Car accidents involving pedestrians are often incredibly brutal. Because pedestrians have virtually no protection, they often suffer serious injuries that lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. Sometimes, an injured pedestrian may never recover from their injuries. Instead, they become permanently disabled. When most people hear tragic stories like this on local news, for example, they automatically think that the driver is at fault. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the pedestrian fails to follow traffic laws or exercise reasonable care while walking down the street. When pedestrians do things like this, they can be deemed at fault for the accident. But what happens if a pedestrian caused an accident? Do they still recover compensation for their injuries? Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices answer these questions and more below.
If you or someone you love has suffered significant injuries or wrongful death in an auto accident, call 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.
What is a Pedestrian Accident?
A pedestrian accident occurs when a car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle hits a pedestrian while they’re walking on the street. A car versus pedestrian accident is the most common type of accident.
Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths in the U.S.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 55,000 pedestrian injuries and 6,500 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2020. This means that a pedestrian was killed almost every 81 minutes in 2020.
Common Pedestrian Injuries
Pedestrians have absolutely no protection in a car versus pedestrian accident. No matter who is at fault in the accident, the pedestrian’s injuries are far more likely to be life-threatening or fatal. Common examples of serious injuries that pedestrians receive from traffic accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Severe road rash, bruising, and lacerations
- Major scarring and disfigurement
If you or someone you love suffered these significant injuries from a car-pedestrian accident, you need strong legal representation from a Chicago personal injury lawyer at Curcio Law Offices.
Possible Liable Parties for a Pedestrian Accident
Determining fault is one of the first and most important things to do after any traffic accident. That way, you know exactly who deserves compensation for their damages. Possible liable parties in pedestrian accidents include:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle drivers
- Employers of drivers (only if the drivers hit the pedestrian on company time with a company vehicle)
- A city or government agency (if a malfunctioning crosswalk signal or broken road/sidewalk contributed to the accident)
When Would a Pedestrian Be At Fault For a Car Accident?
When most people hear about pedestrian accidents, they immediately assume that the driver is at fault. This is not always the case. There are plenty of incidents in which an at fault pedestrian causes an accident. For example, a pedestrian may be at fault for an accident if they:
- Do not use a designated crosswalk when crossing the street
- Do not follow traffic laws by crossing the street when their crosswalk signal tells them not to
- Walk along a street or road that they’re not allowed to walk on (such as a highway)
- Run in front of a car at the last minute which gives the driver no time to stop
Any type of auto accident, especially those involving pedestrians, happens so fast. It’s so hard to absorb and remember all the crucial details that occurred in only a few seconds before the collision. Because of this, it’s often difficult for the parties involved to determine fault for the accident. That’s why it’s so important for injured pedestrians and drivers to talk to a lawyer after the accident. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can analyze the accident scene and look at all the evidence to figure out who caused the accident, and therefore, who deserves financial compensation.
So: what happens if a pedestrian caused an accident? In short, if an accident occurred due to a pedestrian’s negligence, then they have to cover the other party’s damages either through their liability insurance coverage or out of their own pockets.
When Would a Driver Be At Fault For a Car Accident?
Now let’s break down the opposite scenario: a car hits a pedestrian and it’s their fault. A pedestrian accident may be the driver’s fault if they:
- Don’t follow traffic laws (for example: they run a red light or a stop sign)
- Were driving drunk or distracted
- Were driving way too fast down a busy street full of pedestrians and cyclists
- Drove onto a sidewalk or crosswalk
Drivers who are at fault for car pedestrian accidents must provide compensation to injured pedestrians either through their liability insurance coverage or from their own pockets.
How to Prove Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
In order to prove liability in pedestrian accidents, injured victims and their attorneys must prove the 4 D’s of negligence which are listed below.
- Duty of Care: Everyone must exercise reasonable care while on the roads, regardless of if they’re in a vehicle, on a bike, or just walking down the street.
- Duty Dereliction: The at-fault party violated this duty of care by acting negligently.
- Direct Cause: The at-fault party’s negligent action or inaction directly caused the victim’s injuries or wrongful death.
- Damages: The injured person deserves financial compensation for the damages they have suffered from the accident.
Is Illinois an At-Fault State?
Yes, Illinois is one of the 38 at-fault states in the United States. This fact plays a huge role in how injured pedestrians can recover compensation from a car accident and also how much compensation they can receive from a car accident.
At-fault states require the party at-fault to pay for the victim’s damages through their car insurance company. Meanwhile, no-fault states require all parties involved in the accident to recover compensation through their own car insurance company, regardless of who is at fault.
Comparative negligence laws are also very important to keep in mind after any type of car accident. These laws come into play when both the driver and the pedestrian share a portion of fault in the accident. In Illinois, if you are more than 51% at fault for causing an accident, then you can’t recover compensation. Meanwhile, if you’re less than 51% at fault for causing an accident in Illinois, then the amount of compensation you recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Contributory negligence and how it affects car insurance settlements can get really confusing. This is yet another reason why you need a qualified pedestrian accident attorney from Curcio Law Offices on your side. We will help you determine who is at fault, what percentage of fault you share in the accident (if any), and how much compensation you can expect to recover from the other party’s insurance company.
Damages for a Pedestrian Accident
Most car insurance coverage policies will only cover a certain amount of medical expenses and property damage from an accident. For fatal pedestrian accidents or incredibly severe non-fatal pedestrian accidents, insurance coverage alone may not be enough to cover all the damages. That is when an injured pedestrian may resort to filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Pedestrian accident victims may be able to recover compensation for the following types of damages from a successful personal injury lawsuit:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the victim became partially or fully disabled from the accident
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Counseling expenses
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses if the pedestrian accident resulted in wrongful death
You may be wondering: how much compensation can I expect from a personal injury accident? The answer to this mostly depends on the severity of the accident. In other words: the more damages you suffer, the more money you can recover.
Additionally, contributory negligence plays a big role in the amount of money you could receive from a car pedestrian accident. If you’re less than 51% at fault, your compensation will likely be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you’re more than 51% at fault, then you may not receive compensation at all. A Chicago personal injury lawyer at Curcio Law Offices can help you calculate the amount of damages you could receive from a car versus pedestrian accident.
Call a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney at Curcio Law Offices Today
If you’re ever wondering: what happens if a pedestrian caused an accident? You probably need an experienced Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer from Curcio Law Offices on your side. We are the best legal team to hire for any type of car accident, including car accidents involving pedestrians. Even if you are the at-fault pedestrian in a pedestrian accident case, we will defend your rights and help you achieve the best case outcome possible. Call us today at 312-321-1111 to start your attorney-client relationship today.