Flaherty Law
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Will County Personal Injury Attorney
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Recent blog posts
Sleep Apnea Tied to Truck and Train Accidents

truck driver fatigueTransportation safety experts have determined that undiagnosed or inadequately treated obstructive sleep apnea in drivers can lead to accidents caused by sleepiness or inattentiveness. Two agencies in the United States Transportation Department had been pushing for more testing to be required of truck drivers and train operators for this disorder.

However, that initiative was recently dropped. The Transportation Department says that the condition is still an “on-going concern,” but that it can be addressed using existing regulations.

When the effort to regulate sleep apnea testing began, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration stated that untreated obstructive sleep apnea "can cause unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive duties."

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Check for These Injuries after a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle accidentBicyclists can be severely injured after being hit by a car or truck, even if proper safety measures are being followed. In the wake of an accident, the worst thing a cyclist can do is to shrug off any aches or pains and avoid seeking medical care.

Common bicycle accident injuries include: broken limbs, brain injuries, nerve damage, and dental and jaw injuries. These can be extremely painful, they can take months or years to heal, and they can be expensive to treat. 

Be on the lookout for these conditions, which may indicate that there is a serious problem:

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Steps You Can Take after a Car Accident to Help Your Claim

Car Accident ClaimA car accident is a traumatic experience, and you are likely to have a lot on your mind in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Once you leave the accident scene and attend to your pressing medical needs, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure that your car accident claim moves smoothly. 

The truth is that there are many things you can do following an accident that will assist you and your attorney. These actions include:

  • Inform your insurer. Even if you do not believe that you were at fault, it is best practice to tell your insurer of the incident as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in the denial of a later claim.
  • Get a copy of the police report. If police came to the accident scene, there is usually a report. This report contains a lot of helpful information, including the personal information of the involved drivers, insurance details, and a summary of what transpired. The report may also include whether any traffic tickets were issued.
  • Write down property damage repairs. Keep track of what repairs were required to your car and any other damage to your property, such as trailers or objects you were transporting.
  • Create a log of your medical treatment and health consequences. Many accident victims quickly forget the amount of pain they were in or how the accident affected their life. It’s important to jot down a few notes each day on how you are feeling and what you are able to physically and mentally do. Missing work or life events are important details to record.
  • Check your social media privacy settings. Adverse parties will be looking for any statements you make online about the accident as well as how quickly you recover. It’s best to not comment online about your accident at all.

Call a Will County Auto Accident Lawyer

One of the most important things you can do is to contact an attorney to review your case. We find that many accident victims do not understand what compensation they are entitled to. Moreover, many accident victims underestimate the amount of compensation other, similar cases have received in the past.

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Why It Matters If the Person Who Caused Your Accident Was on the PhoneBy now, all drivers should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. According to the Illinois State Police, distracted driving is present in more than one million car accidents every year in North America. The economic impact of these accidents reaches nearly $40 billion annually, some experts estimate. 

Distracted Driving is Likely a Factor in Your Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident, it is possible that the person at fault was distracted in the moments leading up to the accident. While there are many potential distractions, driving safety advocates have drawn attention to cellphone use. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

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Doctors, Lawyers Most Likely Professionals to Have Car AccidentsAccording to one study, members of some professions are more likely to get into a car accident. The results suggest that working a profession that requires more education does not make someone a safer driver. 

Here are the professions with the greatest rates of car accidents, ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. Doctors
  2. Lawyers
  3. Architects
  4. Real estate brokers
  5. Enlisted military personnel
  6. Social workers
  7. Manual laborers
  8. Analysts
  9. Engineers
  10. Consultants

Experts say that professions that involve a lot of driving – like real estate agents and social workers – may increase the likelihood of accidents. Also, workers in demanding professions with long hours may be surviving on less sleep. Drowsiness is a huge risk factor for car accidents.

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Illinois truck accident lawyerA truck driver responsible for the deaths of five people was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison. The deadly truck accident occurred in northern Illinois.

The truck driver pleaded guilty to five counts of reckless homicide. He also pleaded guilty to falsifying logbook records tracking how many hours he had worked.

The 2014 accident occurred on Interstate 55 near Channahon when traffic slowed down in a construction zone. Four of the fatalities were adults, and one 11-year-old also died. In one car, the accident claimed the life of a father, but his three children survived.

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Illinois bike accident lawyersA law that recently went into effect provides that motor vehicles and bicycles are to receive the same rights on the road in right-of-way situations. The law went into effect on January 1, 2017. This is an important change that is meant to enhance the protections given to bicycles and may be helpful is bike accident lawsuits brought by cyclists.

Background of Dennis’s Law

The law is named after an Illinois resident, Dennis E. Jurs, who died in a bicycle-motor vehicle accident in 2015. The driver of the vehicle was issued a traffic citation for his failure to yield to the right-of-way to the cyclist.

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Preventing Accidents Between Bicycles and Motor VehiclesWhen it comes to bicycles and motor vehicles on streets, Illinois calls itself a “Share the Road” state. Bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as drivers and must be treated with respect. A driver who injuries a bicyclist in an accident can be charged with a class 3 felony. A driver involved in an accident with a bicyclist may be at fault if the driver:

  • Does not give the bicyclist at least three feet of space when passing;
  • Recklessly drives towards a bicyclist;
  • Attempts to intimidate a bicyclist; or
  • Violates a driving law.

