Vehicle versus pedestrian: who “wins” and who pays?
Vehicles injure and kill people. When struck by a moving vehicle, the human body is particularly vulnerable to severe or fatal injuries. Crash statistics and medical evidence prove that flesh and bones are not a fair match to a moving car or truck. Thus, severe injuries tend to occur to pedestrians struck by a vehicle.
Protect Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident - You deserve fair compensation if injured in a vehicle collision. Our experienced Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers have decades of success in representing victims. We'll fight to ensure you receive the financial recovery you're entitled to, whether from an individual's insurance or a commercial entity. Contact us at (312)766-1000 to secure your future.
Compensation to the insured pedestrian comes from the other driver’s insurer. In some cases, the fault of the driver; sometimes, the fault is not so clear and thus disputed. Some injuries are severe and permanent, and others heal within months. In any case, financial recovery is from the insurance company covering the car and the driver. If the vehicle is a business or commercial vehicle, the company insurance is the source of recovery.
In several decades of personal injury law practice, our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers have successfully represented seriously injured pedestrians in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
What is your Case Worth? Sample Recoveries for Our Clients
In 35 years of personal injury law practice, our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers have successfully represented those pedestrians seriously injured or their families when a fatality results in Chicago and Illinois. All 3 of the following settlement factors determine the amount of payment you may receive.
Every case is unique. Case value is based on the three major factors:
- Fault of the negligent driver,
- Severity of Injuries,
- Insurance policy limits.
Here are a few sample results we have obtained for our pedestrian accident injury claims:
- $1,500,000 Recovered for our client who sustained leg crush injuries.
- $600,000 For a woman who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a tractor-trailer.
- $285,000 Settlement for a pedestrian who sustained an ankle fracture when struck by a vehicle driving close to the sidewalk.
- $250,000 (pursuit of $1,000,000 underinsured motorist coverage ongoing): Liability policy limits were recovered for a 65-year-old female pedestrian who was struck while in a crosswalk by a driver. The impact caused injuries to our client’s head neck and right knee. She was diagnosed with a concussion, cervical disc herniations, and a right knee lateral meniscus tear. An underinsured motorist claim is pending.
What To Do After a Chicago Pedestrian Accident
Get immediate medical attentionSafety first - get immediate medical care. What may seem to be “mild” injuries initially can turn out to be serious injuries later. For example, a headache could be a symptom of a brain bleed. A sore ankle could be multiple bone fractures. A stiff shoulder could be a torn rotator cuff. A herniated vertebral disc could cause an aching neck or back. Get examined and diagnosed. And then follow the treatment plan of your doctors and therapists.
Your health and welfare are your primary concern. Prompt medical care at the scene of the collision by first responders (who will likely be paramedics) will stabilize you and transport you to the emergency room. After that, see your primary care doctor and likely an orthopedic specialist, a neurologist, and a pain specialist for serious pedestrian injuries.
Gather information - other drivers, insurance, the scene, witnessesGathering information is next - the police report is necessary, but your competent pedestrian accident law firm should get that immediately. Any and all information about the scene, the driver, the driver’s insurance, and witnesses is important evidence that is needed to prove your case.
Record your day-to-day experiencesFor example, the inability to sleep due to pain, the difficulty in cleaning your home or cooking your meals, the challenges of being able to work because of the loss of use of your strength - these details are best recorded by you. A journal is a useful means to record the specific consequences of your injury beyond just medical bills and income.
Memories fade. Pedestrian injury cases take time to resolve. In the meantime, you will be experiencing mental, emotional, and physical consequences resulting from the vehicle collision. Your life at home, your work life, and your recreational life will all be affected by your injury. The day-to-day, moment-to-moment experiences in the first weeks of the collision may be forgotten if not recorded.
Support in activities of daily living - home, work, recreationIf you are seriously hurt, you will likely need assistance at home, at work, and in your other activities for days or even weeks or months. Building a support team to assist you is essential. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, and neighbors. You may also obtain assistance from community groups of which you may or may not be a member, such as churches or charitable organizations.
