Not everyone rides the bus, and not everyone takes the train. Only some people travel by cab or by private car and still fewer choose a bicycle or motorcycle to get around town. But the one thing that everyone has in common is that some point, in every day, everyone is a pedestrian. It is a belief so widely held that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has chosen the concept as a slogan to remind individuals of why pedestrian safety is so important. If everyone walks at one time or another, then the safety of pedestrians should matter to all.
Despite this commonality that unites us all, pedestrian accidents continue to occur, injuring hundreds of thousands of people and claiming the lives of many. In fact, in 2011 alone, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes according to NHTSA. That means that on average, a pedestrian in American lost his or her life every two hours. In addition to those who are killed in accident, hundreds of thousands of additional people are injured in collisions.
Pedestrians can be involved in a traffic accident at any point in time. Though areas marked for pedestrian traffic should be safe, there is never a guarantee that all drivers in the area will respect a pedestrian’s right to travel. Even areas like sidewalks can be the scene for a pedestrian-related accident at times, though these crashes are less common than others. The greatest risks presented to pedestrians arise when pedestrians and automobiles are expected to share the same space and are supposed to use it at separate times. The best example of this is a crosswalk.
A crosswalk is a marked or unmarked path designed for pedestrians to safely cross a street, road, or alley without the risk of being hit by a car. Crosswalks often are located at intersections or corners of roads to make them convenient for use by pedestrians while also preventing walkers from crossing mid-block. Having a uniform location for pedestrian crossings can also make it easier for drivers to anticipate the presence of those not in a vehicle and to take appropriate steps to ensure pedestrian safety as a result.
In a large city like Chicago, many crosswalks are clearly marked and identified, but in smaller communities or less-traveled areas, crosswalks may be less noticeable. Under the laws of Illinois, crosswalks can be either marked or unmarked, but regardless of how they are designated, they are designed for pedestrian use and pedestrians generally have the right-of-way when using a crosswalk properly. This means following traffic signals for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic and staying within the confines of the crosswalk when walking across a street.
In an accident between a pedestrian and a car, truck, or bus, the pedestrian almost always suffers from injuries, ranging from mild to fatal. The fact is that an automobile is a large, heavy, metal vehicle with safety features designed to protect its occupants. In contrast, there is nothing surrounding a pedestrian to offer any sort of protection in the event of an impact, leaving the pedestrian’s body to absorb much of the force of a crash. When this happens, broken bones, scars and lacerations, or even death may result.
Pedestrian accidents do not end once the crash settles but rather can leave a victim suffering for months or even years. In some instances, victims may never fully recover and may need assistance for the remainder of their lifetimes. These damages can affect others in a family and can limit a victim’s ability to work in addition to causing a victim to incur out-of-pocket medical expenses.
When a driver fails to recognize the rights of a pedestrian and causes a collision, the pedestrian may be entitled to seek relief for any damages that result. In many cases, this can include bills for emergency medical treatment and hospital care, visits to specialists, future surgical costs, rehabilitation, and even compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages. Speaking with an injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options after a crash.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we believe that all accident victims deserve to have an advocate on their side, fighting for their rights. We believe it so strongly that we make ourselves available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with accident victims and to provide them with a free case consultation. If you have been injured in a traffic crash or if your loved one has been killed, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us help you understand your legal options. The contents of the phone call will be kept confidential and if we represent you, we will never charge a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf. If you prefer, contact us online for a free consultation.
If you have been injured in a crosswalk accident, call us now at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.