After someone is involved in an Illinois car accident, insurance coverage for bodily injury liability may be insufficient to cover the actual damages suffered by an accident victim. Because many accidents result in damages in excess of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, Illinois drivers are required to carry underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage to protect themselves and their passengers in the event of such an accident. A recent decision by the Appellate Court of Illinois demonstrates that insurance companies may dispute paying out damages claimed by a client under an underinsured motorist provision.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in two car accidents and suffered $44,000 in damages, which exceeded the $40,000 in total coverage from the other drivers’ insurance policies. The plaintiff made underinsured motorist claims with his own insurance company for the amount of medical damages he suffered from the accidents, and was awarded $44,000 at arbitration. Thus, the plaintiff would collect the $44,000 from his insurance company in addition to the $40,000 he had already collected from the at-fault drivers’ insurance companies. The plaintiff’s insurance company appealed this decision to state court, claiming that the plaintiff would collect nearly double the amount he was entitled to under relevant state law. The trial court agreed, reversing the arbitration award.

After the plaintiff appealed, the higher court also ruled in favor of the defendant. The court found that an insurance company is allowed to “set off” the amount that the plaintiff actually received from the at-fault drivers’ insurance companies before applying their own underinsured motorist coverage to compensate the plaintiff for the unpaid amount of damages resulting from the accidents. The court reasoned that underinsured motorist coverage is designed to fill the gap between an at-fault driver’s coverage and the damages actually suffered, so that the insured would be in the same position as if the other driver had sufficient coverage for all the damages. Under the court’s ruling, the defendant was allowed to set off the $40,000 already paid to the plaintiff, and only needed to pay $4,000 in underinsured motorist benefits to the plaintiff.

Collisions between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck are often catastrophic. One of the most common semi-truck collisions are merging accidents. Semi-truck merging accidents occur frequently in the Chicago and surrounding areas as many large trucks travel through the area entering and exiting expressways to make their deliveries.

A semi-truck merging accident occurs when a vehicle is attempting to merge and does not notice a vehicle in a parallel lane or fails to leave enough room between itself and another vehicle when merging. When a semi-truck is the vehicle responsible for a merging collision the results are often deadly due to its large size. Thirty percent of fatal truck accidents nation-wide occur on interstates and freeways where merging is a common practice.

The majority of fatalities in large truck crashes are the occupants of passenger vehicles. As semi-trucks can weigh up to 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle, the impact of a collision to the smaller vehicle will be substantial. In addition, because large trucks are much taller than passenger vehicles there is great risk a vehicle could become stuck under the truck.

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A head-on collision is a motor vehicle accident that occurs when two vehicles moving in the opposite direction crash into each other. Head-on collisions have multiple causes, including drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigue, and violations of traffic rules.

According to the 2015 Crash Facts and Statistics Report, released by the Illinois Department of Transportation in May 2017, head-on collisions accounted for less than one percent of all car accidents in Illinois that year. Although head-on collisions are relatively rare, it is still important that you be prepared for one as these accidents often have devastating consequences, including serious injury and death. In 2015, head-on collisions comprised approximately 11 percent of all fatal accidents. Luckily, there are numerous ways to protect oneself from head-on collisions.

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Injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American children under the age of eight, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

During a car accident, children may be more likely to suffer serious injuries compared to adult passengers given their small size. A child will not sustain the impact of the collision like an adult and may be more likely to be thrown about the vehicle which makes them more vulnerable to head injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries.

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The Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, operates the nation’s second largest public transportation system. The CTA not only provides transportation around Chicago, but also serves thirty-five suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area. The CTA is also one of the only transit providers that have routes going to two major airports.

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Aggressive driving behaviors account for more than half of all fatal crashes. The Chicago area creates a prime environment for aggressive driving. The often congested Chicago roadways are notorious for stop-and-go traffic that can cause even the calmest driver to lose their cool.

However, it is important to remember aggressive driving not only jeopardizes the driver’s safety, it endangers vehicle passengers, as well as occupants of all vehicles on the road. The NHSTA defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses as to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving encompasses a variety of different behaviors, including but not limited to:

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With bone chilling temperatures setting in and snow covering the city, there is no doubt that winter is in full swing here in Chicago. The snow can be quite beautiful, but it can also be a challenge to those who drive in the city or who use the roadways to travel.

Every year over 116,000 Americans are injured due to car accidents caused by winter weather. In the blink of an eye, a winter storm can turn a perfectly safe highway into dangerous roadway. Heavy snowfall, which is especially common in Chicago due to our proximity to the lake, can make driving conditions quite difficult. Not only does the snow affect visibility but also fast accumulation can make traveling impossible. In addition, the freezing temperatures can make roads slick and hazardous.

Almost 25% of all vehicle crashes nationwide are weather-related. But while snow and ice are major contributors to winter accidents, negligence is also a contributing factor. Some drivers are in too much of a hurry to use caution, driving too fast, or following other cars to closely, which can easily cause accidents. Due to the icy roads it is much more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, especially when sudden stops are necessary. The snow and ice often cause drivers to slide or spin out, which can result in even the most experienced drivers to panic and overcorrect. Thus, if another driver is ignorant to perilous winter conditions they can easily put others on the road at risk.

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In Illinois, traffic can take many forms. Cars, trucks, SUVS, and vans are common on our roadways but they are far from the only types of traffic in the state. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians can all be traffic and can affect the road conditions of those around them.

Unfortunately, this means that no one is safe from the threat posed by a traffic accident or a collision as these incidents can happen with little or even no warning. Often, an innocent party is involved in a crash when another person makes a mistake or an error, causing someone who did nothing wrong to suffer nonetheless. This is a common tale when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs and may lead to the need for emergency medical treatment.

But why do so many pedestrians find themselves the victims of collisions, and what can be done to reduce those crashes? According to experts, eliminating distractions among drivers and pedestrians alike may do much to protect public safety and improve the driving and walking conditions for all.

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If you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, you know that car accidents are an unfortunate reality. The typical driver will be involved in three collisions in her lifetime but those who spend more time than average in their cars are at risk for more crashes. Sometimes, only one car is involved in an accident and yet in others, several cars may collide with one another. This can leave many victims wondering: what happens if I am involved in a multi vehicle collision?

If your accident happens in the city or elsewhere in Illinois, know that you are protected by state and local laws. You may have the right to obtain payment for the damages done to your vehicle through the use of a property damage claim. But more importantly, you may have the right to obtain payment for any injuries you sustain through a bodily injury claim. Knowing what must be done and how to complete the process of these claims can be complicated, but working with a personal injury attorney can make the process clear.

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It may sound surprising but few people who live in Chicago truly know what police officers do in the time following a car accident. Some believe that it is an officer’s job just to get basic information while others think that the officers handle cases through prosecution, if necessary. The truth is more nuanced than either of those options and can have an impact on the victims of car accidents here in Illinois, even if those victims do not understand the officer’s full role.

Police officers serve many roles and their titles and position within the force will determine their daily activities. From investigating crimes to issuing parking tickets, officers can wear many hats while on-the-job. Additionally, the type of police force will influence some of the officer’s assignments. For example, the Illinois State Police Department is tasked with traffic enforcement on many of the state expressways around Chicago while local officers patrol local, city roads.

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