Tips To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents In Illinois

motorcycle accidents

Many Illinois residents prefer to get around with a motorcycle in the spring and summer. After the snow melts and the weather warms, it is enjoyable to drive a motorcycle in the sun and enjoy the outdoors. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 5,000 motorcyclists died in 2016 in traffic accidents.

Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Dislocated or broken bones
  • Road rash or severe lacerations
  •  Crush injuries or amputations
  •  Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  •  Internal bleeding
  •  Organ damage
  • Sprains or strains

You can reduce your odds of getting in a motorcycle accident or being seriously injured. Details are provided below. If you were in a motorcycle accident and have injuries, please contact the experienced Hoffman Estates motorcycle accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice.

Illinois Motorcycle Laws

Riding safely in Illinois requires you to be aware of motorcycle laws:

  • Motorcyclists must possess a valid driver’s license to ride legally. Riding without a license is a severe violation. You need to be at least 18 and complete a written and road test to obtain your motorcycle license.
  • Register your motorcycle. The bike must be registered with the state.
  • You must follow all Illinois traffic laws when riding your motorcycle. Remember that having a license does not mean you can drive however you like. One of the most important laws is never driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Your motorcycle’s headlamp must always be on to increase visibility. Further, you must always have at least one hand on the handlebar.
  • Lane splitting is illegal in Illinois, and you cannot ride on one wheel.
  • Riding without a helmet is legal but highly discouraged. However, you must wear goggles or other eye protection when riding.

Motorcyclist Tips

If you are riding a motorcycle, these tips will help keep you safe:

Wear Your Helmet

Most states require at least some riders to wear a helmet. However, Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. As a result, many Illinois riders go without a helmet. That can be a fatal mistake.

Studies show that wearing a motorcycle helmet significantly decreases your chances of serious injury or death in an accident. The NHTSA also states that 37% of fatal motorcycle accidents could have been avoided if the driver wore a helmet. Additionally, for motorcycle passengers, CDC statistics show that 41% fewer would die if they had a helmet.

In Illinois, hundreds of motorcyclists could have lived if they had worn helmets during an accident. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports 635 fatal motorcycle accidents from 2007-2011. However, a study revealed that only 30% of riders wore helmets. So, approximately 210 motorcyclists could have lived in Illinois if they had worn helmets.

Wear Proper Motorcycle Gear

Sometimes motorcycle accidents are unavoidable. For example, one of the most common motorcycle crashes is when a car driver does not see you and pulls out. As a result, you may need to lay down your bike on the road. This can cause severe injuries, but it helps if you wear the right gear.

Motorcyclists should always wear helmets, long pants, sleeves, and boots. Ideally, your clothing should be made of leather or rugged denim. The helmet should adhere to the safety standards issued by the Department of Transportation. You also should wear leather gloves and eye protection.

Make no mistake: Wearing protective gear when riding can protect you from severe injuries, including brain damage, spine injuries, and broken bones. Also, wearing leather clothing can prevent road rash, which can also cause horrific injuries all over your body.

Have A License and Training

You must be fully licensed. It is also helpful to take a motorcycle riding course that teaches safe riding practices.

The NHTSA states that 30% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve an unlicensed rider. Therefore, if you have not ridden in years, taking a motorcycle refresher class is highly recommended to reinforce what you learned earlier.

Perform a Pre-Ride Check

It is always wise to check your bike before hitting the road. Walk around the motorcycle and inspect the critical parts. For example, the horn, lights, and turn signals should all work perfectly. Many studies show that having these parts working will prevent many accidents.

Next, check the belts, brakes, chains, and driveshaft. Always check the tread and tire pressure, too. Finally, the motorcycle should be equipped with anti-lock brakes. If you do not have them, get them installed right away. Anti-lock brakes prevent your wheels from locking during an emergency stop. They allow you to maintain control and avoid a collision or loss of control.

Maintain Your Motorcycle

Performing regular maintenance on your bike will keep you safe while riding Illinois or southern Wisconsin roads. The last thing you want to discover in an emergency is that your brakes do not work!

Never Assume Drivers Can See You

Many motorcycle crashes happen because the other driver does not see you. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars, and many drivers look for large vehicles, not motorcycles or bikes. Motorcycles also can be swallowed up in a vehicle’s blind spot easily.

Avoid many motorcycle accidents by never assuming other drivers see you. Stay out of blind spots and always wear reflective, brightly colored clothes.

Never Drink and Ride

Drinking and driving is deadly. On a motorcycle without a vehicle protecting you, it’s even more dangerous. The NHTSA reports that 28% of motorcyclists who died in 2017 were drunk. Never drink or take drugs before riding your motorcycle.

Do Not Split Lanes

Never share a lane with a car. This is dangerous for both you and the car driver. Also, it is illegal to split lanes in Illinois.

If you ever get in a motorcycle accident and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, remember the statute of limitations is only two years. Waiting longer than two years means forfeiting your right to sue for damages.

Automobile Driver Tips

Auto drivers are often at fault for many motorcycle accidents. When you drive a car, you are responsible for looking out for motorcyclists and keeping them safe. Following these tips will help you avoid accidents with motorcyclists:

Increase Following Distances

When driving behind a motorcycle, increase your following distance. You should slow down behind the motorcycle to at least double your following space. A motorcyclist could suddenly brake or lose control, and the extra distance can help avoid a severe accident.

Never Tailgate

Tailgating can cause a rear-end crash. This is dangerous with a car, but a rear-end collision can kill a motorcyclist. This is even more true if the rider does not wear a helmet.

Know Your Position on the Road

A car, truck, or SUV is much heavier and more powerful than a motorcycle. Driving aggressively in a large vehicle is dangerous for everyone else on the road, especially motorcyclists and bikers. Be aware of your vehicle’s size and power, remembering you have a legal responsibility to motorcycle riders and other drivers to drive safely.

Obey Traffic Rules

Illinois has laws for all vehicle drivers to keep people safe. Following every road rule in Illinois will protect you, other drivers, and motorcyclists.
For example, you should always carefully check your blind spot when changing lanes; motorcyclists can hide there. Also, stop at all intersections and look both ways for motorcyclists and other drivers. Finally, always go the speed limit and maintain safe following distances.

Do Not ‘Zone Out’

After we drive for years, it is easy to become so used to driving that we almost ‘zone out’ behind the wheel. However, not paying attention to the road leads to many fatal accidents. For example, many motorcycle accidents happen because the auto driver does not see them. You are responsible for always looking out for other motorists, whether in a car or on a bike.

Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when you get behind the wheel. This includes looking out for motorcyclists, bikers, and pedestrians. Also, never be distracted by a cell phone or anything else when driving. You can be prosecuted and sued for texting and driving, so put away your cell phone before driving.

Contact A Schaumburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now

You probably will have severe injuries if you were in a motorcycle accident. It can take months or years to recover from a motorcycle accident, and you will need ample funds for the best recovery possible.

Our Schaumburg, IL, motorcycle accident attorneys possess more than 50 years of combined experience obtaining favorable outcomes for personal injury clients. We have collected millions of dollars in recoveries, settlements, and verdicts for our clients in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our attorneys also represent clients in auto accidents, slip & fall incidents, dog bites, and wrongful death.

Our personal injury attorneys serve the greater Chicago area and southern Wisconsin area, including the communities of Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Grove Village, Hanover Park, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook, and Streamwood. Please contact Claim Your Justice today at (847) 434-3555 for a complimentary consultation.

What are the Most Common Construction Accident Injuries?

construction accident injuries

Construction Accident Injuries

We all know that construction accident injuries tend to be common because construction sites can be dangerous places, and simply working on a construction site exposes workers and sometimes the general public to injury. But many construction site injuries are preventable with some common sense, and proper safety measures.

