Articles Posted in Pedestrian

halloween accidents

Trick-or-Treat Injuries Trend on the Rise and Drunk Drivers Are to Blame

Halloween related events such as community trick-or-treating have sadly become the growing scene of gruesome drunk-driving fatalities. This is because many families and their costume-clad children innocently share the streets with others who are on their way home from celebrating at local bars and restaurants and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials say the scary statistics don’t lie.

  • During the Halloween holiday period (6 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) during the years 2012-2016, 168 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes.

halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

  1. Be Seen

Often we discuss the responsibility of private and commercial drivers to be safe and respect pedestrians crossing the roads or walking on the sidewalks. However, at times it is also important to stress how important it is for pedestrians to appreciate the danger that large vehicles like cars and buses inherently present. Based on speed and size difference, motor vehicles are immensely larger than pedestrians.

For instance, per calculations available by Rush, a 5′ 10″ person should be between 132 to 173 pounds. However, the average weight of a new car in 2010 is 4009 pounds, according to Slate. A bus, on the other hand, weighs up to 33,000 pounds, not including the weight of passengers, per a report by the American Public Transportation Association. This extreme difference in mass is inherently dangerous to a person, and is why we as pedestrians must be cautious around motor vehicles and buses, just as they need to be vigilant of us.

A prime example of this was reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the article, a man was struck and killed by an eastbound 72 CTA bus in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. He chased after it and banged on the side of it when he was unable to board in time. A witness, who watched the incident from across the street at a local fast food restaurant, reported that the man and his girlfriend went to the bus stop where the woman was able to get on the bus, but the doors closed before the man was able to board. It began to head east toward Pulaski Road, and the man chased the bus while hitting on the side of it, yelling to the bus driver to stop. The man then slipped and fell, and the bus ran him over.
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The close of the year gives rise to some interesting statistics and facts, as the media compares data with recent previous years. From gathering such data, we can learn about many trends in our communities, state, and across the nation ranging from weather, societal preferences and fashions, and safety related to traffic. Unfortunately, these studies do not always yield positive findings, but do indicate areas in which we all need to improve collectively and can suggest ways in which to do so.

According to a recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analyzed by the Wall Street Journal, pedestrian deaths overall have increased by 15% since 2009. In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths nationwide, according to data released by the NHTSA this month. Overall, there were 32,719 traffic deaths in the country.

In many major metropolitan cities, officials are taking steps to try to battle this rising statistic, according to the same article. Some of these initiatives include shortening crosswalks, creating pedestrian safety islands, lower speed limits, creating bike lanes, and getting harsher with enforcement of rules. Transportation officials realize they may need to analyze current urban landscapes to make them safer for pedestrians. These efforts are also supported by the national government, which granted $1.6 million to various cities to promote pedestrian safety. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has recognized that many city streets were not designed with pedestrians in mind, only automobiles, and that needs a change.
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It is always very upsetting to learn of hit-and-run accidents in the news. When such accidents occur, the wrongdoer responsible for the accident fails to take accountability out of their own volition. Not only are they breaching their legal duty of care to those they cause injury, but they are abandoning a moral duty and lacking the compassion to care for a person hurt and in need.

These accidents can be even worse to hear of when they involve a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. As you know, pedestrian accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause victims to suffer significant personal injuries and death. Unfortunately these types of accidents are all too common through Illinois, particularly the Chicagoland area where a number of people rely upon city sidewalks on a daily basis. Because vehicles are so much larger in height and weight than a person, these accidents often leave victims with permanent and life altering injuries. Since these accidents are so severe, victims can undergo injuries to vital areas of their bodies, like the head and neck, resulting in nerve damage or spinal chord paralysis. Other permanent injuries could also even include broken bones, dislocated limbs, or complete loss of a limb.

Recent news by the Chicago Tribune discusses a recent accident in the Chicago suburb of West Chicago where a motorist fled the scene after colliding with a pedestrian. Around 11:40 p.m. at the intersection of Fair Oaks Road and Trieste Lane, a driver struck the victim who had just exited a vehicle, according to police. The driver, hailing from the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream, then left the scene. She was later arrested for having struck a pedestrian and feeling the scene of the accident. She was also charged with failure to report an accident involving an injury – a Class 2 felony.
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While going about daily errands and work, pedestrians should not have to fear for their safety from vehicles while walking to and from their destinations. Our sidewalks and parking lots should be danger-free areas where pedestrians can safely walk. Unfortunately, due to driver negligence, pedestrians can often be in danger of serious personal injuries or death.

According to an article by the Mundelein Review, one man was killed in an Aldi parking lot when he was struck by a car. The car was exiting an aisle in the parking lot and turned left when the driver suddenly heard a thud. The pedestrian died from blunt force to the head.

Pedestrian accidents are especially dangerous because of the differences in size, weight, and speed between a vehicle and a person. To put this into perspective, the average American male weighs 195.5 pounds, and the average American female weighs 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, according to Slate, the average new American car in 2011 weighed 3,221 pounds. To elaborate on the effects of this, consider the following. Let’s say that the average American male, mentioned above, weighing at 195.5 pounds is standing in a parking lot after going about doing his grocery shopping. Then, the average new American car, mentioned above, is traveling in the parking lot at a velocity of approximately 15 mph negligently not paying attention to the pedestrian. The laws of physics tell us that momentum of all objects before a collision equals momentum after the collision (the car would transfer its energy to the pedestrian). The momentum lost by the car would then equal the momentum gained by the pedestrian, who absorbs the impact of a 3,221 pound vehicle traveling at 15 mph. This is why something that is travelling a great deal faster and that weighs significantly more can cause serious personal injuries or death.

