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Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

Casey Woodruff

pedestrian crossingWhile all traffic accidents have the potential to be devastating, pedestrian traffic accidents are especially likely to be serious. Unlike drivers, pedestrians do not have the protection of their own car during the accident; they have to take the brunt of the impact themselves. This results in the deaths of thousands of pedestrians every year, along with injuries to tens of thousands more, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While injuries from these sorts of accidents can be severe, pedestrians do have legal rights to protect them, and they should not be afraid of exercising them.

Injuries from Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

Pedestrians struck by a car can experience a variety of serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries are soft tissue injuries, which include injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons, such as strains and sprains. Pedestrian accident victims can also suffer broken bones as a result of an accident, which can be painful and may take months to heal. Particularly serious accidents may also result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs occur when a person’s brain is shaken within their skull. A TBI can result in nausea, vomiting, concussion, seizures, coma, and even death.

Pedestrians’ Legal Rights

Pedestrians injured in traffic accidents have the right to bring a legal claim known as “negligence” against the driver who injured them. Negligence is a special legal term, but its meaning closely tracks its ordinary usage. A pedestrian who alleges negligence is arguing that they were injured as a result of the driver’s carelessness.

In order to prevail on a negligence claim, the pedestrian must show four things, which lawyers refer to as the elements of negligence: duty, breach, cause, and harm.

  • The pedestrian must show that the driver owed them a duty of care, meaning that the driver had a responsibility to take precautions not to injure the pedestrian. This may be an open issue in some cases, but for the most part, people on the road have a duty of care not to harm other people in the area;
  • The pedestrian must show that the driver breached that duty by doing something careless. Examples of things that might breach a driver’s duty include texting while driving, speeding, or driving drunk;
  • The pedestrian must show that the driver’s breach was the cause of the accident; and
  • The pedestrian must show that the accident harmed them in some way.

If the pedestrian can demonstrate all these things, then he or she may be entitled to recover damages from the driver. Damages are monetary compensation for the harms that the pedestrian suffered. These can include very closely related harms like the medical bills that arose as a result of the accident, but they can also be more attenuated harms, such as wages that the pedestrian lost as a result of missing work after the accident. Victims may even be entitled to recover for damages related to their pain and suffering.

Pedestrian traffic accidents can be especially serious and expensive. If you have recently been involved in a pedestrian traffic accident, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Woodruff Johnson & Evans today.

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