Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are a major cause of injury in the United States. In fact, they are probably far more common than anyone would like to admit, with 324,473 crashes and 93,160 injuries being reported in Illinois in 2016 alone. That’s nearly 1,000 crashes (and 10 injuries an hour) per day according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Illinois Roadway Crash Data. It’s not surprising, then, that even the most cautious and safest of drivers can end up involved in a serious car accident. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in Illinois.
One of the main causes of accidents is distracted driving. This is any kind of driving where the driver is not fully engaged in driving. This includes a wide range of behaviors, including:
- Checking Social Media
- Interacting with Their Passengers
- Reading a GPS App
- Driving While Emotional/Upset
- Driving While Fatigued
This kind of behavior is extremely risky and increases the changes of the driver causing (or being involved in) a motor vehicle accident.
Not Driving While Sober
Whether it’s under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication, or illegal drugs, driving while not sober is a big cause of motor vehicle accidents. There are many substances that can alter your judgment and perception and using them before driving is almost inviting a crash.
Driving Too Fast
Speeding is another big cause of car accidents. Frustration with posted speed limits is understandable in certain situations, however that doesn’t change the fact that adhering to them is safer than not. They were put in place for a reason. Failure to follow speeding restrictions can quickly end in a tragic situation.
Have you been the victim of a motor vehicle accident? The experts at Frederick & Hagle understand how difficult and overwhelming the situation can be. We’re ready to help fight for your rights and secure the compensation necessary to move on. Contact us today for more information!
Hurt in a Wreck? Seek the Compensation You Deserve with Our Auto Accident Lawyers
In 2016, the people of Illinois were involved in over 300,000 car accidents. About 20 percent, or 60,000, of these crashes resulted in a serious injury. And about 1 percent, or 1,000, of them ended in death. A mix of nasty winter weather and dense urban traffic make for a dangerous driving environment.
If you were involved in one of these accidents or any other accident, you need a car accident attorney in Illinois. Our car accident attorneys know the impact of even a small car accident and can help you get the relief you need.
Common causes of car accidents
Car accidents can happen for many reasons. Accidents can happen when two people are driving safely, but usually they occur because of one driver’s negligence. Here are some common reasons for accidents:
• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Drowsy driving
• Distracted driving
• Disobeying traffic laws or signals
• Aggressive driving
• Bad weather
Also, here some common indicators of fault:
• Not stopping at a stop sign
• Backing out and hitting another car
• Driving without legally required glasses
• Driving without headlights on at night
• Driving distracted by texting, being on the phone, eating, etc.
• Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
If the other driver was doing any of these, it’s likely the accident is their fault legally. Of course, there are more factors that are considered when determining fault, but this is a good start.
If you had a car accident that was not your fault
The first thing people do after they get into a car accident that wasn’t their fault is hire an attorney. They almost always hire a local attorney: so, if you live in Champaign, you need an attorney in the Champaign area.
An attorney will help the process go much smoother for you and help you get the compensation you deserve. Here’s what our attorneys will do:
• Understand the accident to find out its cause
• Make it clear that the person who caused the accident is responsible for the accident
• Find the best source of compensation from insurance
• Learn about all your medical needs and recommend a doctor
• Count all your financial and non-financial losses
Our attorney’s will get the compensation you need for all your losses.
This process can be confusing for most people; an attorney will take care of the whole process and make it easy for you, but an example will clear up how the process works.
(Truck accident? Read this.)
Jim gets in a car accident with Sally when Sally makes a left turn into the front left side of Jim’s vehicle. Jim had a green light and Sally had a green light for yield. The accident is Sally’s fault. Jim gets all of Sally’s contact information and goes to the hospital for serious back injuries. At the hospital Jim racks up $25,000 in medical bills; he goes to an attorney as soon as he gets out of the hospital. The attorney listens to the case and then determines the best source of compensation. Sally works a minimum wage job. But she has an insurance policy worth over $100,000. This is an important note, whether the attorney sues Sally or the insurance company, generally, Sally herself won’t pay the money, her insurance company will.
