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​What if I Am Partly to Blame for my Pedestrian Accident?

What if am I partly to blame for my pedestrian accident? The human body is no match for a motorized vehicle of any size or shape. Vehicles are much larger and have the potential to cause much damage. Getting behind the wheel of a car requires practice, skill, and responsibility. These are just some of the reasons why drivers are typically ultimately the responsible party when a pedestrian accident occurs.

Sadly, many pedestrians feel they are to blame after sustaining injuries in an accident with a vehicle, even though the accident was the driver’s fault. Pedestrian accident victims should always meet with a skilled lawyer to have their case reviewed so they can learn more about exercising their legal rights and the compensation they are entitled to receive. Reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer.

Common Pedestrian Accident Scenarios

What if I Am Partly to Blame for my Pedestrian Accident?There are several different types of pedestrian accidents. Unfortunately, many end up as hit-and-run accidents, especially in heavy traffic. When you hire a pedestrian accident attorney, it’s their job to determine how your accident happened and who is liable.

Pedestrian accidents usually fall into one of these categories:

  • Crosswalk accidents: A pedestrian is legally in a crosswalk and a vehicle, for whatever reason, fails to give them the right-of-way, hitting them while they are still in the crosswalk.
  • Parking lot/back-over accidents: A vehicle backs up, such as when pulling into or out of a parking spot, and hits a pedestrian while in reverse. These accidents are common in parking lots when cars often block a driver’s view on either side, and shoppers quickly and consistently walk across parked vehicles’ paths.
  • Loss of control accidents: Sideswiping a pedestrian on a sidewalk or hitting one after losing control of a vehicle is no excuse for injuring a pedestrian. Frequently, these accidents result in a pedestrian being run over and trapped under the vehicle or crushed between the car and another stationary object, such as another vehicle or a building. Loss of control accidents can be the most dangerous to the health and life of pedestrians.

Who Can I Hold Liable for My Pedestrian Accident Injuries?

Generally, the driver of the vehicle that hit you is liable for your injuries. Sometimes other parties can also be liable. For example, if a traffic light malfunctions, the municipality responsible for maintaining it might have some liability. If another driver rear-ended the driver who hit you, they might also be liable. In other cases, commercial drivers and the companies they work for can be liable.

When you hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, they can thoroughly investigate how your accident happened and who might have caused it. If more than one party is liable, they can pursue claims against all of them. This will help maximize your compensation.

The following negligent behaviors can make a driver liable for your injuries:

  • Not stopping correctly at a stop sign
  • Ignoring the traffic lights
  • Distracted driving, such as texting while driving or operating their infotainment system
  • Impaired driving
  • Speeding
  • Other reckless driving behaviors

Insurance companies often divide fault between those parties if more than one party is liable for causing your accident.

The Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

To receive compensation for your damages, you or your pedestrian accident attorney must prove several points. Proving these points requires in-depth legal knowledge and experience, which is why most people hire an attorney to do it on their behalf.

These points include the elements of negligence:

  • Duty of care: The person who contributed to or caused your injuries owed you a duty of care. For example, a driver turning left needs to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, or a bus company needs to vet their drivers before hiring them.
  • Breach of duty: That person or party violated their duty to you in one way or another.
  • Injuries: The breach of duty directly caused your injuries. For example, a truck driver was speeding and caused an accident. You sustained serious injuries in the accident.
  • Damages: The accident and your injuries also caused damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.

Should You Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

Annually, around 70,000 pedestrians and bicyclists suffer injuries or even die on U.S. roadways. Traffic lawmakers intend that motorists with bigger and more dangerous vehicles have more of a duty to keep others safe, which is why drivers are usually at fault for pedestrian accidents.

The law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians and drive safely within the confines of the law. Suppose you suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident. In that case, you can benefit from the services of a compassionate pedestrian accident attorney.

The Benefits of Legal Representation

You may think you don’t have the time or desire to find a pedestrian accident attorney to represent you or that the criminal justice system will provide all you need.

However, an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer offers many benefits, which include:

  • Speaking to and dealing with claims adjusters, other parties, insurance companies
  • Managing your medical creditors and helping to put your accounts on hold status until your civil claim resolves
  • Negotiating a full and fair settlement out of court
  • Filing a lawsuit and taking your claim to court if necessary
  • Obtaining fair compensation for your injuries so that you can pay your medical bills and continue to get the care that you need

Each of these benefits saves you time and allows you to focus on your physical and mental recovery and well-being. Keep in mind that when it comes to vehicular accidents, injured parties who hire an attorney typically receive significantly more compensation than those who don’t.

Criminal versus Civil Charges in Pedestrian Accidents

The driver who hit you can also be facing some criminal charges. It’s essential to understand that while justice can be served through criminal charges in these cases, the legal penalties for the person who hit you won’t help you obtain fair compensation for your damages.

To receive fair compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering, you need to pursue a civil claim against the at-fault parties and their insurance carriers.

Criminal cases can run concurrently with civil claims. Although the two are entirely separate, and one outcome doesn’t depend on the other, the outcome of a criminal case can impact civil liability.

When to See a Doctor

Seeing a doctor should be a top priority after a pedestrian accident. Even if you don’t feel as if you are hurt or only experience minor pain, seeking medical care is essential. Many injuries don’t reveal symptoms right away, but they are no less serious. After an accident, victims usually get a rush of adrenaline that blocks pain sensation and may keep them from realizing they suffered an injury.

Getting medical attention is best for your health and physical well-being. Doing so can help support any legal claim you might have. If you don’t see a doctor but start to have pain or feel symptoms two weeks later, the insurance company may say the accident did not cause your symptoms. Documenting your accident and any symptoms as soon as possible after the accident is critical to getting the compensation you deserve.

Medical conditions that may not imminently appear after an accident include:

The prognosis is substantially greater for many of these conditions if the injury victim gets help and treatment sooner. Injuries such as a TBI or internal bleeding can prove debilitating or even deadly if undiagnosed. Don’t risk your health or financial future by toughing it out instead of seeing a physician after an accident. Remember that your pedestrian accident attorney can also use your medical records to prove your claim and the compensation you need for your injuries.

Damages You Can Seek in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

After suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident, you have the legal right to file a claim for damages. Damages are the actual expenses related to an injury, and they are also the monetary translation of the losses, inconveniences, and other issues an injured claimant must face after their injury. The types and amounts of damages you can recover depend on the severity and scope of injuries you suffer.

Compensatory Damages

There are two types of compensatory damages; economic or special and non-economic or general. Economic damages are your actual monetary losses related to your accident or injury.

They include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Domestic services such as childcare and housekeeping
  • Medical equipment
  • Prescriptions
  • Rehabilitation and therapies
  • Lost wages and earnings
  • Damaged or destroyed property, such as a vehicle
  • Transportation and travel costs
  • Legal expenses and attorney’s fees

Economic damages are typically easy to value and calculate since they have a predetermined value attached to them.

On the other hand, non-economic damages can be much more difficult to gauge due in part to their subjective nature.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of opportunities
  • Inconvenience
  • Humiliation

The value of these damages usually depends on the severity of the injuries and how much the claimant needs for economic damages. When you hire a well-versed pedestrian accident attorney, they can analyze your damages to determine what your cause might be worth. They will also work diligently to prove your non-economic damages, even though they are subjective.

Punitive Damages

Successful pedestrian accident injury cases will end in the victim receiving compensatory damages through a negotiated settlement or a court award. However, only a few will involve punitive damages, and those that do are the ones that go to trial. While compensatory damages compensate victims for their losses, punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their wrongdoing.

In most states, the court may award punitive damages only if the other party:

  • Had a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of others
  • Knew their conduct was wrong and might cause injury

How Long Do You Have to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim?

After a pedestrian accident, you only have limited time to pursue your legal options. As per each state’s statute of limitations, accident victims typically only have between one and four years from the accident date to file a claim. A different statute of limitations can apply in accidents involving injured children or against government entities.

If you don’t file your case on time, you won’t be eligible to seek compensation for your accident claim. Instead of trying to figure out what statute applies to your specific circumstances, the best course of action is to reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will know what statute of limitations applies to your case and ensure they file it on time.

