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Recovering After a Chicago Drunk Driving Car Accident

Few accidents are harder to understand than a Chicago drunk driving accident. For decades, state and federal governments, as well as several major non-profit organizations, have devoted millions of dollars to prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink. However, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), between 2003 and 2012, over 3,800 people were killed in Illinois drunk driving accidents.

After someone is injured in a drunk driving accident, they are legally entitled to bring a claim for compensation against the at-fault party. Often, establishing that an intoxicated driver is at fault for an accident is fairly straightforward; however, certain complications can arise. For example, under the Illinois comparative fault rule, a party’s total compensation must be reduced by their own degree of fault. Thus, a drunk driver may be able to reduce their liability by arguing that the accident victim was partially at fault for the collision.

Further, because Illinois employs a modified comparative fault doctrine, if the drunk driver can prove that the other party was 50 percent at fault or more, then the other party will not be able to recover for their injuries at all. In this way, having an attorney assist in the preparation of a Chicago drunk driving case is imperative because an attorney can not only help accident victims recover more robust damages awards, but can also reduce the chances of an accident victim being precluded from recovering.

Drunk Driver Hits Police Car, Injuring Two Officers

Last month, a man was charged with drunk driving after he struck a police car that was traveling through an intersection with a green light. According to a recent news report, the accident occurred when a driver ran a red light near the 5600 block of West Lawrence Avenue. As the motorist ran the red light, he struck a police SUV that was carrying two officers. Both officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the collision. The motorist was also hospitalized, but is expected to make a full recovery.

As law enforcement was investigating the scene, it was determined that the motorist may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, police have not disclosed the results of any chemical tests at this time. The man was charged with DUI, and issued several traffic tickets, including failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and running a red light.

Have You Been Injured in a Chicago DUI Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Chicago drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At the Illinois personal injury law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C., we represent injury victims in all types of car accident claims, including Illinois DUI crashes. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, and we look forward to seeing how we can help you. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 855-529-2442. Calling is risk-free, because there is no obligation to move forward with your case unless it is your honest desire to do so.

Where Do Most Broadside Collisions Occur?

Gary Annes Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

If you get a little flutter in your chest every time you get in a car, you’re not alone. Driving can be scary. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 311,679 accidents in 2017. That’s 854 accidents per hour! Of these accidents, over 10 percent were broadside collisions.

Broadside collisions, more commonly referred to as side-impact crashes or T-bone collisions, happen when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another. These accidents are particularly dangerous to the vehicle that is hit. Understanding where these accidents most commonly occur can help you stay safe on the road.

Where Do Most Broadside Accidents Occur?

The vast majority of broadside collisions occur at intersections. Such accidents require that the vehicles are traveling in directions perpendicular to one another. This rarely happens outside of an intersection. An intersection is defined as a location where two roads meet. Intersections are not defined by whether they have a traffic signaling device or the amount of traffic that they see. An intersection can be found in a neighborhood, in the city, and even in parking lots. The most common location for broadside accidents include:

Intersections With Stoplights

Traffic signals are designed to direct traffic at busy intersections, and most of the time that’s exactly what they do. However, while most drivers obey traffic signals, Chicago still has a serious problem with drivers running red lights. In 2003, the state became one of the first to install red-light traffic cameras to reduce the number of drivers running red lights. Over a decade later, however, some officials are calling for the removal of the cameras, citing Chicago’s $56 million in annual revenue from red-light cameras as proof that these devices do not deter drivers from running red lights.

Intersections With Stop Signs

Broadside Collision AccidentIntersections with a moderate amount of traffic are often controlled by stop signs. Unlike stoplights, stop signs require a higher level of judgment and decision-making from drivers. When a driver approaches a stop sign, he or she must stop and scan for other vehicles. If another vehicle is there first, the driver of that vehicle has the right-of-way. T-bone collisions often occur when the two drivers become confused over who has the right-of-way, or when one driver ignores the law and proceeds through the intersection, failing to realize that the other driver has already begun to move through the intersection.

Unprotected Left-Hand Turns

Drivers make left-hand turns every day without even realizing that this is one of the most dangerous traffic maneuvers. Of most concern are unprotected left-hand turns, which take place at intersections where there is no traffic device or at green lights where drivers must yield to oncoming traffic. The reason these turns are so dangerous is that drivers must rely on personal judgment to determine when they should turn in front of oncoming traffic. If a driver does not accurately gauge the amount of space he or she has to complete a turn, an accident may result.

Common Causes for Broadside Collisions

We know where broadside collisions occur, but understanding why they occur is just as important. While most accidents come down to driver error, this is not always the case. The most common causes for broadside collisions include:

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving is a serious problem. In one year, 3,166 people died because of a distracted driver. When a driver takes his or her eyes off the road to attend to a text, take a bite of a cheeseburger, or change the radio station, the driver may miss an upcoming intersection.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol diminishes a driver’s ability to make good decisions on the road. Alcohol can make a driver think that he or she can “make it” at a red light or that stopping at an intersection doesn’t matter.
  • Speeding: Speeding is one of the top causes of fatal accidents across the country. When it comes to broadside collisions, a speeding driver can make it difficult for a person to estimate how much time he or she has to complete a left-hand turn. In addition to influencing the likelihood of a broadside collision, speeding also increases the severity of injuries in a crash.
  • Weather: Not all broadside collisions happen because of driver error. Poor weather can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic.
  • Inadequate traffic devices: Have you ever approached a stop sign and thought, “Man, I barely saw that”? Hidden, damaged, or non-existent signal devices can contribute to an accident. Local jurisdictions have the responsibility for properly maintaining stop signs and traffic signals. If the government knowingly disregards calls to remedy inadequate traffic devices, a court may hold the government responsible in the event of an accident.

