Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

IMG_2451-e1541459908973-225x300

The city of Chicago has been touted as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. Actual cyclists do not always share the same view. There is still tension and resentment between motorists and cyclists which does not directly result in a crash but is definitely a contributing factor in how biking as a socio-economic activity is being perceived in the city and the nation as a whole.  On stretches of busy streets such as Milwaukee Avenue, you will find cyclists and motorists warily sharing the road with each other as best they can.

Chicago Tribune reported during this summer, that cyclists’ deaths have increased by 34.8 percent—a disconcerting number considering the efforts the city and Vision Zero have put in to make biking safer for many who choose to do so.  Many bikeway paths downtown are sacrificed in the name of congestion and heavy construction, making them smaller than ever and more dangerous for bikers to traverse. August of this year, a 39 year old woman on her bike was pronounced dead after being struck by a truck in the West Loop on Halsted and Madison. In light of this recent tragedy, personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer, notes that the city of Chicago still has a long way to go in protecting its vulnerable roadway user.

The personal injury lawyers of  Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. have represented numerous cyclists who have experienced the perils of biking first hand and have incurred harrowing injuries as a result. Nevertheless, avid cyclists and many cycling organizations in the country are relentless in their pursuit of safer bikeway conditions. For one, a Harvard study is delving into a smarter and more sophisticated design to safely separate cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles from each other. Cities around the world have started building barrier-protected bicycle-exclusive cycle tracks between the sidewalk and the street and if successfully implemented, this will increase levels of biking while improving safety.

Working as a truck driver is difficult and dangerous job.  The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that between 2015 and 2016 all fatal work injuries in the United States jumped by 7%.  Reviewing the Census, the Chicago truck accident attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer noted that driving a truck is a dangerous jobs, with increasing numbers of fatal injuries.  In 2016, for example, in transportation and material moving occupations fatalities increased by 7 percent from the year before.  The 2016 count is highest since 2007 and accounts for more than one-quarter of all work-related fatalities in the United States.  There were 24.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in 2016.  The industry employs approximately 3 million drivers, the most jobs in this very dangerous field.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s research a number of factors contribute  to  fatal  highway  crashes  of truckdrivers, including:  the type of truck, whether it was maintained, the time of day, and the weather conditions.  According to the DOL, two-thirds of truck driver fatalities involved a driver behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck.  Incidents involved brake failure, road, and weather conditions.

Important factor contributing to truck driver fatalities is driver fatigue.  Data shows that approximately one-third of the fatalities occurred between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. when the body naturally wants to rest, and almost half occurred during standard work hours, between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  On average approximately 200 truckdrivers were fatally struck by vehicles while out of their trucks; half of these occurred during hours of twilight or darkness, 4 p.m. to  8  a.m., but  almost  half  were  fatally  struck  during  the day.

Continue reading

IMG_1519-225x300

The number of bicyclists Chicago has increased and will continue to grow over the next few years as more people view biking as a healthier, earth-friendly alternative as opposed to driving to work and dealing with surging fuel prices and parking fees. Cycling, however, comes with its own set of hazards. Every cyclists out on the street are more vulnerable than motorists and while many factors pose as dangerous conditions for cyclists such as  bad street designs or reckless drivers, bike-related crashes come down to one important but slightly overlooked issue – visibility.  With the increase of bicyclists, attorney Peter Zneimer of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. has noticed more bicycle crash cases involving serious injuries.

Many drivers gripe about not seeing cyclists from a distance resulting in crashes. For many behind the wheel, the bikers seem to appear out of nowhere. While Chicago personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer, of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. believes drivers should pay close attention while driving, bikers can do their part in preventing accidents by simply wearing the right clothing so as to be more conspicuous on the road. Dr. Tyrell of Clemson University conducted an experiment demonstrating the effects of different styles of clothing on a cyclist. For instance, a cyclist wearing fluorescent leggings was discernible from three times farther away than average compared to the cyclist garbed in solid black leggings. Another potent and inexpensive tool to maximize visibility are flashing taillights. The same study found that from a distance of 200 meters, flashing taillights are more effective at catching observers’ eyes than an always-on taillight.

Bike-share bikes usually have the proper equipment installed such as Laserlight which is more visible to drivers during daytime. This is especially powerful because even when there is significant reduction of visibility during nighttime, 60% of crashes occur during daytime. It is projected that the likelihood of bike-related accidents are bound to decrease with the rise of ridership but safety is something that cyclists can claim for themselves, starting with the right gear.  Appropriate gear can mean the difference between life and death or life and life-altering injuries.

IMG_5813-225x300

Walking has morphed from a healthier alternative, that’s kinder to the environment, into a dangerous activity with a total of over 5,987 pedestrian deaths in the United States in the year 2016 alone.   As dismal as that sounds, pedestrian deaths have been surging over the past decade.  Chicago, in particular, has incurred 44 pedestrian deaths in 2016, up 26 percent since 2014.  Within that time, several reasons, some of them particularly glaring, have come to light. Poor infrastructure, bad road designs, distractions in the form of smart phones, to name a few, have been named culprits in the growth of pedestrian deaths.

