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How Do Sideswipe Wrecks Occur?

Sideswipe accidents are common occurrences on Chicagoland roads. Sideswipe accidents can be hazardous. A sideswipe accident is most likely to happen while driving on an Interstate or another multi-lane thoroughfare. Anyone who has been in a motor vehicle while traveling on a multi-lane road has most likely observed one car begin to enter a lane to the left or right when another car is in the adjacent lane. Sometimes, an alert defensive driver can maneuver out of the way and avoid a crash. Other times, a collision is inevitable. Sideswipe crashes like these happen because the driver switching lanes did not look and confirm the path was clear before changing lanes. Failing to signal is a common component of a sideswipe accident. Drunk or distracted drivers can also cause sideswipe accidents by losing control over the car and weaving in and out of his or her lane.

The Types of Injuries That Occur in Sideswipe Crashes

Today’s vehicles do not protect the occupants of a car from a strike on the side of the car. Although some cars have side curtain airbags, many do not. Consequently, sideswipe accidents when one car bumps the other may cause a severe injury requiring immediate medical attention. However, when a sideswipe accident forces a vehicle to spin out of control, roll over, or go into a skid, then the injuries could be catastrophic or even fatal. The forces applied to the occupants of the car when they are hit in a sideswipe accident throw the head, neck, shoulders, hips, arms, and legs rapidly in all directions, leading to injury or death. Therefore, common injuries people suffer in sideswipe accidents are whiplash, deep lacerations from broken glass, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and death, along with other injuries.

What Type of Monetary Compensation or Damages Could I Recover?

Victims of sideswipe crashes in Chicago may recover damages for the injuries sustained in the crash as well as the consequential damages suffered as a direct consequence of the sideswipe accident. Sideswipe accident victims can recover monetary awards for medical losses, financial losses, along with pain and suffering in a Chicago sideswipe accident. 

INJURED? CALL STEIN SHULMAN, LLC FOR YOUR INSTANT CASE ANALYSIS

Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at (312) 422-0506.

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Chicago Accident Attorneys

The cause of every car crash in Illinois is not clear cut. Many auto accidents are the result of two or more drivers making mistakes. The question insurance companies will argue about is whether you or the other driver was at fault for the crash. Insurance companies can save money if they successfully dispute an insurance claim. 

Insurance companies make money when disputing an insurance claim through one of two common methods. The first method is an outright denial of liability and then fighting the case in court. The company will pay less in attorneys’ fees (which the company writes off as the cost of doing business anyway) than will pay in a claim if its attorneys successfully argue that you committed an act of negligence, thereby causing the accident. Therefore, the insurance company’s lawyers will argue, you are not entitled to receive any money for your losses. 

The company does not have to prove you are 100% at fault for the crash to avoid liability. Rather, the company may use Illinois’ rules of comparative negligence to argue that you were 50% or more responsible for the crash and, as a consequence, you are not eligible to recover anything. 

The second method of limiting financial exposure in insurance claims is related to the first. The insurance company’s adjusters can factor your relative fault in causing the accident as justification for making a lowball offer to settle. They know they have the law on their side and couch their offer such that you should feel grateful for receiving a settlement in the first place because your alleged bad driving caused the accident, in part anyway. 

The insurance industry sets you up to fail unless you purchase adequate coverage. When you buy insurance coverage, the company is betting on you not to use it. They will gladly collect your premium and put it in their coffers and hope that you never call upon the company to pay damages for you. But, having the appropriate amount of first-party coverage, for which you pay a premium can help you maneuver around Illinois’ comparative negligence laws. 

Compensation for injuries, property damage, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering caused by motor vehicle crashes in Illinois,  are paid by insurance companies in almost every case. There are some instances when a large company, like a logging company, for example, might self-insure and pay claims through a fund that acts like an insurance company, although these cases are rare. Therefore, if you are seeking compensation for your injuries and losses in the aftermath of an Illinois car accident, you will need to deal with an insurance company. 