Damages After a Broadside Collision

When you are involved in an injury crash, the law allows you to file a claim against the at-fault party. This claim can help offset the cost of your treatment and help you focus on your recovery. Common damages in a personal injury case include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages/future lost wages
  • Medical devices
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death

The costs associated with a personal injury claim will vary case by case. A personal injury attorney can help you determine the value of your case and do an accounting of the actual and potential costs of your injury.

Know When to Contact a Car Accident Attorney

After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you are going to pay your bills or if you can afford to get medical care. The only thing that should matter is your recovery. If you have been injured, you deserve fair and just compensation for your loss. A personal injury claim can help you have the comfort that your costs are covered while you focus on your recovery. If you have questions or need more information about your rights after an accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today.

Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Common Rear-End Accident Injuries

Gary Annes Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

More than nine million registered drivers, in 11,704,038 registered vehicles, traveled hundreds of millions of miles during 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation crash facts report. During this time, there were 319,146 accidents reported, with more than 90,000 of them being rear-end collision accidents. These accidents accounted for 78 deaths, 1,508 incapacitating injuries, and 19,831 total injuries. The types of injuries that occur vary significantly based on the type of vehicles involved as well as the speed at which the vehicles are traveling.

Typical Rear-End Collision Injuries

With a side-swipe accident or head-on collision, you may realize that you are about to be struck and move slightly or slow down to minimize the impact of the collision. However, a rear-end collision often comes without warning. You do not typically see the vehicle involved until immediately after being struck.

Because of the sudden impact, the injuries you sustain could be significant and may include:

  • Airbag injuries – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that while a properly functioning airbag typically will not cause serious injury, when an airbag deploys during a rear-end collision, victims may suffer various injuries, including cardiac events that may not appear for days after an accident occurs. Victims may also suffer broken ribs, facial abrasions, and other injuries.
  • Whiplash – Ringing ears, blurry vision, and memory problems could indicate that you have suffered a whiplash injury. The most common cause of this type of injury is a rear-end collision. According to the Mayo Clinic, victims may require several different types of treatment to overcome the pain associated with whiplash.
  • Back injuries – Anytime you are struck without being able to brace yourself, you could suffer a back injury. In a worst-case scenario, your back injury could be serious enough to cause spinal cord damage, which can lead to paralysis.
  • Head and brain injuries – When you are in an accident that involves being struck from behind, your head is pushed forward. Some rear-end collision victims strike their heads on their steering wheel, which can cause serious injury and abrasions. The force of the impact may thrust passengers forward enough to strike their heads, while in other cases, the impact could cause victims to hit their heads on the side windows.
  • Facial disfigurement – Anytime you bang your head or face, you are risking disfigurement. Rear-end collisions could result in broken glass in the car, which may become embedded in the face of a driver or passenger.
  • Wrist and arm injuries – A perfectly normal reaction to being thrust forward is an attempt to stop yourself. Unfortunately, when you are in a moving vehicle, particularly one that is being pushed forward by another vehicle, this may result in a sprain, fracture, or cause other damage to your wrist and arms.

What to Do Following a Rear-End Collision

The most important thing you can do following any type of accident on Illinois roadways is to ensure that you are out of harm’s way. Move your car to the side of the road as much as possible. Once you have ensured that you are in a safe position, contact law enforcement officers immediately. Make sure you and your passengers are not seriously injured and then check on the operator and passengers in the other vehicle.

Rear End Accident Attorney

In most cases, law enforcement officers will be accompanied by emergency medical personnel. Even if you believe your injuries are not serious, a qualified physician who knows that you were in a car accident should evaluate you. Fear and shock can mask injury symptoms.

Whenever possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident. Photos of all vehicles involved, speed signage or traffic signals, and anything else that seems unusual—like roadway debris or defects—could be important later. Police officers will take a full accident report, but you should also obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Additionally, you should share your information, and obtain information from the other driver involved.

Once you have sought medical attention, you should retain legal counsel and let your attorney notify your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident. While Illinois is an “at fault” state, all motor vehicle operators are required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance.

Victims who have been involved in a rear-end collision should pay attention to themselves for several days. Be aware of any changes in vision, memory, sleep patterns, and pain levels. Should you notice any unusual changes, document them, and seek medical attention to determine why these changes are occurring.

Consider Consulting a Car Accident Lawyer

Anyone who has suffered an injury in a rear-end collision should seek guidance from a car accident attorney. There are several reasons why this is a good idea, but primarily because a consultation with a car accident lawyer can help you understand what rights you have and how to protect them.

