Older drivers: Are they a risk to others on the road?

Happy senior couple ready for driving a car on a journey trip - Concept of joyful active elderly lifestyle with man and woman enjoying their best yearsWhile many government programs have been tirelessly involved in reducing the number of teenage drivers involved in distracted driving accidents, little is currently being done to address an equally pressing issue of public safety: elderly drivers who are no longer fit to operate a vehicle. A car accident lawyer Berwyn may see several cases in their career involving elderly drivers who should no longer be behind the wheel. According to USA Today, health and safety officials contend that as more of the younger generations age, those who refuse to stop driving despite an inability to do so safely will become one of the greatest risks to motorists on the roads.

Abundant examples of dangerous elderly drivers

A Lake In the Hills bank was recently in serious need of repair following an accident involving an elderly driver. The 85-year old woman accidentally crashed her car into the bank and pushed a window for two feet before bringing the vehicle to a stop. One bank employee was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor back pain in connection with the crash. According to the NBC Chicago, the woman told law enforcement officers that she was trying to park her car at the bank when she accidentally accelerated instead of braking. Driver confusion is thought to be a major contributing factor in the accident.

Telling statistics

The American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety recently performed a study in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg in which they found that fatality and injury rates for drivers rises after they reach the age of 65. When they reach 75-84, their fatality rates become equal to those seen with teenage drivers. Elderly fatality rates actually increase to four times that seen in teens when the drivers are over the age of 85. Road safety analysts believe that by 2030, elderly drivers will be so numerous that they cause or contribute to 25 percent of fatal crashes every year.

Illinois laws

Illinois currently has laws in place that are aimed at protecting motorists without infringing on the freedoms of many older drivers. Motorists between the ages of 69 and 80 are required to renew their license every 4 years. Drivers between 80 and 86 must renew every 2 years, and drivers over the age of 87 must do so annually. All renewals must be done in person for those over the age of 74, and motorists who are 75 or older have to pass a road test to receive their license.

Seeking help following an accident

Those who have been injured in an accident involving older drivers should contact a car accident lawyer in Berwyn for assistance in their matters. An attorney may help their clients receive the compensation and closure that they need following an injury accident.

Brain injuries: serious and long-lasting

pDistraughtManOnSteps_9366984_mBrain injuries are some of the least understood conditions among medical professionals. A slip-and-fall Chicago attorney often sees the effects of these accidents and understands just how severe they can be. This common injury can range from a mild concussion that heals after a few days to a completely disabling traumatic brain injury that affects an individual for the rest of his or her life.  Despite new advances in research, doctors still know very little about how to help these injuries heal or why some individuals with seemingly similar injuries display a wide array of symptoms.

About brain injuries

A brain injury can result from many different types of trauma to the head. The most severe form of the condition, a traumatic brain injury, occurs when a sudden movement causes the brain to become bruised. This can be caused by a direct impact to the head, by an object penetrating the skull or from the brain rebounding against the inside of the skull. Any of these injuries can have devastating, life-long consequences, including cognitive impairment or an inability to walk or talk. Some people are so affected by their brain injury that they are permanently disabled.

Slip-and-falls and brain injury

Slip-and-fall accidents can seem deceptively minor but have life-long or fatal consequences when they result in a head injury. Injured individuals may have no idea just how serious their condition is until they see a doctor for treatment of minor symptoms such as headaches or blurred vision. The brother of Camilla Parker Bowles, England’s Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles’ brother-in-law recently had a slip-and-fall accident-related brain injury that proved fatal. According to the New York Daily News, the man was simply standing on a New York sidewalk when he slipped and fell, smashing his head on the pavement. First responders reported that he was alert and complaining of head pain but doing well. He was taken to a local hospital where he took a turn for the worse and died the following day.

Common tragedies

A slip-and-fall Chicago attorney knows that the tragedy the English Royal Family experienced is a common occurrence for many families in Illinois and throughout the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 2.5 million emergency room visits, deaths and hospitalizations are attributed to brain injuries annually and the condition claims more than 50,000 lives every year in the U.S. Falls account for 40.5 percent of these brain injuries every year, making them the leading cause of the condition.

