Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

February 7, 2010

Police seek hit-and-run driver responsible for fatal Chicago bicycle accident

Police are looking for the vehicle responsible for a suburban Chicago hit-and-run accident that killed a bicyclist, according to ABC7 News.

Family members of the 61-year-old man gathered at the scene of the Chicago bicycle accident over the weekend to pray and ask for help in locating the suspect in the fatal hit-and-run crash. The victim was hit while riding his bicycle in suburban Ford Heights, near Cottage Grove and 11th Street.

The accused driver fled and left the man lying at the side of the road.

A citizen found the man at about 9 p.m. The victim was taken to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights and then airlifted to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where he died as a result of his injuries, the Park Forest News reported.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is seeking the suspect. Authorities reported evidence found at the scene indicates that the vehicle involved is a 1996 to 2002 Chevy van of unknown color. The sheriff's office asks anyone with information to please contact the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Investigations Section at (708) 865-4896.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported more than 3,810 Illinois bicycle accidents occurred last year, killing 27 people and injuring 3,385. Three-quarters of injured cyclists were male.

As first reported on Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog last fall, police continue to deal with high numbers of Chicago pedestrians being struck and seriously injured or killed by hit-and-run drivers.

February 5, 2010

State to spend millions this year to combat Illinois drunk driving accidents

The rate of fatal Illinois traffic accidents has been cut in half over the last 25 years but officials hope spending tens of millions of dollars to combat Illinois drunk driving accidents can cut the rate further by the end of next year.

The Chicago car accident lawyers and the Illinois drunk driving accident attorneys at Abels & Annes have published a series of posts in recent months, both here and on our sister site, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, about the continued fight against drunk driving accidents.

Impaired drivers are currently involved in about one-third of all fatal traffic accidents in Illinois.

2.2 motorists were killed in fatal Illinois car accidents for every 100 million miles traveled on state roads in 1985, compared to .99 deaths in 2008, according to the state's new Highway Performance Safety Plan released for 2010.

One of the primary reasons cited for the decrease is enforcement of DUI laws and the prevention of Illinois drunk driving accidents, which have declined 20 percent in the last five years, from a rate of .56 in 2004 to .46 in 2008.

The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates it will receive more than 11 million in federal funding to combat impaired driving this year -- the most of any targeted category. By comparison, the state is set to receive $400,000 to reduce Illinois motorcycle accidents.

The goal is to reduce Illinois traffic fatalities from 1,355 in 2004 to 883 by the end of 2011. The state hopes serious injuries decline by almost 50 percent -- from 18,798 in 2004 to 10,361 by the end of next year.

As part of that goals, Illinois aims to reduce alcohol-related fatalities by about 25 percent, from 475 in 2004 to 314 by next year. Even so, more than 1 in 3 fatal Illinois traffic accidents would still involve a drunk driver.

Continue reading "State to spend millions this year to combat Illinois drunk driving accidents" »

February 3, 2010

Suburban Chicago pedestrian accident allegedly caused by drunk driver

A suspected Chicago drunk driving accident injured a woman in downtown St. Charles over the weekend, the Daily Herald reported.

The suburban Chicago pedestrian accident occurred on Helen Avenue in West Chicago. The woman was struck by a falling tree limbs while walking on the sidewalk with a group of people after the driver ran over a curb and crashed into a tree and garbage can on the sidewalk.

The 47-year-old driver was charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The DUI charge is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and probation.

The accident happened shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday as the driver turned onto West Main Street from southbound North Second. The tree snapped off at the base and fell into the crowd after being hit by the Chevy Silverado, causing the 48-year-old woman to hit her head on a building.

The victim was taken to Delnor Hospital in Geneva for further evaluation.

The garbage can was thrust through a nearby window and the defendant hit another tree before coming to rest.

The drug charge was added after police found marijuana and paraphernalia in his vehicle.

The Defendant was also taken to the hospital for treatment, but was released and was no longer in custody on Monday, according to the Kane County Chronicle. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 9.

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."

Continue reading "Oprah joins fight against distracted driving in an effort to reduce car accidents" »

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.

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

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.