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​The Pandemic Caused Pedestrian Accident Fatalities to Spike

The COVID-19 pandemic had far more impacts on our daily lives, and these effects are becoming apparent over time. One unexpected consequence of the pandemic was more dangerous roads. Observers expected the exact opposite effect. They had thought that fewer cars on the road would make things safer for other drivers and pedestrians, but the opposite occurred.

Now, pedestrian fatalities have climbed steadily with no limit in sight. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation. First, you should contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.

Pedestrian fatalities were already at multi-year highs before the pandemic. The number of people killed in pedestrian accidents increased even more after the start of COVID-19. While the prevailing initial thought was that fewer vehicles on the road might make things safer, the opposite has happened. People feel bold enough to act far more dangerously, raising the risks for everyone in the vicinity.

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.


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

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.

Speeding

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

Distracted Drivers Can Seriously Injure Pedestrians

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.

Pedestrian Accidents: The 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, distraction.gov. 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.

If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver, Consult with a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles. If a distracted driver has caused you to be so injured, it can be extremely difficult and upsetting. Drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care, after all, and distracted drivers eschew this important responsibility. The legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes understands how difficult your situation is, and we’re here to help. Your rights and your rightful compensation are important, so please contact or call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

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.