Zealous advocacy from a committed pedestrian accident lawyerFind a trusted pedestrian accident attorney and interview them. Look at their reviews and their results. See how you feel about them representing you. A good pedestrian accident law firm will be well worth it by providing you with information and advice; most of all, they will provide you with vigorous representation. You can handle your claim on your own. Or not. In either case, get a free legal consultation. Any competent pedestrian attorney will give you a no-obligation meeting to review your case and provide an evaluation. Insurance and legal claims arising from pedestrian injuries involve many rules and procedures - going it alone can be perilous.
How Long Do I Have to File a Pedestrian Crash Lawsuit in Illinois?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, including a pedestrian crash lawsuit, is generally two years from the date of the personal injury claim. This means you typically have two years from the date of the pedestrian crash to file a lawsuit seeking damages for your injuries.
If you are considering filing a pedestrian injury lawsuit in Illinois, acting promptly is essential. Gathering evidence, such as witness statements and medical records, can be crucial to the success of your case, and it's essential to do so while the information is still fresh. Additionally, the longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the harder it may be for an attorney to locate and produce evidence that could support your claim.
The Most Common Pedestrian Injury Accidents
Where: Intersections and parking lots.
The most common pedestrian-vehicle accidents happen where vehicles and pedestrians meet - at intersections and parking lots. There is a lot of activity at intersections and in parking lots. Pedestrians cross the streets at intersections, and pedestrians are in parking lots going from or to the cars. It's a potentially hazardous mix since drivers must travel through intersections and parking lots. Safety and lookout are the watchwords.
Vehicles: Those driven by distracted drivers, delivery vehicles, and rideshare vehicles.
The vehicles most commonly causing pedestrian accidents involve distracted drivers! A person driving a vehicle can be distracted at any moment, so everyone has the potential to cause traffic accidents. The types of vehicles most commonly involved in pedestrian-vehicle collisions are business vehicles such as delivery trucks, taxis, and ride-share cars.
What are the most Common Severe Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
The force brought by massively heavy moving vehicles against human flesh and bones is always damaging. The body is no match for a car or truck. Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which can be severe injuries and even life-threatening. Some of the most common severe injuries that can result from pedestrian and car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage and can be caused by the head striking an object or by the brain being shaken violently inside the skull.
- Spinal cord injuries: These injuries can lead to paralysis and can be caused by damage to the vertebrae, discs, or ligaments in the spine.
- Fractures: Pedestrian accidents can result in fractures or breaks to bones in the arms, legs, feet, and hands, as well as fractures to the ribs, pelvis, and skull.
- Internal injuries: Injuries can vary from minor to severe and can include damage to the organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
- Amputations: In severe pedestrian accident cases, it may be necessary to amputate a limb to save the person's life.
Walking the Streets in Chicago and the Suburbs
Chicago is a great walking city with lively neighborhoods, great shopping and dining, beautiful parks, and sporting and recreational events. The terrain is mostly level, and most roadways have some safety features. At almost all times, many people are on foot. They are vulnerable in crashes involving motor vehicles because they are physically exposed and thus likely to be severely injured or killed when hit by a truck or car.
Notable pedestrian-vehicle encounters happen in heavily traveled locations such as train, bus, and subway stations where pedestrians congregate. Other pedestrian accident injuries occur at airports where travelers converge with taxis, buses, and rideshare vehicles. Also, motorized vehicles within the airport are a dangerous cause of collisions and injuries with travelers walking in airport terminals.
NTHSA 2020 Pedestrian Accident Safety Facts
- Pedestrian fatalities in traffic crashes increased by 3.9% in 2020 compared to the previous year, resulting in 6,516 tragic deaths. This is a concerning rise from the 6,272 fatalities in 2019.
- There were 54,769 pedestrians injured in the U.S. in 2020, which marks a significant decline of 28% from the previous year's figure of 75,650 pedestrian injuries in 2019.
