Most drivers realize that car accidents happen from time to time, and though they may believe it unlikely, those drivers may recognize that they are potential victims of a car crash, even if they drive as safely as possible. Pedestrians are also potential victims of car accidents and every year, thousands of pedestrians are involved in accidents. Yet most people never consider the possibility that they could be hit by a car as they walk to their home, work, or vehicle.
Every year, thousands of pedestrians are injured in accidents across Illinois and many are killed. In 2012 alone, there were 4,762 pedestrian collisions in the state; 4,517 of those accidents resulted in injuries and 134 of them proved fatal, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. That means that nearly 98 percent of all pedestrian accidents resulted in either an injury or death to someone involved. While pedestrian accidents may only account for 1.7 percent of all collisions, the results of these crashes cannot be ignored; they are leading to the serious injury and death of thousands of people walking annually.
The laws that govern conduct in a pedestrian-related crash are the same as those applicable to a collision between two or more vehicles. The driver or drivers involved must remain at the scene of the accident until they are cleared by emergency personnel with very limited exceptions. Despite these clear laws, many drivers flee the scene of an accident, leading to what is called a hit-and-run crash and leaving behind a potential victim. Often, these drivers are later identified and apprehended by police. In addition to any charges that may stem from the collision itself, leaving the scene of a crash often adds other charges against the driver, some of which can result in fines, loss of a driver’s license, and incarceration if the driver is convicted. Police and local authorities in Chicago take hit-and-run accidents very seriously because they often involve serious injuries to an innocent victim.
Rights of Pedestrians Injured by a Hit-and-Run Driver
The laws in Chicago are designed to protect those who become victims due to the negligence of another. When a pedestrian is injured through the fault of the driver of a car, truck, van, or bus, that pedestrian may be entitled to bring a claim for his or her damages in an effort to obtain financial relief.
A claim may be brought against the driver of an at-fault vehicle, the vehicle’s owner, or even the employer of the person behind the wheel at the time of the collision occurred. In some cases, multiple claims may be possible and may enable a victim to obtain adequate and proper relief for any injuries sustained.
In the event that a hit-and-run driver cannot be located, pedestrians are not simply out of luck as they may believe. Rather, a claim may still be possible on the pedestrian’s behalf and may enable the pedestrian to recover for actual losses like medical and surgical bills incurred as well as less tangible damages including pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, and permanency of damages.
It is important to realize that a victim’s rights are not dependent on whether criminal or traffic charges are brought against the at-fault driver but rather on whether the at-fault driver acted in a negligent manner. This can include driving while distracted, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, or even running a red light and striking a pedestrian.
When a pedestrian is involved in an accident, it is extremely likely that the pedestrian will be injured. Often, the injuries are so severe that the victim cannot call for help even though help is needed. A driver who remains at the scene of an accident may be able to call for an ambulance and police or may be able to help the victim in another way; fleeing the scene without alerting authorities is a common cause of delay of medical treatment, often leading to more complicated and serious injuries. In addition to the increased risk of damages, a fleeing driver also fails to identify himself or herself to police which can make the investigation into the accident much more difficult. Greater resources are needed to track down and find the offending driver and to bring that driver to justice. These reasons alone make it clear why it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident without speaking to police.
Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers in Chicago
If you have been injured in an accident in Chicago and you were a pedestrian, you may feel like you have nowhere to turn. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are here to tell you that you have options and that you deserve to have a legal representative on your side, fighting for your rights.
We have the experience necessary to bring claims on behalf of injured pedestrians to help them seek the relief they deserve. To enable you towards a path of recovery, we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575. We will provide you with a free case consultation without any obligation on your part.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident with a hit-and-run driver, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.