Since the Coronavirus crisis began, many of us have been staying home as much as possible. This means we are putting fewer miles on our cars, but it does not mean that we should be less concerned about getting in an accident when we do get behind the wheel. According to research by the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC), the number of car accidents in the Chicagoland area has dropped during the pandemic, but there is a slight increase in the severity of the crashes that are occurring.
During the first week of March, Chicago saw 2,063 reported crashes. That number began dropping after March 13, when the federal government declared a national emergency and dropped further after Illinois’ Stay At Home order began on March 21st. During the entire month of April, there were only 4,400 crashes. This is around 1,100 crashes per week or about half as many as average.
Fewer crashes is good news, but according to the NUTC, it does not tell the full story. The NUTC found a slight uptick in the severity of reported injuries despite the drop in overall crashes. The experts think this could be attributed to the fact that drivers are going faster on less congested roads. It may also be related to the number of car-pedestrian accidents as people take to the streets for exercise/escape from their homes.
If you are involved in a car accident during the pandemic, here are some tips to follow:
- Contact the police to report the accident, no matter how minor.
- If possible, maintain social distance from the other parties involved in the accident. The police can facilitate the exchange of contact and insurance information.
- Do not hesitate to seek medical attention.
This last point is critical. Many people have been avoiding medical treatment in order to avoid over-burdening the healthcare system or for fear of contracting the virus. While we understand the risks involved with visiting a doctor’s office during this time, forgoing treatment is also risky.
Many car accident injuries are soft tissue injuries, which may not be visible to the naked eye. A full medical examination is often necessary to determine if an accident victim is bleeding internally, or has broken a bone. Forgoing treatment means these injuries will not be properly diagnosed or treated, which can make them more severe.
From a legal perspective, avoiding treatment means you will not have the medical evidence necessary to bring a claim for your injuries. Delaying treatment may also reduce the amount of money you are able to seek because the party responsible for your injury may be able to argue that your injuries are worse than they otherwise could have been because you chose not to seek medical attention.
If you have been involved in a car accident in the Chicagoland area, and suffered a serious injury, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help. Whether you are ready to take legal action and seek compensation, or are just curious about what options are available to you, we are ready to take your call. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.