- In 2020, there was a pedestrian fatality every 81 minutes and a pedestrian injury every 10 minutes on average in motor vehicle accidents. These statistics underscore the need to prioritize pedestrian safety and take measures to prevent accidents from happening.
- Pedestrian fatalities made up 17% of all traffic-related deaths in 2020, while pedestrian injuries accounted for 2% of all people injured in traffic accidents.
- In 2020, pedestrians accounted for 16% of all children aged 14 and younger who were killed in traffic crashes.
70 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2019 in Illinois. The number increased to 75 in the first six months of 2020. A 7 percent increase. 21 fatalities were in the City of Chicago, and at that rate, will match the 40 deaths from the year before. Pedestrians in Chicago are twice as likely to be killed in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident than anywhere else in the nation. With a goal of zero annual pedestrian deaths by 2021, the Chicago Department of Transportation put together a comprehensive Pedestrian Plan.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has analyzed the factors contributing to pedestrian accidents and compiled the Traffic Safety Facts for pedestrians. The report cautions motorists on the most common errors that can eliminate injuries if drivers increase their awareness of these causes of pedestrian collisions.
Accident Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
The NHTSA has published the following general information of interest:
- More than one-fourth of all accidents occur between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- In nearly 50 percent of all motor vehicles and accidents involving people walking, the use of alcohol was a factor.
- Hit-and-run drivers were involved in 18 percent of all accidents.
- More senior citizens are killed than children.
- The average age of people who are killed in pedestrian accidents is 47.
- Males are more likely to be killed than females.
Traffic Fatalities at a 40 year High
GHSA's annual spotlight report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2021 Preliminary Data, offers a comprehensive look at state and national trends in pedestrian deaths for 2021. The report projects that drivers struck and killed 7,485 people walking in 2021 – the most in a single year in four decades.
This is particularly alarming when compared to other deaths in traffic accidents, which are decreasing. Between 2007 and 2016, nationwide fatalities increased by 27 percent. All other traffic fatalities decreased by 14 percent. The GHSA reports that pedestrian fatalities “now account for the largest proportion of traffic fatalities in the last 33 years."
Chicago’s Pedestrian Accident Reduction Plan (CPARP)
CPARP is an impressive, comprehensive effort to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. An analysis of pedestrian accidents between 2005 and 2009 showed that 78 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents had happened either in or near crosswalks in Chicago.
The Pedestrian Plan thus calls for improvements to crosswalk markings so that they will be more clearly visible to drivers and, therefore, increase safety. There will be more traffic signals and beacons with refuge islands. A refuge island is a protected area that allows people to cross one direction of traffic flow at a time. It is more than just a median; it is a wider, protected, and sheltered area.
Most Common Driver Errors
What are the primary physical reasons for negligent drivers of vehicles colliding with pedestrians? Failure to yield the right of way. What are the primary mental and emotional causes for drivers who cause pedestrian injuries and death? Distraction and failure to keep a lookout.
Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Motorists must yield to pedestrians because pedestrians are vulnerable to severe injury or death when struck by a car or truck. The Illinois Vehicle Code and City Ordinances require drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Studies on pedestrian collisions reveal the common driver negligence that causes pedestrian crashes and injuries:
- Distracted driving: Common examples are talking on a cell phone, texting, emailing, eating, adjusting the radio, putting on makeup, and even shaving.
- Going too fast. Speed limits exist for a reason - safety. A driver can be going too fast even if traveling the speed limit if the presence of pedestrians, road conditions, or surrounding circumstances make the speed unsafe.
- Turning without looking for pedestrians on the street or sidewalk.
- Turning without signaling.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Safety starts with awareness. Drivers who consider these common causes of collisions with people are more likely to avoid potentially injurious and fatal pedestrian motor vehicle collisions.
Consult with a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you were injured or someone you love was killed in a pedestrian accident case, you will likely benefit from the services of a pedestrian accident attorney. You need an advocate who will investigate and discover whether a driver, owner, or both should be held liable for your accident and the financial recovery to which you may be entitled. Don't hesitate to contact the Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group by phone or text at (312)766-1000 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation and case evaluation.