Posted On: September 29, 2009

Preventing Chicago Car Crashes: Dangers of Texting While Driving Highlighted During US DOT's Distracted Driving Summit

Beginning January, the state of Illinois will ban all motorists from texting while driving. In the meantime, this form of distracted driving is still legal and many motorists will continue to send and receive texts while operating a motor vehicle despite knowing that texting while driving significantly increases a person’s chances of becoming involved in a Chicago car crash.

Fortunately, efforts to continue to educate and remind people that texting while driving can be fatal. Beginning tomorrow, the US Department of Transportation will hold its Distracted Driving Summit to discuss the dangers that can arise and the deaths that can result when someone texts while driving or participates in other distracted driving activities. Also, from October 5 to October 11, AAA and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is sponsoring Heads Up Driving Week. They are calling on motorists across the US to stop all distracted driving activities---especially talking on a cell phone and texting—for just one week.

In Illinois, one Northwestern University student is garnering attention for a school project she and other students are making called "Message Received." The film highlighting the dangers of texting when driving. Last year, the city of Chicago passed an ordinance making Internet surfing and texting illegal.

If you were injured in a Chicago auto crash because a driver was distracted, you may be entitled to personal injury recovery from the liable party.

AAA Foundation for traffic safety says that driver inattention is a cause of over one million traffic accidents in the US. It is unacceptable that people are getting hurt and dying because certain motorists are unable to wait until they’ve arrived at their destination to respond to or compose a text message, make a phone call, light a cigarette, read a newspaper, or use their hands to eat, paint their nails, or apply makeup.

Student film focuses on texting during driving, DailyNorthwestern, September 29, 2009

Administration Eyes Ways to Block Texting While Driving, US News & World Report, September 28, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving Summit

What is Heads Up Driving Week?, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Cellphone laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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Posted On: September 25, 2009

Owning a Motor Vehicle Increases Chicago Car Accident Risk for Teenagers

According to two studies by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researcher, teenagers who either own a car or are able to use one whenever they want have a greater chance of becoming involved in a car accident than teens who have shared use of a vehicle and/or whose parents monitor their kids’ driving activities and/or have specific rules about driving.

The studies’ research is based on a nationally representative survey of over 5,500 teens, grades 9-11. Students from 68 US high schools responded to the questionnaire, which was issued 2006.

Over 2,000 teens who said they drove unsupervised were at the center of the study. 70% reported that they either owned a vehicle or were the main driver of an auto. While 25% of “main” drivers had been involved in auto accidents, that figure was at 10% for teen drivers who had shared use of a car.

Flaura Koplin Winston, who is the study’s lead author, noted that when teenagers are given free use of or ownership of a car, they may develop a “sense of entitlement” that can make them less careful drivers. She said that teen drivers who shared driving access had a lower crash rate because having to ask for the car keys made it easier for parents to monitor their driving habits. Teens whose parents were more involved in their driving activities were 71% less likely to drive drunk and 30% less likely to talk on a cell phone while driving.

Considering that traffic accidents is the number one cause of teen fatalities, this information is good for parents to know. Just because a teen driver is now old enough to legally drive does not mean that he or she automatically has the skills, experience, knowledge, and judgment that is necessary for driving safely.

A teenager who causes a Chicago car crash risks not just his or her life but also the lives of others. In 2008, 4,400 teens were killed in US car crashes. In 2007, over 7,000 people died in US auto accidents involving teen drivers. Over 3,000 of the people who died were teenagers. Over 250,000 teen drivers sustained injuries.

Ken Ginsburg, associated pediatrics professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recommends that parents set “appropriate” rules and boundaries for teen drivers. His suggestions include establishing curfews, restricting driving during bad weather, and preventing their kids from driving passengers around for the first six months to one year.

The studies findings’ can be found in the October issue of Pediatrics. State Farm Insurance Co. funded the study.

Strict rules from parents lead to safer-driving teens, USA Today, September 25, 2009

Teens with own cars have more crashes, study finds, AP, September 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, CDC

New Drivers, NHTSA

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Posted On: September 24, 2009

Cook County Jury Awards $25 Million Schaumburg Car Accident Lawsuit to Partial Paraplegic

In Cook County, Illinois, a jury has awarded $25 million to a man who is now a paraplegic after he was injured in a Schaumburg car accident in April 2004. Andrzej Chraca can only walk using a cane and leg braces because he fractured a vertebra in his spine.

The Cook County car accident happened as Chraca’s vehicle and a car driven by Steve Miles crossed an Elgin O'Hare Expressway intersection at the same time. Both men have argued that each of them had the right-of-way. Miles, who was working for the Illinois Department of Transportation at the time of the Schaumburg, Illinois auto crash also sustained permanent injuries, including a mild traumatic brain injury and partial paralysis to the right side of his body. Chraca and Miles haven’t been able to go back to work since the auto accident happened.

