The tragic death of yet another Chicago pedestrian highlights the dangers people on foot face every day.
A recent fatal hit-and-run pedestrian accident in Chicago involving a 56-year-old grandmother shocked the city and reminded residents of the risks people face every day in the Windy City when walking or crossing the street.
Sadly, this was not the only recent pedestrian death in Chicago. Unfortunately, pedestrian fatalities have become increasingly common in the city, across the state, and throughout Cook County, Illinois.
Residents need to understand the risks and their rights if they're involved in a Chicago pedestrian accident. Likewise, reckless drivers need to be held accountable for the pain and damage they cause. At Keating Law Offices, P.C., we know all about this important issue because of our extensive work with injured pedestrians and family members in Chicago.
"It doesn't feel real."
The recent fatal Chicago hit-and-run that took the life of Juana Tapia Lopez occurred on Nov. 20, 2022. According to police reports cited by Chicago Streets Blog, Lopez died due to being hit by a motorist while crossing the street at the intersection of 26th Street and Drake Avenue in the Little Village section of Chicago.
After the vehicle fled the scene of the collision, Lopez was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Lopez went into a coma at the hospital, remained there for 19 days, and died on Dec. 8, 2022.
"My mom was little, but mighty," Lopez's daughter Monse Soto told CBS Chicago after her mother's death. "It doesn't feel real. My mom was very loud and very talkative – and seeing her in the hospital so quiet, so still, was very scary."
How common are hit-and-runs in Chicago?
While Lopez's hit-and-run might seem rare, these types of collisions happen far more often than many people might suspect. For example, in 2020, there were 2,564 hit-and-run fatalities nationwide, an increase of 26 percent in just one year, according to the most recent annual car accident report compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
And each year, on average, there are more than 700,000 hit-and-runs nationwide, according to a AAA Traffic Safety Foundation study. That's one hit-and-run every 43 seconds of every day.
How common are Chicago pedestrian accidents?
Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians happen at an alarming rate as well, and they're only becoming more common. According to preliminary police reports and news stories compiled by Chicago Streets Blog, 30 people died in Chicago last year in pedestrian accidents.
In Cook County, including Chicago, pedestrian fatalities have become increasingly common in recent years. Between 2016 and 2020, pedestrian deaths in Cook County increased by 28.7 percent and reached a high of 103 pedestrian fatalities in 2019, according to NHTSA crash data.
Statewide, pedestrian fatalities in Illinois have soared higher in the past decade. For example, between 2011 and 2020, pedestrian deaths due to motor vehicle crashes in Illinois increased by 31.3 percent to a 10-year high of 176 deaths in 2020.
Why do pedestrian accidents happen?
Pedestrian accidents, including hit-and-runs, often occur because a driver did something they should not have been doing on the road, including:
- Running a red light or going through a stop sign. Failure to stop for a red light or stop sign can cause a driver to collide with a pedestrian using a crosswalk or crossing an intersection.
- Texting while driving. When a driver's attention is diverted away from the road, it reduces their ability to react to unexpected situations and increases the likelihood of running red lights or stop signs or failing to recognize a pedestrian trying to cross the road.
- Speeding. Speeding increases the likelihood of hitting a pedestrian by reducing a driver's ability to react and stop in time. It also increases the force of impact in the event of a collision and increases the distance over which a pedestrian is thrown, often resulting in severe or fatal injuries.
- Intoxicated driving. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have impaired judgment and reaction times, making it more likely for them to hit a pedestrian.
- Failure to adjust for poor visibility. Poor visibility due to weather, lighting, or other factors can make it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. As such, motorists should adjust their driving for the conditions and keep a lookout for pedestrians.
Along with driver negligence, infrastructure can also contribute to pedestrian accidents. For example, areas without proper infrastructure for pedestrians, such as crosswalks, sidewalks, or well-lit streets, can be more dangerous for people on foot. Still, it is every driver's responsibility to share the road with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. When they don't and someone is injured or killed as a result, they must be held to account.
Injured pedestrians can count on Keating.
Building a strong legal case after a pedestrian accident takes tremendous skill. That's because negligent drivers and insurance companies often blame pedestrians for accidents, and in many cases, it can be difficult to prove fault.
An insurance adjuster may blame the pedestrian for not paying attention, failing to use a crosswalk or sidewalk, or even wearing dark clothing. They do this to assign some level of blame to the pedestrian in order to reduce their payout and lower the liability of the driver or insurance company.
This is why injured pedestrians and family members need a highly-skilled Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer who can find the evidence they need to demand the compensation they deserve.
The highly skilled and dedicated legal team at Keating Law Offices P.C. knows how to tackle tough pedestrian accident cases. Whether it's tracking down witnesses who saw what happened, reviewing traffic camera video footage, or other possible sources, we leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice.
Learn more about your available legal options. If you were hit by a car in Chicago, contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or call us at 833-CALL-KLO. We have dedicated office staff and live operators who can take your call 24/7. Our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys are here to help.