Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

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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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It is fairly easy to observe how much Americans rely on cars. Vehicles are so important to our way of life that we utilize them on a daily basis for work, school, errands, and leisure. Because they are so necessary in our lives, it is especially important that vehicles are safe to drive. This means it absolutely vital that manufacturers of vehicle use the utmost care in the design, assembly, and inspection of our vehicles. With vehicles being so high in volume throughout our country, when manufacturers are negligent in providing safe vehicles, this can easily lead to serious harm, such as death and injuries.

The International Business Times reported that a switch flaw in General Motors ignitions has caused 169 deaths. Recent personal injury settlements in civil class action lawsuits surrounding the flaw totaled over $575 million.

The report indicates that the switch flaw was in regards to small-car ignitions in particular, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars. The flaw causes the ignition to slip out of the “on” position, which cuts power to the vehicle’s engine, steering, brakes, and air bags. In addition to the 169 deaths, several hundred other people have suffered injuries due to this flaw. This resulted in a class-action lawsuit consisting of 1,385 clients.
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When visiting a major city as a tourist, or even being a tourist in your own city, one of the most popular activities to do are taking a guided tour. Chicago has many varieties of tours, both on land and water. People can choose between architecture tours on boats, Segway tours, double-decker bus tours, and more. Because these activities are so popular and receive the patronage of so many paying customers, it is extremely important that these companies have fully operational and safe vehicles that are frequently inspected for flaws and problems.

A recent story by CNN exemplifies how serious a situation can become when popular tourism companies fail to keep their vehicles in properly working order, and as a result, fail to keep their customers and others on the road safe. A Seattle land and water vehicle, known as a “duck,” collided with a charter tour bus filled with international college students. The accident killed four and left others in critical condition. According to emergency responders, after the accident 44 people were hospitalized, with 12 in critical condition. The popular tourism land and water vehicles, the “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” is now closed until further notice, due to this accident.

According to a follow-up article also by CNN, federal investigators discovered that the amphibious tour vehicle had an axle that had been sheared off. The axle broke, which likely could have been a cause of the crash. Investigators found red fluid, likely from the transmission, splattered on the front left wheel well. One duck passenger described how it felt like the vehicle lost control, and she saw them heading toward the charter bus headed towards them. The accident occurred as the duck was crossing a six-lane bridge off of the downtown area.
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Most often we blog about and discuss motor vehicle and truck accidents in and around the City of Chicago. Chicago is a large geographic area with a high volume population. This means there are many vehicles on the road at any given time, including people traveling in their cars, large semi-trucks en route on business, taxi cabs transporting people downtown, and CTA buses carrying commuters. However, it is not just the city of Chicago itself that is high density in population, and as a result motor vehicles, but the entire area of Chicagoland as whole is a high population and busy traffic region.

While Chicago may be the largest city in Illinois, the nearby southwest suburb of Aurora is second largest in the state, according to Newsmax. In fact, several cities in close proximity to the Chicago area all have populations in the hundreds of thousands, which means there are millions of motorists on the Chicagoland roads every day. Our firm represents clients throughout the state and region, including those in Kane County, and are proud to have recovered the largest settlement ever recorded in a Kane County wrongful death case.

For this reason our attorneys feel that it is important to discuss, not just the dangers of traffic in Chicago itself, but in the suburbs too. According to a recent article by CBS, the city of Aurora has reported its 10 most accident-prone intersections. Just through the end of August, the city reported 360 crashes in these intersections alone. The intersection that ranked at the top of the list – Route 59 and Liberty Street – experienced 51 crashes. This intersection is a popular shopping destination, near many big-box and grocery chains, as well as a large local area shopping mall. The next most accident prone intersections, in respective order are Eola Road and Aurora Road/Indian Trail Road, Frontenac Street and Ogden Avenue/U.S. Route 34, Galena Boulevard and Orchard Road, Ogden Avenue and Illinois Route 59, Eola Road and Ogden Avenue, Eola Road and New York Avenue, Eola Road and Liberty Street, Indian Trail Road and Lake Street, and Farnsworth Avenue and Molitor Road. What is especially alarming is that the majority of these intersections are in very close vicinity to one another, some just blocks apart.
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Just when we thought spring was finally here to stay, Chicago surprised us with some snow early in the week. Despite it being late March, temperatures plummeted after a prior week of warmth. Unfortunately, the sudden heavy snow fall caused problems for many travelers on the roads, airport, and trains.

According to a report by NBC Chicago, the snow and icy conditions really caused a rough Monday for Chicagoans. By the afternoon, over 450 flights were cancelled at O’Hare International Airport, and those flights that weren’t cancelled reported delays of up to 90 minutes. At Midway Airport, over 50 flights were cancelled, with others delayed up to an hour.