Chicago personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer agrees that the abovementioned reasons are still ongoing issues that need to be addressed properly, however a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has unearthed new statistics highlighting the connection between SUVs and pedestrian deaths. As it turns out, among all types of vehicles, SUVs accounted for an 81 percent increase in single-vehicle pedestrian fatalities. SUVs, with their size, built and horsepower can inflict worse injuries to the head and chest than any other type of vehicle. Hampton Clay Gabler, a professor in the department of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech, wrote in a school paper that SUVs and pickups tend to be tall compared with pedestrians and have a blunter front end. That positioning is more likely to put someone’s head or chest in line to be struck during the initial impact with a vehicle. All the more concerning is that SUVs have surpassed sedans as the best selling vehicles in the US market, up to forty percent in 2017, which puts more pedestrians at risk.

The automobile industry has been slow to respond but many of them are making moves towards the creation of more vehicle safety features and incorporating them in their fleet.  The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. note that advanced automatic braking has been gaining popularity with brands like Tesla, Volvo and Mercedez Benz making this life-saving feature a standard in all of their models. Others like Chrysler and Ford only have a percentage of their fleet with this technology. As with most introduction to new technologies, there is the initial resistance but if auto companies commit and adapt to these changes and motorists are more educated, we can delve a blow to the tragic trajectory of pedestrian deaths in the future and protect the most vulnerable members of our population.

 

DSCF0091-300x225Chicago personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer welcome the federal regulation mandating rearview cameras.  Years of efforts from car-safety advocates and parents have finally paid off as a new federal regulation made it mandatory for all cars sold in the United States to have rearview cameras. Back-over crashes according to a USA Today article kill 200 people annually and injure 12, 000. This regulation which Congress passed in 2008, aims to reduce these numbers. It is long overdue especially for parents who fear running over their children while backing out of their driveway, for example.  With the adoption of rearview cameras and other backup warning devices, parents and motorists, in general will have improved visibility.

The cost to fully equip a car with this technology costs approximately $142 which personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer believes is a small price to pay in order to safeguard the most vulnerable victims of back-over crashes which are mostly children and seniors. Children are less adept at perceiving that a car is about to hit them as they are playing or walking in residential areas; so are senior citizens, whose reaction times are considerably slower than their younger counterparts.  In many instances, particularly, when toddlers are involved, motorists won’t even know immediately that they have struck a child. Children getting run over from behind could easily sustain serious head injuries causing death. Continue reading

white-bike-300x225

One March evening, a man exits a CTA bus on 47th and Western and crosses the street, when a careening pick-up truck hits him and flees, leaving the man seriously injured.  The pick-up truck driver’s whereabouts are mostly unknown to this day even as police officers comb the city for more information on the driver. The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. are attempting to locate the driver of the pick-up truck so that the injured man can have his medical bills paid and so that he can be fairly compensated for the injures he sustained.  Unfortunately, these kind of hit-and-run crashes are becoming more common. According to new research from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run crash transpires every minute on U.S roads. Twice as alarming is the fact that hit-and-run fatalities rose to 61% from 2009 to 2016, resulting in 2,049 deaths nationwide.

Personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer, believes that enterprising initiatives such as Vision Zero, will reduce these fatalities.  Bikers and pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the streets and are also most likely to get hurt the most. The healthy benefits of biking are so that 864,000 people rode to work between 2006 to 2016, according to the Census Bureau.  It is no surprise then that cyclists are among the most vulnerable commuters out there and constant distractions in the forms of smart phones, have made the streets a lot more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

It is still uncertain why many drivers abscond after a crash, whether it is due to insurance reasons or fear of being penalized or imprisoned, but hit and run crashes can be avoided with a higher sense of awareness and cautiousness, especially on the part of the driver.  Drivers need to live up to their civic responsibility and stop when they hit another car, pedestrian or bicyclist.  If they don’t and are caught fleeing, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law given the damage that these crashes cause. The injured party may be left with not only devastating injuries, but crushing medical bills if the injured person is uninsured.  Additionally, the injured party may face the economic hardship of being unable to work for an extended period of time. In the saddest cases, friends and family are left to mourn the loss of a loved one, fatally injured by a hit-and-run driver.

 

IMG_5818-225x300

As more people have taken to driving and more people now own smart phones, pedestrian deaths have increased dramatically, giving rise to 6,000 fatalities on a national level last year and up to 46 fatalities here in Chicago, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article.

Chicago personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer, believes that these numbers  are only going to keep rising unless the city’s focus is not re-directed to promoting street safety for everyone on the street – motorists, bikers and pedestrians alike. Sustainable initiatives such as Vision Zero are already underway to reduce the occurrence of serious injuries and fatalities.  The plan is broad in scope and calls on ordinary citizens, law enforcers and the government to act more responsibly. It involves adding more pedestrian islands and bike paths and the implementation of policies geared towards the creation of safer vehicles and safer professional drivers. It also involves looking into high-crash areas which comprise 20% of Chicago and are located in the South and West sides of Chicago.

