Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Any type of accident can confuse and upset the victims. You may not know how to handle the situation when the accident occurs, or what you’re supposed to do next. If your accident occurred when you used paid transportation, like a taxi, you may face even more challenges and complications.

These accidents are not unusual. Almost all of Illinois’s 5,271 taxi accidents took place in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2014, 4,129 crashes involved Chicago taxis, 830 of which produced injuries and three of which resulted in fatalities.

If you are a passenger in a taxi accident, here are the important steps to take.

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If you were in a car accident with a driver who was impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs, that driver may bear liability for your injuries and the damages that resulted. But what if the driver was impaired by legally prescribed prescription drugs? Do you still have a claim?

The answer is yes—but the case may prove complicated. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help. If you were in a Chicagoland car accident caused by a drugged driver, contact Abels & Annes, PC, for a free consultation at (312) 924-7575 or email us.

What Studies Show About Driving and Prescription Drugs

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Most people have heard the term “hit and run,” and probably assume they understand what it means. However, the precise legal definition may differ from what people think they know. In addition, that legal definition varies from state to state, under different state laws.

A big myth is that a hit and run requires a serious injury or death. The media perpetuates this by overwhelmingly covering hit and run stories where pedestrians were struck by drivers who don’t stop. In actuality, the legal definition of hit and run is broader and covers more scenarios than just that one.

So, What Is a Hit and Run?

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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