Pedestrian Accidents on Highways
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable on the roads due to the lack of structural protection around their bodies. In the event of an accident with a motor vehicle, pedestrians can suffer severe bodily injury even when the motor vehicle is travelling is at relatively low speeds. The risks of catastrophic injury and death significantly increase when a pedestrian accident takes place on a highway where multiple vehicles of varying sizes are traveling at high speeds. If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident on the highway, you might be eligible to recover compensation for your harm. Our diligent and hard-working Wheaton and Schaumburg pedestrian accident attorneys can thoroughly analyze your case and assist you in asserting your legal rights.Why Would Pedestrians be on the Highway?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there is an average of one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.5 hours across the US. Many of these deaths take place on the highway. You may be wondering why a pedestrian would be on the highway, but the reality is that it is more common than you may realize. In fact, more than 10 percent of all pedestrian deaths take place on interstate highways. Individuals often try to cross the highway despite the fact that it is both illegal and highly dangerous, since most motorists would not even be able to see a pedestrian until it was too late. In other cases, people walk or stumble onto the highway because they are intoxicated or attempting suicide. Other reasons pedestrians may be on a highway include:
- Waiting in the shoulder after getting into an accident themselves;
- Pushing or working on their own vehicles after a mechanical problem;
- Helping others who have been involved in an accident.
In some cases in which a pedestrian accident occurs on a highway, the pedestrian may be entitled to recover damages under the theory of negligence. Negligence is the legal theory used for the vast majority of personal injury cases in Illinois and across the country. A motorist is negligent when he or she fails to use the level of care that a reasonably competent driver would have used under the same circumstances. For example, if a driver hits a pedestrian because he or she was texting behind the wheel, that driver would be considered negligent because a reasonably competent driver would not engage in such behavior while driving. It is important to note that, as the victim, it is not enough to prove that the defendant failed to act with the appropriate level of care; you must also show that the defendant’s failure was a direct and proximate cause of the accident and your injuries. A dedicated injury lawyer can evaluate whether the facts of your case may fulfill the requisite elements of a negligence claim.What if the Pedestrian Caused or Contributed to the Accident?
Pedestrians also have an obligation to use an appropriate level of care to guard themselves against dangers on the road. This includes using crosswalks and obeying all laws regarding pedestrian traffic. If a pedestrian’s own conduct caused or contributed to an accident in Illinois, that pedestrian will face consequences in the form of a reduced damages amount. Illinois follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence under which a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by his or her percentage of fault. In other words, if a plaintiff is deemed to be 20 percent at fault for the accident that resulted in injury, he or she could still recover compensation – just not the full amount. In such a scenario, the total damages amount would be reduced by 20 percent and the plaintiff would take home 80 percent of the total award. There is one exception to this rule that is important to remember. If the plaintiff’s fault is deemed to be 50 percent or higher, he or she is completely barred from recovering any damages at all. Put another way, the plaintiff’s fault has to be less than 50 percent in order for the injuries and losses to be compensable.Hire a Seasoned Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Schaumburg or Wheaton
Pedestrian accidents can have catastrophic consequences for the person on foot. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident on the highway, you may have legal options. At Therman Law Offices, our skilled Schaumburg and Wheaton lawyers understand the complex legal and factual issues of fault that arise after such a wreck, and can help you understand your rights following such an event. You can rest assured that we will guide you through every step of your legal journey. We represent clients from Norwood Park, Edison Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge, Elmwood Park, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Rosemont, Elk Grove Village and Mt. Prospect. To speak to one of our team members in detail about your specific situation, please do not hesitate to call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.