April 18, 2014

GM Recall Update: Why Personal Injury Law Matters

by Levin & Perconti

Throughout the course of any given year, it is common for both automotive companies, as well as the manufacturers of various vehicle parts and components to recall defective or unsafe products from the market. According to a recall report recently produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 650 safety recalls were enacted in 2012 alone, affecting nearly 18 million vehicles, child seats, and other pieces of equipment. The vast majority of these recalls were conducted by a responsible party immediately after they became aware of an issue, and this is essential to keeping consumers safe. However, when companies fail to act on their knowledge of design defects in a timely manner, they place millions of drivers in serious danger. In these scenarios, our civil justice system is crucial to protecting the rights of victims, and in subsequent lawsuits, personal injury lawyers play an essential role in holding corporations accountable when they put profits over people.

In this regard, 2014 has proven to be a tumultuous year for the automotive giant, General Motors (GM). During the initial three months of the calendar year, the company recalled 2.6 million of its small engine vehicles due to potential safety problems related to faulty ignition switches. The issue made it possible for ignition switches to easily be bumped, brushed or pulled from ‘on’ to ‘accessory’ or ‘off’ while vehicles were in motion, disabling the power steering and power breaks, as well as preventing the airbags from deploying in the event of an accident. The cause of such failures has since been attributed to a lack of torque, or pressure, being supplied by the switch indent plungers in these vehicles, which had been improperly designed.

This defect was not disclosed by GM, but was instead discovered by an attorney, who had sued the company on behalf of the family of a woman killed in an accident the ignition problem caused. It was found that GM had been holding meetings about the safety hazards of the issue as early as 2005, but had decided against a recall because it would take too long and cost an excessive amount of money. Because of this negligence, at least 12 other people have died in crashes involving these vehicles. (NHTSA; USA Today)

As part of a Consumer Protection Hearing on the matter, members of the U.S. Senate rebuked GM’s executives for their failure to take proper action despite clear knowledge of a problem for more than 10 years, calling it a ‘culture of cover-up’. By clicking this link, you can watch a clip from the proceedings, and learn more details about General Motors and the recall.

Our car accident lawyers are committed to protecting the victims of automotive design defects. If you have been injured, or if you are the survivor of loved one who has been killed in an accident caused by negligence or recklessness on the part of another party, call our attorneys now for a free legal consultation.

April 16, 2014

Safety Tips for New Motorcycle Riders

by Levin & Perconti

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths related to automobile accidents (including cars, SUVs, and light trucks) reached an all-time low in the United States. Unfortunately, while we continue to make progress in terms of motor vehicle safety, motorcycle safety represents an entirely different trend. During the period spanning 1999 to 2008, motorcyclist fatalities more than doubled, reaching an all time high. Despite the fact that some estimates tab motorcyclists as being 35 times more likely to be involved in a deadly accident than those driving cars, motorcycle use continues to grow, with new riders registering their bikes every day. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention; motorcycle.org)

Our Chicago lawyers have experience handling lawsuits involving motorcycle accident injuries. What follows are a few tips we have devised to help new motorcyclists keep themselves safe on the road:

Don’t Overbuy—When shopping for our first bike, make sure it fits you. That means matching your needs both physically (when seated, you should be able to place both feet flat on the ground, handle bars should be easily reached, and the motorcycle should be a weight you can handle) and in terms of performance capability. Failing to take these basic precautions can be an accident waiting to happen.

Take A Safety Course—Most states require that you take a skills test in order to attain a motorcycle license, and some also require a safety class. If your state doesn’t require some kind of safety education course, do what you can to seek one out on your own.

Invest in Antilock Brakes—ABS is a feature now available on many different motorcycle models, and IIHS data has shown that riders with these brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a deadly accident. Although it may cost you a couple hundred bucks, it will likely save you much more in the long term by way of insurance discounts, and it could save your life.