Keep in mind, the other driver’s insurance company will be in contact with you to obtain information regarding the accident that caused your injuries. One of the challenges in dealing with insurance adjusters is that they are working for insurance companies that are trying to pay as little as possible in claims.

Medical bills, time lost from work, damage to your car, and other out-of-pocket losses and costs can add up quickly while you are recovering. While you are recovering physically from your injuries, the last thing you want to do is stress over mounting expenses. Therefore, an attorney who has experience handling rear-end collision claims may help. Once you agree to have a car accident attorney represent you, he or she can handle the telephone calls from the insurance company and make sure that you are treated fairly during the claims process. They can also hep you establish a settlement that encompasses total cost of your injuries.

Car accident victims often suffer traumatic injuries that can have a long-term impact on their health. Your first concern should always be to recover as fully as possible. Whether you have been injured in a car accident, or your loved one has been seriously injured, you should contact a licensed attorney for help.

Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

What to Do When a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Car

Gary Annes Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

It doesn’t take much effort to recognize that pedestrians face unparalleled danger near roadways. While vehicle occupants have the benefit of a more controlled environment during an accident, pedestrians have no protection at all in events like these. We all know that flying debris can prove dangerous or deadly during a motor vehicle crash, but if you’re a pedestrian, you’re nearly guaranteed to sustain injuries during an accident.

Statistics collected by local, state, and national entities don’t lie. If common sense weren’t enough to tell us that pedestrians who are hit by cars often suffer immensely, let the numbers convince you. More than 6,000 pedestrians died as a result of vehicle crashes in one year alone, and another pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident every 90 minutes in the United States.

Pedestrians who are fortunate enough to survive accidents often suffer life-altering consequences. The potential for severe injury during a crash is much higher for pedestrians than for motor vehicle occupants. These traumatic events can have a lasting impact on victims’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Potential Injuries

Vehicle accidents can be violent and brutal. While some pedestrians manage to evade serious injury in the event of an accident, many are not so lucky. Injuries may range from moderate to severe, depending on the pedestrian and vehicle in question. Potential injuries include:

  • Bone fractures of various severities.
  • Spinal cord injuries, which have been known to lead to paralysis and death. Any injury where a portion of the backbone is damaged has the potential to result in severe pain, loss of muscle function, and other negative symptoms.
  • Lacerations on various regions of the body.
  • Traumatic brain injuries that can result in severe and permanent disabilities. Not every TBI results in death or life-altering loss of function, but these injuries are all serious and require immediate medical attention.

Pedestrians are vulnerable. Injuries like these can have a lasting impact on the lives of individuals who are struck by motor vehicles. Those who avoid death in the instance of a crash still face a risk of developing serious complications in the future. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, can even cause delayed death.

Steps to Take if a Pedestrian Was Hit by a Vehicle

Pedestrian Accident AttorneyIf you or somebody else has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s critical to call 911 as soon as possible. Not only will first responders come to the scene and assess potential injuries, but local authorities will also arrive to take down accident information. You may file a report with the police and request a copy of it later. This report can make or break a case in court.

After a thorough investigation of the accident scene (and the administration of emergency medical treatment), you may be left wondering what steps to take next. One of the most important amongst them is making an appointment with injured individuals’ primary care providers.

If individuals have been hospitalized for their injuries, this will give them a chance to bring their doctors up to speed and even receive second opinions. If somebody was not hospitalized after a crash, it’s good practice to meet with a physician anyway. Some injuries—even life-threatening ones—prove asymptomatic or may not cause noticeable trouble until it’s too late.

After you’re certain that everybody is safe, it’s time to plunge into finding a talented and knowledgeable attorney. Pedestrian injury attorneys understand the complicated laws that surround personal injury, car accidents, and other complex legal concepts. Many pedestrian accident injury victims find themselves unsure of how to pursue compensation or whether their cases will stand up in court. A lawyer can help.

Try to select an attorney with proven experience in the field of pedestrian injuries. The more your lawyer knows about cases like yours, the better equipped they’ll be to assist you. Legal professionals who work extensively in one area of the law tend to have experts and professionals available when needed. These individuals—who may range from doctors to motor vehicle experts—could play a key role in a case’s success.

Avoiding Pedestrian Injuries

There’s no surefire way to avoid falling victim to a vehicle accident. Pedestrians will always face some level of risk when they’re traveling on or near roads that vehicles frequent. There are, however, steps that concerned pedestrians can take to help protect themselves from danger:

  • Ensure that your behaviors are easily-predictable, and always obey signs and signals.
  • Maintain awareness of your surroundings; always remain alert.
  • Never assume that drivers can see you.
  • Take steps to increase your visibility (like wearing bright clothes or utilizing reflective materials).
  • Pay careful attention to areas where cars may be reversing (like driveways and parking lots).
  • Do not ingest alcohol or drugs if you plan to walk; you should never impair your judgment or abilities as a pedestrian.
  • Always opt to walk on sidewalks and crosswalks where possible.
  • Remain in well-lit areas.

While tips like these might sound like concepts you’ve heard a hundred times before, you’d be surprised how few pedestrians make an attempt to follow them. Taking the time to adhere to these simple rules could mean the difference between life and death.

