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Archive for the category: Motor vehicle accident
  • ‘Textalyzer’ to Detect Cell Phone Use While Driving Under Consideration

    A new device called a ‘textalyzer’ is being developed to help law enforcement officers detect whether or not drivers in accidents were distracted by texting, social media and other applications while they were driving, resulting in their accidents.Currently, law enforcement officers must get search warrants in order to search drivers’ phones, making it difficult for them to enforce existing distracted driving laws. A lawyer for a car accident injury victim likewise may have difficulty uncovering evidence that proves the at-fault driver was distracted in the moments preceding the accident. Opponents of the textalyzer device have concerns about the privacy of drivers whose phones would be searched using it. How the Textalyzer Device Would Work With a textalyzer device, a police officer who suspects that a driver was distracted by a cell phone would not be required to take the phone away and check inside of it. Instead, the officer could simply use a cable to attach the device to the phone, and the driver would not have to take it of his or her hands. The officer would tap a button on the device, and it would take about 90 seconds to return a report of the activities that the driver engaged in immediately before the accident with time stamps. Cellebrite, the company that is working to develop the technology, states that it would not download content from the phones but would instead detect swipes and taps. It would also provide a summary of what applications were open at the time of the accident and whether messages were incoming or outgoing. This could be used as evidence by a lawyer for a car accident injury victim to show that the driver was at fault because of distraction. It could also be used to prosecute the distracted drivers for using their phones with their hands while driving. Privacy Concerns about Textalyzers While textalyzers could help to prove that drivers were using their cell phones illegally, causing accidents, privacy advocates have concerns about their use by law enforcement officers. They argue that these devices would allow police to search the phones of drivers after even minor accidents. They also have concerns that the searches would be warrantless but could amount to drivers effectively providing information to officers that could then be used against them in court. Americans have a constitutional right against self-incrimination and a right against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the[READ MORE…]

  • Illinois’ GDL Program Equals Safer Streets

    Well known as a model for teen driving safety, the Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program has significantly reduced the number of fatalities associated with teen drivers since it was implemented in 2008. With approximately 60 percent fewer deaths, the GDL program is proven to be effective at making Illinois streets safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 20, and approximately one in five licensed drivers who are 16 years old are involved in a car accident. Driver distraction and impaired driving are major contributors to the number of teen driving accidents, and the tendency to take risks and lack of driver inexperience both play significant roles as well. To address the factors associated with the high crash rate among young drivers, Illinois developed the state’s GDL Program. What Is the Illinois GDL Program? The program, which has gained national attention and becomes a model for other states in recent years, enables teens to more thoroughly develop their driving skills as they progress through various stages to obtain an unrestricted driver’s license. The Illinois GDL program does not increase the minimum age required for young drivers to obtain a regular driver’s license. Those who complete the required instruction permit phase and pass an approved driver education program may still be able to become licensed drivers at the age of 16. For those drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who have not successfully completed an approved driver education program, a six-hour course is required before a driver’s license can be obtained. During the first phase of the program, young drivers face nighttime driving restrictions, the number of passengers allowed is limited, and 50 hours of supervised driving must be completed. The permit must be held for at least six months and is valid for up to two years. Upon completion of phase one, drivers age 16-17 move on to phase two. They still face nighttime driving limits and the number of passengers is still limited, however, they are no longer required to have a licensed driver 21 or older in the front seat. When the second phase is completed, the driver moves on to a full driver’s license with no age-related restrictions. Even with the GDL program, younger drivers are still involved in a large number of car accidents that result in serious[READ MORE…]

  • Negligent Entrustment May Result in Rental Car Company Liability for Car Accidents

    In most Illinois accidents involving rental cars, the rental car companies themselves will not hold liability except in certain rare cases. Rental car companies may hold a share of the liability if the accidents resulted from the companies’ negligence in maintaining their vehicles. They may also hold some liability if they negligently entrust the vehicles to drivers that should not have been able to rent the cars, including those who are too young or those who do not have valid drivers licenses. When a rental car is involved in an accident, the analysis that may be performed by a car accident lawyer in Chicago may be more complex. Rental Car Company Negligent Entrustment Rental car companies are required by Illinois law to do certain things before renting vehicles to people. The companies are supposed to have minimum age requirements that they apply to all drivers. If a company rents a vehicle to a person who is younger than the established minimum driver age, then the company may hold liability if the driver then causes an accident. Rental car companies are also mandated under the law to check and verify the driver’s licenses of prospective renters. They are supposed to look at the photographs of the licenses to see if they look like the people who are renting the cars. They are likewise supposed to check the signatures on the rental applications against the signatures on the licenses. Finally, they are supposed to check the dates that are listed on the licenses to make certain that they are not expired. Vehicle Defects Rental car companies may also be liable in car accident cases when the vehicles that are involved have defects that the companies knew about but failed to repair if the defects caused the accidents. For example, if a rental car as threadbare tire treads that cause a tire to blow out and the car to wreck, the company may be named as a defendant in a resulting lawsuit. Even if a rental company is not liable for an accident, some drivers who rent cars purchase additional insurance from the companies for their rental vehicles. A car accident lawyer may be able to seek recovery from both the driver’s personal insurance company as well as the rental car insurance policy that the driver purchased. The Ankin Law Office represents injured victims in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, including those involving car accidents.[READ MORE…]

