April 28, 2011

Illinois Car Crash Lawsuit Alleging Medication Caused 2005 Wrongful Deaths of Mother and Her Baby Still Not Resolved

According to the Daily Chronicle, a settlement has not yet been reached in the Illinois car crash deaths of 18-year-old Amanda Elkins, 18, and her 10-month-old daughter Jazmine Luciano in 2005. Their family believes that Elkins crashed her car into a semi-truck because the staff that administered medication to her did not advise that it would make her too drowsy to drive safely.

On January 26, 2005, Elkins, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms, went to the Dreyer Medical Center in Batavia. While she was there, the medical staff intravenously administered Phenergan to her. One of the side effects of this medication is drowsiness.

On her way home, Elkins drove her 2002 Kia Rio across the center line of Route 30 and crashed her vehicle head-on into a semi-trailer. She died at the Illinois semi-truck crash site. Her daughter Jazmine, who was in a car seat in the back of the car, was pronounced dead at a Dekalb hospital.

DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller says that a doctor who treated Elkins said during the coroner’s inquest that he did not realize that Elkins was planning on driving herself. Elkins’ mother, Molly Farrell, says her daughter would not have crashed her car if the doctor had told her not to drive. Following the accident, the clinic began requiring medical staff to tell patients when it is too dangerous to drive after taking certain medications.

Car Accident and Medications
Most medicines have side effects, some of which can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Certain medications can make a person drowsy, groggy, dizzy, confused, blur vision, and/or unable to react quickly. All of these reactions can make it hard for a motorist to pay attention, think clearly, and deal with emergency situations. Physicians can be sued for medical malpractice if they prescribed a drug that caused a Chicago car crash because they did not notify the patient of side effects. Another possible liable party is a pharmaceutical company that did not provide adequate warnings of risks involved with taking the drug.

Local family waiting on 'justice' from 2005 car accident, Daily Chronicle, April 2, 2011

Prescription Drugs May Impact Driving Performance, EMaxHealth

Related Web Resources:
Amanda and Jazmine Blog

CyberDrive Illinois

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January 20, 2011

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving

The Illinois Court of Claims has awarded $8 million to the parents of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 15-year-old sister Kelli Uhl. The Collinsville sisters died in 2007 in a head-on Illinois car crash involving state trooper Matt Mitchell on Interstate 64. This is the highest award ever issued by the court.

Mitchell, claims that he lost control of his auto because another vehicle that cut him off was headed to the scene of an accident when the Illinois auto crash happened. However, there is evidence indicating that he was speeding at 126 miles per hour, talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend, and sending emails on his in-dash computer. Mitchell pleaded guilty in criminal court to reckless driving and reckless homicide. He was given 30 months probation.

The civil case went to the Court of Claims and not an Illinois wrongful death jury because the state has sovereign immunity from lawsuits. This is important to note, because many injury victims might balk at filing a claim against the state for fear that they are wasting their time. It is important that you explore your legal options because there still may be a way for you to obtain your financial recovery.

Court of Claims Judge Peter J. Birnbaum concluded that Mitchell caused the girls’ deaths, breached his duty of reasonable care, and drove his police vehicle in a way that endangered others. Out of the $8 million award, the girls’ mom, Kimberly Schlau will receive $3.5 million for the loss of her daughters. Their father, Brian Uhl, will also receive $3.5 million. Their half siblings, Madelyn Dorsey and Anthony Uhl will each get $500,000. The award must pass through the Senate and House before the governor can sign it and send to the state comptroller.

Chicago Car Accidents Involving Police Vehicles
Even when a police officer is heading to an accident or crime scene, he/she must still drive safely and responsibly so as to not cause a Chicago car accident. Distracted driving, speeding, texting while driving, talking on the cell phone, drugged driving, and drunken driving are some of the careless acts that can cause tragic auto collisions.

Mitchell, who is no longer with the Illinois State Police, has filed a workers’ compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the traffic crash that killed the Uhl sisters.

Family Gets $8 Million in Fatal Trooper Crash, CBS St. Louis Local, January 19, 2011

Family of Collinsville sisters killed in crash receives $8 million from state, BND, January 19, 2011

Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, May 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Court of Claims, CyberDriveIllinois

Illinois State Police

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January 10, 2011

Chicago Car Accident Injures Two Teenagers

Two teens sustained injuries on Wednesday when they were hit in a Chicago pedestrian by a car that had driven onto the sidewalk where they were standing. The vehicle then proceeded to crash into a restaurant.

The 15-year-old girl who was struck broke her ankle while the 16-year-old girl sustained minor injuries. Also injured in the Chicago car crash was 61-year-old George Corso, who was driving the car that hit the two teens. Corso has been ticketed for negligent driving.

In other recent Cook County traffic crash news, a 70-year-old man was killed in a Chicago pedestrian accident on December 27, 2010. At the time of the Chicago car accident, the victim, Raymond Veloz, was exchanging information with another motorist over another accident that had just happened. The driver of the third vehicle was cited for failing to avoid hitting a pedestrian. The two drivers who had been involved in separate collisions with Veloz said that the sun had temporarily made it difficult for them to see the road.

Just the day before, 25-year-old Angeline De Leon was killed when the car she was riding in struck a tree in Chicago’s Medical Village neighborhood. Also injured in the Chicago car accident were the driver, 23-year-old Brandon Reed, and a four-year-old boy. Reed, who was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, has since been charged with a misdemeanor DUI. He also received a ticket for driving on a revoked license. More charges may be pending.

Lane Tech students hit by car crossing street, Sun-Times, January 6, 2011

Driver in fatal crash charged with DUI, Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2010

Man killed in South Chicago crash, Chicago Breaking News, December 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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December 14, 2010

Toddlers Seriously Injured in Fatal Lake County Car Crash Upgraded to Stable Condition

According to officials, the medical conditions of brothers Calvin Jackson Jr., 3, and Clarence Jackson, 2, have been upgraded from serious to stable. The two toddlers were flown to a Park Ridge hospital after the 1995 Jeep Cherokee that they were riding in was involved in a catastrophic Lake County, Illinois car accident with another vehicle on Monday. Police say that the driver of the other vehicle, Adeliata Espinoza, may have run a red light.

The boys were reportedly not in child safety seats at the time of the Lake County, Illinois auto accident and they were thrown from the vehicle. Their dad, Calvin Jackson, Sr., was in the car with the boys and not wearing a seat belt. The 26-year-old East Chicago resident died from massive head injuries.

Also injured in the traffic collision were 18-year-old Houston Neil, who was driving the vehicle that the Jacksons were in, and 17-year-old Laquaysha Johnson. Both of their medical conditions have been updated to stable. Espinoza, 46, and her 2-year-old daughter were treated at the Lake County accident site.

In other recent Illinois car accident news, a Cook County pedestrian accident claimed the life of Chicago resident Sonia Dorado early Sunday evening. The 61-year-old woman was pronounced dead at a Park Ridge hospital later that night.

Police have charged Des Plaines resident Robert Park with leaving the scene of a crash. The 56-year-old motorist also received a citation for driving on a suspended license. Police say that Park may have been suffering from a diabetic reaction at the time. Tests showed that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.

Traffic Violations Can Cause Illinois Car Accidents
Traffic violations are not just against the law, they can cause serious accidents. Failure to stop at red light or stop sign, yield the right of way, stop at a pedestrian crossing, and other violations can prove fatal for those involved.