Even though investigators were not able to figure out who ran a red light and witnesses at the Chicago personal injury trial offered contradicting testimony, the jury ruled in favor of Chraca—although they did find him 5% responsible for driving too fast—because Miles’s car struck Chraca’s vehicle.

After making a slight deduction for comparative negligence, Chraca’s $25 million award was reduced to $23,838,668. The IDOT is responsible for $2 million because Miles was operating IDOT equipment when the deadly Schaumburg car accident happened.

Proving liability in a Chicago car accident can be complicated. There may be inadequate evidence and conflicting testimony from various witnesses.

Schaumburg man gets $24 million judgment in crash suit, The Daily Herald, September 9, 2009

Cook County jury awards $24M to man hurt in Schaumburg crash, Sun Times, September 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Spinal Cord Injury : Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Injuries, Apparelyzed

Car Accidents, Proving Fault, Nolo

Continue reading " Cook County Jury Awards $25 Million Schaumburg Car Accident Lawsuit to Partial Paraplegic " »

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Posted On: September 23, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit Sues Former Bears Player for Personal Injury

In Cook County Circuit Court, a woman is suing former Chicago Bears player Steve McMichael for personal injury. Her Chicago car accident lawsuit is seeking over $50,000 in damages.

Marzanna Jakszewicz says she sustained a herniated disc during the Cook County car crash, which occurred on January 8, 2008 on the Northwest side. McMichael was reportedly getting off Kennedy Expressway at North Kimball Avenue when he allegedly hit Jakszewicz's vehicle, which was stopped at a traffic light.

Jakszewicz claims that the former Chicago Bears player stumbled out of his car, verbally abused her, and left the Chicago car crash site even though she asked him to wait for police.

According to Jakszewicz’s Chicago car accident lawyer, McMichael may have overshot the exit, which is how he ended up hitting his client’s vehicle. Jakszewicz’s car and another auto were damaged during the Chicago car collision.

Herniated Discs
A herniated disc can be extremely painful and a CT scan or an MRI may be required for diagnosis. Some car crash victims may find themselves experiencing a lifetime of pain from their herniated disc injuries, and they may have to undergo surgery, therapy, or steroid injections.

If you are injured in any kind of Chicago accident that was caused by another parties negligence, you need to speak with a Chicago injury attorney immediately. In many serious cases, your car accident insurance may not cover all the costs of medical expenses, rehabilitation, and time off from work. You may have to file a Chicago car accident lawsuit to ensure that you receive all of the recovery that you are owed.

Former Bear McMichael sued for allegedly causing crash, fleeing the scene, WBBM 780, September 23, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Herniated Disc, Web MD

Welcome to Herniated disk guide, May Clinic

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Posted On: September 18, 2009

Preventing Chicago Car Accidents: With Seat Belt Use in 2009 at 84%, Safety Restraint Systems Cannot Afford to Have Defects

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, seat belt use this year is at 84%. This is a 1% increase from 2007's seat belt use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis conducted NOPUS.

Per the survey:
• US states where vehicle occupants are more likely to get pulled over for not wearing seat belts had a higher seat belt use rate than states with less strict seat belt regulations.
• Seat belt use on expressways is at 90% and 81% on surface streets.
• Seat belt use in passenger cars is 86%, 87% in vans and SUVs, and 74% in pickup trucks.
• Seat belt use on weekdays is 83%.
• Seat belt use on weekends is at 86%.

With so many people using seat belts, it is important that these safety devices be free from defects so that they are able to properly protect wearers in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and our Chicago car accident lawyers have represented injury victims with defective seat belt claims against auto manufacturers and seat belt makers.

Common kinds of seat belt defects that can be grounds for a Chicago products liability complaint:

• Torn webbing
• Ribbed webbing
• Inertial unlatching
• Failed retractor
• Lap-only seat belts

Defective seat belts can lead to catastrophic car accident injuries. If a person using the seat belt is involved in a Chicago car accident and the safety restraint system malfunctions, the vehicle occupant could get thrown into the front or side windows, get ejected from the motor vehicle, or sustain a serious traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury if the roof crushes inward during a rollover accident.

Seat Belt Use in 2009, NHTSA, September 2009 (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Safety advocates seek more seat belt use, USA Today, June 14, 2009

Seat Belts, Why You Should Use Them, OSU EHS

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Posted On: September 16, 2009

Illinois Car Accidents: Secretary of State's Office Compiling Emergency Contact Database So Police Can Find Victims’ Relatives

In Illinois, the secretary of state’s office is putting together an emergency contact database that police can use to locate the family members of car accident victims. The database is voluntary and lets state residents submit phone numbers and addresses of up to two contacts located anywhere in the United States. To submit your contacts’ information, go to the CyberDrive Illinois Web site.

