Case Illustration of Springfield Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents often leave pedestrians severely injured because they have virtually no protection against the weight of the vehicle that strikes them. Simply put, pedestrians hit by vehicles have a high incident of catastrophic injury and death. Small children and the elderly are disproportionately victims of pedestrian accidents. Consider the following case illustration:
Jessie, an elderly woman, is crossing a street in Springfield, Illinois. Her mobility limitations force her to walk slowly. She is almost to the other side when the light changes to green, and the driver of an SUV strikes her. The driver had been playing on a phone, and not noticed her completing the last few feet through the intersection before accelerating abruptly. Even though the SUV driver had a green light, drivers have a responsibility to use reasonable care on the roadways. After the ambulance transfers Jessie to a nearby hospital and assesses a hip fracture, Jessie’s family members contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to protect Jessie’s interests, and request insurance coverage for Jessie’s upcoming surgical bills.
Illinois Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to GHSA, there were 6,721 pedestrians killed on U.S. roads in 2020. This number was up 4.8 percent from 2019. The state of Illinois had 75 pedestrian fatalities from January to June of 2020. The Illinois Department of Transportation found that out of 3,311 pedestrian accidents in 2020, 3,031 caused injury to the pedestrians. Pedestrians classified as white/non-Hispanic accounted for a smaller proportion of pedestrian fatalities than expected based on their respective share of the population. Socioeconomic status (poverty) turned out to be a strong risk factor for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Darkness also significantly increased the risk for pedestrians—75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred after dark in 2019 across the U.S.
Illinois Laws Associated with Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians typically have the right of way at marked or unmarked intersection crosswalks. The Illinois Legislature has passed several statutes pertaining to pedestrians and the vehicle code. If a pedestrian is crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to vehicles. Drivers must also yield to pedestrians in the following circumstances:
- When the driver is making a turn at an intersection
- After coming to a complete stop, the driver is making a lawful right-hand turn at a red light
- At a flashing red intersection signal after the driver comes to a complete stop
- When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the traffic light changes
- As a pedestrian enters or leaves a street or highway from a driveway, private road, building, or alley
- In parking lots
What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the overwhelming number of pedestrian hit by vehicles occur in urban areas. Collisions involving pedestrians only accounted for approximately 1.3% of collisions in 2020 Crash Facts and Statistics manual, but totaled a little over 15% of fatalities for that year.
Distracted drivers account for a portion of the pedestrian injuries. Drivers who are making left-hand turns are focused on whether there is oncoming traffic so the often forget to look for pedestrians. Distracted drivers may be looking at their phone, eating, or otherwise engaging in an activity that prevents them from seeing a pedestrian. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- An absence of clearly marked crosswalks
- Impaired drivers
- Excess speed
- Rolling stops
- Inexperienced drivers
- The failure of drivers to slow down in school zones
- Illegal U-turns
What Injuries Are Most Common Following a Springfield Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian injuries are likely to be very severe, particularly when the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. The pedestrian may have:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Bruising and lacerations
Swift medical evaluation is necessary after a pedestrian is stricken because some severe injuries are not readily observable following the crash. Radiological imaging is usually necessary to rule out the most severe injuries, and, if all goes well and no severe injuries exist, primary care follow-up for more minor soft-tissue injuries is usually necessary. The damage to muscles and ligaments after being struck by a vehicle is often extensive, requiring physical therapy to strengthen the body parts and return original range of motion to the injured victim. Some soft tissue injuries, in particular those in the knee and shoulder area, do not heal well following injury and typically require surgical interventions to re-attach or repair the tearing.
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
You should immediately call 911 following a collision, so that an ambulance and police officers are dispatched to your location. Seeking immediate medical treatment is crucial for pedestrians struck by vehicles to ensure that organ damage, hemorrhage, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries are quickly ruled out, or alternatively treated as swiftly as possible, to avoid life threatening complications.
Following medical treatment, you should contact an attorney to file a claim for insurance coverage with the company covering the vehicle that hit you. You will want to gather any photographs, medical records, police investigative reports, and other information that you have, and provide it to your attorneys at the Noll Law Office. The information will be used as evidence as the case proceeds. Given that a single trip to the emergency room can now easily total more than $10,000.00, legal representation is often necessary to avoid severe negative impact on your finances.
How is Fault Determined in Springfield, IL Pedestrian Accidents?
A police report may help determine fault in your pedestrian accident. The insurance companies may conduct independent investigations to determine fault, while your attorney can conduct an inquiry on your behalf. If necessary, the lawyers at the Noll Law Office may obtain the services of a private investigator, attempt to locate video footage of the accident, or hire accident reconstruction specialists while investigating your claim.
You may wonder what your claim is worth. Your attorney will calculate your losses, including your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring, and other damages on your behalf. With your approval, the Noll Law Office will submit a demand asking the insurance company to pay those damages. Negotiations then typically commence.
If the insurance company refuses to pay what your claim is worth, the attorneys at the Noll Law Office will typically file a lawsuit, or in some limited cases, arbitration proceedings. Discovery commences, which is just the fancy legal word for compiling evidence such as photographs, police reports, witness depositions, physician depositions, and other information that will be used at trial.
During the trial, your attorney will present your case to the judge or jury. The insurance company, through defense attorneys, will attempt to shift blame and deny your injuries were caused by the collision. If a judge or jury decides in your favor, they will then determine what damages you are entitled to receive. The litigation process is extremely complex, but ultimately, it is usually the judge or jury who determines fault in these proceedings, although the matter may be taken up on appeal. If you have questions about this process, you should contact the Noll Law Office today.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney from Noll Law Office Will Help
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, the Noll Law Office can help you make sense of the complicated claims process. The local, central Illinois attorneys are experienced litigators who are well versed in providing compassionate counseling, and aggressive advocacy. You will meet with a seasoned attorney from day one.
The Noll Law Office encourages you to talk to many law firms in picking out an outstanding attorney. However, if any single firm promises you specific results, you should run screaming in the other direction. Every case should be specifically tailored to the needs of the individual client. Every case, therefore, will have slightly different outcomes, with different strengths and weaknesses that any competent attorney will be happy to explain to you. The Noll Law Office attorneys encourage you to ask complicated legal questions during your initial evaluation of your choice of attorneys, and to double check the physical location of the attorney who will be representing you. Ask how many bodily injury cases that attorney handles, per year. Ask the attorney if he or she has tried any cases recently.
Then come to see the Noll Law Office. If you believe honest communication combined with hard work, local availability, and years of litigation experience leads to successful outcomes, contact the Noll Law Office today for a free consultation. The lawyers at the Noll Law Office will be happy to meet with you to determine if the firm is the right company for you. Located directly across the street from the Sangamon County Courthouse, its attorneys have been helping central Illinois families for years. Let the Noll Law Office fight for you. Call today.