Tot brothers recovering from crash in Avon Township, Lake County News-Sun, December 14, 2010

Suspect charged in hit-and-run death of Chicago woman in Niles, PioneerLocal, December 14, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cyber Drive Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation

Continue reading "Toddlers Seriously Injured in Fatal Lake County Car Crash Upgraded to Stable Condition" »

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December 3, 2010

A Chicago Car Accident Caused by a Drowsy Driver Can Be Grounds for Cook County Personal Injury Case

If you are like most people, you’ve inevitably gotten in the driver’s seat while feeling exhausted. But did you know that some safety experts consider driving while drowsy to be as dangerous as driving while drunk? If you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident because the other driver feel asleep at the wheel, you may have grounds for a Cook County injury case.

According to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in six fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Meantime, the National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation reports that drowsy driving causes 71,000 injuries, 1,1500 deaths, and over 100,000 auto accidents annually.

Also, per the study:
• Drivers under the age of 25 are almost twice as likely as drivers in the age 40 to 59 group to be involved in a drowsy driving accident.
• In approximately 57% of drowsy driving accidents, the driver’s vehicle ended up off the road or in other lanes.
• Over 55% of drivers who admitted to falling asleep at the wheel said this happened on a high-speed divided highway.
• Over 59% of drivers who said they’ve fallen asleep while operating a vehicle in the last year said they had only been driving for less than an hour when it happened.
• Over one in four drivers who fell asleep while driving said they did so during the day between the hours of noon and 5pm.

Drowsy driving can lead to problems focusing, driver inattention, short-term memory lapses, lane driving, swerving, tailgating, missed traffic signs and exits, aggressiveness, vision impairment, slowed reaction times, and a delayed ability to process information. Sound familiar? That is because symptoms and effects of drowsiness are similar to those of being drunk.

It takes just a few seconds for a deadly Chicago car accident to happen. This means that shutting one's eyes for just a few seconds of rest could prove fatal. Many drowsy drivers fall asleep and don’t even realize it.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Highlights Prevalent and Preventable Accidents, National Sleep Foundation

Related Web Resources:
Drowsy Driving

Drowsy Driving, NHTSA

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Continue reading "A Chicago Car Accident Caused by a Drowsy Driver Can Be Grounds for Cook County Personal Injury Case" »

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September 16, 2010

NHTSA Reports 911 Illinois Traffic Fatalities in 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes Research Note is out, and our Chicago car accident lawyers are happy to report that the number of Illinois traffic deaths dropped last year. While there were 1,043 Illinois motor vehicle fatalities in 2008, 911 Illinois traffic deaths occured in 2009. 319 of those fatalities were alcohol-related.

The decline in highway deaths was also reflected nationally. There were 33,808 US motor vehicle traffic crash deaths last year—the lowest number of fatalities in 60 years. Consider that there were 37,423 traffic deaths in 2008. That’s a 9.7% drop. Even the number of US motorcyclist fatalities, which has been going up for the last 11 years, finally saw a decline. There were 4,462 motorcycle crash deaths last year, down from 5,312 fatalities in 2008.

While any decline in traffic deaths is always progress made in saving lives, there are always more lives that can and should be saved. There also continue to be thousands nationally and hundreds throughout the state that must contend with catastrophic injuries, costly medical expenses, the loss of a loved one, and other damages. Our Chicago car crash law firm would be happy to evaluate whether you have a case for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death.

More 2009 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts:
• 503 large truck fatalities
• 4,092 pedestrian deaths
• 630 pedalcyclist fatalities
• 2,217,000 traffic accident injuries
• 10,839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA (PDF)

U.S. Traffic Deaths at Lowest Level Since 1950, NHTSA, September 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Department of Transportation

CyberDrive Illinois

September 7, 2010

Chicago Car Accidents Injures Kills Six People and Injures at Least Two Dozen Others Over Labor Day Weekend

According to myFoxChicago.com, numerous Chicago motor vehicle injuries and deaths occurred over the Labor Day weekend, including:

• On Saturday, a Chicago motorcycle accident claimed the life of Lyons resident Lissette Loncola, who was a passenger on the bike. Several other people were injured.

• Also on Saturday, a three-vehicle Chicago car accident on the Northwest Side injured at least eight people. Oscar Reyes was cited for negligent driving, leaving an accident scene, failure to report the auto crash, and neglecting to stay in the lane.

• A Chicago pedestrian accident sent four people, including an 11-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old girl to the hospital after they were struck by a stolen 1999 Chrysler 300. The people riding in the car fled the crash site.

• 67-year-old Lual Mang died from injuries she sustained during a Glendale Heights car accident on Sunday.

• Also on Sunday, a Rogers Park bicycle accident involving a Mini Cooper claimed the life of 67-year-old man.

• A fiery Englewood car crash on Sunday claimed the life of one female motorist, whose vehicle hit a curb or a viaduct wall before hitting another auto and bursting into flames. The driver died at the Chicago car accident site.

• Five people, including at least three teens, were hospitalized after an SUV rollover crash on Lake Shore Drive. Speed was a likely factor.

• A multi-vehicle Chicago car crash at West Belmont Avenue and North Pulaski Road left at least three people with critical injuries.

• On Monday night, a Des Plaines bicycle accident claimed a 52-year-old cyclist’s life after his bike collided with a vehicle in the curb lane.

• A man was flown to the hospital after he was injured in a head-on Chicago car accident close to Fox Lake last night.

Holiday Weekend Crashes Kill 6, Injure Dozens More, myFoxChicago, September 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Traffic Accidents, Nolo

Car Accidents, Justia

Continue reading "Chicago Car Accidents Injures Kills Six People and Injures at Least Two Dozen Others Over Labor Day Weekend" »

August 27, 2010

Drunk Drivers Can Cause Catastrophic Chicago Car Accident Injuries

According to a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, at least 1 in 12 drivers surveyed say they drive drunk at least once year. 1 in 5 admitted that when they drove under the influence they did so within 2 hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage. This, despite the fact that 4 out of 5 of the 6,999 motorists surveyed consider driving drunk to be a serious threat to safety. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says it is clear that more needs to be done so that people that know drunk driving is dangerous will stop doing it.

According to the US Department of Transportation, 1/3rd of all deadly US auto accidents involve a drunk driver. The auto death rate could be cut significantly if people stopped driving drunk.

The NHTSA survey found that about 17.2 million Americans have gotten behind the steering wheel of a vehicle even though they suspected that their BAC was over the legal limit. 8% of people have gotten in a car driven by someone that they suspected was drunk. 40% believe that they can drive after having 3 drinks. 11% think that they can still drive after 5 drinks.

It goes without saying that if you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident involving a drunk driver that you believe caused the crash, there is a good chance you may have grounds for a Chicago injury case against him/her. Most drivers never intend to hurt anyone when driving under the influence, but unfortunately, injuries and deaths happen.

Just recently, one adult was injured and the allegedly drunken driver’s son, age 4, was killed in a Chicago car crash that occurred on August 15 at Fullerton and Kostner. Police say that Letecia Medel, 24, had a blood alcohol level of .151 when her vehicle did not stop at a red light and rear-ended a Honda Civic that was stopped. Her vehicle then drove into the next lane where it hit a Chevrolet Tahoe. The impact from the traffic collision also caused the Honda to strike another vehicle before it ended up against a building.

Medina, Jonathan, her 2-year-old son, and her husband fled the Cook County car accident site. At the hospital, Jonathan, who was suffering from a lacerated liver and numerous contusions, was pronounced dead.