  • When to Call an Accident Lawyer

    Irrespective of whether an injury is compensable through a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim, the sooner an injured victim contacts a lawyer, the greater the recovery will likely be. From auto accidents to workplace injuries, getting the best medical care is crucial. One problem accident victims face is that insurance companies try to minimize fault and reduce claim values. Seeking medical care and injury compensation is the right of injured people. Legal representation is often the best course of action. (Article continues below Infographic) ______ Work Related Injuries People who were injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation. The problem they face is that employer and insurance legal departments want to reduce costs associated with injuries. Workplace incidents can take many forms, and may happen at remote job sites. According to the Insurance Information Institute, traffic injuries are a major cause of workplace accidents. Sorting out the red tape demands the best accident lawyer available. Auto Accidents The fault in an auto accident may not be obvious. The fault may be shared, complicating insurance responsibility. Insurance companies try to minimize claims even if the fault is obvious. This can result in injured parties receiving inadequate medical attention, highlighting the need to have the best accident attorneys on the case. After an auto accident, a medical evaluation should be performed immediately. Injuries may not be visible, and may take medical attention to identify. Home and Property Negligence is the most common cause of household injuries. The negligent party may be a landlord, neighbor, or even a contractor. The pet or property of a neighbor can cause immediate, permanent injuries. Personal injury is well-defined in legal statutes, and can be resolved to benefit the injured. Common causes of personal injury include: Animal Bites or Attacks Loose or Damaged Flooring Contractor Mistakes Wet Flooring Slips and Falls Loose or improper flooring is the leading cause of slip and fall accidents. This type of accident can occur at home, in the workplace, or even while shopping. Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injury, including Traumatic Brain Injury. When someone is hurt by a fall, it is important to seek medical and legal help as soon as possible. Accidents are a fact of life. Acquiring the best care and compensation is up to the individual. The best accident lawyers can help injured people get the help they deserve. Personal injury law[READ MORE…]

  • Two Big Changes to Driving Laws in Illinois Now in Effect

    Nearly 200 new laws went into effect in Illinois on January 1 this year, making it important to know the most potentially relevant driving laws. This year, the state enhanced two existing laws regarding driving. While accident lawyers may help anyone affected by these laws, it is the responsibility of every Illinois driver to understand and comply with them in order to minimize driving risks. Expanding Scott’s Law The biggest change for Illinois drivers is to an already existing law called Scott’s Law, or the Move Over Law. The law was enacted to protect emergency personnel working on the side of the road. The law required that all drivers either slow down or move into a lane further from the shoulder when passing an emergency vehicle. As of January 1, drivers are now required to take these precautions for any car that is on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. Those who do not either slow down or move over may be fined up to $10,000 and may have their license suspended. Higher Fines for Risky Driving at Railroad Crossings Any driver who opts to either go around a lowered railroad crossing or rush through an arm that is in the process of lowering will be fined at least double the old fine. A first-time offender will be fined $500, and every subsequent offense will cost an additional $1,000. Some police departments are considering stationing officers at train crossings to enforce the law. Getting stuck at a railroad crossing is a frustration that some people are willing to avoid at all costs. Similar to distracted driving, drivers can be so focused on avoiding this inconvenience that they do not recognize how risky their driving has become. Driving can be a dangerous activity, but people become desensitized to those dangers. Modifying existing laws helps ensure that drivers are safer when on or to the side of the road. In the event of a collision, accident lawyers can help review options and compensation eligibility.

  • What Are the Important Safety Features in Your Next Car?