When proper safety measures are not used, the end result can be a catastrophic injury. What causes catastrophic injuries and deaths on construction sites? Being aware of the most dangerous and common hazards can make it less likely that you are a victim of an injury at a construction site.

Electrocution

Electrocution is a common cause of construction site injury. Electrocution does not just happen to electricians—in many cases, non-electrical workers are electrocuted when areas or objects they are working on come into contact with power lines, or when digging and coming into contact with live electrical wires. By some estimates, half of all electrocution injuries at worksites happen at construction sites.

Electrocution is also a threat for construction workers because many construction sites are outside, and that exposes workers to lightning strikes as well.

OSHA has requirements for workers whose job it is to work around electricity. The rules include protections for any live wires, signage where voltage is at or exceeds 600 volts, and keeping any outdoors electrical equipment in enclosed containers.

Electrocution is often deadly, and when it is not, it can cause extreme burns, nerve damage, and brain damage, and can interrupt the heart’s rhythms to cause cardiac arrest and potentially death. The cardiac arrest from the voltage going into the body can stop oxygen to the brain, leading to long-term brain damage.

Slip and Falls From Heights

Much of construction work is done at heights, and heights inevitably make falls much more dangerous. You do not need to be working on a high rise either; even the construction of one-story buildings can lead to falls from potentially deadly heights.

OSHA reports that in 2019, about 30% of all construction-related fatalities were the result of falls. In 2016, over 10,000 construction workers were injured in fall-related injuries. This makes fall injuries from roofs, scaffolding, or ladders the most deadly cause of construction site deaths.

OSHA requires a number of safeguards for workers on construction sites to avoid falls; the height where these safety measures have to be put in place depends on whether the construction is for general industry, shipyards, general construction, or whether the construction is taking place over a dangerous area, regardless of height.

There are things that a contractor can do to make the area safer for construction workers when it comes to avoiding falls. These include:

  • Using guardrails and toe boards on open platforms or walkways, and using safety harnesses, safety nets, and railings for stairs
  • Training workers; inexperience is a large contributor to construction site falls
  • Not letting workers work alone, but rather in teams
  • Stopping or avoiding working in bad weather, such as rain and wind, which can make a dangerous area even more dangerous

Falls do not just happen from rooftops or high buildings; ladders are a leading cause of construction site injuries and deaths, as well. Often, workers will overload ladders, or use the wrong type of ladder for the work being done. Ladders may not be laying on an even surface, and again, weather can make an otherwise stable ladder unstable.

Scaffold Accidents

Scaffolds are mobile platforms where workers can stand, place objects, and perform construction work in order to access out-of-reach and tall interior and exterior areas.

Scaffolding injuries are a leading killer in construction-related accidents. There are nearly 5,000 scaffolding injuries every single year. In fact, almost 90% of deaths on scaffolds happen on construction sites.

Scaffolding requires setup—setup that, unlike ladders, requires experience. Mobile scaffolding may be improperly set up or placed in areas that are not stable enough to handle a scaffold. Often, people who are untrained to use a scaffold go onto them to access areas that they need to access. Scaffolds oftentimes must be kept free of debris. Workers with tools, dripping paint or cement, or other items around them, can easily clutter a scaffold to the point that it can lead to a slip and trip on a scaffold.

In larger projects, there may be scaffolding stacked high, on top of and above each other; this means that when something happens—even if a small item falls from a scaffold—the workers on the lower scaffolds can be hit and can easily lose their balance.

Scaffolding is also unique because unlike ladders or active construction sides, scaffolding may be placed above pedestrians and people in the street. This is one type of construction accident that can easily injure or kill an innocent bystander who has nothing to do with working on a construction project. This actually happened in 2019, when scaffolding collapsed, sending debris into the streets.

Scaffolding injuries can include much the same types of injuries you would anticipate from falls from heights. These include death, paralysis, amputations, or broken bones. If there is head trauma, a victim can easily suffer a traumatic brain injury, as well.

Pedestrians below, often clueless as to what is going on above them, can be crushed; even a lighter item falling from a distance can incur enough velocity to be deadly to passersby below the scaffolding.

Trench Collapses and Cave-ins

Trench collapses do not get a lot of publicity, mostly because unlike falls, trench collapses often happen underground, out of plain sight. Recently, two workers were killed in a trench collapse in St Paul, Minnesota, and two more workers were killed in a Texas trench collapse.

Trenches are so dangerous because above the trenches, earth and soil are usually being moved about, which can lead to a trench collapse. Victims often die, as the immediate crushing injuries or suffocation often happen before rescuers can reach workers. It can also take time for rescuers to get to injured workers, as rescuers must be mindful of causing a bigger collapse while trying to execute the rescue.

Trenches are not just for underground projects or to construct tunnels; everyday construction projects often require some degree of trenching, be it for plumbing or basements, or underground parking areas.

Machinery Accidents

Any time large machinery is involved, there is the risk of serious injury. The risks can be crushing injuries, where large construction vehicles run over other workers or where large pieces of machinery, like cranes, topple over. When they fall, they often bring debris, concrete, and other heavy materials down with them.

Workers can easily be crushed by falling debris and equipment.

Operators of equipment can be trapped inside them when the equipment topples over or tips. Workers can easily be burned, should the machinery catch fire, as many are fueled by gasoline.

Also like our cars, heavy equipment needs servicing and maintenance. Many companies do not perform or negligently perform this work, making machinery malfunction a major cause of injuries to workers’ heads, backs, and limbs. Machinery does not operate on its own, and that means that when it injures someone, there is usually a human operator or a company that failed to service the equipment, that can be held at fault for the accident.

Failure to Prove or Use Proper Protective Equipment

On top of all of these catastrophic injuries, are the regular, routine dangers of working on a construction site. Many of these kinds of dangers can be lessened by the use of basic construction safety equipment.

Many sites will expose workers to hazardous materials, chemicals that should not be breathed in, fumes, smoke, or just particulate matter in the air that can be damaging to the lungs.

Protective gear like gloves, safety glasses, and helmets not only protect workers from objects or impact but can save workers from injury and diseases that can arise from exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes that are often present at construction sites.

Hearing loss can be a slow injury that develops over time when proper ear protective gear is not worn. Feet can be easily crushed from even a moderate weighted object falling on them, if proper protective equipment for workers’ feet is not used. Proper foot gear can also provide traction, lessening the chance of slip and fall injuries.

Vests, hazmat suits, and other protection for the body can avoid chemical spills, burns, and some impacts to the torso area.

This all seems obvious, but many employers do not bother providing workers with equipment that fits or do not provide proper training on using protective equipment. Some employers will use and reuse equipment, to the point it does not provide the protection that it is supposed to be providing.

Contact Our Schaumburg Construction Accident Attorneys

Call our Schaumburg construction accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555 to help you if you or anybody you know has been injured at, or while working in, a construction site.

Liability For The Criminal Acts Of Another

liability

Good afternoon. Welcome to another edition of Claim Your Justice Facebook Live. The last time we had a Facebook Live session, we discussed the liability that may exist for the victims of the tragic Highland Park Fourth of July 4TH shooting. During this session, we’re going to continue to explore when and who may be responsible for the criminal acts of a third person.

There was recently a case that happened down south, I think it may have been Texas, where a cable company worker murdered a customer of the cable company. Sounds terrible. What had happened was, as reported, the worker had done some installation work at this customer’s house, then went back a day later, and committed this murder.

I don’t know if there was an additional robbery or not, but this poor elderly woman was murdered at the hands of this criminal. The family of the decedent sued the cable company arguing different factors that we’ll talk about in a second. The cable company’s immediate response was law school 101, we are not responsible for the criminal acts of a third person. That’s generally true. It’s been a defense for hundreds of years from the common law era, dating back to England. It’s still defense

Today, hundreds of years later. However, there are exceptions. In this case that we’re talking about in Texas, the jury found that the cable company was liable for the criminal acts of this installer.


