Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

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halloween accidents

Trick-or-Treat Injuries Trend on the Rise and Drunk Drivers Are to Blame

Halloween related events such as community trick-or-treating have sadly become the growing scene of gruesome drunk-driving fatalities. This is because many families and their costume-clad children innocently share the streets with others who are on their way home from celebrating at local bars and restaurants and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials say the scary statistics don’t lie.

  • During the Halloween holiday period (6 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) during the years 2012-2016, 168 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes.
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halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, Colleen Mixan Mikaitis, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

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airplane engine

Steven Levin Talks with MONEY Magazine on Southwest Airline’s Payouts to Recovering Flight 1380 Passengers

Southwest is one of the nation’s busiest airlines and recently landed headline news when one of its Boeing 737-700s was forced to make an emergency stop after a left engine failed and exploded mid-air. The incident occurred while Flight 1380 was en route from New York City to Dallas. The pilot was forced to land the plane in Pennsylvania just 20 minutes after takeoff. The engine blowout created instant chaos amongst all 144 passengers and several injuries were caused by flying debris. Tragically, one passenger died after she was partially sucked out of the aircraft.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation of the incident to determine the probable cause. There is the possibility the busy airline knew of mechanical issues or missed repairs that could have been made to ensure a safe flight.

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As each day passes, experienced DuPage County Attorneys hear and learn about various types of vehicle accidents that occur throughout the State of Illinois. Although accidents at highway-railway intersections involving trains and automobiles are uncommon, they tend to be devastating when they occur.

The Facts & Figures

The Illinois Commerce Commission reported in 2012 that 89 accidents occurred at highway-railway intersections which resulted in 25 deaths and 34 injuries. Within the state of Illinois, there are over 7,300 miles of railroad tracks with more than 8,400 public crossings and just over 4,500 private crossings. Unfortunately, not all highway-railway crossings are made equal and some present more dangers than others.

Most highway-railway crossings have flashing lights and gates to inform motorists that trains are approaching, some only have reflective signs that advise motorists to use caution when crossing and few have no markings at all. (See the Illinois Railroad Safety Fact Sheet – 2013). Counties located within the Chicago area, including DuPage, are at the highest risk of experiencing a train-vehicle collision, due to the constant flow of daily trains and commuter traffic. Currently, DuPage County has 140 public highway-railway intersections and 18 private highway-railway intersections with a mix of the features identified above, but most have flashing lights and gates.
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Our team of lawyers is dedicated to keeping Chicago a safe place for the members of our community, and part of that job is alerting our readers to recent events, safety concerns, and local area legal knowledge. One important issue that should be consistently on all of our minds is public transportation safety. Chicagoans, and those who live in the surrounding suburban greater metropolitan area, rely on Chicago public transportation a great deal.

Every day in the Windy City, thousands of people utilize public transportation, including our CTA buses and el system, and Metra commuter trains. When riding Chicago public transportation, riders should be able to trust that they are on a vehicle that is safe, in fully operational and functioning condition, and that they are in the hands of a fully capable and competent driver. Riders should not have to distrust the public transportation system or fear that their safety may be compromised.

Not only should riders feel comfortable on the city’s public transportation system, but employees should be kept safe as well. For instance, according to a recent article by CBS Chicago, a CTA Yellow Line derailed. The train was southbound and derailed close to the Dempster-Skokie station in the evening time. Service was not restored until the next day’s morning. The worst part about this instance though, is not the loss of service, but that two CTA employees required medical attention for injuries. Not only are passengers owed a legal duty of care while riding public transportation, but the city of Chicago and the management of CTA owe a legal duty to their employees to keep them safe in their line of work and while on duty. Employees are legally required to provide their employees with a safe working environment, warn them of known dangers, and to prevent dangerous situations from occurring.
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We have all, for the most part, been there before. We have all been in a rush to get somewhere important. We have all been running late before. We have all been in that situation where you are trying to travel somewhere as quickly as you can, and every obstacle seems to be thrown your way. However, while inconveniences and running late are a huge annoyance and can greatly damper plans, in perspective, they are never worth risking your life for.

Far too often, people are reckless in common traffic situations due to being behind in time or being impatient. Too often though, the actions people take in order to save time and beat the clock put them in “life or death” situations. It is important people realize that a few saved minutes or being exactly on time is not worth the same value as being alive.

It is also far too often that people do not appreciate the risk of the situation or the recklessness of their actions. People too often feel invincible or that the scary stories they hear in the news are not likely to happen to them. The truth of the matter is though, that negligent and reckless driving, especially around large vehicles like semis, buses, and trains, puts a driver and passengers in serious danger.

