Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Car accidents occur countless times per day. In some accidents,  it is clear which driver involved in the accident is responsible. For example, in rear-end collisions the second driver the struck the first driver is almost always the one who caused the accident. In many cases, however, liability for an accident is disputed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the party that is injured in a car accident to be partially responsible for causing the accident.  If you suffered injuries in a car accident and you believe you may be partially at fault for causing the accident you should speak with a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances surrounding your collision and whether you may be able to recover compensation.

A party seeking to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident must prove another party is liable for his or her harm. The majority of car accident cases pursue damages via a negligence claim.  Negligence is comprised of four elements: a duty, breach, causation, and damages. In car accident cases, the duty owed is typically the duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner under the circumstances that were present at the time of the accident, and the breach is the failure to do so. To prove causation you must show that the breach of the duty caused the accident. It is not necessary to show that the breach was the only cause of the accident, but you must show that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant did not breach his or her duty. Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages that can be quantified.

In many car accident cases, the defendant will attempt to refute liability by arguing that the injured driver caused the accident, and therefore, he or she should not be able to recover financially for the injuries sustained in the accident. If you were injured in a car accident, in most states if you are found to be partially liable for causing your car accident it does not automatically mean you cannot recover any damages. For example, Illinois law provides for modified comparative negligence.  Here a plaintiff in any lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury is not barred from recovering compensation if he or she is not more than fifty percent responsible for causing the injuries for which he or she seeks to recover. Thus, as long as your fault in causing your accident is not greater than fifty percent, you may be awarded damages. Any damages you are awarded, however, will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault allocated to you.  Twenty-three states use modified comparative negligence.

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Car accidents are never expected, and most people do not know what to do immediately after an accident. Many people focus on treating their injuries but fail to consider whether they may be able to recoup some of the losses caused by the accident until it is too late. If you were injured in a car accident and you wish to pursue a claim against the responsible party, it is prudent to speak with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible regarding your right to seek compensation for your harm.

While not all car accidents necessitate legal action, certain factors weigh in favor of retaining an attorney. Relevant factors to consider are whether you suffered a severe injury that required hospitalization, therapy, or any other treatment, or you are unsure of the significance of your injury. Another important factor is whether you were unable to work due to the injuries caused by the accident and you lost income as a result. If you were involved in a car accident in which one or more of these factors are present, it is probably in your best interest to hire an attorney promptly.

Additionally, you should retain an attorney if you have to deal with the insurance company for the other driver involved in the accident. In cases where the other driver is clearly liable his or her insurance company may attempt to take a statement from you or pressure you into agreeing to a settlement shortly after the accident. You cannot recover more than once and if you agree to settle your claim before the full extent of your damages has been evaluated, you may settle for less than your case is worth. An attorney can help you deal with insurance companies and assist you in assessing the full value of your damages and seek compensation for any harm you suffered.

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If you were involved in a car accident you most likely sustained property damage and you may have suffered injuries as well. If the car accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for the damages you incurred due to the accident. You only have one chance to prove your case, however, and the attorney you choose can have a drastic effect on the outcome of your case. Thus, if you were in a car accident it is important to choose an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases to help you pursue your claim for damages.

Finding a Good Car Accident Lawyer

Determining whether an attorney is the right attorney to represent you in your car accident case depends on multiple elements. An important consideration in determining whether an attorney is a good fit is whether the attorney will provide you with an accurate assessment of your case and your potential damages. At your initial consultation, the attorney should ask you for the facts surrounding your accident and review any police report reviewed in the accident. The police report can provide strong evidence as to who was responsible for causing the accident, especially if the other driver was cited for a traffic violation. Most car accident cases set forth a theory that the defendant was negligent, and a violation of the motor vehicle code is prima facie evidence of negligence. It is important to note, however, that a good lawyer can identify not only the strongest aspects of your case but can also recognize and address any hurdles to your recovery, such as allegations that you were at fault in causing the accident.

Another critical element to consider is how many car accident cases the lawyer has litigated. Many attorneys work in a wide array of practice areas and do not have significant experience handling car accident cases. A lawyer that is proficient in handling car accident cases will understand the intricacies of how car accident cases are handled and will provide you with a better chance of success. Similarly, it is important to question any lawyer you are considering retaining regarding his or her success rate, and the range of verdicts and settlement awards the attorney has obtained on behalf of his or her clients.

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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