September 30, 2013

Runaway Chicago CTA Train May Have Injured as Many as 48 People

The term ‘public transportation’ encompasses many things. Buses, subways, rail lines, trolleys, and ferries are just a few examples, and with gas prices rising significantly over the past decade, many Americans now utilize public transportation much more frequently. Although it’s rare, accidents do happen, and when they do, they have the potential to create serious devastation. Public transportation is responsible for making over 10 billion trips each year, so it is incredibly important that we do everything we can to keep our common carriers, and the people who use them safe.

Earlier today, a runaway Chicago CTA train collided with another train on the Blue Line in Forest Park, injuring dozens of people. The CTA accident, which happened around 8 a.m., occurred when the outbound train was hit by an empty out of service train headed in the opposite direction at the Harlem Avenue station. According to the CTA, 33 people were transported to local hospitals, but no one was seriously injured, however conflicting reports say that as many as 48 may have been hurt in the crash. It is unclear what caused the collision, but the CTA, as well as the Forest Park police, have informed the union that they suspect no criminal activity or foul play related to the incident. “The train should have been tripped and gone into emergency,” one official commented. “It’s starting to look like a mechanical malfunction.” (Chicago Tribune)

Today’s events show how dangerous public transportation accidents can be; thankfully, in this case no fatalities occurred, but this isn’t always true. Common carriers are required by state and federal law to use a higher degree of care to ensure the safety of all, and when they fail to do so, they are putting thousands of people at risk. Defective equipment, driver negligence, improper maintenance practices, and inadequate safety measures are some of the most common causes of mass transit accidents, and these can usually be avoided simply by using proper caution.

Litigation and lawsuits involving public transportation are very complex, and it is easy to be intimidated by large municipalities and city officials. Our lawyers will ensure that no one impedes your right to receive proper compensation for your injuries. We have represented clients from all over the state of Illinois, and we have recovered more than $520 million dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts for our clients and their families.

September 27, 2013

Naperville Woman Dies After Being Involved in Bicycle Accident

Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors. With less impact on your knees and lower body, many people choose bicycles as their primary means of exercise, and there are a multitude of other benefits to riding a bike. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that cyclists are far less visible than the vehicles they share the road with, and have virtually nothing to protect them from serious injury in the event of a bicycle accident. While 38,000 bicycle accident injuries is a big number already, it’s likely that the majority of these accidents go unreported. With our days getting shorter, and visibility getting worse on afternoon roads, the fall is a time to be especially cautious. (BicycleInfo)

On Wednesday morning, a Naperville cyclist was killed after being struck by a pickup truck. According to reports from police, the vehicle hit the victim as she was attempting to cross the street near the intersection of Diehl Road and Freedom Drive. The Naperville Fire Department immediately transported the woman to nearby Edward Hospital, but were unable to resuscitate her. Currently, the investigation remains open, and charges have not yet been filed. “There were possibly several different factors involved,” said one official. “But it’s a big, spread out intersection and obviously very busy.” A traffic accident reconstruction unit will continue to study the crash moving forward. (Chicago Tribune)

Our lawyers want to remind our readers to respect one another and share the road. Whether it is daytime, dawn, dusk, nighttime, or in unfavorable weather conditions, make sure to always see and be seen. If you are a cyclist, wear something that reflects light, or use flashing lights to make yourself known to the automobiles around you. Never assume that just because you can see a driver, he or she can see you. If you are a driver, always keep an eye out for bicyclists in your blind spots and at intersections, and slow down when passing a bicyclist on the road. In urban centers such as Chicago, it is also especially important that drivers look before they open their doors when parking on the side of a street. Parked cars opening their doors abruptly is a frequent cause of accidents, as it forced bicyclists to swerve into traffic to avoid hitting your vehicle. All of these things are just the tip of the iceberg, but to find out more about bicycle safety, visit www.NHTSA.gov.

Our attorneys have spent more than 20 years handling all types of accident lawsuits, and if you have been injured, we may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve as well.