You Deserve Compensation: A Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one suffered due to a driver’s negligence on the road, you deserve a trustworthy partner by your side as you pursue compensation. Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians often prove traumatic and life-altering. You do not need to struggle or suffer after falling victim to a vehicle crash. If you’re willing to team up with a seasoned attorney, your own success in fighting for fair compensation may surprise you.

Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Driving Drowsy Is as Bad as Driving Drunk

Gary Annes Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Studies have consistently shown that driving drowsy is similar to driving drunk. If you wouldn’t drive drunk, then you shouldn’t drive if you’re too tired. Unfortunately, not everyone adheres to this advice, and accidents result. Some accidents are not as severe as others, but any accident that causes you or a loved one injury must be taken seriously.

Because drowsy driving reduces a driver’s reaction time, accidents are often more severe. A drowsy driver doesn’t brake as quickly, or at all, when he or she sees an accident coming. While it’s good for you to be a defensive driver, if you or a loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver, you deserve to have the at-fault party pay for your medical expenses. The best chance you have to maximize your recovery is by working with a skilled and trusted accident injury lawyer in Illinois.

Causes of Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is not a lonely problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the last thirty days, an estimated 1 in 25 drivers has fallen asleep while driving. That is a truly terrifying statistic. Common causes of driver fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor sleep
  • Too much time behind the wheel
  • Zoning out
  • Medical conditions and medications

When a driver causes an accident because of fatigue, he or she may be unwilling to admit drowsiness was the reason for the accident. By investigating the accident and the circumstances surrounding the accident, it is possible to determine that driver fatigue was the cause of the accident. But this isn’t always a quick process, and not every personal injury lawyer has the resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.

No matter what type of driver fatigue caused your accident, getting better and making a full recovery is what should concern you the most. The best way to do that is by focusing on your recovery. By letting us worry about the legal complexities, you can focus on your recovery, putting all of your effort into getting better.

Accidents Caused by Driving Drowsy

Sleeping driver accidentJust like there are many types of accidents every day, the types of accidents resulting from drowsy driving vary greatly. Some of the most common accidents include:

When you’re involved in a car accident it often causes uncertainty about what to do next. Your first thought should be making sure you’remedically treated for any injuries. You do that by calling 911 to get immediate medical attention. See your doctor later, as they know you better than any other medical personnel. Your recovery starts in the moments after the accident, so you want to make sure you’re seen by a medical professional at the scene of the accident, if possible.

This also helps to better understand your injuries and your subsequent recovery. Having a medical professional document your injuries moments after the accident will help your car accident claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can show how you suffered and the time and work it took for you to make a complete recovery.

Common Injuries

Drowsy driving causes over 70,000 injuries annually. Your injuries can range from mild to severe and even deadly. The most common injuries include:

  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis

The more severe your injuries are, the longer it can take for you to make a complete recovery. It also means your recovery could be expensive. If you require multiple surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation time, and in-home medical care, your recovery could bankrupt you. Almost two-thirds of bankruptcies filed in the United States are a result of medical bills. You’ve already suffered enough both physically and emotionally. Don’t suffer financially, as well.

Unfortunately, it happens. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. You want to make sure you’re getting good advice about how to proceed, so you don’t end up having to spend a dime out of pocket for your recovery.

Maximize Your Recovery

The best chance you have to maximize your financial recovery after your accident is by using the services of a car accident lawyer whom you trust. A conscientious lawyer will work with you to try to get you compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Past, present, and future medical bills

When an insurance company contacts you soon after your accident and offers you a settlement, it’s hoping that you don’t consider your future medical expenses and contact a lawyer. What the company is offering you is a low ball settlement. If you sign the low ball settlement offer, you’ll waive your right to bring a claim against the company in the future when you’ve realized the money you received wasn’t enough to cover all of your expenses.

That’s where the experience and history of a car accident injury lawyer can be invaluable. An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to accurately estimate your future medical costs and evaluate your case. This gives you a good place to start with negotiations. You want to make sure you get the full value of your claim, and your lawyer can’t do that unless he or she accurately estimate your medical needs.

Contact a Trusted Lawyer Today

A skilled car accident injury attorney can lift the weight of your car accident claim off your shoulders, allowing you to focus solely on your recovery. When you work with us, we’ll investigate your claim, speak with witnesses, review medical records and police records, negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case all the way to trial, if that’s what is necessary to get you the compensation that you need to make a complete recovery.

While it’s true that most car accident cases settle out of court, sometimes insurance companies are stubborn. In those cases, you may need to take them to court to maximize your recovery. Car accident lawyers do all of this at no up-front cost to you and only get paid if you recover compensation.

Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Average Settlement for Car Accident Neck and Back Injuries

Back and neck injuries from motor vehicle accidents could require additional medical care and long-term therapy, and even then, you might not fully recover from those injuries. Long-term injuries can last a year or more, while permanent injuries last for the rest of your life.

Once you injure your back, you might require additional surgeries and might have back pain that lasts for years or even for the rest of your life. If a car accident caused your back and/or neck injuries, you need to be sure that the settlement you receive from the at-fault driver’s insurance, at-fault driver, or the driver’s employer covers all past and future medical costs for injuries associated with the accident. After a vehicle accident, discuss your legal options with a car accident lawyer.