Jim’s attorney files a claim against Sally’s insurance company. Instead of taking the matter to court, the insurance company agrees to settle the matter for $35,000. If Jim had filed a claim without an attorney, the insurance company may have only given him $25,000 maximum because they would not have taken him as seriously. Jim didn’t pay the attorney anything upfront and only now that Jim gets paid does the attorney get paid: the attorney gets paid a percentage of the settlement amount.
This is a routine process. An insurance company will give a self-represented person less every time. Hire an attorney and the process is easier and you will be compensated with what you deserve.
How much is a car accident claim worth?
Here are some real car accidents that happened in Illinois and the real amount the plaintiff (the person suing) received.
Dislocated collarbone from car accident
Where: St. Clair County, Illinois
Facts: The plaintiff was 14 years old and driving with his mom. His mom turned left in front of another car — both with green lights — they collided. The plaintiff’s collarbone was dislocated and cost $1,100 in medical bills. Ultimately, the jury sided with the defendant, because the plaintiff was making the left turn, and the plaintiff got nothing.
Where: Madison County, Illinois
Facts: The plaintiff was driving and was rear-ended while stopping to turn right onto a small access road. The defendant was speeding. The accident caused neck bone, tissue, and nerve damage and resulted in $3,000 in medical bills and $500 in lost wages. It went before a jury and the jury awarded $6,720 to the plaintiff.
Death by head injury
Where: Cook County, Illinois
Facts: 28-year-old Hurley was driving down the road when a tractor-trailer pulled out in front of him. Hurley’s car went right under the trailer, tearing the roof from the car. He didn’t survive. His wife brought the lawsuit against the tractor-trailer company. The company settled the matter for $1.4 million.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, our car accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve, so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact our Champaign office to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, and let us discuss the legal options that are available for your specific incident.
If we decide to take on your case, there are no upfront fees.
Call 1-800-642-1227 or fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Pickup Truck Accidents are on the Rise in Illinois
In 2016, pickup trucks were involved in the second highest number of accidents after passenger cars, in Illinois. Altogether, there were over 63,000 vehicles involving trucks of all kinds — just in one year. Accidents with trucks are more dangerous than those between cars.
If you were involved in an accident with a truck, you need a truck accident attorney in Illinois. Our truck accident attorneys know the gravity of a truck accident and can help you get the relief you need.
(Read the official car accident report here.)
What causes truck accidents?
Truck accidents happen for all the same reasons as car accidents. But one thing is for sure: the person not driving the truck is the person in the most danger. Only 21 percent of the people injured in truck accidents were the people in the truck, 77 percent were in the other vehicle, usually a car. Also, only 3% of all accidents in Illinois involve large trucks, but 10% of deadly accidents are with large trucks.
Here are some common causes for large truck accidents in Illinois:
• Speeding – Illinois has more than the normal amount of accidents from speeding: 39 percent of deadly accidents in Illinois were from speeding, whereas the national average is 28 percent.
• Drowsy driving – truckers have a legal limit on how many hours they can drive a day. Sometimes they exceed that limit.
• Distracted driving – eating while driving is common among truckers. This could also include driving while texting, drinking, or talking on a cell phone.
• Driving under the influence – this could include alcohol of course, but also prescription drugs.
• Not enough driver training – sometimes trucking companies undertrain their drivers.
• Unrealistic delivery schedules – sometimes drivers are under the pressure of intense delivery schedules. This can lead to poor decisions and accidents.
(For more on car accidents, go here.)
Whose fault is a truck accident?
A “truck accident” can include anything from pick-up trucks to three-trailer semis. Oftentimes people use it to refer to an accident with a commercial tractor-trailer or semi. These accidents are unique because it involves more parties, or groups, that can be responsible. Parties include:
• The truck driver
• The employer of the truck driver
• The maker of the truck
(Want to know what to do after an accident? Read this.)
