Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

February 1, 2010

Four friends die in suburban Chicago car accident

A suburban Chicago car accident claimed the lives of four boyhood friends over the weekend, when their car flipped over and struck a tree in Crest Hill.

The black Lexus ES 330 flipped over and hit a tree about 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning near the 2000 block of Weber Road, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center. The men, ages 22, 27, 30 and 32, all died at the scene. Family and friends say the four grew up in Romeoville and were all close friends.

Three men were inside the car, while the fourth was ejected, according to NBC Chicago. Authorities indicated speed was a possible in the crash. Investigators are also examining the possibility of an equipment malfunction, which is standard procedure. The crash reconstruction could be complete in several weeks.

Illinois is off to a tough start in 2010. As reported on Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, the 928 people killed in Illinois traffic accidents in 2009 was the lowest in nearly a century of reporting.

But the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 60 fatalities in January 2010, one more than occurred in January of last year.


January 29, 2010

Oprah joins fight against distracted driving in an effort to reduce car accidents

Oprah has launched a No Phone Zone Pledge taken by almost 50,000 people in an effort aimed at battling car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

As reported on Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced earlier this month the launch of FocusDriven, the first nationwide agency dedicated to reducing distracted driving by eliminating cell phones.

The government estimates that 1 in every 6 fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers last year -- killing almost 6,000 and injuring more than 500,000 motorists.

"I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone," Oprah's pledge states. "Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference."

As the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes reported earlier this month, Illinois is a leader in the fight against distracted driving -- making it illegal to text while driving in Illinois and outlawing the use of cell phones in school zones and construction sites. The use of cell phones by drivers has been illegal in the City of Chicago for several years.

The talk show host is also featuring distracted-driving accidents on an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Winfrey said in a statement that she is "passionate" about the issue and asked viewers to spread the message to their families, friends, co-workers and community, adding that she wants people to know "how absolutely stupid it is that we continue to text and drive."

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January 27, 2010

Chicago tailgating accidents a preventable danger

Unconfirmed reports that tailgating led to road rage between two truckers, which ended in a stabbing on the Edens Expressway, is an extreme example of the dangers of follow too closely. Whether tailgating turns out to be the deadly cause of this incident, following too closely slows your reaction time and can lead to a serious of fatal accident.

As many as 25 percent of Chicago car accidents are caused by a rear-end collision, according to state and federal estimates.

Police charged a Wisconsin man with murder last week for allegedly stabbing another trucker on the Edens Expressway near suburban Northfield, the Sun-Times reported.

Reports indicate the two truckers may have been cutting each other off in traffic before pulling over to fight.

An article in the Chicago Tribune listed several techniques area motorists use to try to combat tailgaters:

-Pumping the brakes
-Slowing down until the tailgater passes
-Activating emergency blinking lights
-Changing lanes or moving over
-Pulling off to the side of the road

"Swallow your ego and move over," even if you have to turn off a two-lane road," Roy Lucke, research manager of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety told The Tribune."How much time are you really going to lose if you go over onto a shoulder or onto a side street or a parking lot? Thirty seconds? You let the idiot go by, and you can go back on your way."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates rear-end collisions account for about 1 in 4 crashes, causing 2,000 deaths and almost 1 million injuries each year.

January 25, 2010

$100,000 bail set for fatal Chicago car accident involving accused drunk driver

Bail has been set at $100,000 for an Irving Park man charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence in connection with a drunk driving Chicago car accident that claimed the life of a friend.

The 23-year-old man was found to have a blood alcohol level of .24 -- three times greater than the legal limit of .08, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center.

The defendant was driving a Dodge Durango, owned by a friend's parents, when he lost control while westbound in the 5100 block of Irving Park Road. The vehicle sideswiped a parked car and slammed into a light pole.

The friend was thrown from the vehicle. He was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

At a court appearance, the defendant's attorney said the man had no previous criminal record and that the victim of the Chicago drunk driving accident was his best friend.

The mother of the victim said her son was back home after completing his enlistment in the Navy, where he was a military police officer stationed at Guantanamo Bay naval base. He had planned a career in law enforcement.