All you need is an Illinois driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card. Only law enforcement personnel can access the data.

The emergency information will hopefully make it easier for police in Chicago and other Illinois cities to contact family members of people who were injured or killed in Illinois car accidents. It can be especially difficult to locate the relatives of victims that were killed, are too injured to communicate, or whose own contact information is not up-to-date. This can prove traumatic not just for the victim but also for some family members who may not be able to make it to the hospital in time to make the important decisions about their loved one’s medical care.

Over 6,000 people have signed up to participate since the program’s launch in August.

Chicago Car Accidents
Getting hurt in a Chicago car accident can be a life-altering experience. There can be so much to think about following a serious injury crash, including figuring out what to do about medical expenses and living costs, exploring best options for medical care and recovery, worrying about how you are going to pay your bills, or wondering whether you will lose your job if you take the needed time off from work to recover. Also, there is the pain and suffering you may be experiencing as a result of your injuries.

This is why it is important that you work with an experienced Chicago auto accident lawyer who can help you get through this difficult time while pursuing your Illinois personal injury recovery from all liable parties.

Illinois secretary of state compiles 'in case of emergency' database, Chicago Tribune, September 16, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Illinois Department of Transportation

What to do after a car accident, MSN

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Posted On: September 11, 2009

Deadly Illinois Car Accident: Man Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for DUI Crash that Killed Couple and Unborn Baby

In Illinois, 57-year-old Donald W. Canterbery was sentenced to 28 years in prison for pleading guilty to aggravated drunk driving and other criminal charges. Canterbury’s blood-alcohol rate was over three times the legal limit when the vehicle he was driving fatally struck the auto carrying Adam Zimmer and Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer on Illinois 111 last February. Arnold-Zimmer was pregnant at the time and her unborn son also died in the fatal car accident.

Police say that Canterbery, a Granite City resident, was driving 91 mph when he rear-ended the couple’s vehicle. Just four seconds before the deadly Illinois car wreck, his vehicle was moving at a speed of 151 mph.

Prior to the car accident, Canterbery was arrested five times for DUI. He had just been granted probation for the fifth drunk driving conviction in January. The 28-year prison sentence he has been ordered to serve is the maximum sentence allowed for this type of crime.

Although chronic drinking can be a result of the disease called alcoholism, this does not excuse a drunken person from the consequences of getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, driving drunk, and accidentally killing another person.

According to the American Council on Alcoholism, almost 16,000 people died because of drunk drivers in 2008, while more than 1 million people got hurt. Drivers with BAC’s exceeding the legal driving limit and/or who are repeat offenders are responsible for many of these injuries and deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drunken motorists with BACs of .15% or more increase their chances of becoming involved in a fatal car crash by 300%. Nearly 2/3rds of alcohol-related deaths involved drivers who had BACs of .14% or more. Out of every eight drunk drivers, at least one of these motorists has a prior DWI/DUI conviction.

Repeat offenders are often people who suffer from a drinking problem. While alcoholism is a serious problem for the person who is struggling to cope with this disease, it becomes other people's problem when someone is injured or their loved one is killed by a drunken driver. Drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Chicago personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

DUI Treatment Courts: Drunk Driving Prevention Through Intervention, American Council on Alcoholism, September 11, 2009

Repeat DUI offender gets 28 years for crash that killed couple, unborn son, BND, September 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving

DUI Conviction Penalty, Illinois State Police

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Posted On: September 8, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Claims the Life of 5-Year-Old Bicyclist

Police in Chicago, Illinois are citing the 64-year-old motorist who fatally struck a 5-year-old bicyclist with failure to provide a pedestrian with due care in a roadway and failure to stop when leaving an alley. Following the deadly Chicago car accident in the Rogers Park area, driver Mary Mani remained at the crash site.

The young girl, Ester Kenig, was transported to an Evanston hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Chicago Car Accidents Can Fatally Injure Child Bicyclists
With the new academic school year underway, it is important for drivers to be on the look out for bicyclists. A Chicago motorist can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death if a cyclist is injured in a Chicago auto crash. Young child riders are especially at risk of serious injuries.

Steps to avoid injuring a bicyclist in a Chicago car accident:
• Be on the look out for bicyclists.
• Be especially careful around child bicyclists.
• Before opening your car door, make sure that a bicyclist isn’t approaching.
• Follow the speed limit.
• Stop completely when at stop signs.
• Give a bicyclist room to maneuver.
• Don’t tailgate a cyclist.
• Watch out for child pedestrians and bicyclists in school crossing zones and in areas where kids are likely to be going to or from school.
• Slow down when passing a bicycle rider.
• Try not to honk your horn when you are close to a bicyclist. You might startle him or her, causing the rider to fall onto the street.

