Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

walking-4555769_1920-225x300From the time they begin walking, children are in danger of being injured as pedestrians. According to some very sad statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, one in five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic accidents was a pedestrian. Children are less experienced with road safety, less aware of the danger that cars pose, more impulsive, and harder for drivers to see. Too many children are injured or killed every year by distracted, intoxicated, speeding or negligent drivers. When that happens, families are left reeling, devastated by the aftermath– physical, emotional and financial—of these tragic accidents.

Adults can help protect children by being aware of the scenarios that are especially dangerous for children and by knowing what to do after a child has been struck by a car or truck. The child pedestrian accident attorneys at The Collins Law Firm can guide you through the legal process after an accident with care and compassion. Knowing the most common situations that lead to pedestrian accidents can help prevent them in the first place.

How do Children Get Injured in Pedestrian Accidents?

crossing-801713_1920-2-300x198Serious pedestrian accidents in Chicago and the suburbs continue to be a problem for a number of reasons: more people walking to work, an increase in traffic on the roads, and drivers failing to look out for pedestrians. Increasing cell phone usage and distracted driving are also putting pedestrians at risk. Tragically, two pedestrians in Naperville and St. Charles have been seriously injured and pedestrians in Bloomington, Morton Grove, and Chicago have died after being struck by cars recently. Municipalities need to address this problem by analyzing where and why pedestrian accidents happen and taking measures to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

In the meantime, how can victims and families be compensated for these terrible accidents? If a pedestrian is hit by a car, the driver is usually –but not always—found to be at fault and his or her insurance compensates the pedestrian. That is because most states have laws requiring drivers to be alert to their surroundings and to hazards in the road, which would include pedestrians. If the pedestrian is following the rules of the road and is struck by a motorist who is speeding, fails to yield, is disobeying traffic signals, or is otherwise impaired or distracted, the driver is at fault and their policy must compensate the victim. Even pedestrians who are not in the crosswalk may get compensation from the driver’s insurance if they were paying attention, did not act irresponsibly and did not run into the road to try to beat traffic.

But what happens if the responsible driver is not insured?  If the at-fault driver has no insurance or very little insurance, then the pedestrian’s own uninsured and underinsured coverage in their auto policy can compensate them for injuries sustained even if they were not driving at the time. Most people are not aware of this.

39201856305_40c4b98c8a_k-1024x768So, you bought a car with the five-star safety rating for your family. But, is the entire family actually safe? A new study has determined that a woman has a 73% higher chance of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash than a man, and crash-test dummies are to blame.

A quick history on crash-test dummies: Dummies were first introduced in the 1950s and, unsurprisingly, were based on the average man, who is about 5’10” and 168 pounds. That average-man dummy represented the entire human population until 2003 when a female crash-test dummy was created. However, regulators did not require automakers to test vehicles with the female dummy until the 2011 model-year vehicles. (By the way, regulators have still not required a pregnant test dummy, even though one was created in 1996)

When manufacturers started to use the female dummy more regularly, they discovered that smaller female drivers and passengers suffer more head, abdominal, and pelvic injuries. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Men and women have different body structures. For instance, women generally have wider, shallower pelvises. They also have different fat distribution and tissue concentration. These differences come into play with seatbelts and other safety features.

Chicago recently began a pilot program allowing electric scooters on city streets. Within a mere six days, at least ten couple-4244576_1920-204x300people were sent to emergency rooms, including one bicyclist who was left unconscious and badly injured after being struck by a scooter.

The city’s e-scooter program launched June 15th on the west side of Chicago, bringing 2500 scooters to Chicago streets. Ten scooter companies—Bird, Lyme, Jump, Sherpa, Gruv, Lyft, Spin, Wheels, Bolt and VeoRide– are providing the scooters for the next few months. In October, the city will evaluate the program and decide whether to permit the scooters permanently and whether to expand into the lakefront area and the Loop, the city’s busiest traffic and pedestrian areas. I can just imagine the nightmare of inexperienced or potentially intoxicated riders zipping around on electric scooters in Chicago’s already chaotic Loop.

Chicago might do well to heed the experiences of other cities who have tried out e-scooter programs. Hospitals in these cities have noted frequent, serious scooter injuries, and police forces have admitted that enforcing the rules is difficult. Scooter riders often ride without helmets; endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks despite it being against city ordinances, and litter the streets with abandoned scooters.