Ride Within Your Skill Level—Riding a motorcycle is not a skill that can be mastered immediately. Operating these machines requires greater balance and physical exertion, and it can take several years to reach the level of expert rider. Don’t attempt maneuvers you may not be able to handle, and be defensive whenever possible to avoid an accident.

Avoid Adverse Weather and Road Hazards—Simply put, motorcycles don’t grip pavement as well as four-wheeled vehicles do. Avoid riding in the rain or snow, and watch out for potholes, gravel, or other roadway hazards that could result in you losing control.

Wear a Helmet—The bottom line is that this is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe when riding. Head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcyclists, and anything you can do to provide protection for your brain can make a big difference. (Discovery News; Consumer Reports)

April 14, 2014

Tips For Drinking Responsibly and Preventing Drunk Driving

by Levin & Perconti

Despite the fact that our society has made tremendous progress in recent years to curb the number of drunk driving accidents, this issue continues to represent one of the single most damaging (and preventable) safety epidemics faced by U.S. citizens today. Nearly 30 people die every day in traffic accidents caused by a drunk driver. This equals out to more than 10,000 alcohol related fatalities each year, accounting for approximately 1/3rd of all roadway deaths during this period. Every state in the U.S. has instituted a per se blood or breath alcohol level (typically .08 BAC) as their threshold for an independent criminal offense, and a multitude of state and federal agencies continue to work toward educating the public and raising awareness about the hazards of drunk driving. (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration)

As we progress into the spring season, the nights are getting longer, and people are naturally more inclined to go out and enjoy this extra daylight with family and friends. However, if your plans involve drinking, keep the following safety tips in mind:

When Drinking Alcohol—The first thing everyone should do when planning a night of drinking with a group is designate a sober driver to get everyone home at the end of the night. If you become separated from your group, or you are drinking by yourself, it is important that you find an alternative means of transportation. This can include a taxi, train, or bus; anything is better than choosing to drive home while intoxicated. Above all, make sure to watch out for your friends, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you see someone intoxicated leaving to drive home.

When Throwing a Party—Always make sure to offer non-alcoholic beverages at a party you are hosting. Certain guests may not drink alcohol, and others may just want to have a drink and relax. In addition to this, serve a good amount of food and snacks to absorb alcohol throughout the night, and stop serving drinks at least an hour before the party concludes. This will allow people to properly gage how much they have consumed and take appropriate measures to get home. As a host, it is also your responsibility to ensure that anyone who is too intoxicated to drive does not drive. This can be done fairly easily by keeping your guests’ keys until the end of the party, and choosing who is capable of reclaiming their keys at that time. (State Farm Insurance)

Together, our Chicago car accident lawyers and staff bring over 130 years of legal experience to every case we handle, and since 1992 this has resulted in more than $520 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients and their families. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation as well. If you think you may have a case, call our lawyers anytime for a free consultation.

April 11, 2014

Man Killed in Pedestrian Accident in West Garfield Park Neighborhood

by Levin & Perconti

Earlier this week, a 38-year-old man struck and killed a pedestrian in the West Garfield Park neighborhood while operating his van on a suspended license. The accident occurred at the intersection of Pulaski Road and Van Buren Street around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. According to reports from police and investigators, the driver’s 2000 Dodge van was traveling northbound on Pulaski Road when the vehicle hit a 33-year-old pedestrian, who was crossing the street eastbound at the intersection (although the victim was not in the crosswalk at the time of the accident). The victim was transported to nearby Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead just before 9 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The van’s driver has been cited with three violations, including failure to yield to a pedestrian, driving on a suspended license, and driving without insurance. Currently, the police Major Accidents Investigation Unit is investigating the crash further. (Chicago Sun Times)

Throughout the United States, pedestrian accidents claim the lives of more than 4,000 pedestrians every year, and are responsible for injuring approximately 70,000 additional individuals annually. Statistics also show that if you live or work in an urban area, such as Chicago, you are far more likely to fall victim to pedestrian accidents. Our lawyers believe that knowing the risk factors associated with these accidents is a crucial step in taking the necessary actions to prevent them, and with that in mind, here is a brief list highlighting who is most at risk:

Elderly Adults—Pedestrians over the age of 65 account for roughly 20% of all pedestrian accident fatalities, and 11% of pedestrian injuries. This is likely due to the fact that the weaker bones and bodies of elderly people are far more susceptible to blunt force trauma caused by these accidents.