The insurance company has the upper hand if you try to take them on alone. Auto insurers in Illinois have dedicated professionals who receive extensive training and possess a substantial amount of information shared throughout the insurance industry that puts you, as an individual trying to heal from injuries, keeping your finances from going out of control, at an extreme disadvantage. You are in no position to argue for yourself, and that is why you must obtain counsel. Your Illinois auto wreck attorney will have only your best interests in mind when negotiating your insurance claim and having a dedicated professional on your side will level the playing field.

The minimum insurance requirements mandated by Illinois state law are low when judged by the comparative cost of replacing a vehicle and the cost of health care today. Illinois law requires, as a minimum, that drivers carry $25,000/$50,000 death or bodily injury coverage and $20,000 for property damage coverage. To put it more simply, when a driver has the minimum coverage required by law, the insurance company is contractually bound to insure the driver for $25,000 for a single injury or $50,000 for all injuries in one event, as well as provide property damage coverage up to $20,000. The insurance company has no duty to compensate you for more than the amount for which they are contractually obligated.

Illinois auto insurers allow drivers to purchase underinsurance coverage the far exceeds the minimum required by law. The underinsurance coverage, known as a first-party claim, will cover your losses if your damages exceed the third-party limits.

Do I need a personal injury lawyer

If you have been in a car crash in Illinois and made a property damage claim, the chances are excellent that you have required the opinion of an insurance adjuster. The process of “adjusting,” or determining the cost of the damage to your car after an accident, is a bit mysterious and can be extremely frustrating. You might need the services of an Illinois car accident lawyer to help you through Illinois claims adjusting process whether you are filing a first-party claim with your insurance carrier or a third-party claim against the other driver’s insurance so you can receive the true value of the costs to repair your vehicle.

Disputes with insurance adjusters are common after Illinois car accidents. Insurance adjusters employed by an insurance company have an incentive to minimize the significance of the damage to your vehicle. In-house insurance adjusters get paid by the insurance company for whom they work and are not advocates for you. In-house insurance adjusters will try to keep the cost of repair low to save their employer money, and that notion applies to first-party claims as well as third-party claims. 

Justifiably, insurance companies should pay for the damage incurred in the accident and not for every bump, scratch, or ding in your car that was the result of another incident like a runaway shopping cart slamming into your car at the supermarket. Insurance adjusters will, therefore, take a narrow view of the damage attributed to the accident for which you are seeking compensation for vehicle repairs. Therefore, you must be ready to prove that the crash exclusively caused the damage to your car rather than another event or general wear and tear. You can help your cause by taking timely pictures of the damage and acting quickly to get the insurance adjuster out to inspect your vehicle.

Most motorists do not understand their auto insurance policies. To be fair, auto insurance policies are drafted in favor of the insurance company, subject to the limitations imposed by Illinois law. The contract language is thick with legalese and written to obfuscate the insurance company’s obligations as well as leave huge exemptions from coverage that can trap the unwary. 

Insurance companies want to make money. Their business is revenue driven, and their business model is simplistic at its base. Insurance companies are profitable when they generate more revenue by selling insurance policies and pay less money out to claimants.

One method of keeping their costs down is by claiming exclusions in their contracts. Exclusions in Illinois auto insurance contracts allow insurance companies to deny coverage for particular incidents. For instance, not paying an insurance premium for a household member who is expected to drive the family car allows the insurance company to avoid coverage if that person is involved in a crash. In other words, the third-party insurance company has no contractual obligation to cover that driver because you did not pay for coverage for that person.

Another common insurance exclusion is the commercial use exclusion. People working for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft might encounter this problem unless they purchase commercial insurance. The commercial use exclusion gives the insurance company a lawful method of denying coverage if you use your vehicle in a business venture without buying the right coverage. 

Unfortunately, most people find out about these harsh and unreasonable exclusion clauses hidden in their insurance contracts when they need coverage after an accident. You should have your Chicago auto collision attorney review your policy and coverage to make sure that you are protected. Otherwise, you could suffer enormous financial consequences that could ruin your life. Take steps now to cover you and your family before it is too late. 