 

As I understand it, it came out at trial that the installer who committed this murder had a previous criminal history, which in and of itself is not bad. Not a reason not to hire the person. However, if the person has a violent criminal history, you don’t put them in contact, face to face with the customer. Maybe you make them a call center worker or an engineer in the technical support department. There were also facts as I understand it, that the person who was charged with this murder had previous complaints about unusual activity at customers’ houses.

It was determined that the company didn’t do enough to protect its customers, didn’t do significant background checks, and perhaps didn’t do significant oversight and supervision of the worker. Nor did they properly investigate previous complaints about this employee, and thus they may have put this person in the wrong position with customer contact.

There was a big jury verdict against the cable company, which I’m sure will be appealed. The purpose of this conversation today is to let you know that sometimes, even when you think there may not be a case, you should ask. You should call Claim Your Justice. Let us answer your questions about the potential case for you. There are several factors we’re going to talk about, the best way to reach out is by calling 1-888-885-3484. That’s 1-888-88-Keith.

Can A Business Be Held Liable For The Acts Of An Employee?

So, the question becomes when is it foreseeable that a business can be held liable for the criminal acts of another? Let’s talk about a common setting, let’s say you travel, you may travel for work, you may travel for pleasure, you may travel for a family celebration. You’re in a hotel, and some creepy employee of the hotel acquires the master key, and he breaks into your room and commits a sexual criminal act, and you want to sue the hotel. You are going to sue the hotel and say, you’re responsible because you didn’t protect me. There is a special relationship as a business invitee into the hotel, that you need to protect me.

Sure enough, the first thing that the hotel is going to say is “we’re not responsible for the criminal acts of another”. However, maybe they hired this person with a criminal record, or maybe the hotel did not do a proper criminal background check. Was it foreseeable based on previous complaints from other hotel guests, that this person was surveilling rooms? Enter a room maybe once before?

I understand the labor market out there is tight, but that is no excuse. Was there proper security? Did the hotel properly secure access to the keys to only those supervisors or employees who needed access to the keys? Why would a maintenance worker perhaps that’s off shift, get access to a key? Did the hotel have proper security cameras in place so that this can be monitored? Were there proper locks on the hotel doors, so that even if a hotel worker had a key, the guest could flip the latch? I’ve stayed in hotels before where the latch does not work. If the business doesn’t have sufficient safety measures and considers what may be foreseeable, there certainly may be a case against them.

It’s a very fine line, many of these violations are traumatic, you’re talking rapes, you’re talking robberies, other violent offenses, and possible murders. So, the question is not automatically answered, it’s a blurry issue to decide. Facts need to be developed; evidence needs to be preserved. That’s why, G-d forbid, if something like this happens to your family members, it’s important to call Claim Your Justice right away, so that we can investigate the case, file any necessary preservation motions with the courts to secure evidence, and make sure that if someone’s going to be responsible for your loss, we get to the bottom of it as soon as possible, to preserve the evidence rather than wait six months, one year, year and a half later, when it never works.

Lawsuits Against Law Enforcement

During the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, I saw in the news that there is going to be a multibillion-dollar lawsuit filed. I can imagine that the police department and the police officers are going to be a target of that. In addition to gun manufacturers, the company that installed the locks on the school, and whoever else may potentially hold liability. I think there were 17 children and two adults killed in that murder, a violation by one criminal teenager. It’s on video what he did. The question is, was every necessary, reasonable security measure taken by the school? The issue turns back to, when can another person or a company be held liable for the criminal acts of a third person.

You could imagine that if a person walks down the street, and smacks another person as you see on videos regularly these days, you can’t sue the police department for not monitoring that particular street. However, if it happened on a metro transit system, did they have proper security guards staffed at the time? Studies have been conducted by consultants that say you need five security guards on this particular train platform, and maybe they only had one, or maybe the training was insufficient for the security.

Contact Our Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Attorneys

Just because something happens and you think there may not be a liability, I encourage you to call Claim Your Justice at 1-888-88-Keith that’s 1-888-885-3484.

Whenever something happens to you, a family member, or someone you know, involving a work injury, a truck injury, wrongful death, or medical malpractice, reach out, there’s no fee unless we win your case. Thank you for tuning in to another session of Claim Your Justice Facebook Live.

How to Help Your Personal Injury Lawyer Win Your Case

personal injury

When you have a personal injury case, you should be looking for an attorney who can help you in every way possible. That is a good idea, and yes, some attorneys can help you more than others can. Claim Your Justice has the attorneys you are looking for. There are things that you can do to help your personal injury attorney.

What Can You Do To Help Your Personal Injury Case?

You may not be an attorney, and you may have no legal training or knowledge. That’s OK; nobody expects you to walk into court and conduct your own personal injury trial. But there are some common sense things that you can do to help your personal injury attorney win your case or get the result that you want.

Take Pictures and Gather Evidence

Your personal injury attorney (or any experts they may hire) will do most of the necessary investigation for your case, and collect most of the evidence that you will need to win your case. But there are also things you can do, especially at the time of the accident, that can help.

Taking pictures and videos of the accident scene can be a huge help in winning your case. If possible, and if you physically can, take pictures and videos of everything related to the accident, and the scene surrounding the accident, no matter what kind of accident it is.

For example, if you are in a car accident, do not just take a picture of the cars—take a picture of skid marks on the road, or parts of the car that may have fallen off and are lying on the roadway, and pictures of the inside of your car, as well.

These pictures not only tell the story of what happened to you, but if there is a dispute about what happened, these photos may have clues to help your attorney or an expert win your case.

Collecting evidence includes contact information for potential witnesses if you can gather this information. Giving your attorneys the names and contact information of witnesses who have seen your accident, observed your pain or your disability, and can testify as to what you have gone through can go a long way to winning your personal injury case and maximizing your recovery.

Save Evidence – We know what you are thinking, you are the victim-what evidence do you have? But often, accident victims do have crucial evidence, evidence that is often, accidentally, thrown away or destroyed.

Examples of evidence that an injury victim may accidentally destroy include:

  • Shoes and clothes from the day of your accident, which could have debris, blood, tears, or other information that may be evidence in your case
  • Electronic data, like emails, videos, or pictures from the accident, or which detail your injuries of the accident itself
  • Damage to cars by repairing your car before the insurance company or your injury lawyers have the chance to investigate it
  • Products that may have caused you injury

Saving these items, and anything related to your accident or injuries, and giving them to your attorneys can go a long way toward helping your injury attorney win your case.

Additionally, throwing away this kind of evidence can have negative consequences for your case—the court can sanction you, and the last thing you want is to be accused of destroying valuable evidence by the defendant. Sometimes this is referred to as spoilation of evidence.

Get Medical Treatment – Many people do not seek out the medical treatment that they need or follow their prescribed course of treatment. Getting medical treatment does not just help you, it helps your attorney and helps your case.

Why don’t victims get the medical treatment that they may need? Some may feel like they cannot afford medical treatment. Maybe they are “too busy,” or in denial about the severity of injuries. Some may be afraid of taking medicine or undergoing recommended procedures.

Failing to get medical treatment is one of the biggest mistakes a victim can make. Aside from the consequences to your own health, your attorney has no way to tell a jury, a defendant, or the insurance company what you have gone through, and the severity of your injuries, when you have not gone to the doctors you were supposed to or when you are not following your doctors’ recommendations.

Update Your Lawyer About Your Treatment

During the course of your treatment and depending on the severity and type of your injury, you may visit many different doctors. Even if you do not visit multiple doctors, you may go to immediate care facilities, therapists, or diagnostic centers to take scans or X-rays.

You would be surprised how many victims go to multiple doctors, but they never tell their lawyers. Every time you go for therapy, for a scan, or a test, you should let your injury attorney know, so your attorney knows where to get those records.