How Long Will My Pedestrian Accident Case Take?

Every case is different, making it difficult to predict precisely how long yours will take. Generally, each case takes between a few months and several years. Cases in which there are no questions of liability and only one at-fault party tend to settle out of court, which means a quicker resolution. If your case ends up going to trial, it will take longer.

Your pedestrian accident lawyer can estimate how long your case might take and what might cause it to take more or less time than the estimate.

Did You Suffer Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident? Seek Legal Help Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Many pedestrian accidents are just the beginning of a tumultuous path to physical and, ultimately, financial recovery. Even seemingly minor injuries can require a lot of time and money to recover fully. So, no matter who you think caused your accident, always discuss it with a well-versed personal injury attorney.

How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Pedestrian Accident?

How much compensation can you get for a pedestrian accident? ​Since pedestrians lack safety gear such as seatbelts, helmets, or airbags to protect them, they are much more vulnerable than drivers inside vehicles or even motorcyclists.

Pedestrians can suffer severe injuries, which come with extremely high price tags. From lost wages to medical bills, these accidents are quite costly. Pedestrians also deserve compensation for their non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you might wonder how much compensation the claim might be worth.

The value of any personal injury claim, including pedestrian accidents, depends on:

  • Who is responsible for the accident
  • How the accident happened
  • The limits of the applicable insurance policies
  • The damages the injured party suffered

The best way to determine how much compensation you might receive after suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident is to discuss your claim and damages with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.

Pedestrian Rights

How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Pedestrian Accident?Pedestrians generally have the right of way in all states. Drivers should extend them this courtesy and obey the law. Drivers are often the liable or legally responsible party in a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians also have the right to legal counsel. Injured pedestrians can work with an experienced attorney who can help sort out liability for the accident and seek financial recovery accordingly.

Risk Factors in Pedestrian Accidents

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2.32 pedestrian deaths took place per billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in a recent year. Although this figure represents a slight increase from 2.3 the previous year, it was well above the historical average of 1.9. There is approximately one pedestrian accident death every 88 minutes in the U.S.

Pedestrian accidents happen all too often on our roadways, yet most, if not all, of these accidents are preventable. Understanding the risks and causes can help pedestrians and motorists take preventive actions to save lives and reduce the number and severity of injuries. No matter the cause of your pedestrian accident, contacting a seasoned pedestrian accident lawyer can help you decide if you have a valid compensation claim.

Many risk factors, some of them preventable, contribute to pedestrian accidents.

They include:

  • Motorist alcohol consumption
  • Age—studies show that Americans over the age of 65 and children under the age of 15 are most at risk
  • Increased vehicle speed
  • Pedestrians in urban areas
  • Pedestrians out at night
  • Lack of crosswalks in certain areas

When you hire a pedestrian accident attorney, they will study the risk factors that may have been present, resulting in your accident and subsequent injuries. Suppose the risk factors stem from the at-fault driver. In that case, your lawyer can use this to show their liability for your injuries.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Most pedestrian accidents stem from one or more common causes, and most of them involve driver negligence.

These include:

  • Driver inattentiveness: Whether eating, texting, daydreaming, or paying attention to their passengers instead of the road and what is happening around them, driver inattentiveness can be life-changing or even deadly for pedestrians.
  • Aggressive driving: Unfortunately, aggressive drivers are common, especially in larger metropolitan areas. They put others, especially pedestrians, at risk. Aggressive drivers are likely to ignore traffic signals, exceed the speed limit, make sudden movements without warning, and turn unlawfully.
  • Left turns: Although extremely helpful in preventing pedestrian accidents, they won’t protect pedestrians all of the time. More pedestrians get hit by vehicles turning left than by those turning right. This is because the driver and pedestrian are looking in different directions. The driver usually looks at the intersection, watching for oncoming traffic and the chance to make a turn. The pedestrian might focus straight ahead into the crosswalk. With neither party paying attention to the other, accidents will happen.

Other common causes include:

  • Poorly designed roads and crosswalks
  • Failing to stop at an occupied crosswalk, stoplight, or stop sign
  • Failing to slow down in increased traffic, crowds, or bad weather
  • Failing to maintain vehicle control
  • Engaging in drag racing

Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Injuries stemming from pedestrian accidents can be catastrophic, life-changing, or even fatal. For example, pedestrians sustain injuries when the vehicle hits them, and they often fall and land on the ground, causing additional injuries. Sometimes they are even hit by another vehicle after the initial hit.

Those injured in traffic accidents typically have:

  • Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI), including damage that causes paralysis
  • Internal organ damage and bleeding, which can be life-threatening
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limbs
  • Deep lacerations
  • Road rash

Damages Pedestrian Accident Injury Victims Can Seek

Losses from a pedestrian accident are often numerous, especially if you suffered a severe injury. Losses, also known as damages, can be economic and non-economic. By pursuing a personal injury claim, injured pedestrians can receive compensation for their damages. Common types of damages available to accident injury victims:

Medical Expenses

Your medical bills will vary based on the nature of your injury and the treatment you will need.

Medical expenses can include:

  • Ambulance transport
  • Emergency care
  • Hospitalization or time in the ICU
  • Doctor and specialist visits
  • Surgical procedures
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Medication
  • Medical equipment

If you need future medical care, your pedestrian accident attorney can claim those medical expenses.

Lost Income

Victims of severe injury might miss work or never return to work. Even if they are not in the hospital, their doctors might require them to have limited physical activity. Injuries can also keep people from doing their jobs effectively. For example, a back injury can keep you from a job that requires heavy lifting. For every hour of work you miss, you lose income through no fault of your own.

Additionally, injured individuals who sustain disabilities due to their injuries may have to accept a lower-paying job or might never return to any type of gainful employment. If this happens, they also ask for compensation for future lost wages.

Insurance companies should provide compensation for your economic damages at their actual value. This value is easy to determine by adding your expenses and losses together. Although, if your injuries affect your ability to work in the future, your attorney may enlist a special type of accountant to calculate how much you deserve to receive for lost earning capacity.

Non-Economic Damages

Other damages are unrelated to the financial aspects of your injury. Instead, they are for your intangible losses, which are inherently difficult to measure.

Non-economic damages can include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • The trauma of permanent disfigurement, scarring, or disabilities

Non-economic damages, unfortunately, don’t come with a pre-set value. There are no missed wages to calculate or medical bills to add up. Instead, your lawyer will often calculate your non-economic damages using the value of an injured party’s economic damages and a multiplier between one and five. Most cases end up with a multiplier of one or two. However, if you suffer severe injuries that will impact your life permanently, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury (SCI), a multiplier of four or five might be appropriate.

Pursuing Financial Recovery After Suffering Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident

To receive damages for your injuries, another person or party must be at fault for the accident. Legally, this means that you or your pedestrian accident attorney must prove that the other party was negligent, which led to your injuries.

Negligent vehicle operation makes them liable for any damages they cause by their carelessness. When driving a motor vehicle, drivers have a duty to act with reasonable care, no matter the circumstances.

Reasonable care while driving means obeying all traffic and safety laws, staying alert, and driving in a way that keeps others safe on the road, including pedestrians. Someone who negligently causes an accident while driving is liable for the resulting damages.

The standard of care for driving can change depending on the specific circumstances. For example, a motorist can be driving within the legal speed limit; however, if there is rain, snow, ice, dense fog, or other potentially dangerous conditions present, the reasonable standard of care is to decrease their speed despite the legal speed limit. Whether the at-fault party acted with reasonable care or not is determined on a case-by-case basis if the claim goes to court.

If the lack of reasonable care causes an accident, an injured party can bring legal action to recover their losses. However, it’s a complicated process to sue another driver for your injuries. It’s not one to be undertaken without the assistance of a seasoned pedestrian accident lawyer.

Your pedestrian accident attorney will identify how the other driver’s actions or inactions led to the accident.