September 24, 2013

Novosad and Powell Obtain $2.4 million Verdict in Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

More than 4,000 people are killed in pedestrian accidents every year in the United States, and another 70,000 are injured. That adds up to a fatality every two hours, and an injury every 8 minutes. Living in a bustling urban center like Chicago, we are at an even greater risk of falling victim to these accidents, and last Friday, a Cook County jury awarded a $2.4 million verdict to a client of ours who had suffered multiple injuries in a pedestrian accident. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

On May 21st, 2011, our client was struck by a city-owned vehicle while participating in a photo shoot for his wife’s company, resulting in serious injuries. “Stephen suffered several spinal fractures, his leg was broken in two places, and he was hospitalized for six days,” said attorney Susan Novosad. “Immediately following the accident, he had a rod surgically placed in his lower right leg. He required two additional surgeries and months of physical therapy and rehabilitation following the accident.” Following the accident, the driver of the truck tested over the legal blood alcohol limit, and police found an open bottle of brandy within his truck.

The lawsuit, which was filed in June of 2011, named the driver as well as the City of Chicago as defendants, and alleged that the driver was under the influence, at high speeds, and failed to yield to pedestrians in order to prevent an impending collision. Additionally, the suit claimed vicarious liability, claiming that the City of Chicago was responsible for its employee’s actions due to his status as an employee. Prior to the trial, both the defendant and the City of Chicago admitted to being 100% at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. However despite the fact that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, the judge deemed this inadmissible because of the defendant’s admittance of liability, which made his conduct a moot point. After being asked to determine how Stephen should be compensated for his disabilities, many of which he must now cope with for the rest of his life, the jury settled on $2.4 million dollar compensation.

Cases like these illustrate why Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm for all types of personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, and wrongful death litigation. Our lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of people who are injured because of the negligence of others, and we will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured, or think that you might have a case, call us for a free consultation.

September 23, 2013

Quick Tips from Our Lawyers: Child Passenger Safety

New reports from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that more than one-third of all children under 13 years of age killed in automobile accidents in 2011 were not using car seats or wearing seat belts. Any traffic fatality is tragic, but the thought of a child having their life cut short by something that is so preventable is even more troubling.

Automobile accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among children, and 338 kids are injured each day while riding in motor vehicles. The NHTSA’s statistics reveal just how common unrestrained fatalities are among different vehicle types, with distributions as follows:

• SUVs—55%
• Pick-Up Trucks—43%
• Vans—40%
• Cars—24%

In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week, our lawyers would like to highlight some of the NHTSA’s important safety reminders for the use of child car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

Make Sure Your Child is the Right Size For Their Seat—Children grow very rapidly, so it is extremely important that parents continuously monitor whether their child has outgrown their car seats ability to keep them safe.

Read the Instructions to Properly Install Your Child’s Car Seat—When it comes to keeping your children safe, don’t assume you know best without consulting the instructions. These are included to ensure that each car seat/booster seat is as safe and secure as possible.

Register Your Car Seat or Booster Seat at SaferCar.gov—As is the case with cars, child safety restraints are occasionally recalled because of defects. By registering your car or booster seat at SaferCar.gov, you will be able to receive up to date information on the status of your child’s restraint, ensuring they are as safe as possible.

Be a Good Example—Children mimic the actions that they see, especially those of people who they love and trust. For this reason, it is no surprise that unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in their vehicle, and children who are taught that seat belts and child restraints are unnecessary are more likely to pass these notions on to their own children. As a parent, it is important that you not only restrain your children, but that you also wear a seat belt yourself at all times. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Our attorneys are committed to ensuring that all people remain safe while on the road, and also to holding negligent and reckless drivers accountable when they endanger those around them. If you are a concerned parent, or you are just interested in learning more about child passenger safety, you can find more information at NHTSA.gov and SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat.

September 20, 2013

Five Vehicle Accident Fatally Injures One

In a perfect world, driving safely would be enough to ensure that you will never be involved in an automobile accident, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Everyday, people are killed and injured on the road simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It only takes one negligent or reckless driver.

