Posted On: November 25, 2009

Illinois Motor Vehicle Injuries: Father And Daughter Settle Will County Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit for $6 Million

In Illinois, Richard Wright and his daughter 15-year-old Kelly have been awarded a $6 million settlement for injuries they sustained during a 2006 Joliet motorcycle accident in Will County. The Wrights were on a motorcycle together when they were hit by a Chevrolet truck, driven by John Martis, as the vehicle turning left.

Kelly broke her ankle and sustained a serious right tibia fracture during the Will County motorcycle crash. She is expected to undergo a fusion surgery for her ankle before the end of the year. Richard fractured his ankle and wrist and sustained other injuries.

The settlement may be the largest for a Will County, Illinois personal injury case.

Some Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes:

• Vehicle driver negligence
• Motorcyclist negligence
• Drunk driving
• Speeding
• Distracted driving
• Road debris
• Poorly maintained roads
• Auto products liability
• Poor weather conditions

As an injured Illinois motorcyclist, you may be able to hold the party responsible for your motor vehicle crash liable for personal injury or wrongful death. Motorcyclists are always at a disadvantage anytime they are in a motorcycle accident. They only have their protective gear to shield them during impact and any injuries are frequently catastrophic and costly.

The federal government recently announced that it is going to conduct a new study into what causes motorcycle crashes and how to prevent them from happening. The Hurt Report, published in 1981, was the last time it conducted this type of inquiry into motorcycle collisions.

Record $6M settlement in motorcycle crash lawsuit, Chicago Sun-Times, November 23, 2009

Federal Government To Study Motorcycle Crash Causation, Chicago Now, October 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Motorcycle Accidents Overview, Justia

The Hurt Study Summary

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Posted On: November 23, 2009

Chicago Products Liability?: KidsandCars.Org Says Tens of Millions of People Injured by Motor Vehicle Power Windows

Contrary to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings that less than 2,000 people a year are injured by power windows, has released research showing that tens of millions of vehicle occupants have been injured by these automatic windows. Harris Interactive administered the research, which was commissioned by, in October. Among the findings:

• More than 22 million US adults say they were hurt or know someone who was injured in a power window accident.
• Over 13 million adults say they hurt someone by shutting a car window.
• Over 10 million adults say they got hurt when someone else shut a vehicle window.

Basing its conclusions on its own findings, the NHTSA recently stated in its proposed rulemaking that auto reversing systems don’t have to be mandated. Now, wants NHTSA to make sure that ARS are required on all vehicles sold in this country. ARS stops a window from shutting when anything obstructs its path.

Auto manufacturers are aware that power windows can cause serious personal injury. It is their responsibility to design and manufacture auto parts in a manner that doesn't increase the chances of injury or death. Not installing ARS is one way to manufacture a power window that can cause accidental injury or death. Allowing the window to be raised via toggle switch can be dangerous as well, especially if a young child accidentally leans on it while sticking his or her head or finger out the window as it closes.

The majority of power windows use an upward force of 30 to 80 pounds. Only 22 pounds of force are required to hurt or suffocate a baby. The NHTSA and are both in agreement that about five kids a year are killed in power-window accidents.

A car manufacturer can be held liable for Illinois products liability if a person is injured by a defective auto part.

New Data Refutes NHTSA Findings, Exposes Real Danger of Vehicle Power Windows, Reuters, November 2, 2009

Power Windows Pose Great Risk to Children, Says Consumer Group, The New York Times, November 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Kids and Cars


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Posted On: November 18, 2009

Drive Carefully to Prevent Chicago Car Crashes During the Thanksgiving Weekend

The National Safety Commission says that if last year’s car crash statistics are any indication, then Thanksgiving weekend ’09 will be the deadliest holiday of the year for motorists. The Thanksgiving holiday season begins on Wednesday, November 25 at 6pm and ends on midnight on Sunday, November 29.

In 2008, there were 389 car accident deaths and thousands of injuries over this long weekend. Many of the people who died were not using their seat belts when the deadly auto crashes happened.

