Whether you’re riding down Lake Shore Drive or a quiet country road outside the city, for many people, nothing can compare to driving a motorcycle on a nice day. Other vehicles just don’t provide that wind in-your-face connection with the road that a bike so easily can. If you have already had a dangerous encounter while on a motorcycle that left you with severe injuries learn what an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident attorney.
When it comes to riders on the road, few states have more motorcyclists than Illinois: In fact, only five states have more registered motorcycles than the Prairie State.
But while Illinois has more bikes registered in the state, Illinois’s neighbors, Indiana and Wisconsin, both have more bikes per capita. In fact, all three states rank high in ownership and ridership.
However, that’s where the similarities stop. When it comes to the law, all three states have different rules and regulations. If you plan on riding between the three states, it’s a good idea to know the laws and make sure you comply in each state you pass through.
Riding a Motorcycle in Illinois
Each state has its own rules when it comes to riding a motorcycle. However, one common theme that exists among most states—they require riders to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycles.
Three states in the United States have no laws that mandate helmet use while riding a motorcycle. Illinois is one of those three states.
While Illinois has passed no law regarding helmets, the Illinois Department of Transportation strongly recommends a helmet for all riders. Additionally, all riders must wear protective eyewear anytime they are on their bikes.
So where does Illinois stand when it comes to motorcycle safety? According to one report—about the middle of the road. A report conducted by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that 14.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in one year involved a motorcyclist. Comparatively, Nevada had the largest percentage of fatalities with 22.6 percent of fatalities being a biker. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska had the lowest percent of motorcycle fatalities, with just 7.1 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving a motorcyclist.
What You Need to Know When You Travel to or From Neighboring States
While Illinois does not have any helmet laws, this is not the case for Indiana or Wisconsin. Both states mandate helmet use. However, neither state requires universal helmet use. In both Indiana and Wisconsin, all drivers 17 and younger must wear helmets. Wisconsin goes a step further and requires anyone operating under a learner’s permit to wear a helmet as well. Additionally, any passengers riding with a driver who has an instruction permit must wear a helmet, even if they are older than 17. For all other riders, helmet use is optional.
Both states have similar safety stats as Illinois in regards to fatality rates. In 2016, 12.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Indiana involved a motorcyclist. In Wisconsin, the number was slightly higher at 14 percent.
Do Helmets Actually Work?
In a word, yes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are about 37 percent successful in preventing motorcycle rider fatalities. For passengers, effectiveness increases to 41 percent. Furthermore, when you look at the percent of known unhelmeted motorcyclists killed in 2017, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin all had some of the highest rates in the country.
While helmet use is optional for many riders in all three states, most safety experts agree that regular helmet use can help prevent serious injury or death. In addition to helmets, strong evidence supports the use of other protective equipment.
Eye protection, including glasses, goggles, and face shields.
Protective clothing, including pants, jackets, and boots.
Aside from safety equipment, all riders should take extra precautions to stay safe on the road. Safety tips include:
Do not perform stunts on public roads. Only experienced riders who know what they are doing should perform stunts—and they should do so away from other drivers and riders.
Don’t speed. Speeding makes it harder to control your bike and increases the risk of an accident.
Don’t weave in between traffic. Stay in your lane. Do not attempt to drive in between two vehicles.
Be seen. Wear bright or reflective clothing so other drivers can see you in low light or poor visibility.
Don’t drink and ride: According to the NHTSA, 28 percent of motorcycle riders killed in 2017 were drunk.
Learn more about general motorcycle safety from our motorcycle accident attorney resources, where we also discuss some of the most common motorcycle accident myths.
Helmet Use and Your Rights in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Your choice to wear a helmet—or not, in accordance with the law—does not absolve other drivers of the responsibility to see and respect motorcycles. Those drivers cannot tailgate motorcycles, must drive the speed limit, must drive sober, and otherwise obey the rules of the road. If they don’t, they remain liable for any injuries they cause—whether you wore a helmet or not.
Know Your Rights
Whether or not you wear a helmet every time you ride is your choice, at least in Illinois. After an accident, helmet use should play no role in your right to a fair and just recovery. However, this does not mean the insurance company will not try to make the process more difficult. If you were in an accident, you have rights. After an accident, surround yourself with people you trust and who will support you through your recovery.
If you have questions after an accident or need help with your claim, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for more information about your legal rights.
Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
Bicycling has been popular for hundreds of years in the United States, including in Illinois. Today, children are not the only bicyclists that a driver of an automobile may see near a road. In fact, the number of adults cycling for pleasure or sport is increasing every year, as is the number of Illinois workers who chose to commute by bike.
Indeed, Illinois can be dangerous if you’re in a car or a bicycle. In the state, 26 bicyclists were killed in the last year for which statistics were available, and 2,663 were injured, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Car crashes were responsible for 700 deaths that year, and 93,517 injuries.
Collisions between the two can be especially dangerous. Bicyclists, even if helmeted, are relatively unprotected if they are struck by a car. They can be thrown immense distances or knocked off the bike into oncoming traffic. Even a minor accident can result in broken bones and spinal or head injuries for the bicyclist. Car drivers tend not to register the presence of bicycles as much as they do cars, and can turn in front of them, sideswipe them, or even rear-end them.
In fact, a common bicycle accident is caused by car drivers opening their doors and getting out directly in the path of an oncoming bicycle. The bicyclist, in a “dooring” accident, can be thrown over the door or crash as a result of having to brake or swerve to avoid the door.
Car and bike accidents may be on the rise, especially in Chicago. Unfortunately, the climb stems in part from the Windy City’s success as a bike city. Chicago have created bicycle-only lanes of traffic, protected bike lanes, bike-sharing programs, as well as increased availability of bike parking and space for bikes on public transit. We won tenth place in BikingExpert.com’s list of the top bike-friendly cities in America-and that’s on top of winning Bicycling magazine’s top honor for Best Bike City in America in 2016. These awards stem from the number of bike paths and trails in the city-more than 200 miles worth, including the 20-mile trail on the side of Lake Michigan. And by next year, the city is estimated to have a whopping 600 miles of dedicated bike lanes.
The city has invested heavily in increasing bike paths and lanes over the three decades. People have responded. Many Illinois residents bike to work in Chicago and other cities, and many bike for leisure as well.
Despite these safety increases, bicycle accidents remain an extremely serious form of personal injury. The very nature of an unprotected cyclist vs a car leads to a situation in which the cyclists is almost surely going to suffer severe injuries or worse. And with more bike riding and ubiquity, especially on city streets, comes more potential for accidents causing fatalities and injuries.
Even aChicago Sun-Times columnist wondered if great bike city awards were entirely accurate, given the city’s reputation for unsafe car drivers and roads under construction. Both can prove fatal to bicyclists.
Riding a bicycle is a popular way to get around Chicago and other cities in Illinois. Cycling is an eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and healthy alternative to driving a car. However, sharing the road with car drivers can be dangerous, which is why car versus bicycle accidents are so common in Illinois and other states.
Even a low-speed collision between a car and bicycle can result in catastrophic or deadly injuries to the rider, while car drivers often leave the scene of the crash unscathed. Unlike car drivers, bicyclists have very little protection in the event of a collision, which is why they are considered some of the most vulnerable road users.
If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a car vs. bicycle accident, consider contacting an experienced lawyer to help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled. Below, we will discuss the car versus bicycle accident statistics and what makes these collisions so common in Illinois and across the country.
What Should I Do if I’m in a Car-Bicycle Accident?
If you are in a car-bicycle accident, follow the same procedure as a car accident. If you are injured, call 911. They will alert emergency responders and police. The police will issue a police report, which can be used as evidence of what happened, who was injured, and what caused the accident.
If you are not injured seriously enough to need immediate medical attention, call the police. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). Do not leave the scene of the accident unless you need to go to an emergency room via ambulance.
Take pictures of the accident scene with your smartphone, if you are carrying one. Pictures can be very helpful in determining the causes of the accident, via the trajectory of the vehicles, any skid marks, and other environmental markers. If you don’t have a smartphone with you, take notes on what happened, what you remember, and similar facts.
It’s also a good idea to take pictures of your injuries, your bicycle or car, and any other personal or property damage. Be sure to get a copy of the police report. Police reports are evidence of what happened.
Even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured, see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. A doctor can examine you to make sure you do not have serious injuries, and can treat any injuries you did sustain.
Determining Who Is at Fault for the Accident
Determining who is at fault for a car-bicycle accident is the same as determining fault in all accidents involving vehicles. The person or other entity whose actions (or failure to act appropriately) caused the accident to occur is usually considered at fault. In other words, even if the bicyclist is much more injured than occupants of the car, or the bicyclist is the sole person injured, the injuries have no bearing on the fault. The law looks at behavior that was a causal factor in the crash.
Causal factors can include driving unsafely or not obeying traffic laws. If a car and a bicycle approach an intersection, for example, and the car is facing a yield sign, it should yield to the bicyclist. If it does not, the car’s driver will likely be considered at fault. Bicyclists have many of the same rights that cars do. But conversely, a bicyclist riding outside of a designated bike lane may be considered partially at fault, because safe driving practices recommend staying in a designated lane. Please note that being partially at fault is not bar recovery for a bicyclist, but it could reduce the amount of damages awarded.
Factors other than a driver can also be at fault for an accident. Shoddy manufacture of either the car or the bicycle may result in defects that cause an accident. Manufacturers can be at fault in these accidents. Inadequately repaired or marked streets can cause an accident. The entity responsible for street maintenance can be at fault.
If you or a loved one are injured in a car-bike accident caused by another party, that party may be deemed liable. You can attempt to recover damages for your injuries from that party. There are two ways to recover damages: by going directly to the other party’s insurance company, or bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages Are Available in Car versus Bicycle Accidents?
