Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
When most people think of car accidents, they usually think of collisions involving two vehicles, with the sounds of screeching tires and the impact of crunching metal and glass. But a fair percentage of car accidents involve only one driver. And despite involving only one vehicle, these types of accidents can often result in substantial damage and sometimes horrendous injuries—especially when the accident involves a pedestrian.
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are far from rare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, in 2012:
- 4,743 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in the United States;
- Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14% of all vehicle crash fatalities;
- 19% of pedestrian deaths were committed by hit-and-run drivers;
- 73% of pedestrian fatalities were in urban areas;
- 30% of fatalities occurred at intersections;
- 15% of pedestrians killed in crashes were 70 years old or older;
- 76,000 pedestrians were injured;
- Of the 76,000 injuries, 14,000 (or 18%) were to children under 15 years old;
- There were 2,943 pedestrian crashes in the City of Chicago alone;
Too often, even relatively alert motorists pay attention only to other vehicles on the roads, and not to others on or near the roadway such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians may not only include those walking along city streets, but joggers, skateboarders, people in wheelchairs or other assistive devices, and scooters. Pedestrians also include anyone who may be on or near a roadway, such as people crossing the street to visit their neighbors, or children playing on the sidewalk.
Many pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers who are not paying sufficient attention to their surroundings. Pedestrians are frequently hit by a vehicle while:
- The vehicle is turning at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot;
- The pedestrian is walking through a parking lot and the vehicle is driving through; and
- The vehicle is backing up out of a parking space or driveway.
Drivers have a duty of care while operating their vehicles that extends not only to other cars on the road, but also to other users of the road: motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, people in wheelchairs, and so on. This often means being a defensive, rather than aggressive, driver. Drivers need to be especially wary when driving through areas that are likely to have more children present: residential neighborhoods, school zones, shopping areas, and parks. This is critical, since young children are often less aware of their surroundings and of the dangers posed by moving vehicles, and more difficult for drivers to spot because of their small stature. It is also important for parents to educate their children about the dangers of vehicles and roadways, and in particular the dangers inherent in walking through parking lots (such as back-over accidents) and in crossing streets. Parents accompanying their young toddlers along roadways should always have them by the hand or carry them, if at all possible.Pedestrian Accident FAQ
One moment, your walk down the street seems relatively peaceful. The next, a car strikes you, turning your world on end. Suddenly, you face serious injuries, a long recovery, and a host of questions. Do you know what to do following a pedestrian accident? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we received from pedestrian accident victim clients here at Abels & Annes.
What should you do after a pedestrian accident?
Call 911 and immediately summon the police and, if needed, an ambulance to the scene after a pedestrian accident. Your body has little protection from the street or the vehicle that struck you. At best, you may have severe scrapes and lacerations that need to be cleaned out. At worst, you may have substantial injuries that require hospitalization for a full recovery. Seeking medical attention after a pedestrian accident can help you avoid further injury and decrease the severity of the injuries you’ve sustained, especially if you suffer spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.
If you physically can without risking further injury, look around the scene of the accident and collect evidence. You may want to take photos, including:
- Your injuries
- The scene of the accident
- The vehicle that struck you
- The insurance card and driver’s license of the driver that struck you
You may also want to make note of any security cameras around the area or collect statements from any witnesses who saw the accident. This evidence can help prove your claim later.
What if the accident was a hit and run? Do I have any recourse?
Following a hit and run, get in contact with the police as soon as possible. They will write a report about the crash, look for evidence that will help identify the driver who caused the accident, and, in many cases, help catch the responsible driver. If you do not find the driver who caused your injuries, contact your auto insurance company. Your uninsured motorist coverage may help provide coverage for your injuries, even though you were on foot at the time of the accident. Talking with an attorney can also help you understand your legal options after a hit and run accident.
Is the driver of the vehicle always legally liable for a pedestrian accident?
Every time they get behind the wheel, Illinois drivers have a duty of care not to harm anyone on the road, including other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. They must take every reasonable precaution to prevent an accident and injury. That does not mean, however, that a driver always has legal liability for an accident with a pedestrian. Or that the driver is the only party with potential liability.
Yes, in most cases, a driver who strikes a pedestrian is at fault. But it might also be the case that the design of the intersection where the accident happened contributed to a vehicle-pedestrian collision, in which case the civil engineer or municipality responsible for the intersection may have legal liability. Or the vehicle that struck the pedestrian may have had a defect that caused the driver to lose control, in which case the manufacturer may share in the liability for the accident. In short, multiple parties may have legal liability for damages to the injured pedestrian.
The best way to determine who has legal liability for injuring you in a pedestrian-vehicle collision is to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
What happens if the driver who struck me does not carry insurance?
An uninsured or underinsured driver creates problems for pedestrian accident victims to whom the driver has legal liability. In some rare cases, the driver has assets that the pedestrian can seek to recover in a legal action. But more often, uninsured and underinsured drivers lack insurance because they can’t afford it, and so there is little hope they have assets with which they can pay someone’s damages.
In that case, the injured pedestrian might have to look elsewhere for compensation. One source of payment could be the pedestrian’s own insurance. Most auto policies, for example, contain underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage that would protect you even in a pedestrian accident. Likewise, the pedestrian’s own health insurance should cover medical expenses incurred because of a collision with a motorist. Finally, if there are other parties with potential legal liability to the pedestrian, as described in the answer to the question above, then the pedestrian may seek compensation from them as well.
Bottom line: just because the person who struck you did not carry enough, or any, insurance, does not mean you are out of luck. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help you explore other avenues to recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Do I need an attorney after a pedestrian accident?
Yes, you do. We know, we are biased. But the truth is, most people—let alone most injured people—do not have the experience and know-how to navigate the process of seeking compensation for accident injuries on their own. In contrast, pedestrian accident attorneys help people recover compensation through legal actions day-in, day-out. Hiring an attorney with a strong reputation and a track record of success gives nearly everyone a better chance at receiving the maximum damages allowable under the law than they would have if they tried to handle their case on their own.
After a pedestrian accident, you may have more questions than answers. By working with an attorney, however, you can get the legal support you need as well as answers to any of your pressing questions and concerns about your rights.Have You Been Injured by a Motor Vehicle While a Pedestrian in Chicago? Abels & Annes Can Help
As more and more people turn to either public transportation or walking as an alternative to commuting by car, more pedestrians end up on the public roadways, particularly in urban areas like Chicago, where people often walk from bus stops, “L” stops, or rail stations to their homes or places of employment.
Too frequently, pedestrians are hit by motorists who are too distracted to notice them crossing the street or walking behind a vehicle. And when this happens, it will be the pedestrian, not the motorist, who pays the price. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes have extensive experience representing pedestrians who are injured in vehicle accidents. We can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf, or a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one who has been killed in a pedestrian accident in Chicago or anywhere else in Cook County or the surrounding communities.
If you or someone close to you has suffered an accident as a pedestrian, visit our firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. These can be very complex cases, and hiring a law firm familiar with all of the issues involved in pedestrian accidents in the Chicago area is you best option for obtaining the compensation you deserve. Our veteran personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of success in litigating personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of clients and families living with the tragedy of a serious or fatal pedestrian accident.
Contact Abels & Annes, P.C., toll-free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO, or locally in Chicago at (312) 924-7575, or use the form here on this website. At Abels & Annes, we stand on our record of success.