According to a recent article by CBS, a southwest suburban train accident caused the death of two vehicle occupants. Four others were injured.
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The Christmas season is meant to be a happy and joyous time of year. It is meant to be a time for family, friends, and loved ones to gather together and celebrate time together inside from the cold with delicious drinks and food. It is meant to be a time to reminisce over the past year and look forward to the upcoming year ahead. It is meant to be a time to exchange gifts to show appreciation to those you care about. Unfortunately, this is also a time of year where many people are traveling, and when drivers are negligent and reckless, they put a stop to all of the things this time of year is meant to be.

A recent article by the Chicago Tribune relayed some tragic news that on Christmas Eve a hit-and-run pedestrian accident killed a pregnant woman. The young woman was walking across the street in the 4200 block of West Ogden Avenue on the evening of Christmas Eve. She was hit by a westbound motor vehicle, which then failed to stop and fled the scene of the accident. The victim, a resident of the 3000 block of South Keeler Avenue, was taken to the local hospital and then pronounced dead. Miraculously, after the crash, medical personnel successfully delivered the baby, who is in stable condition and expected to survive.

The driver at fault was a resident of the 2700 block of South Harding Avenue and has now been charged with the death of the victim as a felony count of aggravated driving under the influence in a fatal accident, a felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. In addition, he was cited for driving with an open container of alcohol and a defective windshield. After appearing in court, the judge ordered that he be held in lieu of $750,000 bail at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
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Often we discuss the responsibility of private and commercial drivers to be safe and respect pedestrians crossing the roads or walking on the sidewalks. However, at times it is also important to stress how important it is for pedestrians to appreciate the danger that large vehicles like cars and buses inherently present. Based on speed and size difference, motor vehicles are immensely larger than pedestrians.

For instance, per calculations available by Rush, a 5′ 10″ person should be between 132 to 173 pounds. However, the average weight of a new car in 2010 is 4009 pounds, according to Slate. A bus, on the other hand, weighs up to 33,000 pounds, not including the weight of passengers, per a report by the American Public Transportation Association. This extreme difference in mass is inherently dangerous to a person, and is why we as pedestrians must be cautious around motor vehicles and buses, just as they need to be vigilant of us.

A prime example of this was reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the article, a man was struck and killed by an eastbound 72 CTA bus in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. He chased after it and banged on the side of it when he was unable to board in time. A witness, who watched the incident from across the street at a local fast food restaurant, reported that the man and his girlfriend went to the bus stop where the woman was able to get on the bus, but the doors closed before the man was able to board. It began to head east toward Pulaski Road, and the man chased the bus while hitting on the side of it, yelling to the bus driver to stop. The man then slipped and fell, and the bus ran him over.
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People living and working near Chicago are well aware of how busy our interstates and highways are. These roads are more often than not very congested with cars and trucks en route to their place of work, driving family members to school, or on the road traveling for business. With how busy these roads are, they are already dangerous and high-risk accident areas. When we add negligent or reckless driving to these naturally present factors, then these roadways are a place of high risk for accidents, injury, or even death.

For instance, in a recent article by the Chicago Sun Times, a wrong-way driver has been charged in a crash that resulted in injuries to six people. The accident occurred on I-94 in south suburban South Holland. The crash occurred in the early morning when one car was traveling north in the southbound lanes of I-94 at 159th Street. Illinois State Police reported that three other vehicles were also involved in this accident.

Reports have revealed that the driver that was traveling in the wrong direction was a 22-year-old, who has been charged with an aggravated DUI. As a result of the crash six people were transported to local hospitals. Some of the injured passengers in the involved vehicles included young people, such as teens, who were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Lanes in both directions were closed, as crews needed to clear the scene for almost five hours.
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It’s becoming more and more common in the city of Chicago to use bicycles not just as a means for exercise or recreation, but as a method of transportation and a means to get from Point A to Point B. More frequently, Chicagoans are using bicycles for commuting to work and school or to travel for their chores and errands. The city has even recently seen the addition of bicycle lanes throughout major downtown streets. However, with more and more cyclists on the road, drivers and cyclists alike need to work together to learn to share the road and watch out for one another. When parties are negligent, accidents are almost always extremely serious, especially considering the difference is size and speed between a motor vehicle and a bicycle.

A recent article by the Chicagoist relayed some most unfortunate news about a Chicago bicyclist. An individual on a bicycle was struck by a car at a three-way intersection in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park. According to the original report, authorities believed that upon collision the cyclist died. Now, however, police are reporting that the cyclist survived the collision. Police stated that the individual is talking and in stable condition.

When the accident occurred, the cyclist was near the intersections of Lincoln Avenue, Fullerton Parkway, and Halsted Street around 12:30 in the afternoon – a busy lunch hour time in the city, where many leave work to grab a bite to eat. It is not uncommon for roads to be busy at this time, and all the more reason that everyone on the road needs to be vigilant drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. At this time, the cyclist was hit by a car that was turning right on to Fullerton Avenue.
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