Police officials are investigating a fatal accident that involved 5 vehicles on Tuesday morning. Preliminary reports claim that a semi-truck initiated the crash when the driver failed to brake, causing him to hit the three vehicles in front of him as they slowed for approaching construction. This chain reaction eventually caused a nearby Ford F-150 to crash, killing one of its passengers. Following the accident, punctured fuel tanks on the part of the semi-truck spilled an estimated 140 gallons of fuel onto the roadway, causing significant delays while emergency personnel reported to the scene. At present the investigation is ongoing, but officials added that they do not believe alcohol was a factor in the collision. (Northwest Ohio)

There are an average of 6 million car accidents annually, and 33% of all car accident fatalities involve a reckless driver. Additionally, 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents, and two-thirds of those injuries are permanent. Drivers need to recognize the power of their vehicles, and make sure they are always using proper caution. Whether it is being distracted, operating your vehicle while you are impaired, speeding, or any other action that could hinder your driving ability, your actions behind the wheel affect everyone around you, and one accident could change several people’s lives. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Our Chicago lawyers represent clients from all over the state of Illinois, and we are proud of the work we have done to help people get back on their feet after tragedy strikes. In one of our recent cases, we represented the family of a 32-year-old wife and mother who was killed when a semi-truck driver rear-ended their vehicle. Our client and his son both suffered serious injuries in the collision, and it was later discovered that the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident, and was operating an overloaded and unsafe truck. Our attorneys were able to prove that the defendant truck owner had failed to properly conduct drug screening or perform background checks on their drivers, resulting in a $6.5 million settlement in our client’s favor.

No amount of money can bring a loved one back, but financial compensation can go a long way in covering medical and final expenses, and holds wrongdoers accountable for their actions. If you or someone you know has been involved in a personal injury accident, call us to see if you might have a case.

September 18, 2013

Drinking and Walking: New Statistics Show Potential Hazards

We all know that driving while intoxicated is a bad thing; with so many safety campaigns on the topic, it’s just common sense. However, recent statistics show that drinking and walking can be deadly as well. Numbers from 2011 (the most recent available), show that over a third of all pedestrians killed during that year had blood alcohol levels above the legal driving limit. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that of the 625 pedestrian victims ages 25-34, half were alcohol impaired. “What it (the data) says to us is that nationally we’ve done a good job for educating people about the dangers of drunk driving,” said a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association. “But we haven’t done such a good job of reminding them that other drunk behavior, including walking, can be just as dangerous.”

The bottom line is that alcohol consumption hinders cognitive function, and that is true whether you are behind the wheel or on your feet. This makes people less able to judge and react to their surroundings, making them more likely to cross a road in the wrong place, or try to run across the street to beat an approaching vehicle. Additionally, most working men and women are only able to go to the bar, or venture out for drinks afterhours, making lack of visibility a potentially dangerous factor. (USA Today)

Intoxicated or not, pedestrian accidents kill nearly 5,000 people a year, and injure 70,000 more. That averages out to 12 fatalities a year, and an injury every 8 minutes. It is extremely important, especially in bustling urban areas like Chicago, to be attentive and mindful of your surroundings when you walk. If you are going to drink, even if you are walking home, remember to watch out for yourself and your friends. Cross streets with the light, and avoid taking unnecessary risks that could put you in danger. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

By using the proper caution, pedestrians can significantly reduce their chances of being involved in an accident, but in some unfortunate cases, accidents are unavoidable. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with pedestrian accident lawsuits, and we know the correct steps to take in order to get our clients the compensation they deserve. In a recent case, our attorneys represented a 50-year-old woman who was struck by a bus while using a crosswalk. The vehicle not only hit our client, it also rolled over her body, causing our client to suffer multiple pelvic, rib, and spinal fractures. Our lawyers took on the suit and recovered a $1.25 million settlement, allowing the woman to pay her medical bills and be compensated for the trauma that she suffered.

Remember to always consume alcohol in moderation and act responsibly, whether you are in your car or walking around town, this will make yourself and everyone around you a little bit safer. However, if you find yourself the victim of a pedestrian car accident, know that our lawyers are here to help you.

September 10, 2013

Attorneys Examine the Three Main Types of Distracted Driving

The term ‘human factors’ in a vehicle collision includes all the things that drivers and passengers on the road do that may contribute to a car accident. One of the most common human factors in automobile crashes is distraction, and the number of people that are involved in these accidents is far too high. In 2013, everyone is tied to their smartphones and devices and new cars are being produced with all the bells and whistles, so it is very easy to become distracted if you aren’t careful. Our lawyers want to present you with the three most common types of distraction, so you can understand and be more aware of what activities to avoid when you are navigating Chicago streets and highways.