Children—Nearly one in every five traffic accident fatalities involving children between the ages of 5 and 9 is the result of a pedestrian accident. Smaller children are much harder to see, especially when backing out of a driveway in a neighborhood. Like elderly adults, their developing bodies are also susceptible to greater injury in these accidents.

Pedestrians Who Are Impaired By Alcohol—We talk a lot about the dangers of drinking and driving, but drinking and walking is also something to be wary of, especially in the city. Alcohol-impairment, whether in the case of the driver of the pedestrian, was reported in 47% of all pedestrian fatalities. If you are going to walk home after a night at the bar, stay with a group and watch out for each other, this makes you more visible and significantly lessens your likelihood of being injured. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

April 9, 2014

Toyota Will Recall Nearly 6.4 Million Automobiles Due to Several Design Defects

by Levin & Perconti

As we all know, mistakes will happen; this is as true for brilliant automotive engineers as it is for everyone else. However, automobile recall laws are in place to ensure that when potentially dangerous automotive design defects occur during the manufacturing or production process of a vehicle, they are addressed quickly and efficiently in a way that protects consumers from harm as much as possible.

Today, the world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation, announced its plan to recall some 6.39 million vehicles that the company has manufactured and sold across the globe due to several different design faults involving parts and components. This global call back represents the second largest recall announcement for Toyota, and will span 27 models.

According to reports, the announcement cited 5 different safety issues among the recalled vehicles, the largest of which being faulty spiral steering wheel cables in approximately 3.5 million vehicles. Officials say that these cables could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned, which may cause the driver’s airbag to fail during an accident. The second largest of the 5 Toyota recalls involves 2.32 million three-door models produced between January of 2005 and August 2010. This will aim to fix seat rail issues, which could cause a driver or passenger’s seat to slide forward in the event of a crash, risking serious injury. Some of the other issues addressed by the recall include problems related to steering column brackets, windshield wiper motors and engine starters. It is estimated that roughly 2.34 million of the vehicles included in Toyota’s recall were sold in North America. (Thomson Reuters)

While the majority of companies and manufacturers deem the safety of consumers to be their top priority, in some cases, a recall may be too late to prevent injuries. In more extreme scenarios, the negligence or dishonesty of companies may knowingly put the public in danger. Our lawyers take great pride in the changes that their efforts have brought in the area of product liability and safety. In many instances, our legal team has not only recovered a substantial settlement for our clients, they have also successfully removed defective vehicles, parts and components from the marketplace, ensuring that they cannot cause further harm. For instance, our attorneys represented the families of two individuals who lost their lives in a car fire. Filing suit against a major American automobile manufacturer, we were able to prove that an improperly designed fuel delivery system fed and intensified the fire, resulting in a $3 million settlement for our clients.

If you have been seriously injured because of an automobile design defect, or if you are the survivor of a loved one who died because of similar circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation. We will take the legal steps necessary to hold negligent parties accountable and ensure your rights are protected.

April 4, 2014

Department of Transportation Launches First National Distracted Driving Campaign

by Levin & Perconti

As a society, we have become accustomed to technological innovation, and we readily embrace the role that our various gadgets play in making our lives more convenient and enjoyable. However, when operating an automobile, the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, Mp3 players and GPS navigation systems can distract you from your primary task of driving, putting you and everyone else on the road in serious danger. Most of us understand that driving while distracted is frowned upon, and 43 of our 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands currently have laws banning their drivers from texting or using electronic devices behind the wheel. Yet, many possess only a surface-level understanding of these issues, with no concept of just how serious the risks of distraction actually are.