Shared Responsibility

A bicyclist can suffer catastrophic injuries if struck by a car and may be able to receive financial compensation if the driver is liable. However, the bicyclist’s personal injury case can be weakened if he or she was acting recklessly. Bicyclists must follow the same laws as drivers, but some break common road rules because bicycles are more maneuverable than cars and can squeeze through tighter spaces. A responsible driver may not be able to avoid an accident if the bicyclist is acting unpredictably. There are laws and safety guidelines you must follow to protect yourself when riding your bicycle alongside motor vehicles:

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Driverless Cars May Change Nature of Personal Injury CasesIf you are injured in a car accident, you can seek compensation from another driver if he or she is at fault. What if the driver at fault is not a person but a computer? Accidents involving self-driving cars may be a problem of the future, but that future is near. Companies are already testing driverless vehicles in some states, and the Illinois legislature is considering a bill that would allow such vehicles here. Researchers are considering the legal ramifications of when accidents involving self-driving cars become more common.

Perfect Drivers?

A national study claims that 90 percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by human error. Scientists are developing self-driving cars because computers will not commit those errors. A computer cannot drive drunk or experience road rage. Developers can program the car to not drive at unsafe speeds. However, computer-controlled vehicles are not flawless drivers:

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Pedestrian Safety Tips for Avoid InjuryDrivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and may face criminal charges and civil liabilities if they hit a pedestrian. For pedestrians, the consequences of being struck by a vehicle are more serious than who was in the wrong. Knowing you are not at fault may be little consolation to you if you are injured in the incident. Pedestrians share an equal responsibility with drivers in preventing accidents from happening.

The Rules

There are laws detailing whether a pedestrian or a vehicle has the right-of-way. In some cases, the pedestrian must yield to a driver, though the driver must attempt to alert or avoid any pedestrian violating the law. Illinois law states that:

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drowsy driving, Plainfield car accident lawyerDid you know that 24 hours of sustained wakefulness has the same impairment on your driving skills as having a 0.10 percent blood alcohol content? While there are not the same laws in place for drowsy driving as there are for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, both are risky actions that can cause accidents with serious injuries.

Statistics

Studies show drowsy driving accidents most frequently:

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2016 Saw a Record Number of Fatal Car Accidents in IllinoisBad news for drivers: car accident fatality rates in Illinois rose to their highest levels in years in 2016. Last year, there were a reported 1,055 deaths on Illinois roads. This is the first time since 2008 that the number of fatalities has risen over 1,000.

In 2008, there were 1,043 roadway fatalities. In 2009, there were 911 fatalities reported. This was the first time this figure was under 1,000 since 1921. In recent years, the death toll has crept up. In 2014, 924 fatalities were reported, and in 2015, that number jumped to 998.

Nationwide, fatalities have been increasing in recent years. In 2015, there were 38,300 deaths, which was an 8 percent increase from 2014. This increase was the largest annual increase in 50 years.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_truck-accidents.jpgWhen you get into a truck accident, your first instinct may be to accuse the driver as the party at fault. This is a logical thought, and often the driver is all or partially at fault.

Drivers may have been driving fatigued or otherwise not adhering to state and federal trucking regulations. However, drivers are not the only party that can be at fault. For example, if the truck accident was caused by defective brakes the company who manufactured the brakes or the business that inspected the brakes during a maintenance check may also be responsible.

There are many types of entities that may be responsible for your truck accident including:

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When a Car Accident Victim Can Get Punitive DamagesPeople who have been injured in car accidents usually want to know how much an insurance company will pay them or how big of an award a jury is likely to give. This is a natural question and one that a skilled auto accident attorney can give after the facts of your case a reviewed.

When people are thinking about damages, many wonder if punitive damages can be awarded. Accident victims are typically aware that punitive damages are often large sums that can greatly increase the amount of a damage award or settlement.

What Are Punitive Damages?

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traffic accidents, Plainfield, IL car accident attorneyLast year Illinois decriminalized possession of marijuana in small amounts. Instead of facing jail time, people found carrying less than 10 grams of marijuana will be fined a maximum of $200. This new law could result in more accidents caused by drivers under the influence of marijuana.

Other States Have Seen a Spike in Accidents Involving Marijuana

States around the nation have decriminalized or legalized marijuana over the last few years. One such state is Washington, where marijuana was legalized. According to the American Automobile Association, the percentage of drivers in crashes with fatalities who were found to have traces of marijuana in their blood has increased 100 percent since marijuana was legalized in the state.

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Plainfield, IL motorcycle accident attorneys, motorcycle accident, recover damagesPeople may presume that if a motorcyclist is in a car accident, then he or she is responsible for his or her injuries, even if fault lies with another driver. Additionally, they may reason that the motorcyclist assumed the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle and that the motorcyclist should be responsible for his or her injuries.

This is not true. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault while on a motorcycle, you will likely be entitled to damages for your injuries. Motorcyclists have the same rights as motorists and passengers on the road.

Helmet Law in Illinois

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