Keep a Log or Journal of Your Experiences

During the course of recovering from your injuries, you may have good days and bad days. You may find that you have so many painful events and feelings, both physical and mental, that it may be hard to recall them all later on. This is especially true if you recover or heal a bit more as time goes on—it can be easy to forget or just minimize or overlook effects, feelings, or things that happen in your life, which will really paint a picture to the jury or to the defendant, of just how badly your injuries affected you.

Do not leave these important details about your case to your memory; you can help your injury attorney (and yourself) tell your story later on if you keep a journal or a log of all of your pain, difficulties, frustrations, sadness, and disabilities and give it to your attorneys. We sometimes refer to these as “day in the life” journals.

Communicate With Your Lawyer

Yes, many injury victims who choose the wrong personal injury attorney complain that their attorney never calls them or communicates with them. But a good personal injury attorney wants to hear from you and get updates about how you are doing.

You should update your lawyers on your progress periodically. Often, lawyers do not have needed information because the only way they can get that information is from you, the client, and clients may not be diligent in calling every now and then to give their attorney updates on their lives.

Let your lawyers know things like hearing something from a witness, if you are in an especially great amount of pain, or if there is a medical bill collector calling you.

If you have a question, like whether to sell the car that was involved in your accident, whether you should post something on social media, or what your upcoming deposition will be like, you should reach out and speak to your lawyers.

Get Requested Documents

During the course of what is known as discovery, the other side (the defendant) is entitled to ask you to produce documents.

These may be documents that show your injuries, your medical expenses, your lost wages, or any other part of your case or injury. Your lawyer will let you know what the other side wants you to produce, and what you legally need to produce.

Some of the documents your lawyer will already have and will produce for you, but for some, your attorney will need you to produce the necessary records or documents.

There are time limits to produce these documents and you can be a huge help to your attorney by getting documents to him or her as quickly as possible. Remember that some documents you may need to request from others, like bank statements, or medical bills, so as soon as your attorney asks you for a document, it is good to begin working on getting it.

Avoid Social Media Posting

No, you do not need advanced approval from your personal injury attorney before you post anything on social media. But you can help your attorney incredibly, by being mindful of what you post online.

Just a single picture or video can portray the wrong image for you, and the defendant and its insurance company will see those images and what you write with them. If you have any doubt as to whether it is a good idea to post something, ask your attorney.

Be Honest

This sounds obvious, but you should never lie or stretch the truth to your attorney. Your attorney cannot help you overcome the “negative” parts of your case or anticipate defenses the other side may bring up if you are not honest about what those negative things are.

Your attorney cannot win your case if they are surprised at something the other side says, which you knew to be true, but did not say it to your lawyer.

There is likely nothing you will say to your injury attorney that they have not heard of or dealt with in prior cases. Be honest with your attorney about everything, including the facts of the case, your pain, and your medical treatment, so that your attorney knows exactly how to manage your case and what to expect in trial.

Contact Our Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyers

Call our Schaumburg personal injury attorney at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555 to see how you and your attorney can help each other get the best result possible in your personal injury case.

Liability In The Event Of A Mass Shooting

mass shootings

Good afternoon. My name is Keith Shindler. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to listen to our Facebook Live session. The purpose of the Facebook Live sessions is to help our clients, in any situation, learn how to Claim Your Justice.

You can reach us at 888-88-Keith, or visit us on the internet at our website claimyourjustice.com. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions that you’d like to submit to us. You could also reach out to us through Facebook.

Today, I want to talk about a very difficult subject. On July 4th, more than a month ago, we had a terrible incident in Highland Park, Illinois, during an Independence Day Parade, where a mass shooting occurred. Seven people were tragically killed, many others were physically injured, and many beyond that were psychologically and mentally injured.


Who Is Liable For A Mass Shooting?

My part of the job, in addition to being very sad about all of the events that occurred and all the people that are negatively affected, is how can I help someone Claim Your Justice? The question arises, and it’s a difficult and sensitive subject, but who may be liable to pay for the people’s damages that suffered psychological injuries, need counseling, as a result, have some PTSD or other type of diagnosis, who’s going to pay for medical bills, pain, suffering, and disfigurement.

Of those that were tragically physically injured, some have undergone many surgeries. Most of us know the story of the young boy that is paralyzed as a result. Of course, those sadly and tragically taken from us were killed. You would generally think the first reaction is that no one is responsible for the criminal acts of a third person because generally, those criminal acts are not foreseeable.

We’ll talk in two weeks about a recent event that happened where someone was sued for a repairman entering a customer’s house, an 83-year-old customer’s house, and killing her, and why that person was responsible. Some of the same legal analysis applies. Anyone who’s going to be named or targeted as a defendant in a civil case will say, I’m not responsible for the criminal acts of this mass murder, and therefore, I’m not financially liable for any of the injuries that you’re claiming whether it’s wrongful death, a survival action, medical bills, disfigurement, future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages.

First Of All, Who Could Potential Targets Be For Liability?

Well, the number one potential target could be the person or company that sold the weapon to this alleged mass murderer. If there’s a civil action brought, the gun companies are going to say there is a liability statute that protects them from these types of actions.

However, that has been pierced a couple of times, and I’m sure it’ll be challenged again in this particular incident. You also have potential liability for the people who were promoting the event. Why? Because they may have been responsible for providing security.

Then the question becomes, what is the level of security that they should have provided? I don’t think it’s foreseeable that the event promoter should have had people on the roofs of the local buildings looking out for potential terrorists or mass murderers, but it’s arguable, right?

You could also have the owners of the buildings where this may have occurred if they didn’t properly secure their building, of course, the owners of the buildings are going to argue they’re not responsible. Again, criminal conduct is not foreseeable. Don’t hang it on us. I would understand that argument. But the fact of the matter is I’m developing theories that may work to help clients recover monetary damages for their losses.

If the event promoter hired a separate security company says that if the event promoter is Company A, and they say we put on events, we don’t provide security, they hire a security Company B to provide security, then similar arguments may be applied to those companies to say, hey, security company, what did you secure, it wasn’t so secure.

Are There Claims Against Law Enforcement?

Sadly, there may be some liability claims against law enforcement, if there were incidences where allegedly law enforcement should have known that this person was a danger to society and should have arrested the person. I don’t know that that applies in this case, I’m not sure that it does, but it’s potential targeting of defendants in these civil cases.

Are The Parents of The Shooter Liable?

There may be claims of liability made against the parents of this person, the liability theory would argue, hey, parents or relatives, did you know that this event was being planned? Did you have reasons to know that this event was being planned? If so, you should have notified the police. Again, I don’t think that that applies here. All of these are allegations, we’re just talking about possible potential theories of liability.

Can An Employer Be Liable?

Let’s say that the shooter was an employee of a company, and he was doing some type of work in the area while clocked in and committed this offense. Well, you would target the employer to say, you hired this employee, you may have had reason to know he was a danger. You let him work in an area that was populated with people enjoying and celebrating the patriotism of our country, Fourth of July, the employers will say I had no foreseeability.

Can A Hotel Or Motel Be Liable For The Actions Of A Guest?

Many years ago in Las Vegas, a Las Vegas hotel was sued. I believe the claim there was that the person who was the shooter was in his room for a certain number of days, didn’t come out, and the maid may have gone in, I don’t remember the exact arguments there, but certainly, those arguments were asserted.

Can A Mental Health Professional Be Liable For A Mass Shooter’s Actions?

You may have a cause of action against a mental health care provider that if a person who was accused of a mass shooting was under the care of a mental health professional, there may be an argument like the mental health care professional, I know that the sanctity of the privilege between the doctor and the patient is sacrosanct. However, sometimes that can be pierced if there’s knowledge of imminent harm or a threat of harm.

Can A Straw Purchaser Be Liable?

Lastly, you have something called a straw purchaser where a person who wants to use a gun and should not be using the gun and cannot legally buy the gun themselves, ask a third party person to buy the gun for them. Well, that straw purchaser certainly may be on the hook for that.