Wearing one’s seat belt is obviously one way to decrease the chances of serious injury or death during a Chicago motor vehicle crash whether the collision occurs over the Thanksgiving weekend or during any other time of the year.

Other ways to avoid becoming involved in a car crash this Thanksgiving weekend:

• Don’t speed.
• Be mindful of heavy traffic—especially if you head off for the holidays on Wednesday night. Try to be patient and don’t engage in aggressive driving behavior.
• If possible, leave before rush hour.
• Don't hurry to arrive at your destination.
• Trade off driving duties with another passenger if you have a long way to go.
• Pay attention to the road and be mindful of current driving and weather conditions—adjust your driving accordingly.
• Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
• If you have too much to drink during your Thanksgiving meal, don’t drive drunk.
• Also, if the tryptophan in the turkey makes you drowsy, try not to drive or be extra careful when driving.

You don’t want to ruin the holiday weekend by being involved in and/or causing a catastrophic Illinois car crash.

Drowsy driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and driver inattention can cause serious Chicago injury accidents.

hanksgiving Traffic Safety 2009, National Safety Commission, November 17, 2009

Practice safe driving this Thanksgiving holiday, Northern Star

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, AAA Exchange

Illinois Department of Transportation

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Posted On: November 16, 2009

Chicago Car Crash on South Side Claims Two Lives

Two people died from injuries they sustained in a Chicago car crash on Saturday evening when a Chevy Malibu ran a red light at State and 75th Streets. The car struck a Ford sedan that was turning from 75th onto State, which then hit an Infiniti. Meantime, the Malibu struck another Chevrolet.

Killed in the Chicago car accident were 27-year-old Christopher Chatman, who was driving the Ford, and Ardella Wells, who was riding in the Malibu that caused the multi-vehicle crash. The 87-year-old victim is the mother of Darnell Wells, who was driving the Malibu.

Charges are pending against the 52-year-old driver, who police say was at fault. They have already cited him for driving without insurance and disobeying a red light.

Less than 24 hours later, another Chicago car collision on the Southwest Side, this one close to 48th Street and Cicero Avenue, left seven people injured. Four of the accident victims were initially listed in serious-to-critical condition.

Involvement in a serious traffic crash can result in catastrophic injuries. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, organ damage, and burn injuries can be very costly and your insurance may not be able to cover all medical and recovery costs.

Seven hurt in Southwest Side crash, Sun Times, November 15, 2009

Two killed in four-car crash on State Street, ABC 7 News, November 15, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Car Accidents Caused by Negligence, Nolo

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Posted On: November 13, 2009

Home damaged in Chicago bus crash is razed after officials deem it structurally unsound

A single mother and her four sons, ages 8 to 16, must find another place to live after a CTA bus that crashed into their home damaged the residence to the point that it had to be raised. The Chicago motor vehicle accident happened at around 5:40 am on Wednesday at 115th Street and Vincennes Avenue in Morgan Park.

Four people who were in the CTA bus were injured. All of them, including bus driver 36-year-old Zoye Sanders, were taken to hospitals in good condition. Sanders was cited for negligent driving.

The bus crashed through the bedroom’s brick wall and a portion of the bathroom. The mother who lived in the house, Lasharon Smith, was unable to get a lot of the family’s belonging because officials would only let her enter the front of the residence. The family is staying with relatives.

A neighbor of Smith’s, Jerome Freeman, says this is the third Chicago motor vehicle crash this year where a property on the road has been involved. He says that his fence was hit in a Chicago car crash in January. Smith’s fence was hit by another car a few months ago.

Involvement in a Chicago bus crash can result in serious injuries that can result in costly medical bills. This is one reason it is important to determine whether other parties are liable for causing your injuries.

Because CTA buses are commercial vehicles, their drivers owe their passengers a duty of care, both professionally and legally, to safely take them where they need to go. When failure to fulfill that duty results in injury, death, or damages, the injured party may have grounds for a Chicago bus accident case.