    Once upon a time, Volvo took a risk and advertised its safety features. The campaign was derided at the time, when style, speed and price were the priority concerns to car shoppers. But over time the marketing strategy has worked and that is now a predominant identification with the Swedish carmaker’s brand. The company introduced three-point seat belts in 1958, decades before they were required of U.S. automakers. Volvo was also the first to make airbags a standard feature. Eventually, American consumers caught on and realized that the death rate on the highways – not to mention the even greater numbers of people living with permanent, life-changing injuries and disabilities as a result of auto accidents – called for safer vehicles. Another factor was the popularity of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). Despite their tank-like appearance, earlier models were found to be vulnerable to rollovers, particularly when taking corners too quickly. In a recent year, 2011, more than 60 people died and 2,700 suffered serious injuries in overturned vehicle accidents in Illinois. But the essential problem, too high a center of gravity, has been corrected in newer vehicles. The power of lawsuits and attorneys can produce positive change where it comes to vehicle design. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires the following in all new cars: airbags and passive restraint systems; inside trunk handles; tire-pressure monitors; and electronic stability control (ESC), which automatically brakes wheels that are slipping. What are not mandated are side airbags and anti-lock brakes, even though both are considered very good ways to minimize injuries from car accidents. Other features that aren’t mandated by the NHTSA are: Head restraints, back seat – While mandated in front, they are not required in the back seats of vehicles. Anyone who typically hauls passengers – hello soccer moms? – should consider this to be important. Traction control – This system adjust engine power output, primarily with four-wheel antilock brake systems, such that stability is improved when the driver applies excess power. Car weight – The basic physics of vehicles in collisions gives the advantage to larger, heavier vehicles. This means, for better or worse, that SUVs and semi-tractor trailers will always dominate subcompact vehicles. The five-star rating system on vehicle performance in crash test safety, developed by the NHTSA, is called into doubt because the tests do not account for vehicle weight. The ultimate safety device is the human[READ MORE…]

  • Ankin Law Office LLC Representing Woman Injured in Fatal Chicago Bus Crash

    A woman who was recently injured in a fatal bus accident here in Chicago has chosen the Ankin Law Office LLC to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit. Attorney John Topolewski sat on a phone call that the victim, 34-year-old Martine Anoine, held with the Chicago Tribune. Four months ago, Antoine moved to Chicago from New York to study sign language interpretation at Columbia University. On one early evening in June, she and two other passengers were on the bus. Topolewski provided a screenshot of her Ventra card statement with a timestamp of 5:29 p.m. for the No. 148 bus. Shortly thereafter, two people, who were not emergency responders, helped her from the wrecked bus and she was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, Topolewski said. She suffered neck and knee injuries and bruises elsewhere. Describing the experience as violent and “extremely frightening,” Antoine said she was thrown from her seat into the seats in front of her. The Chicago Transit Authority bus allegedly ran a red light, killing a woman and causing injuries to seven others. The CTA cited reports from the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department stating that the bus driver was alone, but Antoine’s ticket clearly demonstrates otherwise. Shortly before the incident, Antoine recalled the driver, 48-year-old Donald Barnes, yelling at a vehicle in his path. Looking up from her phone, Antoine saw a black vehicle near the left side of the bus and a silver or gold car to the right. The No. 148 bus had departed the stop at Harrison and State streets and was moving toward its next stop. Around 5:50 p.m., officials said the bus came to a red light on Lake and stopped. Then it suddenly accelerated into traffic on Michigan. The bus jumped a curb and finally came to a stop on a pedestrian plaza. “It was literally something out of an action movie,” Antoine said, noting that she did not think that the driver came to a full stop at the light. Aimee Coath, a 51-year-old from Flossmoor, was killed when the bus ran her over. According to an attorney from the firm that filed a wrongful death lawsuit on the family’s behalf, the Coaths had been planning a wedding for Aimee’s daughter. The suit names the CTA and Barnes as the defendants. Barnes, who has been working with the CTA since September of last year, was[READ MORE…]

  • Faster emergency response and medical care just a few benefits of Chicago’s first vertiport

    Victims of car accidents and other emergency events will now be able to receive medical aid faster than before with the opening of Chicago’s first vertiport. Vertiports offer an efficient new alternative to emergency ground transportation by providing a space for aircraft to vertically take off and land. Vertiport flights can streamline travel from crowded downtown areas to nearby airports or medical centers. This means first responders can access injured victims much more quickly, improving survival rates and potentially lowering the risk of medical complications. Vertiport Chicago, which is currently the largest vertiport in the U.S., is situated 3.5 miles from downtown Chicago. The 10-acre facility includes a terminal, a hangar, space for eight parked helicopters and one spot for takeoff and landing. The vertiport officially opened in late April, making the new takeoff and landing zone available to paying clients and local emergency responders, including paramedics, police and firefighters. Since Vertiport Chicago is built on land that belongs to the Illinois Medical District, the facility will give medical helicopters top priority. These helicopters will be able to take off or land before all other air traffic without paying any landing fees. This arrangement should enable local medical professionals to more efficiently deliver organs and move trauma patients to medical centers where they can receive needed care. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2012 found that trauma patients experienced markedly better outcomes when they were transported to the hospital via helicopter. These patients were 16 percent more likely to survive than patients transported by ambulance. The patients who were moved by helicopter also had a higher chance of progressing to rehabilitative treatment, rather than requiring ongoing assisted care. This study did not determine why air transportation might offer such distinct benefits for trauma patients. However, people who are taken to the hospital via ambulance may be at risk for delays and additional injuries. Eliminating these issues may make a critical difference for people who have been seriously injured in car crashes, workplace accidents and other traumatic incidents. The new vertiport will also serve the community by creating jobs, attracting businesses and drawing in tourists. Already, the vertiport is allowing logistics company DHL to expedite daily deliveries to clients in downtown Chicago. The availability of chartered vertiport flights, which will allow executives to travel to O’Hare International Airport in 10 minutes, may give more businesses[READ MORE…]

