Walking is our most basic form of travel. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly more risky. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, during the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by 53 percent. A pleasant walk with your dog, an enjoyable shopping spree, standing at the bus stop to meet your child getting off the school bus, or just a satisfying stroll in the outdoors, can turn into a life-changing nightmare if you or a loved one is hit by a vehicle.
If this happened to you because a driver has been negligent or willfully careless, you should not feel that you have to deal with all of the consequences by yourself. A compassionate local attorney can help you recover and get your life back to normal. A knowledgeable and compassionate Decatur pedestrian accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve, and that fairness requires.
Preventing Collisions Between Cars and Pedestrians
Drivers owe a general duty of care when traveling on Illinois roads. 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/11-1003.1 states that all drivers must use reasonable caution to avoid hitting those walking in, across, or alongside a roadway. If necessary, motor vehicle operators must sound their horns and take other evasive action to prevent a collision. When children or other vulnerable groups (intoxicated, incapacitated, etc.) are present, drivers may need extra vigilance.
Automobile operators must also recognize that 625 ILCS 5/11-1002(a) & -1008 grant pedestrians the right of way on sidewalks and in crosswalks when there are no traffic control signals. Therefore, vehicles must yield to people walking in crosswalks and when drivers need to travel over a sidewalk to access a driveway, garage, or street.
Responsibility of Pedestrians
Even with their general duty of care, drivers are not the only ones obligated to act appropriately to avoid crashes. 65 ILCS 5/11-1001, -1002(b), and -1003 require pedestrians to follow certain safety guidelines as well. These include:
- Obey all traffic control devices
- Use crosswalks when available
- Refrain from suddenly stepping out into the street in front of a moving vehicle
- Yield to vehicles if crossing outside of a crosswalk
- Use overhead tunnels or walkways if available or give the right of way if the walker chooses not to utilize such safety features
- Avoid crossing intersections diagonally
A pedestrian’s failure to abide by these laws might translate into a contributing factor to the accident. If this occurs, the court might apply Illinois comparative fault law to reduce the amount awarded to reflect the plaintiff’s involvement. Under 735 ILCS 5/2-1116, if their share of responsibility exceeds 50 percent, they may not recover any damages. Those injured may avoid such harsh results by working with a reputable pedestrian collision attorney in the area.
Common Types of Injuries in Accidents Involving People Walking
People are afforded no protection against much larger and heavier automobiles. Individuals may be tossed into the air, up onto windshields, run over, or pinned underneath or between the car and another object. The result is often catastrophic injuries to the pedestrian.
Additionally, you do not have to be out for a walk to be considered a pedestrian. For the purposes of accident personal injury law, an injury victim who was not in another motor vehicle at the time of the accident is considered a pedestrian. For example, cleaning the ice off your windshield, changing a tire, riding in a wheelchair, etc., would all qualify. And, when a pedestrian, under any circumstances, is struck by someone in any kind of vehicle, it is usually the pedestrian who is injured. The responsible and negligent driver often walks away. The pedestrian on the other hand, often suffers serious and life altering injuries, even when hit at slow speeds. These can include:
- deep cuts or lacerations
- muscle sprains or other soft tissue injuries, like severe bruising (contusions)
- broken bones or other severe orthopedic injuries like tendon ruptures
- dental or other facial injuries
- eye injuries and loss of vision
- internal bleeding or organ damage
- head trauma, like concussions or more severe traumatic brain injury
- neck or spine injuries, including paralysis
- in the worst case, wrongful death
These injuries can lead to lifelong changes, including disfigurement, rehabilitation, and even permanent disability. A hardworking local attorney could help an injured pedestrian seek financial compensation for past and future losses stemming from the accident.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Negligent and careless driving can take many forms, all equally dangerous when a pedestrian is struck:
- running red lights or stop signs
- failure to heed pedestrians in or stop at crosswalks
- making illegal turns or failing to signal
- speeding, especially when ignoring school zone signs
- distracted driving (for example, eating or texting while driving)
- driver fatigue, or falling asleep at the wheel
- drunk driving or drug impaired driving
- parking lot pedestrian injuries are common when a driver reverses without checking for them
- vehicle malfunctions, such as defective or bad maintenance of equipment like lights, brakes, tires, etc.
- reckless and aggressive driving, such as passing another car stopped at a crosswalk
- sadly, nowadays some pedestrians are even deliberately and maliciously hit by vehicles.
It is highly important that a pedestrian who was struck by a negligent driver seeks prompt representation from a Decatur attorney.
Seek Guidance from a Decatur Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Once you have received the medical care necessary to address your immediate needs, your focus may now be on seeking damages. A Decatur pedestrian accident lawyer at our firm could provide reliable guidance as you move forward with your legal claim. Whether in settlement negotiations or court, our team could represent your best interests to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.