When someone gets injured in a car vs. bicycle accident, they may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. A victim of a collision between a bicycle and motor vehicle can obtain compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to any financial losses and monetary costs the victim has incurred after the accident, while non-economic damages are the emotional distress, suffering, pain, and other intangible losses.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you might recover damages for:
Past and future medical bills
Diminished earning capacity
The cost of repairing or replacing property
Pain and suffering
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Diminished quality of life
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of companionship
Illinois law also allows victims to recover punitive damages when they can prove that the defendant’s conduct can be described as outrageous, willful, or wanton (735 ILCS 5/2-1115.05).
If a victim of a bicycle accident died, their surviving family members might obtain compensation for funeral and burial expenses. Proving damages in the aftermath of a car vs. bicycle accident requires the injured party or surviving family members to gather evidence and documentation. Calculating non-economic damages can be difficult because there are no receipts, bills, or invoices to prove intangible losses.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Dealing With an Insurance Company?
While most people are familiar with the need to contact an attorney for a personal injury suit, it may be tempting to think you can make an insurance claim against an at-fault driver on your own. Insurance companies try, always, to mitigate any risk to themselves-and that includes trying to minimize payment to you.
An unrepresented claimant is substantially easier for an insurance company to handle than one with an attorney. They may claim you are at fault for the accident even if you bear no responsibility at all. They may claim that your injuries are less severe than they are. It’s always prudent to contact an attorney who is experienced in negotiating car-bike accidents.
In addition to the national statistics, the State of Illinois gathers and maintains its own facts related to bicycle accidents. The Illinois Department of Transportation reported the following statistics for the year 2011:
There were 3,107 bicycle accidents of which 2,912 resulted in injuries;
Over 40% of those killed were 65 years old or older;
Bicycle riders under the age of 15 accounted for 14.8% of bicycle deaths and 18.7% of bicycle injuries.
Statistics Show Bicycle Accidents Are Common in Illinois
Indeed, Illinois can be dangerous if you’re in a car or a bicycle. In the state,26 bicyclists lost their lives in the last year for which statistics were available, and 2,663 sustained injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Car crashes were responsible for 700 deaths and 93,517 injuries that year.
Illinois Laws for Bicycle Riders
In Illinois, bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers. However, there are also special rules that apply to bicyclists in the state.
Illinois prohibits the following:
Bicycles cannot have sirens unless the bicycle is for law enforcement or the fire department
A bicycle should not carry more persons than its design allowed
Bicycle riders cannot cling to motor vehicles while riding
Illinois does not have a statewide law requiring all bicyclists to wear helmets, though many municipalities across the state require children under 16 to ride with helmets. In Illinois, bicyclists can ride as close to the right side of the road as possible and practicable unless the rider is overtaking another cyclist or stopped vehicle or is preparing to make a left turn.
On one-way roads, Illinois requires bicycle riders to operate as close to the left-hand side of the road as possible.
Common Types of Car vs. Bicycle Accidents
There are many different types of accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles.
Some of the most common and dangerous ones include:
Riding against traffic. A large percentage of car vs. bicycle collisions occur when the cyclist is riding against traffic. As in other states, in Illinois, riding a bicycle in the opposite direction of traffic is illegal.
Exiting from a driveway, alley, or sidewalk. Cars may collide with bicycles when a rider exits a driveway, alley, or sidewalk and enters the roadway. Drivers may not notice a bicyclist who is trying to enter the roadway.
Failure to yield the right of way at intersections. Illinois law requires car drivers and bicyclists to come to a full stop at stop signs or red signals. Unfortunately, many fail to yield the right of way and blow through red lights or stop signs, causing preventable crashes.
Cars overtaking bicycles or vice versa. Many collisions between bicyclists and cars often occur as a result of overtaking one another.
Left-turn accidents. Drivers are likely to hit bicycle riders when performing a left turn, especially if the motorist fails to see the rider.
Right-turn accidents. Bicycles often linger in vehicles’ blind spots when the latter make right turns at intersections.
Drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 28 people die in accidents involving drunk drivers in the United States. Since driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver’s ability to concentrate and slows down their reaction time, they are more likely to collide with bicyclists on the road.
Distracted driving. When a car driver fails to pay attention to the road, they are less likely to notice a bicycle rider and may end up hitting the bicycle. According to the NHTSA, texting while driving forces a driver to take their eyes off the road for five seconds.
Dooring accidents. Many bicycle accidents occur as a result of car drivers opening their doors and getting out directly in the path of an oncoming bicycle. The bicyclist, in a dooring accident, can be thrown over the door or crash as a result of having to brake or swerve to avoid the door.
The Dangers of Car versus Bicycle Accidents
Collisions between the two can be especially dangerous. Bicyclists, even if helmeted, are relatively unprotected if a car strikes them. They can be thrown immense distances or knocked off the bike into oncoming traffic. Even a minor accident can result in broken bones and spinal or head injuries for the bicyclist.
Car drivers tend not to register the presence of bicycles as much as they do cars, which is why they may end up turning in front of bicyclists, sideswiping them, or even rear-ending them. Bicycle riders are some of the most vulnerable road users because of the lack of protection.
While bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers, cyclists do not have a metal frame around them, seat belts, or airbags to protect them from injuries in the event of accidents.
Helmet Use in Car versus Bicycle Accidents
When an accident with a bicyclist does occur, a head or face injury is one of the most common injuries a cyclist can suffer. These are not only common but also very serious and often deadly. The best way to prevent a head injury while riding a bike is to always wear a properly fitting helmet whenever you ride.
According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, helmets reduce the chance of death in an accident. Studies show that up to 97 percent of riders who died in crashes with vehicles are not wearing helmets.
Despite the benefits, only a small percentage of riders chose to wear helmets in Illinois. In most areas of the state, it is up to the rider to decide whether or not she wants to wear a helmet; unlike some other states, Illinois does not have a mandatory helmet law that covers all riders. Some cities and municipalities require helmet usage by some riders, mostly children under 16, but the majority of cities have no such regulation, leaving it up to riders and parents to decide what is best.
Common Types of Injuries in Car versus Bicycle Accidents
According to the American Family Physician, bicycle-related injuries account for over 1.2 million physician visits per year. Bicyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries in a motor vehicle collision, even if the crash occurs at low speeds.
While wearing a helmet may reduce the risk of a severe traumatic brain injury, helmet use may not protect against other types of injuries, including:
Spinal cord injuries
Back and neck injuries
Scraps and strains
Get checked out as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you do not feel any pain after the collision, it is still essential to visit an emergency room or physician to seek medical attention.
What Compensation Can You Seek After a Bicycle versus Car Accident?
Personal injury settlements after bicycle vs. car accidents vary greatly from one case to another. The value of your case depends on the circumstances of the accident, the extent and severity of injuries, whether the victim will require medical care in the future, and many other factors.
Victims who suffer severe injuries may require extensive medical care and may spend more time away from work. These two factors alone increase the amount of compensation they can receive following the accident. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, often account for a significant portion of the settlement amount.
Consider speaking with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to review your specific case and help you determine the full extent of your damages and losses after a bicycle vs. car accident.
Adults Increasing in Risk of Injuries from Bike Accidents
The average age of cyclist killed has been increasing over the past few decades with experts opining that the cause is the increased use of bicycles by older Americans and not a decreased use among children. While these adults are at an increased risk, unfortunately the traditional risk faced by children still exists with many kids being injured or killed on a bicycle every year.
Bicyclists have the same right to ride in Illinois roads as drivers of cars and therefore drivers must be willing to share the roads with the bikers. By paying attention, looking for bicyclists, and acknowledging the rights of bicyclists, accidents are much less likely and will be less likely to result in death or serious injury.
When an accident with a bicyclist does occur, one of the most common injuries to the cyclist is a head or face injury. These are not only common but also very serious and often deadly. The best way to prevent a head injury while riding a bike is to always wear a properly fitting helmet whenever you ride. Studies repeatedly show that helmets reduce the chance of death in an accident, and in fact, 91 percent of riders who were killed in 2010 were not wearing helmets.
Despite the benefits, only a small percentage of riders chose to wear helmets in Illinois. In most areas of the state, it is up to the rider to decide whether or not she wants to wear a helmet; unlike some other states, Illinois does not have a mandatory helmet law that covers all riders. Some cities and municipalities require helmet usage by some riders, mostly children under the age of 16, but the majority of cities have no such regulation, leaving it up to riders and parents to decide what is best.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Motor vehicle accidents involving cars and bicycles often involve complex legal issues. For this reason, victims of these accidents might need to hire a skilled attorney to help them recover compensation following the crash. Statistically speaking, bicycle accident victims who hire an attorney are more likely to receive the compensation to which they are entitled than those who do not seek legal counsel.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you pursue the compensation you need to move forward with your life by:
Talking to witnesses and gathering their statements
Consulting accident reconstruction experts to determine what caused the collision
Negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of the client
If necessary, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party to maximize recoverable damages
If you or someone you love was in a car-bicycle accident, consider contacting a reputable and experienced attorney to discuss your options for compensation.
Have You Suffered Injuries in an Accident Due to a Negligent Driver?
Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence, and on average, there are 15,000 car accidents every day in the U.S. Some of these accidents are minor, but many are catastrophic, and over 100 people die in car accidents daily. The fact is, driving a car is dangerous. Therefore, when someone is negligent and makes driving that much more dangerous, they deserve to be responsible for any injuries or losses.
Car accidents can change a person’s life forever. The injuries from a car accident can range from bruises and scrapes to permanent disabilities, paralysis, or even death. Those with severe injuries often have substantial damages and piles of debt that seem too high to ever pay off.
Car accidents can greatly affect a person’s life depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries that they sustain as a result. One car accident can change a person’s life forever. The injuries from a car accident can range from bruises and scrapes to permanent disability, paralysis, or even death. Those with severe injuries are often left with substantial damages and piles of debt that seem too high to ever pay off.