Woman charged in DUI crash that killed 4-year-old, Pioneer Local, August 23, 2010

Government study: 1 in 12 drivers admit driving drunk, USA Today, August 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
DUI Fact Book, Cyber Drive Illinois (PDF)

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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August 17, 2010

Chicago Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Rogers Park, Illinois Car Crash that Left Woman Dead and Her Son with Serious Injuries

Nearly eight months after a driver in a car fleeing police allegedly struck his wife and son during a Rogers Park pedestrian accident, Felix Worthon is suing motorist Ralph Eubanks for Chicago wrongful death. Worthon, his 48-year-old wife Maria, and their 6-year-old son Jeremia were crossing a narrow street at the time. Maria, whose body was thrown some 100 feet after she was struck, died at the Rogers Park car crash site. Jeremia sustained critical injuries.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Ralph Eubanks, the driver of the 1998 Grand Prix that struck Maria and Jeremia, was fleeing police and allegedly driving at about 70 to 80 mph. He did not slow down or stop at the Rogers Park car accident site.

Eubanks was apprehended with traces of ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana in his blood. He is charged with aggravated driving under the influence, first-degree murder, and leaving the scene of a deadly car accident site. At his bond hearing after the deadly Rogers Park traffic crash, prosecutors said that Eubanks has never had a driver’s license. He also has three prior convictions for driving without one and has spent time behind bars for drugs, weapons, and possession of a stolen vehicle-related convictions.

Worthon is also suing the owner of the vehicle, Dennis Jeter. Worthon contends that Jeter gave his “explicit permission" for Eubanks to use the vehicle.

Drunk driving and drugged driving are negligent acts that claim the lives of many people each year. Do NOT speak with the other party’s insurer about your Chicago car accident case without exploring your legal options first.

Suit filed against driver, car owner in fatal crash, Chicago Breaking News, August 9, 2010

No Bond For Driver Held On Hit-Run Murder Charge, CBS2, December 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Drugged Driving, NIDA

Impaired Driving, CDC

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August 13, 2010

$1 Million South Elgin Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Reached Between West Chicago Strip Club and Families of Pregnant Woman, Her Unborn Child, and Club Patron

The Diamonds Gentlemen's Club, a West Chicago strip club, has settled the Kane County, Illinois wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of April Simmons, 27, and John Chiariello, 25, for $1 million. Simmons, who was pregnant at the time, and Chiariello died from injuries they sustained in January 2006 when they were involved in a South Elgin car crash with John Homatas. Chiariello was a passenger in Homatas’s vehicle. Also killed in the Illinois car accident was Simmon’s unborn baby.

According to the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, Chiariello and Homatas were thrown out of the strip club after getting drunk. The club’s employees put Homatas in the car and he and Chiariello drove off. Some 15 minutes later, Homatas crashed his vehicle head-on into Simmons’ SUV.

Although the club had initially argued that it shouldn’t be held liable for Homatas’ actions since it doesn’t serve alcohol (it has a bring your own liquor policy), earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court said that the strip club was at least somewhat accountable for the Kane County car crash.

From the $1 million settlement, which is the most that the club’s insurance allows, $800,000 will go to Simmons’s family. The remaining $200,000 will go to Chiariello’s family. Homatas, who is serving a 12-year prison term for his convictions for reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, settled the South Elgin wrongful death case against him for $200,000, which is also the maximum allowed under his insurance policy.

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries.

West Chicago strip club settles DUI suit for $1 million, Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2010

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash, ChicagoCarAccidentAttorneysBlog, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Illinois Supreme Court Ruling (PDF)


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July 26, 2010

Champaign, Illinois Teenager Was Texting When He Fatally Struck Chicago Pedestrian with His Car

19-year-old Young J. Kim has pleaded guilty to texting while driving and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the Illinois cell phone accident that killed an 84-year-old Chicago pedestrian.

Perfecto Perez was crossing the street in downtown Urbana when he was fatally struck by Kim. At the time of the Illinois traffic accident, Perez was wearing dark clothing and not in a crosswalk.

Chicago Car Accidents
While it can be hard to resist the urge to text while driving at the very moment the text message appears in your Inbox, refraining from doing so can save lives. Motorists should not engage in distracted driving, which takes their eyes and attention off the road. Texting also requires that a driver take at least one if not both hands off the steering wheel—one to hold the PDA or phone and another to open the message/compose one—and this can make it hard for the motorist to respond appropriately or safely during an emergency situation. It also is illegal in Illinois to text while driving a motor vehicle.

Road and Travel Magazine offers suggestions on how you can avoid the temptations of talking on the phone and/or texting while driving, including:

• Pull of the road if you are going to text
• Use a hands-free cell phone
• If your conversation is emotionally charged or stressful, get off the phone until you’ve arrived at your destination

Teen pleads guilty in fatal accident involving texting, News-Gazette.com, July 23, 2010

Teach Teens Dangers of Texting While Driving, Road and Travel.com

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Distracted Driving, National Safety Council

Continue reading "Champaign, Illinois Teenager Was Texting When He Fatally Struck Chicago Pedestrian with His Car" »

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July 19, 2010

The Number of Chicago Area Traffic Deaths Have Declined

Even though close to 300,000 traffic accidents take place in the Chicago region each year, with approximately one motor vehicle crash taking place about ever 21.5 hours, a report released today by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is reporting a dramatic drop in the number of Chicago area traffic fatalities and injuries over the last several years. Statistics are based on Information provide by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Among the other findings:
• The number Chicago area traffic crashes dropped by 4% between 2002 and 2008.
• Traffic fatalities and injuries in the seven Chicago area counties went down 12.5% from 2002 and 2005 to 18% between 2005 and 2008.
• There were 437 area traffic deaths in 2008—compare that to the 629 traffic fatalities in 2005.
• Newer vehicles and road safety enhancements are two of the reasons for the decline in injuries and deaths.
• DuPage County had the lowest death rates for the entire period that was examined.
• Cook County and Lake County, Illinois had the second lowest traffic death rates for 2008.
• However, Chicago’s fatality rate was above average for the region in 2008.
• While Chicago experienced the greatest drop in crashes between 2002 and 2008, the city had a higher crash rate than in rural areas.
• Nearly 25% of Chicago traffic fatalities were pedestrians.
• 52 of the 92 Chicago pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2008 actually took place within the city of Chicago.
• While traffic deaths are dropping in Kendall, Kane, McHenry, and Will counties, the numbers are still higher than in other areas where populations are more dense.
• 36% of Chicago region traffic deaths in 2008 took place between 10p and 5a.
• 46% of Chicago traffic crashes for that year occurred late at night.

Traffic deaths decline due to safer roads, vehicles, Chicago Tribune, July 18, 2010

Report: Chicago Region Traffic Deaths See Steep Drop, WBEZ, July 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

CyberDrive Illinois

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July 5, 2010

Preventing Illinois Bicycle Accidents: Governor Pat Quinn Signs New Safety Bills in Chicago

In Arlington Heights today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state’s new bicycle safety legislation, turning them into law. One bill imposes new penalties on reckless drivers and those that drive too close to cyclists. The other creates “Share the Road” license plates that will be sold so that funds can go toward education campaigns. Quinn says the new laws will remind motorists to watch out for bicyclists while hopefully keeping the latter safe.

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers applaud any efforts made to keep bicyclists safe. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles formally adopted a number of edits to their design polices that will hopefully make it easier and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around.