Those who have sustained serious brain injuries in slip-and-fall accidents should contact a slip and fall Chicago attorney immediately. With the help of an attorney, accident victims can receive the compensation that they require in order to receive necessary treatment for their long-lasting condition.

4 ways to avoid a truck accident

trucks in opposite directions on freewayCommercial trucks are some of the largest, and therefore most dangerous, vehicles that travel Illinois’ roads. When they are involved in accidents, the results are often devastating. Regular passenger vehicles simply cannot withstand the force of an impact with a tractor trailer or other commercial truck, the results of which are well-known to any truck accident lawyer Arlington Heights. Motorists should, for this reason, remember the following tips in order to avoid being involved in a collision with a truck.

1. Remember no zones

Large trucks have “no zones”, or blind spots, which prevent truckers from clearly seeing all around the vehicle. These blind areas include the front, back and certain spots on the sides of a truck. When motorists are engaged in distracted driving and fail to stay out of these no zones, a trucker has no way to know that they are there. Truckers may thus attempt to move into the same area while changing lanes or making a turn. To identify a no-zone, motorists simply need to determine whether they can see truck drivers in the trucks’ mirrors. If a motorist is unable to see a trucker, the trucker cannot see the motorist either.

2. Prevent squeeze

A truck accident lawyer in Arlington Heights often sees the effects that “squeezing” can have on a car. This term is used to describe what happens when a truck initiates a turn but a motorist attempts to sneak in and pass the truck before it completes the turn. Some motorists are unaware that trucks require a large turning radius and think they should take the opportunity to pass these slower vehicles. When this risky driving behavior occurs, the passenger vehicle is often squeezed between the side of the commercial truck and the curb in an accident that can easily be fatal. Simply being patient and allowing trucks to execute their turns will prevent this type of accident from occurring.

3. Maintain appropriate following distance

Although this principle holds true for all driving, motorists should pay particular attention to how closely they follow a truck. Commercial vehicles weigh 20 to 30 times more than regular passenger cars and take much more time to stop. If motorists do not want to slam into the back of a truck, they should always maintain a three second following distance.

4. Pass appropriately

One of the easiest ways to be involved in a truck accident is to cut off a trucker. Before passing, drivers should make sure that they can clearly see the front of the truck to ensure that the large vehicle will have enough time to stop if necessary.

When motorists fail to follow these four tips, they are more likely to be involved in a truck collision. Those who have been involved in any kind of truck accident should contact a truck accident lawyer in Arlington Heights immediately to learn their rights and how to proceed with a claim.

Illinois moves forward on 70 mph speed limit

civil traffic in cityIllinois residents will soon start seeing toll highways around Chicago with speed limits as high as 70 mph. The Quad-City Times reports that Governor Pat Quinn recently vetoed Senate Bill 2015, new legislation that would allow the increase in speed on almost 300 miles of roads throughout the Chicago area, but his veto was overturned by state lawmakers. First the Illinois Senate and then the House voted overwhelmingly to override the veto to bring Chicago’s tollways in line with the speeds found on mostly rural downstate interstates. They acted in opposition to the opinions of the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation, tollway officials and many car accident attorneys Elgin. Residents and others around Chicago may now see an increase in car accidents due to the new law.

Senator Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove sponsored the bill. He and fellow advocates argued that the increase in speed limits will reduce the number of accidents on the tollways because motorists are already driving at these rates on the roads. They further contend that negligence and the variation in speeds between motorists is what causes more severe accidents, not the actual speed at which the vehicles are traveling. They also believe that the higher limit may reduce driver tension and a tendency toward frustration that can lead motorists to make unsafe split-second choices.

