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Lake County Personal Injury Law Blog

Social media use while driving is dangerous

Many Illinois residents understand that texting while driving is dangerous. They may not realize that doing other things with their smartphones, including checking Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media apps is also dangerous. More recently, many people have started playing Pokemon Go while they drive, resulting in some accidents across the nation.

In one accident, a man in Baltimore crashed into a police car while he was distracted by Pokemon Go. A girl in California was believed to have been playing the game when she ran off the road and crashed into a utility pole. Forty-six states along with the District of Columbia currently forbid texting while driving. Lawmakers have not fully caught up with the use of social media or playing games while driving, however.

Authorities seek help identifying accident victim

Illinois authorities have asked for help in identifying an individual killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 55 in Illinois on the morning of July 25. The chain reaction accident involved two semi-tractor trailers and three other vehicles. Police say that the unidentified accident victim was so badly burned that personnel from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office were unable to tell if they were dealing with a man or a woman.

While police say that the cause of the crash remains under investigation, reports do indicate that the accident took place in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 at about 11:00 a.m. Details of the sequence of events remain sketchy, but police believe that a chain reaction began when a semi hauling frozen meat struck a stationary pickup truck and pushed it with great force into the rear of a minivan. The impact pushed the minivan into and under a second semi, which was pulling a trailer loaded with more than 17,000 gallons of paint. The second semi then struck a sedan.

U.S. trails other developed nations in road safety

While traffic accident fatalities in Illinois and around the country have fallen in recent years, the United States still trails other developed nations in the area of road safety according to a report released July 13 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency came to this conclusion after studying accident data collected between 2000 and 2013 from the World Health Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. CDC researchers compared the U.S. fatality rates of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians with those of 19 wealthy nations including the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

During the period studied, road fatalities fell by 31 percent in the United States. However, the fatality rate dropped by an average of 56 percent in the 19 other countries studied. Spain led all nations by reducing accident fatalities by more than 75 percent. The CDC report added that 18,000 lives could have been saved if the U.S. had achieved the same rate of decline as the other 19 wealthy nations in the report.

Claiming damages after a serious car crash

Motorists in Illinois and elsewhere across the nation who have been seriously injured in a car crash may be interested in knowing more about the types of damages that could potentially be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit. Dependent upon the particulars of each unique situation, accident victims could be entitled to financial compensation if any resultant injuries have negatively impacted their own life or the lives of their family members.

Personal injury claims that arise from car accidents generally fall under four major categories with medical expenses being the category most representative of widespread loss among victims. Claims in this category may include items ranging from fees for ambulance transport and consultations with medical professionals to costs associated with permanent disability and in-home services.

Bobby Brown believes he knows who killed Bobbi Kristina Brown

Many people in Illinois and all around the world were troubled by Bobbi Kristina Brown's death, but no one is more distraught than her father, Bobby Brown. He was struggling with Whitney Houston's death and then was devastated by their daughter's death, but he believes he knows who is responsible for the loss of both women.

Brown holds Bobbi Kristina Brown's partner, Nick Gordon, responsible for her and Whitney Houston's deaths, and he is so certain that he has recently filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against Gordon. Brown says that Gordon was the only person who was present at the time both women were found. Since Whitney and Bobbi were both found in a similar manner, Brown believes Gordon killed them.

Teen drivers are at risk for automobile accidents this summer

Drivers in Illinois may be interested to know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 19. The rate of these crashes climbs between Memorial Day and the end of August, a time period that is often termed the "100 Deadliest Days."

In fact, a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that in 2013, over 300,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a teenager behind the wheel. Nearly 3,000 of those involved in similar crashes lost their lives in 2013. The study did not speculate on the causes of these accidents, but like adult drivers, teens may be likely to become distracted drivers due to texting while driving. Drinking and driving continues to be a major issue as well.

Self-driving cars will change automobile insurance industry

Although self-driving cars are not yet a common sight on Illinois roads, they very well may be in the near future. This radical new technology promises a future substantially free of automobile accidents, but there are ripple effects associated with this breakthrough. For example, the automobile insurance industry could face serious disruption.

The American insurance industry generates revenue in excess of $220 billion annually as well as hundreds of thousands of jobs. The number of ancillary businesses that rely upon insurers such as the car repair industry should also be considered. Although self-driving cars will allow employees of such companies to enjoy greater personal safety as they are on the road, the steady stream of serious automobile accidents that fueled their businesses may almost completely disappear.

Case shows danger of using Snapchat while driving

Illinois motorists need to be aware of the danger of using a Snapchat filter while driving. The filter, which shows people how fast their smartphones are moving while they are traveling, has resulted in some serious accidents when young people have used it while they are driving.

In one case that is ongoing, a woman in Georgia was using the filter while driving in an attempt to win a game on Snapchat. She reportedly was trying to get her vehicle above 100 mph. When she reached 107 mph, she crashed into a Mitsubishi. The man in the Mitsubishi received permanent brain injuries and was left using either a wheelchair or a walker for mobility. The man and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the woman and Snapchat.

Safety needs in spite of hands-free measures

Many Illinois drivers have stories of close calls as a distracted driver has made a last-minute correction. Others have unfortunate stories of injuries or even the loss of a family member because of an individual's use of a smartphone while driving. Efforts have spanned the nation as states and employers have attempted to reduce this serious wave of deadly accidents related to drivers' attention to electronic devices. Although hands-free solutions such as Bluetooth headsets have helped in facilitating communication needs while keeping a driver's eyes on the road, many motorists are unaware of the fact that their brains continue to be distracted regardless.

Vehicle manufacturers appear to be contributing to safer driving by including hands-free systems such as infotainment dashboards and voice-activated phone calling into their models. However, the presence of such systems does not necessarily mean that they are completely safe. Brain engagement during multi-tasking activity can interfere with a driver's concentration. While many such systems can enhance safety in some respects, they do not eliminate all dangers of distractions while driving.

Illinois woman dead after train strikes car

Preliminary investigations into a collision in an Illinois town between a train and a car have revealed that the vehicle likely drove into the railroad crossing, said a representative of the Chicago Transit Authority. The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed that a 62-year-old woman died. She had been in the vehicle, and medical personnel declared her dead after she arrived at an area hospital.

The police department in Skokie reported that firefighters had extracted two people from the twisted remains of the car. A spokesman from Evanston St. Francis Hospital said that a second female passenger from the car remains in critical condition.

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