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A Walk on the Sidewalk: Pedestrian Danger Zone

A walk on the sidewalk may seem harmless enough in most situations, but there can be hazards, and the source of danger may not be what you expect. Traffic accidents often spill from the road onto the sidewalk, and overall, thousands of pedestrians are injured every year in these types of traffic accidents. It is critical to understand that some areas are less safe to walk than others, and that accidents can happen even on a sidewalk.

Pedestrian accidents can happen when drivers are not careful in a variety of situations, such as:

  • Failing to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Backing out of parking spaces in parking lots
  • Speeding in residential areas where there are children playing
  • Turning right on a red light, and not looking for pedestrians in the crosswalk

Safe to Walk on the Sidewalk? Not Exactly:

For example, in April of 2012 at least 10 people were injured after a three-vehicle accident spilled onto the sidewalk in Midtown, New York City. “A police spokesman said that shortly after 9 p.m. a black Jaguar heading westbound on 42nd Street struck a gray Chevrolet Impala waiting at the traffic light. The impact caused the Impala to swerve into a taxicab with two people inside. The Jaguar then lost control, careering into a bustling sidewalk, striking at least four pedestrians before rolling onto its side and hitting a tree.”

In another example, an 8 year-old boy became an unfortunate victim of a recent chain-reaction crash in Chicago that ended with a vehicle careening onto the sidewalk and striking the boy. The injuries the boy sustained eventually led to his death.

Finally, two Clearwater women were injured on June 1st while standing on a sidewalk at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Tampa Road when a car veered off the highway and hit them. The driver, a Clearwater resident, was driving his 2006 Ford Fusion north on U.S. 19. When traffic ahead of him slowed, the driver didn’t slow down in time and veered onto the road’s shoulder to avoid hitting cars in front of him, the Highway Patrol said.

These types of disturbing reports are not common, but they show that we are not necessarily immune to pedestrian traffic accidents even when we walk on the sidewalk.

Pedestrian accidents can result in injuries such as fractures (broken bones) that require surgical repair, head injuries, back & neck injuries, and in some cases death. These tragic accidents can cause pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, disfigurement, loss of normal life, and many other losses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a pedestrian is injured in an accident every 8 minutes in the United States, and that there is a pedestrian fatality every 113 minutes. In 2007, 4,654 pedestrians were killed and around 70,000 were injured. 171 of those fatalities were here in the State of Illinois, and 49 pedestrian fatalities were in Chicago. Further, it was recently reported by the Illinois Department of Transportation that in 2008 there was a dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in Chicago, rising to 56 in 2008.

A walk on the sidewalk may seem like a harmless activity. Many people listen to music or talk on their cell-phone, but it is important to be aware of traffic even when in the seemingly safe to walk zone of the sidewalk. If you have been struck and injured it is possible that you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and their consequences.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer now.

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