The Chicago Department of Transportation released the traffic accident statistics for 2017, and they are not good news. The number of fatalities due to traffic crashes sharply increased from 2016 to 2017, indicating that the streets of Chicago are getting more dangerous. These dangers are not due to crime, but due to the everyday actions of drivers. The following are some statistics:
- The total number of traffic-related fatalities in 2017 was 132, an increase from 119 in 2016
- The number of occupants of cars who died in 2017 was 80, up from 63 in 2016
- The number of pedestrian fatalities in 2017 was 46, up from 44 in 2016
- The number of bicyclists who died stayed steady at six in both 2016 and 2017
While a rise from 63 to 80 may not seem that substantial, it is a 27 percent increase. Considering the city’s goal to eliminate all deaths on the roads by 2026, the increase in fatalities is disheartening for many. City officials should carefully examine the possible reasons for the increase and take steps to head in the right direction again.
Some possible contributing factors for the increased dangers on our city’s streets may include:
- The economy – While you may not immediately connect the economy with increased traffic crashes, it can be a factor. When the economy is better and gas prices decrease, more people tend to drive. With more people on the already congested streets of Chicago, the chances for accidents also can increase.
- High-risk areas – There are a number of intersections and roads that Chicago officials deem “high crash>” locations. While officials may know that the risk of crashes in these areas is particularly high, statistics indicate that they have not done much to rectify the situations. In 2017, 45 percent of the fatal accidents happened in these high crash corridors.
- Hit and run drivers – Hit and run drivers have always been a problem in Chicago, especially when it comes to serious pedestrian accidents. The 2017 statistics show that 40 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in a hit and run accident. Hit and run drivers are often trying to avoid the police – perhaps because they are driving drunk, do not have a license or insurance, or are committing another type of crime. For this reason, drivers who are breaking the law can often lead to hit and run accidents.
While we can try to pinpoint the reasons behind the high risks on Chicago streets, it does not change the fact that accidents happen on a daily basis. It is important to know how to handle the often difficult aftermath of a car accident, just in case one happens to you.
In the Minutes After a Crash
The minutes right after a car accident are often chaotic. Some accident victims are able to get out of their cars on their own, while others may be trapped inside or may be too injured to move. Someone should always call 911 as soon as possible to ensure that the proper emergency personnel arrive on the scene. Emergency medical technicians can assess your condition and determine whether they should take you straight to the hospital in an ambulance or whether you can remain at the scene and then visit the emergency room on your own.
You should talk to the police and get the necessary information from the other driver. However, you should never apologize or admit fault to anyone. Sometimes, police officers may issue a traffic citation or even arrest another driver for drunk driving or other illegal behaviors. Convictions for most offenses don’t help in civil cases, unless convictions are based on hard facts, like DUIs. Pleas of guilty by defendants are deemed judicial admissions and can strengthen a civil personal injury case.
What Are Your Rights?
If another driver caused your crash, that driver should be liable for your medical expenses and all other losses. You should always contact an attorney who can evaluate the circumstances of your accident and advise you whether you may have the right to receive compensation.
The next step our lawyers take is generally to file an insurance claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. If the other driver does not have the required insurance or it was a hit and run, we can file a claim with your own uninsured motorist coverage. In either case, having a lawyer handle your insurance claim can make the process go smoother and can increase your chances of a full financial recovery.
Insurance adjusters often try to limit payouts in many ways, including:
- Eliciting statements from you that may indicate fault
- Claiming you were partially to blame for the crash
- Questioning the severity of your injuries or the necessity of treatments received
- Causing delays that make you want to accept any offer, even if it is too low
- Telling you that you do not need to hire an attorney
With the right legal representation, you do not have to deal with an insurance adjuster at all, as we handle all communications. You can focus on your physical recovery while trusting that we are protecting your interests.
Some cases may need to go to civil court and we regularly file personal injury lawsuits for our clients. We then handle every aspect of the litigation and constantly strive to reach a fair settlement with the other party. Again, we allow you to seek recovery for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering without any added stress whenever possible.
Learn How Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
There is no doubt that the streets of Chicago can be a dangerous place. Many people are simply traveling where they need to go or following their daily routine when, suddenly, a traffic accident occurs and alters the course of their lives. We are here to make the legal process following an accident as stress-free as possible for our clients. A successful claim can cover your losses and help you move forward in the best position possible. Please call (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for more information. We are ready to help you.