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As Americans, we’re all told that we need to walk more for our health and to reverse the effects of increasingly stressful and sedentary lives. But with so much of the nation’s transportation system designed to accommodate cars, finding safe ways to walk to school or to the park or to the grocery store can be challenging for pedestrians. Even where there are sidewalks and marked crosswalks, pedestrians can be jeopardized by drivers distracted by talking on their cell phones or wolfing down a McMuffin on their way to work.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car or truck, the injuries can be serious or even fatal. If you’ve been hit by a car while on foot, you may have suffered anything from scrapes and cuts to broken bones and brain injuries. If you were seriously injured, you’ve likely had to take time off from work to recover, and have medical and other bills stacking up and causing you worry.
As a pedestrian, you do have legal rights to be compensated for your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your individual circumstances and discuss with you the best course of action to try to get your costs paid. Contact us online or call one of our pedestrian accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. (312) 236-2900.
Just like drivers and cyclists, pedestrians owe a duty of care to other people using sidewalks and roadways.
The general duty of care for pedestrians is to use the same amount of attention that a reasonable person would have used in circumstances similar to those of the accident.
For example, during a windy and rainy evening, a reasonable pedestrian would need to take extra care when stepping into the street because the conditions make it difficult to hear and see approaching cars.
The Illinois legislature has passed several statutes outlining the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians. If you hit a pedestrian who was violating one of these statutes, you can use it as proof that the pedestrian failed to exercise reasonable care.
Here are some of pedestrians’ duties:
When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the accident usually is the result of driver inattention or distraction. Some common actions by drivers that lead to collisions with pedestrians include:
In some cases it might have been the pedestrian who was distracted and stepped out in front of the vehicle with little or no warning. Even though pedestrians have the right of way, they also have the responsibility to look before crossing and to take reasonable actions to be safe, such as not darting out into traffic.
If you did indeed look both ways before crossing, or you crossed at an intersection and had a walk signal, and were hit by a driver who was texting or drinking coffee or just not paying attention, you may have a good chance at recovering damages through an insurance settlement or a lawsuit. As the person bringing the claim, it’s up to you to prove that you deserve compensation. Our experienced lawyers can help you to investigate the accident and gather the evidence you’ll need to prove your case, such as accident reports, photographs, witness statements, and medical records and bills. For help with gathering evidence and proceeding with your pedestrian accident claim, contact us today. (312) 236-2900.
Even a compact car is bigger and much heavier than a person, and when a mass of metal and glass hits a human being even at a slow speed, the chance for injury is great. It’s not uncommon for pedestrians who have been hit by cars to suffer:
Some of these types of injuries can take a significant amount of time to heal. Some may result in permanent damage that affects your ability to work or perform simple household tasks for the rest of your life. If you suffered any of these injuries, contact our pedestrian accident attorneys today. (312) 236-2900.
Since children cannot represent themselves in court, a guardian—usually a close family member—would sue or defend the claim on the child’s behalf. Beyond this procedural difference, there are several important factors to consider in a personal injury lawsuit involving a child pedestrian.
If a plaintiff sues you for negligence, you can counter claim that the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the accident. While this strategy often works when defending against adult plaintiffs, it is particularly difficult to use it against children.
The reason is that children have a duty of care, but it is lower than an adult’s duty. Obviously, children are less responsible than adults, so courts do not hold them to an adult standard of conduct.
In most jurisdictions, courts expect children to display behavior that is reasonable for a child of similar age, experience, and intelligence under like circumstances.
If you want to show that a child has breached this duty of care, you would need to show that he or she acted less responsibly than one would expect for a child of similar age. For example, if a 14-year-old boy runs in front of your car in pursuit of a ball, a court might find him to have breached his duty of care, since that behavior corresponds to that displayed by younger children. A teenager is expected to act somewhat more responsibly than a child.
But in most cases, children act just as irresponsibly as one would expect for their age, so it can be difficult to prove their behavior constituted a breach of duty.
Both cyclists and pedestrians are under a duty to exercise the same amount of caution as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. Thus, if the visibility is bad or the road is slippery, cyclists and pedestrians alike will have a duty to be extra careful.
If there is an accident between a cyclist and a pedestrian, a court or an insurance company will look at whether the cyclist or the pedestrian broke their respective duties of care.
For example, if a cyclist is riding very quickly down a hill in the rain with a vintage bicycle equipped with ineffective breaks, the cyclist is breaching her duty of care. This is because a reasonable person would not ride in such a way given the weather and the condition of the bike. If the cyclist hits a pedestrian, she will be liable to pay for the pedestrian’s injuries.
On the other hand, the pedestrian would be breaching his duty of care if he crossed the road outside of a cross walk, emerging suddenly from in between two parked cars. The breach of duty occurs here because no reasonable pedestrian would cross a street outside of a sidewalk in a way that gives no reaction time to traffic. If the cyclist hits the pedestrian and gets injured, the pedestrian would have to pay for the cyclist’s injuries.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will discuss with you not only your existing medical bills, but what costs you expect to incur for future treatment or therapy, and whether you’ve lost income or will lose future income as a result of your injuries. Other types of damages you may be able to recover include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of normal life, and disability and disfigurement. Your attorney’s goal will be to convince the driver’s insurance company or a jury to compensate you for all of those costs, or as much as is possible given the limits of the driver’s insurance coverage. Contact us online or call one of our pedestrian accident attorneys today. (312-236-2900.
Here are some additional resources that may be of help.
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