Pedestrian Traffic Accidents in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 13, 2014

illinois pedestrian accident attorneyWhile many traffic accidents can cause the victims serious injuries, accidents involving a car and a pedestrian can be particularly devastating. The pedestrian’s complete lack of protection can leave them especially vulnerable to injury. In fact, of the hundreds of pedestrian-vehicle accidents that happen each year in suburban Cook County, almost 25 percent of them result in fatal or incapacitating injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s crash summary report. Pedestrians should be aware of the common causes and consequences of traffic accidents, as well as the legal ramifications of one, in order to keep themselves safe.

Causes and Consequences of Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

Traffic accidents involving pedestrians have a wide variety of different causes. One of the most common causes is simple carelessness on the part of the driver. Failing to stay alert for pedestrians at crosswalks and in the street can lead to serious accidents. Evening and night driving can also exacerbate these problems because the low light makes people more difficult to see. 

This is especially true for elderly drivers whose increased risk for vision problems already makes them more likely to be involved in car accidents. Violations of traffic laws are also common causes of pedestrian injury, especially driving under the influence and speeding. Accidents resulting from speeding can be particularly problematic because the higher speeds can cause more severe injuries to the unprotected pedestrian.

When these accidents do happen, the injuries that arise can be quite serious. Pedestrians can experience a range of injuries, including:

  • - Broken bones;

  • - Head trauma;

  • - Brain injuries;

  • - Paraplegia;

  • - Quadriplegia;

  • - Amputations;

  • - Disfigurements; and

  • - Injuries to the neck, back, and spinal cord.

The Legal Side of Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

These sorts of accidents can give rise to personal injury claims on the part of the pedestrian if they suffer a serious enough injury. The personal injury case will hinge on the legal concept of “negligence.” This means that the driver, or their insurance, will likely have to compensate the pedestrian for their injuries if the court finds that the driver acted negligently, meaning that they acted without reasonable care for the other people around them. This concept is also important when judging the pedestrian’s actions, because the pedestrian may have been negligent as well.

For instances in which both the pedestrian and the driver were negligent, Illinois judges fault based on “comparative negligence.” The doctrine of comparative negligence means that a person’s ability to recover for their injuries is reduced if they were also acting carelessly. For example, if a pedestrian is 20 percent responsible for their injuries, they would only be able to recover 80 percent of their costs. Furthermore, if a pedestrian is more than 50 percent responsible for their own injuries, they cannot recover at all.

If you have recently been involved in a pedestrian-automobile accident, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney in your area. We represent clients in matters like this in many northwest suburban towns, such as Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, and Arlington Heights.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Collisions in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 06, 2014

illinois pedestrian bicycle accident attorneyPedestrians walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street know to watch out for cars, but many are unaware of just how dangerous a passing bicycle can be and what to do in the event that they end up in an accident with a bike. Collisions between bikes and pedestrians are surprisingly dangerous and more common than many people expect. While exact numbers are difficult to find, since many bike accidents go unreported, a study from Hunter College estimates that over 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year for injuries resulting from bike collisions in New York State alone.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of understanding on by both cyclists and pedestrians about what rules of the road bikes must obey. This leads to confusion on the part of the pedestrian about what the cyclists will to do in any given situation. The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a good guide regarding how traffic laws apply to bikes, but the rule of thumb is that a bicycle in the street must obey all laws that any other vehicle would, and a bicyclist on the sidewalk must obey the laws and signals used by pedestrians.

Harm from Bicycle Accidents

While bicycles lack the mass and speed of a car, they can still do serious harm to unprotected pedestrians in an accident. Some of the most common severe injuries that result from these sorts of accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Pedestrians can develop these types of injuries if they suffer a hard blow to the head after a bike knocks them down. The most common symptom of a TBI is a concussion, but they can also result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and even coma in more serious cases. Bike accidents can also frequently cause broken bones, depending on the speed at which they happen and the way the pedestrian falls.

What to Do after a Bicycle Accident

The steps to take after a bicycle accident are similar to those that follow a car crash: make sure everyone is ok, call for medical attention if necessary, alert the police, and exchange information with the other party. The major difference is that bike accidents are more prone to turning into hit-and-runs. While bicyclists are obliged to stay at the scene of an accident just like drivers, many do not realize that they have that duty, and some who do know choose to flee the scene anyway. The best course of action here is to get as much identifying information about the fleeing cyclist as possible, and then make a report to the police.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian versus bicycle accident, reach out to an Illinois personal injury attorney today. They can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Our firm lends its experience and knowledge to clients across the northwest suburbs, in places such as Inverness, Deer Park, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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