This isn’t as easy as it might sound and involves an extensive investigation, including:

  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Studying police reports
  • Examining pictures or videos of the accident scene
  • Possibly enlisting help from an accident reconstructionist

You need an attorney that not only provides you with personal service but also has the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate the cause of your pedestrian accident to determine who is at fault and to maximize your compensation.

My Pedestrian Accident Injuries Put Me out of Work. How Can I Pay for an Attorney Now?

Many pedestrian accident victims shy away from speaking to an attorney due to a lack of financial resources, especially at such a financially uncertain time of their lives. This is devastating as everyone should have the legal help they need to recover compensation for their injuries. The last thing injured victims need to worry about after an accident is paying for the services of an attorney.

As such, most pedestrian accident attorneys only work on a contingency fee basis. This means they charge you nothing until they successfully settle your case to your liking or win a court award on your behalf. Once they receive money on your behalf, their fees come out of those funds. Most lawyers cover all upfront expenses to remove the financial burden during your recovery and legal case.

Should You Accept the Settlement Offer You Already Received?

Insurance adjusters are often quick to offer injured parties a lowball settlement. While you might be relieved to receive an offer so soon after your accident, it’s highly likely that the offer you receive is far less than what your claim is really worth. You should never accept any offer, no matter how lucrative it might seem, before discussing your claim with a pedestrian accident attorney.

If you accept this offer, your claim is over. You can’t go back and change your mind or decide to file a lawsuit instead. This is true even if you find out you have more damages than you initially thought you did or if you discover your injuries are worse than you and your doctors first believed.

Get Legal Help After Your Pedestrian Accident

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

How much compensation you can receive after suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident depends on many factors. Each case is different. However, the one factor that applies to each pedestrian accident case is that hiring a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney will maximize your compensation.

Even after paying for legal services, personal injury victims who have legal representation pocket more compensation than those who don’t.

After suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident, seek medical help from licensed professionals so that you can physically recover as much as possible. Likewise, you should seek legal assistance from experienced legal professionals so that you can overcome your damages and losses.

If you suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, a well-versed pedestrian accident attorney can work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need for your injuries. Contact one today for your free case evaluation and take the first steps toward financial recovery. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

​The Pandemic Caused Pedestrian Accident Fatalities to Spike

The COVID-19 pandemic has had—and continues to have—very important and noticeable effects on everyday life. These effects are becoming even more apparent as time goes on. While some effects were predictable, others were unexpected.

One of the most unanticipated effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is dangerous roads. Many individuals initially hypothesized that the pandemic might result in fewer commuters and, consequently, fewer vehicles on the road. However, over time, the exact opposite has happened.

Since the pandemic began, pedestrian fatalities have steadily increased, with no apparent end in the near future.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a recent pedestrian accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking monetary compensation. As soon as possible after your accident, you should follow up at an emergency care facility—or with your primary care doctor. Your next call should be to an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in your area.

An attorney can investigate your accident circumstances and determine if you are eligible to recover financial compensation for the injuries you suffered. Moreover, if you’re eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and help you negotiate a fair offer from the insurance company adjuster. If the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your lawyer can begin litigation in court and work to recover the full damages that you deserve for your injuries.

Risky Driving Since the Pandemic

Since far more people now work from home—or in a hybrid work environment—there are far fewer vehicles on roads post-COVID. However, with less traffic, many drivers have decided to take advantage of the situation and drive recklessly.

Moreover, in the months right after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, many police officers were afraid to crack down on aggressive and reckless driving, fearing that they might become infected themselves if they stopped too many vehicles.

Reckless driving maneuvers that many drivers exhibit include speed violations, aggressive driving, tailgating, and road rage.

Road rage happens when a driver reacts inappropriately to a real or imagined roadway scenario that arises. For example, if another driver operates their vehicle too slowly, the first driver may become enraged, begin honking their horn, and drive aggressively. Consequently, the enraged driver might inadvertently cause an accident that leads to serious injuries—and sometimes fatalities.

In general, although it was unexpected, the pandemic has increased—rather than decreased—the number of reckless drivers on area roadways.

Skyrocketing Pedestrian Accident Rates

Pedestrian accident rates have skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics show that pedestrian accident fatalities increased by approximately 5 percent in 2020. Considering that increase, nearly 6,700 people lost their lives in pedestrian crashes.

Although this number may not seem exceptionally high, several factors make this statistic far worse. First, the number of miles vehicles traveled back in 2020 decreased significantly since many people followed government-imposed stay-at-home orders. Moreover, when you look at the number of miles that vehicles traveled in 2020, the pedestrian accident fatality rate actually went up 21 percent.

These unfortunate statistics show that reckless driving is actually becoming a far worse problem than ever before. There are several reasons why pedestrian fatalities have seen a steady increase in recent years.

Some of those reasons include:

  • Almost every driver has a cellular phone or smartphone, often distracting them from their primary duty of watching the road—and keeping them from seeing pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Many individuals have moved from the suburbs into cities and gotten rid of their cars, leading to a higher number of pedestrians.
  • Many newer cars are far bigger than in previous years, increasing the chances of a fatality when a high-speed pedestrian accident occurs.
  • Temperatures have steadily increased over the past ten years, leading to more pedestrians out and about on a regular basis.
  • With the advent of newer safety features and technology in vehicles, drivers rely too much on those devices rather than using their eyes and ears.

It is also worth noting that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, police officers have been more reluctant to enforce laws that pertain to reckless driving. However, since the pandemic is hopefully coming to an end, there is a likelihood that officers who were previously afraid of catching the virus during a traffic stop may start enforcing the laws more aggressively.

People’s Changing Attitudes

It is also worth mentioning that many people’s attitudes have changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These attitudes sometimes reflect in drivers’ actions and inactions. Since the pandemic began, many people have felt isolated and had more difficulty gauging risk. They also took on a more careless attitude, fearing the COVID-19 virus and becoming more reckless.

Given their frustration with the pandemic, as well as major worldwide changes that were taking place, many individuals took their frustrations out while driving, causing an increase in reckless drivers and also pedestrian accidents.

Injuries That Pedestrian Accident Victims Suffer

Compared to motor vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians have very limited protection in an accident. Unlike vehicle occupants, pedestrians do not have an outer covering or shell that surrounds them when a vehicle hits them. In fact, they are directly exposed to the ground, and if a high-speed vehicle strikes them, they may fall and suffer serious injuries—some of which may be fatal.

Even when a pedestrian does not suffer fatal injuries, they may still experience injuries that cause permanent effects. Sometimes, a pedestrian’s life may never be the same, as they may need to use a wheelchair or reside in an assisted living facility for the rest of their life.

Some of the most common injuries that pedestrian accident victims suffer include internal organ injuries, bone fractures, severe lacerations and cuts, spinal cord injuries, paralysis injuries, and traumatic head injuries, including concussions.

A permanent injury does not fully improve over time and can cause the accident victim to experience lifelong symptoms. To establish that a particular injury is permanent, a medical provider must be willing to state on the record, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the accident victim will not likely recover.

The most common permanent injuries include spinal cord damage and traumatic head injuries. In many instances, these injuries never get better and cause accident victims to experience permanent disruptions in their life.

As soon as possible after a pedestrian accident, you should follow up at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care center. You should seek this treatment even if you are not experiencing any major symptoms at that time. This is because many injuries, including traumatic head injuries, are not always symptomatic right away. It might take days or even weeks for symptoms to manifest, and your injury may become significantly worse in the meantime.

When you seek prompt medical treatment after an accident, you also show the insurance company that your injuries are serious and worthy of monetary compensation.

Also, when you follow up at a local emergency room, the medical provider on duty can order the necessary CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs, so that they can render an accurate medical diagnosis. If you need to undergo a surgical procedure, the provider can arrange for that. Finally, if you will likely require follow-up medical treatment, the provider can make the necessary recommendations. For instance, you may need to see your primary care doctor or follow up with a neurologist, orthopedist, or another medical specialist.

While you focus on recovering from your pedestrian-accident injuries, your lawyer can start advocating for you. Specifically, your attorney may begin gathering your medical treatment records and bills to date, along with lost wage documentation from your employer and investigation documents. Once your medical treatment is complete, your attorney can submit a demand package to the insurance company and pursue favorable settlement compensation on your behalf.