How much is a truck accident claim worth?
Here are some real truck accidents that happened in Illinois and the real amount the plaintiff (the person suing) received.
Pelvic fracture caused by a truck accident
Where: Cook County, Illinois
Facts: This was a case of suing the wrong person. 18-year-old Williams sued the City of Evanston, claiming its truck had hit him while he was walking across the street. He then held onto the truck until one of the passengers kicked him off. Pretty messed up. But Williams’ license plate number he provided did not match any of the city vehicles. He piled up $5,400 in medical bills and the jury gave him nothing.
Leg fracture caused by a truck accident
Where: Cook County, Illinois
Facts: Kruse was driving when her vehicle was hit by a commercial truck. The company admitted fault and settled for $1.5 million. Kruse had multiple leg and facial fractures and scarring and had tallied $200 thousand in medical bills.
(Want to see our case results? Go here.)
Should I hire an attorney for my car accident?
When it comes to unexpected situations that can change a life forever, traffic accidents are among some of the most devastating around. Because they involve heavy, large machinery moving at fast speeds, it perhaps makes sense that the injuries traffic accidents inflict upon their victims are often catastrophic in nature. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident of some kind, it’s important to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help. With that said, you might be wondering exactly when you should hire an attorney. Let’s look at some of the considerations to undertake when making your decision.
Who is liable for the accident?
If the liability in your case is crystal clear, that can help the process move smoothly. In the event that the liability is shared or unclear, however, you might find yourself facing an uphill legal climb. This can be a serious issue, especially if you have medical bills or property damage to cover (not to mention lost wages if your injuries have left you unable to complete your normal shifts). Whether you are looking to secure your compensation or help ensure that the responsible person is held accountable, an attorney can help.
Insurance Has Offered (or Denied) a Claim
Insurance can be incredibly difficult to deal with. Keep in mind that their main interest is in ensuring that they keep as much money in their coffers as possible, not what is best for you. That means that they will do their best to pay out as little as they can if they offer a settlement. They will often deny a claim outright, leaving victims feeling as though there is no recourse. A lawyer can help you handle insurance claims and do their bests to secure the compensation you need to recover. If your claim has been denied – and even if you have been offered a settlement – you should hire an attorney.
You are Facing Extenuating Circumstances
Finally, if you are facing extenuating circumstances, you should reach out to an attorney for help. This means that if you are facing issues with lost wages or even problems with caring for loved ones after an injury from a car accident, a lawyer can help. Remember that insurance claims tend to calculate immediate losses, not complicated issues like lost work, caregiver fees, and extended projected medical fees. An expert can help make sure that you receive the compensation that you need to move on with your life.
Statute of Limitations
Something else to keep in mind when working through your traffic accident claim is the statute of limitations. You want to make sure that you understand how much time you must file a personal injury claim. In Illinois, this is generally within two years from the accident. Regardless, contacting an attorney can help you stay on top of any important due dates. It should be noted that a lawyer can also help protect you if you are concerned that someone might file a personal injury claim against you within the statute of limitations.
If you need help with your traffic accident personal injury case, the attorneys at Frederick & Hagle can help. We have the experience, knowledge, case history, support, and reputation needed to fight for your best interests. Contact us today for more information!
Motorcycle Safety Tips
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are approximately 40 times more likely to be victims of deadly accidents than passenger vehicles. With that in mind, our lawyers would like to take one last chance to provide some helpful information on the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, in the hope that it will help our readers have a safe and enjoyable summer.
Brake Lights That Are Difficult to See-This is especially dangerous for motorcycles because riders often decrease their speed by downshifting, or simply letting off the throttle, and this doesn’t activate their brake light. When riding behind a motorcycle, it is important to be ready to slow down, even in the absence of a visual warning.