On the roads, the snow and icy conditions created dangerous situations, especially for morning commuters. Several accidents were reported throughout the Chicagoland area, several of which included school buses. LaPorte County alone received over a dozen calls reporting motor vehicle accidents within two hours of snowfall. Then, a South Central School bus that was carrying 33 students was involved in a crash when it was rear-ended while waiting to turn into the school. A second school bus accident involved an East View Elementary School bus carrying seven students where a car crashed into the bus. A third accident involving a school bus occurred on Orchard Road in Montgomery where the bus was rear-ended by a car. Three other motor vehicle crashes were reported near County Road 400 N on U.S. 35, and another on U.S. 35 near Schultz Road.
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We’ve frequently posted about the dangers of train accidents, but consider when trains are transporting more than just people. As you know, Chicago is a large hub of business. Not only do we have trucks transporting goods in and out of our city for business, but trains carry a significant amount of goods and materials for our state’s businesses and operations as well. Sometimes, the goods they carry are hazardous, and when there is an accident, this is no light matter.

To exemplify how serious train accidents can be, consider a recent report by ABC 7 Chicago. According to the report, an Illinois oil train that was heading for Chicago derailed on Thursday near Galena. Upon derailing, the tanks ruptured and caught fire. The fire was so significant that several of the cars remained on fire from the time of the accident through Friday. The fire, its fumes, and the toxicity of the flames posed harm to residents nearby, who needed to evacuate the area for their safety and livelihood. What is especially troubling about this incident and others like it is that the tanker was recently fitted with protective shields meant to prevent rupturing, yet as you can see from this accident, a serious fire resulted regardless.

The oil the train was transporting was “light crude,” meaning it is more explosive and toxic than other types of oil, and it can penetrate soil. Federal authorities have blocked and dammed off the nearby Galena and Mississippi rivers from the oozing crude to avoid spread of the toxicity and dangers and to avoid contamination of water. As crude oil production and transportation increases, water contamination is a major concern because oil trains often pass within a quarter-mile of protected wetlands, drinking water reservoirs, and major waterways like Lake Michigan.
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Motor vehicle accidents are often a cause of serious personal injuries or even fatalities. However, these accidents are even worse when those to blame for the crashes do not take responsibility for their wrongdoing and flee the scene. Hit-and-run accidents are wrongful not only morally but under the law as well.

The Chicago Sun Times, reports that a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against a woman who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for drunkenly crashing her van into a couple and killing them. The suit is seeking $50,000 in damages for the crash and alleging that the driver is the cause of the wrongful death. The suit argues that the driver failed to keep a proper lookout or sound a horn when the vehicle approached the couple.

The accident occurred almost two years ago on Chicago’s South Side. The couple was changing a tire in the 3800 block of West 87th Street when a van, which was traveling at 60 mph, crashed into them causing their deaths. The driver had a blood-alcohol level of .194, which is over twice the legal limit. One of the victims was knocked from his shoes and thrown 200 feet. In December 2013, the driver pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. She also did not have a driver’s license.
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The close of the year gives rise to some interesting statistics and facts, as the media compares data with recent previous years. From gathering such data, we can learn about many trends in our communities, state, and across the nation ranging from weather, societal preferences and fashions, and safety related to traffic. Unfortunately, these studies do not always yield positive findings, but do indicate areas in which we all need to improve collectively and can suggest ways in which to do so.

According to a recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analyzed by the Wall Street Journal, pedestrian deaths overall have increased by 15% since 2009. In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths nationwide, according to data released by the NHTSA this month. Overall, there were 32,719 traffic deaths in the country.

In many major metropolitan cities, officials are taking steps to try to battle this rising statistic, according to the same article. Some of these initiatives include shortening crosswalks, creating pedestrian safety islands, lower speed limits, creating bike lanes, and getting harsher with enforcement of rules. Transportation officials realize they may need to analyze current urban landscapes to make them safer for pedestrians. These efforts are also supported by the national government, which granted $1.6 million to various cities to promote pedestrian safety. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has recognized that many city streets were not designed with pedestrians in mind, only automobiles, and that needs a change.
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Several weeks ago we turned back the clocks to “fall behind” for Daylights Savings’ end. However, the progression of the autumn season means that it is getting darker earlier and earlier each day as we quickly approach winter. Fewer daylight hours mean less time on the road with light and more time in the dark so drivers need to use extra caution when driving in darker conditions.

In addition to darker conditions, Illinois drivers must also be on the look-out for deer who are more active from October to December due to dropping temperatures, increased hunting and mating season. Deer are easily scared and often active during darker times of the day, so drivers must be vigilant to avoid collisions with these animals. Deer commonly dart into roads in front of cars and even to stop in the middle of the road when scared, hence the colloquial phrase “a deer in the headlights.” Because of this, it is not uncommon for deer-related motor vehicle accidents to occur in Illinois.

According to an article by the Benton Evening News, about four in every five crashes occurs on rural roadways, and almost 80% occur at twilight or nighttime. Furthermore, about 40-50% of deer related accidents occur during the months of October, November, and December. Both the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have announced that crashes involving deer are thankfully on the decline in Illinois. However, even though these numbers are lower, deer-related crashes are still a frequent problem for Illinois drivers. The data has shown that motor vehicle crashes from deer have dropped from 15,495 in 2012 to 15,334 in 2013, resulting in an overall 1% decrease.
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