Pedestrian Vulnerability

The Chicago Metropolitan area can be a dangerous place for all types of road users. However for some road users, the threat of being injured or killed in an accident is far greater than it is for others. Pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable type of road user of all. As personal injury lawyers, we have witnessed the devastating consequences that can occur as a result of a pedestrian accident. In contrast to other road users, pedestrians face a unique set of risk factors that make them much more susceptible to harm.

One of the most significant factors that set pedestrians apart from other types of road users is the wide-range of settings in which accidents can occur. Pedestrians are at risk of injury in nearly every location they might travel. Roadways, intersections, crosswalks, sidewalks, train crossing, and even bike paths and trails, can all present hazards to a person traveling by foot.

Pedestrians also differ from other road users because nearly every mode of transportation (with the exception to other pedestrians) poses a threat of accident or injury. Cars, vans, SUVs, trucks, buses, motorcycles, mopeds, tractor trailers and trains, are just a few of the many dangers that pedestrians face each day. Even other vulnerable road users, such as negligent or reckless bicyclists can cause a pedestrian harm.

In addition, pedestrians lack the protection and general “crashworthiness” characteristics of other types of road users. Unlike the occupants of motor vehicles, pedestrians have absolutely no barrier to provide protection in the event of a collision. Even motorcyclists and bicyclist often have helmets or safety gear that can prevent or reduce the extent of harm sustained in an accident. Pedestrians have nothing more than their own body to shield them in a crash. Consequently, the risk of severe injury or fatality is much higher among pedestrians than with any other road user.

Reaction capability is another risk factor that pedestrians face. Victims are often unaware that a collision is about to occur until it is too late. However, even when a pedestrian becomes aware of an imminent danger prior to impact, their ability to respond is extremely limited. They cannot swerve, brake, or maneuver around an obstacle like a motorist or bicyclist can. Pedestrians only have their own body to use in reacting to avoid a collision. Physical and/or mental skills can also impact a pedestrian’s responsive ability, such as with children, the elderly, or disabled persons.

Pedestrians also face risks related to socio-economic factors that vary from other types of road users. In contrast to other road users, persons traveling by foot are more likely to travel within the vicinity in which they reside. In some communities, there may be less enforcement and regulation of, as well as compliance with, traffic control laws, which can contribute to higher pedestrian accident rates in certain areas.

In a perfect world, other road users would appreciate the vulnerability of pedestrians by sharing roadways, yielding the right of way, and traveling in a safe and cautious manner with regard for the safety of others. Unfortunately this is not the case. Far too often, road users endanger pedestrians by engaging in irresponsible, careless, negligent, reckless and/or unlawful activities, practices, and behaviors. When a pedestrian is injured or killed due to the actions of another, we believe that person should be held accountable to the fullest extent possible for any harm that results.

The Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. are dedicated to obtaining the maximum amount of financial recovery deserved on behalf of injured victims and family members of the deceased. If you or a loved one were involved in an incident while traveling by foot, our experienced attorneys want to evaluate your personal injury matter, free of charge, and explain your legal rights and options. Send us a message, or give us a call at 773-516-4100—we are here to help.

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