Pedestrians can sustain severe injuries or even wrongful death in traffic accidents. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, your first priority should be getting medical care. Then you should take steps to recover the damages resulting from your accident through compensation.
Figuring out your financial recovery for your medical bills, lost income, and other financial losses can be frustrating without the help of a lawyer. The insurance company may also make you a lowball offer that doesn’t fully cover your economic and non-economic damages.
The Illinois pedestrian accident attorneys at the law firm of Nessler & Associates can help you calculate your costs and take on the insurance company so you can return to your normal life.
What Are Some Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Your lawyer can investigate the cause of your pedestrian accident and identify who the liable party is since various factors may have contributed to its cause. Here are some common factors involved in pedestrian accidents in Illinois.
Over 75% of pedestrian accidents happen in dark conditions. Pedestrian fatalities are more common between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. than at other times of the day.
Alcohol is a significant contributor to auto accidents involving pedestrians. Nearly 47% of pedestrian deaths involve alcohol consumption by either the driver or the pedestrian.
In the United States, there was a 4.8% increase in accident fatalities involving pedestrians in 2020 from the year before. One reason for these deaths is an increase in distracted driving. The use of smartphones, eating, and grooming take attention away from focusing on the road, resulting in distracted driving accidents.
When negligent drivers performing left-hand turns are focused on approaching traffic, they may not notice people crossing the intersection before turning. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, improper left-hand turns are one cause of all motor vehicle crashes. In addition, the failure to yield was a factor in over 48.6% of fatal accidents involving pedestrians in 2019.
Speeding not only violates traffic laws; it is also reckless driving. Excessive speeding through intersections and running red lights may result in pedestrian accidents and the risk of severe injuries.
In parking lots, pedestrians may have to deal with a high level of danger. If a driver is not paying attention while backing up, they can cause a pedestrian crash. This type of collision is very hazardous for children, who may be too short to be visible to drivers.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are more at risk of suffering injuries from accidents than drivers. When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian can experience three different impacts: the car’s bumper, the hood and windshield, and the road.
There are various types of pedestrian accident injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
These accidents usually result in head, legs, and pelvic injuries for adult pedestrians. A leg or knee injury can result in life-long disabilities, whereas a head injury is more likely to cause serious complications that require long-term care.
Determining Liability After a Pedestrian Accident
In general, all drivers must have a duty of care to watch out for pedestrians on the roads. Pedestrians usually have the right of way while crossing. Drivers have to watch out for pedestrians from a distance and take safety precautions to avoid hitting them.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident with another vehicle, you must prove the other party’s negligence. If the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, the driver’s bar could also be held liable under Illinois’s dram shop liability law.
An experienced pedestrian accident attorney knows Illinois pedestrian laws, so they can identify every party that may be held liable and all sources of compensation.
Illinois Law Protects Pedestrians
Illinois has several laws designed to protect people when crossing streets near motor vehicles. These Illinois Motor Vehicle laws help prevent pedestrian accidents:
Walking on the roadway
Pedestrians are expected to use sidewalks when available. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians can walk on the shoulder of the road. In two-way traffic, pedestrians should always walk as close to the outside road’s edge as possible, facing oncoming traffic.
Crossing at crosswalks and traffic signals
Pedestrians are required to use crosswalks or traffic signals appropriately. When a pedestrian uses a crosswalk, the driver must yield the right of way. If necessary, drivers must slow down, change lanes, stop, or do whatever else is needed to allow the pedestrian to cross safely.
Crosswalks with no traffic signals in place
If the crosswalk’s traffic lights are out or inoperative, drivers must yield to pedestrians walking there. However, pedestrians must not leave a curb or a safe place and walk into the path of a moving vehicle that is close enough to cause a threat.
Crossing outside of marked crosswalks or intersections
If a pedestrian crosses a road in a location other than a marked crosswalk, they must give right-of-way to all incoming cars. Failing to do so may make you share liability for the accident.
You Can Still Pursue a Claim, Even if You Were Partly at Fault for the Accident
Although your actions may have contributed to the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law adopts a comparative fault doctrine when determining fault in personal injury cases.
Under this law, an injured party may only recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the injury. If they are found 50% or more liable for an accident, they are barred from monetary recovery.
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can identify the percentage of liability in an accident by reviewing the evidence so you can achieve maximum compensation.
What Should You Do if a Car Hits You While You Are Walking?