Turn Signals-A lot of motorcycles do not have automatically canceling turn signals. Consequently, a significant number of new riders, and even some more seasoned ones, forget to turn them off, confusing drivers. When driving a car, it is important to be attentive and do your best to determine whether a motorcycle turn signal is purposeful. Remember too that when you are driving a car, your turn signals are one of the best ways for motorcyclists to tell what you are doing, minimizing the chances of an accident.
Speeding-Almost 40% of all motorcycle accidents involve speeding, and this is not necessarily surprising. Many motorcyclists are drawn to motorbikes because of the thrill and freedom, but statistics suggest that exceeding the speed limit nearly doubles your risk of a fatal accident.
Maneuverability, Stopping Distance, and Weather-Drivers ofter overestimate the ability of motorcycles to react to things on the road. It is true that motorcyclists are more maneuverable than cars, and have a shorter stopping distance in good weather, but when conditions are windy, rainy, etc., they are at a serious disadvantage. Never assume that the maneuverability of a motorcycle makes it okay to leave them less space on the road.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol of drugs-According to the NHTSA, some 30% of all motorcycle accident fatalities involved riders with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. Operating a motorcycle requires more involvement than a normal vehicle, and balance is also crucially important, making the use of alcohol and other mind-altering drugs even more hazardous than it would be normally. Never, ever drive or ride drunk.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle, our lawyers are always available to discuss your legal options. Please call us at 800-642-1227 for a free consultation
2018 Jeep Cherokee and Ford Explorer Receive “Poor” Safety Rating
The most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test results for midsize SUVs are available, and both the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2018 Ford Explorer received a “Poor” rating, the lowest possible, in front-end collisions involving the right side of the vehicle. Officially called an “overlap crash,” the front-end crash tests found that injuries were more likely from collisions occurring at speeds of 40 mph or higher with both cars, specifically to the lower leg and foot for Jeep Grand Cherokee front passengers, and to the high and thigh area for Ford Explorer front seat passengers.
The information is significant, given that 4,000 front seat passengers died in a car accident in 2016. That accounts for 16% of all car accident victims that year.
The Ford Explorer had serious issues in front right end collisions, most notably the likelihood of the car to collapse inward onto the font passenger as the result of a front-end accident.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s passenger side air bag didn’t deploy during the crash test, and the passenger door popped open, leaving the passenger susceptible to serious head injuries.
Ford defended itself saying that they have redesigned their 2020 Explorer, which is expected to be commercially available in 2019. Jeep has also said they have recently redesigned the Grand Cherokee, but the release date is not yet available.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s scale ranks cars as either Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. This year, 3 midsize SUVs received a “good” rating, while 3 others received an “acceptable” rating. Out of 2018 midsize SUVs, none were found to be “marginal” in terms of crash test safety.
- GMC Acadia
- Kia Sorento
- Volkswagen Atlas
- Honda Pilot
- Nissan Pathfinder
- Toyota Highlander
- Ford Explorer
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you or someone you love was a front seat passenger in a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee or 2018 Ford Explorer and have injuries resulting from a collision, please contact the car accident and injury attorneys of Frederick and Hagle. For nearly 30 years, our firm has successfully represented those who have been harmed as the result of car accidents stemming from reckless driving and faulty vehicles. Contact us now for a free consultation with one of our attorneys at 217-367-6092 or by completing our online case evaluation form.
New Laws in 2018 and the Impact they will have on your life
Along with all of the excitement that goes along with the start of a new year comes some potentially tricky developments in the legal arena. The first of the year is generally when new laws tend to go into effect. That means that lawyers and clients alike may find themselves looking at certain new laws and waiting for a few months to see how they pan out and are implemented. Now that almost a fourth of the year has passed, it’s a good time to take a look some of the (200+) laws that went into effect on January 1st and how they might impact you.
Car Dealerships and For Sale Stickers
In response to the tragic death of an individual while test driving a vehicle whose vision was obstructed by the “For Sale” sign on the windshield, lawmakers have mandated that all such signs be removed before the vehicles in question leave the car lot. This is true whether the car is being test-driven or has been sold and is on its way to a new home.
