Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Most states now have laws on the books that prohibit smart phone use when you’re behind the wheel of a car: no texting, browsing the internet, checking your email, or engaging in any other behaviors that will take your eyes off of the road and lead to distractions. Unfortunately, many of those states lack similar laws about devices like smartwatches—which, as it turns out, can be just as distracting as smart phones. In some cases, smartwatches can be even more distracting than smartphones.

The Distractions Presented by Smartwatches

Most people recognize that their smartphone can provide a significant distraction when they’re on the road. In fact, some even go to the extreme of turning the phone off or tucking it in the back seat instead of keeping it with them when they’re in the driver’s seat. Most drivers, however, aren’t thinking of their smartwatch as a distraction—including a June 2018 case of a driver who was ultimately fired for distracted driving after he was caught looking at his smartwatch. How distracting are smartwatches? There are several things to consider for drivers and passengers.

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More and more people are bicycling for exercise, to commute to work, or just for fun. It is a great way to get around in the Chicago area: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Chicago bicycle commuters has increased by 150 percent since 2000. Among major U.S. cities, Chicago is third in the number of bicycle commuters. However, as the population of the city grows and the more bicycles there are on the roads, there is accordingly more potential for crashes. A City of Chicago 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis reports that there were 32 fatal bicycle accidents and 8,861 crashes resulting in injuries between 2005 and 2010.

What Is a Right Hook Accident?

By law, bicycles traveling on the roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago deals with turning right in front of a bicycle. This is a common type of bike accident, known as the right hook. The law states that “When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.”

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In congested traffic, the odds of a rear-end collision substantially increase. There are more drivers stuck in a smaller area. Not only is it more difficult to predict what those drivers are going to do, it can be difficult to maneuver in tight traffic. A moment’s distraction or inattention, and bang! Suddenly, you’re the victim of a rear-end collision. How do you proceed from here? What’s the right process after you’ve been rear-ended, especially in tight or congested traffic? While working with a qualified attorney is the most effective way to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process, it’s important to proceed carefully in the initial stages after the accident.

What to Do If You’ve Been Rear-Ended

You were stuck in traffic, unable to move forward. Suddenly, a jolt hit you from behind. You’ve been rear-ended. Now what? There are several key steps that you should take immediately after your accident.

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The Chicago Department of Transportation released the traffic accident statistics for 2017, and they are not good news. The number of fatalities due to traffic crashes sharply increased from 2016 to 2017, indicating that the streets of Chicago are getting more dangerous. These dangers are not due to crime, but due to the everyday actions of drivers. The following are some statistics:

  • The total number of traffic-related fatalities in 2017 was 132, an increase from 119 in 2016
  • The number of occupants of cars who died in 2017 was 80, up from 63 in 2016
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Autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology has been making waves in the auto industry for a few years. From self-driving Ubers to self-driving commercial semi-trucks, many different companies are developing all types of vehicles with various features that eliminate the need for human operation. Not all self-driving cars are fully autonomous, however, as some vehicles have technologies that release human responsibility to varying degrees. One particular semi-autonomous vehicle has recently been in the news due to serious crashes while using the technology.

Tesla Under Investigation

Two models of Teslathe Model S and the Model Xare under investigation due to two separate crashes that occurred while the autopilot feature was engaged. Contrary to what you may believe, the autopilot feature is not fully autonomous and does not let a driver completely off the hook.

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If you have been involved in a traffic accident and suffered injuries, a number of questions immediately come to mind. Are you entitled to compensation? While your own insurance should cover the cost of your injuries, if you were not at fault in the accident it is possible that you might be entitled to compensation beyond what your own insurance might cover. What are the steps that you need to take to recover for those losses?

You may need legal assistance to pursue a claim for compensation. The complexity of the legal system makes it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue an injury claim without legal help. Pursuing compensation likely means that you will be going up against an insurance company for the other driver. You will be facing an insurance adjuster who is not on your side and has considerable experience in dealing with accident claims. You should have an experienced accident attorney on your side to guide you through the process. However, even before you retain an attorney, steps you can take include:

  • Get any necessary medical treatment: If you have been injured in a car accident, get any medical treatment you need, even if you don’t feel seriously hurt. If you delay treatment your injuries could get worse, and delay also makes it more difficult to prove that your injuries were a result of the traffic accident. If you receive treatment for your injuries but still have pain, follow up with another doctor to make sure you don’t have more long-lasting injuries.
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If you travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, as many people do, you need to exercise caution. While the days are longer with the onset of summer, and driving conditions are far better than during the winter months, there are good reasons to exercise caution during your Memorial Day weekend road trip. Better driving conditions, a three-day weekend, and hopefully good weather present an almost-irresistible combination to take to the road to seek out a sunny waterfront destination, such as a lake, river or beach.

While conditions for driving are generally good over Memorial Day weekend, the holiday tends to bring out a greater number of drivers under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, drunk drivers are responsible for almost twice as many traffic fatalities during the summer months as during the entire rest of the year. Young drivers without much experience, especially teen drivers, are at even greater risk.

Memorial Day Weekend Is Especially Deadly

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Medical marijuana became legal in the State of Illinois on January 1, 2014. However, it is important to note that Illinois law applies strict regulations for using medical marijuana, especially when it comes to driving under the influence.

Driving while drugged can significantly alter the driver’s perceptions and reaction times, leading to serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drugged driver, a lawyer can determine whether or not you are eligible to recover monetary compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. may be able to represent you in your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Driving While Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana

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If you have been involved in a serious car accident, there is a good chance that you will need extensive medical treatment, physical therapy, and/or occupational therapy to get you back on your feet. Medical treatment and hospital or nursing home stays are expensive, and you deserve to recover compensation – even if your health insurance covers some or all of these bills. You also deserve to be compensated for any and all income that you’ve lost because you were or are unable to work.

Payment of your medical bills and lost wages, however, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personal injury damages. In addition to recovering these economic damages, you may also be eligible to recover noneconomic damages in your case. This is particularly true if you sustain permanent injuries in your car accident. Noneconomic damages are those which cannot be measured strictly in dollars and cents, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.

No one asks to be involved in a serious car accident, much less injured. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue monetary compensation. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can discuss the facts of your case with you and explore the different types of economic and noneconomic damages that may be available. Our lawyers can then pursue monetary compensation on your behalf, via settlement, trial, or alternative dispute resolution.

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Under Illinois law, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. In fact, it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol generally, so it is possible to face DUI charges with a BAC of less than .08. Of course, these limits apply everyone on the road – including people who drive others for money.

Uber and Lyft are two of the most popular ridesharing companies around. These companies have virtually cornered the market when it comes to inexpensive, reliable, and safe transportation. This is especially true for individuals who are traveling to and from airports, train stations, and other transportation centers. Uber riders can download an app onto their iPhones and other smart devices and when using the Uber app, a rider can request and pay for rides and keep track of a driver’s physical location at all times. Riders are also told the amount of their fare and can store their payment information online for added convenience.

Despite the advantages and convenience that ridesharing companies like Uber have offered consumers, there are always risks associated with getting from place to place – such as drunk or drugged drivers. Impaired drivers are at an increased risk of involvement in motor vehicle accidents, and, in the event that they are, serious injuries and damages may result to everyone in the vehicle. In these cases, several individuals, companies, and/or insurance companies may share in the potential liability to the injured passenger or passengers.