No matter how minor you believe your injuries are, you must always call 911 for emergency medical attention; getting medical attention is your priority because internal injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or organ damage, may not immediately show symptoms.
Treatment of your injuries protects your health and your right to financial compensation. The following steps can help you further bolster your pedestrian accident claim.
Obtain police reports
The police will speak with you upon arrival at the accident and write a police report. When you talk with the police, explain the accident, including the other driver’s actions and how it occurred.
Remember to stick to the facts, and do not let your emotions take over and pass blame or admit fault. The police will let you know when to pick up your police accident report from the police station so you can review it and give it to your lawyer.
Collect evidence from the accident scene
If you can, take accident scene photos and videos with your smartphone. Include the weather, road conditions, and debris that could have contributed to the motor vehicle accident in your photos.
There may have been security cameras at nearby businesses that caught your accident. Pictures of security cameras will let your lawyer know who to contact to get video footage.
Gather contact information
If possible, obtain the name of the driver, their license number, insurance information, and their contact information. In case the driver flees the accident scene, try to remember the details of their car, including the color, make, and model.
If anyone witnessed the accident, ask them if they will provide their testimony and gather their contact information.
Contact your auto insurance company
If you have auto insurance, get in touch with them right away. Even though you were a pedestrian, Illinois auto insurance requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage in the event of a hit-and-run driver or if the driver had no auto insurance. This coverage pays for your injuries caused by the driver.
Do not discuss the case with the other driver’s insurance company
If the driver’s insurance company reaches out to you, you should not speak at length with their insurance adjuster. They may use your statements against you if your case goes to court.
If you are offered an insurance settlement, do not sign any paperwork. Simply ask the insurance adjuster for their contact information and claim number. Your lawyer can act on your behalf to speak with the insurance company at length.
Save and document your recovery process
Keep a journal of how the accident affected you physically and emotionally. Save copies of your medical bills and related out-of-pocket costs.
If you had to take time off to recover, collect your pay stubs to show your wages before your injuries. All these pieces of evidence can prove the economic losses you suffered after the accident.
Contact an experienced car accident lawyer
Once you have had medical treatment, speak to a personal injury attorney with experience in pedestrian accidents to file your accident claim. They can review your medical records, photos, videos, and other documents to understand the facts of your case and determine liability. The lawyer can approach businesses to ask for their video footage to see the accident in detail.
You may file a legal claim against the at-fault party and their auto insurance company on your lawyer’s advice. Having an attorney handle the insurance negotiations on your behalf will ensure you receive a fair settlement from the insurance adjuster.
What Type of Compensation Can I Recover for Injuries Related to a Pedestrian Accident in Illinois?
An injured pedestrian may be entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries and related financial losses.
Economic damages may include the following:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Ambulance costs
- Loss of income
In addition to economic damages, there can be non-economic damages:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
When determining the value of your case, you need to consider future costs associated with your injuries. The personal injury claim you file should seek compensation for medical expenses you expect to incur due to your or your loved one’s injuries. You should also seek to recoup the lost income you otherwise would have received if you were not in the accident.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths and Serious Injuries?
When walking down the street, our focus is often on where we’re going and not on the drivers around us. While this may not be a problem in a quiet neighborhood, it can lead to an accident when you’re in a high-traffic area and about to cross the street.
However, there are things that pedestrians can do to protect themselves and their legal rights.
Review your insurance policy
Check your insurance policy for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Make sure you get the highest limits for this type of coverage to cover all your medical expenses.
When you can walk on the sidewalk, do so. If there are no sidewalks available, walk facing traffic. Drivers may not expect someone to be walking along the side of a road but facing them makes it easier for you to see them approaching and avoid a collision.
Stay alert at all times
Pedestrians should make sure they don’t get so engrossed in their phones or conversations that they lose track of their surroundings.
Obey traffic signs and signals at intersections and crosswalks
Never assume that a driver will stop for you because you have the right of way on the street. Cross streets at corners, using marked crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.
Wear bright clothing
Be visible to motorists by wearing bright-colored clothing during the day and reflective materials at night or in low-light conditions. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark so motorists can see you from far away.
Contact Our Dedicated Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Contact the Illinois pedestrian accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates today if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident. Our personal injury lawyers can assess your case, develop a legal strategy, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today to book a free case evaluation at 800-727-8010.