For far too long, too many arterial roads have lacked sidewalks, many large intersections were not designed in a way that made crossing the street safe or easy, and merely an extra 12-inchse of extra width in travel lanes on high-speed, busy roads, was considered sufficient room for bicyclists to ride safely. While Illinois bicycle accidents can occur because of rider mistakes or carelessness, many Chicago bicycle accidents happen because roads are poorly designed accommodate cyclists or because a driver was negligent.

Bicycle accidents can result in serious Chicago personal injuries for victims who only have a helmet to protect from serious injuries. Our Chicago car accident law firm represents clients injured in all kinds of motor vehicle crashes. We are committed to obtaining our clients’ Chicago injury compensation for them.

Quinn signs bicycle safety legislation, Daily Herald, July 5, 2010

IDOT Complete Streets – History and Status, League of Illinois Bicyclists

Related Web Resources:
Bicyclists and other cyclists, Traffic Safety, NHTSA (PDF)

Illinois Department of Transportation

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June 29, 2010

Two Chicago Teenagers Killed in Wilmette Car Accident After Birthday Celebration

Friends and family are mourning the deaths of two “best buddies” in a Cook County car accident. Veronica Rojas, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, and Natalie Stygar, 17, died early Monday when the Nissan Maxima that they were riding went off the road, hit a fire hydrant, and broadsided a tree. Rojas was the mother of a two-year-old boy.

The driver of the Nissan, Szymon Zawadzki, sustained non-threatening injuries and was also hospitalized. Another passenger, a 15-year-old girl, sustained critical injuries, while 18-year-old passenger in the front seat was treated at Evanston NorthShore hospital before being released. All of the vehicle occupants were from Chicago.

Meantime, Zawadzki, 20, is charged with two counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death, two counts of reckless homicide, one count of driving under the influence, one count of aggravated DUI resulting in great bodily injury, one count of improper lane usage, driving without insurance, and one count of failure to reduce speed.

It is illegal in the US for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Driving drunk, regardless of the age of the driver, can prove fatal. A driver who caused serious injury or death because he/she was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence can be sentenced to time in prison. He or she can also be held financially liable in civil court for the Chicago car accident.

Due to their inexperience, most young drivers are already at higher risk than their older counterparts of getting involved in a Cook County car crash. Driving under the influence of alcohol, which clouds judgment, slows reflexes, and impairs the senses, only makes it harder for a young, inexperienced motorist to maintain control of a vehicle—especially during emergency situations.

Driver charged with DUI in deaths of two women in Wilmette, Chicago Sun-TImes, June 29, 2010

2 Chicago teens killed in crash after birthday celebration, Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Teen driver risks in high gear over summer, USA Today, June 21, 2010

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Continue reading "Two Chicago Teenagers Killed in Wilmette Car Accident After Birthday Celebration" »

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June 25, 2010

11-Year-Old Girl Dragged in Hit-and-Run Chicago Car Accident Dies

A man accused of killing an 11-year-old girl in a hit-and-run Chicago, Illinois car crash has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Carlos Rubio was arrested just hours after Itali Hinton was struck and then dragged several feet by a van on East 79th Street on Tuesday evening. She sustained a traumatic brain injury and was soon pronounced dead at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

Rubio, 67, had stopped at the Chicago pedestrian accident site, but then drove off after his vehicle was surrounded by a crowd that had witnessed the incident. He was arrested at around 2am on Wednesday after he was positively identified as the owner of the van that struck Hilton. The vehicle had been damaged on its front passenger-side bumper section.

Illinois law mandates that drivers stop at the site of any accident they are involved in. This allows the motorists to exchange contact and insurance information in the event that any vehicle damage occurred and if someone was injured, render assistance. Some people’s lives have been saved because the other motorist involved called 911 and tried to help.

Losing your loved one in any kind of accident is a devastating experience. You may be able to hold the negligent party responsible in civil court.

Man, 67, Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run of Girl, 11, My Fox Chicago, June 25, 2010

Girl, 11, killed by hit-run driver, Sun-Times, June 24, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cyber Drive Illinois

Things You May Not Know About Hit and Run Accidents, Deadly Roads

Continue reading "11-Year-Old Girl Dragged in Hit-and-Run Chicago Car Accident Dies " »

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May 29, 2010

Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend

According to AAA Chicago, approximately 1.5 million people will be driving from Illinois over the holiday weekend. While a long weekend is always a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to get together, the Illinois Department of Transportation is cautioning that this weekend is also one of the deadliest periods on the roads.

According to the IDOT, 30 people died in 17 Illinois traffic crashes during the Memorial weekend last year—that’s about 9 deaths a day. While law enforcement agencies have stepped up their patrols and police enforcement to hopefully keep the Illinois car accident death toll down this year, it is still up to drivers to operate their vehicles carefully, wear there seat belts, and refrain from disobeying the traffic laws, speeding, driving drunk, talking on the cell phone, text messaging, or following too closely.

AAA offers a number of tips for safe travel over the Memorial Day weekend, including:

• Don’t drive aggressively
• Make sure your car is properly serviced before heading off
• Don’t keep stepping on the brakes
• Program your GPS before you get in the car not while you are stuck in traffic

Even though it is a holiday weekend, if you were injured in a Chicago car accident that was caused by another party’s reckless or negligent driving or because a vehicle malfunctioned or a traffic light didn’t work properly, it is important that you report the incident and speak with a Cook County motor vehicle crash lawyer about your case.

More people expected to travel this holiday weekend, SunTimes, May 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

CyberDrive, Illinois

Continue reading "Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend" »

May 21, 2010

Chicago Taxi Accident Victim Remains in Critical Condition

A Bucktown man who was injured in a hit-and-run Chicago taxi accident on May 14 remains in critical condition. Daniel Firkins was leaning through the window of a taxi that he had just summoned when, during a disagreement, the cab driver stepped on the gas and drove away with the 32-year-old still partially in the vehicle. The taxi driver then fled the car accident scene.

Firkins sustained a traumatic brain injury, two skull fractures, and other miscellaneous injuries. Tire marks on his leg also indicate that the cab had run over him. On Wednesday, his mother said that her son, who was placed in a drug-induced coma, may not make it.

David and Maureen Firkins are asking for help in identifying the cab driver. They considered the driver’s actions intentional and not accidental. The taxi involved in the Chicago cab accident is a white taxi with blue stripes.

Hit-and-Run Injury Victims
If you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident involving a hit-and-run driver, you will need help collecting damages. Sometimes this means getting the company that provides the victim with insurance to pay damages. At other times, it means going after the driver’s insurer and other liable parties once the driver has been apprehended.

Motorists are supposed to stop at a Cook County car accident site to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. They also should call 911 in the event that medical help is required. It is a crime to hit-and-run. Not helping an injured motorist or pedestrian can cause the victims’ injuries to become more serious or, worse yet, lead to Chicago wrongful death.

Parents keep vigil over man dragged by cab, Chicago Tribune, May 19, 2010

Man critically injured in taxi accident, ABCLocal, May 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Hit-and-Run Accidents, Deadly Roads

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May 14, 2010

Chicago Car Accident that Killed One Pedestrian and Injured at Least Eight Other People Leads to DUI Charges

Hector Ramirez is charged with aggravated DUI in a Southwest Side car crash involving a death, reckless homicide, aggravated DUI without a driver’s license, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, driving without a valid license, and not using due care for a pedestrian in a roadway. The 32-year-old is accused of causing a Chicago car accident that involved his vehicle hitting three pedestrians and three other autos on May 7.

