Articles Tagged with auto 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.

transportation-system-3179313_1920-300x200Some of the scariest moments on the road occur when a tractor-trailer suddenly decides to pull into your lane, oblivious to the fact that you are in the way, or turns in front of you, unaware that your car is there. At that moment, you realize that the truck is not going to stop because they can’t see you. Usually, you are able to slow down or move into another lane to avoid injury, but for some motorists this situation becomes deadly.

Side underride collisions happen when a car crashes into the side of a tractor-trailer, and the force of the crash propels the car underneath the truck. These kinds of truck accidents are especially dangerous because the truck can sheer off the top of the car and kill the occupants. Usually, these side underride collisions occur at night, when a truck is trying to cross or turn onto a street or highway. But they can also occur when a truck suddenly moves into a different lane, trapping a car under the body of the truck. Unfortunately, these side underride accidents–where a car ends up wedged underneath a truck– can be deadly even at low speeds.

In fact, several hundred people die each year when their cars lodge under tractor-trailers from the side, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is unacceptable, especially when you realize that most of these accidents could be avoided if trucks were equipped with side guards: panels placed around the lower part of a truck’s trailer. Side guards would prevent cars from sliding under the body of the truck, protecting the driver and passengers. So why aren’t trucks equipped with these potentially life-saving side guards? Because the government, so far, has not required it.

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:

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!

Thumbnail image for car-831928_1920.jpgCar crashes happen thousands of times a year and can have devastating impacts on families throughout Illinois. In fact, the past few years have been some of the deadliest years for drivers in American history. If you get in an accident, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that you are making the best of a bad situation and protecting yourself. I deal with these issues in my practice every day. Here are some helpful tips in the event that you are in an accident.

Be Prepared

  • Make sure your insurance information, photo identification and a copy of the registration to your vehicle are easily accessible. I also suggest that my clients have a photograph of their license, insurance information and registration on their smart phones.
  • It also helps to carry a card with any relevant medical information for you and your family.

Immediately after an accident

smart-watch-821559_1920 (1).jpgOver the last 10 years, cell phones have gone from large handheld phones we could use to make calls, to mini computers containing our mobile offices that we run our entire lives and businesses from. They are now essential tools in our everyday lives, but they are also incredibly dangerous when used while driving.

While everyone under the sun has acknowledged the dangers of distracted driving because of our smart phones, we have over-looked another – more distracting – device that is making driving more dangerous.

A study by the U.K. Transport Research Laboratory found that smartwatches are far more distracting than smartphones. According to the Huffington Post, the research found it takes 2.52 seconds for someone to react in the event of an emergency after looking at their smartwatch, compared to 1.85 seconds if they were using a smart phone.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for car-accident-1921347_1920.jpgIf you’ve been in a car accident, the first priority is to attend to any medical needs, particularly if there is a medical emergency.

The next priority is to get the police to come to the accident scene. The report which the police prepare after visiting the accident scene serves many important functions, including helping you get a better settlement of your case with the other driver’s insurer.

Here’s why:

automobile-1845012_1920 (1).jpgThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has studied vehicle safety for the years 2012-2015, and recently announced that there were 11 cars and SUV’s that were not involved in a single fatal crash during those four years. Here’s the list:

· Audi Q7 SUV

· Volkswagen Tiguan 2 wheel drive SUV

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its list of the 25 most dangerous vehicles on the road today, based on the number of fatal accidents in which its drivers/passengers were involved between 2011 and 2015. Here is that list (also see the link below for important detail as to why each vehicle is on the list):

  1. Hyundai Accent sedan Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ford-290615_1920.jpg
  2. Kia Rio
  3. Scion tC
  4. Chevrolet spark
  5. Nissan Versa
  6. Ford Fiesta Sedan
  7. Kia Soul
  8. Dodge Challenger
  9. Nissan Titan pickup
  10. Nissan Sentra
  11. Ford Focus sedan
  12. Chrysler 200
  13. Hyundai Genesis coupe
  14. Ford Fiesta hatchback
  15. Hyundai Accent hatchback
  16. Mitsubishi Lancer
  17. Volkswagen Golf
  18. Chrysler Impala
  19. Dodge Avenger
  20. Ford Mustang convertible
  21. Nissan Maxima
  22. Ford Mustang coupe
  23. Ram 1500 pickup
  24. Chevrolet Camaro coupe
  25. Subaru Impreza

Some important things to keep in mind about this list:

· Because it is based on accidents occurring in years past (2011 to 2015), and because the safety of these makes and models might have improved since then, this list is not necessarily a reliable guide for determining the safety (or dangerousness) of the vehicles being sold today. The linked article notes, for example, that the current models of the Subaru Impreza (#25) are Top Safety vehicles, due to improved safety systems installed in the last 3 years.

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