Chicago car accidents can lead to serious injuries for victims. In many cases, car insurance will not cover all recovery expenses. An experienced Chicago, Illinois car collision lawyer can pursue the maximum compensation that you are owed.

Driver cited in death of 5-year-old, ABC Local, September 7, 2009

Yield to Heels,

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Driver ticketed in crash that killed 5-year-old girl, WBBM Newsradio, September 7, 2009

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Posted On: September 4, 2009

Will Chicago Auto Products Liability Plaintiffs Have to Reopen Their Toyota Rollover Lawsuits?

Chicago auto products liability lawyers are watching and waiting to discover if indeed the allegations brought by a former Toyota lawyer who is accusing the automaker of concealing key evidence and information in hundreds of rollover lawsuits are true. If so, a number of Toyota rollover lawsuits that were either settled or with verdicts that came out in favor of the carmaker may have to be reopened.

Last July, Dimitrios Biller sued the his former employer for wrongful termination. He says Toyota made him resign because he disagreed with the way they allegedly mishandled key evidence in over 300 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Biller, who was given a $3.7 million severance package in 2007, is now ready to talk about why he says he was let go.

Biller worked for the world’s biggest automaker from 2003 to 2007. While employed by Toyota, he defended the company against rollover lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and the loved ones of victims that died in catastrophic traffic crashes.

Biller is accusing Toyota of keeping electronically stored data from plaintiffs instead of turning over the information to their products liability lawyers. He also says that Toyota destroyed documents about roof crush issues that were relevant to these cases.

Biller claims that Toyota withheld records about the testing and the designs of vehicle roofs. He says the carmaker has never come up with a document to prove that its roof strength standard is tougher than the federal government’s requirement. Bill claims that currently, there are people who are driving Toyota vehicles that fail to meet the carmaker's own internal standard.

The allegations that Biller is making against Toyota are serious and could impact the outcome of hundreds of products liability cases that were already closed. Our Chicago SUV rollover accident law firm will be watching closely to determine if indeed Toyota has been keeping key information from plaintiffs who perhaps should have received a larger recovery for their injuries, pain and suffering, and losses.

Rollover accidents continue to claim many lives in the US on a regular basis. This is why automakers must design their vehicles in a manner that decreases the chances of a rollover accident and if a rollover crash does happen, the vehicle’s roof should be sturdy enough so that it doesn’t crush inward to cause serious injury or death to vehicle occupants that are secured by their seat belts.

Toyota Accused of Hiding Evidence, CBS News, August 29, 2009

Toyota May Face Push to Reopen Rollover-Crash Cases, Bloomberg, September 1, 2009

Toyota Accused of Concealing Evidence in Rollover Lawsuits, NY TImes, August 31, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Car Accidents, Justia

Rollover and Roof Crush, IIHS

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Posted On: September 3, 2009

More Illinois Car Crash Deaths Involving Alcohol and Low Seat Belt Use Occur at Night, Says IDOT

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, some 500 people in the state died in alcohol-related car accidents in 2007. In an effort to decrease the number of drunk driving deaths this year, over 300 local police agencies are stepping up their efforts to crack down on motorists who are driving drunk or not using seat belts—especially over the holiday weekend.

There will be more police patrols on the street and officers will focus on the night hours. Last week, the IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety reported a significant difference in the motor vehicle deaths that happen late at night than during the other times of the day.

While Illinois State Police are quick to point out that driving drunk at any time of day or night is never appropriate or acceptable, the latest data indicates that the chances of becoming involved in an Illinois drunk driving accident rises dramatically at night.

Almost 7 out of 10 traffic deaths that took place between 12am and 3am involved a driver who was drunk. Less than 3 of the 10 car crash deaths that occurred at this time were people who were using seat belts. This 3-hour period is considered the deadliest time of the day to be riding a vehicle on an Illinois road.

During the day, alcohol was a factor in under 2 out of every 10 Illinois traffic deaths. Almost 6 out of the 10 fatality victims had been properly restrained.

Our Chicago car crash law firm has said time and again that drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for an Illinos personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death case if a motorist was careless enough to drink and drive and someone was killed or hurt as a result. While it is the responsibility of vehicle occupants to use their seat belts, there are Chicago auto injuries and deaths that happen because of products liability. In order to save a life, a seat belt must be free from defects and cannot malfunction during an Illinois traffic accident.

Labor Day DUI crackdown set, Chicago Tribune, September 3, 2009

IDOT data reports late-night hours as the deadliest time on Illinois roadways, Illinois Gov, August 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
2007 Drunk Driving Statistics

Cops target U.S. 41 for drunken drivers, Post-Tribune, September 3, 2009

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