This blog talks a lot about the responsibilities of both drivers and pedestrians in Illinois. Motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians who are inside marked crosswalks. Conversely, pedestrians must make every effort to refrain from walking in the roadway outside of crosswalks. However, just because a pedestrian is struck by a car while not in a crosswalk doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver is blameless.
This point was illustrated in a fatal taxicab-pedestrian accident which happened in Chicago this week. Late Monday night around 11:30pm, a taxi was driving south on Cicero Avenue just past Archer Avenue and a bit north of Midway Airport when the vehicle struck a 56-year old Oklahoma man who was not in a marked crosswalk while walking across Cicero. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and the 75-year old cabdriver was cited by Chicago Police for driving too fast for conditions (the roads were wet from rain) and striking a pedestrian in the roadway (even though there is a marked crosswalk at the intersection with Archer Avenue).
Apparently, the police felt that the cabbie could have avoided the pedestrian, which is probably why he was ticketed. The citation is important, because it implies that the taxicab was primarily or solely responsible for the auto-pedestrian accident and the death of the Oklahoma man. This means that the victim’s surviving family members have solid grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against not only the 75-year old cabdriver, but also the cab company as well (since all taxi companies are responsible under Illinois law for the actions of their employees).
This lawsuit would have to be filed in Cook County where the incident occurred, not in the victim’s home state of Oklahoma. The plaintiffs could receive reimbursement for burial expenses, monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship, and estimates future unearned wages.