Cook County Pedestrian Accidents

The Number Of Cook County And Illinois Pedestrian Accidents

There have been many recent Cook County pedestrian accidents, some fatal.  As well, many others have happened throughout the broader Chicago area and otherwise throughout Illinois.  As seen in Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) crash reports, in Cook County during the year 2014 there were 3320 pedestrian crashes, with 61 pedestrians killed and 3256 people injured.

The recent increase in Illinois pedestrian accidents is discussed in the Chicago Tribune article of May 30, 2016, titled “As pedestrian deaths rise, IDOT reiterates importance of paying attention.” Various aspects of the year 2015 pedestrian accident fatalities and trends experienced in Illinois are discussed.  Two excerpts from that article:

Last year, 146 crashes resulted in 150 fatalities on roads across the state, up 18 percent from 2014 when there were 127 deaths, according to preliminary numbers from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Of those 150 pedestrians killed, nearly a third of the deaths — or 46 — occurred in Chicago, which also saw a 31 percent hike over 2014.

also:

The Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit made up of state highway safety offices, also indicated that distracted pedestrians and drivers may be partially responsible for an increase in pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2013 after decades of a steady decline.

Cook County Pedestrian Accidents

Cook County pedestrian accidents have many causes.  While walking is beneficial for many reasons – including those related to recreation and fitness – it does include risks when done around traffic.  This is especially so given busy, congested streets and other roadways in the county.

As seen in posts on this site [found in the “Pedestrian Accidents” category] which discuss people who have been hit by vehicles in Cook County such incidents have occurred during 2016 on:

  • December 22, 2016 in Chicago (Little Village)[fatal]
  • December 2, 2016 in Des Plaines [fatal]
  • November 13, 2016 in Chicago (Jefferson Park)[fatal]
  • October 31, 2016 in Glencoe
  • October 21, 2016 in Glenview [fatal]
  • October 20, 2016 in Midlothian [fatal]
  • August 23, 2016 in Chicago [fatal]
  • August 22, 2016 in Chicago [fatal]
  • July 25, 2016 in Chicago (Lakeview)
  • July 20, 2016 in Chicago (South Shore)[fatal]
  • July 16, 2016 in Streamwood
  • May 27, 2016 in Englewood [fatal]
  • May 16, 2016 in Arlington Heights
  • March 14, 2016 in Des Plaines [fatal]
  • February 16, 2016 in unincorporated Morton Grove [fatal]
  • February 5, 2016 in Wilmette
  • January 31, 2016 in Richton Park [fatal]
  • January 20, 2016 in Wilmette [fatal]
  • January 12, 2016 in Chicago (Near North Side)

At least two of the above incidents involved runners who were fatally struck by vehicles while running.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries

There are many reasons why pedestrian accidents lead to injuries.  Notably, many of these injuries are critical injuries and can be life-threatening in nature.  Perhaps foremost among these reasons is that pedestrians have little if any impact protection when they are hit by a vehicle.  As such, the pedestrian’s body absorbs most – if not all – of the impact, and the body is subject to many powerful and unnatural forces.

If a person is hurt due to being hit by a vehicle, there is a broad array of injuries that can occur.  These injuries include damage to the neck and spinal column; bone fractures; serious bruises; broken arms; broken legs; and various types of internal bleeding and other “soft tissue” damage.

Blunt force trauma injuries to the chest can also occur.

Among the most serious injuries that can result from someone being hit by a vehicle is traumatic brain injuries (TBI.)  These types of head injuries have been seen in many Chicago-area accidents.

The severity of these various pedestrians injuries can vary significantly.  Many of these injuries and other harm that has occurred may lead to temporary or permanent physical impairments, which may require one or more surgeries.  As well, recovery from these injuries may require a significant amount of physical and occupational rehabilitation.

Fatal Cook County Pedestrian Crashes 

As seen in the aforementioned list of Cook County pedestrian crashes, a high percentage of those hit by a vehicle died from their accident injuries.  These fatalities include both those who died immediately as well as those pedestrians who died at some point after the accident.

Fault In Pedestrian Accidents 

Many of the fatal Cook County pedestrian accidents involve people who are hit by vehicles while they try to cross the street.  Accidents that happen in crosswalks are particularly notable, as people who walk in crosswalks with the right-of-way often expect to do so safely. However, in many cases crosswalks and the rights they are supposed to provide to “walkers” are disregarded by motorists.  Various statistics show that Chicago pedestrian accidents – including those fatal – often happen while people are walking in a crosswalk with the “walk” signal.  As discussed in the October 26, 2011 post, titled “City of Chicago Initiative To Highlight Pedestrian Accidents And Pedestrian Safety“:

About 80 percent of vehicle-pedestrian crashes in Chicago occur at intersections and commonly involve people crossing the street with the walk signal, according to a new city study released this summer. The No. 1 cause of the accidents was drivers failing to yield, the analysis found.