Throughout Naperville, there are miles and miles of trails and bike paths, perfect for a cruise on a summer day or training for your next triathlon.  While many of Naperville’s bike paths are located within forest preserves or secluded trails, some of them cross over major roadways and through busy intersections.bicyclist-569279_1920-1024x692

As the city grows, so does the amount of traffic, and, unfortunately, with that growth comes an increase in bicycle crashes. Naperville police report there are between 20-40 crashes involving automobiles and bicycles in the city on an annual basis. Many of these crashes occur in just five of the most dangerous intersections in Naperville. These intersections have seen at least two crashes per year for the last three years.

According to Naperville Police data, the five most dangerous intersections for bicyclists are:

Starting July 1st, Illinois is taking a tougher stance on motorists who use their cell phones while driving.

Drivers will no longer get a free pass for their first offense. melissa-mjoen-399641-unsplash-300x200Unlike the current law, where a first offense is a non-moving violation which does not affect your driving record, under the new law, you will get you a ticket for a moving violation if you are caught using a hand-held cell phone for any reason, even if it’s your first time. The ticket will have a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $125 for a third, however, this does not include fees and costs which can make the total much higher. Receiving three tickets in a 12 month period will mean a license suspension.

According to the new law, you are only allowed to push one button to activate GPS or answer or make a call. So, unless you are using technology such as Bluetooth to access your phone hands-free, the following offenses will get you a ticket:

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a time for sun, fun, and vacation for many. Summer is here, and while this is a great timeadult-1866883_1920-3-300x225 for families to take it easy, it is not time for parents to relax when it comes to keeping their kids safe. In fact, the AAA Foundation refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer because, on average, two teenagers die every day during these 100 days – an increase of 26% compared to other months of the year.  Car crashes are the leading cause of death for these teenagers, who also have the highest crash rate for any age group.

According to statistics, the primary cause of these deadly car crashes is distracted driving, which accounts for 60% of all teen crashes. And teens report that distracted driving involves more than just cell phones. In fact, the top distraction for teens—accounting for 15% of all crashes— is passengers distracting the driver. Cell phones are the second biggest distraction, causing 12% of all teen-related crashes.

Other than distracted driving, impaired driving and a failure to follow the rules of the road also account for a large percentage of teen crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

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Walking your dog or taking a stroll after dinner should not be a death sentence. Yet, more and more frequently, walking is becoming hazardous, and deadly, in America.

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association has revealed that pedestrian deaths last year reached their highest level since 1990. In fact, an estimated 6,227 pedestrians died in 2018, 35% more than were killed just a decade ago. And these rates are rising even as overall traffic deaths have declined over the last ten years. So, why is this happening?

Experts have pointed to several factors that seem to be contributing to this increase:

Many accidents on the road involve more than one car, especially accidents that occur in hazardous winter conditions or on the highway.  Multi-car accidents often involve more serious injuries and bigger liability than two car crashes. In addition, autobahn-837643_1920-300x199once the accident has happened, the danger has not necessarily passed. Moreover, liability—or who is responsible—can be especially difficult to determine. So, how can you figure out who is at fault, and what should you do if you have been involved in a multi-car accident?

Consider Your Safety First

If you have been in a multi-car crash, your first priority should be staying safe. Stay in your car with your seat belt fastened until the police or EMTs tell you it is safe to exit. The biggest risk at this point is getting hit by another car after leaving your vehicle.

Winter is here and accidents are already on the rise. Here are a few basic tips as we navigate the busiest time of year for auto accidents.car-3013041_1920-thumb-300x192-107996-thumb-300x192-107997-300x192

If you’re involved in an accident during a snow storm, you may be asked to file a report at a later time since police may be unable to respond to every auto accident. Do file a report with the police right away and be sure to notify your insurance carrier immediately. In addition, it is important that you seek medical help right away if you’ve been injured. Having a gap or lapse in your medical treatment will prolong your recovery time and make insurance carriers wary of your claim.

If you have been injured and you have group health insurance coverage, you need to use it to pay your medical bills. Your group health insurance has contracts with the medical providers and typically obtains reductions of about 50% from the medical providers. Use your auto insurance med-pay coverage to cover anything your health insurance does not cover!

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