
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in Illinois
Pedestrian accidents happen with regularity throughout Illinois and Chicago. When we look at the data from the latest reporting year in Illinois provided by the state Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 4,940 total pedestrian crashes. Out of those, there were:
- 148 fatal crashes reported
- 4,663 injury crashes reported
Looking closer at the statistics from the latest year of reporting from Chicago, we can see that there was a total of 2,712 pedestrian accidents reported. Out of those incidents, there were:
- 37 fatal crashes reported
- 2,604 injury crashes reported
A high percentage of pedestrian crashes result in an injury or a fatality. It is not uncommon for our Chicago injury attorneys to see the following injuries as a result of these incidents:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures or dislocations
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Significant disfigurement
- Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities
These injuries often require extensive medical intervention in order for a victim to make a full recovery. If a victim is unable to work while they recover, their lost income could jeopardize the financial livelihood.
What to do if You’re Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, there are steps you can take to both ensure your well-being is taken care of and that you preserve evidence for a possible lawsuit.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Even if you do not feel injured after an incident, please know that many pedestrian accident injuries do not show signs of symptoms until hours or even days after a crash. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the longer your recovery will take. By seeking medical help immediately, you are also establishing a clear link between the crash and your injuries.
Document the Scene and Keep All Information
Take photographs at the scene if you are able to. This includes damages and injuries, possible causes of the crash, and more. Get the names of all witnesses to the crash, as well as insurance information for all parties involved.
Get Copies of the Accident Report
Ask the Chicago Police Department or the Illinois State Police for a copy of the accident report. In most cases, police perform an investigation at the time a pedestrian crash occurs that will outline what they believe happened and who they believe was at fault in the crash.
Report the Crash to Your Insurance Company
Even if the other driver is at fault in the crash, you should report it to your insurer. This is especially true if you will need to file a claim with the carrier if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident or the driver was uninsured or underinsured.
Keep a Journal
Write down what happened in the accident and keep track of how your injuries are affecting your life. This includes how your injuries are affecting your work and home life.
Seek Legal Assistance
Get a pedestrian accident attorney involved early in the process. This will help ensure you do not make any statements that can be used against you during the settlement process. A Chicago pedestrian accident attorney will handle all communications with other parties involved.
Holding Responsible Parties Accountable in Chicago Pedestrian Accidents
Our Chicago pedestrian injury lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are tough legal advocates for injured people. We obtained what was the largest verdict for a personal injury claim in Illinois history.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, then schedule a consultation with an experienced Chicago pedestrian accident attorney. We can thoroughly investigate the accident, access the full extent of your injuries, and aggressively pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.