When a car accident isn’t your fault, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is your best bet at receiving compensation for your damages, like medical bills, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you may have gone through because of those injuries. As these accidents can be life changing, the more severe your injury is and the more it has affected your life, the more compensation you often need to rebuild your life.
In 2017, there were 34,247 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Of these, 1,005 fatal crashes happened in Illinois and 133 happened in Chicago. These statistics are alarming. Drivers who are distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving recklessly cause many of these serious or fatal accidents. Car accidents are always traumatic, even if the accident was not your fault. In any event of a car accident, reaching out to an experienced car accident attorney can help you determine your options.
If you’re wondering what to do next, keep reading. Our talented attorneys are here to help you get back on your feet after your accident. If you are interested in speaking with an attorney during a free consultation, you can reach us by phone at (312) 924-7575, by filling out our online contact form, or by using the chat box below.
Causes of Illinois Car Accidents and Negligence
The first step in your car accident case will be figuring out who was at fault for your accident. If you weren’t at fault, it’s likely that another driver was engaging in some sort of negligence that caused the accident.
Negligence is defined as a breach of the duty that other people have to keep others safe. As a motorist, we have the duty to follow the law and to drive safely on the roads. The breach of this duty can cause an accident, and that crash can lead to injuries or death.
Negligence in car accidents can take many forms. It can be as simple as not paying attention, running a stop sign, or merging into another lane incorrectly. Accidents are also often due to texting while driving and driving under the influence.
Some causes of accidents that are another’s fault include:
Distracted driving – This is a leading cause of car accidents in Chicago and across the U.S., despite laws that prohibit using handheld devices while driving. Drivers still regularly text while driving, or they might have distractions that are not technological.
Running stop lights or signs – Traffic signals and signs are critical to keeping order at intersections, and all it takes is one driver failing to follow the stop signals to cause a devastating intersection crash.
Failure to yield – Whether a driver is merging into another lane, making a turn, or entering the highway, failing to properly yield when necessary can cause serious crashes and injuries.
While some acts of negligence can be inadvertent, like not seeing a stop sign, some acts are clearly reckless, like drinking and driving. However, it doesn’t matter if the negligence was committed on purpose or with malice involved, it still puts the party at-fault for the accident.
Car Accident Injuries and Complications
#1. Soft Tissue Injuries
Car accidents can cause your body to twist, jolt, or stretch in unnatural ways, as well as hit objects inside the vehicle. Traumatic injuries can take many forms, including some of the common ones below.
Soft tissue injuries are defined as injuries that cause damage to connective tissue in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This is a very common type of car accident injury. For example, whiplash is categorized as a soft tissue injury. Whiplash occurs because of the back and forth motion caused in the neck when a car is hit. It can cause serious pain for the accident victim.
#2. Lacerations and Cuts
Loose objects and broken glass can cause many injuries to a person. Lacerations and cuts may also be from broken parts of the car as the car crashes. These injuries are often minor, but can be more severe if the cut is deep enough or if a vital organ is penetrated. The loss of too much blood could lead to serious problems or even death if not treated right away. These injuries also occur alongside other injuries so the issues can compound.
#3. Head and Brain Injuries
Brain and head injuries can be extremely serious, leading to coma, brain death, vegetative state, and even death in some circumstances. Concussions from car accidents range from mild to severe. Sometimes they are treatable with little issue and sometimes they cause serious, life-long complications. Head injuries are often referred to as the “silent” injury, as many don’t realize they have one until it’s too late. As brain injuries can be incredibly serious, it’s important to receive treatment for them as soon as possible.
#4. Chest Injuries
Chest injuries are often mild injuries that include bruising or contusions. However, more severe injuries can cause internal bleeding or severe damage to internal organs. Seat belts commonly cause bruising in car accidents, as well as air bags. Chest injuries may also include broken ribs, as the small amount of space between the driver and the seatbelt can cause a strong impact when a car is struck.
#5. Arm and Leg Injuries
Arm and leg injuries are caused by the sudden movement that occurs when a car is struck. Depending on the severity of an accident, the crash may also cause an arm or leg to get trapped in the crushed car. Arm and leg injuries include broken bones, bruises, cuts, and even amputation in serious injuries. Sometimes fractures require surgery to repair.
#6. Neck and Back Injuries
So many of us take for granted the use of our spines to control our necks and back. But when someone’s neck or back suffers serious injury in a car accident, it can change their life forever. Not only are these injuries extremely painful, but they can also lead to complications that can leave injury victims with long term pain.
What Are The Insurance Requirements in Illinois?
In Illinois, registered vehicles must be insured with the following minimum limits:
$25,000 for the injury or death of one person involved in an accident;
$50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident;
What Steps Should I Take Immediately After a Car Accident?
An accident can leave you feeling traumatized and unsure of what you should do next. Immediately after an accident, try to remain calm and take these steps:
Move to a safe area as soon as you can. Turn on your car’s hazard lights, and if you have any warning devices like flares or cones, place them around the accident scene. Do not drive away. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in every state. If the other driver leaves the scene, remain there and report the incident yourself.
#2.Check for injuries
If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 or ask someone else to call. You may think you have not been badly injured, but some car accident injuries don’t show up until later. It is always good to seek medical care after an accident.
#3. Call the police immediately
Even if the accident was minor, it is good to get an official police report. You may need it for insurance purposes or other legal proceedings. There are now some insurance policies that require a police report or notice within a certain amount of time. When you speak with the police, provide the facts to the best of your ability. When the police arrive, tell the officer exactly what happened. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.
#4. File a written report with the State of Illinois
If you have been in an accident that requires a written report you must one with the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days. A report is necessary when the accident is one which results in death, bodily injury, or property damage of $1,500 or more, or $500 or more if the vehicle is uninsured. The report you fill out is for statistical purposes only.
#5. Trade information
Everyone involved in the accident should exchange information. You should get as much information from the other driver as possible, including:
Names, addresses, phone numbers;
Driver’s license numbers;
License plate numbers;
Vehicle makes, models, and years;
Car insurance information; and
The location of the accident.
#6. Collect evidence
It is important to gather as much evidence as possible right away. Obtain contact information from any witnesses. Take photos of the accident scene from more than one angle. Include pictures of debris and road signs. Check for video cameras in the area.
#7. Be careful of what you say
When talking to anyone at the accident scene, avoid discussing fault. After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may contact you. If so, be polite, but be very cautious. Do not provide a recorded statement or sign anything without consulting your lawyer. Your own insurance policy probably requires you to report your accident to your insurance company, as well. If your insurer asks you to provide a statement, consult with a lawyer first. If you decide to give a statement without the guidance of counsel (which we would not recommend), do not discuss fault or say you were not injured. Simply state the facts. Even your own insurance company may try to downplay your injuries to pay less.
#8. Be careful about talking with others
You will probably discuss the accident with family or other people you trust. However, be aware that conversations with friends and the general public may not be confidential. Do not discuss your accident on social media.
#9. Consult with a personal injury attorney
Do not discuss the accident with representatives of an insurance company without consulting with an attorney. Do not sign papers or release forms without getting legal advice first. For example, signing a medical authorization gives others access to all of your medical records, including those before your accident.
Illinois utilizes the fault system, also referred to as a tort system, to decide who is financially responsible after a car accident. This simply means that the person who a court finds is at fault for the accident must pay damages for any harm resulting from the accident.
What Damages Can I Collect?
When a court awards monetary damages, it is an attempt to make the injured party “whole,” or as they were before the accident. The amount of compensation is based on the facts of each case and the extent of any injuries or property damage the accident caused.
Funeral and burial expenses (if you lost a family member in the accident)
Any other costs that are directly connected to the accident
IIn a car accident case, the two most common types of compensation are: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages (also known as special damages) refers to damages that you have a bill form, like medical damages, in-home care, lost wages, or any other cost that was directly related to your accident.
Non-economic damages (also general damages) are damages that do not directly correlate to a cost or bill but still qualify as damages. An example of non-economic damage is pain and suffering. This can include physical pain from your injuries and mental trauma from the accident or the effects of your injuries.
If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will look at what your life was like before your injury andwhat it is like now. According to this evaluation, they will calculate a sum of money for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of normal life. If your case doesn’t make it to trial and you settle instead, your attorney and the insurance company will negotiate this number.
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for You?
A car accident lawyer can deal with the insurance companies, properly file all paperwork and documents, accurately calculate your damages, and represent you in court, if necessary. At the time of settlement, often they will negotiate with your doctors to reduce the amounts of your medical bills. They do this to put more money in your pocket.
Once you pick an attorney, you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Your lawyer will take over the task of dealing with the insurance adjuster.
Like all other states, Illinois sets a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within the appropriate time, you risk losing the ability to sue, so consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Doing so can ensure that you can recover all of the compensation you need to pay for your medical and other expenses.
Filing a claim for your car accident can be a stressful process, but at Abels & Annes we’re here to help take the weight off of your shoulders. We will be there for you every step of the way and will work tirelessly to get you the best settlement offer possible. If your case goes to trial, we will use our decades of experience to win your case and to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.
Hiring an attorney is the best first step that you can take toward receiving compensation for your injuries. For more information and a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at (312) 924-7575.
Car accidents can range from minor fender benders to devastating crashes. If you’ve been involved in a serious accident, you understand that the consequences can be physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming. When a car accident leads to permanent disabilities, however, the stakes can be even higher. An experienced Chicago car accident injury attorney can help.
U.S. and Illinois Car Accident Statistics
Below are some startling statistics related to car crashes in the United States and Illinois that makes clear how serious motor vehicle collisions are:
More than 37,000 people die in car accidents each year.
Another 2.35 million suffer injuries or disabilities.
More than 1,600 children younger than 15 die annually in car crashes.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 54.
Car accidents cost the United States $230 billion per year.
The average cost of a car accident that causes a disabling injury is $61,000.