Recovering the Damages You Deserve

In some pedestrian accident scenarios, accident victims suffer fatal injuries. When that happens, surviving family members may be eligible to recover various monetary damages through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. As part of a wrongful death claim, you will need to demonstrate that a driver operated their vehicle recklessly under the circumstances and that, as a result, your loved one passed away.

As part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, a claimant may be eligible to recover the decedent’s anticipated lost wages if the claimant and their family depended upon the decedent for income.

Claimants may also be eligible to recover compensation for the grief and trauma connected with their recent loss, as well as for the loss of the decedent’s guidance, support, and love. A surviving spouse may also be eligible to recover compensation for the loss of the deceased individual’s companionship and consortium.

At other times, pedestrian accidents result in severe injuries. When that happens, the accident victim may be eligible for various damages. Those damages will depend upon various factors, including the circumstances surrounding the accident, the specific injuries the accident victim suffered, the medical treatment they underwent, the cost of their medical care, and whether they suffered a permanent injury.

Common damages that pedestrian accident victims may recover include compensation for all related medical expenses, as well as lost wage compensation for the time they missed from work. If an accident victim had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to the injuries they suffered, they might be eligible to bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.

Moreover, pedestrian accident victims can recover monetary compensation for their mental distress, loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering, inconvenience, permanent disfigurement or scarring, and loss of the ability to use a body part—such as with a full or partial paralysis injury.

A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area will do everything they can to help you maximize the compensation you recover in your wrongful death or personal injury claim. If the insurance company undervalues your claim and will not offer you the damages you deserve, your lawyer can threaten them with litigation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit for Damages

Following a forceful pedestrian accident, an accident victim’s medical costs and other damages can increase significantly. Generally speaking, the faster the vehicle travels, the higher the likelihood that a pedestrian will suffer fatal injuries.

In any pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit, there are two ways of recovering monetary damages. The first is by filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit in court against the at-fault driver.

In either instance, you and your lawyer will deal directly with the insurance company adjuster for the at-fault driver. When dealing with an at-fault driver’s insurer, you can bet that the settlement adjuster will be difficult. In almost every situation, your lawyer will need to negotiate with the adjuster aggressively to get them in a position where they offer reasonable monetary compensation to settle the case. However, if that does not materialize, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system.

During litigation, your lawyer can assist you with answering written discovery questions, called interrogatories, and participating in a discovery deposition. If the settlement offer does not increase significantly by the end of the litigation, your lawyer can take your case to trial or, alternatively, pursue mediation or binding arbitration. Throughout your case, your attorney can help you make informed decisions that will best serve your personal and financial needs.

Drivers Are Taking Advantage of Less Traffic to Drive Riskier

Fewer cars in traffic have given drivers far more room to take unsafe and reckless driving habits to whole new levels. With less traffic, they have more room to weave in and out of traffic and speed. Police officers hesitated to enforce traffic laws for many months after the pandemic’s start, afraid to interact directly with motorists out of fear of getting COVID. The results were the typical actions and chances that people take when they think that someone is not watching or that they can get away with it.

Experts were initially shocked that the rate of serious accidents increased during the pandemic. In general, reckless driving had been on a steady increase. Without moralizing, civility in society has decreased in the 21st century. People are far less likely to follow societal norms, such as safe driving. People have taken the attitude that they will do what they want to do, regardless of the dangers for other people.

The situation took a turn for the worse at the beginning of COVID. The stress of the pandemic, combined with more freedom and less law enforcement, caused drivers to throw caution to the wind. Area drivers have reported far more incidents involving reckless drivers than in the past.

Pedestrian Accident Rates Have Skyrocketed

The numbers show that pedestrian fatalities rose 5 percent in 2020 to approximately 6700 people killed in these accidents. On the surface, this does not seem like a large increase.

However, two factors make this number far worse than it appears:

  • The number of vehicle miles traveled in 2020 dropped as people complied with stay-at-home orders. Based on vehicle miles traveled, the fatality rate in 2020 actually increased by 21 percent.
  • The 2019 number of pedestrian fatalities was already elevated, and the jump moved fatalities to a rate not seen in decades.

Although the 2021 statistics are not completely compiled as of this writing, the problem has continued to grow worse. States that tabulated data for the first nine months of 2021 showed the fatality rate growing even worse.

Why Pedestrian Accident Fatalities Are Increasing

Pedestrian fatalities had made a steady drop before bottoming out in 2008. Since then, they have been on a steady climb upward.

There are many reasons why pedestrian fatalities have risen sharply in the last decade or so, including:

  • Every driver has a cell phone, and many of them use phones when they are behind the wheel, causing them not to see pedestrians.
  • More people have moved into cities for urban living. They ditched their cars and started walking more. The increase in pedestrians caused more pedestrian fatalities.
  • Cars are bigger, and the larger size means more of a chance that a pedestrian accident can be fatal.
  • Temperatures have risen in the past decade, and more unseasonably warm weather leads to more people out walking.
  • Motorists’ driving habits have gotten far worse, beyond just an increase in distracted driving.
  • Tougher drunk driving laws have not been fully effective in cutting down on the number of accidents.
  • More drivers are taking advantage of increased power in their cars in misguided and reckless attempts to race other drivers.
  • Drivers are becoming increasingly reliant on safety features that keep them from crashing into other vehicles and are not focusing on pedestrian safety as much.

American automakers have stopped making most sedans in their entirety. Now, the emphasis is on size and speed to meet what Detroit thinks meets consumer tastes. This is great for the driver and the carmaker, but it is less so for pedestrians who get hit. Car manufacturers might be improving driver safety, but it comes at a cost for pedestrians.

Police Officers Do Not Strongly Enforce Reckless Driving Laws

In addition, law enforcement efforts to catch reckless drivers have been inconsistent and sometimes non-existent. There are accounts from across the country of witnesses who have seen reckless behavior daily, with no police officers pulling drivers over to stop it. Now that the pandemic is winding down and normal life is returning more, there is a hope that police officers will get far more serious about pulling over-aggressive drivers.

Pedestrians are also at risk because of a breakdown in societal order. While they are the law, things like stopping for pedestrians are also an aspect of human courtesy and safety. There is less regard for safety, and people have become more inclined to take care of themselves first. Drivers view the few seconds it takes to slow down and stop for a pedestrian as an inconvenience. In many ways, recklessness and selfishness go hand-in-hand and are increasing on our roads.

The Pandemic Has Caused Changes in Drivers’ Behavior

From a pandemic perspective, social isolation left people with a greater challenge in gauging risks. Personal conduct worsened because there were fewer social guardrails to keep people behaving properly. People also took on an “anything goes” attitude because fear of the virus overtook all else. Others looked at the pandemic as a suspension of overall societal rules.

Further, since the pandemic began drivers are stressed and frustrated with some of the changes in the overall world and their lives. Some may take out their frustrations behind the wheel, resulting in aggressive and inconsistent driving.

Government Steps to Improve Safety Were Not Enough

Some municipalities and governments are trying to make things safer for pedestrians through enhanced technology at crosswalks. They focus on pedestrian safety through engineering to make it easier for pedestrians to cross safely. However, these measures are often not enough to alleviate the fact that many dangerous intersections are death traps for pedestrians. The pedestrian safety measures they take are often cosmetic drops in the bucket.

The real problem is with drivers’ behavior. The government can increase enforcement against reckless driving to help protect pedestrians. However, these stepped-up enforcement campaigns have yet to happen.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries Cause Life-Changing Impacts

Many news stories focus on the increase in fatalities resulting from pedestrian accidents. Those who survive these accidents also have serious injuries that may cause long-term effects for the rest of their lives. Many never recover from pedestrian accidents, and they will never live the same life again.

Serious pedestrian accident injuries can include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severe cuts and lacerations

TBIs and spinal cord injuries may never heal, causing permanent disruptions. The accident victim can be subject to a lifetime of pain, inconvenience, and anxiety. While focusing on pedestrian accident fatalities, many overlook that there are accident survivors with their lives forever altered due to severe injuries.

