Hit-and-run accidents can result in catastrophic, sometimes deadly, injuries. Such accidents often involve pedestrians in a crosswalk or crossing the street, and motorists who fail to yield or who are not paying attention. If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of the circumstances, it is important to contact a top Chicago personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Aside from simply explaining the applicable law, an experienced injury lawyer will help identify and interview all potential witnesses, investigate whether or not the negligent motorist was insured, and determine whether the injured victim’s own insurance company may be liable under an underinsured or uninsured motorist policy.
This month, the news has been filled with hit-and-run accidents. Police have conducted sting operations to catch drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians, most recently in August of this year in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. To no surprise, driver inattention is cited as a common factor contributing to pedestrian accidents in recent study conducted by Western Michigan University.
There are specific laws governing motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. In Illinois, those rules are outlined in the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/), also known as the “Rules of the Road”, which covers many aspects of vehicles and vehicle ownership in Illinois, from the sale of vehicles to scrapping and repairing vehicles, emissions standards, theft or unclaimed vehicles, licensing for transportation of goods and passengers and areas in between. The Vehicle Code also provides specific rules relating to pedestrians and vehicle and right-of-way at intersections. Many of the laws regarding right of way are common sense, including requiring pedestrians to cross with a “walk” signal, requiring vehicles to wait for pedestrians to cross before completing a turn, or waiting at a stop sign for a pedestrian to cross the street. Other laws are more complex, and require a skilled Chicago car accident attorney to ensure proper representation.
Ultimate responsibility is placed on the driver, as stated in 625 ILCS 5/11 1003.1. The law states that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.” Failure to do so may be considered negligence, and fleeing the scene after a hit-and-run accident may be a criminal act, especially if the pedestrian suffers severe injury or death. Indeed, Illinois recently amended its Crime Victims Compensation Act to include compensation for those injured or killed as a result of a hit-and-run. Bottom line: if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is vital to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
For a free consultation with one of Passen & Powell’s Chicago injury and accident lawyers, call us at (312) 527-4500.