The average cost of a car accident that causes paralysis is $515,000 for the first year and $68,000 each year for treatment, care, and equipment.
The lifelong costs of a brain injury from a motor vehicle accident can range from $85,000 to $3 million.
More than 1.2 million adults are living with a disability caused by a motor vehicle crash.
Disabilities from car crashes are highest for people ages 35 to 64.
41 percent of people disabled by car accidents reported being unable to work because of their disability.
Because disabilities from motor vehicle crashes are most prevalent in people who are in their prime working years, their quality of life, productivity, ability to care for themselves, and self-worth can all suffer negative effects.
Liability for Your Severe Injuries
Car accidents happen for many reasons, and the cause of your crash will determine whether someone else is liable for your permanent injuries and life-long losses. In some cases, liability is fairly obvious, such as when a driver hits you and then stumbles out of their vehicle because they are drunk. In other situations, liability might not be clear, and determining who should be responsible requires investigation.
Some parties that are commonly liable for serious car accidents and injuries in Illinois include:
Distracted drivers – Despite Illinois laws that strictly prohibit handheld device use by drivers, many people text and drive or engage in other distractions behind the wheel.
Impaired drivers – Whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or even prescription drugs, they can cause devastating crashes.
Drivers who violate the law – Illinois has many traffic laws, and every driver should follow them. Drivers can violate different laws for different reasons, but they always put others in danger when they do so.
Aggressive drivers – If you ever drove in Chicago traffic, you know that many drivers are impatient and aggressive. Cutting off others, speeding, improper passing, and other behaviors cause many crashes.
Employers of drivers – If a negligent driver causes an accident during their work hours, their employer might also share liability for the crash.
While you receive medical care and deal with the aftermath of a permanent and disabling injury, the last thing you need to do is gather evidence of liability for your crash. Let our car accident attorneys identify all liable parties and gather evidence to support your claims as soon as possible.
What is a Permanent Disability?
A permanent disability is an injury that causes you to not be able to perform your normal work duties or engage in typical daily activities that you participated in before your car accident.
Permanent disabilities are ongoing and will affect you for the rest of your life. Such disabilities can range in degree, established by determining at what level (if any) you can continue to work and function in daily life despite your injuries.
Permanent disabilities can range from partial disability to total disability.
The Overarching Consequences of a Permanent Disability
While every car accident is potentially devastating, those that lead to permanent disabilities can be especially tragic. A permanent disability can adversely affect your work, personal life, and even your quality of life. As such, seeking complete and just compensation when your disability is caused by someone else’s negligence is paramount.
Permanent injuries not only lead to extensive medical and therapeutic treatment, hospital stays, and cascading expenses, but they also create ongoing, unpredictable future expenses.
Every case is unique and must be specifically evaluated in relation to the individual losses you have suffered, along with the projected losses of future earnings and quality of life.
This is where a skilled Chicago personal injury lawyer comes in—your attorney will help you navigate the confusing terrain of establishing the extent of damages you have suffered and will fight for the compensation to which you are entitled.
Car Accidents and Permanent Disabilities
Car accidents can lead to permanent disabilities that relate to the circumstances and the severity of the accident involved, including:
Paralysis caused by spinal cord trauma
Complete or partial limb amputation
Sensory deprivations, including deafness or blindness
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Limb deformation that results in mobility impairment
Such conditions are obviously catastrophic to the sufferer, but also have significant repercussions for the victim’s support system, including family and friends. If you or someone you care about has suffered a permanent injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.
How Permanent Disabilities Affect Your Life
A permanent disability will affect your life forever. Everyday tasks become challenges, like brushing your teeth, showering, or cleaning up around the house. Depending on the severity of your disability, you may have a hard time completing even simple tasks without assistance.
Financial Disturbance due to a Permanent Disability
Your finances will also be greatly affected by your disability, as you may no longer be able to work. Many disabled people are able to get some type of income from the government, but it’s almost never enough.
Whether or not you will be able to work depends on the type of disability you have and whether or not you were able to find a job with proper accommodations. There are accident victims who lose complete control over both their arms and legs yet are still able to find work as a software customer support agent.
However, for those who have skills that require them to use their bodies, finding another job may not be so easy.
Permanent disabilities are also known for having long recovery periods. This means it could take months or even years of therapy and treatment to get some semblance of normalcy back. During this time, you will not only be accumulating medical bills but you will have no way of generating income to pay them.
Expensive medical bills are a burden on the permanently disabled and their family. But the financial strain doesn’t stop there.
If the person that was injured was the main income earner for their family, their sudden injury could mean a sudden stop to all household income. This means that not only are there mounting medical bills and other related costs, but there is also no way to pay the mortgage, electric bill, or for everyday necessities. In situations in which the main income earner cannot work for a period of time—or indefinitely—the financial strain on a family can be nearly incalculable.
Other Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents That Lead to Disabilities
Motorcycle accidents are known for causing permanent disabilities to riders because of the lack of protection motorcyclists have against other vehicles.
Truck accidents can also leave drivers with severe injuries that cause a disability. Since commercial trucks weigh so much more than passenger vehicles, these accidents are often severe. Drivers who are unlucky enough to be hit by a semi truck are at one of the highest risks of suffering a disability due to their injuries.
Pedestrian accidents occur when a motor vehicle strikes someone who is walking or crossing an intersection. As you can imagine, pedestrians have practically no protection from steel vehicles striking them at a high speed. Because of this, pedestrian accident victims often suffer from serious and debilitating injuries that can leave them with lifelong permanent disabilities.
Bicycle accidents occur when motor vehicle drivers aren’t paying close enough attention and hit a cyclist. Like pedestrians, bicycle riders have no protection from motor vehicles and therefore have a high likelihood of suffering a disabling injury.
Common injuries that motorcyclists, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists suffer that can cause a disabling injury include:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be so physically, emotionally, and financially damaging that it is worth taking a closer look at this particular injury. TBIs occur when the brain is smashed against its protective cover—the skull. They can be caused by blows to the head or by wrenching back-and-forth motions of the head—both of which are common to car accidents. Because your brain is your body’s command central, any injury can lead to irreparable and far-reaching consequences.
Even a relatively minor car accident can lead to a traumatic brain injury, and these injuries can go initially undetected. For this reason, TBIs are often referred to as invisible or silent injuries.
The long-lasting repercussions of TBIs can be so traumatic that it’s important to understand what the symptoms might look like:
Newly acquired sleep disturbances
Sudden onset of incoordination
Sudden onset of confusion
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness and weakness
Sudden mood swings or changes in personality
Sudden onset of speech problems
The permanent emotional and psychological effects of TBI can be just as—if not more—damaging as TBI’s physical effects. Some TBI victims, for example, find that they can no longer manage their emotions in a way that’s familiar to them. Such consequences can be emotionally and socially isolating, and can lead to mental health issues, including depression.
Car Accidents and Physical Paralysis
Paralysis is the loss of function of a muscle or group of muscles in the body that causes an impairment. Paralysis is the most severe type of permanent disability caused by a car accident.
Typically, a paralysis victim loses sensation and movement control in the affected areas. This loss of feeling and movement completely disrupt people’s lives—at least until they learn to live with their new normal. Until that time however, physical paralysis is extremely painful, emotionally traumatic, stressful, and financially straining.
Paralysis caused by a car accident usually occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord. Depending on which part of the spinal cord is injured, victims can suffer different types of paralysis. It should be mentioned that paralysis can also occur from other injuries (like crushing injuries) in which a person’s limb or other body part is crushed so severely that they lose the ability to use it.
Physical paralysis injuries can be categorized as:
Monoplegia: one limb is paralyzed
Hemiplegia: the arm and leg on one side of the body are paralyzed
Paraplegia: both legs and some of the lower body are paralyzed
Quadriplegia: both the arms and legs are paralyzed
Not All Permanent Disabilities Are Visible
The permanent disabilities caused by car accidents can present in any number of ways, and not all of them are visibly apparent. If you remain physically healthy but your mental health, cognitive functioning, or emotional stability have been adversely affected, the consequences you suffer can be just as significant. You may require ongoing counseling and therapy. Furthermore, you could experience mental pain and suffering as well as a diminished capacity to enjoy your life. Never overlook or minimize these are serious consequences.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might have the right to compensation.
If your injuries resulted in a permanent disability, you know how traumatic that can be. Do not rely on the insurance company involved to adequately and justly calculate your losses. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts, and they do not necessarily make your just compensation their top priority.
Because your rights and your fair compensation matter, you need experienced legal counsel who will negotiate with the insurance company, advise you against accepting lowball offers, and advocate for a fair settlement amount.
Temporary Disabilities Are Common After a Car Accident
Not all injuries that cause a disability are permanent. It is possible to suffer from a temporary disability.
Examples of injuries that may result in temporary disability include:
Temporary disabilities will heal over time, unlike permanent disabilities. But they still have cost people their income, cause injury victims pain and suffering, create piles of medical debt, and cause serious problems for the person and their family that lasts for weeks, months, or even years.
Just because a disability caused by a car accident is temporary doesn’t mean the resulting damages should be overlooked.
Getting Compensation for a Permanent Disability
A permanent disability completely changes an injury victim’s life and that of their family. The financial costs of treating an injury that causes a disability is extremely high. The lost income is substantial, and the physical and emotional pain and suffering may seem limitless.
An experienced Chicago car accident attorney can help you file a personal injury claim so you can recover the damages associated with your injury so that you can get your life back to normal—or as close to normal as possible.
A car accident claim can secure you compensation for:
Future medical costs
Loss of future income
Lost earning potential
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life, sex, and normal marital and family life
If You’ve Suffered a Permanent Disability, Call a Chicago Injury Attorney ASAP
If you’ve suffered a permanent disability in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you are no doubt overwhelmed. You don’t, however, need to face this crisis alone. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Abels & Annes are here to help. We have the skill and commitment to fight for your case and your rights. If you’ve been injured and need legal counsel, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation today.