Speeding and accident severity

Car accident attorneys in Elgin are often familiar with the connection between speeding and the severity of an accident. When vehicles travel at high rates of speed, they have a much greater amount of energy that must be dissipated in an accident in order to bring the vehicle to a stop. The car absorbs a large amount of the force but motorists and their passengers absorb a large percentage as well. Depending on the vehicle type, vehicle age and speed at which a car is traveling, a motorist can experience tremendous amounts of force in an accident, which often leads to severe injury and death. Higher rates of speed are directly related to increased accident severity.

Dangers of speeding

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding causes or contributes to 31-32 percent of fatal accidents every year in the U.S.  With car accident fatalities totaling over 32,000 individuals every year, this means that nearly 10,000 people lose their lives annually due to something as preventable as excessive speed. In Illinois in 2011, that number was closer to half of all collision-related deaths. That year 918 people died in traffic accidents. Nearly 440, or 47.8 percent, of these accidents were linked to speeding.

Car accident attorneys in Elgin can help many families recover the losses they have sustained in a personal injury lawsuit. Those who have been injured by a speeding driver’s negligence are encouraged to contact an attorney immediately.

Study on cognitive distraction reveals risks with hands-free devices

Preparing for a longhaulThe issue of distracted driving has become a hot topic in recent years for those concerned with driver safety. Despite several government-run campaigns to reduce the number of distracted drivers, many Chicago car accident lawyers confirm that it is still a major safety problem. Fourteen states, Washington D.C. and three U.S. territories currently have laws that completely prohibit the use of any hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle.

To comply with the law and reduce the chance of injury, many tech companies have developed hands-free technology to allow motorists to stay hand-free without having to completely unplug on the roads. However, a new study by the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that the devices that many motorists are counting on in order to decrease their distraction are actually contributing to a more distracting environment.

About the Study

The study, titled Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile II: Assessing In-Vehicle Voice-based Interactive Technologies, aimed to measure and understand just how cognitively distracting many common voice-based systems can be for motorists. To carry out the study, researchers performed three controlled experiments that evaluated how motorists performed in the following conditions while driving:

  • Giving basic voice-based commands to car systems
  • Listening to email and text messages that were read by a natural human voice and a synthetic voice
  • Listening and orally composing replies to emails and text messages read by a natural human voice and a synthetic voice
  • Interacting with menu-based systems with perfect and moderate reliability
  • Using a popular voice-command system to listen to and send text messages and update social media accounts

Each test began with a control in which drivers drove without any distraction.


Despite being touted by many major federal and local regulatory agencies as a safer option, this AAA study found that many of these technologies can be so poorly designed that they become a large cognitive distraction to motorists. Drivers are often so frustrated by the failure of some of these systems that they do not focus properly on the roads. According to lead researchers, the makers of some of these systems need to improve their accuracy and ease of use. Only when they reduce how complicated the systems will they really have a chance at preventing distracted driving. Until these issues are resolved, they encourage motorists to limit the use of these voice-based systems as much as possible.

Motorists who have been injured by a distracted driver may be able to find relief for their damages with the help of an attorney. Chicago car accident lawyers can help families find closure and regain financial stability following a major injury.

Do not Talk to Insurers Without Talking to an Attorney

aVeryInjuredMan_vectorstock_918851Illinois residents who are injured in any type of accident that may result in a personal injury claim need to understand their rights. Before you speak with an insurance agent, it is imperative for you to speak with a personal injury attorney first. Here are some of the reasons why this is so important:

Insurance company loyalties – insurers are bound by a board of directors and many are publicly owned companies. This means they are in business to make money. One way to keep the company’s bottom line healthy is to pay as little as possible when an insurance claim is filed

Statutes of limitations – Illinois has a two year restriction on when you may file a personal injury claim. Therefore, if an insurer can convince you to not file a lawsuit, your rights may be breached because you did not file a claim in time

One-size fits all offers – many insurers use a program called Colossus which is intended to help an adjuster “weigh” the value of injuries and claims. The company has a stated goal of “cost-containment” which is good for insurers, but not good for those who are injured