  • Illinois program providing temporary driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants highly successful

    It is estimated that over 11 million people in the United States today are undocumented immigrants and out of that number over 511,000 of that population live here in Illinois. Despite the fact they are not legal visitors or residents, these people purchase property, create businesses, work and drive on the state’s roads. Driving is considered a privilege and people who are issued driver’s licenses have taken a course on driver safety and studied the state’s road laws. Many undocumented immigrants are driving without formal training or understanding of these laws and this puts them at risk of getting into a car accident and harming others. Last year, Illinois sought to improve road safety by providing a program that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license which is valid for up to three years. The program, called a temporary visitor driver’s license, requires undocumented immigrants to show the following: Proof of insurance Pass written driving test Pass road test Pass vision test Proof of residency in Illinois for at least one year While the licenses make it legal for undocumented immigrants to drive, they cannot be used as a form of identification and they are color coded to indicate their difference from a regular driver’s license. Furthermore, these licenses are only for driving a car or motorcycle – they do not permit holders to operate commercial vehicles. Since its launch, around 190,000 people have contacted the state to set up appointments to obtain the special license and over 85,000 people have received one. The program encourages immigrants to study driving rules in Illinois, thereby helping them understand what road signs mean and how to identify crosswalks. Immigrants can also sign up for driving courses that help them develop defensive driving skills, avoid engaging in dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving and tailgating, and how to navigate heavy traffic without putting themselves and others in danger. Recently the Chicago Tribune pointed out that almost 800 traffic accidents occur in the state daily. In 2013, the state saw a 4 percent increase in crashes. Some believe this rise is due to the drop in gasoline prices which has encouraged people to drive more. Factors that contributed to the accidents include speeding, alcohol use, weather, wildlife on roadways and inexperience. Now that Illinois has opened a path for undocumented drivers to obtain a license, it is hoped that fewer accidents will be[READ MORE…]

  • General Motors Has Set A New Precedence For Auto Recalls This Year

    General Motors (GM) has set a new precedence for auto recalls this year, as the first cavalcade of auto recalls quickly turned the safety notices into background noise ignored by many of the effected car owners. GM started the avalanche on February 2014, when they announced that they had to fix a fatally flawed ignition switch on some of their small cars. That was quickly expanded twice and now numbers 2.6 million cars worldwide. The defect is linked to 13 deaths and 54 accidents. Hoping to clean house and avoid more government fines for recall foot-dragging, GM has announced 38 recalls this year through June, covering 14.4 million U.S. vehicles. GM alone will far exceed the past decade’s annual auto industry average of 21 million cars and light trucks. GM’s stepped-up recall pace could continue into midsummer, said GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss. In the past month, GM had announced four more recalls, with the largest for 464,712 Chevrolet Camaros. The Camaro ignition key can be bumped out of position, a problem linked to three crashes and four minor injuries. Meanwhile, other automakers are clearing their cupboards of safety-related issues to stay out of the sights of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is promising tougher oversight to prevent a repeat of GM’s 13-year dawdling before the switch was recalled. So far this year, other auto manufacturers have announced 47 recalls, covering 8.54 million U.S. vehicles, according to government records. That’s a lot, even though it seems otherwise when contrasted with GM’s overwhelming numbers. The millions of recalls that have been issued this year made the situation worse and owner response rates even lower. The typical consumer reaction seems to be, “My car’s running fine. Do I need to bother?” The fact is, car owners should be bothered, but getting them to grasp that fact is a bit like trying to push a piece of string. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that about 75% of recalled vehicles eventually get fixed, depending upon the value and age of the vehicle, how serious the problem seems and how likely the owner thinks that the issue might effect their vehicle. The agency believes toning down recall commotion would hurt, not help; safety is their number one concern and they want to increase and improve ways to reach consumers, not limit the number of recalls. It’s easy to see[READ MORE…]

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    Our firm handles workers' compensation and personal injury claims in Chicago, Berwyn, Joliet, Cicero, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Elgin, Aurora, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Aurora, Niles, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield and all of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria Counties.