April 1st marked the beginning of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In an effort to increase national public awareness and understanding related to distracted driving car accidents, the U.S. Transportation Secretary has announced the launch of the Department of Transportation’s first-ever national advertising campaign on combatting distracted driving. Advertisements using the catchphrase U Drive. U Text. U Pay. will run for an eight day period between April 7th and April 15th, being disseminated via television, radio, and digital media sources. This campaign will coincide with a national law enforcement crackdown on distracted driving. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

In 2012, the most recent year in which data was available, approximately 421,000 individuals were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver, representing a 9% increase from the 387,000 injured in 2011. Studies from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) have found that performing visual-manual subtasks, such as texting, take a driver’s eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds at a time. If one is traveling on a highway, that amount of time can be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind. With the rapidity of advancements in technology, it is likely that injuries will continue to rise unless public education is made a priority. The Transportation Secretary hopes that this $8.5 million national campaign is the first step in placing distracted driving awareness on par with other Department of Transportation’s efforts, such as their past initiatives to curb drunk driving and encourage seatbelt use. (Distraction.gov)

In the case of distracted driving accidents, there is little you can do to prevent reckless and negligent actions by other drivers; what you can do, is seek an experienced and proven legal team to get you the compensation you deserve. If you have suffered a serious injury due to a traffic accident, call our lawyers for a free consultation to explore your legal options.

April 2, 2014

NHTSA Believes Rear View Technology Rule Could Reduce Pedestrian Accidents

by Levin & Perconti

More than 70,000 individuals are injured in pedestrian car accidents throughout the United States each year. That equates to one pedestrian injury every 8 minutes. Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final regulatory decision related to pedestrian safety, which will require all auto manufacturers producing vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs. to equip their vehicles with rear visibility technology by May of 2018. This regulatory rule will affect everything from smaller sedans and mid-sized SUVs, to buses, trucks, and other large vehicles. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Many believe that this new rule is a significant step toward enhancing the safety of automobiles, citing that rear visibility technology will be a particularly valuable tool for reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in pedestrian car accidents, such as ‘back over accidents’. A back over accident occurs when a vehicle reverses, striking a pedestrian, but the driver is unaware that any accident has occurred. Because of this, the driver continues to reverse, backing over the pedestrian. According the statistics collected from the NHTSA, an average of 210 pedestrian fatalities and 15,000 injuries are caused by back over accidents each year. Analysis of the same data found that children under the age of 5 accounted for nearly 1/3rd of all back over fatalities, and additionally, that adults over the age of 70 constituted more than 1/4th of the fatalities.

In addressing this problem, the NHTSA reported that they took the necessary time to ensure that this policy would be both flexible and achievable. Rear visibility technology will expand millions of drivers’ fields of view, allowing them to be more aware of the area behind their vehicle. The NHTSA has stipulated that this field of view must cover a 10-foot by 20-foot area directly behind the vehicle, and that the systems are also required to meet other standards, such as image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation. Including vehicles that already have these systems installed, the Agency estimates that anywhere from 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once all of the required vehicles are equipped with this technology.

Our firm knows how devastating pedestrian accidents can be. Our Chicago car accident lawyers represented a 5-year-old boy who had been run over by a City of Chicago Fire truck while playing near an open fire hydrant on the Fourth of July; an accident, which resulted in the loss of his leg and half of his pelvis. Our attorneys were able to recover a $10 million settlement for our client and his family, ensuring that his medical bills and future expenses would be covered.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian car accident, you may be entitled to compensation as well. If you think you may have a case, call us now for a free consultation to explore your legal options.

