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Pedestrians Often Share Fault When Injured While Walking on Highways

Posted on in Personal Injury

Pedestrians Often Share Fault When Injured While Walking on HighwaysA group of marchers shut down a section of the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago on July 7 to protest the violence occurring in the city. While the protest gained national media coverage, it also drew the attention of state officials, who warned of the dangers of pedestrians walking on major highways. The Illinois State Police threatened to arrest anyone who walked onto the expressway as a matter of public safety. This policy was consistent with state laws, which largely prohibit pedestrians from walking on highways. Because of the law, a pedestrian who is injured while walking on a highway often shares liability when filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Pedestrian Laws

Laws that prohibit pedestrians on highways are meant to protect all parties on the road. Because of the high speed at which vehicles are driving, pedestrians are more likely to be killed or severely injured when hit by a vehicle. Drivers may also suffer injuries or vehicle damage as a result of colliding with a pedestrian or swerving out of the way of a pedestrian. Illinois allows pedestrians to walk on or along highways in limited situations:

  • A pedestrian must use a sidewalk if there is one available along the highway;
  • If there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian can walk along the shoulder; and
  • If there is no shoulder, a pedestrian can walk on the outside edge of the road, staying as far away from traffic as possible.

Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles on the highway. Crossing the highway is prohibited.


Even though vehicles have the right-of-way on a highway, drivers have a duty to try to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, avoiding a collision can be difficult because:

  • The vehicle’s speed gives the driver less time to react;
  • Drivers do not expect a pedestrian on the highway; and
  • Drivers may not see a pedestrian because of darkness or objects obstructing their view.

Which party bears greater liability may depend on the reason the pedestrian was on the highway. A pedestrian may be at fault if he or she was trying to cross the highway illegally or was reckless in walking along the side of the road. When there is a vehicle accident or breakdown, drivers are expected to use caution because a pedestrian may have exited the vehicle.

Personal Injury Case 

Illinois’ comparative negligence policy may limit the amount of personal injury compensation you receive if you were partly at fault for your accident. You will not receive any compensation if a court determines that you are more than 50 percent at fault. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will show why the defendant in your case is liable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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