Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

A recent study done by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety indicates that the rise of pedestrian deaths in recent years could be attributable to the rise in popularity of larger vehicles.  The authors of the study conjecture that poor visibility  and blind spots that these vehicles have could be a major factor in their findings.  The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer  have noticed that many of their pedestrian injury cases did in fact involve SUV’s and pick-up trucks.

The statistics are striking. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 6,519 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2020.  That represents an astounding 59% increase since 2009.  Over the same period of time the sales of SUV’s and pickup trucks rose dramatically, now accounting for almost 50% of all new vehicles sold.

A North Carolina study was done from 2010 and 2018 that demonstrated the impact of SUV’s and pickup trucks on pedestrian injuries.  This study found that  pickup trucks were 42% more likely to hit pedestrians when making a left turn and  SUV’s were 23% more likely to hit a pedestrian.  Experts conjecture that this disparity is that the larger vehicles have poorer viability.    SUV’s and pickup trucks have A-Pillars which can block viability.  Additionally, Consumer Reports found that truck hoods have risen 15% since 2000.  The magazine also found that the Ford F-250 was a staggering 55 inches off the ground which is as tall as the roofs of many cars.  The high hoods obstruct the view of people walking in front of the truck, especially if the pedestrians and are short  or are children.


The Chicago Tribune recently published an article with the results of a study they conducted which seem to indicate that Chicago police tend not to issue tickets in pedestrian and cyclist crash cases.   The Tribune study of Chicago police data shows that out of more than 4,000 crashes between 2018 and November 2023 only 26% resulted in a traffic ticket or more serious charges.  The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, PC see many police reports and we observe that the police rarely actually witness the accident. When the police arrive on the scene of the crash, they interview the parties involved and the witnesses to determine what happened.  From experience, the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer PC have observed that when there is an independent witness who will assign fault to one party or the other, then the police will be more likely to issue a ticket. Usually if there is no independent witness and both parties are blaming each other, then the police officer will not give a ticket to either party. Of course the injured pedestrian or cyclist can hire a personal injury lawyer to make a claim against the at fault motorist for damages.  If the motorist’s insurance company denies the claim then the injured party’s lawyer can file a lawsuit and have the case decided by a jury.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has  accelerated improvements on the roadways in Chicago, adding more protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and speed bumps.  However, infrastructure improvements can only go so far in protecting pedestrians and cyclists.  Chicago Department of Transportation’s data shows that most traffic deaths involve motorists who were driving recklessly.  Almost 60% of the traffic deaths involved speeding.  Astonishingly, more than half of the pedestrian deaths in Chicago were hit and run crashes with the motorist fleeing the scene of the crash.

The Illinois Supreme Court case of Galarza v. Direct Auto Insurance Co. represents a significant judicial decision impacting uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in Illinois. This case arose from an incident where Cristopher Guiracocha, a minor, was injured by an uninsured motorist while riding his bicycle.  His father’s automobile insurer, Direct Auto Insurance denied coverage to Christopher arguing that he was not insured since he was on a bicycle and not in a vehicle at the time of the accident.

The Circuit Court initially granted summary judgment in favor of Direct Auto, agreeing with their argument that UM coverage did not apply as Cristopher was not an occupant of a covered vehicle at the time of the accident.

On appeal, the issue centered on whether the policy’s limitation of UM coverage to insureds occupying an “insured automobile” violated section 143a of the Illinois Insurance Code and was against public policy. The appellate court reversed the circuit court’s decision, finding that the policy’s terms were inconsistent with the statute and public policy, mandating broad UM coverage for “persons insured” under an auto insurance policy.


Tragically, there have been three fatal bicycling related crashes in Cook County in the last three weeks.   The latest fatal bicycle accident occurred on October 23, 2023 at 8:00 pm in the 5100 block of N. Damen in Chicago.  This stretch of Damen Ave. is a very congested area, and there are only painted on bike lanes. This area is also notorious for crashes and close calls between bicyclists and cars.  The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. observe that it is well know that Chicago has a bad reputation for bike safety.  A bike safety advocacy group called PeopleForBikes assessed 163 large cities on how safe the cities were for cyclists and assigned a score.  The score was determined based on a cities grid connection and intersection safety, the number of protected bike lanes and the cities speed limits along with other factors.  The study ranked Chicago 161 out of 163 large cities for “bikeability” in 2023.  The city scored poorly in creating connecting bike lane routes,  providing protected bike lanes and establishing access to all neighborhoods and fundamental services.

Another big factor as to why Chicago scored so low is that PeopleForBikes assessment automatically considered a painted bike lane on a street with a 30 mph speed limit to be dangerous.  Since the default speed limit for streets in Chicago is 30 mph, almost all painted bike lanes in Chicago are considered dangerous by this standard.  The reason for this is that painted bike lanes typically run next to parked cars which expose the biker to being doored into the moving traffic or a bicyclist may have to make a sharp maneuver into moving traffic to avoid the door.  In such instances it would be much safer for the bicyclist if traffic were moving slower.

Chicago bicycle safety advocacy groups such as Active Transportation Alliance have been pushing for the completion of a fully interconnected bike network with protected bike lanes that would connect all of the cities neighborhoods.  Though such a network is far from reality, the good news for bicyclists is that Chicago  Mayor Brandon Johnson and many members of the city counsel have publicly supported a full bike network that would connect the whole city.  The bicycle accident lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. support the completion of a network of protected bike lanes in Chicago to help prevent deaths and serious injuries from bicycle accidents in the future.