March 28, 2014

V2V Communication Technologies Promise Improved Safety on U.S. Roadways

by Levin & Perconti

In this day and age, the rapidity of technological advancement is changing the way we live on a daily basis. Many of the things that were dismissed as the stuff of comic book science fiction a few decades ago are now partially, or completely possible; one such technology is Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication, often generalized as “talking cars.” Scientists, engineers, and researchers have been in the process of developing V2V communication systems for many years, and we still have a ways to go before regulators and manufacturers are ready to implement these innovations on a standard basis, but in the mean-time here is a synopsis of what consumers have to look forward to. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

How V2V Works:
The term “talking cars,” refers to technological communication systems that enable automobiles to send and receive pertinent safety information while driving (car-to-car, as well as communicating with traffic signals and other components of roadway infrastructures). The U.S. Department of Transportation, in collaboration with many of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, plan to utilize Wi-Fi-like wireless technology to notify motorists about potential safety concerns such as adverse roadway conditions or impending collisions, allowing them to take necessary precautions or corrective actions. Connected vehicles will use Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), signals which are secure, reliable, and unlikely to be subject to interference.

Improvements to Driver Safety:
Research from the Department of Transportation have shown that the widespread use of V2V technology has the potential to prevent roughly 80% of all motor vehicle accident scenarios involving non-impaired drivers. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that these communication systems will aid in the prevention of the most common types of real-world crashes, like car accidents at intersections or during lane changes.

Safety Pilot:
Currently, a two-phase Safety Pilot program led by the NHTSA and RITA is examining the real-world applications of V2V technology. This study hopes to lay the groundwork for our future understanding of what the use of this technology could mean to a large community. Once this program is completed, safety agencies believe they will have enough data to decide whether plans for V2V system implementation are ready to move forward.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle systems, or “talking cars,” are no longer relegated to the realm of science fiction. They are very real, and have the potential to prevent millions of injuries each year. In our profession, staying up to date on the latest automotive, regulatory, and safety news is part of the job. Our lawyers do our best to support the pursuit of safety innovations, especially when they have the potential to increase driver safety and reduce the number of preventable accidents that occur in our country every year. Another way in which we aim to provide a greater level of safety for future drivers is by ensuring that reckless and negligent individuals are held accountable for their actions behind the wheel. We are well versed on the latest industry developments, and we have the experience necessary to win lawsuits; if you have been injured in a Chicago car accident, don't wait, call us now to see how our lawyers can help you.

March 27, 2014

Personal Injuries Can Be Life-Altering, Know How to Handle Them

by Levin & Perconti

Every year, roughly 6 million car accidents occur around the United States, injuring some 3 million Americans. According to the statistics, about 2/3rd of these individuals’ injuries will never fully heal, serving as a permanent hindrance that will completely change their way of living. As Chicago car accident lawyers, we understand that the effects of traffic fatalities and traumatic injuries are diverse and far-reaching, deleteriously affecting individuals, families, and communities alike. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Unfortunately, head injuries, nerve damage, spinal cord paralysis, broken bones, or even losing the use of a limb are all very real outcomes in violent automobile accidents. For individuals who have spent their lives pursuing in depth knowledge related to fields like business, technology, or medicine, a head injury could prevent them from returning to their job, and in jobs that require physical labor or exertion, virtually any serious injury could mean losing thousands of dollars in wages. This is just one example of the many burdens that victims must deal with, and it is also illustrates why choosing the right law firm matters when pursuing a lawsuit.

Together, our personal injury lawyers possess over 130 years of legal knowledge and experience. We are proud of the diverse collection of talent found within our law firm because this directly translates to our success in securing the best possible results for every client we take on. We know that for victims, the most important and pressing matter is getting their medical bills, insurance costs, lost wages, and future healthcare expenses covered, and since 1992, our staff has helped thousands of individuals do just that.

In one of our most recent cases, our attorneys represented a 27-year-old man who had suffered serious injuries in a Gold Coast pedestrian accident. In this case, a Chicago City employee had lost control of his vehicle and swerved onto a sidewalk, striking our client and three other individuals. In a lawsuit, our lawyers were able to prove that the worker had been operating his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, leading to a $2.4 million verdict for our client and his family.