Of the Cook County pedestrian accidents highlighted above, a number of them happened as pedestrians were walking in crosswalks.  This includes the December 22, 2016 fatal crash in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

Risk Factors For Pedestrian Accidents

There are many reasons why pedestrian collisions occur.  However, there are some common characteristics of when and why such collisions occur.  Various “risk factors” are discussed in the “Pedestrian Injuries: Emergency Care Considerations” [Chakravarthy B, Lotfipour S, Vaca FE. Pedestrian Injuries: Emergency Care Considerations. The California Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2007;8(1):15-21.] research document.  An excerpt:

It is important to analyze the risk factors of pedestrian injuries so that successful targeting and interventional programs can be implemented. Two primary factors are when and where pedestrian collisions occur. National data indicate that most fatalities occur between the hours of 6 pm and midnight.2 Impaired vision among drivers due to the lack of daylight, coupled with pedestrian traffic and alcohol consumption by either the driver or the pedestrian, are plausible explanations for the higher incidence of pedestrian collisions after dark. Nearly 40% of all pedestrian fatalities involve pedestrian intoxication. In 18% of fatal pedestrian collisions, the drivers had consumed alcohol.2 As this is a preventable risk factor, it lends further support to the strict enforcement of laws designed to regulate a driver’s alcohol and drug consumption,. Two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas and three-fourths occur in non-intersections.8 Urban areas have a higher rate of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. Drivers non-compliant with speed limitations, pedestrian lack of safety awareness, poor city planning and other variables all lead to a higher incidence of pedestrian collisions in urban centers. Rural areas pose their own unique, significant risks. Although the overall number of collisions is fewer than in urban centers, pedestrian injuries are more severe and are fatal a greater percentage of times in rural settings.8 Higher vehicle speeds, lack of proper pedestrian walkways and larger distances to a trauma center likely contribute to a higher mortality rate.

Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents

There are many steps that one can take to minimize the risk of being hit by a car while walking.  Being aware of “dangerous intersections” for pedestrians can be highly beneficial.  As well, another aspect with regard to crossing the street is discussed in the April 14, 2015 post titled “Increased Pedestrian Safety – New Research Findings.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published pedestrian safety tips at its “Everyone is a pedestrian” site.  Walking safety tips are also provided for children and older adults.

The CDC document titled “Walk This Way!  Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety” offers the following tips:

Whenever you’re walking, keep these tip2 in mind:

  • Whenever possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
  • Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing.
  • It’s safest to walk on a sidewalk, but if one is not available, walk on the shoulder and face traffic.
  • Avoid distractions such as electronic devices that take your attention off the road.

Injury Costs And Expenses  

There are many types of expenses that can be directly incurred when someone is hit by a car or other vehicle.  Typically, medical bills may be (very) high, especially if the person does not have health insurance.  Many people who have been hit and injured by a vehicle seek to obtain injury compensation through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.  This compensation can include many different types.  The amount of such compensation varies depending upon many different factors, including the types and severity of the injuries.  Compensation can include that for:

  • Medical costs (past, current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of function
  • Lost wages
  • Other economic damages

A personal injury lawyer can provide an overview as to what types of compensation – as well as what amounts – may be reasonably expected given the specific characteristics of the accident, the injuries, and the overall legal and medical situation that has resulted.

What To Do If You Have Been Injured In A Pedestrian Accident

The above discusses various aspects of accidents involving pedestrians.  As discussed, pedestrian accidents often cause accident injuries – and in many cases these injuries are serious in nature, and can be either life-threatening or fatal.

Should you be injured in such a collision, there are steps you should take to protect both your health as well as your legal rights, including your rights to potential injury compensation if the accident was the fault of another person or entity.

From a medical perspective, it is recommended that you get a comprehensive medical exam if you are hit by a car or another vehicle.  There are many health and legal reasons for this recommendation.  One of the reasons is that some accident injury symptoms are not immediately apparent, i.e. what some call “delayed onset.”  A thorough medical examination can check for accident injuries that have occurred, but may not yet be apparent.  There are many examples of people who have suffered serious accident injuries but aren’t aware of these injuries for a substantial time period.  A delay in treatment of these accident injuries can create a dangerous health threat. In some cases such delay in proper health care treatment can become life-threatening.  Serious injuries with symptoms that may not immediately manifest include various traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and internal bleeding.

From a legal perspective, it is highly recommended that you speak with an Illinois personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.  While many people who have been recently injured in an accident may find this to be inconvenient, there are various steps you should quickly take to protect your legal rights and to help you attain compensation for your accident injuries and other harm that may have occurred.  The personal injury lawyer can determine if the filing of a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate.  [For those who represent a person that has died due to an accident, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be warranted.]

If you were injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and see what legal actions – including the filing of a lawsuit – may be appropriate.  This discussion is provided free of charge and is confidential in nature.

Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for 25+ years, and during this time has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases.  Through this extensive experience, the Elman Law Group has built a reputation for its court trial performance.  As seen in many of its cases, this successful trial experience may (substantially) increase potential accident injury compensation.

Elman Law Group, LLC handles cases on a contingency basis…clients are not charged legal fees unless and until they get money.