One of the pedestrians, 25-year-old Jamie Castillo, was later pronounced dead at a Cook County hospital. Three adults were admitted to hospitals in serious-to-critical condition. Four others were admitted in good-to-fair condition. One young child was admitted to Stroger Hospital in fair condition. Ramirez, who was placed under arrest, was taken to a hospital after he complained of chest pains.

Chicago Car Accidents
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of catastrophic car accidents. A driver who decides to drive drunk is behaving carelessly and recklessly while endangering people’s lives. Unfortunately, even though people know better, there are those who still choose to drive while intoxicated. Often, it is the usually the people who weren’t driving drunk that end up suffering the most. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 434 Illinois drunk driving deaths in 2008.

On May 3, in another Chicago, Illinois car collision, Manuel Figueroa was waiting to enter the right lane of southbound I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) when he was hit by a Berwyn man in a GMC pickup truck who had lost control of his vehicle and swerved across three lanes. Figueroa died later that day. Police believe the Berwyn driver was drunk when he caused the South Side car wreck.

DUI charges filed against man in fatal Southwest Side crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 9, 2010

DUI Suspected in Fatal Stevenson Crash, MyFoxChicago, May 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Drunk Driving, Justia

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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May 6, 2010

Driver Accused of Painting Nails During Chicago Car Accident that Killed Motorcyclist is Now on Trial

Lora Hunt, the woman accused of painting her fingernails when her vehicle crashed into motorcyclist Anita Zaffke in a Lake County, Illinois car accident last year, is on trial for reckless homicide. At a Waukegan courtroom, the 48-year-old nurse maintained that she wasn’t putting nail polish on her nails when she fatally struck Zaffke.

The 56-year-old Lake Zurick motorcycle rider had stopped at a traffic signal when she was rear-ended by Hunt’s Chevrolet Impala. While Hunt acknowledged painting her nails while behind the wheel of her vehicle she says that she wasn’t doing that as she arrived at the intersection where Zaffe’s bike was stopped. Also, says that she didn’t stop because even though the traffic light had turned yellow, the vehicles around her were still moving. However, in Hunt’s written statement Hunt to police, she said that she was “distracted.”

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers cannot caution motorists enough about the dangers of distracted driving. Seemingly harmless tasks and actions can prove fatal when you do them while you are operating a motor vehicle. Earlier this year, a woman was charged with reckless driving for causing a car crash because she had been shaving her private parts and operating her vehicle at the same time.

Other distracted driving activities that can lead to car crashes include reading, applying makeup, watching movies, playing games on a PDA, surfing the Internet on a laptop, and of course, texting and/or talking to the cell phone while driving. When these kinds of activities distract a motorist to the extend that a traffic crash happens, injured parties may have grounds for a Cook County car accident lawsuit.

Woman testifies she stopped painting her nails before fatal crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Distracted Driving Campaign, National Safety Council

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April 30, 2010

Chicago Car Accident Injures 6-Year-Old Pedestrian

Ashton Williams was crossing the street with his dad and sister on South Michigan Avenue when he was hit by a van going the wrong direction on the one-way street. Williams, age 6, sustained a concussion, bruises, cuts, and a stiff neck when he was thrown some 15 feet during the Chicago, Illinois car accident. The driver of the van then left the South Side motor vehicle crash site.

According to his father, Mark, the van appeared to come from nowhere. He says that the driver was speeding.

Chicago, Illinois Wrong-Way Driving Accidents
Wrong-way driving is a leading cause of car accidents. The chance that a wrong-way driver will cause a deadly head-on crash is high. Pedestrian accidents can also happen—especially as the victims may not be looking for a vehicle coming from that direction.

Common wrong-way driving situations:
• A motorist goes the wrong way down a one-way street
• Driving in the wrong direction up a lane
• Entering the freeway through an exit or exiting a highway through the entrance

Wrong-way driving accidents are preventable. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and failure to obey traffic signs are common causes of wrong-way driving. Traumatic brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries can occur because a driver was careless or reckless and drove the wrong way.

6-year-old injured in South Side hit-and-run, ABC Local, April 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Hit-And-Run Victims Now Eligible For Compensation, CBS2Chicago, October 8, 2009

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April 20, 2010

Driver Charged in Chicago Car Crash Involving UPS Semi-Truck That Claimed Passenger’s Life

Adrian Tellez has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor driving while under the influence, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the catastrophic Chicago car crash that claimed the life of his passenger, 25-year-old Rafael Lopez.

The Cook County auto accident happened at around 2:30 am on April 1 on the Near West Side. Tellez was driving a 2005 Ford Taurus that collided with a UPS semi-truck, which was trying to turn left. According to police, the 21-year-old’s BAC was .16, which is two times the legal driving limit.

The Chicago Fire Department was called to the traffic crash site to extricate some of the auto accident victims. Five people were taken to hospitals—two of them in serious to critical condition.

According to autopsy results, Lopez’s death was caused by multiple injuries from an auto hitting a truck. His death was ruled an accident.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
Our Chicago car accident lawyers cannot stress enough the dangers of driving drunk and the degree of injury risk that this irresponsible activity poses for people. Drunk driving is a senseless and unnecessary way to get hurt, destroy one’s life, and accidentally inflict great harm, pain, and suffering on others.

Just last week, four women were taken to local hospitals after their car drove into a business in a shopping plaza. The car’s driver, 24-year-old Sharlie Shaffer, sustained serious injuries. She is charged with drunk driving.

On March 31, a Wayne man pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and drunk driving in the June 2009 St. Charles, Illinois car accident that claimed the life of West Chicago resident Cameron Godee, age 18. The driver, Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, is facing a maximum of 14 years in prison.

The 19-year-old lost control of his car while driving his SUV at a speed of approximately 77 mph in a 25 mph zone at around 3:20 AM. The vehicle struck two trees and a mailbox.

Lorusso’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit. Two passengers riding in the backseat were also injured. Godee and Lorusso had been best friends since they were third graders.

Four women hurt when drunk driver crashes into business, WBBM780, April 14, 2010

Man pleads guilty in crash that killed best friend, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2010

Motorist twice the legal limit in fatal Near West Side wreck: cops, Sun-Times, April 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Influenced Driving, Illinois State Police

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March 26, 2010

Toyota Sudden Acceleration Blamed for Over 100 Traffic Deaths

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 102 fatalities involving Toyota car crashes may have been caused by sudden acceleration. The Los Angeles Times reports that is almost double the number of Toyota acceleration-related deaths—56 fatalities—that were reported at the end of January.

The complaints started to flood in following the recalls of over 8.5 million Toyota vehicles over sudden acceleration concerns caused by sticking gas pedals and ill-fitting floor mats. Meantime, the automaker remains adamant that there are no electronic problems that have contributed to the unintended acceleration accidents.

According to the Times, Clarence Ditlow, from the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, says that he thinks that in the next several months hundreds more Toyota acceleration deaths will be reported. It may be that many people who thought driver negligence was the cause of a car crash are now discovering that the culprit was actually a vehicle defect. Among the recent Toyota products liability lawsuits that have been filed:

Nancy and Daniel Murtha are suing Toyota over the wrongful death of their 5-year-old son. Jacob Murtha died during a Lexus acceleration crash in July 2008. Nancy, who was driving the vehicle, sustained serous injuries when the car accelerated suddenly, forcing her to drive into a rock wall.

Barbrara Green filed a Toyota acceleration lawsuit accusing the automaker of causing the wrongful death of her son, Blazej Ignatowicz. He died in December 2006 when his Toyota Solara sped up to 100 mph, causing him to loose control of the vehicle and crash into a number of trees.