You May Obtain Financial Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident

If your loved one died in a pedestrian accident, your family is legally entitled to financial compensation if you can prove that the driver was negligent. In a wrongful death claim, you must first prove what happened before you can discuss actual compensation. Your attorney will gather evidence that can show that the driver’s mistake or recklessness was responsible for the crash. You may have to overcome attempts to blame the accident on you or your injured family member.

Wrongful death damages in a pedestrian accident should pay your family back for the losses they suffered when their loved one died at someone else’s hands.

These damages will include:

  • The lost wages that your loved one would have earned had they lived and continued working
  • Your family’s grief and trauma from the sudden loss of a loved one
  • Payment for the loss of the love, support, and guidance from your family member
  • Loss of consortium damages for the spouse

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you are legally entitled to full and fair compensation when the accident was someone else’s fault.

Pedestrian accident damages include:

  • The complete cost of all medical bills
  • Lost wages for time missed from your job or only earning less money than you otherwise would have
  • Pain and suffering for physical discomfort, anxiety, and depression from the accident
  • Payment for permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If your loved one died in a pedestrian accident, you might recover both wrongful death and the personal injury damages described above if time passed between the accident and your loved one’s death. The law allows an estate to bring a survival action, where the beneficiaries can recover the damages that their loved one suffered before they died.

These damages come in addition to wrongful death damages. Family members divide the proceeds of the survival action according to the terms of the estate, as opposed to how the law allocates wrongful death damages.

How to Maximize Your Pedestrian Accident Financial Compensation

Financial compensation for pedestrian accidents can skyrocket. A pedestrian accident without serious damages is a rarity. The higher the speed at which the vehicle is traveling, the more likely the accident will be fatal. It is essential to secure enough financial compensation to fully pay for all the damages suffered.

Regardless of how dangerously the motorist drove, insurance companies will make it difficult for you and your family to get the money you legally deserve after a pedestrian accident. In any pedestrian accident case, you need a lawyer to look out for and fight for your interests. Otherwise, you will be a victim a second time. This time will be to the insurance company looking out for its interests.

In any pedestrian accident case, you have two ways to secure financial compensation for your injuries:

  • You can file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance policy
  • You can file a lawsuit in court against the responsible driver

Either way, you will likely deal with the driver’s insurance company as you fight for financial compensation. It almost always takes an intensive negotiation to settle your case because the insurance company makes getting your money very difficult. You may even need to take your case to trial in court (although personal injury trials are very rare as most cases will settle).

gary annes, abels & annes, p.c.
Pedestrian Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Even cases with very clear-cut liability require effort because proving someone responsible is only part of your legal battle. Often, the real fight is getting enough money. Hiring an experienced attorney who will stand up and fight for you is the best way to put yourself in a position to get the damages that you deserve.

As much as you might watch for reckless drivers while walking, they can come out of nowhere and cause injuries before you know what happened. Then, you face a long physical recovery and financial stress. Let your doctors handle your physical treatment, and hire a pedestrian accident attorney to handle your injury claim and seek financial recovery for you.

Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you are not alone. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney will be with you every step of the way and help you maximize the monetary damages you recover, either through settlement or litigation.

Never wait to get medical treatment, and never wait to have a personal injury lawyer evaluate your legal options.

Abels & Annes
714 E Rose Ln #200
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 819-5191

Distracted Drivers Can Seriously Injure Pedestrians

Electronic devices in a vehicle—and sometimes other people—can divert a driver’s attention away from the road. We often see drivers talking on the phone while driving, listening to loud music, or sending text messages and emails.

Simply put, a distracted driver fails to watch the road attentively. Whenever a driver turns their attention away from the road—even for just a second or two—that may be sufficient time for them to miss seeing a pedestrian or another vehicle in the vicinity, causing a serious accident.

Distracted driving is an unfortunate cause of many motor vehicle crashes today. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving causes approximately 1,100 injuries every day across the United States.

Pedestrians are especially susceptible to serious injuries in distracted driving accidents. That is because, unlike motor vehicle occupants, pedestrians lack a thick metal shell or sturdy outer covering surrounding them in an accident. If a vehicle strikes them and knocks them to the ground, they may suffer extremely serious—and sometimes fatal—injuries. Moreover, they may need extensive medical procedures and physical therapy, all of which can lead to mounting medical bills, missed work time, and other serious consequences.

If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from distracted driving, you should speak to a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney near you right away. Your lawyer can immediately begin investigating the circumstances of your accident, including the accident location and how it likely occurred. Your attorney can then determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, field settlement offers, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit for monetary damages in court.

The Potential Dangers of Distracted Driving

Smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other electronic devices have become extremely popular in recent years. However, with the increased popularity of these devices comes an increased risk of pedestrian accidents and injuries.

Smart devices frequently use notifications to alert individuals when they receive a text, instant message, or phone call. When drivers are behind the wheel, they often feel the temptation to check their devices and respond to messages.

Even though this may take only a short period, it can take the driver’s eyes off the road, delaying their reaction time if an emergency situation—such as an abrupt traffic back-up—arises. In fact, current research demonstrates that distracted driving characteristics resemble those that drivers experience when they operate their vehicles while intoxicated.

Those impairments include:

  • Lack of focus and concentration while driving
  • Delayed motor reflexes
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Cognitive impairment

Whenever a driver fails to watch the road attentively, they may lose control of their vehicle—especially if they are traveling at a high rate of speed or around a sharp curve. Moreover, they may fail to notice a passenger in a marked intersection crosswalk or near the side of the road, negligently causing their vehicle to strike the pedestrian and knock them to the ground. Moreover, they may have trouble stopping their vehicle.

It is not uncommon for distracted drivers to practice other illegal driving maneuvers, including failing to yield the right-of-way to other drivers and pedestrians at the appropriate times, running stop signs and red traffic lights, exceeding the posted speed limit, and failing to avoid roadway hazards.

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from distracted driving, you have legal options that you may be eligible to consider. First, your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and, if necessary, retain an accident reconstructionist to determine how your accident likely happened. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the claims filing and litigation processes.

Since pedestrian accident investigations sometimes take a significant time, it is usually best to retain a pedestrian accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible after your accident.

Common Types of Distracted Driving

Not all distracted driving is exactly the same. In fact, there are three common types of distractions that a driver may experience: manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions.

When drivers experience manual distractions, they take their hands completely off the steering wheel. Manual distractions while driving may include drinking, eating, putting on makeup, adjusting the radio, adjusting the dashboard controls, shaving, grooming one’s hair, or attempting to find something in the front passenger seat or backseat.

In addition to manual distractions, drivers sometimes experience cognitive distractions. These distractions do not involve a driver’s hands. However, they divert a driver’s mind away from the road. Cognitive distractions often include talking to someone on the phone—even with a Bluetooth-equipped device—or constant daydreaming. Talking to a passenger is another type of cognitive distraction, as well as road rage, when a driver becomes angry with someone else, usually because they are driving too slowly.

Likewise, some drivers experience visual distractions while behind the wheel. These distractions cause a driver to look at something inside or outside their vehicle besides the road. Common types of visual distractions include browsing the internet or checking emails on a cellular device or tablet. Texting is another common visual distraction, as well as looking at or programming a GPS device. Finally, watching videos and other media while driving is a serious distraction that may completely divert a driver’s attention off the road.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that texting while driving—including reading or sending a text message on an electronic device—takes an average of five seconds. This action is equivalent to driving 55 miles per hour across a football field.

Common Injuries in Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving accidents may cause debilitating injuries—especially if they are high-speed collisions. When a large vehicle strikes a pedestrian and knocks them to the ground, they may suffer broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, or a traumatic head and brain injury, such as a concussion.

They may also suffer severe internal organ damage, pelvic injuries, soft tissue contusions, and road rash.

Since every pedestrian accident is different, the injuries that one accident victim suffers may differ from those another accident victim suffers. Factors that influence the types of injuries accident victims sustain include the vehicle involved in the crash, as well as the vehicle speed.