Types of Damages

After a car accident, the at-fault driver, his or her insurance company, or his or her place of employment might have to pay damages. Usually, the insurance company pays, but often, the insurance company will try to pay the least amount possible to protect its bottom line; insurance companies are in business to make money, after all. Thus, it is usually not a good idea to try to settle with the insurance company yourself.

If you have long-term or permanent injuries, settling with the insurance company yourself is probably the worst thing you could do. Car accident attorneys review your medical records and might work with other professionals to come to a number that hopefully covers past and future medical costs and other costs associated with your finances.

Special Damages

Special damages have a set cost attached to them and might include:

  • Past medical expenses. These are costs associated with the accident, including but not limited to ambulance or emergency helicopter air ambulance, hospital costs, doctor’s office visits, and other medical costs.
  • Future medical costs. Neck and back injuries, significant broken bones, etc. may require additional surgeries and physical and/or cognitive therapy to help with recovery. If your doctor recommends therapy for injuries sustained in an accident, the insurance company or lawsuit covers or asks for future medical costs. Future medical costs also cover additional doctors’ appointments throughout your recovery.
  • Past lost wages. If your injuries preclude you from working, you might be entitled to past lost wages.
  • Future lost wages. If your injuries preclude you from working for the long-term, you might be entitled to future lost wages. If you can go back to work but are unable to do the job that you previously did and must take a lower-paying job, future lost wages might cover the difference in your salary.
  • Reimbursement for property damaged during the accident. The reimbursement might cover the replacement of personal property, including your vehicle, or it might cover the repair of your vehicle and other personal property the accident damaged.

Anything related to the accident and that has a set price is considered a special or economic damage; thus, keep all invoices for the medical care you receive for injuries from the accident.

General Damages

Non-economic, or general, damages include those that do not have a set cost. In most cases, you might have to establish that your injuries are long-term or permanent to get non-economic damages, which might include:

  • Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering cannot be short-term. A back injury could qualify for pain and suffering if your back or neck will never be the same, and you suffer pain for more than a year after the accident.
  • Loss of companionship. The at-fault driver might have to pay for loss of companionship if you cannot do things with your family, including, but not limited to, playing with your children, going to events with your family, and other activities you would normally do together.
  • Loss of consortium. You might receive extra compensation if you are unable to have a physical relationship with your spouse due to your accident injuries.
  • Loss of normal life. You might receive extra compensation if you can no longer do everyday activities, such as home maintenance, shopping, cleaning your home, mowing the yard and other maintenance activities, that you used to do regularly.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are only available when the at-fault party’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. This type of award is meant to punish the defendant in the hopes that it dissuades the defendant from ever again engaging in the actions that caused the accident.

You, as the plaintiff, must prove that the defendant’s actions were intentional or grossly negligent. For example, a drunk driver should have known that he or she could cause an accident by driving while intoxicated. A person texting knows that distracted driving could cause an accident. These are just two examples of behavior that a court may construe as gross negligence.

Additionally, if the court does not award you general damages, you cannot collect punitive damages. If you file a separate action for punitive damages, the court will dismiss that action if it doesn’t award general damages. Furthermore, punitive damages, in most cases, cannot exceed three times the amount ordered for economic damages.

The Value of Your Case

Gary Annes Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Everyone’s case is different and depends mostly on the extent of the injuries suffered. Some back and neck injuries heal quickly, while others may take a much longer time to heal; and some injuries might never completely heal. Different doctors might charge more or less for the same services, as well.

Additionally, your recovery time might drastically differ from someone else’s recovery time due to your overall health condition and age. If a court finds that a defendant was grossly negligent, it might award punitive damages, which increases the value of a case. Certain non-economic damages that the court might award also increases the value of your case.

The insurance limits of the at-fault party or parties could also determine or limit  how much money you can realistically recover.

If you suffer from back and neck injuries, or other injuries, due to a car accident, call a car accident lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Reckless Driving and the Serious Impact for Innocent Victims

An Illinois driver’s license is a privilege that many drivers abuse by driving recklessly. When a speeding or distracted driver crashes into you while you are driving, walking, or riding a bicycle, the results are often devastating. Most serious injuries caused by a reckless driver can change your life in drastic and expensive ways. You and your family may face an uncertain financial future due to the loss of employment and medical expenses. If you were seriously injured due to a reckless driver, consider contacting an Illinois motor vehicle accident lawyer today.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Too often drivers make poor choices while behind the wheel. Engaging in reckless behavior that results in serious injuries to someone else is negligence. Illinois law defines a reckless driver as anyone who “drives any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The law expands the definition to include deliberate actions that cause a vehicle to become airborne—like that of jumping the tracks at a railroad crossing. Other examples of reckless driving include but are not limited to:

Speeding – Everyone is in a hurry these days; however, that’s no excuse to speed. Drivers who risk speeds of 20 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit place everyone in harm’s way. Once a driver loses control of their vehicle at a high speed, the results are devastating for the innocent people around them.

Aggressive driving – The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety defines aggressive driving as “unsafe driving behavior performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety.” Key behaviors that indicate aggressive driving include:

  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights
  • Cutting in front of another driver, then slowing down
  • Weaving in-and-out of traffic
  • Blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes

Aggressive driving can quickly escalate into road rage. Examples of this type of reckless behavior include intentionally sideswiping or ramming a car, forcing it off the road, or throwing objects at the car.