The parents of Mark Saylor and his wife are also suing Toyota. Saylor, his wife, their daughter, and his brother-in-law died last August when the Lexus they borrowed from the dealer accelerated out of control because the gas pedal got caught in the floor mat. It was after their deaths that Toyota began announcing a wave of massive vehicle recalls.

Toyotas' sudden acceleration blamed for more deaths, Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2010

Westchester County, New York Parents File Suit Against Toyota for Death of Their Five-Year-Old Son in Lexus Sudden Acceleration Incident, Marketwatch, March 18, 2010

Saylor relatives suing Toyota, dealers, SignonSanDiego, March 2, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Toyota Motor Corp.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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March 1, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Cell Phone Accident: Teen Was Looking at Phone When She Hit State Police Trooper on Dan Ryan Expressway

19-year-old Kimisha M. Moore is charged with aggravated reckless conduct for her alleged role in the Chicago car accident that left an Illinois State Trooper with serious injuries on Saturday night. Police say that Moore was looking at her cell phone when she accidentally struck the trooper, who was standing in the express lane’s right shoulder on I-94.

According to Chicago police, the trooper had stopped a vehicle on the Dan Ryan’s Expressway when a Toyota hit her. The trooper sustained a head injury and leg injuries from the Chicago cell phone accident and went into surgery at a Cook County hospital. Following the procedure, she was transferred to the ICU where she was in “stable” condition on Sunday morning.

Moore also received citations for failure to reduce speed, improper lane usage, violating Scott’s Law, and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers cannot stress enough that distracted driving is dangerous and can kill people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that over 500,000 people every year sustain injuries because drivers were not paying attention to the road. Cell phone use and texting have rapidly become two of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.

Teenagers are one demographic who are especially at high-risk of getting into a distracted driving accident. Not only are they more easily distracted than their adult counterparts, but also they are more likely to text or use a cell phone while driving. They also lack the experience that older drivers have when it comes to preventing car accidents as they are about to happen.

Driver distracted by phone when she hit trooper on Dan Ryan: prosecutor, Chicago Sun-TImes, March 1, 2010

Woman Who Hit State Trooper Was Using Cell Phone, NBC4, March 1, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Scott's Law Brochure, Illinois State Police


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February 26, 2010

Father and Daughter File Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit Over Cell Phone Driving Accident

A father and daughter are suing Carlo Gordon for personal injury. David and Lauren Levy claim that they were injured on July 17 when their 1995 Saturn was rear-ended by Gordon, who they allege dropped his cell phone while driving a 2003 Buick Lasabre.

Lauren is a minor. She was driving the car and her dad was with her as a passenger. David and Lisa Levy, Lauren’s mother, are the plaintiffs of the Illinois car accident complaint.

David and Lauren say they sustained head and neck injuries and experienced loss of their normal lives, disability, serious physical pain, and mental anguish. Lauren also injured her back, while David hurt his shoulder. The two of them claim their injuries, time off work, and medical bills have cost over $60,000, and they are seeking compensation for injuries and damages, in addition to costs.

Lauren and David claim that Gordon caused the Illinois auto accident when he looked down after dropping his cell phone. He then allegedly failed to: control his vehicle, prevent the Illinois car crash, activate his brakes, slow down his car’s speed, and drive safely. They also are accusing him of following too closely behind their auto.

Cell Phone Accidents
Although still not considered the taboo that drunk driving is, the similarly tragic consequences that can result when driving under the influence or using a cell phone to talk or text message are now undeniable. More than 330,000 people get hurt every year because someone was distracted while using a cell phone or PDA. Thousands are killed. Fortunately, the state of Illinois, a number of other US States, and the federal government are taking steps to discourage drivers from engaging in this dangerous practice.

If you were injured or someone you love died in a Chicago, Illinois cell phone accident, you may be owed personal injury or wrongful death damages.

Dropped cell phone caused driver to lose control, suit claims, The Record, February 11, 2010

Distracted Driving: The Dangers of Mobile Texting and Phone Calls, TechNews Daily, February 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Focus Driven

CyberDrive Illinois

US Department of Transportation

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February 19, 2010

Driver that Struck 6-Year-Old Jada Washington in Fatal Chicago Pedestrian Accident Was Allegedly High on Cocaine and Marijuana

Police have charged 48-year-old Eddie Lumpkin with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide for causing the catastrophic Chicago, Illinois car crash that claimed the life of 6-year-old girl Jada Washington and seriously injured her aunt Tiuette Richardson. The two Chicago pedestrians were crossing the street at Ashland and 74th at around 6:30 on Tuesday when they were struck by Lumpkin, who was driving a van.

According to prosecutors, the young girl’s body struck the windshield before flying into the street. Jada was pronounced dead at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Richardson injured her shoulder blade and leg, as well as fractured her skull.

Authorities say that prior to the South Side auto accident Lumpkin had been ticked at least 40 times for traffic offenses. Speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, and failing to exercise caution around pedestrians were among the many violations he’d been cited for. He was convicted six times but the majority of tickets against him were dismissed.

Chicago DUI Accidents
Even though people know how dangerous it is to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are motorists who still get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or high. When this happens, the motorist becomes a danger to everyone on the road.

It is bad enough to be the victim of a pedestrian accident let alone get hurt in one that involves a drunken or drugged driver whose vision, reflexes, and ability to stop a vehicle have been severely impaired. While most drunk and drugged drivers never intend to injure or kill anyone, unfortunately there are those who end up doing just that. If his happens, you should speak with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer right away.

As for the people who dare to drink/get high and drive, our Chicago, Illinois pedestrian accident law firm wants to remind you not to be so reckless. In a city with such good public transportation and so many hotels, there is no excuse for why you need to ever get behind the driver’s seat of a car when you are under the influence.

Prosecutors say motorist charged with DUI in child’s death had cocaine in his system, Chicago Tribune, February 19, 2010

Motorist in girl's death collected at least 40 traffic tickets, ChicagoBreakingNews, February 17, 2010

Related Web Resources:
What is Drugged Driving?, National Institute on Drug Abuse

CyberDrive Illinois

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February 10, 2010

St. Charles Resident Files Chicago, Illinois Auto Products Liability Lawsuit Against Toyota Motor Corp. Over Sticking Gas Pedal Defect

In Cook County Circuit Court, Ed Izenstark filed his Chicago, Illinois auto products liability complaint against Toyota Motor. Corp. over the sticking gas pedal defect that has led to the recall of over 2.3 million Toyota vehicles in the US. The 23-year-old St. driver is seeking over $50,000 in Cook County personal injury damages after he was involved in a St. Charles, Illinois car accident on December 26.

Izenstark filed had rented a 2010 Corolla from a Hertz located in the Chicago area. According to his Chicago car accident lawsuit, he crashed into another vehicle when his gas pedal got stuck. Izenstark and another passenger sustained injuries.

The sticking gas pedal defect is at the center of one of two major recalls by Toyota involving accelerator problems. To date, Toyota has recalled 5.3 million autos over concern that sudden acceleration might occur. Millions of other Toyotas have been recalled in Europe and China.

Last week, Toyota announced that it had figured out how to fix the sticking gas pedal defect. Repairs on the affected vehicles are being completed.

Over 60 Runaway Toyota car accidents have occurred in the US in the last few months. Last December, four people died in a single car crash involving a Toyota that investigators believe accelerated out of control. In August, another four people died when the other accelerator defect, this one involving the gas pedal getting entangled with the driver’s side floor mat, caused another deadly runaway Toyota car accident.