CTA driver who crashed into home cited for negligence, WGNTV, November 11, 2009

Driver ticketed after CTA bus slams into house, Southtown Star, November 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Bus Safety Rules Are Long Overdue, Board Says, Washington Post, April 22, 2009

National Transportation Safety Board

Chicago Transit Authority

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Posted On: November 9, 2009

Decrease the Number of Chicago Car Accidents by Not Driving While Drowsy

November 2 – 8 was Drowsing Driving Prevention Week. Designated as such by the National Sleep Foundation, the weeklong campaign focused on making more drivers aware of how dangerous it is to drive while drowsy or tired.

Studies reveal that a person who has been awake for 18 hours exhibits impairment equal to someone whose blood alcohol level is .05% to .10%. Driving while sleepy or tired impairs a motorist’s reflexes and ability to pay attention, while causing blurry vision if not loss of consciousness during even just a few seconds of unintentional sleep. Considering that it takes just a few seconds for a tragic Chicago car crash to happen, drowsy driving can prove catastrophic.

Groups especially at-risk for drowsy driving are commercial drivers, people with untreated sleep disorders (millions of people may not even be aware they are suffering from slip apnea), young motorists, and people who work the graveyard shift. People on long trips, motorists who are medicated or did not get enough sleep, drunk drivers, solo drivers on dark roads or on those lacking scenery, and late night drivers are also at risk for falling asleep at the wheel.

Many people don’t realize that drowsy driving can be deadly. A new National Sleep Foundation poll reports that 54 million motorists drive while drowsy at least once a month. 105 million drivers report driving while sleepy at least once in the last 12 months.

National Sleep Foundation Chairman Thomas Balkin says contrary to common belief, motorists can’t just will themselves to stay awake, which accounts for the 1.9 million car accidents and near-collisions a year involving a drowsy driver.

On a positive note,1.9 million motor vehicle crashes that can be prevent in the future if only motorists would stop drowsy driving.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, National Sleep Foundation (PDF)

1.9 Million Drivers Have Fatigue-Related Car Crashes or Near Misses Each Year, Reuters, November 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Drowsy Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Drowsy Driving, National Safety Council

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Posted On: November 6, 2009

Auto Products Liability: NHTSA Rebukes Toyota’s Statement Claiming "No Defect" Related to 3.8 Million Vehicles Recalled Following Fatal Floor Mat Crash

Contrary to statements by Toyota Motor Corp. that the 3.8 million autos they recently recalled have no defects, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is claiming otherwise. The car manufacturer had put out a statement saying that the vehicles with floor mats that are compatible with the auto and are properly secured and contain “no defect.” The auto manufacturer’s massive recall was announced after a family died on August 28 while riding in a Lexus that sped out of control.

On Wednesday, the NHTSA called Toyota’s statements that the recalled vehicles weren’t defective “misleading” and “inaccurate” and said that the affected Lexus and Toyota vehicles have an “underlying defect” involving the driver’s foot well and the accelerator pad design. NHTSA says that the design of the accelerator pad could have increased the likelihood it would get caught in the floor mat.

Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law were riding a 2009 Lexus ES 350 when the vehicle accelerated to extremely high speeds and the brakes appeared to have stopped working. It turns out that the reason the brakes couldn’t stop the car was because the gas pedal had gotten entangled in the floor mat, which was improperly installed and not even designed for use with this particular Lexus.

Toyota has since responded to the NHTSA’s rebuke saying it never intended to mislead or provide information that wasn’t accurate. Toyota says it is working to provide “vehicle-based” solutions to prevent unintended vehicle acceleration from happening.

Toyota has chosen to focus on the floor mat issue as the cause of the tragic crash. The auto manufacturer also disagreed with news accounts that the unintended acceleration may be related to electronic throttle control systems and other factors. It also refuted suggestions that the vehicle’s brake systems, engine control systems, or electronic interference may have caused the accidental acceleration.

Yet according to one family whose Toyota Highlander suddenly sped up to almost 100 miles per hour, their vehicle does not have the floor mat that is part of the recall.

It is an auto manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that their vehicles do not contain any defects that could cause serious injury or death. Carmakers must warn of possible safety hazards or they can be held liable for Chicago, Illinois auto products liability if an injury accident happens.

