Anytime pedestrians and motor vehicles share space, there is a potential for serious accidents. Due to Chicago’s status as a tourist destination and commercial hub, a few common pedestrian accident scenarios occur more often than others. Whether accidents occur on sidewalks, at intersections, or in parking lots, victims are often left with serious injuries.
Chicago sees extensive tourism, and visitors to the city add to the number of potential pedestrian accidents. Certain areas of the city are especially affected, such as Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, the United Center, and the Convention Center. People who are not familiar with Chicago traffic or the Chicago roadways are more susceptible to being struck by vehicles.
Additionally, many tourists rent a car while they are in town, and they may be unfamiliar with Chicago protocols, procedures, and laws regarding traffic signals. Different states have different ways of doing things. Some states have turn signals allowing drivers to go as they get a green light. Others have flashing yellow turn signals, and motorists are expected to yield to oncoming traffic. Tourists may contribute to additional injury cases simply because they are not aware of how these traffic signals work in and around the greater Chicagoland area.
In Chicago, people commute to work on a regular basis and in different ways, usually either by train or automobiles. In those various modes of transportation, the weather can be a huge factor in operating the vehicle safely. The most common occurrence is cars sliding in the wintertime because of snow or ice on the roads. If vehicles are not traveling at an appropriate speed, they may not give themselves enough time to come to a complete stop. They could slide into a pedestrian even though they were fully aware that the person had the right of way.
A vehicle may be traveling too fast or may not appreciate how icy the roadways can be. This is especially true with buses and other heavy vehicles, like trucks. To ensure that they are safe from buses, pedestrians should look both ways and wait until traffic comes to a complete stop before crossing, even if they have the right of way. A pedestrian may not know about any mechanical problems the vehicles have, black ice on the road, or distractions the driver might be experiencing.
The most common pedestrian accident situations in Chicago occur at crosswalks. Drivers may be distracted and disregard a traffic signal, especially when making a turn. Taxis, rideshares, and other motor vehicles may think they have the right of way because they fail to take into account pedestrians. Accidents also happen when, in an attempt to avoid a collision with another vehicle, drivers swerve and run off the road. Even if pedestrians are in designated areas and there is no apparent danger, it is important to be aware of traffic.
In Chicago, there are many places to parallel park, and individuals are constantly entering the roadway either to enter or exit their own vehicles. These parallel parking spots are valuable and do not open often, and they require drivers to back into them. Many times, pedestrians will be looking to cross the street when they see an opening, whether it is in the crosswalk or not. If a vehicle is backing up and strikes the pedestrian, they can be held liable under certain circumstances, and the pedestrian can be severely injured. As a pedestrian, it is important to be aware of who might be backing up, and as a driver it is important to be aware of everyone in the surrounding area.
Pedestrian accidents in parking lots occur much more frequently than people realize, but fortunately, they generally involve a lower rate of speed. This means there are fewer catastrophic injuries, but they do still occur. Common parking lot injuries happen in office spaces, grocery stores, or at a hardware stores where people are loading or unloading their vehicles with limited visibility. Pedestrians are subject to danger at any time and from any direction when in a parking lot.
When a parking lot is privately owned or operated, it can impact the way a pedestrian accident case is handled. A number of different factors go into determining whether the property owner is at fault through negligent design of the parking lot or if it was a driver’s fault. Major factors include the identity of the owner, whether the area is properly lit, whether there are signs clearly indicating how traffic should flow, and whether the parking lot was designed with sufficient room for both vehicles and pedestrians to roam freely and safely.
Understanding a few common pedestrian accident scenarios can help individuals in Chicago remain alert for danger on sidewalks and crosswalks. However, sometimes even the safest walking habits are not enough to prevent an injury at the hands of a negligent driver.
If you were struck by a car, you may be entitled to fair compensation for your injuries. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.