If you have been the victim of a serious injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, or if you are the survivor of a loved one who lost their life in a traffic accident, you may be entitled to compensation as well. If you think you may have a case, call our lawyers anytime for a free consultation; we will explore your legal options, and find out how our wealth of experience can go to work for you.

March 25, 2014

32 People Injured As a Result of Blue Line Trains Derailment at O’Hare Station

by Levin & Perconti

The City of Chicago’s far-reaching borders incorporate some 237 square miles of land, and yet, for most of the city’s nearly 2.7 million residents, the majority of their desired destinations are just a few minutes, and a few dollars, away. No matter where one’s destination may be, the ubiquity of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) public transportation options aim to ensure that all people are able to get where they need to go safely. The sheer size and scope of the network serviced by the CTA’s 1,800 buses and 1,200 ‘L’ train cars is enough to gain it recognition as the 2nd largest public transit system in the nation, however, due to the organization’s very nature as a facilitator of mass transportation (carrying approximately 1.6 million Chicago residents around the city every weekday), the CTA also assumes enormous responsibility in cases where passenger or bystander safety is compromised; yesterday, a serious accident involving a CTA ‘L’ train created just such an event.

Early Monday morning, an ‘L’ train traveling along the CTA Blue Line failed to come to a stop at its final station, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, resulting in a violent collision with a safety bumper situated at the end of the track. The momentum of the train carried it forward, jumping the bumper and derailing its cars causing them to careen up a nearby escalator and set of stairs. Although initial reports claim that 32 people suffered serious (but non-life threatening) injuries as a result of the crash, in a miraculous turn of events, the incident did not lead to a single fatality. (City of Chicago; Chicago Transit Authority)

Currently, several officials believe that the operator of the train may have fallen asleep at the helm; however, said conductor required hospitalization for her injuries, and as a result, she has not yet been reached to provide a comment on the issue. Reports provided by the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, a local union group representing the operator, seem to support the likelihood of the driver falling asleep at the wheel, pointing out the fact that the individual driving the train had worked more than twenty hours of overtime during the week leading up to the incident. Authorities say they will remain on the scene this week reviewing station videos of the incident and analyzing reports showing communication signals, as well as information regarding the train’s condition at the time of the crash. In addition to local authorities, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will also be traveling to the scene of the accident in an effort to determine the circumstances that may have led to the train jumping the stations protective bumpers, which they had previously believed were capable of preventing such an incident. At present, neither officials, nor the CTA have provided a timetable for the reopening of the Blue Line O’Hare station. (Thomson Reuters)

If you have sustained serious injuries due to the negligence of a company, designer, manufacturer, or employee, you may be entitled to compensation for your hardships. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with Chicago personal injury lawsuits, recovering more than $520 million in successful settlements for our clients and their families since 1992. Our firm is committed to holding careless and reckless parties accountable for their actions, and also to ensuring that the victims of these accidents receive the indemnities rightfully owed to them. These settlements prove invaluable in easing the financial burdens of injury victims, allowing them to pay accumulated medical bills, make up for lost wages, and cover future healthcare costs. This allows our clients to reach a point of much-needed emotional and fiscal relief, providing them with the opportunity to shift their focus to what matters the most, their own recovery.

