What To Do (And Not Do) If You Are Involved In A Car Accident

As a Chicago personal injury attorney , I am often asked by friends and potential clients what to do if they are involved in a car accident . Below are a list of Do’s and Dont’s when involved in a car accident . Above all else, it is important to seek medical treatment as your health always come first and it is important to determine if you are seriously injured.

Do’s and Dont’s:

• Do get names, addresses, license plate and phone numbers of the involved drivers and any witnesses
• Do call the police immediately or have someone at the scene call for you
• Do take photographs of scene and injuries
• Do notify defendant and authorities immediately after occurrence
• Do take care of your injuries-concentrate on getting better
• Do keep records of your medical treatment and time missed from work
• Don’t talk or give statement to defendant’s insurance company
• Don’t attempt to negotiate with defendant insurance company before your medical treatment is completed
• Don’t wait months from the date of injury before hiring an attorney, as your right to file claim or lawsuit may be barred
• Don’t wait days or weeks from the time you are injured to seek medical attention. Your health comes first and also insurance companies are wary of paying for medical bills if treatment is postponed

This is not an exhaustive list but important to keep in mind if you are involved in a car crash . If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or a Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Distracted Driving Summit Speakers Stress Deadly Results From Texting And Driving

As the Distracted Driving Summit rolled on this week, the focus shifted from preventative legislation to the stark reality about the dangers of texting and driving. Business Week reported that the speakers outlined the deadly statistics of phone use while driving.

According to researchers texting alone caused more than 16,000 deaths in car accidents from 2001 to 2007. Further, texting while driving rose 28 percent in just three years, from 4,572 in 2005 to 5,870 in 2008.

“The increases in distracted driving seem to be largely driven by increased use of cell phones to text,” said lead researcher Fernando Wilson, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.  “Overall use of cell phones have been pretty steady, but texting volumes have increased dramatically in the last few years,” he added.

Wilson added that drunk drivers are also more prone to pick up their phones while in their cars.  Wilson did not have any definitive answers to the epidemic but added that  “we need technologies that inhibit cell phone use while driving” and that more effective law enforcement of cell phone bans would also help.

The numbers here speak for themselves. As I have said many times before: think again the next time you are driving and tempted to pick up your phone while driving. You will, no doubt, increase the odds of causing a car crash if you decide to pick up your phone and decide to send that text or email.
 
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago trucking accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

New Legislation Is Discussed At Distracted Driving Summit

The Distracted Driving Summit is under way in Washington, DC this week and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood began by discussing new proposed legislation along with corporate initiative. CNN online reported that LaHood new regulations intended to prevent accidents involving drivers trying to text or talk on cell phones while operating a vehicle. The regulations target drivers transporting hazardous materials, train operators and commercial truck and bus drivers.  LaHood said, two rules proposed at a distracted-driving summit last year have now become law, banning commercial bus and truck drivers from texting on the job and restricting train operators from using cell phones and other electronic devices.

The proposed legislation, prepared by the traffic safety agency and industry advisers, would authorize law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving.

Under the proposed guidelines, drivers caught typing on a handheld device while behind the wheel would face a minimum fine of $75 and unspecified action against their driving privileges. In cases resulting in serious injury or death, a driving while texting offense could be considered a felony.

Broad bans on texting behind the wheel have already been enacted in 30 states and the District of Columbia; 11 of those laws were passed this year. Eight other states have bans that apply only to novice drivers.

On the private side, more than 550 U.S. companies — employing 1.5 million people nationwide — that have committed to enacting anti-distracted driving policies in the next year.

“We are taking action on a number of fronts to address the epidemic of distracted driving in America,” LaHood said in a written statement. “With the help of the experts, policymakers, and safety advocates we’ve assembled here, we are going to do everything we can to put an end to distracted driving and save lives.”

I will continue to post blogs as more reports about the driving summit come out.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident  attorney , Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Chicago Police To Crack Down On Motorists At Cross Walks

Chicago Breaking News reported this that the Chicago police department is cracking down on motorists who do not slow down or stop an cross walks.  The crackdown comes after legislation was passed by the state on July 22, which states that drivers must stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks — even those that are unmarked or don’t have a stop sign or a traffic signal. The penalty for failing to stop is a traffic citation of $50 to $500. Fines vary by county.  Last year, there were more than 3,000 pedestrian-related accidents on Chicago streets. More than 50 of them resulted in pedestrian fatalities, an average of one a week. 

In the downtown, police and the city Traffic Management Authority are also working on plans to improve pedestrian compliance with traffic laws, officials said. Officials said it is being stressed to traffic-control aides that they do a better job of stopping pedestrians from crossing against traffic lights, which causes vehicles making turns to get hung up in intersections.

The new law may be a surprise to many motorists, in part because it will take some time to replace the thousands of “Yield” signs at intersections across the Chicago area. Among the changes taking place or planned in Chicago’s well and area suburbs are new must-stop street signs alerting the public to the crosswalk-rule change; expanded use of crosswalk markers placed in the median of streets near schools, parks and hospitals; and stepped-up police enforcement, officials said.

