Millions of people reside in Chicago, and a large portion of them are licensed drivers. Additionally, thousands more travel through the city every day. Cars regularly fill the streets during rush hour, so a collision is likely to occur.
Any location has a risk of an accident occurring if a driver does not follow traffic laws. However, several places see higher rates than others. People may wonder where most car accidents occur in Chicago.
What Is the Most Common Accident Type?
Car accidents come in several forms. A person may get into a head-on or side-impact collision on the road. Some accidents only involve one vehicle. However, the most prevalent type of motor vehicle collision is a rear-end crash. Roughly 1.7 million rear-end crashes occur annually.
A rear-end accident is when a car hits the back of another vehicle. The front driver may have reduced their speed or stopped. However, the motorist behind them did not slow down in time to avoid an incident. The negligent driver might not have seen the front vehicle stop for various reasons.
Rear-end collisions usually are not as deadly as other accident types. However, a person can still sustain an injury. Head and neck injuries are common in rear-end collision cases. Therefore, you can file a claim if you have to get treatment.
The amount of money you can get depends on multiple factors. For instance, over a month of treatment may mean more compensation. A car accident lawyer can assist you during the pursuit of reimbursement.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Crashes?
Many collisions in Chicago happen because of speeding. A person may fail to slow down in time and rear-end another motorist or hit a pedestrian. Weather and aggressive driving behaviors are other common reasons crashes happen. However, distracted driving is the most prevalent cause of collisions.
In a recent year, around 424,000 car accident injuries were due to distracted drivers. Anything could take an individual's attention away from the road and lead to an incident.
Distractions come in three forms:
- Manual. A person may take one or both hands off the wheel. The action may divide the driver's attention. In addition, they can take a couple of seconds longer to maneuver if something happens.
- Visual. A visual distraction is when the motorist takes their eyes off the road. Even if they do so for a few seconds, they are at risk of an accident. Anything can happen in a brief period.
- Cognitive. A person's mind thinks of other things besides what is in front of them. They might daydream or worry about plans for the day. The lack of focus increases the likelihood of a car accident.
Every motorist has a duty of care to other people on the road. You can hold the other party liable if they allow themselves to get distracted.
Where Do Most Car Accidents Occur in Chicago?
Car accidents can occur at any time and in many places across Chicago. However, incidents tend to be more prevalent in specific areas. For example, intersections frequently see thousands of collisions every year. They make up 50 percent of fatal and injury accidents.
The high number of injuries is usually due to driver error. A driver may attempt a left turn too early, or someone ignores a red light. A person might have rear-ended you while you waited where Western Avenue meets Peterson Avenue. In addition, distractions contribute to many accidents at intersections.
Highways generally see plenty of motor vehicle accidents yearly. Chicago has seven main and four supplementary highways like I-190. Since the location is a big transportation spot, collisions have a higher chance of happening. The increase in traffic can be a contributing factor.
Congested areas of the highway may have a few drivers who exhibit reckless or aggressive behaviors. A person may weave in and out of traffic if they become impatient. They might tailgate another vehicle as well. As a result, you end up in a sideswipe or rear-end collision.
Of course, a rear-end collision on the highway can be due to speeding. When someone drives faster, the individual has less time to react to cars close to them. A speeding motorist could be in a rush or under the influence of alcohol.
The roadway in an area of the city may be under construction to make changes or repairs. The construction crew may need to break up or remove portions of the road. Therefore, motorists have a higher chance of swerving or having mechanical issues. Construction projects tend to create debris as well.
If the debris leaves the construction area, a person could ruin their tires. A tire suddenly popping may cause a driver to swerve off the road or hit another car. The construction crew might have been negligent and could be liable for damages.
Neighborhoods in and around the city are common places where car accidents occur. About 52 percent of crashes happen within five miles of the home. One reason can be that drivers are likely to let their guard down slightly when they are on familiar roads.
Someone may rely more on muscle memory and become less vigilant. The behavior could impact the individual's ability to react to sudden events. Therefore, a driver could hit you accidentally as a result. In addition, an exhausted person returning from work is less likely to pay attention on familiar streets.
Another reason is more pedestrians and bicyclists are around close to homes. Near neighborhoods, you are likely to see bicyclists and people walking around. Vehicles must exercise caution around them since they are slower and lack protection.
Parking lots are another common place where car accidents happen. Many vehicles and pedestrians gather in one to visit stores or restaurants. Even though the speed limit is low, some drivers disregard traffic procedures. They might ignore the right of way in favor of rushing to an empty spot.