Meantime, Toyota’s troubles seem to be growing. Yesterday, the automaker announced two recalls. One global recall involved 437,000 Prius and Lexus hybrids over an ABS software defect. The car manufacturer issued a separate recall involving 7,300 Camrys (2010 model) because of a brake defect that make it difficult for a driver to stop his/her car.

Toyota sued in car crash, Chicago Tribune, February 5, 2010

Toyota Begins Fix for Sticky Gas Pedal Problem, KHON2.com, February 6, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Toyota Motor Corp.

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February 3, 2010

Chicago Car Accident Claims Lives of 13-Month Old Boy and Two Adults

Three people died from injuries they sustained during a Chicago car crash on the Northwest Side on Monday night. The victims are 13-month old Joshua Molina Jr., 20-year-old Orlando Rodriguez, and 21-year-old Aldo Maldonado. Molina’s mother, Amy Alanis, survived the Illinois traffic wreck. Her boyfriend Joshua Molina, who is also the toddler's dad, was driving the car. He did not sustain serious injuries.

Their car was turning left when they were struck by a speeding Toyota Camry that had its lights turned off. The Toyota’s driver, a 55-year-old man from Skokie, had just been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

The Molinas say that their son, who was secured in a car seat, was partially thrown through the back window due to the force of the collision. He was pronounced dead at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Police questioned the Camry driver yesterday. So far, he has been charged with negligent driving related to this deadly Chicago car accident and for driving too fast for the conditions at the time and leaving the scene of the first auto collision. Police say that before these dual car crashes, the motorist had a clean driving record since getting his driver's license in 1999.

Chicago Car Accidents
Every year, people are killed or seriously injured in Chicago, Illinois car accidents. It is life shattering to lose someone in such a senseless manner. Negligent motorists can be held liable for Chicago injury or wrongful death.

Common causes of Cook County Car Accidents:

• Drunk driving
• Speeding
• Hit and run
• Driving faster than current road or weather conditions
• Text messaging
• Cell phone conversations
• Failure to obey traffic signs
• Failure to pay attention to road conditions

Three dead -- including child -- in NW Side wreck, Chicago Sun-Times, February 2, 2010

NW Side crash takes 3 lives, Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2010

Related Web Resource:
CyberDrive Illinois

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January 14, 2010

Do LEDs Increase Chicago Car Crash Risks?

Officials in Illinois and a number of other states are concerned over whether light-emitting diodes, called LED’s, pose a car crash risk to motorists. The LED’s, which require less energy than conventional bulbs and are easier to see, are now used in many traffic lights. However, there is growing concern that because LED’s require less heat, ice and snow can accumulate on them, rather than melting, making traffic lights harder for drivers to see.

In April, four people were injured and 34-year-old Lisa Richter died in an Illinois car accident when a pickup truck drove past a red light that had snow covering it. The pickup truck struck the woman’s vehicle as she made a left-hand turn.

Oswego Police Detective Rob Sherwood says he doesn’t think the Illinois traffic crash would have happened if the snow wasn’t obstructing the light from truck driver Alex Dyche's view. Richter’s fiancé, Robert Leathers, filed an Illinois car accident lawsuit against Dyche. Leathers sustained significant injuries during the Oswego car crash.

Meantime, the Illinois Department is pushing cities to use LED lights at traffic intersections where there are red light cameras.

Depending on the direction that snow might be blowing the wind, visibility on one side of a two-sided traffic light might be obscured by snow, making motorists more vulnerable to injury accidents. In some states, transportation officials are having workers use brooms to clear the lights' lenses. They are also considering placing sloping snow shields on the lenses of the traffic lights so the snow won’t accumulate on them.

LED Signals Seen as Potential Hazard, NY Times, January 1, 2010

Winter hazard in new LED signals, Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation

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January 11, 2010

Orland Park Man Charged in Cook County Drunk Driving Crash that Killed His Ex-Girlfriend

22-year-old Nick Sord is charged with aggravated drunk driving and reckless homicide for the Cook County car crash that killed his passenger early on December 31, 2008. Sord, an Orland Park restaurateur, crashed his Mercedes SUV into a pole after a night out.

The SUV drove into a ditch before partially rolling over. According to the Cook County Sheriff’s office, Sord’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit.

Mejia, a New Lenox resident and a University of Illinois at Chicago student, sustained multiple injuries before she as pronounced dead at a Harvey Hospital. Sord was treated and later released from an Oak Lawn hospital for cuts and a broken wrist.

Sord and Mejia were formerly used to date but her mother says they broke up in August. Their families did not approve of their relationship.

Cook County Car Accident Cases
A person accused of driving drunk can face criminal charges and be sued for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death if someone was injured or killed. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and destroys the lives of the victims, their families, and the drunk driver, who not only faces prison time but must live with the guilt of knowing that someone else died because of the motorist’s recklessness and carelessness.

Just last week, Ali Hosseini, a man who was charged with drunk driving after he allegedly struck a motorcyclist in 2007, now faces upgraded charges of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide after the victim died on January 2. Keith Kreinik underwent over 20 surgeries and spent over two years in treatment for the injuries he sustained during the Chicago car accident.

Hosseini, who had been free on bond, was taken back into custody. His bond was increased to $100,000. He was allegedly under the influence of heroin, alcohol, codeine, and morphine at the time of the tragic Northwest Side crash.

High alcohol level cited in fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2010

Man charged in fatal crash, Southtown Star, January 2, 2010

Bond raised for man accused of DUI in 2007 crash, Chicago Breaking News, January 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Motor Vehicle Safety, CDC

Impaired Driving, NHTSA

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January 9, 2010

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Wrong-Way Drunk Driving Accident that Killed Eight on Taconic Parkway

Nearly six months after 36-year-old Diane Schuler drove the wrong-way on the Taconic Parkway while she was allegedly drunk and high, the family of two of the eight victims that died is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against her estate. The tragic car crash, which occurred on July 26, claimed the lives of Schuler, three of her nieces, her two-year-old daughter, 81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 49-year-old son Michael, and their friend 74-year-old Daniel Longo. Schuler’s 5-year-old son Bryan survived the wrong-way car crash with serious injuries, including severe head trauma.

The motor vehicle accident made national headlines after Schuler drove the wrong-way for nearly two miles, disregarding signs and ignoring the warnings of other drivers. According to a toxicology report, Schuler had marijuana in her system and the equivalent of 10 liquor shots in her bloodstream. She and the kids were coming home from a camping trip when the auto collision happened. A broken bottle of vodka was discovered in the minivan’s wreckage.

The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Schuler of reckless, wanton, and willful actions, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and disregarding other motorists' warnings that she was driving her minivan the wrong-way. According to the civil complaint, the Bastardis experienced mental trauma, terror, pain, suffering, and serious personal injuries prior to their death. Schuler’s brother Warren Hance is also a wrongful death defendant. He owned the minivan that Schuler was driving.

Schuler’s husband Daniel refuses to accept autopsy findings that his wife was drunk and high. He says an undiagnosed medical problem may have caused her erratic behavior that day. However, according to one report, he told police his wife occasionally smoked pot to alleviate stress.

