Articles Posted in Car Accident

IMG_3521-300x225Recently, a pedestrian was struck and killed in a tragic Chicago pedestrian accident on a road near the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. According to a local news report, the 70-year-old Hanover Park man was pronounced dead after being transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital shortly after the crash.

Witnesses noted in the report told authorities that the accident victim was in a roadway near the international terminal at O’Hare when he was hit by a city-owned tow truck. According to the report, the accident did not occur at or near a crosswalk.

Pedestrians should always use crosswalks when crossing roadways, if they are available. Of course, drivers still have a duty of care to avoid hitting pedestrians in the roadway, even when the pedestrian is not crossing at a designated crosswalk.

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity over the past decade, quickly replacing may of the yellow taxi-cabs that many in Chicago remember from their youth. By and large, the move to the rideshare model benefits consumers by offering a more convenient and often less expensive alternative to taxis. However, the prevalence of rideshare drivers on the road has begun to raise questions about who is liable in the event of a Chicago rideshare accident.

Rideshare companies boast that they maintain significant insurance policies on behalf of their drivers. However, because most rideshare drivers use their own vehicles, these policies do not provide coverage at all times. For example, according to Uber’s website, the insurance provided by the company is implicated in only two of three following situations, and the $1 million coverage is only available in one scenario.

  • If the driver is offline or the Uber app is off: Uber’s insurance will not cover the accident, and the driver’s individual policy will be responsible for coverage.

Commuters often take public transit, use rideshare apps, or hop in a taxi to avoid the dangers of a possible Illinois auto accident. However, a recent news report demonstrates that no passenger is ever completely safe, no matter how they are traveling on the road. According to a local news source, a man was killed when the taxi he was riding in collided with another vehicle while making a left-hand turn in Chicago near the 100 block of North Wacker Drive. Emergency vehicles responded to the crash, and the passenger was transported to a nearby hospital with internal injuries. The man later died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. Evidently, the driver of the taxi and two people from the other vehicle involved were not injured in the crash.

Although the article did not mention if the passenger in the taxi had been wearing a seat belt, Illinois state law curiously exempts backseat taxi passengers from wearing seat belts. Although the law does not require backseat passengers to buckle up, it is essential for all drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt whenever a vehicle is running. Passengers in the backseat of a car should be especially diligent about wearing a seat belt, as back-seat passengers are not usually protected by airbags, and are at an increased risk of being seriously injured or killed if they are not wearing a seat belt.

When a passenger is injured or killed in an accident, several parties may share responsibility for injuries and damages related to the crash. Whether the driver of the vehicle carrying the passenger was at fault, or the collision resulted from the negligence of another driver on the road, it is almost sure that the injured passenger was not at fault. In cases involving public transit crashes, taxi accidents, or rideshare collisions, there may be several insurance companies and other parties who could be financially liable for the crash. Because of the complicated relationship between taxi or rideshare companies, their drivers, and any personal or other insurance companies representing taxi drivers as well as other drivers potentially involved in an accident, accident victims may struggle to receive fair compensation for their losses in the event of an accident.

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.

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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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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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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