In some instances, pedestrian accident victims suffer permanent injuries. A permanent injury will not improve fully over time and can cause the accident victim pain and other symptoms for the rest of their life. To establish that an injury is permanent, a medical doctor must be willing to state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the injury is unlikely to get better with time.

If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should call 9-1-1 from the accident scene or have someone call for you. This will dispatch police and paramedics to the accident scene. When you go to the hospital emergency room, the provider on duty can order the necessary imaging studies, including MRIs, CAT scans, and X-rays, to fully diagnose your medical condition. The provider can then recommend future medical care if you need it.

While you focus your attention on getting the medical treatment you need, a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area can start advocating for your legal interests. Your lawyer can begin the process by gathering your medical treatment records and bills to date, along with any wage loss documentation from your employer. Once your medical treatment is complete, your attorney can submit a settlement demand letter and a complete demand package to the insurance company and begin the settlement negotiation process on your behalf.

Common Locations for Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents can occur just about anywhere that pedestrians are present. While many pedestrian collisions occur at traffic intersection crosswalks, other possible locations include parking lots, parking garages, bus stops, the side of the road, sidewalks, and along a curb.

Proving That a Distracted Driver Caused Your Accident

In any pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Specifically, the accident victim must establish that a driver was distracted and that, as a result, they caused the subject accident. Moreover, the accident victim must establish that they suffered at least one injury in the accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.

One of the most difficult aspects of pedestrian accident claims is proving that the at-fault driver failed to watch the road attentively when the accident happened. However, you can satisfy your legal burden by retaining an accident reconstructionist or another expert to testify in your case. An accident reconstructionist can review police reports, speak with eyewitnesses to the occurrence, visit the accident scene, and prepare a detailed report that they can authenticate on the witness stand at trial.

In addition, you might obtain the at-fault driver’s cell phone records. If the records show that the at-fault driver was talking on the phone, sending a text message, or responding to an email, those records may be useful in proving your case at trial. A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area can help you subpoena the at-fault driver’s cell phone records and assert a viable legal claim for distracted driving.

Likewise, you can obtain vehicle data from the at-fault driver’s vehicle. This data may establish that the driver was using a dashboard control, music system, or radio while driving.

You might also obtain social media records that provide an electronic activity trail for the at-fault driver. Your lawyer can use these records to establish that the other driver logged into their social media account while driving—and that they were not watching the road attentively.

Your lawyer can also obtain traffic camera footage or surveillance that shows the driver fiddling with an electronic device and not paying attention to the road.

Police reports and witness statements can also be helpful when it comes to proving distracted driving. For example, an eyewitness to the accident can testify in court that they saw the driver looking down—or to the side—while operating their vehicle. The witness may have also seen the driver sending a text message or talking on their phone without using a hands-free Bluetooth device.

Moreover, in a police report, the responding officer may include information about the at-fault driver’s possible distraction. Your lawyer can then subpoena the responding officer to testify in court about their observations and authenticate the police report they prepared.

Recoverable Damages in Pedestrian Accident Claims and Lawsuits

Victims of serious pedestrian accidents may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. The damages that a pedestrian accident victim recovers will depend upon the severity of the accident and their injuries, the total cost of their medical treatment, and the pain and suffering that they endured.

Common types of damages in pedestrian crash cases include compensation for:

  • Related medical expenses, both past and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Inconvenience
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Mental distress and emotional anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Scarring
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Loss of the ability to use a body part
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Loss of spousal companionship and consortium

Not all of these damages are available in every pedestrian accident case. However, your lawyer can review your accident circumstances with you and determine which of these damages you can potentially recover in your case.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Pedestrian accidents happen, and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reports some sobering statistics related to these incidents:

  • Between the years of 2006 and 2015, the number of pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents rose from 61,000 to 70,000 (an increase of almost 15 percent).
  • In 2015, there were more than 5,000 pedestrian fatalities (caused by motor vehicle accidents), which is the largest number of such fatalities since 1996.
  • Although total traffic fatalities decreased by nearly 18 percent in the years from 2006 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities rose by 12 percent.

In other words, pedestrian accidents are on the rise, and distracted drivers play a significant role in this trend.

It’s established that, as a pedestrian, you’re vulnerable to accidents. If you’ve been injured because of a distracted driver’s negligence, you need legal counsel. These claims are complicated, but your rights and your rightful compensation matter. The dedicated legal team at the Law Offices of Abels and Annes is committed to helping you recover the compensation to which you are entitled.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is on the rise and appears to be reaching epidemic proportions. The advent of the great and powerful smartphone seems to be leading the charge. As we rely more and more heavily on our phones, some of us – drivers included – are finding them more and more difficult to put down.

Because distracted driving has become such a momentous problem, the U.S. government has created an entire website that’s devoted to the issue, Distracted driving is defined as any driving in which the driver’s attention is focused on something other than the all-important task of driving safely. The distractions themselves are divided into three primary classifications:

  • Distractions that are manual, such as holding your phone in your hand;
  • Distractions that are visual, such as looking at your phone; and
  • Distractions that are cognitive, such as reading a text on your phone.

Smartphones, in other words, represent the mother lode when it comes to distractions. When you engage with your smartphone, you employ your eyes, your hands, and your thought processes. When you’re driving, your eyes, your hands, and your thought processes should all be trained on driving safely.

Distracted Driving: The Statistics

Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares some startling statistics related to this dangerous practice:

  • Nine people are killed and a thousand more are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers in the United States every day.
  • When a driver travels at 55 mph while interacting with his or her smartphone, that driver is driving blind for at least 5 seconds, which is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • The reports from the Illinois State Policefurther clarify the dangers of distracted driving:
  • Drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident;
  • Drivers who dial and drive are 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident; and
  • Drivers who chat on their phones while driving are nearly 30 percent more likely to be involved in an accident.

As these statistics testify, pedestrians beware!

Staying Safe Out There

As a pedestrian, you are vulnerable to accidents caused by distracted drivers, but there are steps you can take to help yourself stay safe out there:

  • Look alive when you take to Chicago’s streets on foot – stay alert to the traffic all around you and always follow all posted pedestrian signs, signals, and warnings;
  • Always cross at marked crosswalks (or other designated pedestrian walkways) whenever they are available;
  • Remember that crossing with a group – because it’s easier for oncoming traffic to see – is safer than crossing solo;
  • Wear comfortable, supportive, non-slip footwear to help ensure that you can move swiftly to the other side of the street;
  • If you must walk after dark, always incorporate a prominent piece of reflective clothing into your attire; and
  • Don’t walk under the influence of distraction – as a pedestrian you play an important role in keeping yourself safe, and your focus should always be on arriving safely at your destination and not on your smartphone or any other distraction.

As a pedestrian, you are especially vulnerable to serious injury in any accident involving a motor vehicle. Always make the safest choices available to you.

Drivers’ Duty of Care

In Illinois, drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, which includes exercising due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian. This does not, however, mean that pedestrians have a free pass to enter any crosswalk whenever they so choose. The law explicitly states that pedestrians can’t suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle. As a pedestrian, the best way to stay safe is to always follow the rules of the road – remember that distracted drivers are out there and that they’re dangerous.

Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Your Area for Legal Representation Today

Dave Abels Personal Injury LawyerIf you suffered injuries in a recent pedestrian accident that resulted from distracted driving, time is of the essence. Your lawyer can help you file a prompt claim or lawsuit well within the applicable statutory time period. Your attorney can then assist you during settlement negotiations and, if necessary, represent you at all legal proceedings in court.

The best thing you can do following a pedestrian is to seek medical care and then consult with a personal injury lawyer who can protect your legal rights.

When you head out on foot, you probably don’t give a whole bunch of thought to your safety. After all, you’re not getting behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle – you’re simply taking a walk down the street. As a pedestrian, however, you’re especially vulnerable to the vehicles all around you. When you’re on foot, there’s absolutely nothing to protect you from the impact of an accident. As our roads become more and more crowded and as more and more drivers succumb to driving while distracted, pedestrians face ever more dangers. When you’re hoofing it, always make safety your top priority.

