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Let’s get down to the specifics. When our lawyers use the term large truck accident, we are attempting to describe collisions involving one of two vehicles, either a single or combination unit truck. A single unit truck is constituted by only one section, while a combination unit consists of a truck pulling one or more trailers behind it. According to federal commercial vehicle maximum weight standards, these mammoth vehicles are permitted to carry up to 80,000 pounds of gross weight. With mass like that it is easy to see why 98% of all fatal accidents involving large trucks claim the life of occupants riding in other passenger vehicles, and why truck accidents also account for 22% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple vehicle collisions throughout the United States. Most large trucks spend the bulk of their time on highways, but that doesn’t mean that Chicagoans are immune from these accidents in the city. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Highway Loss Data Institute)

Yesterday, two women were injured in the Loop when a Chicago Fire Department fire truck struck their vehicle in route to a call. According to the department officials, the fire engine had its lights and siren activated and was attempting to pass through the intersection of Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive when it collided with the vehicle. The Chicago Fire spokesman said that all vehicles appeared to have been stopped, but when the two women failed to stop, their larger vehicle was not able to stop in time. The women were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and were initially listed in serious-to-critical condition, but have since had their conditions stabilize.

Last year alone, more than 3,000 people lost their lives in traffic collisions involving large trucks. However, it is important to remember that these accidents are not always the fault of the larger vehicle. As is the case with motorcycles and bicycles, smaller passenger cars need to respect their larger counterparts and vise versa. If you are around a large vehicle, keep this article in mind; large trucks carry a huge amount of mass, and this makes it very difficult for their drivers to stop or swerve if a car darts in front of them unexpectedly. By signaling and making smooth lane changes around trucks, you can keep yourself and everyone around you a little safer. If both passenger cars and trucks use this kind of caution and practice responsible driving on a regular basis, we can eliminate many of these fatalities altogether.

It’s not difficult to figure out why people like motorcycles. They’re exhilarating to ride, and with fuel costs continuing the climb, they can also be very economical. Whatever your reason for riding, it is always useful to know what kind of risks can come with your operating your vehicle, in order to keep yourself and everyone around you as safe as possible.

Traumatic injuries can stem from any number of roadway accidents, but in our experience as Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers, motorbike injuries can be particularly nasty. They are one of the leading causes of death for individuals between the ages of 16 and 33 in the United States, claiming more roughly 3,000 cyclists a year, and also cause thousands of others to undergo drastic life changes due to disability and injury.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, here are a few steps that you can take directly following your collision:

According to a survey taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006, roughly 13.10 cars out of every 100,000 will be involved in a fatal accident; the rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000. Motorcyclist deaths happen at a rate nearly 30 times greater than that of drivers in passenger vehicles, and with the summer months almost upon us it is extremely important that both drivers and riders stay attentive and safe while on the road.

Last week a Palatine man became one of the first motorcycle fatalities of the season after he collided with a car near the 200 block of North Wilke Road. Following the crash, which occurred just after dark last Wednesday, the 30-year-old was rushed to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, but was pronounced dead around 10:35 p.m. by medical personnel. The most unfortunate aspect of most of these motorcycle accidents is that they happen as a result of negligent or reckless actions by either a driver or the motorcyclists themselves. Reducing speeds, checking in blind spots, and operating our vehicles and motorcycles responsibly can help us avoid many of these accidents and the injuries that come with them altogether. (Chicago Tribune)

Injuries that our lawyers have dealt with in motorcycle car accident cases include:

Our Chicago car accident attorneys represent people who are injured in car accidents across Illinois, and work tirelessly to ensure that compensation is afforded to help victims through not only devastating injuries, but the medical bills and resulting emotional consequences.

However, there are some situations where injuries are so devastating that it seems no amount of money could remedy the situation. Nevertheless, Illinois law provides for damages following instances of wrongful death, in order to both send a message that the wrongdoer was at fault, and to help compensate loved ones of the decedent for things such as the loss of companionship, and expenses associated with the death, including funeral and burial costs.