What does a personal injury lawyer charge in legal fees?

Chicago and Cook County, like the rest of the nation, has seen fatal car crashes decline slightly over the last few years. Of course, any progress toward reducing the number of deaths in auto accidents is positive. The heartbreaking reality is that hundreds of people each year lose their lives in Chicago car accidents. Those hundreds of death wind up affecting hundreds of more people whose lives are forever altered by the loss of their loved ones. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduation, births, all of the joys people experience in life are not as joyous as they might otherwise be because a relative perished in a Chicago auto collision.

As of mid-March, 2019, 42 people have died in Cook County auto accidents according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The current pace, although tragic on a case-by-case basis shows promise that 2019 might not be as deadly as the previous two years. In 2018, 267 people died in car crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents in Cook County. In 2017, 288 people died in Cook County vehicular crashes. 

People die in motor vehicle crashes for a variety of reasons. Some deaths are entirely preventable. That is why all motor vehicle occupants must wear a seatbelt. The greatest chance of surviving a severe car crash is to stay in the car. The frame of the vehicle and all of its safety features protect the occupants. However, all bets are off when someone is ejected from the vehicle because he or she was not wearing a seatbelt. 

The onus is not entirely on the victim to protect himself or herself. Fatal crashes caused by intoxicated drivers, distracted drivers, or speeding drivers are preventable as well. There is no excuse for driving after alcohol consumption or taking drugs. Similarly, there is no excuse for looking at a cellphone, texting, emailing, or using a cellphone app while driving.

Furthermore, drivers need to be more careful. Numerous fatal accidents may be prevented if motorists slow down, obey the rules of the road, and drive defensively rather than aggressively and carelessly.

Call 312-422-0506 if injured in an accident.

Rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, and other regional companies have disrupted the way we think about automotive travel. The convenience of using a cellphone to hire a private car to take you to and from your destination makes ride sharing incredibly popular, efficient, and convenient. But does ride sharing make traveling by vehicle safer? The answer to that question cannot be answered quickly.

There is a fundamental legal problem with Uber and Lyft and insurance coverage for accidents. The rideshare companies have umbrella policies and might cover casualties up to $1,000,000.00. However, Uber and Lyft try to divert legal liability away from them to the drivers. Legal maneuvering like this compounds the difficulties injured Uber and Lyft passengers might have recovering monetary damages. 

Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors and not employees. Defining rideshare drivers this way insulates the parent companies from legal liability, forcing the brunt of the responsibility squarely on the driver. However, many auto insurers deny coverage when an accident occurs while the driver is using the car for monetary gain. 

Getting in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft can lead to a legal quagmire. Therefore, you must hire competent legal counsel who will fight to protect your rights as soon as you are able after the crash. 

You should take steps to protect yourself. You should always wear a seatbelt in a rideshare vehicle. You must also keep track of your phone so that you have all of the necessary data stored on it. Also, getting the name of your rideshare driver, make of car, the model of car, license plate, and other identifying information is essential. Also, you should call the police and report what you know. Furthermore, you must seek medical attention if you sustained an injury in the crash. 

truck accident lawyers in Chicago.

Pelvic fractures often occur in Chicago car accidents. The pelvis is in a vulnerable position in a car crash. The seatbelt sits on the top of the pelvis and the force applied against the seatbelt by the body can cause the bones of the pelvis to break or fracture. Additionally, people seated in the front seat during a head-on crash are subject to pelvic fractures. The victim’s leg bones can get jammed into the pelvic bone, causing a break. Also, the collapsing dashboard or even parts of the other car can crush the pelvis.

Similarly, when people are in a T-bone crash, they are at risk for a pelvic fracture. The focal point of the accident will be at the person’s midsection. The forces applied to the pelvic region will yield to the power of another vehicle in a collision.