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100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Pedestrian Accidents That Result in a Wrongful Death Claim

In recent years, the city of Phoenix has been taking steps to become a more walkable city. The idea is to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists so that we can cut down on the number of injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. While there are certain areas in Phoenix that have already taken steps to make the city safer for walkers, fatal pedestrian accidents still happen and still ravage families.

Driver negligence is one of the main contributors of Arizona making the 2019 list of the top five deadliest states for pedestrians.

If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Although no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it can help remove some of the strain that comes along with the medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional trauma associated with losing a family member.

Causes of Pedestrian Deaths

Pedestrian fatalities often happen when a person who is walking is struck by a motor vehicle either because the driver did not see them or saw them too late. This can include being run over or struck by a car, hit by a motorcyclist, or hit by an object that a driver has displaced during a collision. Although all these are possible, the most common type of pedestrian accident (and the one that leads to the most deaths) is related to a pedestrian being struck directly by a car that did not see them.

The average vehicle weighs over 4,000 pounds, so it is no surprise that most pedestrians need immediate medical attention for a fighting chance to recover. What initially appears as abdominal pain, nausea, and shortness of breath may actually be signs of internal injuries. Organs can be crushed by the force of an accident or punctured by a broken bone, which can lead to major blood loss. If onlookers or other parties to the accident don’t act fast, these kinds of injuries quickly turn fatal.

What Factors Put Pedestrians at the Highest Risk of Death?

  • Drivers or pedestrians that are impaired by alcohol or drugs. About 47% of crashes that resulted in a pedestrian death involved alcohol.
  • Older adults and children. Pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths. Likewise, one in five children killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
  • Speeding vehicles
  • Crossing at non-intersections
  • Distracted drivers
  • Crossing at night
  • Commuting on foot in a crowded urban area

*Stats from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Injuries That Lead to Pedestrian Death

When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle and sustains fatal injuries, they may die immediately at the accident scene or succumb to their injuries later at the hospital. Some of the most common types of injuries that cause pedestrian deaths include:

Internal Injuries

When internal injuries occur, irreparable damage to the organs and severe blood loss can happen quickly. Depending on the severity of the injury, the affected pedestrian could pass away in just five minutes or in a matter of days because of internal injuries caused by being struck by a motor vehicle.

Spinal Cord Injuries

When the spinal cord is severely damaged, it can cause a person to die immediately as the nerves to the brain are severed. However, not all pedestrians who sustain spinal cord injuries pass away immediately after an accident. Nonetheless, serious spinal cord injuries reduce life expectancy. They make patients more vulnerable to conditions like pneumonia, osteoporosis, and pulmonary embolisms, all of which can be grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

In a pedestrian accident, a severe brain injury is likely since the person being struck has no protection against the heaviness and hardness of the car striking them. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, their head may make direct contact with the vehicle, hit the pavement, or get jolted around the skull enough that it causes irreparable damage. Just the force of being thrust by a vehicle is enough to lead to swelling, fluid build up, and nerve damage in the brain, all of which can cause the victim to die on the spot or later in the hospital.

Common Causes of Pedestrian and Motor Vehicle Crashes

Pedestrians can be hit and killed by vehicles in an endless amount of scenarios. But there are some common causes of pedestrian accidents that are more likely to lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. These include:

Drunk Driving

Every day in the United States, drunk drivers claim the lives of 29 people. Some of these victims are pedestrians. When a pedestrian is crossing the street, they are almost always careful to watch for cars and to make sure it is their turn to cross. When a driver is drunk, they may not notice a red light or stop sign and end up hitting a pedestrian without their being able to act defensively.

Distracted Driving

Drivers who are on their phones, applying make-up, eating, or otherwise not paying attention to the road, are a serious risk to pedestrians and to everyone else around them. Since a distracted driver is not watching where they are going, it’s not hard to imagine how they can end up hitting an unsuspecting pedestrian.


It is obvious that a speeding driver is more likely to be involved in an accident with another car or pedestrian than someone who is traveling at the speed limit. Drivers who are speeding have less opportunity to see pedestrians around them and less time to come to a complete stop. The faster a driver is travelling, the more likely they are to kill a pedestrian due to a decreased stopping capability and a greater force. The average risk of death at an impact speed of 23 MPH is 10%. At 50 MPH, the average risk of death jumps to 75%.

Lack of Visibility and Unexpected Crossings

Pedestrians that cross the road at night or cross the road in an area that was not designed for pedestrian crossing are more likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle. Because of this, pedestrians moving around at night should always wear light colors, carry a flashlight if possible, and always cross at designated intersections.

Places Where Pedestrian Deaths Commonly Occur

A quarter of pedestrian deaths occur at intersections. Intersection accidents often happen when impatient drivers do not observe traffic signals or when drivers do not look before making a turn.

Pedestrian collisions also frequently happen in parking lots and parking garages, since there is a high concentration of pedestrians and cars.

And finally, urban areas where there are lots of people coming and going are more dangerous for pedestrians. For example, downtown Phoenix tends to have more foot traffic than other parts of the city. Pedestrian traffic increases the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car.

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Arizona law, several types of survivors are eligible to make a wrongful death claim. Those parties include:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Legal guardian

Alternatively, survivors can allow a legal representative to file and oversee a wrongful death claim on their behalf.

What Compensation Can I Get for a Pedestrian Wrongful Death Case?

If your loved one was hit and killed as a pedestrian and the case fits the parameters of a wrongful death, you may be able to recover compensation for any damages you incurred.

This compensation may include:

  • Medical bills for the deceased before their passing
  • Lost income due to the loved one passing away
  • Funeral costs expenses
  • Lost medical benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Any other reasonable damages

Hiring a Lawyer for a Pedestrian Wrongful Death Case

If you’re a surviving family member of a loved one who was hit and killed whether on foot or in a vehicle, hiring a lawyer for your wrongful death case can help you through this difficult time.

The attorneys at Abels & Annes are passionate about getting justice for families who’ve been affected by a wrongful death. We are dedicated to proving your claim and collecting the highest available compensation for you.

For a free initial consultation, call us at 855-749-5299 or contact us online.

Pedestrian Rights in a Crosswalk

Your Right-of-Way in a Crosswalk

Pedestrians have certain rights in crosswalks, though motorists do not always abide by these laws. However, you do have some extra rights when you properly use a crosswalk.

  • If a crosswalk does not have signals, or if the signals are not working, vehicles must stop for you if you are in the crosswalk on the same side of the road as the vehicle traveling toward you. Thus, if you step off the right curb into a crosswalk, vehicles on the right must stop for you, but vehicles on the left may continue traveling until you get near the center of the road.
  • Motorists must give you the right of way if a stop sign or flashing red signals are working at the crosswalk.

Read on to learn more about pedestrian laws regarding the crosswalk and what you should do after you have been in a pedestrian accident. The Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have the answer for you.

When a Vehicle Has the Right-of-Way

Gary Annes Lawyer
Pedestrian Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

If you are crossing the road where no crosswalk exists, you do not have the right-of-way. Moving vehicles also have the right-of-way at intersections that do not have marked or unmarked crosswalks. If you choose to cross the road instead of using a tunnel or overhead walkway, vehicles have the right-of-way.

Additionally, if two adjacent intersections have working signals, you must use a crosswalk instead of crossing between the two intersections, unless you are disabled—and even then, vehicles have the right of way. Finally, unless a police officer or a construction worker is managing traffic, or a crosswalk directs you to do so, you cannot cross a road in a diagonal direction.

Even though you might have to give the right-of-way to motorists in limited circumstances, they must “exercise due care,” according to Illinois Rules of the Road. The section directs motorists to avoid hitting a pedestrian or someone on a bicycle crossing the street, even if that person crosses illegally.

Injuries You Could Suffer in a Pedestrian Accident

The seriousness of your injuries depends on the speed of the motorist and the angle at which the motorist hits you.

Common injuries include:

  • Bumps, bruises, scratches, scrapes, and cuts;
  • Road rash;
  • Sprains, strains, torn muscles, pulled muscles, and other soft tissue injuries;
  • Simple and/or compound fractures;
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
  • Back and spinal cord injuries;
  • Internal injuries;
  • Paralysis;
  • Traumatic brain injuries; and
  • Death.