Clearly Priced List of Services
One of the more interesting laws to consider is one that requires tailors, hair salons, and dry cleaners to provide a clear list of their services and corresponding prices. This law was passed to help improve transparency in transactions and prevent consumers from paying more on the basis of gender. In the past, women have been charged more at these outlets.
Teenagers Can Become Organ Donors
In the past, you could only declare yourself to be an organ donor if you were 18 years old or older. A new law makes it possible for drivers aged 16 and up to designate themselves as organ donors when receiving their driver’s license.
Traveling Exhibits and Elephant Abuse
One law that is particularly interesting is a new law that forbids traveling exhibits and circuses from including elephants in their various displays. Elephants are, of course, still welcome in state zoos. Illinois is the first state to pass a law of this kind, however it is likely that others will follow suit in an attempt to fight elephant abuse.
Divorce, Pets, and Custody
Divorces are almost always contentious affairs, particularly when pets come into play. A new law now states that courts should include pets in custody discussions in order to provide the best option for the animal in question.
Medicaid and Abortion
Another new law in 2018 is one that makes abortions available to state employees and women on Medicaid. While this particular bill was a controversial one, it was also one that was considered rather overdue by many individuals.
Gun Violence Laws
Sentences for individuals repeatedly committing crimes involving guns will increase this year, thanks to a new law spearheaded by Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. This law is hoped to give individuals considering committing a crime with a gun some hesitation regarding their actions in an attempt to lower gun violence across the state.
Additional Criminal Sector Laws
There are a few additional laws that impact the criminal sector. The abolition of the use of sexual orientation as an acceptable provocation to commit second-degree homicide – the “gay panic” defense – is one such law. Religious crimes and cyberstalking crimes are also able to be considered as hate crimes according to a new law. Domestic violence victims will no longer face penalties for breaking a contract to change their phone number or to switch from a plan with their abuser to an individual plan, Barack Obama has been enacted to celebrate the former president on August 4th, and the VA is now required to provide veterans with resources regarding their mental health, including treatment for PTSD.
Do you have a question about how these laws might affect you or your case? Call Frederick & Hagle today for more information at 217.367.6092 or 800.642.1227.
Attorneys win Prestigious Super Lawyers Award
Two Frederick & Hagle Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers
Prestigious recognition honors Frederick & Hagle Attorneys
Urbana, IL – March 7th, 2018 – The law firm of Frederick & Hagle, Attorneys at Law, is proud to announce today that two of their attorneys have been named as 2018 Super Lawyers. The recognition, based upon independent research, peer evaluations, peer nominations and spans over 70 practice areas, is bestowed upon 5% of lawyers in any given state.
Jeffrey Frederick and James Hagle were both named Super Lawyers in the state of Illinois. Jeffrey Frederick offers clients over 35 years of experience and has received numerous awards in recognition of his dedication and skill. James Hagle is proud to offer clients 38 years of experience and has received a variety of professional honors and distinctions.
Frederick & Hagle, Attorneys at Law, was formed in 1975 and specializes in personal injury, workers’ compensation and social security disability law.
Driving and Texting: Proving Fault
In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to text while driving. That is not to say that everyone follows the rules, of course, and that means that accidents caused by this easily avoidable issue continue to be a serious problem. Despite the rising knowledge and caution regarding just how dangerous texting and driving can be, it remains an issue that leads to thousands of injuries every year. And, unfortunately, this can be a difficult case to prove. If you have been injured in an accident with someone who was texting on their cellphone while driving, it’s time to reach out to an experienced attorney who understands how best to pursue these kinds of cases.