Regulators slam Toyota over 'no defect' claim, Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2009

ABC News investigates Toyota floor mats, ABC7, November 3, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Toyota/Lexus Consumer Safety Advisory: Potential Floor Mat Interference with Accelerator Pedal,, September 29, 2009

4 Killed In Fiery Santee Crash Believed Identified, 10News, August 28, 2009

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Posted On: November 5, 2009

Woman Dies in Chicago Car Crash After Driver of Minivan Trying to Flee From Police Rams into Her Vehicle

A 42-year-old woman was killed on Tuesday after her vehicle was struck by a minivan driven by a drug suspect trying to get away from police. Valerie Davis leaves behind her family, including a teenage son.

The fatal Chicago car accident happened after 7am when police pulled over the van during a drug enforcement stop. The cops say the suspects in the vehicle tried to strike the Chicago police officers before hitting the police cars, running a red light, striking the vehicle that Davis was in, and hitting another vehicle.

The two suspects then fled the scene on foot before they were arrested.

Police say they were not chasing the van when the auto crash that claimed Davis’s life happened.

High-speed police chases, with one car fleeing and the other vehicle attempting to keep up can be very dangerous for the participants and others. People have been known to get hurt during Chicago police pursuits. Cops are required to exercise caution during chases so that the suspects and innocent bystanders are not accidentally struck during a motor vehicle chase or shot during any exchange of fire.

On Monday, a high-speed police pursuit resulted in two Chicago auto collisions. One traffic collision involved the vehicle carrying four suspects. The other motor vehicle crash involved an auto trying to get out of the way during the Chicago police chase. The accident occurred around 1:45 am.

A number of people were hospitalized. One victim reportedly said he couldn’t feel anything in his legs. Another person, who was ejected from the auto, broke his pelvis and sustained massive head injuries.

Woman killed after van tries to hit police, strikes four cars, Chicago Sun-Times, November 3, 2009

1 dead, 2 arrested after chase, crash, ABC Local, November 3, 2009

Car crashes trying to avoid police chase on South Side, Chicago Breaking News, November 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Chicago Police Pursuits (PDF)

Car Accidents, Justia

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Posted On: November 2, 2009

Morton Driver That Caused Three-Vehicle Illinois Car Crash Had BAC of .327

In Tazewell County, Illinois last week, 23-year-old Morton driver Jesse A. Horn was charged with three counts of aggravated driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs resulting in an accident causing great bodily harm, unlawful possession of a converted vehicle, and driving on a suspended license. All of these offenses are felonies.

Horn is accused of causing a three-vehicle Illinois car crash while driving a pickup truck on US Route 150 on September 16. Court documents indicate that Horn had just left the Morton Pumpkin Festival where he had been doing community service for a past DUI conviction when the deadly collision occurred.

12 people were sent to the hospital after Horn, who witnesses claim was driving the wrong way up a lane, allegedly rear-ended a Toyota truck and struck an approaching Jeep. Court records note that one car accident victim sustained vertebrae and rib fractures. Another victim, who broke his arm in three places, had to undergo surgery so pins could be installed to fix the injury.

Horn’s BAC at the time of the car accident was over four times the legal drinking and driving limit at .327. Drug testing also revealed that Horn had taken cannabis.

2008 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Facts (NHTSA):
• 11,773 US drunk driving-related deaths.
• That’s one drunk driving death every 45 minutes.
• 8,027 drunk drivers died.
• 1,875 of the victims that died were riding in a car with a drunk driver.
• 1,179 victims were riding in the other vehicle involved in the drunk driving accident.
• 692 of the people that died were not riding a vehicle.

On a positive note, there were less alcohol-impaired fatalities last year than there were in 2007 when 13,041 people died because drivers were drunk. That said, too many people are still dying in Chicago car crashes because of this type of negligent driving behavior.

Morton man charged in crash that injured 12, Pekin Times, October 30, 2009

Alcohol-Impaired Driving, 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Influenced Driving, Illinois State Police

Drunk Driving

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