Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Despite the general rule of pedestrian right of way, careless drivers continue to hit people crossing or walking along Illinois streets, causing serious injury and death. In 2015, 150 Illinois pedestrians were killed and another 6,020 were injured, according to the United States Department of Transportation. At the Chicago, Illinois law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, our Partners have over decades of collective experience representing those injured in pedestrian accidents – and we know that too often, drivers fail to acknowledge basic rules of the road when they encounter a pedestrian. If you or a loved one were injured by a negligent motorist while walking along or crossing an Illinois street, call our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers today at 312-586-1700 or contact us via email for free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights.
Pedestrians have certain rights in Illinois; drivers are required to stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks (whether marked or unmarked).
Information presented by the Illinois Department of Transportation shows that there were more than 3,700 total pedestrian collisions reported across the state during the most recent reporting year on file. Out of these incidents, there were 213 fatal collisions, and more than 3,400 of these incidents led to injuries. Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur in crowded urban areas like Chicago, and some of the main causes of these incidents include other drivers:
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians
- Operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Operating while distracted by phones or other devices
- Failing to stop at stop signs or stop lights
- Speeding or operating too fast for conditions
- Elderly drivers
- Low lighting in pedestrian crossing areas
In some cases, pedestrian accidents can be attributed to probably conditions or designs. For example, many pedestrians sustain injuries in low light conditions where street lights are not present or working properly during the evening or night time.
Possible Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Despite these and other factors involved in pedestrian accidents, many drivers will attempt to blame the accident on the pedestrian to avoid legal liability. This lack of responsibility can seem particularly unjust to a pedestrian recovering from injuries such as:
- Severe head trauma
- Brain damage
- Leg injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and back injuries
In addition to the physical injuries often caused by a pedestrian collision, we must also remain cognizant of the pain and suffering a person endures due to the incident. This includes not only physical pain and suffering caused by the injuries and the recovery process but also unseen injuries such as emotional and psychological trauma. This can include feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear that last long after the incident occurs and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our team keeps all of these injuries, both seen and unseen, in mind when we are working to recover compensation on behalf of our clients.
Can I Receive Compensation for a Chicago Pedestrian Accident?
Victims of Chicago pedestrian accidents are eligible for compensation to cover their injuries, medical expenses, and other bills associated with the accident. That is why it is in your best interest to work with an experienced Chicago pedestrian accident attorney from Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC. We will vehemently fight to protect your rights and build a case on your behalf for compensation.
The first category of compensation you can receive as a victim of a pedestrian accident is that of economic damages. These are damages that can have a finite number associated with them. For example, medical bills from surgeries, ambulance transportation, hospital stays, prescriptions, and medical equipment can be reimbursed in a personal injury claim.
All you need to do is provide a receipt of payments or the actual bills/invoices to your attorney. The total amount will then be factored into how much the attorney requests from the at-fault party’s insurance company in settlement discussions.
Non-economic damages are those that cannot be quantified. They have no finite number attached to them. For example, your pain and suffering cannot be assigned a number by a doctor, therapist, or any other type of professional. Instead, your attorney will come up with a number based on the amount of suffering you have endured as a result of the pedestrian accident.
Other non-economic damages include loss of income, loss of future earnings, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, inconvenience added to your life, and more. As with any type of accident or injury caused by someone else, you should talk with a Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer about the crash that left you injured. A lawyer makes it easier to understand the law, build a case, and help you focus on recovery.
Punitive damages are only awarded by the judge presiding over your case and are not rewarded in every case. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for egregious actions. Punitive damages can be in the millions if the accident was significantly damaging to you and your family.
Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
There may be various parties at fault for a pedestrian accident. However, the most likely liable party will be another driver involved if the incident involved a vehicle. Drivers have a responsibility on the roadway, and that includes following all traffic laws. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians in most circumstances, especially at marked or unmarked crosswalks and at intersections. If a driver failed to yield the right of way, an investigation should uncover their negligence, and they should be held accountable.
There may be other parties who could hold liability for a pedestrian crash in Chicago. This includes:
- Government entities. Government entities could be held responsible if they failed their duty to regularly inspect and maintain pedestrian walkways, crosswalks, or traffic signals. Additionally, government entities could be responsible if poor roadway designs led to the pedestrian incident.
- Construction companies. It seems like there is never-ending construction in and around the Chicago area, particularly on crowded roadways. Often, construction companies will illegally route pedestrian traffic around the construction site, sometimes into oncoming traffic.
- The pedestrian. A pedestrian could be completely or partially at fault for an accident if their negligence led to the incident occurring. This can include horseplaying around the road or purposely running out in front of vehicles. Any pedestrian accused of causing an accident needs to work with an attorney immediately. Shared fault laws in this state could help a pedestrian recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident.
An extensive investigation into the pedestrian accident should help uncover all possible liable parties. It may be necessary to file a civil lawsuit against multiple parties in order to recover the compensation needed to make the pedestrian whole.
How Long Do I Have to File a Pedestrian Crash Lawsuit in Illinois?