Recap On Mass Shooter Liability

So, these are very sensitive subjects. I felt a little uncomfortable bringing this up and having a conversation about it. I wanted everyone to know that you have got to be thinking about potential ways to recover money because injuries happen to innocent people. Sometimes innocent people are not able to collect the monetary compensation that they should to properly value their injury.

Contact Our Schaumburg Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Attorneys

I’m giving you some ideas on how we would evaluate cases like this. If you, a family member, or anyone you know is injured in a car or truck, any type of work-related accident, slip and fall, reach out to Claim Your Justice. Call 1-888-88-Keith, that’s 1-888-885-3484.

Let us explain your rights. We’ll explain how the representation works. There’s no fee for our services until we win your case. Thank you for taking time today to listen and have a great rest of your week.

How is Wrongful Death Determined In Illinois?

wrongful death

An accident victim can suffer a wide range of injuries, all with long-lasting consequences. The most serious of all consequences accident victims suffer is death. When an accident results in death, the victim and their family have suffered an irreparable loss that cannot be undone. Illinois wrongful death law recognizes the catastrophic nature of this kind of accident, and the family of the deceased can sue the at-fault party or parties for compensation.

Did the Accident Cause the Death?

There are times when it is all too obvious that an accident has caused an injury. Proximity in time between the accident and the death, and the nature of the medical cause of death, as well as just common sense, all can lead to the inescapable conclusion that someone died because of injuries sustained in an accident.

It does not take a lot of medical evidence to show that someone who was alive when he was driving a car and immediately passed away inside the vehicle, died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the car accident.

There are other times when it is not so easy to tell whether an accident was the actual cause of the death, and that is an important question in Illinois’s wrongful death law.

For example, let’s say that there is an elderly person who sustains a fall in a store. He injures his shoulder so badly that he needs surgery the day after. After the surgery, he never truly wakes up from anesthesia, and after three days of lingering unconscious in the hospital bed, he passes away. Did the accident cause his death? Or a complication from the shoulder surgery? Or some other underlying medical condition that made his body unable to withstand the trauma of the surgery or the injury?

In cases like these, one error, omission, or injury can have a “domino effect” on the deceased’s health, with one injury or medical problem leading to another, until eventually leading to death.

These are all scenarios and questions that come up when a death is not immediate, or where there are “intervening causes” between an accident and a death.

That is why in many Illinois wrongful death cases, the first step is proving that the death was caused by the accident. Often, medical experts will need to be called in to testify as to the cause of the death.

Time Limits for a Wrongful Death Case

If and when it is established that the death is the result of the accident, a wrongful death case can be filed—but that is only if it is filed on time.

In Illinois, you only have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, unless the responsible party is a municipality or other governmental entity. Then you only have one year. Your attorney will need time to review your case, look over documents, or even retain experts, who may need their own time to review the facts of your case. Don’t wait to call Claim Your Justice.

When the Death is Not Caused by the Accident

What if the death was not a result of the injury or the accident? You may not be able to file a wrongful death claim.
For example, let’s say that Mary is in an accident where she is a pedestrian who is hit by a car. She recovers, but she is severely disabled because of injuries suffered in the accident. She files a lawsuit. Eight months later, while the lawsuit is pending, she dies from something totally unrelated to the accident.

When the case was first filed, it was not a wrongful death case—she did not die because of the accident, and in fact, lived for eight months afterward. But now she has passed. What happens to her case? Does it have to be dismissed because she is gone?

The Survivors Statute

In Illinois, her case does not die with her. It can be carried on by her relatives, in what is known as survival action, under the Illinois Survival Act. The Survival Act allows the victim, through the surviving family, to recover any and all damages which were incurred by the victim, including their pain or suffering, that was sustained from the accident all the way up until the actual death, no matter how the death was caused.

The time limit to file a survival action is two years from the date of accident. Remember the time limit is one year if the responsible party is a municipality or other governmental entity.

Damages for Wrongful Death and Survivor’s Act Claims

The damages that can be received or paid in both cases are somewhat different.

In a wrongful death case, it is the survivors—the family members of the deceased victim, usually-who are being compensated. Economic damages can also include the deceased’s medical expenses or funeral costs.

For example, family members can receive compensation for the loss of economic support that the deceased would have given if he or she had not passed away. The surviving family can sue for the emotional heartbreak of losing a beloved family member, including emotional distress.

In a survival action, the family of the deceased, through a personal representative that is appointed by a court, will continue the lawsuit filed by the deceased, to recover the damages that the deceased could have recovered if he or she had lived to the duration of the lawsuit.

When and if damages are recovered in a Survivor’s Act case, the damages belong to the estate and will be distributed in accordance with Illinois probate law. Most people do not leave “damages from my personal injury case when I am a victim in an accident” in their estate plans or their wills, so you may need to consult with a personal injury or even an estate law attorney, to see how proceeds of the lawsuit are distributed.

Remember that because the damages in a wrongful death case are damages sustained by the survivors, such as lost income, or love and a consortium of the deceased, those damages do belong to, and go straight to, the victim’s families, and are generally not subject to probate laws.

The damages will generally be distributed based on who needs them—for example, if a minor child has lost the financial support of the deceased parent, that element of damages may be paid to the minor. If a spouse would have received support, and those damages are recovered, that amount would go to the surviving spouse.

Which Action Do You File and Can You File Both?

There are times when both a wrongful death and a survival action lawsuit can be filed at the same time, for the same accident.

Generally, when the death is the result of an accident, unless the death was immediate, both a wrongful death claim and a survival action can be filed. The family will be trying to recover for their damages through the wrongful death claim (both economic and emotional or non-economic), as well as for the injuries, pain, suffering, and expenses that have been sustained by the deceased from the time of the accident to the death, through the survival action.

However, when the death is completely unrelated to the accident, the family likely would not have a wrongful death claim—they would be limited to only recovering the deceased’s losses, pain and suffering from accident to death, through the survival statute.

Likewise, if the death is immediate at the time of the accident, there may be no right to a survival claim, as the victim did not suffer anything before the accident—the entire claim may be for the family, for post-accident/post-death losses and injuries. Here, there may only be a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Death Cases Can be Complex: Get Help

As you can see, a big part of analyzing damages when a victim dies is determining whether the death was caused by the accident and whether a wrongful death, survivor action, or both, can be used. There may be times when using one statute or another or both may yield a higher damages award. Sometimes the facts may make it so that you do not have a choice, but other times, when there is a choice, your wrongful death attorney can make a strategic choice, to try to maximize the recovery to the family.

Contact Our Schaumburg Wrongful Death Attorneys

Certainly, a lawsuit is no replacement for a loved one. However, when a family is suffering from emotional loss and the financial losses of a beloved family member, a wrongful death action can help the family recover and provide some financial stability for the family going forward.

Call our Schaumburg wrongful death attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555 to help you if a loved one has passed away because of the carelessness or negligence of someone else.

Serious Back Injuries You Can Receive Compensation For

back injury

When people are in an accident, one area that you hear them say they injured is their back. It may seem like the back is a relatively simple, singular, large part of the body. However, the back is actually made up of a number of complex structures, which can lead to a number of different kinds of injuries that can vary in their severity, seriousness, and how much they can disable you after an accident.

To understand the different types of back injuries, it is important to try to understand the anatomy of the back, and how your back actually works.

The Structures and Anatomy of Your Back and Spine

You may have seen skeletal models or pictures, showing the individual, bony structures that go up and down your back. These bones are there for a reason: They protect the delicate nerves that make up your spine. Your spinal nerves or the spinal column run through these bones, and these bones act like a shield so that you are not paralyzed from a slight impact to your back.

