It’s commonly assumed that whenever a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the driver is the party who will be held responsible. But there are cases where that presumption is simply false – like the incident earlier this month in the Cook County village of Palatine.On November 5 about 6:45pm, a 78-year old woman was hit while trying to cross Northwest Highway (Illinois 14) at the intersection of Benton Street, which is just west of the Palatine Plaza Shopping Center. The woman was in a marked crosswalk on the east side of an intersection when she was struck by a 2000 Oldsmobile being driven by a 54-year old woman. The victim succumbed to her injuries on November 10.The Palatine Police Department issued the results of its accident investigation this week. It determined that the car had a green light at the time of the auto-pedestrian accident, and that the 78-year old woman was crossing against the traffic signal when she was struck. As a result, Palatine Police have decided not to cite the driver in connection with the incident.These findings have a substantial impact on any potential civil litigation filed by the victim’s heirs. Because the report indicates that the victim was at fault, the chances of her family achieving a successful outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit are greatly diminished. And since the elderly woman was crossing Illinois 14 illegally, the 54-year old driver was not neglectful in her duty to protect the pedestrian’s safety.It is interesting to note that the traffic signal at the intersection in question constantly remains green for motorists on Illinois 14. It only changes to red if a car approaches the intersection on Benton Street or if a person pushes the pedestrian button. Therefore, it is the pedestrian’s responsibility to trigger the traffic signal if he or she wishes to cross Illinois 14.