In fact, roughly 1.7 million rear-end collisions take place in the United States each year. Of these nearly 2 million accidents, about 1,700 people die and another 500,000 are injured in the crashes. These numbers constitute a significant portion of highway accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Taking into consideration the above statistics, it makes sense that rear-end collisions are taken so seriously by the medical and legal community. However, so-called “fender benders” are also classified as rear-end collisions, so insurance companies will often use this misleading term to downplay these types of accidents.
What Is A Rear End Accident?
A rear end accident occurs when a driver hits the vehicle directly in front of them from behind. They often occur at a redlight, a stop sign, or in congested traffic. A majority of rear-end accidents happen at low speeds. But they can occur at high speeds on highways or other high-speed roads.
Rear end accidents usually involve two cars. However, they can cause a chain reaction that involves other vehicles.
What Happens During a Rear-end Accident?
During a rear end accident, a vehicle is struck from behind by the front of another vehicle. Damage to the vehicle and injuries to the victim vary depending on how fast each car was traveling during the collision, the types of vehicles, and road conditions.
There are a few different ways a rear-end accident can occur:
The rear driver rolled forward at a low rate of speed into the front driver’s car.
The at-fault party was driving at a high rate of speed and crashed into a driver that was completely stopped.
The rear driver was traveling faster than the front driver and the two vehicles collided while they were both in motion.
The most devastating of these accidents is usually the last two. A fast-moving car can hit a stopped vehicle with significant force.
Some of the most common causes of rear end accidents are:
hazardous weather conditions
A report from the National Transportation Safety Board found that 87 percent of rear-end collisions happened because of a distracted driver. Driver distraction is by far the leading cause of this type of crash, as a driver does not notice the vehicle in front of them in time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Distractions can include using a phone while driving, eating, rubbernecking at accidents, or interacting with passengers.
In addition to distracted driving, there are some other common causes of rear end accidents:
Aggressive driving can include tailgating, speeding, following too closely, cutting in front of another vehicle too closely, or stopping suddenly. All of these behaviors can easily cause a rear end collision.
Hazardous Weather Conditions
Winter weather conditions, including driving through heavy rain, icy roads, and standing water, can all interfere with safe driving cause rear end collisions when a driver does not properly account for them.
Obviously, driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants can affect the ability to drive safely, including the ability to avoid rear-end collisions.
Driving while fatigued can contribute to failures in judgment and inattention that can result in rear-end collisions.
All of these factors can play into a rear-end collision, whether you are on the receiving or delivering end. It is important to be aware of these factors to ensure that you are not subject to any of these conditions, or any other conditions that might cause you to be involved in a rear-end accident.
Common Scenarios that Lead to Rear-end Accidents
There are many ways that rear end accidents happen. Here are some scenarios that lead to rear end accidents:
A driver is stopped at a red light and the driver behind them isn’t paying attention. The rear driver didn’t notice the light turned red or notice the car stopped in front of them. They continue driving at full speed through the intersection. Instead of proceeding through the intersection, they hit the stopped vehicle.
A driver is following another driver too closely. The driver in the front vehicle stops abruptly due to a road hazard (like a pothole or debris in the road). The tailgating car doesn’t have enough time to stop when the front car brakes and they collide with them.
A driver on the highway is going too fast for the conditions and cannot stop in time for changing traffic conditions. This can happen when a car changes lanes, the car in front slows down, or the speeding driver isn’t paying attention.
A person is too intoxicated to be driving and cannot properly judge distance or speed due to their impairment. The driver in front stops for some reason, and the drunk driver misjudges the distance or speed and collides with the front vehicle.
While there is little you can do to avoid being in a rear-end collision, you can take steps to avoid rear-ending another vehicle.
Follow the rules of the road
Avoid drowsy driving
Exercise caution during inclement weather
Minimize distractions while driving
Don’t tailgate or engage in other aggressive driving tactics
Don’t check your phone for any reason while driving, including texts, emails, or missed calls
Pick a playlist or podcast from your favorite app before you start driving
Avoid eating while driving
Pull over if you need to use your phone
All of these suggestions could save someone’s life. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, nearly 15,000 people die from rear end accidents caused by driver distraction. This means that 15,000 deaths could have been easily prevented by avoiding distractions while on the road.
Common Injuries from Rear-end Crashes
Some people believe that rear-end accidents are usually minor fender-benders. Surprisingly, serious injuries can result when one car rear-ends another. Many people involved in rear-end accidents feel the effects of the crash for months or years afterward. The following are only some examples of injuries that can plague you after a rear-end crash:
Neck Injuries from a Rear-end Accident
The injury perhaps most commonly associated with rear-end accidents is whiplash. This can involve several types of injuries to the soft tissue in the neck, including straining of the tendons or ligaments. Soft tissue can also sustain sprains and tears. Rear-end accidents can cause a person’s head to move violently. This often results in injuries that cause pain, stiffness, and limited neck movement. Many neck injuries require physical therapy and time away from usual activities or work.
Back Injuries from a Rear-end Accident
The back consists of many easily injured parts, including muscles, joints, and soft tissue. Because almost every type of movement involves the back, both upper and lower back injuries can be debilitating. People with serious back injuries often must take a significant amount of time off work and have ongoing treatment to slowly recover. If physical therapy is not enough to resolve the pain and restrictions, back surgery may be needed.
Brain Injuries from a Rear-end Accident
Rear-end accident victims often hit their heads on different objects. Even if an airbag prevents head trauma from a steering wheel or windshield, people can hit their heads on the window or seat back. In addition, just a sharp jolt of the head can cause damage to the brain. even with no direct contact. Many rear-end accidents result in some degree of concussion or more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have lasting cognitive and physical effects.
Spinal Injuries from a Rear-end Accident
The spinal cord is a vital part of the body that helps to facilitate movement, sensory capabilities, and organ functioning. The spinal tissue is delicate and can easily be damaged if any discs are compressed or otherwise out of place. In many cases, spinal cord injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and may require hospitalization to stabilize and monitor the patient. Many spinal cord injury victims will live with disabilities the rest of their lives.
Broken Bones from a Rear-end Accident
Many different bones can fracture in a rear-end accident. An airbag can break bones in the face, hands, or arms especially for a driver. Legs and knees can also break from impact with the dashboard. Luckily some broken bones heal with only a few medical appointments and the passage of time. However, others require extensive treatments and leave lasting effects. For example, some compound fractures can require multiple surgeries and long rest and recovery periods. Even with significant treatment, some victims of compound fractures never regain their usual ranges of motion or remain pain-free.
Is the Tailgating Driver Always At-fault?
Most people assume that rear-end car accidents are always the fault of the driver who rear-ended the car in front of them. But this is not always the case. It is possible for the driver who was hit from behind to be at fault for the accident.
The front driver may be at fault if they:
Reverse suddenly into the vehicle behind them
Stop suddenly to make a turn but don’t execute their turn
Stop suddenly because of a distraction
Are driving drunk and perform an unpredictable maneuver
Have a broken brake light that cannot indicate to drivers behind that they are braking
Stop in the middle of the road because of mechanical failure but don’t turn on their hazard lights
Rear-end accidents can be disputed. But an experienced car accident attorney can gather the proper evidence to prove who was actually at fault.
Rear-end Accidents Caused by “Brake Checking”
A common scenario that is brought up when discussing fault in rear-end collisions is brake checking.
A so-called “brake check” occurs when the front driver purposely and suddenly applies their brakes in response to the driver behind them following too closely. The term comes from the person using their brakes to check if the person behind them is paying attention.
Brake checking is extremely dangerous and makes whoever does it liable for the accidents. If someone is following too closely, it does not give you the right to cause an accident. Although the person tailgating may have contributed to the accident, your reckless act seriously complicates the issue of liability.
When to Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney After a Rear-End Crash
Since many people consider rear-end crashes minor events, they might feel like it is not necessary to seek legal help with the claim process. However, because liability in rear-end crashes can be so complicated, you want the right car accident lawyer on the case as soon as possible. First, always get the medical attention you need.
Then, contact a law firm that handles car accident cases if:
You were the rear driver, but you believe the front driver was to blame
You suffered injuries that required medical care and/or required time away from work
You suffered any other losses due to the crash
Your child suffered injuries in the rear-end accident
You lost a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, or child, in the accident
While you already feel the stress of your injuries and losses, the last thing you need is added concerns about your legal claim or financial recovery. Never try to fight with insurance companies on your own, as you might say something they can use to reduce or deny your payment. Instead, reach out to our team of car accident attorneys for the assistance you need.
Injured in a Rear-End Accident in the Chicago Area? Contact Abels & Annes Today
Accidents often result in many different types of injuries. One of the most common injuries caused by an accident are broken bones. Although broken bones are relatively common, especially among daredevil youth, they can be a very serious injury when they’re caused by traumatic events like a slip and fall or a motor vehicle collision.
Most people think of a broken bone as an arm in a cast. However, the term broken bones can also refer to multiple breaks or multiple different bones, and also to crush injuries, fractures to spinal bones, and fractures to facial bones. Serious fractures like these can end up costing accident victims thousands of dollars in treatment. Further, they can also cause significant time away from work, resulting in lost wages.
The severity of a broken bone caused by an accident can vary but they all run the risk of costing a person thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. It is important to take the right steps after you are injured to ensure a timely recovery and to collect the proper compensation for your damages.
What Causes a Broken Bone?
A broken bone or bone fracture occurs when force is exerted against a bone that is stronger than the bone can bear. This causes the structure and strength of the bone to tear or break. Broken bones can lead to severe pain and loss of function. In some instances, bone breaks can cause complications like nerve damage and infection.
