Pedestrians can never take for granted that crossing a road is completely safe. In order to prevent being hit by a vehicle, a pedestrian should always obey traffic signals, cross in designated crosswalks, wear bright clothing if walking or jogging at night, and check the road for oncoming traffic in both directions before and during crossing.
Even the most vigilant pedestrian is no match for a vehicle that is driving dangerously, or for dangerous road conditions such as potholes or construction sites. What are some of the main causes of pedestrian accidents?
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- Failure to yield. In certain crosswalks and intersections, cars are instructed to yield to pedestrians. This is especially important for left turns, where cars may be navigating several lanes of traffic to complete the turn. A driver may not look for a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or simply ignore the sign and expect the pedestrian to get out of the way. Failure to yield can easily cause an accident.
- Running red lights. A driver who blows a red light can easily misjudge if they can avoid a passenger in the road.
- Speeding. A driver going over the limit has only one thing on their mind – getting to their destination as quickly as possible, whether they do so safely or not. A speeding driver will likely not be looking for pedestrians in the road, and be unable to stop in time before causing an accident.
- Not driving appropriately for the weather. In order to drive safely, drivers have to adjust their speed and maneuvers for heavy rain, sleet, snow or ice. Driving the legal speed limit doesn’t mean they are driving safely. Cars can hydroplane or skid and hit a pedestrian.
- Impaired driving. A driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving while drowsy or fatigued poses a significant risk to pedestrians. They will have reduced coordination and reaction time and will likely not be able to prevent an accident.
- Distracted driving. One of the most common reactions to a pedestrian accident by a driver is that they didn’t see the pedestrian in the road, and therefore had no intent to cause an accident. When drivers are not paying attention to the road – due to talking on a cell phone, texting, eating or drinking, dealing with children in the back seat, or using a GPS or stereo system – they greatly increase the chances of hitting a pedestrian.
Pedestrians can also be considered partly at fault for an accident, under Illinois’ modified comparative fault statute. If a pedestrian was behaving recklessly – such as jaywalking, laying in the street, or running out suddenly into the road in the oncoming path of a vehicle, the court may consider them to assume a percentage of the fault. If the driver is found to be 60% at fault and the pedestrian 40%, the injured pedestrian’s damages would be reduced by 40%.
Why Contact a Lawyer After a Pedestrian Accident?
A personal injury lawyer is an expert in claiming damages. No one anticipates getting involved in an accident. After suffering an injury it can be difficult enough to focus on recovering and figuring out what one’s own insurance policy will cover – let alone researching what rights an accident victim has for compensation. A personal injury lawyer will know precisely what kinds of damages a pedestrian accident victim is entitled to under the law – including medical costs, lost income, property damages and pain and suffering.
A personal injury lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies on their client’s behalf. An insurance company may make a low initial settlement offer and not include categories of damages the claimant is entitled to in hopes the claimant will accept simply to get the process over with. A personal injury lawyer will be persistent until the fairest maximum settlement they are entitled to.
A personal injury lawyer works on a fee contingency basis. When pursuing a personal injury claim, the client does not have to pay anything upfront. The personal injury lawyer will not accept a case unless they are confident a settlement can be reached.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident where someone else was at fault, contact the team at Mueller, Lawson & Frobisch to handle your case. Contact us today for a consultation.