That may just be the next step after a teenaged girl from Highland Park, Illinois, was charged this past week with reckless homicide after she struck and killed a five-year-old girl.

Yesterday, an Illinois car accident attorney at our firm read an article posted by the Chicago Tribune that reported on a man charged in a fatal Chicago car accident. The 36-year-old man was charged with fleeing from an unrelated minor traffic accident, and causing a second accident that had left two children dead. Although there are not many details of the accident provided, after reading this article we decided that it would be beneficial to remind drivers of why they should never flee the scene of an auto accident. In this case, if the driver had not tried to flee the scene of the minor accident, two children would still be alive. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident of any degree- from a minor fender bender to one that involves injuries- you have a duty to pull over to resolve the incident or take reasonable measures or help anyone who may be injured or harmed.

According to Illinois law, leaving the scene of an accident that involves the personal injury or death of another person is a felony offense. A main reason why the punishment for leaving the scene of an accident that involves injury or death is so severe is to deter these actions and also because someone who is injured might require immediate medical attention. If you fail to report a serious accident by calling 911 to get medical attention for injured parties can result in a punishment of one to seven years in prison. After being in an auto accident with another motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist, motorists should first call police and then exchange information with all other parties involved, such as license plate number and insurance information. If there is a collision with someone else’s personal property, the driver should leave a written note with the same information.

Our Chicago car accident lawyers suggest that if you witness a hit and run accident, first check to see if anyone requires immediate medical help. Then, witnesses should try to take down as many descriptions of the other car as possible, such as color, make, model, year, and license plate number. If you are the victim of a hit and run, you should pull off of the road, call the police immediately, and seek witnesses and medical help if necessary.

Early this morning, CBSNews.com reported on a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study showed that over 80% of teenage drivers has been recorded using an electronic device, such as a phone or GPS, at least once while driving. The study also found that electronic devices are the number one distraction, and that teenage female drivers are twice as likely as teenage males to use electronic devices when they are driving.

An Illinois accident lawyer of ours was not surprised when the article reports that, “talking and texting are the most common forms of distracted driving. As we reported over the weekend, driving distracted can lead to serious accidents involving critical injuries or even fatalities. In previous posts, we have additionally motioned that distractions while driving are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. Hopefully this study will shine a light on this growing issue and discourage teens from these behaviors.

The study used video recordings from inside the cars of 50 families, all of which had a young driver. The ages of the drivers ranged from 16 to 18-years-old, had both male and female drivers, and used a variety of vehicles. In 6.7 percent of the 7,500 plus video clips, teenagers were found using electronic devices with a vast majority holding the phone to their ear. A Chicago auto accident attorney at our firm also pointed out that the study used several abrupt driving events, such as a sudden stop or turn that triggered the camera. The article stated that in close to 50% of the abrupt driving events, the teen driver was not looking at the road in the 10 seconds before the event.

This past Thursday, BND.com reported a devastating head-on collision near O’Fallon that may have been caused by a distracted driver. Our Chicago car accident attorneys read in the article that a mother was reportedly driving a sedan and possibly texting on her cellphone when she collided with a GMC truck. The woman’s 4-year-old son was in the back seat, and was killed in the crash. The initial investigation by local police revealed that either right before the collision or when the collision occurred, the driver was texting.

The child was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The mother was airlifted to a hospital where she remained in critical condition for the serious injuries she incurred. The passengers of the truck are okay, and only one was hospitalized for injuries. The crash is still under investigation, but witnesses, “saw the driver on the cell phone while driving and saw the car cross the center line and strike the truck head-on.”

After reading this article, our Illinois auto accident lawyers felt compelled to once again discuss the serious dangers of distracted driving. According to NegligentDriving.com, not only is distracted driving the number one cause of death for teenagers in America, but it is also more dangerous and considered more impaired than driving at the blood-alcohol content legal limit. Brainpower, or cognitive awareness, is also said to decrease by close to 40% when a driver is focused on a conversation or music.

