Chicago is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. And, if you’re like most people, you enjoy taking a walk in one of the many great neighborhoods in Chicago from time to time. It’s a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, and it’s also fun to explore your community.
However, walking the streets as a pedestrian can also be dangerous, especially in high traffic areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 6,515 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2020 alone. In addition, another 55,000 pedestrians were injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to speak with experienced Chicago accident lawyers as soon as possible to protect your rights.
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What Are the Laws Regarding Pedestrians in Chicago?
Pedestrians in Illinois generally have the right-of-way, but only if they are abiding by the laws pedestrians are required to follow when using the roadways. Where there are traffic signals and/or crosswalks in place, pedestrians are required to obey any traffic signals and use any crosswalks. When a pedestrian needs to cross the road in an area where there is no crosswalk, they are required to yield the right-of-way to any approaching vehicles. Also, when there is a sidewalk available, pedestrians are required to use it. However, if there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road as close to the outside edge of the road as possible.
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How Do Pedestrian Accidents Typically Happen?
There are many ways that pedestrian accidents occur. One of the most common is when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Drivers making left turns at intersections: Drivers often fail to see pedestrians crossing the street when they make left turns at intersections.
- Drivers backing up: Drivers backing up often fail to see pedestrians behind them, especially if the pedestrian is in their blind spot.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving, especially a driver who is texting or using their phone while on the road, is a major cause of accidents today. It can be just as dangerous for pedestrians as it is for other motorists.
- Drunk driving: Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol cause numerous accidents and can be especially dangerous for pedestrians.
Common Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to serious, life-threatening injuries. Some of the most common injuries associated with pedestrian accidents include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of death and disability among pedestrians involved in accidents. A TBI is caused by a sudden impact on the head, which can result in damage to the brain.
The symptoms of a TBI can range from mild to severe and may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, confusion, impaired speech, and difficulty with coordination. In severe cases, a TBI can lead to a coma or even death.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Another common injury sustained in a pedestrian accident is a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries can range from mild (such as a temporary loss of sensation) to severe (paralysis). In some cases, a spinal cord injury can even be fatal.
Fractured bones are another common injury that pedestrians sustain in accidents. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the force of the impact can cause bones to break. In some cases, the impact can be so severe that it results in multiple and/or complex fractures requiring surgical repair.
When a pedestrian is struck by a car, the force of the impact can cause major organs to rupture and bleed. This type of injury is often fatal, and those who survive often face a long road to recovery. Internal bleeding can also lead to other serious health problems, such as brain damage, kidney failure, and stroke.
Soft Tissue Damage
Another common type of injury resulting from pedestrian accidents is soft tissue injuries. These include damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Often, these injuries can be painful, long-lasting, and may require physical therapy or other treatment to recover.
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What to Do After You’ve Been Injured in an Accident
At the accident scene, it is important to take the following steps, to the best of your ability, following an accident:
- Ensure that you and everyone involved are safe and out of harm’s way.
- Take photos and/or video of the vehicle(s), the location of the accident, and any visible injuries you have sustained.
- Call the authorities to request police and emergency medical services to the scene.
- Do not admit fault, apologize for the accident, or otherwise discuss the accident with the other driver. Any statements you make may be used against you and may reduce or eliminate the possibility of receiving compensation later.
- Take note of any statements or admissions made by the driver, such as, “sorry, I didn’t see you”.
- Take the driver’s contact information and insurance information.
- If there are any witnesses to the accident, make sure to get their names and contact information.
- Take note of any visible cameras in the area.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A trained medical professional will be able to diagnose and treat your injuries and/or refer you to any necessary specialists.
Once you have obtained medical treatment for your injuries, your next step should be to contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. An experienced accident lawyer will work to build a strong case from day one in order to get the compensation you deserve. They will be your advocate and won’t rest until you’ve been fairly compensated for your injuries.
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What Compensation Can You Receive?
Compensation for Medical Bills
All related past and future medical costs that you incur due to treatment required for your injury, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, assistive devices, rehabilitation, and medication are included.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Compensation for all mental and physical suffering you experience because of your car accident can be recovered.
Compensation for Lost Income
All the past and future wages that you lose due to your injuries will keep you from being able to work and earn money to pay your expenses, and care for your family can be recovered. The compensation can include income, benefits, commissions, and bonuses.
Punitive damages are designed to punish someone for egregious misconduct in addition to the normal damages. It is often awarded in drunk driving cases and cases involving other reckless behavior.
Damages for Wrongful Death
If you have a family member who passes away because of a pedestrian accident, it may be possible to recover for all related medical costs, pain, and suffering by the decedent, as well as:
- Loss of financial support.
- Loss of companionship or consortium.
- Funeral and burial costs.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Walking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, but it’s important to be aware of the dangers pedestrians face on our roads. Here are a few safety tips that all pedestrians should follow:
Tip #1 – Always Use Crosswalks When Crossing the Street
One of the most important safety measures is to always use a crosswalk when crossing the street. That way, you are more likely to be seen by drivers, and you can take advantage of traffic signals to help you safely navigate the intersection.
Additionally, it is important to stay alert and watch for cars when crossing the street. Even if you are using a crosswalk, drivers may not see you, so it is important to be cautious. If possible, make eye contact with drivers as they approach to ensure that they see you. By taking these simple steps, you can help to avoid becoming a statistic.
Tip #2 – Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When walking, pay attention to the traffic around you and be prepared to move out of the way if necessary. Avoid becoming distracted by your phone or other devices, and try crossing streets at intersections where drivers are more likely to pay attention
Also, be mindful of parked cars and other obstacles that may block your view of oncoming traffic.
Tip #3 – Make Yourself Visible
Wearing bright or reflective clothing is a good start, but there are other things you can do. If you are walking at night, carry a flashlight and keep it pointed toward the ground in front of you. This will help drivers see you from a distance. Also, try to stay in well-lit areas whenever possible.
Tip #4 – Never Assume a Driver Sees You
Even if the light is in your favor, never assume that a driver sees you. Making eye contact with drivers before crossing the street is always best. If they don’t see you, they may not stop in time, and you could get hurt. Finally, always be especially cautious around construction zones. With all the activity going on, it can be easy for drivers to lose sight of pedestrians.
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Contact an Experienced Chicago Accident Lawyer Today
With advances in technology, Chicago’s streets have become safer. But as any person who walks or drives on them knows – there is always the potential for something bad to happen even if you’re paying attention.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian, our dedicated and experienced pedestrian accident lawyers atDrake & Collopy, P.C. are here to help. Do not attempt to navigate the legal system on your own. We will work to build a strong case on your behalf to secure the best possible result for you. Contact us todayfor a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.