Chicago police commanders said officers have been busy enforcing the new law, writing 127 tickets in August alone during crosswalk-enforcement stings at intersections with a history of accidents involving pedestrians. During the stings, plainclothes officers posing as civilians try to cross streets at marked crosswalks. Drivers who don’t stop are pulled over and ticketed.

About 690 citations were issued to drivers failing to yield to pedestrians during stings conducted from April through July in the city, with most of those enforcement operations occurring before the new law took effect July 22, officials said.

As someone who walks all over the downtown loop and Lincoln Park, I am very happy to see this initiative. Further, I have a client who I am sure is pleased to see this police crackdown. The client was struck by a vehicle as she was walking to the red line as she was heading downtown for her morning commute. She spent a week in the hospital with skull fractures, hematoma and a severe concussion.  We will see if the number of auto – pedestrian accidents decrease in the Chicago area this year.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago accident attorney , Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Transportation Secretary LaHood Continues To Warn About Distracted Driving

NHSTA Secretary Ray LaHood released a statement today on the eve of the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, promoting the decrease of traffic fatalities in 2009. 2009 statistics showed the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1950.  Although, LaHood warned that the epidemic of distracted driving may be worse than the statistics show.  LaHood stated researchers believe the police reports in many states still do not routinely document whether distraction was a factor in vehicle crashes, making it more difficult to know the full extent of the problem.

These numbers show that distracted driving remains an epidemic in America, and they are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Tomorrow, I’m convening our second Distracted Driving Summit in the hopes that we can continue to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving and work together to save lives.”

The NHTSA study found that the proportion of fatalities associated with driver distraction increased from 10 percent to 16 percent between 2005 and 2009.  This news comes as overall traffic fatalities  fell in 2009 to their lowest levels since 1950.

According to NHTSA data, the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group.  Sixteen percent of all under-20 drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted while driving.  Of those drivers involved in fatal crashes who were reportedly distracted, the 30-39 year old group had the highest proportion of cell phone involvement. 

I will, of course, be updating with the blog with reports and announcements from the Distracted Driving Summit.

If you or somone you know has been involved in a Chicago Car Accident  or Chicago Truck Accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Illinois Traffic Fines Increase This Week

It just became much more expensive this week for Illinois traffic violators. The new Illinois traffic laws went into effect on September 15 The new fines for minor offenses such as speeding up to 20 mph over the limit, running a stop sign or making an illegal turn will carry a $120 penalty, up from $75, under rates set by the Illinois Supreme Court. Topping the speed limit by 21 to 30 mph will cost $140, up from $95.

The increase in fines is the first since 1993, said Champaign County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Ford, chairman of the Supreme Court subcommittee that recommended the increases.The panel investigated the cost of speeding tickets  in other states and found that Illinois’ were lower, Ford said. “We were a bargain,” he said.

The set increases apply only to offenses that don’t require a court appearance. The cost of many tickets requiring a court date — such as speeding more than 30 mph over the limit — will also go up. But those hikes aren’t definitive because a traffic court judge decides the fines.

traffic violation  cash penalty actually represents a bond rate set by the state Supreme Court. The bonds for minor offenses are accepted as fines for convenience’s sake, Ford said.

I think it’s fair to say that the increased fines were intaled to raise more revenue for the state but we will see if it acts as a deterrent to drivers and if it actually decreases the amount of car accidents .

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

U.S. Transportation Department Announces Lowest Traffic Fatalities In Six Decades

The NHTSA continues to report positive news about undefined  in the U.S.  According to Transportation Secretary LaHood, the 33,808 undefined  deaths in 2009 was the lowest number since 1980.  In addition, 2009 saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded:  1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.

Fatalities declined in all categories of vehicles including motorcycles, which saw fatalities fall by 850 from 2008, breaking an 11-year cycle of annual increases.

“At the Department of Transportation, we are laser-focused on our top priority: safety,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Today’s announcement shows that America’s roads are the safest they’ve ever been.  But they must be safer.  And we will not rest until they are.”

The NHTSA attributes several factors that have led to this decrease:  ““Today’s numbers reflect the tangible benefits of record seat belt use and strong anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.  “But we are still losing more than 30,000 lives a year on our highways, and about a third of these involve drunk driving.  We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seat belt use and anti-drunk driving laws across this nation, every day and every night.”

These are encouraging statistics. I continue to wonder if the drastic decreases the past few years can be attributed to the recession and the overall state of our economy.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident  or truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Is The Transportation Department Focusing On The Safety Issues?

The Wall Street Journal published interesting article about the U.S. Transportation Department and whether they are focusing on the correct safety issues. More specifically, the article calls into question the federal government’s focus on texting and driving and defective Toyotas.  According to Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the U.S. Transportation Department, Congress and the media have gotten sidetracked by issues like texting while driving.