Chicago personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. notes that one of the most common causes of pedestrian injury cases is when a driver makes a right turn on red and strikes a pedestrian or pedestrians who are walking in the crosswalk to the right of the driver. The problem is that when drivers make a right turn on red, their attention is focused to the left to watch for approaching cars.  When a driver sees that there are no approaching cars or that an approaching car is far enough back to make the right hand turn, his focus is still to the left to make sure that it is safe.  Then the driver is supposed to look to see if there are pedestrians in the crosswalk to the left. A recent study published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspective in May of 2023,  illustrated why right turns on red are so problematic.  The study concluded that “at red-light turns, driver attention was heavily skewed toward the leftward traffic.”  Additionally, the pedestrians may feel a false sense of safety and may not be looking out for cars since they have the walk signal.

Studies that looked into the effects of right on red on pedestrian safety  bear out the dangers of allowing right on red.  A study conducted by the Journal of Safety in 1982 after right on red was implemented in many states found that; accidents rose 40% for pedestrians and 82% for bikes in New York State. Likewise in Wisconsin, the figures were 107% for pedestrians and 72% bicyclists.  And finally,  Ohio saw an increase of accidents of 57% for pedestrians and 80% for bicyclists.  The statistics show that there were dramatic increases of pedestrian accidents after the implementation of right on red.

The city of New York has already banned the practice of right on red and San Francisco and Los Angles are considering a ban.  The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. suggest that Chicago put pedestrian safety first and seriously consider of taking the lead and ban right on red in the city of Chicago.


Car accidents can be devastating, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek legal representation right away. At Zneimer & Zneimer, our experienced car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping clients receive the compensation they deserve.

Impaired driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 10,142 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. This represents 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. In addition to alcohol, drug-impaired driving is also a growing problem. In 2019, 14.8 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.

At Zneimer & Zneimer, we understand the devastating impact that impaired driving accidents can have on victims and their families. Our attorneys have years of experience representing clients in car accident cases involving impaired drivers. We will investigate the incident thoroughly, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Compensation for car accident injuries can include medical expenses, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering. In cases involving impaired driving, victims may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish the at-fault driver and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek legal representation right away. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need during this difficult time. Continue reading

Our personal injury lawyers handle many accidents caused by impaired driver.  Many impairments result from intoxicating substances recently taken or still lingering in the driver’s body.  According to Illinois Secretary of State statistics, in 2020

  • 254 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which was approximately 21% of the 1,195 total crash fatalities
  • 20,131 DUI arrests were recorded by the Secretary of State’s office

The rise in popularity of larger and higher vehicles has raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road. These types of vehicles pose a unique threat to people on foot or on bikes because of their size and height, which can make it more difficult for drivers to see them and more dangerous in the event of a collision. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen some devastating

One of the biggest dangers that larger and higher vehicles pose to pedestrians and bicyclists is the difficulty they can have in being seen by drivers. These vehicles are often much taller than smaller cars and trucks, which can block the view of drivers and make it harder for them to see people on foot or on bikes. Additionally, the high hoods and large bumpers of these vehicles can also make it more difficult for drivers to accurately judge the distance between their vehicle and pedestrians or bicyclists, making it more likely for an accident to occur.

Another issue with larger and higher vehicles is the impact they can have in the event of a collision. These vehicles are often much heavier than smaller cars and trucks, meaning that they can cause much more severe injuries in the event of a collision. Furthermore, the high ground clearance of these vehicles can also make it more likely for pedestrians and bicyclists to be hit in the head or torso, which are the areas most likely to result in serious injury or death.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 11.4 Americans per 100,000 died in traffic crashes in 2020. According to a Bloomberg article of November 3, 2022, this number is significantly greater than most European nations and many other developed nations in the world.   More troubling, 2019 saw the most pedestrian deaths in the USA in 40 years according to data collected by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Urban researcher, David Zipper writes in the Bloomberg article that the higher death rates on American roads cannot be attributed unique characteristics of the United States landscape or culture but instead can be traced back to specific policy decisions to not prioritize traffic safety over other considerations, such as profit and convenience.

The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. were surprised to learn from this Bloomberg article that while traffic deaths in the USA have reached a 16 year high, traffic deaths in some European countries and Japan have hit levels not seen since 1940.

The most striking statistic cited by this article is that pedestrian, bike and scooter user traffic deaths rose 40% between 2010 and 2018 in the USA while in many European countries the number of deaths actually fell.

While it is hard to pinpoint specific causes for the rising death tolls on the road, one factor stands out to the personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer.  While in Europe and Asia, smaller passenger cars are prefered, the USA market is dominated by SUVs and heavy pick-up trucks. The predominance of SUVs and pick-up trucks on USA roads especially comes into play in pedestrian Continue reading

Car insurance is an essential part of owning a vehicle, and it is especially important in Illinois. The state requires that all drivers carry a minimum level of liability insurance to cover any damages or personal injuries that may occur in the event of an accident. However, simply having the minimum coverage may not be enough to protect you and your assets in the event of an accident.

When shopping for car insurance in Illinois, it’s important to know that there are different types of coverage available. The most basic form of coverage is liability insurance, which covers damages or injuries that you may cause to another person or their property in an accident. However, liability insurance does not cover your own damages or injuries. To protect yourself fully, you should consider additional types of coverage, such as collision and comprehensive coverage.  Collision coverage will pay for damages to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive coverage provides protection for damages caused by events other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.

It’s also important to consider the level of coverage you need. Illinois has a minimum coverage requirement, but that may not be enough to protect you fully. If you have a newer or more expensive car, you may want to consider purchasing higher levels of coverage to ensure that you are fully protected in the event of a crash.

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