There are a series of behaviors by drivers that often result in accidents involving pedestrians. This can lead to an injured pedestrian or the family of a deceased pedestrian pursuing legal action against the motorist and the motorist’s automobile insurer. One common thread is that they involve the issue of a driver’s attention or, more specifically, inattention in driving situations involving pedestrians. This is particularly dangerous for the drivers from a legal perspective, as driver inattention in areas where there are large numbers of pedestrians can easily result in fatal accidents for which a driver can find him or herself liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars or amounts well in excess of whatever the driver’s particular coverage is under his or her automobile insurance policy.
Therefore, the experienced personal injury attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. would like to encourage all drivers to pay close attention to the road and to always be aware of pedestrians, particularly in the five situations described below that are responsible for the most pedestrian accident claims.
- Failing to Stop at Stop Signs
The first, and most common mistake that drivers make that can result in accidents, and subsequent lawsuits or legal claims, with a pedestrian, is not stopping at a stop sign. A pedestrian may be attempting to cross the street and it not uncommon for a motorist to simply blow through the stop sign or treat a stop sign like they would a yield sign if the motorist does not see any traffic coming from the opposite direction. In Illinois, stop signs are not optional; the presence of a stop sign requires that the driver comes to a full and complete stop. Not doing so can result in both criminal as well as civil consequences if pedestrians are present and a driver fails to come to a full and complete stop. Therefore, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. encourages all Illinois drivers to obey the law and come to a complete stop every time you come to a stop sign. You may just be saving yourself from hitting a pedestrian by doing so.
- Failing to Yield to Pedestrians at Crosswalks
The second most common mistake made by drivers relating to pedestrians is a failure to yield to pedestrians at designated crosswalks or walkways in Illinois. Pursuant to Illinois law, pedestrians have the right of way wherever there is a designated walkway or crosswalks at an intersection or on a street. These are particularly common around schools, playgrounds, sporting venues and other high pedestrian traffic areas. Like stopping at stop signs, this is not optional; this means that a motorist who arrives at a designated crosswalk must come to a complete stop if there is a pedestrian who is in the crosswalk or about to enter the crosswalk. Not doing so can subject the driver to both criminal and civil liability if he or she ignores the law and hits a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk.
- Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is another common cause of accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians for several reasons. First, drivers who have had one or two many drinks are likely to be driving in pedestrian-heavy zones like Chicago’s Wrigleyville or other parts of town where there are large numbers of pedestrians barhopping or simply out enjoying the evening at the times of night when people are most likely to be out. Therefore, it is imperative that you always arrange to take a taxi home or ride with someone else if you are going to be drinking one evening, otherwise you may find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit brought by a pedestrian against you for driving while under the influence and hitting the pedestrian.
- Driving While Fatigued
Driver fatigue is also a common cause of pedestrian claims for personal injuries against motorists. Drowsy drivers often may not be completely aware of the circumstances around them and they could roll through a stop sign or fail to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk due simply to the fact that they are tired. Fatigued drivers have also been known to actually fall asleep at the wheel and jump the curb, hitting a crowd of pedestrians in the process. Therefore, be careful about getting behind the wheel if you are too tired to drive.
- Driving While Distracted
Last, and perhaps most important, many legal claims are brought by pedestrians against motorists as a result of motorists engaging in distracted driving and unintentionally striking a pedestrian while not paying attention to the road. Whether because the driver is texting, making a telephone call, changing the radio station, talking to passengers or engaging in any other form of distracted driving, this is a common source of accidents involving motorists and pedestrians that are only becoming more common as people grow more and more addicted to their mobile phones. Therefore, if you are behind the wheel in Illinois, put down your cell phone, particularly if you are going to be in an area with a lot of pedestrians like Chicago’s Loop or Navy Pier areas. You will save yourself the headache of having to be a part of a legal claim brought against you by a pedestrian if you end up hitting the pedestrian because you are texting with a friend instead of paying attention to the road in front of you.
Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. If You Were Injured by a Motorist
If you were a pedestrian and were injured in an accident with a motorist in the Chicago area or elsewhere in Illinois, whether it was one of the five types of accidents described above or another, contact the experienced and aggressive personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900. We will be in your corner every step of the way and will fight hard for you to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.