Chicago Area Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents
The State of Illinois has enacted many laws pertaining to motor vehicles, all of which are aimed at making our city streets and highways safer and reducing the number of accidents, as well as personal injuries and deaths sustained as a result of them.
The importance of making our roads safer cannot be overemphasized and our own driving habits often contribute to the accidents that occur. Some of the programs currently in place in Illinois to make our roadways safer include “Click it or Ticket,” which is aimed at getting people to use seat belts while driving a car or riding as a passenger; “Don’t Text and Drive” aims to stop unnecessary accidents caused by the distractions of cell phones, especially pertaining to text messaging while driving; “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” obviously aims to keep our roadways free of drivers impaired by alcohol or other drugs; “Operation Teen Safe Driving” is directed at protecting our young people who are new to driving cars and the rules of the road; and “Start Seeing Motorcycles” is an attempt to make all drivers more aware of the presence of motorcycles on our streets, since accidents involving motorcycles are often caused by the negligence of other drivers because motorcycles are smaller, not as easily visible and accidents involving motorcycles usually cause severe injuries to the vulnerable biker, if not death.
There are over 140,000 miles of roadways in the State of Illinois and our highway system is one of the busiest in the country. Despite efforts to make our roads safer, there were 956 people killed in vehicular accidents in 2012 and, as of December 11, 2013, there are been 847 accidents that resulted in 939 people losing their lives, so we still have work to do to make our roads safer and reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents include traffic congestion, poor road conditions, signaling errors, reckless and/or aggressive driving, which includes driving under the influence, as well as driver fatigue, lack of proper driver training, defective roadways and malfunctioning vehicles.
Injuries sustained in vehicular accidents range from painful scratches, scrapes and lacerations to more severe incidents of broken bones, internal injuries, neck, brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations, permanent paralysis and, of course, death.
Accidents that involve semi-trucks also occur frequently and cause more extensive property damage, as well as bodily injury to those involved. In fact, in trucking accidents involving fatalities, 98% of the time those folks traveling in the smaller vehicles are killed, as opposed to the truck driver, and an injury or death happens every 16 minutes because of accidents involving big rigs, the majority of which occur in rural areas of the country during daytime hours.
Across the nation, there are over 500,000 accidents every year involving big rigs and, of those, about 5,000 result in fatalities and 75% are caused by some sort of driving error committed by the person operating the smaller passenger vehicle.
It is wise to use extreme caution when sharing the road with truckers since a fully loaded commercial semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and be 75 feet long when multiple trailers are attached, which requires more distance for stopping the truck or averting an accident. Drivers of smaller vehicles should maintain safe distances from semi-trucks at all times, avoid quickly changing lanes and getting in front of a fast moving truck and pay special attention to any vehicle that is in the process of backing up.
Because so many roadway accidents occur on a daily basis, there are also a plethora of lawsuits being filed daily by those who’ve suffered injuries or damage to or loss of property as a result of vehicular accidents. These lawsuits seek monetary payment for property damage and bills relating to medical treatment for injuries, disability or disfigurement, as well as future rehabilitation, lost wages and punitive damages for pain and suffering.
If you are involved in any kind of traffic accident in the State of Illinois, it is wise to always obtain a police report and, if you are injured or your property is damaged, it is advisable to obtain a qualified lawyer to represent you in a lawsuit against the negligent person(s) in order to restore you and your property to pre-accident condition, to the fullest extent possible.
Because these types of lawsuits involve police reports and complex insurance policies, as well as the intricacies of the laws governing them, you will need a lawyer to properly represent your interests in recovering damages. Since statutes of limitation exist that restrict the period of time within which you may file such a lawsuit, time is of the essence and you should immediately acquire legal representation for proper advice on how to proceed when you are the victim of negligence that results in injuries to you or others or property damage of any kind.