Some people think of bones as static or dead tissue. But this isn’t true. Bones are a type of connective tissue that is made up of cells and reinforced with calcium. Our bones have a relatively soft center, called marrow, which is responsible for producing the blood cells humans need to stay alive. But the main functions of our skeleton are to support our body, allow us to move, and protect our internal organs. This tissue-like structure and soft center is what allows a bone to break. The important role of our skeleton is what makes that break so critical.
Many accidents can result in broken bones, such as:
If you sustain a fracture in any accident and believe someone else was to blame, you should allow a personal injury lawyer to assess your legal rights and options.
Symptoms of a Broken Bone
If you are involved in an accident or traumatic incident, you should get medical help right away after the personal injury incident. You do not want to risk waiting when you have an injury or making an existing injury worse. In most cases, you will definitely know if you have a broken bone because of clear symptoms. However, shock and other injuries can mask certain fractures. That is why going to a hospital is so important after an accident to ensure that you don’t aggravate an injury.
Deformity, such as the broken limb appearing to be out of place
Swelling, bruising, tenderness, numbness, or a tingling sensation around the injury
Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.
Hearing or feeling a snap or a grinding noise as the injury happens
Feeling faint, dizzy, or sick as a result of the shock
Broken bones can range from stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone, to more serious fractures where the bone is actually cracked and moves apart during an accident or fall.
The worst bone breaks are compound fractures. Here, the bone breaks into two or more pieces, and one or more of the pieces punctures the skin, exposing the bone and creating a wound. This poses a risk of infection. Also, it presents serious issues for reconstructing and setting the break. The goal is for the bone to mend as closely as possible to its original position. Compound fractures require emergency surgery to improve the prognosis and prevent complications.
Any fracture requires immediate medical care. X-rays will determine whether you have broken a bone and whether you need a cast or a splint to treat the fracture. It is also possible that surgery will be necessary, depending upon the location and severity of the break. Pins, screws, or other measures might be necessary to stabilize the fracture. As a result, compound and other complex fractures are the most difficult and expensive to treat.
Broken Bones Are Common in Accidents
Fractures are among the most common of orthopedic injuries, with roughly 7 million people suffering bone fractures in the United States every year. The average adult in the United States suffers two bone fractures in their lifetime.
Extremity fractures are the most common, usually suffered by men under 45 years old, or women over 45 years old. For women, this is due to osteoporosis, a reduction in bone density commonly found in older women.
Types of Fractures
There are different types of bone fractures. Some are more severe than others, depending on the strength and direction of the force, the particular bone involved, and the age and health of the victim.
When we speak of a broken bone after an accident, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like a person with their arm in a cast. But other bones in the human body can break too. In fact, if it’s a bone, it can probably break or fracture during a serious accident, like a car accident.
For example, a person may break a rib during an accident; or they may have their foot crushed, causing multiple bones in their foot to break or fracture at once. Someone may also break a bone in their back or neck, which causes its own unique issues and treatments, but nonetheless, is a broken bone.
The point is, insurance companies don’t always take broken bones seriously, since a broken arm or leg can be quite common in daily life. But in reality, these types of injuries are often serious.
Some common types of fractures include:
Avulsion fracture: a piece of the bone that is attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone.
Comminuted fracture: the bone becomes shattered and breaks into many smaller pieces.
Compression fracture (wedge fracture): Bone is broken from downward force, usually occurs in the spine.
Fracture-dislocation: an injury where both a fracture and dislocation happen simultaneously. This will often cause a bone fragment to remain lodged between the dislocated segments and require surgery for removal.
Hairline fracture (stress fracture): small breaks along the bone or bruises inside the bone.
Impacted fracture (buckle fracture): occurs when the broken ends of the bone are pressed against one another due to the force of the injury.
Intraarticular fracture: a fracture that pushes into a joint. This can damage the cartilage between the joints and has a higher risk of developing long-term complications.
Pathological fracture: break in a bone that is weakened from underlying illness.
Spiral fracture: occurs when torque or twisting is applied to a bone
Complications from Breaks, Fractures, and Crushed Bones
Broken bones are not always straightforward. Sometimes, they can be accompanied by or lead to other problems. Serious complications are rare, but they are more common in injuries that are caused by severe force like those caused by car accidents.
This can significantly increase the amount of damage, pain and suffering, and cost of treatment. This is one of the major reasons why some broken bones end up costing thousands of dollars to treat.
Below are some common complications seen in broken bone cases.
Excessive Bleeding and Disrupted Blood Flow
Many fractures cause noticeable bleeding around the injury. In most cases, it’s not serious. However, in some cases like those involving large bones or crushed bones, internal bleeding or bleeding from an open wound can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
Sometimes a dislocation or break can cause a disruption of blood flow. This can cause some tissue to not get enough blood, which can be a major problem for the body. In worst case scenarios, it may not be noticed and leads to amputation.
Sometimes when a bone is fractured, nerves are stretched, bruised, or crushed. These injuries usually heal on their own, but they can also cause severe pain while they do. In rare cases, nerves are torn, sometimes by sharp bone fragments. Torn nerves do not heal on their own and may have to be repaired surgically.
A pulmonary embolism is the most common severe complication caused by a fracture, usually to the hip or pelvis. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein, breaks off, travels to a lung, and blocks an artery. As a result, the body may not get enough oxygen.
Pulmonary embolism is most common in older people who break their hip. But they can occur to anyone who suffers a serious fracture.
If the skin is torn when a bone is broken, the wound has a chance of becoming infected. In some cases, this infection may spread to the bone or blood, which can be very serious and will require extensive hospital care.
Fractures that extend into a joint can damage the cartilage at the ends of bones. Damaged cartilage can scar, which makes joints stiff and limits their range of motion. Physical therapy is usually needed to treat joint problems from broken bones. Surgery is required to repair damaged joints in some cases.
When blood flow to a bone is disrupted by a fracture or dislocation, part of the bone may die from a lack of blood. This is known as osteonecrosis. Most of the time, doctors can prevent this before it becomes a problem. However, in cases where blood flow is hindered for too long, patients may lose function or require amputation.
How much will a broken bone cost me?
As you can see, broken bones and fractures can be complicated and can result in lots of complications. Even if you have health insurance, a relatively simple procedure involving a broken bone can get pretty pricey.
Adding up charges for an emergency room visit, doctor’s fees, lab fees, x-rays, fees for follow-up care, braces, slings, bandages, splints, casts, clinic visits, CT scans, and other procedures can quickly push the costs over $10,000.
Physical therapy, if necessary, can also add significant costs. Treatments for any nerve damage or other complications, such as muscle damage, also will escalate the cost. Depending upon your insurance policy, there is no guarantee that all or even most of these costs will be covered.
With medical costs constantly on the rise, any injury in an accident may wind up costing far more than you expect. Broken bones are no exception. Even with health insurance, a broken bone can be very expensive.
If you don’t have health insurance, treatment for a broken leg generally can be as much as $2,500 or more just for a break that calls for a cast. That can include an average of more than $200 for an x-ray – although that can cost as much as $1,000 – about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee. Fees can vary depending upon where you are and what prevailing health-care costs are in your region.
If you suffer a broken leg that requires surgical treatment and you do not have health insurance, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $17,000 to $35,000 or more.
Health insurance will typically cover a broken leg, but you remain responsible for copayments and coinsurance. These can amount to thousands of dollars. This is especially true if your deductibles or yearly out-of-pocket maximums are high. This would be common with many plans on the Healthcare Exchange.
The Cost of a Broken Arm
A broken arm from an accident is common, but no less expensive. Here’s what a broken arm costs in the United States:
If you have no health insurance, the diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm that does not require surgery generally runs up to $2,500 or more.
If surgery is required, without health insurance a broken arm generally costs about $16,000 or more.
Health insurance would normally cover a broken arm. However, for someone on a health insurance policy through the Healthcare Exchange, deductibles could be more than $5,000. This means you will wind up being responsible for the full costs yourself.
In addition, the severity of the break is a major factor in how much it costs to treat a fracture. Compound fractures, for example, can be considerably more expensive to treat.
Broken Bones are Serious, Contact an Experienced Chicago Injury Lawyer
If you suffer a broken bone in an accident involving another party, whether in a traffic accident or an accident on someone else’s property, the other party may be legally liable for your damages. Regardless of what your insurance does or does not cover, you might be able to recover damages from the other driver or property owner, or from that person’s insurance carrier.
It is important to explore your legal options to obtain compensation for your injuries. There is no reason for you to bear all the expenses yourself if another party was responsible. In addition, the law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim for compensation after an accident. Don’t delay contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose important legal rights.
We can help in the following ways, among others:
Gathering evidence that someone else was liable for your accident
Collecting your bills and calculating your past and future losses, including non-economic losses
Filing the necessary insurance claims with supporting evidence
Handling all communications with insurance adjusters
Negotiating the highest possible settlement for your broken bone
Filing a personal injury lawsuit when necessary to seek full compensation
Handling all litigation matters, including ongoing settlement negotiations or even a trial
There is no need to add the stress of financial losses or injury claims to an already stressful situation. Instead, allow our personal injury attorneys to take over this process for you.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C.
If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights. The attorneys of Abels & Annes are here to help you following an accident. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.
Abels & Annes Pursuing Astroworld Festival Injury Case
Abels & Annes has signed on to assist a Chicago man who was injured after he was buried in a pile of people at the Astroworld concert.
The victim who retained Abels & Annes was pinned down beneath a pile of people which resulted in various injuries. He is also suffering from PTSD as a result of the incident. Several victims in his immediate vicinity did not survive.
The actions of the concert planner and promoters, as well as the staff and performers who were responsible for the attendees, deserve to be held accountable. There are hundreds of people and families who are suffering tonight because of a profit over safety mentality.
If you would like to contact Abels & Annes about your Astroworld injuries, call us right away at (855) 529-2442
Representing Victims of Crowd Surges, Mosh Pits, Crowd Crush & More
Going to a concert is supposed to be fun. The right concert can make you feel on top of the world and create lasting memories. But for some concertgoers, the show can turn into a nightmare, filled with fear, injuries, and in some cases, death.
