Fatal and Incapacitating Pedestrian Accidents Continue to Afflict Illinoisans

Published June 13, 2023

The number of pedestrians killed in accidents in Cook County is increasing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 125 pedestrians died in crashes in Cook County in 2021, a 25 percent increase over 2020. The number of pedestrian fatalities also increased nationally in 2021 over 2020. Pedestrian fatalities account for 17 percent of all car accident fatalities, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Data Loss Institute (IIHS-HDLI).

Many pedestrians also incur injuries in car crashes. In Illinois, car crashes injured 3,520 pedestrians; 861 received incapacitating injuries. Incapacitating injuries prevent the person from performing the activities they did before the crash and include broken legs and arms or skull, chest, and abdominal injuries.

What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?

Many factors can cause pedestrian accidents, but most are the driver’s fault. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way. Pedestrians always have the right of way when they are walking in the crosswalks in Illinois.
  • Intoxicated, distracted, or tired drivers.
  • Intoxicated pedestrians.
  • Speeding drivers.
  • Poor visibility.
  • Vehicle failures.

What Are Common Injuries?

Because pedestrians have little protection, physical injuries often tend to be severe. They can include:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries and severe head trauma
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation
  • Wrongful death
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Road burns
  • Wrongful death

Accident victims also often suffer emotional trauma. Some pedestrians experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, according to an article in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. These symptoms can include re-experiencing the accident through dreams or constantly interfering thoughts, reluctance or refusal to walk on sidewalks or cross streets again, absence of typical emotions, increased irritability, and exaggerated startle reactions.

The severe emotional and physical issues pedestrians suffer can be devastating, according to Zayed Law Offices, a Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer. Injured pedestrians may spend months or years under medical or psychiatric treatment and still be unable to earn a living and enjoy hobbies or typical family activities the way they did before the accident.

What Should I Do If I or A Loved One Are Victims of A Pedestrian Accident?

Victims of pedestrian accidents should take several steps to protect their health and their ability to receive compensation.

Be Safe

If you can move, go to a safe location. Continuing to lie in the roadway increases the risk of being hit by another vehicle. If the injuries are life-threatening, call 911 right away. Even if injuries seem minor, stay on the scene and seek medical attention after the police collect information. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately.

Call the Police

Notify the police, even if you think your injuries are minor. The police will investigate and file a report, which will be necessary should you seek compensation later.


If you can, photograph and videotape the scene or ask a passerby to do so. Also, photograph your injuries. Gather information from the vehicle’s driver, such as their driver’s license number, name, address, insurance carrier, and vehicle registration. Gather contact information for witnesses. Keep track of diagnoses and other information you receive from your doctor.

Call a Lawyer

Call a Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer. A lawyer understands the law and the type of compensation you’re entitled to receive. Even though you have insurance information from the driver, contact an attorney first. Only your attorney will look after your best interests. Also, Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations on seeking compensation after an accident. After two years, you lose your right to file. Because your lawyer will want the time to prepare your case thoroughly, you should contact them as soon as possible.

Your lawyer will examine the documents and circumstances of the accident and file the appropriate paperwork against the driver and their insurance company. They’ll handle all the negotiations or trials necessary for you to receive just compensation.

Select an attorney with experience in pedestrian accident cases. Although most cases settle before court, choosing an attorney with litigation experience is still important. If the at-fault party knows your attorney has litigation experience, they may be more likely to settle to avoid trial. Also, you want to avoid switching lawyers midway through your claims process if the other side refuses to settle.

What Kinds of Compensation Can the Injured Receive?

The law allows victims of pedestrian accidents to receive various forms of compensation, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Some of these include:

  • Lost wages or disability payments
  • Payment of past, current, and future medical bills
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Money to compensate for emotional distress
  • Money to pay for pain and suffering

How Much is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?

The payout depends on several factors, says Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer offices. A payout for minor injuries, such as a broken bone, might range from $15,000 to $75,000. Payouts for more severe injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or a wrongful death, may top a million dollars. Your attorney can advise you on reasonable expectations for your case.

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