Federal and state statistics show Illinois is one of the deadliest states in the nation for drunk driving accidents. Of the 1,043 people to die in fatal Illinois car accidents in 2008, 1 in 3 were legally drunk and 1 in 4 had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

January 22, 2010

Chicago Injury Lawyer reaches $50,000 insurance policy limits settlement in Illinois car accident case

Chicago car accident attorneys from Abels & Annes have obtained an insurance policy limits settlement for one of their clients. The case arose out of a rear end automobile collision which took place on November 12, 2008 at approximately 6:15 p.m. in the City of Chicago. The plaintiff was eastbound on Garfield, approaching its intersection with Damen, and the defendant was traveling eastbound on Garfield behind our client's vehicle.

The light for eastbound Garfield at Damen was red and the plaintiff slowed and stopped for the red light. The defenant failed to slow and stop for the red light and struck the rear of our client's vehicle.

Immediately after the accident the plaintiff began to have some neck and back pain. As the evening progressed his pain got worse. When he awoke the next morning he was suffering excruciating pain in his neck and back.

Due to his worsening symptoms the plaintiff sought treatment the next day at Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Department. He complained mostly of neck pain, back pain, headache and dizziness. A history was taken, he was examined and diagnostic tests were performed. He was prescribed pain medication, muscle relaxants and instructed to seek follow up medical care.

Over the next few days the pain worsened. He sought follow up treatment from a a board certified neurologist. At this time he continued to complain of neck and back pain as well as headaches and dizziness. Additionally, his low back pain was radiating into his left leg. Following an examination the doctor prescribed a course of therapy that he underwent.

The plaintiff later had an open MRI that showed disc bulges at C3-4, C5-6 and C6-7 and bulging at L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1. He underwent left L4-5, L5-S1 and S1 trans foraminal epidural steroid injections and he obtained significant relief from the treatment.

The case has settled for the defendant's insurance policy limits of $50,000. Safeco Insurance is paying on the claim.

Continue reading "Chicago Injury Lawyer reaches $50,000 insurance policy limits settlement in Illinois car accident case" »

January 20, 2010

Illinois ranks third in nation in highway safety efforts to reduce Chicago car accidents, traffic accidents statewide

Illinois has received the third-best rating in the nation for highway safety from an advocacy group focused on drunk driving laws, distracted driving and teen driving safety.

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes published dozens of articles in 2009, both here and on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, about the perils of drunk and distracted driving and the challenges teens face in learning good driving habits.

Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety released its 7th annual report card on all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The group's primary focus is on three areas: banning text messaging, graduated driver licensing and ignition-interlock laws for drunk driving offenders.

"Our intent was to highlight the documented need for more states to adopt these highly effective lifesaving laws aimed at high-risk behavior," said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates.

The group said it's no accident the report cards were released in time for 2010 state legislative sessions across the country. "Timing is everything, and the times is right to increase the pressure on states," Vice President Jackie Gillan said.

The group reported an annual average of 5.8 million traffic rashes on the nation's highways each year, claiming 30,000 lives and injuring more than 2 million. Every day, 102 people are killed and more than 6,000 injured in traffic collisions.

The group graded states in five areas with a maximum of 15 points: Adult Occupant Protection (seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws); Child Passenger Safety (booster seat laws); Teen Driving Graduated Driver Licensing; Impaired Driving (ignition interlock devices, child endangerment laws, mandatory testing laws and open container laws) and Distracted Driving (a ban on text messaging).

States received a Green Rating (good), Yellow Rating (needs improvement) or Red Rating (state dangerously behind).

Illinois received 12.5 of a possible 15 points, leading the nation behind the District of Columbia (13.5) and New Jersey (13).

In addition to Illinois's Graduated Licensing program, which became law in 2008, Illinois passed a ban on texting while driving, which took effect Jan. 1.

Rounding out the Top 10 states were Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee,
Minnesota and California.

The worst states were South Dakota, Arizona, North Dakota, Wyoming, Virgina, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nebraska.

"These report cards serve as a highway safety GPS for every state that is serious about curbing the never-ending deaths and injuries on our roads," said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago.

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January 18, 2010

Man accused of texting while driving drunk in Chicago area

A Des Plaines man also accused of drunk driving could be the first area motorist to be cited for texting while driving, the Chicago Breaking News Center reported.

