Chicago, and Illinois as a whole, can be a dangerous place for anyone who travels on the roads. However, people on foot are especially vulnerable and many seek help from Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers after they become involved in accidents. As of June 16, 2020, Illinois had recorded 341 fatal crashes for the year. These resulted in 273 fatalities and 58 of the victims were pedestrians. This highlights the fact that pedestrians are more likely to be killed or injured in an accident than other road users.
There are several reasons for this. One is that pedestrians are at risk almost everywhere they go. Whether they’re on the roadside, a sidewalk, crosswalk, train crossing or bike trail, they can be struck by a vehicle. To compound matters, almost every other road user puts them at risk of an accident. When pedestrians get struck, they are also at greater risk of serious injury.
Unlike other road users, they don’t have barriers, seatbelts, airbags or even helmets to protect them. The human body wasn’t designed to withstand the impact of thousands of pounds. Pedestrians also suffer because they often can’t react quickly enough to avoid a crash. In contrast, motorists and bicyclists can sometimes brake or swerve to avoid getting struck.
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you may be worried about how you’ll pay your medical bills. You may be concerned that you can’t return to work just yet. Your quality of life may have declined drastically because of your injuries. If someone else’s negligence led to your situation, they should have to compensate you for all the resulting losses.
However, getting compensation is often difficult so you’ll need to seek advice and representation from experienced Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers. At TorkLaw, we’re here to help you recover the damages to which you’re entitled.
Common Causes of Chicago Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers have a duty of care to other road users, including pedestrians of all kinds. Unfortunately, they often fail to keep an eye out for the most vulnerable individuals: motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Drivers who break the law are especially likely to put the lives of pedestrians in jeopardy.
Some of the main reasons pedestrians get struck are:
- Poor visibility. When it’s dark or foggy, it can be difficult for drivers to spot pedestrians even when they’re being vigilant. If the pedestrian is wearing dark clothing it can be even harder to spot them.
- Drunk or drugged driving. Motorists continue to get behind the wheel when they are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Even though they may think they can drive safely, their reaction times, judgment, and depth perception will be impaired. If a drunk driver hit you as you made your way around the city, you’re entitled to compensation.
- Drivers making left turns. Left-turn accidents are common, and they are dangerous. Drivers who are turning left often don’t see the pedestrians in their path or they see them when it’s too late to avoid a crash.
- Distracted driving. Many drivers try to multitask. They take their eyes off the road to respond to messages or answer the phone, believing that it’ll just take a few seconds. Unfortunately, a few seconds is all it takes to get into an accident.
Types of Injuries Pedestrians Sustain in Chicago Car Accidents
Since there’s nothing to protect any part of the pedestrian’s body, they can receive multiple injuries including:
- Lacerations and contusions
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damages
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal bleeding
These injuries often require long periods of hospitalization and ongoing treatment or therapy. Some pedestrians are never the same again. The more serious your injuries are, the more you’ll be able to claim in compensation. However, you’ll need to prove that the driver was either completely at fault for the accident or least more responsible than you were. You’ll need to rely on Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers at TorkLaw for help with this.
The Impact of Contributory Fault on Pedestrian Accident Cases
Pedestrian accident victims often worry that they may not be able to get compensation because of their own actions. Maybe they were jaywalking when they got struck or they were walking and texting. If someone contributes to their own injuries, it can affect their ability to gain compensation or the amount of compensation they can get. However, this doesn’t mean that the driver won’t be held liable. Two parties can, and often do, share liability.
Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks. If traffic signals are functioning at marked crosswalks, pedestrians must follow them. If there are no signals or they’re not functioning, the right-of-way depends on where the pedestrian is positioned. Under Illinois’ traffic laws, drivers should yield to pedestrians who are on the half of the road on which the vehicle is traveling. They should also yield when the pedestrian is so close to that half of the road that they would be in danger. An exception is made when there’s a pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing in place. In such a case, the person on foot must yield. When pedestrians are crossing in areas other than crosswalks, they generally must yield to vehicles.
If you failed to yield the right of way when you should have and a speeding driver hit you, you would likely be held partly responsible for your injuries. The insurer or the court will assign each party a percentage of fault. Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence system. As long as you were less than 50 percent responsible, you would be able to claim compensation. However, the amount you receive would be reduced by your percentage of fault. Our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers will help to ensure that you’re not unfairly blamed.
Contact the Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at TorkLaw For a Free Consultation
If you were struck by a vehicle as you made your way around Chicago, our attorneys can help you to get compensation. These cases can be complex, but we have the skills and experience to fight for you. Book a free consultation today and benefit from our legal expertise. If you choose to hire us, you won’t have to pay any fees upfront.