But of course, bones do not move, which is why each bone is separate—specifically, each one is a vertebra. To keep the vertebrae from rubbing against each other and causing pain as you move, there are soft, jelly-like substances between each one, called discs. These discs allow you to flex your back, and move it in any position that you want.

The vertebrae are held to other vertebrae by ligaments, which attach bones to each other. Ligaments are everywhere in your body, not just your back (in fact you may have heard of popular athletes suffering anterior cruciate ligament injuries in their knees). Ligaments also connect your bones to muscles.

Because they connect your skeleton to itself and to your muscles, ligaments are always moving and can be easily stretched or torn in an accident.

When a ligament is injured in the back (lumbar) or neck (cervical) area, it is called a sprain or a strain (sometimes, these injuries are called “whiplash,” but they certainly can be more serious than what that word implies).

Sprains and strains often do not show up on traditional scans or X-rays, certainly not on ones that are done at the typical emergency room. Additionally, it can sometimes take a few hours, even a full day, before the victim feels pain.

Just as these injuries are slow to manifest themselves, they can be slow to heal—although not considered the most serious back injury, sprains and strains can be debilitating, painful, and though they may improve over time, in many cases, they never fully heal, and the victim will have pain that can vary between daily and intermittent.

Fractured Vertebrae

Since vertebrae are bones, they can break or fracture. Vertebra can be damaged by being pulled apart, being “squeezed” due to an impact such as a fall, or when there is compression of some kind on the spine.

Fractures to vertebrae usually can be seen on traditional X-rays, and often are diagnosed in hospital emergency rooms right after an accident.

Just like anywhere else in your body, the severity of a spinal fracture can vary. Thankfully, smaller fractures can heal on their own, with some rest and immobility, and most fractures do not affect the spinal nerves or the use or function of the body.

But more significant fractures may displace parts of the vertebra and may require surgical intervention. Very serious fractures can move the vertebrae enough that they threaten the spinal cord, and thus, carry a risk of paralysis, and surgical intervention may be needed.

Ruptured and Herniated Discs

Remember those jelly-like discs that allowed your vertebrae to move around freely, and kept your vertebrae from rubbing against each other? They can be injured also. Often, in an accident, the vertebrae in your spine can have so much force put on them, that they can squeeze the discs in your back too much, and the discs can either jut out of place, or they can rupture, spilling part of what is inside of them.

In either case, you can be in serious pain because of how close those discs are to your spinal cord. If a disc juts out just enough to touch or rub against your spinal cord, you can be left with serious, ongoing pain. The pain may also show up as numbness, tingling in your extremities, or feelings that your extremities are burning.

In more serious cases, the discs can impinge on your spinal cord so much that you may lose bladder or bowel control. You may experience weakness in your muscles or shooting pain.

Even if the ruptured or herniated disc does not intrude on the spinal cord, the disc can be flattened enough that vertebrae in your back start to rub against each other, causing you pain as they grind against each other, wearing down. In the long term, osteoarthritis or bone spurs in the back can result from a lack of cushion from the discs.

There are some surgical options for disc injuries, such as having a disc removed, and then fusing the surrounding vertebrae together, or implanting an artificial disc. Short of surgery, the victim may need to get epidural steroid injections, which can, for extended periods of time, alleviate pain, but they are not a permanent solution or repair to the ruptured or herniated discs themselves.

It is true that your discs naturally flatten, or jut out of place, over time, as you age, especially if you engage in a lot of physical activity. Your doctor can assist you in determining whether your herniated disc is a result of your accident or some other cause.

Paralysis and the Kinds of Paralysis

Of course, the worst back injury someone can have will result in paralysis. Paralysis is where a vertebra or a disc has been so moved out of place because of an impact, that it “cuts off” or completely severs the nerves in your spine, which are how your brain tells your body to move or perform other vital functions.

Think of paralysis as being a bridge that is missing a piece or a roadway that has been blocked by a large boulder. The signals that need to move along the “roadway” of your spinal nerves cannot get from Point A to Point B.

The location of the injury can determine what areas of the body are affected. Paraplegia is when only the legs or lower body is affected, and full quadriplegia is paralysis everywhere below the neck.

Immediately after a serious accident, doctors may suggest emergency surgery to try to alleviate as much pressure on the spinal nerves as possible, as quickly as possible, to minimize the severity and extent of any long-term paralysis.

Contrary to popular belief, paralysis is not all or nothing; many people suffer partial paralysis, which may leave them with some function or feeling in the affected areas.

There is some evidence to show that getting immediate medical attention and therapy after a potentially paralyzing injury, can return some function to paralyzed areas. However, the research also shows that the therapy and treatment must be given quickly after the accident for it to be effective.

There is currently no complete cure for paralysis, and lifelong medical attention for paralysis victims can be very expensive, depending on the nature and extent of the disability and injury that is suffered. In many lawsuits involving paralysis, experts will be brought in to explain to the jury the lifelong expenses that the victim will incur because of the paralysis (which can grow into millions of dollars).

Get Legal and Medical Help

As you can see, there is a wide variety of anatomy in your back that can be injured, when you are involved in an accident. Your back is a complex structure which is why every back injury should be taken seriously.

In many cases, hospital emergency rooms are not equipped to do a full diagnosis. That is why you should get medical help and attention from a specialist immediately after an accident. Never ignore signs and symptoms immediately after an accident, as they could indicate more serious problems. As you have seen, many back injuries can more effectively heal when they are treated right away.

Contact Our Schaumburg Back Injury Lawyers

If you have a back injury of any kind, serious or minor, you need legal help. The insurance company will not simply admit you have a back injury–in fact, back injuries are injuries that insurance companies and defendants often fight the hardest.

Call our Schaumburg back injury lawyers at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555 to help you if you have suffered any kind of back injury.

Claiming Your Justice in the Event of an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Case

uninsured motorists

Hello and welcome to another Claim Your Justice Facebook Live session. The purpose of these sessions is to give you, our viewers, as much information as possible regarding a wide range of personal injury matters.

The goal is to help you understand how to Claim Your Justice when an unfortunate event arises, such that you, a loved one or a family member is seriously injured in any type of accident. We welcome positive questions and comments. Please feel free to visit Claim Your Justice or call us at 888-88-Keith, that’s 888-885-3484.




I’ve spent several sessions previously discussing the different types of personal injury cases and different types of personal injuries, physical and psychological injuries that many people suffer. That’s, of course, the start of any personal injury case. However, another very important part, if not the most important part is how the attorneys at Claim Your Justice, actually get you the money you deserve for your injuries. There are many ways that may apply in this recovery process.

Uninsured Motorists

Today I want to talk about what happens when you have arbitration and there’s an uninsured motorist.  We call them uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist cases. Most insurance policies will have language that if you as a driver or as a passenger in a car, are injured by another vehicle that didn’t have insurance, Your insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage kicks in.

Underinsured motorist coverage is where you have a person that causes an accident, let’s say a car rear-ends the car you’re in, either as a driver or passenger. That person has let’s say $50,000 of liability insurance. However, your injuries are more serious than that, and let’s say your injuries are worth $250,000. That car that caused the accident is considered an underinsured motorist. Therefore, you look at the underinsured motorist portion of your own insurance policy.

Generally, whether it’s a UM or a UIM case, the language in that uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will require what’s called arbitration. So that if the case cannot be resolved through settlement, where I demand $125,000, and the insurance company offered me only $70,000, you go through a process called arbitration. The language on how the arbitration process works are contained within the policy.

It’s important someone reads that policy.  An attorney at our firm that reads the policy. So we understand the exact language and what the requirements are because although generally, the language is consistent and similar, there are some variations. Some insurance companies could require notice by certified mail, some policies may not require certified mail. So those details must be understood.

After you read the information, we must follow that language. We also must give timely notice, so you can’t wait three years later down the line to pursue the money you were once entitled to. If you didn’t give the notice to your insurance company, three years is too late in Illinois.

