Pedestrians are especially vulnerable to accidents with large motor vehicles. In addition to not having a protective metal frame, they are often difficult to see on the road. There are numerous accident scenarios in Oak Lawn that both pedestrians and drivers should be aware of to avoid collisions. If an injury does occur, a pedestrian accident attorney could assist an injured party in proving liability to recover potential damages.
When a pedestrian is at a crosswalk, they generally have the right of way, but still must obey any traffic control signals. For example, a pedestrian must wait for the “walk” sign to safely enter the crosswalk and begin crossing the street. Being in a crosswalk in and of itself is usually not enough to give the pedestrian the right of way.
When a car approaches a stop sign, a pedestrian has the right of way to cross first. Sometimes drivers do not see pedestrians as they are more concerned with looking for other cars. This does not absolve a driver from legal responsibility. Determining who had the right of way in a crosswalk is a common scenario in many pedestrian accident cases in Oak Lawn.
Another common accident scenario involving pedestrians is when drivers fail to see a person behind them while backing up. A pedestrian should always be on the lookout for cars backing out of a parking space since they may have blind spots to account for, but the driver also has a duty to maintain a proper lookout for pedestrians.
Sometimes the driver will claim that the person walked right in front of their car as they were backing up. However, pedestrians usually have the right of way, making this an ineffective legal defense for the driver.
In addition to roads and sidewalks, another common area where pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles is parking lots. Many drivers do not exercise sufficient care when driving through them as pedestrians exit stores and walk to their own cars. Motor vehicles tend to drive at excessive speeds in parking lots, which contributes to many pedestrian accidents.
It is also common to see accidents when cars strike a pedestrian while pulling out of a parking lot or garage onto a street. Many drivers will be paying more attention to oncoming cars but if the pedestrian is within the crosswalk and obeying the traffic signal, this person has the right of way.
If there are sidewalks on the street, Oak Lawn pedestrians must use them. However, there are many roads that do not have sidewalks, and in these situations, individual may walk on the roadway. These people must walk with traffic, not against it, and must stay as reasonably close to the side of the road as possible. A pedestrian on the roadway must be treated similarly to a bicyclist in that they must stay to the right and exercise care for themselves. If pedestrians follow these rules and are still struck by a car, the driver could be liable.
A pedestrian scenario that is not always understood is when cars are turning right or left. When a vehicle is stopped at a red light, they have the authority to turn right if the traffic is clear. However, they must yield to any pedestrians in their way. The pedestrian has a right to expect that the car will yield to them prior to turning. When a driver makes a left-hand turn, they must yield to any pedestrians who are in the crosswalk.
Many times, drivers are paying more attention to oncoming traffic and do not see pedestrians in the roadway, but if the pedestrian is in the crosswalk they have the right of way in a left-hand turn case. The only exception to this would be if the driver had a left-turn arrow. In that case, the pedestrian would have to yield to traffic until they receive the signal to cross.
A bus driver is held to the same standard of care to pedestrians as any other motorist. A bus must yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way in a crosswalk but is not held responsible if the pedestrian is disobeying traffic signals while in the roadway. When a bus stops to pick up passengers, the pedestrians in front of it will have the right of way. However, if the pedestrian enters the roadway in a time or manner which is prohibited, then this person may be legally at fault.
Pedestrians should know the various scenarios they may encounter while sharing the road with motor vehicles in Oak Lawn. A failure to act with care or caution could result in a serious collision. If a negligent motorist struck you with their car, get in touch with an experienced local attorney who could help you seek fair compensation.