Find a Witness
For obvious reasons, it can be hard to definitively and convincingly claim that you saw the other driver on their cellphone right before the accident happened. Most people will assume that you were watching the road and had no idea what was happening. With that in mind, it becomes very important to find witnesses to the accident who can help corroborate your assertions. This is true even if all you can do is prove that the other driver was on their cellphone as opposed to definitely texting. This witness might be another driver, someone who was on the side of the road and saw the accident, or even a passenger in one of the vehicles involved.
Cameras and Evidence
Another potential resource at your disposal when it comes to proving that the other driver was texting and driving is via cameras. There are a few different scenarios that might yield this result. First of all, are there cameras in the area where the accident occurred? Look into the stores and businesses nearby as well as any street lights you passed. You might very well find that one or more cameras recorded the accident and show the other party texting on their phone. Additionally, don’t forget to check any potential dash cam footage that you might have. Depending upon the accident in question, it’s possible that you could have recorded the crime yourself (or, at the very least, might find potential witnesses who did).
This isn’t always a feasible option, but if possible, ask for text logs of the other driver. This can show timestamps that match your story about their texting and driving habits. Sometimes you might even receive correspondence from the person with whom the other driver was texting. Their word can do wonders for your case.
Social Media and Technology
Keep in mind that “texting” doesn’t always mean exchanging literal texts with someone. In fact, someone typing on their phone could very well be updating their social media accounts. Check profiles to see if you can find time stamps that would show the driver was online around the time of the accident.
If you have been involved in an accident, reach out to Frederick and Hagle, Attorneys at Law, for expert representation today!
Did your work make you sick? You could claim certain benefits
Sick at work? Learn about your rights!
When you think about workers’ compensation claims, you might believe that they are only applicable in the instance of workplace injuries. This is not the case, however, and you could be missing out on benefits by laboring under this assumption. If you were made sick by your work, then you might be able to file for financial support. Occupational diseases, in other words, are oftentimes covered under workers’ compensation benefits.
Have you been made ill by your work? Have you been exposed to toxic elements while doing your job? If so, and you have experienced sickness as a result, then you might just have a lawful claim under workers’ compensation. In order to help ensure that your rights are upheld and that you receive the financial aid to which you might be entitled, you should reach out to an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation and workplace law. Taking action now to protect your interests could pay off in the long run, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
Let’s take a look at the various ways in which you could become sick while doing your job.
While it is true that almost anyone in the workplace could find themselves exposed to harmful things at one point or another while doing their job, it is equally true that certain fields are more dangerous than others. If you work primarily with dangerous chemicals, for example, then you might often find yourself exposed to toxic elements. The same can be said of individuals working in the medical field, or even on construction sites, although the hazards you encounter might not be the same in each career. Some occupational illnesses that can occur as a result of being exposed to toxic elements while working include:
- Hearing loss. This includes complete as well as partial loss of hearing ability.
- Respiratory illnesses. These include things like silicosis, asthma, reactive airway disease, and acute congestion.
- Skin disorders. Skin disorders include things like dermatitis, eczema, and ulcers.
- Note that this includes lead and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep in mind that toxic exposure can occur in a wide variety of ways. Touching something might lead to skin problems, for example, and breathing in a toxic element could lead to respiratory problems. In certain cases, these elements might even eventually cause a more serious illnesses months or years after your first exposure. Regardless of the way that you were exposed to toxic materials, you might have the right to seek benefits to help compensate you for this loss of health.
Common Forms of Compensation
You might be wondering exactly what you can expect to collect if you were to file a successful workers’ compensation claim. At the very least, you are likely concerned about mounting medical bills and loss wages. Filing a claim can help get you the care you need to regain your health and get back to the workforce.
If your claim is found to be valid, you might be able to recover compensation for your medical care, some portion of lost wages, and perhaps rehabilitation needs. Protect your ability to seek those benefits by acting quickly!
For expert help regarding workers’ compensation claims, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Frederick & Hagle, Attorneys at Law. We can help ensure that you receive the compensation you need to feel better. Contact us today for a free consultation at 800.642.1227!