March 21, 2014

Bus Accidents Come in Many Shapes and Sizes, Know How to Handle Them

by Levin & Perconti

Every weekday, about 25 million children from all over the United States use a school bus to get to and from school, and millions of adults, including thousands of people living in the City of Chicago, also rely on buses to get them from point-A to point-B. As personal injury lawyers working in one of the largest hubs of passenger bus transportation in the country, our attorneys have helped a number of clients gain compensation for traffic-related injuries, and possess an extensive amount of experience handling bus accident lawsuits. (LegalInfo)

Because there is a significant amount of variation within this industry, accidents and injuries can leave victims financially and physically damaged, with no idea of what to do next. If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of a bus accident, it is crucial that you seek legal representation from a firm that understands the intricacies of serious accident ligitation. By examining the list found below, you can develop a better understanding of the wide range of cases that our lawyers handle:

• Accidents involving the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) or other local/public mass transit carriers
• Accidents involving school buses or injuries to children
• Accidents involving charter or tour buses
• Accidents and injuries involving sight-seeing buses or other similar vehicles
• Accidents involving large interstate motor carrier companies, such as Greyhound or MegaBus
• Accidents involving shuttles or similar transit vehicles
• Pedestrian or bicycle bus accidents
• Car accidents involving buses or other mass transit vehicles
• Accidents or injuries that were caused or worsened by either a manufacturer or design defect

Any time someone gets onto a bus, they are placing their trust in that vehicles driver, the company that maintains it, and the manufacturer that produced it. Due to the nature of buses, passengers are not always protected from blunt force trauma by seat belts, and are often standing or moving about the isles while the vehicle is in motion, which increases their risk of injury in the event of an accident.

Many victims of traumatic injury require surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care just to regain some semblance of their life before their accident. This type of care is extremely expensive, and our lawyers know how worrisome it can be to continue accumulating these kinds of expenses while being physically unable to return to work or earn income. If you have been injured, or if you have lost a loved one because of an Illinois bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, insurance costs, and other hardships. If you think you may have a case, call our lawyers anytime to explore the legal options available for your unique situation.

March 19, 2014

Child Passenger Safety Information, Risk Factors, and Injury Prevention Policies

by Levin & Perconti

Even with all the advancements we are making in automotive safety technology, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among our nation’s youth population. While it’s true that technology has the potential to help make us a little safer on the road, it is important to remember that technology isn’t a solution in and of itself, and that there are many actions we can take ourselves to keep our children safe. Our lawyers are always looking for interesting facts and studies to pass on to our readers, and we hope that the child passenger safety information that follows will help keep our readers and their families a little safer in the future.

How Serious is the Problem of Child Passenger Safety?—During the 2011 statistical year, the most recent period for which data has been made available, there were more than 650 children (12 years of age or younger) killed in traffic related accidents. Additionally, nearly 150,000 other children are seriously injured as passengers in automobiles every year. In one study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency found that during that year between 600,000-700,000 children rode as passengers in vehicles without using child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts at least some of the time. This fact is made all the more disconcerting when you consider that 1/3 of all child fatalities were not using safety devices either.

What Are the Biggest Risk Factors?—Of the children who died in car accidents across the United States, more minorities (45% of black children and 46% of Hispanic children) were not using safety restraints compared with white children (26%); older children (45% of 8-12 years of age) were also far more likely to not be restrained in safety devices. Parents are often the biggest risk factors in these accidents, as 2/3rd of fatally injured children were killed while being driven by an intoxicated driver, and many children who ride in vehicles without safety restraints have parents who themselves do not use seatbelts.

How Can Injuries to Children Be Prevented?—The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends car seat laws and car seat distribution, plus education programs to increase restraint use. To put it simply, the more people we can educate, the more children we can keep safe. A recent study that was conducted using five states that increased the age requirements for car seat and booster seat usage found that the number of children being restrained increased three times, and the rate of children sustaining “fatal or incapacitating injuries” decreased by almost 20%. Using the correct car seat for your child’s size and weight, as well as taking the proper steps to install it, are both incredibly important aspects of child safety. Take the time to find out which seats best fit your children, and stay up to date on safety information regarding the devices you are using. (The Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

Our Chicago car accident lawyers are committed to reducing the number of preventable car accidents and injuries that occur in our community, but if you have been the victim of an accident because of a negligent or reckless driver, we are also committed to helping you and your family get the compensation they deserve. If you think you may have a case, call us anytime for a free consultation to explore your legal options.