Arbitration

Now, when you go through arbitration, it’s a formal process. It’s like a court, but it’s not a true court. Generally, you pick three arbitrators for this process. The injured party picks one arbitrator, the person that’s representing an insurance company picks another arbitrator, and those two arbitrators pick a third arbitrator. Therefore, you need a decision from two of those three, to decide the value of your case.

Arbitration proceeds generally like you’re in court, however, it’s faster, and it’s a little less painful to get through the process. There will still be testimony, there is still the introduction of medical records, medical bills, and presentation of damages, and then the arbitrators will render a decision and that decision is binding. Another way is called mediation.

Mediation

Mediation is where the injured party and the insurance company choose, generally a former judge, as a mediator. The mediations can be binding, or they can be nonbinding. In a nonbinding situation, the case is presented to the mediator, the mediator gives a recommendation, and there’s negotiation back and forth. Sometimes it can take several hours, I was involved in a mediation that took several months. It depends on the value of the case and how far apart the parties are and how effective the mediator is.

I had a case this morning, where my demand on the insurance company in a UM case was $1,000,000. Because that was the extent of the policy and I argued that my client’s damages were in excess value of $1 million. Unfortunately, the insurance company’s offer was zero. We went to mediation, we had a very successful mediation, and I recovered close to the full value of my client’s policy. That’s called mediation. That’s nonbinding. We didn’t have to agree and if the mediator didn’t come to a fair and equitable decision among all parties, the case would then proceed to arbitration.

These are the nuts and bolts, I want you to understand the processes and when out get injured, you will wind up with a check. When there’s an uninsured motorist case, they’re generally easier to handle through the system.

Call Our Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyers

Remember, when you hire Claim Your Justice, you’ll get effective representation, you’ll get experienced representation, and you’ll get lawyers that care about you, your family, and your case. When you have been injured in an accident, call 1888-88-Keith, that’s 1888-885-3484, or feel free to visit us on the web at ClaimYourJustice.com Have a nice day and a successful rest of your week. Thank you for listening.

Fatalities From Car Accidents Increased Dramatically in 2021

traffic accidents

As time goes on, we tend to think that things get safer; technology helps protect us and do things that we, as humans can’t do. When it comes to cars, the technology in our cars is advanced enough to help us avoid accidents. But for a number of reasons, traffic accidents—and deaths—keep increasing.

In 2021, a lot of things changed, because of the changing conditions after the pandemic. Some of those changes were good positive changes. But some were not. One not-so-good change was the rapid and dramatic increase in the number of traffic fatalities on our roadways.

After a crash in Illinois, victims may be able to secure compensation for their losses. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash, please call the talented Schaumburg car accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice.

Early 2021 Statistics are Grim

Statistics are not available for all of 2021, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 31,000 people died in traffic accidents from January to September of 2021. That represents an increase of about 12% from that same time period in 2020. That isn’t just a big increase—it’s the biggest increase during the initial 9 months of any year for the previous 15 years.

As you may imagine because of the 2020 shutdown, there were more miles actually traveled in the first months of 2021 than in the previous year. But even taking that into account, and adjusting on a per-mile basis, the fatality rate still went up in 2021, increasing to about 1.36 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled nationally.

Even 2020 Was Pretty Bad

But the 2021 upward trend is not an isolated event; traffic fatalities even increased on a percentage basis the year before, in pandemic-stricken 2020. Annual traffic data for 2020 showed the highest amount of traffic deaths since 2007 even though the total number of crashes actually decreased from the year previous.

If you think these increases are high, it gets worse–these 2020 and 2021 statistics are only on public roadways. They do not account for accidents in private driveways, or parking lots, which, when taken into account, would raise the fatality rate and total even higher than it is.

The NHTSA is putting together these statistics also only accounts for immediate or near immediate deaths; it does not account for deaths that are caused by a car accident, but where death may not actually happen until a few days after the actual accident (for example, if someone were to wane in the hospital and pass a few days later, or if a car accident were to cause a fatal heart attack days after the accident).

The trend is continuing, even into the first months of 2022. As of March 2022, there are estimates that traffic deaths will be at 3,570, which represents a 3% increase from 2021, and a whopping 25% increase from 2020. However, the deaths per mile have increased less dramatically, increasing only .08%.

State by State Data

These studies don’t just rank traffic fatalities by the entire nation, but also by state. According to a study by Uplift Legal Funding, research shows Texas as being one of the more dangerous states to drive in, at least in 2018 (note that numerous sources compile state-by-state data, and all may differ slightly). Part of the reason for Texas’ high death rate is that in some places, Texas has speed limits of up to 85mph.

Rhode Island was on the opposite end of the spectrum, with only 56 accidents in 2018. Although Illinois has a high population, it fared pretty well in the study, with only 948 traffic fatalities in 2018.

Interestingly, when fatalities are adjusted for state population when calculating deaths per 100,000 people, many of the numbers and states affected, dramatically change. More rural states like Alabama, Arkansas, Wyoming, and New Mexico tend to rank higher in traffic fatalities (Illinois still ranks relatively low, with 5-10 deaths per 100,000 people).

The states on track for the largest increases this year, in 2022, include Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, and Nebraska, all of which are looking at increases in traffic deaths of over 50%.

Why All the Fatalities?

The federal government is calling the number of deaths on the roadways “a national crisis.” Government officials rate even cite an effort to combat feelings that the public has of traffic fatalities just being “inevitable.”
Why the increased numbers? The study cited things like speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, being distracted, or not wearing a seat belt as potential causes. For example, fatalities for unrestrained occupants of cars, and for people driving under the influence shot up 14% in 2020. Even bicyclist fatalities and pedestrian fatalities increased in 2020. All this despite total vehicle miles having decreased by 11% from the year previous.
Online news site vox.com called the car crashes and deaths in America an “epidemic,” saying just being in our car and driving around is one of the most dangerous things that we do on a day-to-day basis.

Speed Kills

Although many factors cause accidents, high speed is a huge indicator in which crashes end up fatal and which do not. Experts have assumed that Texas’ 85 miles per hour speed limit may have accounted for its nation-leading traffic fatality rate.

There is something to that because experts also say that speeding is the reason why there were so many deaths in 2020, despite there being a national shutdown for part of the year. Experts say that with shutdowns came empty roads, and with that, came people driving at higher speeds.

Shutdowns and people have something to do for part of 2020, they have also led to more drunk driving or more reckless behavior like driving without a seat belt. Still, fatalities have increased, all the way into 2021 and 2022.

Pedestrian Deaths

One way to lower the overall fatality rate in car accidents is to try and lower the number of pedestrians that are killed. This is considered only a starting point in lowering traffic crash deaths (it should be noted that the studies did not look into the causes of accidents; sometimes, pedestrians are partially responsible for accidents as well).

In 2019, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed which was up 51% from 2009. Sadly, many people who are walking are doing so in neighborhoods where people may not be able to afford cars. Statistics also show people in low-income areas are more likely to be hit and killed as pedestrians. Plus, much of the technology that we have in our cars is designed to avoid collisions with cars—not with pedestrians.

It also is no coincidence that pedestrian deaths are increasing, as the popularity of large SUVs and trucks is increasing–statistics have shown that when these larger cars hit pedestrians, the result is more likely to be fatal than when a smaller car hits a pedestrian.

Even single-car accidents cause deaths, such as when cars crash into trees or posts or drive off of freeway ledges or cliffs.

Are Our Roadways Built Wrong?

Another contributing cause may be our roadways themselves. They are designed for speed and to get people where they are going quickly; that often conflicts with basic safety features. Our roadways try to do dual-duty: On the one hand, people want convenience, which means stores, restaurants, and shopping, but we also want those roads to be fast and efficient for us to commute on.

These roads are lined with shoppers, bicyclists, people slowing down to get in and out of parking lots, and (often missed) stop signs. The result is these kinds of roads end up doing neither thing well.