Our Chicago accident lawyers read an article on OlneyDailyMail.com that reported a car-bicycle collision that resulted in the death of a bicyclist. According to the article, the accident happened early in the morning when a 19-year-old driver who was changing the radio struck the bicyclist. The bicyclist was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The teen driver was, “cited on a charge of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.”

With the warmer weather temperatures, it is inevitable that more bicyclists and pedestrians will be on the road. An Illinois bicycle accident lawyer at our firm thought that it would be beneficial to go over some basic tips on how to avoid being the victim or cause of a car-bicycle collision. According to BicycleSafe.com, bicyclists should avoid busy streets if you can and remember to not take the same congested routes that cars do. Taking streets that have a slower speed limit and fewer cars reduces the chance being hit. Bicyclists should also avoid riding at night, but if you do, you should have rear end blinkers or headlights, as well as reflective gear to promote visibility. Protective gear, such as helmets, should also always be worn.

Many bikers also don’t signal their turns. Using arm and hand signals to point out which way you are turning can let cars behind you or nearby knows your route. Bikers often use headphones for MP3 players or phones, but driving distracted on a bike can be just as dangerous, if not more, as driving distracted in a car. Headphones can also prevent you from hearing emergency signals or horn, which can be extremely dangerous. Another useful tip is to ride your bike as if you were invisible. This means that you should ride in a way that motorists will not be able to hit you even if they cannot see you for some reason.

Yesterday morning, the CourierPress.com posted an article about an Illinois drunk driving accident. A motorist, who was under the influence of alcohol, reportedly drove his car into a concrete barrier on Tuesday night. The accident occurred at around 11:30 p.m., and the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. He suffered serious personal injuries, and was airlifted from the scene to a local hospital. According to the article, the driver was cited for, “drunk driving, illegal transportation of alcohol, operating an uninsured vehicle, failure to wear a seat belt and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.”

From the perspective of an Illinois auto accident attorney, it is important to frequently remind readers of the dangers of driving under the influence. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 people in the United States die in an alcohol-related car crash every day. Drinking and driving is not only a threat to the person who partakes in the action, but it endangers everyone who is on the road with that driver.

The CDC also reports that in about 1 in 3 car crash fatalities an alcohol-impaired driver is involved. If you plan on drinking, make sure to always have a designated driver. And if friends try to drive impaired, take their car keys and call them a taxi. In order to enforce drunken driving laws and cut down on the number of impaired drivers, municipalities should also have frequent sobriety checkpoints to discourage drunk driving. Checkpoints are also effective ways to remind drivers about the dangers of driving drunk.

Early this morning, a Chicago accident lawyer at our firm read an article about an Illinois man who was killed in a motorcycle accident on MLive.com. The 54-year-old Naperville manwas killed yesterday afternoon when a turning car crossed his motorcycle’s path. He was thrown from the motorcycle and then taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the turning car told police that he did not see the motorcycle quickly enough, and when he finally did see the motorcycle, it was too late. The driver of the car was not injured. The article also reports that the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, and alcohol was not involved in the accident. Police are still investigating the accident to determine if speeding played a role in the fatal crash.

Now that Spring has arrived and the weather is warm, our Illinois car accident lawyers thought it was important to review motorcycle safety tips. Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, when either a motorcycle or car involved is turning left so motorcyclists should be extra cautious and slow down at intersections. The Illinois State Police encourage motorcyclists to ride defensively, and always assume that others on the road do not see you. In order to make themselves more visible to out motorists, motorcyclists can try to make eye contact with other drivers, make sure their lights are on at night, have reflectors on their bikes, and always use turn signals. Protective clothing, such as gloves, long sleeves, pants, and boots, can be found with reflectors on them, which could also help increase visibility.

Other tips for motorcycle safety can be found on the Illinois Department of Transportation site. IDOT suggests that motorcyclists should always drive defensively and avoid speeding or reckless driving. Even though motorcycles accelerate faster than other vehicles on road, motorcyclists should still maintain the speed limit and not weave through lanes. At night these dangerous actions can decrease visibility further.

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