As reported on Abels & Annes' Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, the new law makes it illegal to text message, e-mail or surf the Internet while driving. The effort, aimed at reducing Chicago car accidents and fatal Illinois traffic accidents, also outlaws the use of cell phones in school zones or construction sites.

Violating the law will result in a $75 fine. In serious cases, such as fatal accidents, police may subpoena a driver's cell phone records if it's believed they were texting at the time the crash.

In this case, the man was spotted at about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 2 -- one day after the new ban went into effect -- weaving across the center line in the 700 block of North River Road. Authorities reported pulling the driver over after seeing him texting on a cell phone.

The officer smelled alcohol and administered field sobriety tests to the 39-year-old man. He was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a suspended license, improper lane usage for crossing the center line twice in a one-block span, and illegal use of communications for texting.

Authorities reported it is his third DUI offense.

As reported on Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, someone is killed every 45 minutes by a drunk driving accident.

In 2008, 11,773 of the nation's 37,261 fatal accidents were caused by a drunk driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fatal Illinois drunk driving accidents accounted for 362 of 1,043 traffic fatalities in 2008.

January 15, 2010

Unlicensed drivers responsible for 1 in 6 fatal Illinois car accidents

An average of 6,934 fatal crashes each year involve an unlicensed driver over the age of 16, according to research released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Chicago car accident attorneys and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes frequently post about fatal Chicago car accidents, both here at Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog and on our sister site, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog.

The fact is, unlicensed drivers frequently have poor driving records and carry little or no insurance. A Chicago car accident with an uninsured motorist can require a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer to help you and your family protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.

In Illinois, 202 fatal crashes involved an unlicensed driver in 2007, according to NHTSA data --11th highest of all 50 states. The 10-year average pins 1 of every 6 fatal Illinois car accidents on an unlicensed driver.

And fatal accidents caused by unlicensed drivers are on the rise, from 11 percent a decade ago to 14 percent last year. Men were almost twice as likely to be involved in an unlicensed fatal crash as were women.

Unlicensed young adult drivers, ages 21 to 40, averaged 4,179 fatalities per year, or more than half of all fatal crashes involving unlicensed drivers.

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January 13, 2010

One killed, two injured in Chicago car accident

A Chicago car accident in the South Side's Hamilton Park neighborhood has claimed the life of one man and critically injured two others, according to WBBM News.

Emergency crews found one man dead and two others injured after responding to the crash shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday. The pin-in crash occurred at South Vincennes Avenue and West 73rd Street.

The 49-year-old Spaulding Avenue man was pronounced dead at 9:32 p.m. at Saint Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center. The Cook County medical examiner's office reported he was the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the Chicago car accident.

The victim was driving a 1995 Oldsmobile at the time of the crash. His passenger, a 30-year-old man, was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. The 41-year-old man driving the other car, a 1993 Chevy Cavalier, was also transported to the hospital in critical condition.

No citations were issued as the police Major Accident Investigation Unit continues to investigate.

There have been 16 fatal car accidents in Illinois so far in 2010, compared to 22 during the same period last year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

As reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, many accidents are being blamed on the stormy wither weather in the Chicago area as well as elsewhere in Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

January 11, 2010

Busy roads pose danger of Chicago car accidents for winter travelers

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Winter travel is expected to be its busiest in at least three years in Illinois and across the country.

The Chicago car accident attorneys and Chicago injury lawyers at Abels & Annes wish everyone a joyous and happy holiday season. Visit our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog for tips on Safe Winter Driving , avoiding Chicago car accidents during dark winter commutes, the dangers of drunk driving, and teen driving safety.

Most of all, stay safe and enjoy time with friends and family.

The AAA Chicago Motor Club is reporting that Illinois will see an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of people traveling 50 miles or more from home this year, CBS2 reported.

AAA is projecting 87.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the year-end holidays -- a 3.8 percent increase from the 84.5 million who traveled over the Christmas/New Year's period a year ago.

MSNBC noted that is 3.2 million, or 3.8 percent, more than traveled over the same period a year ago.

"More Americans traveling during the winter holidays is another sign consumers are continuing to grow more confident in their personal financial situations," said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago regional president. "The moderate projected rise in the number of air travelers is especially welcome since the airline industry was hit especially hard by the recession."

This winter, travelers will be paying nearly $1 more per gallon for gasoline than they did last year. The current nationwide average for self-serve regular is $2.59.

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