It wouldn’t be a normal news night in Chicagoland without at least one or two accounts of people seriously injured or killed in pedestrian accidents while walking along our streets and roads. These types of accidents are a rising concern for our attorneys, as well as Chicago citizens and officials due to the fact that the Chicagoland area has such high volumes of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic . This mix poses many dangers to pedestrians who are all but defenseless in a collision with a larger, heavier, faster vehicle.

According to the Kane County Chronicle, a pedestrian suffered personal injuries as the result of being struck by a car recently in the Chicago southwest suburb of Geneva, The 63-year-old victim was crossing the street at the corner of North Frist and West State when she was struck by a car that was attempting to turn left through the crossing. The collision moved her approximately eight to ten feet east of the crosswalk where she was crossing. Police issued the driver a warning notice for her failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Our attorneys stress the gravity of pedestrian accidents because they can often cause life-altering injuries such as broken bones, loss of limbs, etc. In this incidence at hand, according to the same article, the victim here suffered personal injuries including a laceration to the back of her head and left should and leg and lower back injuries. Pedestrian accidents are especially important to address, because even though normal motor vehicle collisions can pose serious personal injuries, pedestrian accidents are even more dangerous because there is no barrier between a vehicle and a human body.

A young man who was seriously injured in a drunk driving pedestrian accident in downtown Chicago a couple of years ago has been awarded close to two and half million dollars in connection with his personal injury lawsuit. The injured man lived in Chicago at the time of the accident and was hurt while standing at an intersection in downtown Chicago, when he was struck by a car that came barreling at excessive speeds onto the sidewalk where he and a group of others were standing. In addition to the young Chicago man, six other people were also struck and suffered injuries in connection with the accident.

The driver of the vehicle was a City of Chicago worker, driving in a city owned vehicle, and he tested over twice the legal blood alcohol limit at the time of the accident, according to the Chicago Sun Times. In addition to testing over the legal limit, an open container of alcohol with alcohol missing from the bottle was found in his vehicle following the accident. The young victim suffered multiple broken bones, including spinal fractures, and required nearly a week long stay in the hospital as well as additional surgeries and a great deal of physical therapy in the months following the accident.

Levin & Perconti represented the victim in his lawsuit that was filed against the city worker and the City of Chicago (since the person reasonable was a city employee and was on the job at the time of the accident). The personal injury lawsuit alleged that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and that the driver failed to yield to a pedestrian and was driving at unsafe speeds given the conditions at the time of the accident. The reason the city was also sued in connection with the accident was not only because the driver was on the job when the accident occurred, but also because of allegations of improper supervision and screening of city employees who are employed to drive city vehicles. The injured young man hopes that having better screening and checks on city drivers will help to keep this type of terrible and completely avoidable accident from happening to others. The victim suggested that breathalizer tests could be required for the vehicle to start, to ensure that no city employee is able to operate their city vehicle if they have been drinking.

An Illinois man was killed when he was crossing the Metra track in Downer’s Grove yesterday morning. He was struck by an inbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train and killed instantly. This news is even more upsetting because this is the fourth time a Metra train has struck a pedestrian since Thursday, three of which resulted in the pedestrian dying. This means that in six days, four people were struck by Metra trains in Illinois. Another one of the fatalities during this six day period occurred when another train on the same train line struck a pedestrian.

According to Chicago CBS Local, a transportation expert that was asked about the likelihood of this number of accidents in such a short time, said that in all of his years working in the industry he has never seen this many pedestrian train related accidents in this short of a time period. However, Illinois is one of the states with a high rate of trespassing on train track fatalities, as it ranks sixth in the nation.

One of the problems is that pedestrians continue to attempt to cross the tracks when they are not allowed and when it is certainly not safe to cross. However, as long as pedestrians keep illegally crossing the train tracks, these accidents are going to continue to occur unless something more is done. Ideas for what could be done by the Metra to help prevent these types of accidents from continuing are measures such as having security guards near the crossings where frequent accidents have been occurring during the peak travel times, sound signals to alert pedestrians when a train is near (in addition to sound signals at the stops themselves) and slower train passage at these areas where the accidents have been occurring. While the changes may not need to be implemented all over the state, it is likely that these safety measures would be useful in areas where these accidents are frequently occurring.

The Associated Press reports that the Chicago City Council has agreed to pay $6.25 million to a man injured by an intoxicated city worker in 2011. The victim of the Chicago pedestrian accident was a computer scientist who is now permanently disabled because of the negligence of the city worker.

Our firm represents another man injured in the very same accident, when an intoxicated Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker hit eight people on May 21st, 2011 at the corner of Rush and Cedar streets in Chicago. The negligent driver is now serving a nine-year prison term after pleading guilty to the charges of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. This is the first settlement stemming from this accident, with three other cases are pending, including the man that our attorneys represent. Our client is a 28-year-old resident of Chicago who was participating in a wedding video shoot for his wife’s company when the negligent driver lost control and struck him. He sustained several spinal factures, a broken fibula and a broken tibia. He was also forced to remain hospitalized for nearly a week. Worst of all, he was scheduled to begin law school in 2011, but was forced to defer his admission for a year to give himself time to recover.

When attorneys Steve Levin and Susan Novosad filed the lawsuit in June 2011, he stated, “unfortunately, [the defendant’s] carelessness and [Chicago’s] failure to supervise its employees has severely impacted this young family’s future. We hope that this lawsuit will bring them fair and reasonable compensation. We also hope that it will prompt [Chicago] to create more effective drug and alcohol screening processes for employees, especially those operating large vehicles and heavy machinery.”

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