Flaherty Law
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Will County Personal Injury Attorney
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Recent blog posts
Train Accident Statistics in Illinois

Plainfield train accidents attorneyEvery year, there are always a troubling number of deaths and injuries caused by someone crossing railroad tracks and being struck by a train. Unfortunately, too many people and families must deal with the death of a loved one from a train accident. Furthermore, when someone survives a train accident, they may have to deal with permanent, life-altering injuries sustained from the collision. Understanding the statistics of deaths and serious injuries caused by train accidents can help people avoid these accidents in the future.

Vehicle/Train Crashes By the Numbers

  • In 2015, 265 people were killed by a train in the United States. 
  • A train accident occurs every three hours in the United States, on average. 
  • 50 percent of all train accidents occur at crossings with active warning devices, including bells, lights, and railroad gates. 
  • In 2016, there were 120 train collisions in Illinois, with 22 of them resulting in death and 43 injuries.
  • In Illinois, the six counties in the Chicago area account for about 73 percent of the State of Illinois’ risk of a train/vehicle accident.
  • A train traveling at 55 miles per hour will take approximately 18 football fields to come to a stop. 

Suicide As a Factor in Train Accidents

As of July, there have been as many as 16 people who were killed in a train accident in 2017 in which the death was ruled to be a suicide, according to Metra, one of the largest commuter rail systems in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs and counties. Between 2013 and 2016, there have been, on average, 18 suicides reported each year from train accidents. 

As the awareness of suicide on train tracks has grown, several programs have been put in place to emphasize prevention efforts, with the goal of decreasing the number of suicides resulting from train accidents to zero as quickly as possible. Over 150 Metra employees have been trained in the company’s mental health and suicide awareness program, helping them learn to identify at-risk people at Metra stations or on train tracks and refer them to the appropriate authorities for further treatment.

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How are Diabetes and Car Accidents Related?

Plainfield car accidents and diabetes lawyerThere are nearly 20 million Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes, with a large percentage of them holding a license to operate a car. Depending on the severity of the person’s diabetes, they may be able to drive a car to work, classes, and social gatherings. In many communities, there are no other means of transportation, and the use of a car is the only option people have. Even though many people afflicted with diabetes can drive, there has been much debate on whether diabetes may be a big factor in determining if some people may or may not be fit for a driver’s license and whether diabetes is a factor in car accidents.

What is Diabetes and How Serious is it?

Diabetes is a medical condition that affects the pancreas. In people without diabetes, the pancreas releases a healthy amount of insulin to help store and use sugar and fat from food. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, or the body may not respond appropriately to insulin. In severe cases, people with diabetes may be up and walking one minute, and passed out on the ground the minute following. Although there are many ways to manage diabetes, there is no actual cure for the disease. On a day-to-day basis, people with diabetes can manage their blood sugar by avoiding sugary foods, taking medications to offset a high blood sugar level, and exercising.

Requirements for a Driver’s License for a Person with Diabetes

Since there are many different types of diabetes and levels of severity of the condition, there are several ways to determine the person’s ability to safely drive a car. To apply for a driver’s license, a person with diabetes must file a medical report form that is to be completed by a medical doctor. Every time they renew their driver’s license, a medical report form must be resubmitted to the Medical Review Unit. 

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Watch Out for These Mechanical Failures that Can Cause Car Accidents

Plainfield car accident lawyer mechanical failuresIt is not always readily apparent why a car accident occurred, but most are attributed to driver error. However, accidents can also be caused by poorly maintained vehicles. It is important to be aware of common mechanical issues and correct any issues that you find. Properly maintaining your car will help avoid accidents caused by mechanical failures, and if you are in an accident, you may be able to prove that you are not at fault and receive compensation for your injuries.

Common Mechanical Failures

1. Tires and wheels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire problems account for 35 percent of accidents where a vehicle failure was the cause of the crash. Tire problems can include blowouts (which are especially common in 18-wheeler accidents) or worn tire treads that impede a driver from maintaining proper control.

2. Brakes. Brake issues comprise 22 percent of accidents where vehicle failure was the cited cause of the wreck. Brake issues include faulty or worn brake lines, Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) malfunctions and worn brake pads that should have been replaced.

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What You Need to Know about Uninsured and Underinsured Car Accident Claims

Plainfield Uninsured Motorist Car Accident LawyerIf you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, the insurance policy of the at-fault driver is a key factor in your case and in your recovery. The type of policy the other driver has (or does not have) could limit the amount of money you are able to receive. 

Typically, if the other driver’s insurance policy is insufficient for your injuries, or if the other driver does not have an insurance policy in place at the time of the accident, your own car insurance policy will provide coverage through uninsured or underinsured insurance provisions.

These provisions come with requirements for the injured driver and are technical in nature to invoke. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate these requirements and receive the coverage you need.

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Common Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents

Plainfield motorcycle accident injury lawyerAccidents involving motorcycles almost always involve bodily injury, as bikers are not as protected as motorists riding in cars. In fact, motorcyclists in Illinois are not legally required to wear helmets, which can protect against injury.

Despite being at a greater risk for injury, motorcyclists still have rights on the road. If they are in an accident that is caused by another driver, their injuries should be treated at the cost of the at-fault party and their pain and suffering should also be compensated.

In 2015, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in the United States. These are some common injuries sustained by motorcyclists:

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Daniel R. FlahertyWill County attorney Daniel R. Flaherty marked the second anniversary of his firm, Flaherty Law, on July 31. Each anniversary is important to Daniel Flaherty, as it represents another year of growth, both professionally and personally.

Plainfield, Illinois, attorney Daniel R. Flaherty has practiced law for 10 years. He started his career as an insurance defense litigator in personal injury and property damage cases. In 2010, he decided to focus on representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. He gained experience in the field while helping clients recover millions of dollars in damages, which was crucial in his choice to start his own practice.

Flaherty Law represents clients who have suffered injuries due to varied causes. Injuries from motor vehicle accidents are a large part of the practice because of their prevalence. However, the firm can also help clients who have been injured as a result of: 

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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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