When people have underlying health issues, such as diabetes and immunodeficiency diseases, or are taking drugs or are on treatments that lower the immune system, injuries could take longer to heal. The risk of infection or other complications rises. Always let your pedestrian accident attorney know if you have an underlying condition that could slow or affect the healing process.

Staying Safe in a Crosswalk

Never assume that a motorist will stop for you, even if you have the right-of-way. Some may not see you, some may drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and some may distract themselves with phones. Always stop and look both ways when crossing, even when you have the right-of-way. Do not text or read and walk at the same time, especially when crossing the road, even in a crosswalk.

Recoverable Damages

If a car hits you a crosswalk, you might recover special and general damages, including:

Special Damages

Economic damages, or special damages, have a specific price tag. While money does not bring back a loved one or heal permanent disabilities from accident injuries, it does help you stay financially stable, which reduces some of the stress you might have after the accident.

Special damages include:

  • Past medical expenses;
  • Future medical expenses, including additional surgeries, followup appointments, cognitive therapy, physical therapy, and psychological therapy;
  • Past lost wages;
  • Future lost wages;
  • The replacement or repair of personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident;
  • Medical equipment, including ambulatory aids; and
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

General Damages

Non-economic damages, or general damages, do not have a specific price attached to them.

General damages include:

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional suffering;
  • Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress syndrome;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Paralysis;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Loss of use of a body part or function, such as a hand or your eyesight;
  • Long-term or permanent disabilities due to accident injuries; and
  • Inconvenience.

How Bad Is the Problem?

In the United States, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, of the 37,133 traffic fatalities in just one recent year, 5,977 were pedestrians.

In Illinois, during the same year, of the 1,097 people killed in traffic fatalities, 145 were pedestrians. In the United States, 18 percent of the pedestrian fatalities were in crosswalks, while 73 percent were not in an intersection. The balance—9 percent—happened in other places, such as parking lanes, on the side of the road, sidewalks, medians, non-traffic areas, driveways, and shared-use trails and paths.

What Should You Do Next?

If you were in a crosswalk pedestrian accident or lost a loved one in a crosswalk pedestrian accident, contact an experienced pedestrian crosswalk accident attorney to learn more about your rights to compensation.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

America’s streets are not particularly safe for pedestrians. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 5,300 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. Another 130,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents that same year. States like California and Illinois allow pedestrians who are injured in traffic accidents to file civil lawsuits to recover compensation from at-fault parties.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Personal injury laws vary from state to state. It is important to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in the state where you were injured.

Negligence Following a Pedestrian Accident

In most states, personal injury claims are based on the argument that one person’s negligence caused another person to suffer an injury. Personal injury claims filed by injured pedestrians are no different. When a pedestrian is injured in an accident he or she will have to prove that another person was negligent. This other person could be a fellow pedestrian, a bicyclist, car driver, truck driver, or even the local government in charge of maintaining the sidewalks. In both Illinois and California, a person will be considered to be negligent when:

  • They have a duty or responsibility to act in a way that would prevent foreseeable harm;
  • They fail to fulfill this duty; and
  • Another person suffers an injury or harm as a result of this behavior.

For example, imagine that a pedestrian was crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. A driver speeds through the intersection and hits the pedestrian, causing them to suffer serious injuries. The driver did not see the pedestrian because he was texting on his phone while driving. The injured pedestrian could file a lawsuit based on the fact that the driver of the car was negligent. The pedestrian would prove negligence by arguing:

  • The driver assumed a duty of care when he began to operate a car on a public road;
  • The driver breached his duty of care by texting while driving;
  • The pedestrian was struck by the car and suffered injuries because the driver was distracted.

Comparative and Contributory Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

While many state laws are generally based on the theory of negligence, those states may impose liability in different ways. California, for example, follows the theory of comparative fault. This means that you can recover compensation for an injury even if you contribute to the accident. A California victim can recover compensation so long as they are not 100 percent at-fault for an accident. The amount of compensation an accident victim can recover will, however, be reduced by the percentage of fault they are assigned.

For example, let’s say that the pedestrian in the above example was not crossing at a marked crosswalk. In California, pedestrians must generally cross a street at an intersection. The pedestrian is then determined to be 50% at fault for the accident. If the pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages, he would only be able to recover $50,000 in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.

In Illinois, prior to 1981, the state followed the rule of pure contributory negligence. This meant that you were prohibited from recovering anything if you were partly to blame for an accident. In 1981, however, the Illinois Supreme Court replaced contributory negligence with a type of modified comparative negligence. Today, a personal injury accident victim’s ability to recover compensation will depend on the degree to which they contributed to an accident. A victim who is determined to be 51% or more at fault for an accident is barred from recovering anything at all in a personal injury lawsuit. A victim who is determined to be 50% or less at fault for an accident may recover compensation. However, the amount they are entitled to recover will be reduced by their determined percent of fault for the accident.

Here’s an example. Imagine that a Chicago pedestrian was walking down the right-hand side of a road that was paved with sidewalks. However, he was not on the sidewalk. The pedestrian then decides to cross the street and takes a diagonal path to the opposite side of the road. A car traveling down the road hits him when he starts to cross. Pedestrians in Illinois have a duty to act with reasonable care when walking on the road. Specifically, they must use sidewalks when available and must cross at a right angle. This means that walking on the wrong side of the road, failing to use a sidewalk, and taking a diagonal path to cross the road are all behaviors that violate this duty. The pedestrian decides to file a lawsuit against the driver. However, although similar cases could result in recovery by a plaintiff, in this particular case, the jury determines that the pedestrian was 60 percent at fault for the accident. As a result, he is barred from recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. This is because he has exceeded the 51% fault threshold, as permitted by law.

If this same accident happened in California, the pedestrian would be entitled to compensation. The amount would simply be reduced by 60%. So, if he suffered $100,000 in damages, he would only be entitled to recover $40,000. In Illinois, however, he is entitled to recover nothing.

Recovering Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident

Most state laws allow pedestrians to file a civil claim for damages after an accident. However, these same state laws may vary when a pedestrian’s own contribution to an accident is considered. In Illinois, a pedestrian may not recover compensation if they are 51% or more at fault for an accident. In California, a pedestrian may recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault for an accident. It is important to understand the specific state and local laws that will apply to your specific personal injury case. Hiring an experienced pedestrian accident injury attorney to handle your case is the best way to maximize damages.

Pedestrian Crashes Caused by Drivers Who Fail to Yield

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 129,000 people in the United States visited the emergency department in a single year because of injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents happen on a regular basis, especially in cities like Chicago that have high numbers of people who walk as part of their daily transportation.

If you have either walked or driven in Chicago at any point, you know that intersections can be confusing and even chaotic. Many drivers and pedestrians are trying to get where they need to go as fast as possible. Yet many drivers in Chicago fail to properly abide by Illinois traffic laws that require them to yield to pedestrians in certain situations.

When a pedestrian has a “walk” signal, she has the right to enter the crosswalk and cross the street. Any drivers who wish to cross over the crosswalk must yield to pedestrians. Unfortunately, many drivers see an opening to make a turn and fail to notice the “walk” signal or pedestrians in the crosswalk. This can lead to a serious collision. Furthermore, some drivers purposely disregard yield laws in attempts to beat pedestrians or even bully pedestrians into stopping while they proceed first.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can Be Severe

The injuries that pedestrians commonly sustain in traffic accidents can be serious and often life-changing. Some common injuries include the following:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Shattered or broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Amputations

Pedestrians typically sustain multiple traumatic injuries as they often have multiple points of impact, such as with the car that hit them and then with the ground. Many pedestrians live with the effects of their accident for months or even years, and their financial losses can be substantial.

Call a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Assistance Today

The law firm of Abels & Annes is dedicated to holding negligent drivers responsible for the losses incurred by the pedestrians they injure. If you have sustained injuries in a collision, please call our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at 312-924-7575 for more information today.