Distracted driving – Changes to the way we communicate place us all at risk on city streets and highways. Smartphones and other devices are taking eyes off the road and creating numerous reckless drivers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that sending or reading a text takes your mind off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your eyes off the road.

Illinois recently passed tougher legislation regarding the use of hand-held phones or other electronic devices behind the wheel. Until all drivers put their phones and devices down, the risk for harming others remains real.

Driving under the influence (DUI) – Depending upon the circumstances, some cases involving a DUI charge are later reduced to reckless driving. Drivers who avoid the serious consequences of a DUI conviction may continue to take risks by drinking and driving.

All it takes is one reckless behavior behind the wheel for someone to change your life forever. No matter how defensively you drive, a collision caused by another driver can result in serious bodily harm for you. If your life was impacted by a reckless driver who crashed into you while you were driving, walking, or bicycling, learn more about your legal options by contacting a personal injury attorney.

Common Serious Injuries Caused by Reckless Drivers

There is usually nothing you can do to prevent a reckless driver from crashing into you. The dangerous driver may appear out of nowhere, leaving you little or no time to avoid them. The force of impact, whether it is a collision with your car or your body, can cause serious injury and in some cases, death.

A trip to the store, a walk with your dog, or a quick bicycle ride can turn tragic in a second. A crash caused by a reckless driver can result in one or more of these common types of serious injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones

Some victims never fully recover from their injuries and instead, need a lifetime of medical and personal care. Families who must place their injured loved one in a skilled nursing facility face costs of approximately $6,000 per month. Other types of injuries may require home modifications to accommodate power chairs, expensive medications, and extensive therapy. The lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury can reach into the millions of dollars each year.

It is emotionally draining and stressful when you or your loved one can no longer enjoy favorite activities or return to a rewarding career. No one should suffer physically, emotionally, and financially due to the careless actions of a reckless driver. Their failure to share the road responsibly demands accountability for their selfish and reckless actions.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Insurance companies like to settle cases quickly. It is not uncommon to hear from them soon after the accident. Aggressive representatives will make an initial offer, eager for you to sign and accept. While the initial settlement offer may seem like a nice amount of money, chances are it is not enough to cover any future medical needs.  Sometimes it won’t even cover your ER bills.

The right personal injury attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to secure the compensation you deserve. If they are unable to reach a settlement, the same attorney is unafraid to go to trial. While each case is different, you may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

You have enough to deal with when it comes to your injuries. By securing the services of an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney, you can rest better knowing your case is in the right hands. Don’t risk your financial future by trying to handle your case alone. A car accident case requires legal representation that understands Illinois law. When a reckless driver causes serious injuries to you, demand justice and accountability. Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations; if you’ve been involved in a reckless driving incident or have more questions regarding the law, consider contacting an Illinois car accident lawyer you trust.

Eight Types of Car Accidents That Could Injure You

Many statistics-gathering entities separate car accident stats by the type of vehicle, type of driver and the cause of an accident.  Safer-America pulls raw data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other agencies. It then uses that data to create a comprehensive report of vehicle accident statistics.

Accidents may involve one vehicle, multiple vehicles, cars against motorcycles, cars against trucks and even cars against pedestrians. Sometimes the accidents are divided by age groups, but the most common age groups mentioned separately are teen drivers and elderly drivers. If you are injured in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney at Abels & Annes as soon as possible.

Impact Types

Certain types of car crashes are more devastating than others. The destruction and injuries caused depend on certain factors. How another vehicle hits yours, where another car hits yours, and the speed your vehicles travel when they collide all contribute to the severity of injuries.

  1. Head-on collision: This type of crash may happen if someone is driving the wrong way on the street, driving the wrong way down a one-way street or passing another vehicle on a two-lane road. While a head-on collision is not the most common type of car accident, it is usually the most deadly because of the combined speed of both vehicles.
  2. Side-impact collision: You often see this type of accident on highways with more than one lane going in the same direction. A side-impact wreck happens when someone tries to merge from one lane into your lane and side-swipes your vehicle.
  3. T-bone collision: This type of accident usually happens at an intersection or a parking lot. If someone runs a red light or a stop sign, or fails to yield turning left, you could ram the nose of your vehicle into the side of the other person’s car. It’s called a T-bone because the two cars make the shape of a ‘T.’
  4. Rear-end collision: In most cases, rear-end wrecks happen at lower speeds. The driver in the rear fails to slow down in time when approaching a stopped vehicle from the rear. In some cases, rear-end collisions may happen at higher speeds. For example, you are traveling on a highway and at a complete stop due to a traffic jam. The person coming up behind you isn’t paying attention. He or she rams into the back of you at a higher rate of speed. A rear-end collision may also happen if someone is tailgating you and you need to stop quickly.
  5. Pedestrian accident: This crash happens when a vehicle hits someone walking in a crosswalk, in a parking lot or along the road. Pedestrian accidents are more common in urban areas with more foot traffic. Pedestrians should always try to use designated crosswalks and at night they should wear reflective clothing if they are walking at night, even in urban areas. While it is up to the driver of the vehicle to notice what is on the roadway, sometimes a person in dark clothing on a dark street is difficult to see.
  6. Rollover accident: This type of accident is often caused by not knowing your vehicle. If you have a high, narrow vehicle, it is more prone to rolling over if you take a curve at a higher speed than recommended. In some cases, a tall vehicle will flip over in a curve, especially if the wind is strong and is pushing you against the outside of the curve.
  7. Hit-and-run wreck: This wreck is when someone hits you and leaves the scene of the accident. The person may not have insurance or could be driving an unregistered vehicle. The person may also be operating on a suspended license or may be driving under the influence.
  8. Single car crash: This happens when someone is driving under the influence or loses control of the vehicle due to excessive speed or because the driver was trying to avoid something in the road. Depending on the speed the driver is traveling, injuries could range from mild to catastrophic or even death.