What are the Solutions?

The recent infrastructure bill may help things. It was passed by Congress and doesn’t just improve roadways and bridges but does include funding to try to make the roadways and traffic safer. The government is hoping that those improvements lower the fatality numbers in the future.

Still, there are no easy solutions. Certainly, lowering speed limits may help, but doing that tends to be unpopular, and speed limits are easily ignored. Some suggest that narrowing roads, installing roundabout intersections, or putting in more speed bumps may help, but that is a long-term and more expensive solution (and in many denser areas, there simply is not room to build things like roundabouts).

The good news is that cities that have used some of these measures have actually been successful at lowering traffic-related deaths.

Contact Our Hoffman Estates Car Accident Lawyers

If you need help or have questions about what your legal options are for obtaining compensation after your car accident the talented legal team at Claim Your Justice can help. Call our Hoffman Estates car accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice today to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555. We look forward to helping you with your car or truck accident case.

Tips to Stay Safe When Bicycling in Busy Urban Areas

bicycle accident

When we think of traffic safety, we often think of car crashes or pedestrian accidents. But what about bicyclists? To many people, cyclists lie somewhere in between pedestrians and cars. Some say a bicycle is just like a car when it comes to the rules of the road, and safety precautions, and others say a cyclist is like a pedestrian.

The truth is somewhere in between. Unfortunately, there is not as much attention paid to bicyclist safety, as there is to pedestrian safety, which has led to an increase in the number of bicycle fatalities. Whether you are a cyclist or someone who drives on roads where cyclists are, there are some basic facts you should know about bicycle safety.

If you were injured on your bike in Illinois, the Rolling Meadows bicycle accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice

Bicyclist Fatalities are Up

Traffic fatalities involving bicyclists have increased dramatically-according to the National Safety Council, deaths have risen by 44% in the previous 10 years (although the number of bicycle accidents that are not fatal has actually decreased). That means that there are fewer accidents-but the ones that are happening, are more serious, and deadly.

Despite 2020 being marred by shutdowns, and people staying home, bicycle deaths actually increased by 16% from the year previous. As you may imagine, the most deaths happen in the summer months, between May and September.

In 2020, about 1,200 people died on a bicycle, with most of those deaths being as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle. According to the study, males were much more likely to be victims of cycling deaths than women were. Age plays a factor as well; the death rate amongst younger riders has actually decreased, while the rate for older riders has gone up.

Although we tend to think of intersections as being dangerous-and they can be-most bicyclists killed in 2020, according to the Department of Transportation, were actually riding in areas that did not have an intersection of traffic.

What Rules or Laws do Bicyclists Follow?

Many bicyclists think that they do not have to follow the same rules of the road that cars do. Others may think that some rules apply while others don’t. This confusion is understandable; there is relatively little information to educate cyclists on safety, and what their obligations are when on their bikes.

As a general rule, you should observe the same rules that cars do. For example, you should ride in the same direction that traffic flows, and if you are on the road—even in a bike lane—you should stop for traffic signals and stop signs. As a cyclist, if you are on the road, follow the traffic light-don’t follow the pedestrian “walk/don’t walk” signs, unless you are off your bike, walking it across a pedestrian walkway, of course.

Helmets, and Their Importance

Some tips for being safe on a bicycle are common sense (although often ignored). Here are some pointers on being as safe as possible when you are on a bicycle.

Wearing a helmet can increase safety dramatically, protecting your head, which will often be the first part of your body to hit the ground below in the event of a collision with a vehicle. Helmet wearing is the biggest indicator of survivability after an accident; some studies say that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of serious brain and head injuries by about 60%.

Statistics bear out the importance of helmets; nearly 60% of cycle riders who were killed were not wearing helmets, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Helmets should not just be used, but they should fit properly. There should be about two finger lengths between the end of the helmet and your eyebrows, and one finger should be able to get underneath the chinstrap. Look for helmets that have a Department of Transportation icon or symbol, which indicates that the helmet meets minimum government safety standards.

Don’t ever re-use a helmet if it has already been in an accident.

The state of Illinois has no uniform helmet law for bicyclists. However, some cities and municipalities do, and helmet laws can vary by locality. Some cities have mandatory helmet laws for riders under the ages of 16 or 17.

Other Important Safety Tips for Bicyclists

-Blind Spots – a bicycle doesn’t have blind spots. A car does. When we drive, we’re often aware of where those blind spots are, but when we cycle, we may give little thought to whether or not we are riding in a car’s blind spot. As a general rule, look for the driver in the driver’s rear view mirror—if you can’t see the driver, you probably can’t be seen either, and you are in the driver’s blind spot.

-Big Vehicles and Right Turns – One blind spot that we may not be aware of, is the one that is created when a large truck makes a right turn. Remember that when a large vehicle like a truck makes a right turn, the trailer on the back may not make that right turn very sharply; it tails behind, and can “cut off” the right of way to the right of the truck, even if the front part of the truck stays exactly on the roadway.

-Beware of Opening Doors – Cycling past or next to parked cars is usually safe. Unless you’re so close to those cars, that you can get hit by a door that swings outward. Be aware that people getting in and out of parked cars may not see you; try not to drive so close to stationary cars, that you can be hit by an opening door. Generally, 3-4 feet is a good amount of space, to make sure that you are clear of any car doors that may potentially open.

-Use Lights, Reflectors, and Sounds– Anything that brings you to traffic’s attention—especially at night—should be used. Your bike should have and use reflectors. Bright clothing should be worn, and lights should be affixed to bicycles if you are riding after dark.

Sounds like bells or horns can help also. Granted, they can be hard to hear from inside of a car, but often they can be heard and may bring you to the attention of drivers, to the attention of pedestrians, or to the attention of people getting out of their cars, who may be distracted, or completely unaware that you are there.

-Learn Signaling – There are basic signal signs that you can use on a bike, the same way that a car uses signals. For example, sticking your hand out all the way to the left signals a left turn, and doing the same on the right, signals a right turn, as does putting your left hand in the air.

-Pay Attention – It should go without saying, to pay attention and stay off your cell phone or their electronics while riding. This means being able to hear what’s around you as well; headphones may be fine on a bicycle if you are riding somewhere deserted or solitary, but in a city setting you want to be able to hear cars or their horns around you.

-Watch for Pedestrians – Certainly, you are looking out for yourself, making sure you don’t get hit by cars. But you are also a vehicle, and you can do serious injury to a pedestrian as well, the same way that a car can do; you are expected to yield to pedestrians the same way that a car would. This also means avoiding sidewalks, which are only intended for pedestrians. Unfortunately, many pedestrians may be very careful about oncoming cars–but may not pay much attention to you, on your bicycle.

-Check and Adjust the Bike – If you are using your bike, it is probably a given that it is the right height for you. But in areas where people rent bikes, you may need to do some adjusting. Make sure the seat is not just the right height, but that it is clamped solid, to avoid it moving in the middle of your ride.

-Make eye contact and be visible – Just as you should as a pedestrian, try to make eye contact with drivers, especially in intersections, to make sure that they know you are there.

-Be Consistent – Don’t weave in and out of traffic lanes. Don’t cross traffic erratically. Stay in designated bike lanes, if they are on the roadway. Generally, you want to make yourself as predictable as possible, and act as much as a car would if you were in one.

-Don’t Ride Under the Influence – Many people may have the misconception that bicycling drunk is somehow better, or safer, than getting behind the wheel drunk. But this isn’t the case. The U.S. Department of Transportation found that 18% of cyclists killed in 2020, had elevated (more than .08 percent) blood alcohol levels.

Call Our Rolling Meadows Bicycle Accident Attorney

Were you in an accident on a bicycle? You may need a Rolling Meadows bicycle accident attorney Call our Illinois bicycle accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 1-847-434-3555 to help you if you have been injured while on a cycle.