Manual Distraction: This happens any time a driver takes his or her hands off of the wheel. A manual distraction can happen as a result of texting, smartphone use, eating or drinking, grooming, using navigation systems, adjusting your music, or a multitude of other scenarios. This significantly reduces a driver’s control over their vehicle, as well as their ability to react to situations on the road. This could mean causing an accident, or acting as an impetus for other drivers to lose control in an attempt to avoid you.

Visual Distraction: A visual distraction occurs any time the driver takes their eyes off the road. Something as simple as sending a text message can take an individual’s eyes off of the road for as much as 4.6 seconds, effectively rendering them blind during that time. This can also happen when using maps and navigation systems, or reading a billboard on the side of a highway. While manual distraction reduces physical ability to react and control one’s vehicle, visual distractions might mean that a person doesn’t see a hazard at all, and this can result in accidents that are much more severe.

Cognitive Distraction: This means taking your mind off of driving. Cognitive distractions often overlap with visual and manual distractions, and some tasks, like sending a text, require visual, manual, and cognitive attention on the part of the driver. When you get behind the wheel of a car always remember that it is a huge responsibility, you are operating a machine with an incredible amount of mass, which has the ability to move very quickly and cause serious damage to others. Being mentally focused on the road is not a choice, it is an obligation, and the safety of everyone around you hangs in the balance. (Distraction.gov)

In 2011, careless and reckless actions on the part of distracted drivers resulted in 3,331 deaths, and nearly 400,000 injuries. Every attorney at our firm believes that the victims of distracted driving accidents should not be punished for collisions that they couldn’t avoid. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Illinois, call us to discuss your potential accident lawsuit; we will work with you every step of the way to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Related Posts:

Illinois Governor Signs Two Laws Banning Hand Held Devices While Driving

New Study Shows Cellphone Related Accidents Are Underreported

September 5, 2013

Two Semi-Trucks Involved in Freeway Accident

The massive size of semi-trucks makes them extremely useful for hauling freight and other materials across the country. $610 billion dollars goes into this industry every year, and these vehicles help deliver many of the goods we rely on in our day-to-day lives. However, the tremendous size and tremendous weight of semi-trucks can prove extremely dangerous in a traffic accident. 98% of all fatalities in trucking accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles, which demonstrates just how powerful these tractor-trailers really are. (Legal-Info)

Earlier this week, a collision involving two semi-trucks caused delays throughout local freeways. According to highway patrol officers, one of the trucks was parked on the shoulder of the road when the second semi struck it, causing it to roll and dislodging the fuel tank. The driver of the rolled semi was taken to a nearby medical center, but his condition is unknown at this time. Following the accident only one lane remained open while crews worked to clean up the fuel. (ABC Action News)

About 130,000 individuals are injured in commercial trucking accidents every year, and the average cost of a single large truck accident is nearly $60,000. For the more than one-hundred thousand people who are seriously injured annually, these accidents can mean taking on huge medical bills, all while losing the ability to work and produce income for themselves and their families. 90% of all trucking accidents are caused or worsened by some kind of human error, so if you have been the victim of an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, insurance costs, and damages associated with your collision. (U. S. Department of Transportation)

The ins and outs of truck accident law are sometimes difficult to navigate, so it is essential that you have an experienced legal team on your side. In one of our previous trucking accident cases, we represented the family of a 32-year-old woman who was killed after their pick-up truck was rear-ended by a semi-truck. Our client and his son were both seriously injured in the crash as well. Our attorneys discovered that the defendant was under the influence while driving, and was operating an overloaded and unsafe truck. Additionally, in violation of federal regulations, the defendant truck owners had failed to perform background checks of drug screenings on their drivers prior to employment. We secured a $6.5 million settlement for the family, giving them the compensation that they needed to pay their medical bills and cover final expenses for their loved one.

Accidents can happen anywhere and to anyone, but you can rest assured knowing our lawyers will be there to help you if you need it.