Why Contact an Attorney

Whenever you suffer a serious injury, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. Once you have been checked by a physician, an attorney can review your case and determine if you potentially have a claim. Insurance companies will try to minimize their risk by some of the following methods:

Rejecting your claim – insurance companies often reject claims in the hopes the claimant will give up and not file a second time
Establishing negligence – since Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state, insurance companies may suggest you were partially at fault for your injuries


Release of documents

One mistake to avoid is releasing documents to an insurer. When you are injured in any type of accident, you have the right to collect compensation for injuries, medical expenses and time lost from work. Keep in mind, any documents you release to an insurer may result in your claim being reduced or declined. Insurance companies are going to find any way to reduce the amount of money they must pay out in personal injury cases.

If you feel you have a personal injury claim, before you start dealing with insurance companies, contact the skilled Chicago personal injury law firm of Dworkin and Maciariello today at (312) 548-0359. We’ll evaluate your case and help determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The Basics of Personal Injury Law in Illinois

St. Patrick's Day Collision  3 of 4

Those who sustained an injury due to the fault of another may want to file a personal injury claim. The law in Illinois makes it possible for injured parties to seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Before filing a lawsuit, people should consult with a lawyer to discuss their case. An experienced attorney helps people receive the compensation they deserve.


According to Illinois state law, the injured party only has two years to file a personal injury claim. Therefore, those who plan on seeking compensation should contact an attorney right away to discuss their options. The law covers everything from automobile accidents and dog bites to slip-and-fall injuries. How much compensation a person can receive depends on the accident. For example, those who suffered an injury from a car accident can file for car repairs, lost wages and medical expenses. In some cases, people can even recover money for pain and suffering.


The state of Illinois considers negligence when determining who caused the accident. To win a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove the accident occurred due to the other person?s negligent actions. Proving negligence is challenging without the help of a lawyer. The plaintiff must show that the defendant violated his or her duty not to cause injury to another person. In addition, the plaintiff also has to show proof of injury.


Sometimes, more than one party is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. As a result, the law allows the injured person to seek damages from all parties involved. Besides claiming personal damages, a person can also seek to recover compensation for future expenses. A lot of people believe they can only file suit if they were physically injured. However, the law also allows people to seek restitution for pain and suffering. Courts usually consider slander or false imprisonment a psychological injury or trauma, which makes the victim eligible for compensation.


No one should have to suffer due to another person’s negligence. An experienced lawyer can help the victim receive the compensation that he or she deserves. Attorneys are useful because they understand the legal system and can find expert witnesses to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf. An attorney will prepare the plaintiff for depositions, file court paperwork, communicate with insurance companies and handle all settlement negotiations. The amount of compensation the victim is asking for, severity of the injury and the victim?s willingness to settle are all factors that can affect the length of the case.

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Types of Compensation You Can Receive When Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Car Crash

When you have experienced a personal injury, on top of your pain, you’re likely worrying about finances. Perhaps you will be out of work for a while; you may even have mounting medical bills or other expenses. But you can receive compensation.


Illinois law recognizes several types of compensation — known as damages — in an effort to “make the plaintiff whole” after suffering an injury. While it’s hard to put a dollar amount on things such as pain, by awarding damages Illinois law attempts to rectify the injury to place you, as the injured party, into the same position you would have been in if you had not suffered the injury.


Types of compensation you may receive if awarded damages for a personal injury in Illinois include:

  • Reimbursement for Medical Costs: In most cases, you can expect to receive compensation for past, present and even future medical bills related to your injury.
  • Compensation for Lost Earnings: If you missed work due to your injury — even time away from work for doctor’s appointments or other medical appointments — you are entitled to compensation. Not only can you claim past loss of income, but you can also seek future earnings you might have earned if not for the injury — a damage known as “loss of earning capacity.”
  • Property Damage Reparations: Repair or replacement of property that was either damaged or destroyed may be awarded according to the fair market value of the item.
  • Compensation for Disability and Disfigurement: If the injury leaves you permanently disabled or physically disfigured, you may be entitled to receive monetary damages.
  • Award for Emotional Distress: While pain, suffering and emotional distress — both present and future — are hard to put a dollar figure on, you may receive compensation in many cases. Emotional distress covers problems such as anxiety, sleeplessness and fear.
  • Punitive Damages: In some instances, you may be awarded punitive damages — monetary awards intended to punish the defendant for his or her actions. This type of compensation is less common in Illinois personal injury cases, however, since it is only awarded when the defendant acted with evil intent, complete recklessness or extreme indifference to your well-being and rights.