Our lawyers are committed to helping individuals and families who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one because of a poorly planned and executed concert. Concert organizers, promoters, security personnel, venues, and performers all have a shared responsibility to keep concert attendees safe during a show. When they fail at this duty, they must be held accountable.
What Happened at the Astroworld Travis Scott Concert?
On November 5, 2021, eight people were killed at a Houston concert organized by Travis Scott, known as the Astroworld Festival. Officials declared the incident a “mass casualty event”. Additionally, 25 people were hospitalized and more than 300 people were treated for injuries. The tragic event was well-documented on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok where it almost instantly went viral.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of fans had bypassed security and broken into the concert, creating immediate concerns over safety and occupation limits.
By 8:00 pm, before Scott even took the stage, the medical staff was overwhelmed. Meanwhile, as attendees anticipated the main event, concertgoers continued to compress together and breathing became difficult. By 8:30, there was already video of people begging for help because of compression, asphyxia, and panic. Some report
At 9:00 pm, headliner Travis Scott, who has an alleged history of enticing and encouraging fans to be violent, took the stage and the crowd began to surge forward causing a crush.
As people began to fall and get injured, additional panic ensued. Attendees started attempting to escape the crowd over barriers, through exits (if they could get to them), and some fans began climbing scaffolding.
Video documentation shows that around this time, fans were screaming for medical help and chanting to stop the show. At some point, someone appears to tell Scott and he waves them off and reminds them they are there to perform.
From then on, video and testimony show that concertgoers continued to be crushed from the crowd surge, trampled under people’s feet, and suffocated. There are also multiple reports of people already being dead in the crowd at this time.
Scott reportedly continued singing for nearly 40 minutes after officials had labeled the incident as a “mass casualty event.” Security began recognizing the seriousness of the event and tried to pull people over the barricades but it was too little too late. Too many people were in trouble. Medical staff tried to get through the crowd but it was too tight. Finally, Scott quit performing and the crowd was dispersed.
Over 300 people were treated for injuries, 20 were taken to local hospitals (at least 11 of those people were in cardiac arrest) and 8 people died
The victims range from just 14 to 27 years old. The youngest victim, who survived but is hospitalized in critical condition, is 10 years old.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Astroworld Injuries and Deaths?
In cases where there is such clear negligence, lawsuits will be filed. In the case of Astroworld, it’s very likely that the venue and the organizers may be found legally liable for the injuries and deaths that occurred. This is also true for Travis Scott, and possibly Drake, who continued to perform despite clear signs of trouble from the crowd and his staff.
When people are injured or killed at a music festival, the claim falls under premises liability law, which means that it’s the responsibility of property owners to maintain a reasonably safe environment. But in cases like this, there are clearly third parties who are also at fault.
Drake (singer and surprise guest who went on after deaths already occurred)
Why Do People Get Injured at Concerts?
Concert injuries and deaths are usually preventable if proper security and planning are taken into account. However, accidents can still happen. But in the case of Astroworld, with 8 dead and hundreds injured, it’s clear that this was more than an accident.
Concert injuries are more likely to happen when:
Venues are overcrowded
There are improper barriers
Lack of exits or walkways
Not enough security officers present
Lack of training for security and medics
Requests for help are not taken seriously
Performers encourage, incite, or validate violence
Venues are not properly maintained
Venues are poorly organized
Too many people for the size of the venue
Fans skip past security screening
When these conditions are present, fans can be seriously injured or killed in incidents that should have never happened in the first place.
Types of Concert Injuries
When a lot of people are together in one place, there is always going to be an increased risk of injury. Add alcohol, drugs, and celebrities and things get worse.
Here are some of the most common types of concert injuries
When too many people are packed together, the crowd can become so dense that it moves in waves. Crowd surges occur when the entire crowd moves suddenly and powerfully which causes people to become crushed. This can cause suffocation, injuries, and may lead to death.
Stampedes occur when a place is overcrowded with a tight exit. If something occurs to cause a high panic situation, like a fire or crowd surge, people can become trampled. This is especially dangerous when people fall.
Music festivals and concerts are common places for drugs. This is one of the top causes of injuries at concerts, but they rarely involve liability.
Assaults & Attacks
When you have thousands of people at a concert, there is a risk of sexual and physical assault. Hyped-up crowds, drugs, alcohol, and a lack of security can all contribute to the likelihood of injuries.
Venues that are poorly constructed, set up, or maintained can cause concertgoers to fall and injure themselves. This is even more likely when there are too many people in one place, like in the case of Astroworld.
Can Travis Scott Be Held Responsible for the Deaths or Injuries?
Performers themselves may be partially or wholly to blame for concert-related injuries, especially if they encourage or even command fans to engage in violent or reckless behavior. This is also true in cases where the performer is aware of injuries or dangerous conditions and doesn’t stop the show.
This is exactly what happened at the Travis Scott concert. Videos clearly show Scott aware of injuries and panic in the crowd. Yet he continued to perform. It’s also worth noting that Travis Scott, as the headliner and owner of the festival, has all the power to stop that concert if they had wanted to. Doing so could have saved many lives and many injuries.
Are You An Astroworld Concert Victim?
If you or a loved one were injured at the Astroworld music festival, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. This is also true if you lost a child or family member at the event.
Abels & Annes plans on holding all responsible parties liable for their actions at this concert. We will fight for the justice and settlement you deserve.
Working with local counsel, we will be pursuing claims against Astroworld, Travis Scott, Live Nation, NRG Stadium, and any other responsible parties for the preventable tragedy that unfolded during the music festival.
If you need our help, call us right away at (855) 529-2442.
When an injured victim files a personal injury claim, their hope is that the case will be resolved quickly and they’ll get the money they need as soon as possible. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, if the case has to go to trial, it can take several years for a verdict to be reached, and for the plaintiff (the injured party) to receive their money. In situations like this, pretrial interest can be requested.
When a client has been injured in an accident and their case has to go to court, it’s rare for the timeline of the injury case to move quickly. Because of this, some states allow the injured victim’s attorney to seek additional compensation for the undesirable waiting period that was out of the control of the client.
This is known as pre-judgment interest (or pretrial interest), and in most states, it amounts to 6% interest on the money awarded by the court during the waiting period.
Illinois Joins Other States in Allowing Pretrial Interest in Personal Injury Cases
This signing comes after Pritzker vetoed a previous version of the law earlier this year because it allowed for 9% interest instead of the now allowed 6%.
The new amendment (Senate Bill 72) grants plaintiffs 6% pretrial interest on money awarded to them in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Before this new law was passed, Illinois already had a law regarding interest on verdicts. But that law only allowed plaintiffs to receive 9% interest from the time the court awarded the money to the time the payment was received. This new law allows plaintiffs to receive interest on their money from the time the lawsuit is filed to the time the court awards them their verdict.
To put it into simpler language, an injured victim can now collect 6% interest on the money they win in court, starting from the time they are injured or find out they are injured until the time they get paid. So if it takes 2 years to get their money because of delay tactics by the opposing attorneys, the injured person will also be awarded interest for those 2 years on any money they were awarded.
A Few Things to Know About Illinois’ Pretrial Interest Law
It should be noted that the pre-judgment interest only applies to cases that go to verdict. So if your case takes a long time but is settled before it goes to trial, you are not entitled to any interest.
The new law goes into effect on June 21, 2021.
The prejudgment interest would begin to accrue on the date the lawsuit is filed and would continue to accrue for up to 5 years on all damages including future lost wages, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. It does not include punitive damages, sanctions, attorney fees, and costs.
This law does not apply to local public entities, which includes lawsuits against a county, city, village, township, school district, district, authority, municipal corporation, or any other political subdivision.
For lawsuits filed before the law goes into effect, interest will start to accrue on the bill’s effective date.
What Proponents and Critics Have to Say About the New Law
Proponents of the pretrial interest law say that it will encourage insurance companies, defendants, and their attorneys to settle with plaintiffs out of court or to settle as soon as possible. Every moment that they purposefully drag their feet, it’ll be costing the defendant money. One of the bill’s supporters—the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association—says the bill will protect the injured and expedite the resolution of cases by encouraging defendants to settle early or litigate fast. This means victims with serious injuries will have to wait less time to get the money they so desperately need to rebuild their lives
Critics say that the new law will dramatically increase litigation costs on manufacturers, hospitals, and doctors, who are usually defendants in these types of cases. They also claim that the bill will inflate settlements which will get passed on to consumers. However, if they paid or offered what was fair within a reasonable amount of time, they could avoid the extra costs of going to court and the interest penalties after verdict.
For the latest up-to-date legal news, helpful articles, and insights into personal injury topics, visit Abels & Annes’ blog.
In the United States, accidents—like car collisions and motorcycle wrecks—are the third leading cause of death. Motor vehicle collisions are also a major cause of injuries. Every time you get into a vehicle, there are countless factors that determine whether you get to your destination safely or not.
Unfortunately, many of these factors are out of your control. Since you cannot necessarily prevent an accident, you can do some things to limit injuries and death if it does happen.
Here are some safe driving tips to keep in mind when operating a motor vehicle that can help prevent car accidents and injury if you are in an accident. These tips will even help you to stay safe on the road overall.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Motor vehicle accidents are extremely dangerous by nature. Wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in a vehicle is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent injury or death if a collision occurs.
Seat belts reduce the risk of death for drivers and passengers by 45%. They also cut the risk of serious injury by 50%, according to the CDC. That is a compelling reason to always buckle up.
The driver of the vehicle is responsible for all occupants to be properly secured in their seats while in operation. If a driver has ever told you, “put on your seatbelt or I could get a ticket,” they were right.