September 4, 2013

Experts Say Prescription Drugs May Pose Serious Hazards for Drivers

There have been a multitude of campaigns directed at informing the American public about the dangers of drunk driving. The NHTSA, CDC, MADD, and various other national agencies have put a great deal of money and effort into education, and it is helping people all over the country recognize the problem. However, many people don’t fully understand the similar dangers that are associated with drugged driving, especially when those drugs are prescribed by your doctor. Illinois’ new medical marijuana law has started a heated debate about the hazards of driving while under the influence of drugs, but many experts say that millions of people are already impaired by perfectly legal drugs everyday.

The main problem with prescription drug abuse is that very few people recognize that they are doing anything wrong in the first place. Compared to the amount of anti-drunk driving messages we see every day, drugged driving often falls by the wayside, and this puts everyone on the road at risk. Just like alcohol, prescription drugs can have a deleterious affect on the brains ability to process and react to information, and in some cases they are every bit as dangerous. According to the director of medical toxicology at the North Shore University Health System, the mixing of pain management medications such as morphine and Valium with other drugs is particularly dangerous. “These are all central nervous system depressants…that slow down reaction time, impair your judgment, (create) issues with multitasking, with coordination and perception, primarily visual perception…all those things can be affected by drugs of this type." (Chicago Tribune; National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Experts are quick to point out that opioid painkillers, when used alone and at the appropriate dose, can actually aid a driver by reducing their pain. However, the mixing of drugs creates a synergistic affect, turning the combination into a cocktail that intensifies both medications. “It’s…like one plus one equals three,” says a University of Chicago anesthesiology professor. “It’s a stronger effect than if you doubled the dose of the opioid.” Unfortunately, there is no real criterion for physicians and patients to follow when it comes to driving while on prescription drugs. There is a huge demographic in our country who need to operate a vehicle everyday in order to get to work, but also require painkillers and other prescription drugs in order to live a normal life. For this reason, this is a subject rarely discussed in doctors’ offices, and is something that needs to be addressed and evaluated.

Whether it is currently being addressed or not, the potential for drug impairment while driving is very real, and so are the injuries that it can cause. Our lawyers know how to navigate the often tricky landscape of drugged driving and other types of accident lawsuits. We have reached settlements for countless clients, helping them receive compensation for the harms caused to them, and if you have been a victim we may be able to help you too.

September 3, 2013

Three Killed in Motorcycle Accident Near Carmi, Illinois

It’s unfortunate, but traffic accidents happen all the time. However, motorcyclists are 25 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than the drivers of passenger cars, and to some extent, this danger and thrill is what attracts many individuals to motorcycles in the first place. With summer drawing to a close, many people are trying to take advantage of their final days of sunshine to get out on the road and ride, but one person’s negligence is enough to turn a simple cruise into a tragedy.

White County authorities say that two motorcycle passengers, as well as the driver who hit them were killed after a collision last week. According to the sheriff on the scene, the truck crossed into the motorcycles path, striking both riders before eventually hitting a tree. All victims were pronounced dead at the scene. (WGEM)

It is not uncommon for motorcycles to become lost in blind spots or overlooked completely, and for this reason it is crucially important for riders to know how to react in the event of an imminent collision. What follows are a few tips our lawyers collected to help motorcyclists avoid serious injuries in the event of an unavoidable accident.

If possible, don’t lay down your motorcycle—If something occurs ahead of you on the road, and you know you are going to crash, it is tempting to lay down your bike to avoid the collision. Once in contact with the concrete of the road, the metal and plastic on your bike will bring you to a stop significantly slower than your tire treads. Not only will remaining upright allow you to stop more quickly, it will also lessen the chance of serious injuries, which are very common when a person lays down their motorcycle.

Use both your front and back brakes—When attempting to stop quickly, always use both the front and back brakes to keep your bike stable. If your front brake locks up, release and quickly reapply it, but do not reapply your back brakes.

If you are thrown from your bike—There is not a great deal you can do if you fall from your motorcycle, but if it is unavoidable, you should wait until you have completely come to a stop to attempt to get on your feet. Before you do this, you should take a few moments to analyze your condition, and assess whether you could bring yourself further harm by moving under your own power. It is important to remember that you should never tuck and roll, because this can result in serious spinal cord injuries. (Motorcycleaccident.org)

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need lawyers who will do what’s best for you and your family. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience handling accident cases, and we will work to get you the compensation you deserve for the harms caused to you.