Safety experts have observed the tragic increase of pedestrian deaths heavily linked with the use of smart phones and other electronic devices by pedestrians and motorists. Distracted pedestrians and motorists are everywhere you turn, with their heads down, staring at their phones, scrolling, listening to music with headphones on, and barely paying attention to the traffic around them. Vision Zero ultimately will not work as envisioned without the cooperation of the most important participant: the people themselves.  The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support efforts to reduce pedestrian injuries.  One idea would be to eliminate right turns on red lights.  From experience, the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. have noted that many of the pedestrian cases that they have handled have resulted from drivers turning right on red and hitting pedestrians that are properly in the cross walk.

 

 

IMG_0525-225x300

 

Smartphones are almost indispensable in one’s day-to-day; you can see adult hands holding them and eyes as young as five years old affixed to them.  Waiting rooms all over the world are filled with the motionless, hunched figures of people in the secure company of their phones. The extent to which the general population depends on the phone is dramatic; some would go so far as to say, their whole lives are IN their phone. What we may overlook in our obsession with it, are the actual lives at stake when we abuse the phone. It is a personal injury matter when innocent acts of texting, mindless scrolling or calling endanger lives and kill people.

Using your phone while driving is one of the many common forms of distracted driving and it is lethal. Many tragedies have resulted from distracted driving and it has been outlawed in many states including Illinois.  Personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer is more than aware of the dangers distracted driving poses to the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike. One way to curb this type of distracted driving is through the adoption of a new technology called “Textalyzer”, developed by Israeli mobile forensics company, Cellebrite. A grieving New York father, Ben Lieberman, has urged Chicago’s City Counsel’s Public Safety Committee to consider this technology so as to prevent senseless accidents from happening. He has lost his 19 year old son himself from a distracted driver who was never prosecuted. The Textalyzer acts the way a Breathalyzer acts for intoxicated drivers. The idea is for law enforcers to determine if a driver was swiping, scrolling etc. with his phone minutes before a crash, with the use of Textalyzer.

It is relatively new and will have hurdles to jump through due to privacy concerns but past that, the Textalyzer has serious potential to save lives and give more accountability to motorists.

DSCF0089-300x225Your teenager just got a drivers license and is bugging you for a car.   Eventually you agree and begin looking for an old used car, a training vehicle bound to get scratched and bent here and there until your teenager gets more experience.  You settle on an old 1994 Chevrolet Camaro for less than two hundred dollars.  A car-mechanic friend inspects the Camaro and thinks it’s in good shape and will do as a learning vehicle.  You get the key and can’t wait to see the happy face of your teenager.

Chicago personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer warns:  you just put your child in a death trap.

According to CDC,  “six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.”

When choosing a car for an inexperienced driver, safety should be the primary concern.  Budget limitations aside, a newer car usually incorporates updated or newer safety technologies.  The best buy would be the newest model that has the best safety features available on the market your money can buy.  The most important features include curtain airbags, electronic stability control, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.  Having these key safety features may make a difference between life and death.

Older cars have fewer safety features, and some older cars are just too dangerous to drive.  For example, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the Chevrolet Camaro has the highest on-road death, three-times higher than average.  The Chevrloet Camaro is not alone.  Several other cars are just as dangerous.

Continue reading

IMG_5781-225x300

Red light camera program has been met with hostility from the residents of Cook County. The program has not ceased to be a controversial issue since its inception and implementation in 2003, in many circles, that include ordinary residents and drivers, business owners, law enforcement and government officials.  Its objectives and merits are dubious at best when there’s scarcely a published study with persuasive data proving its efficacy in reducing car crashes.  Personal injury attorney, Peter A. Zneimer notes that statistics have shown that while side impact accidents have decreased in Chicago, rear end collisions have increased. A Chicago Tribune study found that while side angle “T-bone” crashes were reduced by 15%, rear-end crashes increased by 22% during the same period of time.

The Chicago Tribune has criticized the Illinois Department of Safety for approving red light cameras in intersections considered safe when the whole premise of red light cameras was for the reduction of dangerous crashes in accident-prone areas. A Tribune analysis found that more than half the intersections with cameras did not meet the IDOT’s own threshold and were among the safest in IDOT studies at the time the agency approved the cameras. It bemoaned the installation of red light cameras at Illinois Highway 83 and 22nd Street and exposed the politics of IDOT’s decision in doing so. In a separate occasion, policemen in West Dundee lauded red light cameras for their usefulness in catching other road-related incidents such as a hit and run, an inebriated man behind the wheel and a road rage accident – however, if the fundamentals apply in this case, it can be legitimately argued, these are not the primary objectives of the red light camera program.

The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. understand the concept of red light cameras and how it strives to address immediate problems such as preventing deadly right-angle crashes and in the long run, help facilitate a change in motorists’ behavior while on the road.  Drivers in an effort to avoid being recipients to costly citations are induced to be more mindful and slow down once the light turns yellow, instead of speeding ahead to narrowly miss a red light. Studies are inconclusive whether or not this is working. It has yet to be proven that red light cameras are more about saving lives than filling coffers.