In recent years the number of traffic deaths has increased overall, reversing a long decline seen during the economic downturn. Pedestrian deaths have reached record numbers and now new information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests part of the blame may rest with America’s love of the Sport Utility Vehicle.
Chicago Pedestrian Accident Risks & Liability
Our personal injury lawyers in Chicago and Oak Park know these are among the deadliest types of pedestrian accidents. Not only do these vehicles strike with more force, their high centers of gravity mean they are much more likely to run over pedestrians. Pedestrians rarely survive a collision after being run over by car, truck or SUV.
This makes SUV drivers much more likely to cause serious or fatal injuries in a collision with a pedestrian. State law and ordinances of the City of Chicago (9-60-010) provide pedestrians the right of way when crossing in a marked crosswalk. Yet studies continue to show few motorists stop or yield as required by law. Our pedestrian accident attorneys would encourage motorists to yield to pedestrians in all locations. The few seconds it takes to allow a walker to cross are not worth causing a collision.
At-fault motorists may be found criminally responsible and civilly negligent. Victims and their families may be entitled to wrongful death or personal injury damages, including cost of medical bills, value of lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, a growing number of these cases involve hit-and-run drivers. Even in those cases, a victim may be successful in making a financial recovery, most often through their own uninsured motorist (UM) policy.
Pedestrian Accident Risks Blamed on Bad Drivers, Big Cars, Poor Road Design
A report released in May by the IIHS found the number of pedestrian deaths has increased 46 percent from 2009. These accidents were most likely to occur in urban and suburban areas. In 2016, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide, accounting for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities. It was the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990.
The Chicago Tribune reports Chicago pedestrian deaths claimed 46 lives last year, up from the 27 deaths reported in 2013.
IIHS data found crashes have also become deadlier, with deaths per crash involvement up 29 percent. Researchers found crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles. Fatal pedestrian SUV crashes were up 81 percent, more than for any other type of vehicle.
Contacting an experienced injury attorney is critical in the immediate aftermath of a serious or fatal pedestrian collision. In the event of a pedestrian accident, contact Coplan + Crane and find out how we can help you.