Under Illinois law, you have just two years from the date of the pedestrian crash to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations places a short period on your ability to file a claim for compensation, which makes it all the more necessary to speak with a Chicago pedestrian accident attorney from Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC as soon as possible following an injury.
Should you miss the deadline to file a claim, you will likely lose out on the opportunity to recover compensation. However, the circumstances of your case could wind up extending the deadline to file a claim. For example, if you were struck by a CTA bus or are filing a claim against a government entity in Illinois. If this is the case, you will need to provide notice in writing that you intend to file a lawsuit. The notice must be submitted within six months of the accident.
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
The moments immediately following a pedestrian accident are chaotic. Once you are released from the hospital, you need to take the proper steps to protect your rights, especially the right to recover compensation. A Chicago pedestrian accident attorney makes it easier for you to focus on recovery by taking the stress of the legal process off of your plate.
Write Down What Happened
Do your best to create a written account of the pedestrian accident once you are lucid enough to do so. Be sure this is done as close to the date of the accident as possible so you do not forget the details. A written account makes it easier for you to recall the events of the crash when talking to your attorney, especially if the conversation happens months or years after the accident.
Talk to a Lawyer Immediately
Do not wait too long to contact a lawyer about the pedestrian accident that left you injured. Doing so could put you behind the eight-ball in building a strong case against the at-fault party. You also don’t want to wait too long as you run the risk of missing the deadline to file a claim and ultimately losing out on compensation recovery.
Follow All of the Doctor’s Orders
Do not veer from the instructions provided by the doctor who performed surgery or who has been treating you since the pedestrian accident. Ignoring the doctor’s orders can hurt your legal case immensely, as the defense will claim that the injuries couldn’t really be that severe, thus resulting in a lower settlement offer (or an outright denial). Be sure to take all prescribed medications, attend follow-up appointments, go to physical therapy, and use any assistive equipment recommended by the doctor.
Do Not Talk About the Accident Without an Attorney Present
Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will undoubtedly contact you in the weeks following the pedestrian accident. You can be polite, but make sure you do not answer any questions they send your way about the crash. You could unexpectedly hurt your case with the answers you provide. Only talk to these professionals without your attorney present. Or, you could instruct your attorney to handle all communication on your behalf so you do not have to worry about answering phone calls or emails.
Save All Bills and Invoices
Do not assume that because you were injured in a pedestrian accident that you will automatically receive compensation. You absolutely have to file a claim against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Because of this, you should save all bills and invoices received related to the pedestrian accident. Doing so will make it much easier for your attorney to determine the amount of compensation that should be requested in the personal injury claim. You will need to provide copies of all receipts, bills, and invoices during the claims process.
How Can a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help You?
A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in Chicago will be an invaluable resource as you begin the claims process. As an injured pedestrian, your focus needs to be on recovering from your injuries and getting back to your daily life.
When you have an advocate by your side, you will have someone ready to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and handle all communication with other parties on your behalf. They will negotiate with insurance carriers and at-fault parties while also fully preparing the claim for a trial by jury. Your attorney will help ensure you are evaluated by trusted medical and economic professionals who can assist with calculating any damages you are owed.
Your attorney will be a buffer between you and the other parties involved. They will have your best interests in mind at all times and will make sure you are updated as the case progresses.
Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Damages and Settlements
Above, we discussed the possible types of compensation available if your pedestrian accident lawsuit in Chicago is successful. This compensation may come through as a result of a settlement with an insurance carrier involved or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit.
Most pedestrian accident claims get resolved as a result of insurance settlements. Typically, this is an insurance settlement from the at-fault party’s carrier. However, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to delay claims, offer unreasonably low settlements, or even deny the claim altogether. When that happens, the injured pedestrian and their attorney will likely need to file a lawsuit in civil court to pursue compensation.
If a case goes to court, it still may settle as the discovery process moves forward. Discovery is when both sides will exchange evidence with one another and take depositions from possible witnesses and other parties involved. If a case is not settled, it will go to trial, and a jury will decide how much compensation a person should be awarded if they determine the alleged negligent party is liable.
Our team has extensive experience recovering compensation on behalf of personal injury victims throughout Chicago. Our case results show our commitment to clients. We will not go for a quick settlement. Our goal is to recover the compensation you need to be made whole.
Coping with your medical issues may be challenging enough without handling a legal claim or dealing with uncooperative insurance adjusters. The pedestrian accident attorneys at the Chicago law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, are ready to help. If you have been injured as a pedestrian because a driver failed to obey traffic laws, you have the right to file for compensation. At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, our personal injury attorneys conduct thorough accident investigations to determine blame accurately.
We know that the smallest details may become the evidence needed to prove speed or driver inattention, even when the driver states otherwise. If the driver’s insurance company attempts to refute your claim, we will deal with them directly – we’ve been handling insurance companies for more than two decades and we will seek proper compensation on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury as the result of a pedestrian accident, the Chicago, IL attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, can help you make informed decisions about your legal rights. As our client, we are proud of the fact that a team of legal professionals, medical experts, and investigators who are dedicated to your cause will back you. Please call us today at (312) 586-1700 or contact us via email for a free, no-obligation consultation.