Pelvic breaks might not be visible. Although, in an accident severe enough to cause a pelvic fracture, it is highly likely that the victim will have other injuries as well as necessitating emergency transport to a hospital. However, if conscious and alert, an accident victim might not be able to walk, sense intense or excruciating pain in the midsection, hips, and groin, experience bleeding while urinating or defecating, or difficulty going to the bathroom.

Doctors diagnose pelvic fractures through diagnostic imaging. X-rays, MRIs, and CT-scans, might be used to allow the doctor to confirm the fracture but to observe the extent of the injury. Taking a radiograph will also permit the doctor to ascertain the safest and most efficient method of injury repair. 

Pelvic fractures can be challenging to repair, mostly due to the location of the injury. There is no way to cast a pelvis; thus doctors will order patients to bed rest and prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines. In many cases, an orthopedic surgeon might need to repair the damage using hardware such as plates, rods, and screws to fuse the bones back together.

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When two or more vehicles collide, the chance that an occupant suffers an injury is extremely high. Even with today’s sophisticated technology that helps motorists avoid accidents and if a crash is unavoidable, helps cushion the impact. Seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, autonomous driving capabilities, and collision warning systems are the automaker’s best guess as to what might happen in a motor vehicle collision and how to protect the vehicle’s occupants. Despite these futuristic safety advances, people continue to suffer serious injuries or die in car accidents. 

The symptoms of a serious injury may not surface immediately after an accident. The adrenaline rush an auto accident victim experiences might delay the onset of pain from an injury like whiplash, broken ribs, sternum fracture, broken clavicle, broken ankle, or broken fingers. The adrenaline masks the sensation of pain for a while, but after the victim calms down, then the victim will experience pain associated with the injury. An accident victim must seek out expert medical attention when that happens. Allowing the pain to linger could cause further damage, and you could experience prolonged pain. Additionally, you might need x-rays, MRI, or CT-Scan interpreted by a radiologist to diagnose you with an injury that occurred because of the accident. 

Many other car accident injuries require emergency medical treatment. Traumatic head injuries, lacerations, compound fractures, displaced fractures of the extremities, loss of consciousness, amputation, or extreme pain will require emergent medical care. The signs of physical injury will be apparent, and an adrenaline rush the victim experiences might soothe the pain a little but will not mask it.

The inability to move will also trigger an emergency response from first responders. The inability to move will signal to the medics that you might have sustained a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, broken neck, or fractured vertebrae. 

Unfortunately, many accidents result in death despite first responders’ most valiant efforts.

Free case analysis car accident attorney in Chicago, Illinois

Complacency is a huge problem among motorists today. Most people take driving for granted and fail to appreciate the potential dangers all around while driving a car. Perhaps that is why so many accidents in Illinois happen when motorists fail to check their blind spots and hit something. Thousands of people each year are either injured or killed because a driver fails to check the blind spots in the vehicle and collide with a person, motor vehicle, bicycle, or motorcycle who is just going about his or her business. 

Drivers can compensate for blind spots by being conscientious motorists. Whether riding on an interstate, state road, or local thoroughfare, any driver who is changing lanes, backing, or turning must take a moment to check their blind spots to ensure the area where they want to go is safe.

Blind spots are in the same location regardless of the vehicle. The difference among vehicles is the relative size of the blind spots. Any motorist who has a valid license to drive in Illinois should know that behind his or her left shoulder, behind his or her right shoulder, and immediately in front and back of the car are blind spots. The blind spots in a pickup truck, for example, will be in the same location, except that the bind spots close to the front and rear bumpers might be more extensive.

Drivers, therefore, must look over their shoulders when changing lanes to make sure the path is clear. Additionally, drivers must check their sideview mirrors before changing lanes as well. Doing so will help drivers slow down and be confident that the road is open. Additionally, drivers must take care when backing. Looking in the review mirror is insufficient. Drivers must use their side mirrors and turn over their right shoulder to see if anything is in the way and anyone who fails to do so must be held accountable for the injuries or fatality caused by their negligence.