There may be other monetary damages to which you are entitled, depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury. In addition, Illinois doesn’t cap, or put a limit on, the amount you can receive for your personal injury. Illinois law does require that a personal injury case commence within two years of the injury, or from when the injury was discovered.

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Questions to Ask When Talking to a Personal Injury Attorney

The decision to hire a personal injury attorney is not one that should be taken lightly. All attorneys do not offer the same level of service in the field so it is important to take your time and plan carefully before deciding which one to hire. Be proactive and go into the initial consultation prepared with a list of questions to ask.


The first thing to question is your attorney’s background and experience. Ask what law school he attended and how long he has been practicing. You’ll also want to ask how long he has been taking personal injury cases to gauge how well he will be able to represent you.


Your attorney’s personality is something else that you need to consider. You want someone to represent you that you feel comfortable with in and out of the courtroom. Determine whether you want to go into the consultation with a plan of action in mind, or whether you want your attorney to recommend various options that you might want to consider regarding your case.


The most important questions to ask are those regarding your actual case. Ask your attorney whether he will be the only one attending to your case or if you are going to be dealing with multiple attorneys, including settlements and court appearances. Give the attorney the majority of facts about your case and progress from there to have a conversation about the specific facts. Get a realistic assessment of your case to determine whether you will end up receiving a settlement or going to trial and how much you should expect to receive. You should also get an estimation of how long your case will take from start to finish.


Fees are something else that you need to keep in mind during the consultation. You should also ask how much of a settlement you will receive and how much he will keep in exchange for taking the case. Fees vary depending on whether the case settles, goes to trial or requires an appeal. Ensure that you know what percentage your attorney takes for each scenario.


After you have completed the consultation, assess the meeting and select whether you want to use the firm or not. If you feel comfortable and the fees are reasonable, end your search for a personal injury attorney and feel confident in your decision.

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What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?


Slip and fall accidents can happen at any time and in any place. Whether you’re on the job, at the store or are simply walking down the street, you never know when you may become the victim of this type of accident. In addition, slip and fall accidents can be quite costly, requiring you to rack up those medical bills that keep coming in after a visit to the hospital. No matter if you’ve only sustained a small injury or if you’ve broken a bone during your fall, it is always important to protect your legal rights by hiring a reputable Illinois personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help you to make a case and to acquire compensation that may be owed to you after your slip and fall accident.

Obtaining Medical Assistance

Your number one priority after a sip and fall accident should be to obtain medical assistance after your slip and fall. You will also want to make sure that you receive any and all documents from the hospital stating your injuries, as well as medical bills that you can provide to your personal injury lawyer.

Reporting the Accident

After a slip and fall accident, it is necessary to report the accident and injury to whoever is in charge of the property. This could be the landlord, store owner, or other person that is present at the time of the fall. This person should record an accident report on the incident which you will also want to receive a copy of. If police are called to the scene, a copy of their accident report should also be requested.

Photographic Evidence

Because it is easy for store owners, landlords and property owners to fix different areas of their property after an accident occurs, it is especially necessary to take photographs of where the injury occurred directly after the incident. You may also want to take photos of the injuries that you have sustained to provide as proof in your case.

Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer

Before you head to your insurance company to file a claim, you will want to speak with your Illinois personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can assist you throughout the process, ensuring that you do not sign any unnecessary forms or pay any medical bills that you may be able acquire compensation for from your insurance company or other parties involved in the accident. Your personal injury lawyer will work for you to obtain the best results possible from a painful accident.


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