We are just past the halfway point of the year, and sadly, fatal car crashes in Illinois are on the rise. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, as of today there have been 498 fatal crashes on the roadways of Illinois, which have resulted in 550 deaths. That is 15 more deaths than this time last year. Even scarier, 103 of these fatalities this year occurred in car crashes where there was an unlicensed driver involved, and 137 involved situations where it is known that a seatbelt was either not used or used improperly. A copy of the most current statistics from the Illinois Department Of Transportation can be found by clicking here. While cars have gotten safer, more and more travel on the roadways has lead to more fatalities. When you are behind the wheel you cannot control everything to prevent a serious injury to you or those you love. But there are many things you can control: drive safely, pay attention, use seat belts properly, and keep your car properly maintained (no bald tires, inoperable lights, cracked windows, or worn out brakes). If you are sadly the victim of a car accident that was not your fault, you should contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure you know your rights. All lawsuits and claims are subject to time limits known as statutes of limitations. Failure to properly file a case within the applicable time limit will result in any injury case being barred. It is imperative that you talk to an attorney familiar with Illinois personal injury law as soon as possible after you are hurt to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself.
It is the dog days of summer here in Chicagoland. As a result of temps pushing 90 degrees these days, more and more people are heading towards the water for a good time. Sadly, what many folks fail to appreciate is that there are dangers on the water, especially when powerboats, ranging from PWCs to large vessels, are involved. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2012 there were over 1,000 accidents that involved a collision with a recreational vessel -- resulting in 47 deaths. In addition, of the 459 drowning deaths on the water last year, 379 involved people who were not wearing a life jacket. Finally, the top two "contributing factors" to accidents: operator inattention and operator inexperience. A copy of the Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics for 2012 can be found here. The common sense that you exercise on the road to prevent accidents and injuries does not cease to exist when you are on the water. In fact, due to the lack of painted lines on the "roads" of water, and the risk of drowning that is not present on the streets, one needs to be that much more cautious when at play on a navigable waterway. If someone asked you if you would let your 14 year old child take a 175 horsepower racing motorcycle out on the highway you would most likely say "of course not." But, people do the same thing all the time when they put a high powered PWC in the hands of a teenager and send them out on the lake on their own. Hopefully, you would never think of having an open cooler of beer in your car and be tossing cans around as you drove around in the winter -- yet people do it all the time in the summer when out on a boat. These are things that need to change. Just because powerboats, lakes, and good times all go hand in hand, that does not mean that a serious injury cannot follow. With the vast amount of waterways in the Chicagoland area, people need to protect themselves, and others, from personal injuries when out enjoying the great resources available in the area. The most basic steps to take to avoid being a personal injury victim: be aware and wear a life jacket. If you are injured in a boating accident, a personal injury attorney is your best resource to know what your rights are. Hopefully, you will never need to consult a personal injury attorney, because you will take the simple steps necessary to try and prevent a boating accident in the first place. But, if the unthinkable should happen, and you are injured, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at once.
In an attempt to make the roadways safer, and cut down on personal injuries and deaths on American highways, recently the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called on state authorities to reduce the legal limit for alcohol intoxication to 0.05 percent. All 50 states currently have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent for drivers 21 years old and over. While the NTSB does not have the power to change state laws (such as here in Illinois where the legal limit for those 21 years and older remains at 0.08 percent) its initiative on the lower limit could pressure regulators to adopt the stricter rule. This is part of the NTSB's "Reaching Zero" campaign to help reduce alcohol-related accidents and increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. A link to the NTSB safety report entitled, "Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving" can be found by clicking here. All personal injury attorneys work towards not only getting compensation for those who are injured, but also help reduce the number of incidents that cause personal injuries and wrongful deaths; this initiative is focused squarely on that purpose through not only a reduction in the "legal limit" but also through a strong campaign of high visibility enforcement and education on the injury dangers of impaired driving. The statistics are grim when it comes to car and truck accident injuries: one in three U.S. highway deaths involves an alcohol impaired driver, according to the NTSB. This does not include thousands of serious non-fatal personal injuries suffered as a results of drivers who operate cars and trucks while under the influence of alcohol. Per the NTSB, in 2010 there were 292 fatalities in Illinois attributed to impaired driving -- 292 people lost their lives as a result of someone being impaired while behind the wheel. That is a number that needs to be reduced immediately. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, whether alcohol was a factor or not, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Only an attorney familiar with accident cases can properly counsel you on your rights with respect to what happened, and what type of compensation you may be entitled to.