A minor accident may occur because a motorist was less attentive while they drove through the lot. A driver might hit you while attempting to back out of a parking space. Surrounding vehicles can reduce visibility regarding approaching cars. Nevertheless, they have to remain alert to their environment.
Do You Need to Call the Insurance Company?
Most car insurance companies require people to report motor vehicle collisions. The adjuster could use the failure to notify on time against you if you decide to file a claim. You would need to call a representative to work with them to get reimbursement.
The insurer will want to know when the incident happened and where. The adjuster may ask for information about the driver. Details include the make, model, and license plate of the other person's vehicle. In addition, you should report any property damage and injuries you sustained.
The adjuster can assess the claim's value when you provide them with the required information. However, it is generally not advised to give a recorded statement to the insurer. You can deny the request and consult a car accident lawyer.
The Damages You Can Recover in a Claim
People can recover special damages after they experience a car accident. Special damages refer to the economic losses an individual suffers due to negligence. Compensation typically covers the victim's medical bills they accumulated.
Bills may be for medication, doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and medical equipment. Furthermore, the court can award someone reimbursement for future medical costs. Severe injuries may require long-term care and time off from work.
If you cannot return to your job for a while, special damages help compensate for the lost wages. The accident may affect your ability to earn income long-term as well. Therefore, you can include loss of future wages in your settlement.
Special damages also include property damage. Most reported collisions cause vehicles to have at least a dent. However, you might have to replace your car entirely. The opposing side owes you for the money you spend on accident-related repairs.
Compensation does not only cover economic losses but can include non-economic ones as well. General damages reimburse you for the mental and emotional harm. Examples include emotional anguish, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and scarring. The general damages you can claim in a settlement may depend on the nature of the accident.
General damages are not as quantifiable as special damages. A set value does not exist for the mental and physical discomfort someone experiences. Lawyers have to estimate the value of pain and suffering.
Therefore, the attorney you hire should have experience with car collision cases and know how to calculate general damages with accuracy.
A person could obtain a third type of damage in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant for intentional behavior or reckless negligence. The goal is to deter careless drivers from repeating their actions in the future. Not many people receive punitive damages.
Only a handful of plaintiffs get punitive damages in a lawsuit. A judge has to determine if the case fits the criteria to grant the punishment. Additionally, caps may apply if you do get punitive damages.
What Happens if the Defendant Dies?
Both parties can sustain injuries in a car collision. However, the other driver's wounds could have been critical. They might pass away while you try to recover compensation. The case can become more complicated as a result. Moreover, you may wonder if you still have an opportunity to recover damages.
Even if the defendant dies, compensation remains a possibility. You can have your claim proceed against the deceased driver's insurance policy. However, the person's coverage may not be enough to pay for the damages. You could seek compensation from the driver's estate.
You would name the personal representative of the estate in the lawsuit if the defendant died before you could file one. The case proceeds regularly if the other side created an estate and appointed a representative. Otherwise, your lawsuit experiences a delay until the other party sorts everything out.
The Defendant Dies After You Start a Lawsuit
You may have filed a lawsuit against the other driver before they died. Your case faces a delay, but the death does not stop you from getting compensation. You have to substitute the deceased defendant's estate.
The legal process involves the plaintiff filing a motion to the court. You request a personal representative or executor to substitute the decedent. You must ensure you do so before the time limit expires.
Can You Choose Any Lawyer?
You may want to avoid just any lawyer you come across first. An attorney may specialize in one field of law but not another. A divorce lawyer may not know the state car accident laws and how they apply to your case. The chances of winning compensation are low unless you find a motor vehicle collision attorney.
A car accident lawyer has extensive knowledge of vehicle crash statutes. They know how to prove negligence in claims similar to yours. You can rely on them to investigate thoroughly to find sufficient evidence.
How to Find a Car Accident Lawyer
A person can search for car accident lawyers by asking a friend or relative. Additionally, other lawyers can point you in the direction of a reliable firm. Nevertheless, the internet is the most effective way to find a law firm specializing in motor vehicle collisions.
A few websites provide services like directories for people to find attorneys nearby. However, a vast majority use search engines. Around 86 percent of car accident victims rely on Google to locate a law firm.
Search engines generate links to websites focusing on law firms. Around 87 percent of lawyers have a web page for potential clients to visit. Therefore, you are likely to find a reputable attorney. People prefer to check websites due to the amount of information they read.
The website of a law firm usually has details about the team. You can learn about the lawyers and how much experience they have. Many web pages provide information about the services an attorney provides. Furthermore, you might find past case results to see the lawyer's history of success.
A law firm's website generally lists testimonials from previous clients. You can get an indication of the lawyer's professionalism and the level of care they give. In addition, you can find reviews on other websites.