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Can Pedestrians Be at Fault in a Pedestrian Crash?

Posted on in Car Accidents

comparative negligence, Crystal Lake personal injury attorney, pedestrian accident, traffic accident, car accidentWhen first learning to drive, some of us were told that a pedestrian “always has the right of way.” The import of this (misguided) statement is to suggest that when an Illinois motorist collides with a pedestrian, the motorist will always be considered “at fault” – and, hence, will always be responsible for the pedestrian's injuries and losses. This is not accurate, however: pedestrians can bear some responsibility for the injuries they suffer as the result of a pedestrian crash.

Illinois and the Modified Comparative Fault Rule

Each state handles the issue in a different manner. Illinois and approximately twenty other states have adopted a “modified comparative fault” rule. Under this rule, a pedestrian who is determined to be more than 50 percent responsible for causing his or her own injuries will not be permitted to recover any compensation at all from the allegedly negligent defendant.

The actions of pedestrians can contribute to their injuries in an accident if they:

  • Do not look for oncoming traffic before crossing the street;
  • Walk at night or in inclement weather without clothing or devices to make themselves more visible;
  • Refuse medical treatment at the scene of a crash or refuse to go to the hospital in a timely manner; and/or
  • Do not follow their doctor's orders, refuse to take medication as prescribed, or refuse to use assistive devices as instructed.

Under Illinois' modified comparative fault rule, if the injured pedestrian engages in these or other negligent behaviors and this causes the pedestrian to be more at fault in causing their own injuries than the defendant, then the plaintiff will be barred from any monetary recovery.

Assigning Fault in an Illinois Pedestrian Crash

The process whereby a “percentage of fault” is assigned in an Illinois pedestrian crash is not a precise or straightforward process. The judge or jury hearing a pedestrian accident case will ultimately decide how much fault to assign to each party after considering the testimony and evidence each party presents and the arguments made by the parties' attorneys. There are no established guidelines or mathematical formulas that judges and juries are required to use in assigning each party a percentage of fault.

If the defendant is more responsible for the pedestrian's injuries than the pedestrian, but the pedestrian did engage in negligent behavior as well, then the pedestrian's monetary damages award is reduced accordingly. For example, consider a pedestrian who suffers $100,000 in damages but who is found to be 30 percent responsible for causing their own injuries; here, the pedestrian will only be able to recover $70,000 from the defendant.

Our passionate Crystal Lake personal injury lawyers represent pedestrians injured by careless drivers. Our firm strives to maximize your recovery by (in part) reducing the impact of any negligent behavior you may have engaged in. Contact our skilled attorneys and let us assist you in recovering the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1116

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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