Suit Filed in Wrong-Way Crash That Killed 8 on Taconic, NY Times, December 10, 2009

Loyal To The End: Grieving Schuler Denies Reports, WCBSTV, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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January 4, 2010

West Chicago Teen’s Family Files Kane County Car Accident Lawsuit Against His Former Classmate

The family of 17-year-old Cameron Godee is suing 18-year-old Onofrio J. Lorusso for Illinois wrongful death. Godee died in a Kane County car crash on June 14 while riding in Lorusso’s SUV. Now, the West Chicago victim’s family is seeking $6.175 M in wrongful death damages. Godee and Lorusso, a Wayne resident, had just graduated from St. Charles East High School.

According to police, Lorusso’s blood-alcohol concentration was almost three times the legal limit and he also had marijuana in his system when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two trees. Godee was riding in the front-passenger seat. The two teenagers riding in the back seat sustained injuries.

The Illinois car crash lawsuit is accusing Lorusso of negligent driving and willfully ignoring his passengers’ safety. In the criminal case against him, Lorusso has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless homicide, and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. He is currently free on bond.

One of the passengers that survived the catastrophic Illinois car wreck is suing Lorusso for Kane County personal injury. 17-year-old Chelsea Mertz, a St. Charles resident, sustained a traumatic brain injury and broke her jaw during the June car wreck. Her Illinois car accident claims that Lorusso was driving over 40 mph above the speed limit, on the wrong side of the road, and was under the influence of pot and alcohol. Lorusso’s father is also a defendant of the lawsuit, which accuses him of neglecting to prevent his intoxicated son from driving the other teens home.

Mertz is undergoing rehabilitative therapy to treat her brain injury. Doctors had to surgically rewire her jaw. It is unclear whether the effects of her traumatic brain injury are permanent.

Driver in fatal crash sued for millions, The Chronicle, December 22, 2009

Survivor of fatal St. Charles crash sues driver, Daily Herald, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, Motor Vehicle Safety

CyberDrive Illinois

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December 23, 2009

Buffalo Grove Car Accident Victim and Highland Park Driver Agree to $1 Million Chicago Personal Injury Settlement

A $1 million Chicago car accident settlement has been reached between two former best friends. Marissa Palmer, a 22-year-old Buffalo Grove woman, sustained a closed head injury, road rash injuries, spinal, rib, and neck fractures, and lacerated her liver and spleen in 2006 after she was ejected from the Jeep Cherokee that Dana Horowitz, a Highland Park resident, was driving.

The two women were University of Wisconsin undergrad students at the time of the catastrophic three-vehicle crash that took place in snowy weather. They were traveling from Madison to Highland Park on icy roads.

According to witnesses, Horowitz was operating her motor vehicle at a speed of about 60 mph while other motorists were driving at approximately half that speed. She lost control of her Jeep, drove over the median, and struck two other autos.

While a motorist is not responsible for poor weather conditions and the hazards that they can create on wet, icy, or foggy roads, a driver can be held liable for Chicago personal injury if the motorist fails to modify his/her driving to prevent an Illinois car accident from happening.

A driver may have to reduce the vehicle's speed to lower than the posted speed limit to prevent his/vehicle from sliding uncontrollably on icy or wet roads. Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving when the road conditions are poor can cause tragic car accidents.

The party responsible for your Chicago, Illinois motor vehicle accident may be the driver of another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle that you are a passenger in, or another person or entity.

$1M settlement for Buffalo Grove woman in icy-road crash, Chicago Sun-Times, December 19, 2009

$1M settlement for woman in icy-road crash, WBBMNewsRadio780, December 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Winter Driving Tips, AAA

CyberDrive, Illinois

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December 22, 2009

Lockport Police Officer Accused of Causing Deadly Chicago Car Crash Had BAC of .223%

Assistant State’s Attorney John Carroll of Cook County says that Lockport Police Officer Edward Stapinski’s blood alcohol was .223 when he allegedly caused a three-auto crash on the Stevenson Expressway on Sunday night. Stapinski, 34, was not on duty when the deadly collision happened. Killed in the tragic Chicago car accident was Man K. Wong, 29.

According Illinois State Police, Stapinski was headed south on Interstate Highway 55 close to Cicero Avenue when his vehicle drove onto the left shoulder and hit the concrete median barrier. It then went over the barrier, striking Wong’s auto in a head-on crash. Next, the off-duty cop’s auto rolled over, hitting a third vehicle.

According to witnesses, the off-duty police driver was operating his vehicle at a speed of about 80 mph when the deadly Cook County car accident happened. Police who were at the scene say that the 34-year-old cop exhibited slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and smelled of alcohol. Stapinski declined to be tested for alcohol while at the crash site but he took a blood tested at the hospital where he was admitted for his injuries.

Wong was pronounced dead in Mt. Sinai Hospital. The third motorist was not injured. On Monday night, Stapinski was charged with drunken driving and reckless homicide.

Illinois Drunk Driving Accidents
While the number of Illinois drunk driving deaths has gone down (439 alcohol-related Illinois car crashes in 2007 and 362 drunk driving fatalities in 2008), drunk driving accidents continue to claim too many lives. A drunken motorist who causes a deadly car crash can be held liable for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death.

Especially during the holiday season, when people are busy going from one holiday event to the next and traveling to spend time with family, our Chicago, Illinois car accident law firm would like to remind you to refrain from driving while drunk.

Off-duty Lockport cop charged with reckless homicide, DUI, Chicago Tribune, December 22, 2009

Lockport Officer Was 3 Times Legal Limit, WBBM780, December 22, 2009

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Intensive Holiday Drunk & Impaired Driving Crackdown & Advertising Blitz, NHTSA, December 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Fatalities and Fatality Rates in Alcohol- Impaired-Driving Crashes by State, 2007-2008, NHTSA, December 2009 (PDF)

DUI Information for Adults, Illinois State Police

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December 13, 2009

Alton Motorcyclist Awarded $1.3 Million for Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Wants More Damages from Insurance Company

A man who a jury awarded $1.3 million for serious injuries he sustained in an Illinois motorcycle accident is now asking for sanctions against, as well as half a million dollars in damages from the responsible driver's insurance company. Steven Thomas Kirk, an Alton resident, severed his foot and part of his leg when he was injured in a June 30, 2006 traffic accident.

Kirk was riding his motorcycle when a vehicle driven by Enver Hamiti, who is also an Alton resident, hit him. Police cited Hamiti for not obeying a stop sign. Kirk, who was under the influence at the time of the Illinois motor vehicle accident, was not cited for causing the crash or ticketed for drunk driving.

Kirk sued Hamiti for Illinois personal injury. He says the motorist did not attempt to assist him or call for help. Kirk says that while he lay on the street with his leg detached, someone came up to him and robbed him, stealing a diamond earring that he was wearing.

A jury awarded him $1.8 million. It did, however, subtract 20% for the plaintiff’s contribution to causing the traffic collision.

Now, Kirk is accusing Hamiti’s insurer, Mercury Insurance Co., of persuading (maybe even bribing) a witness to lie about what she saw. During the civil trial, the witness said she saw Kirk weaving and speeding on the road. She claimed she lived in an apartment close to where the motorcycle accident happened and that “Friends” was on at the time.

The Illinois motorcycle accident, however, happened at 11pm and “Friends” was on at 9pm that night. During cross-examination, the witness said that her lease on the apartment started six months after the motorcycle collision.

Kirk is seeking sanctions and another $500,000 in damages.

Amputee seeks sanctions against insurance company post-trial , The Record, December 2, 2009

Alton man seeks more damages after jury award, The Telegraph, December 1, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Motorcycle Accidents, Justia

Mercury Insurance Co.

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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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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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