What is a municipality's liability for a pedestrian's injury inside a crosswalk?
Pedestrians and crosswalks
A municipality owes a duty of care to a pedestrian who is an intended and permitted user of the crosswalk. An important factor in personal injury law is that the defendant must owe a duty to the plaintiff. In making a determination of whether a duty exists, the trial court will examine the relationship between the parties to determine if a relationship existed such that one party owed an obligation to the other. In Illinois, the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/3-102 (West 2012) states:
...[A] local public entity has the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for the use in the exercise of ordinary care of people whom the entity intended and permitted to use the property in a manner in which and at such times as it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used, and shall not be liable for injury unless it is proven that it has actual or constructive notice of the existence of such a condition that is not reasonably safe in reasonably adequate time prior to an injury to have taken measures to remedy or protect against such condition. 745 ILCS 10/3-102(a) (West 2012)
Typically, a municipality does not owe a duty to an injured pedestrian who was crossing outside of the crosswalk. The law makes a distinction: that crosswalks are for pedestrians and streets are for vehicular traffic.
Illinois law recognizes crosswalks as follows:
(a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway, and in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the highway, that part of the highway included within the extension of the lateral line of the existing sidewalk to the side of the highway without the sidewalk, with such extension forming a right angle to the centerline of the highway;
(b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface placed in accordance with the provisions in the Manual adopted by the Department of Transportation as authorized in Section 11-301. 625 ILCS 5/1-113.
The statute allows for both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The question of whether a municipality owes a duty to the injured plaintiff is one for the court to decide. We are eager to represent you to explore your options and to assist you in maximizing your recovery and settlement. Call us today at 312-327-1840 or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.