Lund’s organization is the safety research and advocacy arm of the insurance industry. The IIHS has been critical of the government’s highway safety policies over the past few years, usually arguing that the government wasn’t moving fast enough to require better crash-prevention technology from auto makers.  Lund and the Insurance Institute also say recent laws banning motorists from using mobile phones behind the wheel don’t correlate with a significant reduction in accidents. “You’d think from the media coverage, congressional hearings, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s focus in recent months that separating drivers from their phones would all but solve the public-health problem of  car crash  deaths and injuries,” he wrote. “It won’t.”

As for the Toyota sudden acceleration uproar, Mr. Lund says, “a lot of this looks like it may be pedal error”—meaning human error related to design—”so it’s very important that we have research on how pedals could be redesigned.” Congress and the Transportation department have focused more attention on potential problems with vehicle electronics.

The Transportation Department has responded to the IIHS report:

“Safety is the Department of Transportation’s number one priority, which is why we are aggressively and urgently tackling a number of risks to drivers’ safety. We are going to continue taking drunk drivers off the road, getting people to put down their phones and other distractions, making sure cars and trucks are safe to drive, and doing whatever else is necessary to keep Americans safe behind the wheel,” a DOT spokeswoman said in a statement.  In 2008 alone, nearly 6,000 people were killed and more than half a million were injured in crashes involving distracted driving,” the DOT spokeswoman said.

The IIHS report is interesting but I don’t think it is time to ignore the problems with distracted driving and drinking and driving.  Too much progress has been made the last few years to suddenly ignore this issue.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

New Study Reveals Safest Cities For Car Accidents

A lot of people have different opinions about All State and their tactics when dealing will injured car accident  victims. Regardless they put the time and money into a study as to which U.S. cities are the safest in regards to auto accidents .  This week they released “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™.” The report ranks America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers, according to Allstate claim data. This year’s top honor of “America’s Safest Driving City” is Fort Collins, Colorado. According to the report, the average driver in Fort Collins will experience an auto collision every 14.5 years, which is about 31 percent less likely than the national average.

Allstate actuaries conducted an analysis of company claim data to determine the likelihood drivers in America’s 200 largest cities will experience a vehicle collision compared to the national average. Internal property damage reported claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2007 to December 2008) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction.

A weighted average of the two-year numbers determined the annual percentages. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in a property damage claim. Allstate’s auto policies represent about 11 percent of all U.S. auto policies, making this report a realistic snapshot of what’s happening on America’s roadways.

According to the Nation Highway and Transportation Safety administration, human error is the main cause for car accidents  in the U.S.

All-State provided the following tips to help prevent errors:

  • Minimize distractions – Engaging in any other activity while driving – talking on your cell phone, text messaging, changing a radio station, putting on makeup – is a distraction.
  • Be aware of road conditions – Ice, snow, fog, rain – all of these weather conditions require extra caution and slower speeds.
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you – Maintain at least one car length space between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
  • Steer clear of road rage – Reduce stress on the road by allowing plenty of time for travel, planning your route in advance, and altering your schedule or route to avoid congested roads. Remember not to challenge aggressive drivers and stay as far away from them as possible.
  • Maintenance matters – Ultimately, safety also depends on the maintenance of one’s car. Ensure that car brakes, exhaust system, tires, lights, battery and hoses are in good working order.

    If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago auto accident or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

    Chicago Parks District Studying Lake Shore Trail Accidents

    Without a doubt, Chicago’s lake front, is one of the crown jewels of this great city. It draws thousands to this shore of Lake Michigan everyday throughout the summer for running, biking and fun on the beach. I believe it was a main reason so many people move here from out of state and visit the city throughout the summer.

    Unfortunately that the large crowds can lead to many bicycle accidents  and pedestrian accidents. For the first time, the Chicago Parks District, has decided to study this issue and determine how to curb the number of accidents.

    The Chicago Sun Times recently reported that the Parks District retained Active Transportation Alliance  to count cyclists, pedestrians and in-line skaters at 30 different spots on the trail, including entry points from underpasses beneath Lake Shore Drive.

    The information will be used to figure out times and spots where the path is most gridlocked, and generate statistics about how many people use it for daily commutes versus recreation. “We all know it’s busy,” said Gia Biagi, the Park District’s director of planning. However, “we wanted to really establish quantitatively, ‘What is the usership?’ “

    Parks officials said their decision this summer to hire the Active Transportation Alliance to study the path wasn’t motivated by a safety crisis, but the need for maintenance, widening and other improvements. The analysis — expected to cost no more than $25,000 and be done before month’s end — will be used to help Chicago compete for federal transportation dollars for Lakefront Trail projects. The data also is expected to help the Park District improve signage, and bike-rack access, plus “develop revenue-generating marketing and promotional efforts” on the trail, according to a Park District memo.

    Hopefully this new study will help decrease the number of accidents and make a bike trip or run on the path more enjoyable.

    If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago bike accident  or Chicago car accident , then call Chicago bicycle accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at “>www.blgchicago.com