Types of Location Accidents

Car-Accident-Attorney-Abels-AnnesAccidents happen in different locations, and if you know the most common places, you are apt to be more careful. While it is prudent to be aware of other drivers no matter where you are, your senses should be heightened at intersections, especially those with four-way stops. While everyone must pass the driving test, some people seem to forget what they’ve learned when it comes to four-way stops.

  • Intersection wreck: This is the most common place you’ll find accidents. People do not pay attention, forget how a four-way stop works or run a light or stop sign because they are in a hurry. No matter what the reason, the person who caused the accident is certainly not thinking of others at the intersection.
  • Highway wreck: You might think it is difficult to get in a wreck on a highway since all of the vehicles are going in the same direction and traveling at about the same speed. However, distracted drivers, wrong-way drivers and those who are driving aggressively by speeding and changing lanes every few seconds cause accidents. And, because of the higher rate of speed, once someone gets in an accident, others could add to it because they are not paying close attention to traffic slowing down for the crash. Rear-end accidents in highway traffic are also very common.  Rubber-neckers also cause accidents because they slow down to see something—usually an accident—and the person behind them do not expect them to slow down considerably.
  • Off-road crash: Not off-road in the sense of off-roading in the woods, but in parking lots and other private areas. These accidents are usually the result of people not paying attention when backing out of a parking spot or hitting other vehicles that are close to another car. If someone does not have reasonable control over a vehicle because he or she is a new driver, is inebriated or cannot see due to vision problems, that person could hit your car while pulling into or leaving a parking spot.

If you were injured in an accident or you lost a loved one in an accident, a car accident lawyer can answer your questions and help develop a plan for how you can recover. Speak with Abels & Annes today to discuss other cases average settlements and what you need to do to file a claim.

Court Modifies Arbitration Award in Illinois Car Accident Claim

Illinois car accident victims who seek compensation from the insurance company representing the party who is legally responsible for their injuries may find that all of the damages they suffered are not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. For this reason, all Illinois drivers are required to carry underinsured motorist protection coverage, which is used to compensate an injured party for their losses which exceed the policy limits of the other driver. A case recently decided by the Appellate Court of Illinois demonstrates some important issues that arise for injured drivers attempting to make an underinsured motorist claim to their own insurance company after an accident.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case was a man who was involved in two auto accidents in the fall of 2010 and suffered injuries from each crash. Neither accident was the plaintiff’s fault, and he made insurance claims with the companies who covered the other drivers, and was awarded the policy limit amount for each claim, which was $20,000 for each accident. Although the insurance companies paid out the policy limits and had fulfilled their obligation to the plaintiff, he still claimed that he suffered damages in excess of the amount he was paid, and made a claim with his own insurance company to collect additional damages under his own underinsured motorist bodily injury protection policy.

The plaintiff’s initial claim against his insurance company was referred to arbitration, which is an out of court proceeding where each party submits their case to a panel of arbiters, who are licensed attorneys in Illinois who have been additionally licensed to rule at arbitration proceedings. At arbitration, the plaintiff argued that he suffered a total of $45,000 in damages from the two accidents, and was entitled to such an award from his insurance company under his underinsured motorist protection policy. The arbitration panel agreed with the plaintiff and awarded him $45,000.

Although arbitration is mandatory in many Illinois car accident cases, the losing party has a statutory right to appeal an arbitration ruling to a circuit court to be tried again. The plaintiff’s insurance company did so in this case, arguing to the circuit court that the plaintiff’s damages must be set off by the amount he already received from the at-fault drivers’ insurance companies, and that the underinsured motorist coverage was only required to pay him the damages he suffered in excess of the primary insurance policy limits. The circuit court agreed, and the ruling was upheld by the Appellate Court of Illinois, who affirmed the lower ruing that the plaintiff was only entitled to a $4000 payment from his insurance company in order to fully compensate him for his loss from the accidents.

Have You Been Injured in an Illinois Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Illinois car accident and try to make a claim for compensation, you may be required to go through arbitration in order to make your case. Although arbitration is more informal than a trial and is not technically a court proceeding, the issues decided are the same as those in cases that proceed to trial. Insurance companies have attorneys representing them at arbitration proceedings, and accident victims should have qualified counsel by their side as well. If you’ve been injured, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. At the Chicago personal injury law firm, Abels & Annes, P.C., our qualified car accident attorneys represent injury victims through all types of proceedings, including arbitration, trial, and appeal. To find out whether you may have a claim for damages, call 312-924-7575 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

Six Causes of Car Accidents

Sometimes car accidents are just that—accidents. Mechanical malfunction or a medical emergency are actions the driver cannot control. Other times, drivers’ actions cause accidents. Depending on the type of accident and what you are driving, you could suffer minor injuries, catastrophic injuries, and even death. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, contact a vehicle accident attorney in Chicago.


