Crosswalks are designed specifically to protect pedestrians crossing a street from motorists, yet every year thousands are injured and even killed in these safe zones. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 there were 4,432 pedestrian fatalities and almost 70,000 injured in traffic accidents, with 19% of these accidents happening at intersections. With no protection except the law, pedestrians are at the mercy of motorists every time they use a crosswalk.
Pedestrians Right-of-way At Crosswalks
Illinois, like most states, has specific laws regulating pedestrians and their rights when crossing a road. A crosswalk is defined in Illinois law as:
Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface placed in accordance with the provisions in the Manual adopted by the Department of Transportation as authorized in Section 11-301.
In addition, Illinois law further states that pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks under the following circumstances:
(a) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(c) Paragraph (a) shall not apply under the condition stated in Section 11-1003 (b).
(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
(e) Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.
These laws are the only protection a pedestrian has when they step out onto the street in a crosswalk. If hit when crossing, the motorists is almost always liable for the pedestrians injuries. This includes medical bills, lost wages and in some cases, even pain and suffering. Most payouts are covered under the driver’s insurance, which an experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate for the injured pedestrian to get the maximum payout. In some circumstances, a lawsuit may need to be pursued if the insurance company is not willing to settle on a reasonable payout for the injuries.
Hit And Run Crosswalk Accidents
Since almost every crosswalk accident will be deemed the fault of the motorist, there are too often times when the driver may flee the scene after hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk. According to a study performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of five pedestrian fatalities is a hit and run accident. In these circumstances, the victim may feel that they have no where to turn for help. However, with many intersections having cameras installed and with the help of witnesses, many times the culprits are found.
One option that pedestrians have if they are injured from in a hit and run accident where the motorist is not found is to use their own auto insurance if they have uninsured motorist coverage. Even when not driving, this policy may cover the damages that they sustained as a pedestrian hit by a motorist in a crosswalk.
Chicago Crosswalk Accident Lawyers
The last thing a person crossing the street considers is getting hit by a car when they are in the crosswalk. Even a slight impact can cause serious injury to a personal lawfully crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. The good news is that Illinois law goes to great measures to protect pedestrians from negligent vehicles. Our lawyers can help you recover the maximum compensation that the law allows in these circumstances. Call us now to preserve your rights after an accident.
Pedestrian crosswalk accident statistics: