According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, more than 4,900 pedestrians were injured in traffic mishaps in Illinois in 2011. Of those pedestrians, 135 were tragically killed. Vehicle crashes involving pedestrians frequently cause the most grim, crippling kinds of physical injuries. Nerve damage, paralysis, damaged or lost limbs, head and neck injuries, and brain damage are among the frightening possibilities. Also frightening is that almost anyone, at almost any time, can be an “innocent bystander” – minding one’s own business – who quickly becomes the injured victim of a traffic crash.
Over 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities do not happen at intersections; this means jaywalkers in Chicago are taking a bigger risk than they realize. Weather plays almost no role in pedestrian accidents – nearly 90 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents occur in normal weather – but the time of day is a key factor; more than 70 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents happen after sunset. The gender most at risk is male – they account for about 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities – while the age groups most at risk for pedestrian injuries and deaths are children and teens. Weekends are the most precarious time to be a pedestrian; nearly half of all fatal and injurious pedestrian accidents happen in the forty-eight hours from Friday at sunset through Sunday at sunset.
When you’re a pedestrian, cross only at crosswalks after looking in both directions. After sunset, wear bright or reflective clothing; be wise and carry a flashlight too. Stay on the sidewalks where you can, and avoid areas where lighting might be inadequate for drivers.
If you become a pedestrian who is injured in a traffic accident, you’re going to need the services of an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. A good pedestrian accident attorney will assess your situation and outline your legal options. He or she will also work with the courts and insurance companies to have your medical expenses and lost wages promptly recovered and awarded to you. A good pedestrian accident attorney will work to make sure that your legal rights are protected and that your needs are met promptly and properly.
If you suffer any injury as a pedestrian in a traffic mishap, follow this advice. Don’t admit to any fault or sign any insurance forms before speaking to a pedestrian accident attorney. If it’s possible, have someone take pictures of your injuries both before and after treatment. Keep complete records and make copies of any police, medical, or insurance paperwork generated by the accident.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be setting the foundation you’ll need to have your medical expenses and lost wages covered. In egregious cases, you many even win punitive damages. If you or a member of your family has been injured as a pedestrian in an accident, or if you are the survivor of a pedestrian killed in a road accident, speak to a pedestrian accident attorney as quickly as possible.
Everyone knows about distracted driving. Chicago drivers are distracted by eating, reading, texting, grooming, tending to children or pets, and a dozen other kinds of diversions. What you might not have considered, however, is distracted walking. One study indicates that about sixty percent of us are distracted when we walk on a sidewalk. We listen to music or talk and text on our phones. Some people even read the newspaper while they walk.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that thousands of Americans go to emergency rooms every year with injuries suffered while merely walking on a sidewalk. Most of the injured were distracted – not injured by another distracted person. Distracted pedestrians – especially texting pedestrians — walk into light poles, parking meters, buildings, and sometimes directly in front of moving vehicles.
As a pedestrian in Chicago, you are much safer if you simply refrain from reading, texting, or surfing the internet while you walk. If you must make a phone call, keep your eyes – and your awareness – up and active. Adhere to all the basic rules about crossing only at crosswalks and looking both ways. If you must walk after dark, wear brightly-colored clothes and bring along a flashlight. Distracted walking in a crowded urban setting is one of the riskiest things you can do. If you’re injured by someone else’s negligence when you’re walking in Chicago, you can be compensated for your medical treatment and related expenses through a personal injury lawsuit, but you should discuss your case at once with Attorney Joseph M. Dooley, an Illinois personal injury lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in the Chicago area.
Please don’t injure yourself as a pedestrian – it’s a preventable injury. Of course, if you’re injured by someone else’s negligence on a Chicago sidewalk – whether that someone else is driving a motor vehicle, bicycling, skating, or just walking like you – promptly discuss your rights and options with experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer Joseph M. Dooley.
Joggers Are At Risk, Too
Thousands of Illinois citizens have been seriously injured by a car or truck while walking or jogging along Illinois roadways. What’s the best way to walk or jog to avoid being injured by a motor vehicle? The best answer is to use a sidewalk or a walking or jogging path whenever one is accessible. The cars cannot hit you if they aren’t close to you. Here are some other important laws and safety tips pedestrians should know:
Illinois law requires joggers to yield the right-of-way to drivers by obeying traffic signals, observing traffic lights, and using crosswalks. When crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk, a pedestrian must give drivers the right-of-way. Pedestrians may not walk on a roadway except where no sidewalk or shoulder is next to it. In this case, a pedestrian must walk as closely as possible to the side of the street. When a street or a highway has no sidewalk but only a shoulder, a pedestrian should walk on the shoulder as far as possible from the street.
In two-way traffic, a jogger is required to walk or jog on the left, facing the oncoming traffic. Walking or jogging while facing traffic is the best way to see whatever may be approaching. It’s also a really good idea for pedestrians, runners, and cyclists to leave the music at home. When you are close to vehicular traffic, it’s always best to be thoroughly alert and aware of your surroundings. If you must use your cell phone for talking or texting, stop and move away from the street; don’t continue walking when talking or texting.
If, in spite of your best efforts, you were nevertheless injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you are probably entitled to compensation. If you’ve been injured, obtain the services of experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley. A good personal injury lawyer will look at the details of your case, advise you on the best way to proceed, and defend your rights in court. If another person was even partly responsible for your personal injury as a pedestrian, speak with a good personal injury lawyer right away.