The impact seat belts have on preventing accident injuries and fatalities is clear. In 2017 alone, nearly 15,000 lives were saved simply because of seat belt usage.
Quick Take Away: Wearing a seat belt is one of the best ways to prevent injury or death during a car accident.
Adjust Your Vehicle to Your Needs
Every time you drive, adjust your seat, steering wheel, mirrors, music, and climate before putting the car in motion. Making these adjustments before you begin your trip can go far in preventing an accident in the first place or minimizing the risk of a serious injury if you are in an accident.
Adjusting music and A/C or heat before you drive will limit distractions while on the road. Likewise, adjusting your mirror can prevent an accident by ensuring that you have the best view possible of the car around you.
Your seat and steering wheel positions can help save your life or prevent serious injuries. Adjusting your car’s seat so that it’s in the proper position will help to prevent an injury or death by making sure that the car’s safety features function correctly in the event of an accident. The same goes for a steering wheel.
When you are sitting too far back in a seat, not sitting upright, or sitting too far forward, the airbags and seatbelt cannot work properly. Plus, an upright position is how they test literally every safety feature. So, you can’t be certain that seat and steering wheel positions that aren’t tested are safe.
If the steering wheel is the appropriate distance from you, airbags will properly inflate. That will make all the difference between suffering a minor or a catastrophic injury.
Quick Take Away: Adjust everything before you move to limit distractions while driving. And sit in your car the way it was meant to be sat in.
Perform Regular Maintenance on Your Vehicle
Routine maintenance of your vehicle not only prevents costly repairs later. It can also help to prevent accidents that could result in injuries or death.
Take your car to your local mechanic or dealership and make sure they perform a safety inspection on your vehicle at least every year. When you get your oil changed is a good time to ask for a simple visual inspection. Every two years, you should get a comprehensive safety inspection done.
For example, a motorist takes a leased vehicle in for its 2-year required maintenance. A few days later she notices the tires are wobbling and assumes they balanced them wrong. But the tires were actually falling apart because of a manufacturer’s defect. The dealership then fails to notice the issue while the car was in their shop for 2 days specifically for a safety check.
So routine maintenance may not be foolproof. But it’s an important and effective way to prevent any serious incidents or injuries from occurring.
Quick Take Away: Get routine maintenance and safety checks done on your vehicle.
Use Your Car’s Safety Features
Safety features in vehicles have come a long way since their inception. From adaptive headlights to side airbags to lane sensors, cars just keep getting safer.
In order for these features to do their job, you need to be using them. This may sound obvious. However, many features can either be turned off or else unnoticed by drivers who don’t know about them or how to work them.
For example, some cars have small lights that flash when you put on your turn signal when the destination lane is occupied. Knowing about the feature and its purpose is the only way it can keep you and your family safe. Likewise, some airbags can be turned off for one reason or another. If you do turn off an airbag, make sure it is turned back on as soon as possible.
The same is true for every safety feature your car has. If you aren’t using it, it’s not a safety feature.
Quick Take Away: Use all safety features to their fullest extent.
Alcohol can cause impaired thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. These are sensory abilities that are necessary for safely operating a vehicle.
As a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises, it becomes far more likely for them to cause an auto accident.
In the simplest terms, it is not worth it to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Not only is it extremely dangerous for drivers and their passengers, but it’s also risky for other drivers and pedestrians using the roads.
Quick Take Away: If you have to wonder if you’re intoxicated, you are too drunk to drive.
Driving at posted speed limits is important because it keeps you, your passengers, and others on the road safe. Accidents that happen when someone is speeding are more likely to cause injuries and deaths.
Quick Take Away: Drive the speed limit. Getting to your destination seconds faster isn’t worth risking your or someone else’s life.
We all have so many distractions in our lives. And those distractions are bleeding over into our driving. Whether it’s changing stations on Spotify, looking for a restaurant nearby on maps, or sending a text, all of these actions can lead to a serious auto accident.
The use of booster seats in addition to lap/shoulder style safety belts is required for children under 40 pounds. For any child over 40 pounds, a booster seat is no longer required. But some studies have shown the booster seats can help prevent injuries and death well beyond toddler years.
Taking these steps is critical to ensuring the safety of a child while driving. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. So anything we can do to reduce that figure is worth it.
Quick Take Away: Restrain your child properly every time.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact the lawyers at Abels & Annes. We are ready to help you maneuver the legal process of personal injury claims. We offer compassionate, knowledgeable, and effective legal representation to people in Chicago and all across Illinois. For a free consultation, contact us today at (855) 529-2442 or fill out our online contact form.
Those of us that use social media are so accustomed to posting details about our lives that many of us don’t consider how that information could be used against us. One of the most common situations in which your social media account use can backfire is when you are involved in a personal injury case.
Publicly venting about tough times and celebrating triumphs is a big part of how we stay connected to our loved ones. However, these posts aren’t necessarily being seen by just your family and friends. No matter how secure your social media account is, chances are there is plenty of information about you already out there on the internet.
If you were injured by another person’s negligence and decide to file a claim, anything you have posted in the past or during the claim’s process can be used by the insurance companies and other lawyers. Monitoring social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a common practice for attorneys and insurance companies. These social media sites often have loads of information that can be used against a claimant, either to undermine injuries, prove liability, or to misrepresent a person’s character.
Are Social Media Posts Admissible in Illinois Courts?
Illinois courts consider Electronically Stored Information (ESI) to be admissible in some circumstances.This could include emails, text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories, and other forms of electronic communications and information.
In order for social media posts and other electronic communications to be considered admissible in Illinois courts, the content must meet four criteria. The evidence must be:
Valuable to the Defendant’s Case
Authentic, meaning created by or about the defendant.
So now we know that social media posts can be used against you in court and by insurance companies to discredit your personal injury claim. What can you do to prevent this information from harming your case?
Don’t Post About Your Accident or Case on Social Media
After something traumatic happens to you like an accident or injury, it’s natural to want to post about it on your social media. But it’s best not to share anything about your accident, injuries, or case.
Sharing too many details about your accident online could be seen as trivializing your injuries. It would not take a big leap for an insurance company to twist your social media posts into an argument that is meant to undermine the compensation you need for your injuries.
Let’s consider the situation where someone is injured because of a slip and fall at a restaurant. If you had shared a selfie smiling with a cocktail before the accident, the insurance company could misrepresent this as your being drunk and therefore responsible for your injuries. You may have just had one glass of wine, but that may not stop an insurance company from twisting the details to serve their purpose. Instead, they will insinuate that your drinking contributed to your injuries.
As your case proceeds, your attorney will give you updates on your case’s development. You may be tempted to vent about setbacks or to post something that was supposed to be celebratory about all of the progress your attorney has made for you. In either situation, this information can serve as an advantage to the defense.
Depending on what you’ve shared, they can rethink their approach to the case and better prepare themselves.
Even Innocent Posts May Contradict Your Claim
The defense can frame even innocent posts to make them look like they contradict your personal injury claim.
When you use social media regularly, you probably tend to share photos of your life. You might share pictures of you out at dinner, videos of you engaging in your favorite hobby, or an occasional outing.
These simple posts can be seriously misconstrued.
If you decide to check in at a restaurant on Facebook, the jury won’t know you were driven there by your friend to pick up takeout because you were in too much pain to cook.
One situation could be an accident victim at a wedding. They may have had plans to go to the wedding for months. And it would devastate their family members if they weren’t there. Even if they had to sit in a chair the whole time and watch, photos of a claimant “out partying at a wedding” could still end up in court. Of course, this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. But this type of evidence can be powerful for juries.
The point is, almost any post can be taken out of context and used as an excuse to deny or diminish your claim. For that reason, it is best to not post anything at all or else you may be accused of exaggerating or even faking your injuries.
Comments From Others Can Hurt Your Case
Comments from well-meaning friends and followers can hurt your case too.
For instance, those who know you were injured in a truck accident will want to check up on you. It’s a serious situation and people are naturally concerned. A comment asking you how you’re doing will encourage you to discuss your condition. Everyone who’s been seriously injured knows that the healing process is full of ups and downs.
A simple reply like “I’m feeling much better today” on one of your good days can be misconstrued as a sign of recovery or that your injury is insignificant.
You may also be tempted to reply to these kinds of questions with “white lies” or optimistic responses so that your friends and family don’t worry. Statements like “Oh don’t worry Aunt Kathy. I’m fine.” could seriously damage your case.
Making Your Profile Private and Not Posting
While your injury case is open, one thing you can do is keep your profile settings to private mode.
This will prevent your information from being readily visible to anyone who isn’t a friend or follower. However, this doesn’t make it impossible for a zealous attorney or insurance agent to access your profile. In some cases, a defense attorney may file a motion in court asking for access to social media.
That is why taking a break from social media altogether while your case is active is the best course of action. If you can avoid posting altogether, you won’t accidentally reveal details that can be used against you.
Ask Family and Friends Not to Post About You
Even if you are ardent about not posting anything to your social media, there are still lots of ways information about you can end up on social media.
If you are involved in a case, ask your family and friends to not post anything about you. Ask them not to ask you about your case online, tag you in photos, or leave comments referencing your situation.
Even if you’re not directly tagged in a photo that included you, insurance companies and lawyers can dig around your friends’ and family members’ accounts looking for photos of you doing something to undermine your injury claim.
They may look at your friend list and previous posts to find relatives and see who you interact with most. Then they can check other social media accounts accordingly for updates about you.
Find a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer You Trust
If you’re unsure about whether a post can impact your case, don’t take the chance. An innocent post could end up jeopardizing your entire case and causing you to not get the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Instead, share the details about your accident and injuries with an experienced personal injury attorney who will have your best interests in mind. The attorneys at Abels and Annes have years of experience working to secure compensation for our injured clients. Our initial consultations are always free and are a perfect starting point for people who aren’t sure what to do next after they are injured due to someone’s negligence. Call Abels & Annes today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.