If You Are in an Accident

First, if you do get in a crash, whether it’s your fault or not, take these steps if possible.

  • Make sure everyone is okay and call 911. Advise the dispatcher that there has been an accident and that people may be hurt. If no one seems to be injured, let the dispatcher know, but ask for EMTs anyway so that they can check anyone who changes their mind. Also let the dispatcher know if any fluids are leaking, especially fuel.
  • Take pictures of the accident from every angle. If any vehicle involved left skid marks, take pictures of the scene that also show the skid marks. Make sure you get close-up photos of the damage to your car and the other driver’s vehicle. Don’t take pictures so close that you can’t tell where the damage is or what the damage is.
  • Get contact, insurance and registration information from everyone who is involved in the accident. Give your contact information to others involved in the wreck.
  • Get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
  • Contact your insurance company. Only give the representative your name, contact information and the location of the accident. Let the representative know that your attorney will contact him or her regarding specifics of the crash. Don’t give details of the accident to the insurance company. Even if the accident was not your fault, only give your name, location of the crash and your attorney’s contact information to the representative. Insurance companies use anything you say as a reason to decline payment or to lower the payout.
  • Get medical attention if needed. Some injuries may not show up for hours or even a few days later. If you have a concussion, you could suffer problems many years down the road.


Causes of Car Wrecks

Poor judgment causes most car wrecks. While unexpected medical problems or unforeseen weather conditions such as a tornado spinning up and going over a highway cause accidents, these are rare when compared to other reasons people crash.

  1. Speeding causes wrecks because it takes longer to stop when you are traveling at a higher rate of speed. Additionally, speed limits are put in place because that is what is safe on the roadway. A curvy mountainous road might have a speed limit of 30 mph while a highway with wide sweeping curves and excellent visibility might have a 75 mph speed limit.
  2. Distracted driving is one of the major causes of accidents. It only takes 2 seconds for your eyes to be off the road for something to happen. The person in front of you could come to a quick stop or quickly slow down. An unexpected sharp curve could appear on an unfamiliar road. Someone could pull out in front of you. Common distractions include.
    • People reading textbooks, newspapers, an electronic reader or other material;
    • Talking or texting on a cell phone;
    • Daydreaming;
    • Interference from a passenger;
    • Eating;
    • Paying more attention to the view than the road in front of you;
    • Paying more attention to pets and kids in the backseat;
    • Looking for your favorite playlist;
    • Trying to set the GPS while you are driving;
    • Listening to music; and
    • Applying makeup.
  3. Weather also plays a part in accidents. Whether it’s rain, fog, snow, sleet, ice, or even the sun, the weather makes driving difficult. Fog and sun in your eyes make it difficult to see, and people often drive the speed limit or break the speed limit in these conditions instead of slowing down. Rain, snow, and ice cause the streets to become slippery. Again, drivers neglect to slow down in these conditions, thus increasing the risk of crashing.
  4. Fatigue is a significant cause of accidents. People drive long distances without stopping for a break, or they are tired after working a long day at work.
  5. Reckless driving also causes accidents. Anger, anxiousness, being upset with someone, impatience and resentment, cause people to start driving aggressively. Aggressive driving includes speeding, weaving in and out of traffic on highways or passing in no-passing zones on secondary roads.
  6. Driving under the influence causes judgment and reflexes to suffer. Where you might have stopped in time because someone in front of you stopped unexpectedly, you might hit that person if you are driving while you are under the influence. You could also have poor judgment and take a curve too fast or merge in front of traffic too soon.


Car Accidents Happen a Lot in Chicago

As of Sept. 1, 2019, Illinois saw 593 fatal car crashes that resulted in 639 fatalities. Of these, 98 were on highways, 214 on city streets and 210 on state/U.S. routes. The newest crash statistics for Chicago are from 2016. That year, Chicago saw 98,237 crashes with 197,699 vehicles involved. Of those, 111 were fatal, 16,635 involved injuries and 82,491 involved property damage.

Chicago also keeps statistics on holiday crashes. In 2016, the city measured crash statistics from 6:00 pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until 11:59 pm on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The city measured Christmas statistics from 6:00 pm on Dec. 23, 2016, through 11:59 pm on Dec. 26, 2016.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, there were a total of 2,390 crashes. Of those, 10 were fatal with 11 fatalities, and 586 were injury crashes with 881 people injured. Two of the deaths were alcohol-related.

Over the Christmas holiday, there were 1,940 crashes. Of those, nine were fatal with nine fatalities, and 339 were injury crashes with 502 injured people. Two of the deaths were alcohol-related.

Contact a Chicago vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible, even if you are in the hospital—or instruct family members and close friends to contact a car crash lawyer for you if the injuries you sustained in a car wreck prevent you from doing so.