Auto pedestrian accidents in Fairview Heights, Metro St. Louis, and the surrounding areas can lead to devastating injuries, principally because pedestrians are especially vulnerable to the force of the crash.
At Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, we represent people who are hurt. During this stressful time, finances and devastating changes to your life do not need to leave you alone and struggling. Let us help. We can review your claim and help you decide which steps to take next to get your life back and receive the maximum compensation available.
The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The driver of a motor vehicle who was not exhibiting sufficient control or care while driving typically injures our clients. Some common reasons for these accidents include:
- Intoxication or impairment. Drivers who are drunk or high, often fail to see properly and have delayed reflexes, which means even if they see a pedestrian they may not brake or swerve in time. Many intoxicated drivers hit pedestrians while traveling at high speeds, and the results are tragic.
- Distraction. Motorists have endless distractions in their vehicles today—cell phones, GPS devices, food and beverages, pets, children, and more. A motorist whose attention is split is more likely to cause a crash than a driver who is focused on the road.
- Fatigue. A tired driver might fall asleep behind the wheel and drift onto the sidewalk or slide through an intersection. Fatigued drivers also have delayed reflexes, so they might be unable to take defensive action in time.
- Recklessness. Some drivers like to take risks. They might try to pass a pedestrian by cutting too close, or they run a red light when they reach an intersection. These reckless actions are often criminal.
- Carelessness. Some drivers are too careless to check that the intersection is clear before making a right-on-red turn, or they fail to look out for pedestrians on the shoulder of the road. This type of carelessness is rarely criminal but could make a driver liable in civil court.
- Weather. Poor weather can decrease visibility. Sometimes, even careful drivers can strike pedestrians due to bad weather.
- Jaywalking. Some pedestrians break the law by crossing a street outside an intersection. Jaywalking can make the pedestrian partially responsible for the accident, but they may still be eligible for compensation. Reach out to Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC to see how this will affect your case.
Every pedestrian accident is unique, but in our experience, the reasons listed above are some of the primary reasons for wrecks. Our lawyers are skilled at investigating accidents and reconstructing them using witness testimony, physical evidence, and surveillance video.
Who is at Fault?
When a pedestrian is in a car crash and the case gets to court, one question the court must answer is who is at fault? This is a complicated process, and the answer isn’t always clear.
Fault is determined by negligence theories, which are technically a law determined by the courts. Negligence means someone did not act with reasonable care in a scenario, and when this goes to court, they can award compensation due to this unreasonableness.
Whoever does not exercise reasonable care can be negligent: sometimes a pedestrian is partially at fault, other times it is the driver. This could mean a pedestrian looking at their phone with headphones in or a driver who isn’t going the speed limit. What makes it more confusing is that both can be at fault, since a pedestrian could stare at their phone as a car driving above the speed limit loses control.
We will do our best to review the case and give you an idea of what a court of law may rule, but until a case is complete, no one can know who will be at fault.
A Pedestrian’s Rights in Missouri
Missouri has created rules for the road, and these rules also explain a pedestrian’s rights and responsibilities, particularly at intersections. Missouri Laws 300.375, for example, explains that:
- When there are no traffic signals, drivers must slow down and stop to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk or to a pedestrian who is very close to entering it.
- Pedestrians have an obligation to stay on the curb unless they can enter the crosswalk safely.
- When a vehicle stops at an intersection crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross, no driver behind the vehicle can pass them.
As you can see, these laws give both motorists and pedestrians responsibility for yielding to each other, though if the pedestrian is in the crosswalk, the motorist absolutely must yield.
Missouri Laws 300.390 instructs pedestrians to yield to motorists when they cross somewhere other than a crosswalk. This law also makes sense because motorists may not be expecting pedestrians to pop into the road anywhere other than an intersection.
Illinois Rules on Drivers and Pedestrians
Like Missouri, Illinois carefully instructs motorists and pedestrians on traffic safety. In particular, all drivers must yield to pedestrians in the following situations:
- When pedestrians are in a marked crosswalk
- When pedestrians enter a marked crosswalk before the light changes
- When a pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk and on the driver’s side of the road
- When pedestrians leave or enter a street from an alley, private road, or driveway
Motorists must also fully stop before making a right turn on a red light or when confronting a flashing red light. Sadly, many motorists “roll through” an intersection in these situations. Consequently, they fail to see a pedestrian who has entered the crosswalk and crash into them.
A Driver’s Obligations Following a Crash
Both Missouri and Illinois legislation requires drivers to stop their vehicles immediately following an accident and provide assistance to anyone hurt. What motorists cannot do is hit the gas and drive away. If they leave without rendering assistance, they commit a crime and can be arrested.
Statute of Limitations
Unfortunately, there is a time limit for filing personal injury lawsuits. In most accidents, the limitation in Illinois is 2 years from the crash and 5 years in Missouri. There can be exceptions to these rules. Reach out to Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC to see how this will affect your case.
If you are under the age of 18 when an accident occurs in the state of Illinois, you have 2 years from the time you turn 18 to file a personal injury case. In Missouri, the statute of limitations does not begin until a minor reaches the age of 21.
What Should a Pedestrian Do Following an Accident?
Obviously, an ambulance should be called if the pedestrian is severely hurt but if they are not they can do the following.
First, call the police to write a report. Pedestrians can also gather some evidence at the scene of the accident. For example, write the names of anyone who saw the crash, along with their contact information. You should also get information from the driver who hit you, such as name and insurance information. Give this information to us at JSK so we can use it to investigate your case.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run?
If you are not severely hurt, try to remember as much as you can about the motorist who struck you and take immediate notes.
Share with the police the make and model of the car, along with its color and the direction it fled. If you saw the driver or some of the license plate number, you can share those details with the police. If they identify the driver, you can sue for compensation or make a claim on the driver’s insurance policy.
Otherwise, you should meet with an attorney at JSK to discuss options. Our lawyers are sometimes able to get some of a client’s losses covered using other insurance and alternative methods.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case
A lawyer with JSK is a definite benefit for any pedestrian suffering injuries following a crash. We can begin the claims process by contacting the appropriate insurance companies. If you were a victim of a hit and run, we can also talk to the police and receive updates on the investigation. We will help where we can so you can concentrate on recovery.
We might also need to negotiate a settlement, especially where an insurer disbelieves a pedestrian was really injured. At our firm, our legal team helps injured pedestrians fully document the severity of their injuries. We can help you find a new doctor, when necessary, and gather relevant evidence for your case. Should negotiations hit a wall, a seasoned attorney at JSK can file a lawsuit in court.
Speak with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Review Your Case
The lawyers at Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC have helped many pedestrians injured in a crash receive compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. We take pride in representing pedestrians who are victims of an accident in personal injury lawsuits in Illinois and Missouri. We can swing into action and help you bolster a claim if you call us today to schedule a free consultation.