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How an Uninsured Motorist Affects Your Personal Injury CaseA personal injury case involving a vehicle accident will start with filing an insurance claim before you decide whether to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. While you have two years in Illinois to file a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance claim process will start almost immediately. If the other driver was at fault for your injuries, their insurance will likely be responsible for compensating you. However, what happens if the driver at fault does not have auto insurance? In Illinois, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay you instead.

How Does It Work?

Illinois requires auto insurance providers to include uninsured motorist coverage in all insurance plans, whereas other states may only require that insurers offer it. Your insurance will compensate you if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, including if:

  • You were driving another vehicle;
  • You were a passenger in the uninsured driver’s vehicle; or
  • You were a cyclist or pedestrian.

Your insurance policy will also compensate you if the liable driver is underinsured. In that instance, your insurer would pay the difference between what the other insurance company pays you and your medical expenses, up to the limit of your policy. However, your insurance might not cover property damage caused by an uninsured party, depending on the type of policy you have.

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Compensation for Third Parties Injured During Police ChasesWhen a police officer pursues a driver who is attempting to flee, they do so knowing that the chase could put other drivers and pedestrians at risk of injury or death. If you are injured during a police chase, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against both parties. The party being chased is clearly liable if they directly caused your injury by colliding with you. They may still be liable if the police vehicle collided with you because they were the proximate cause of the chase. It is more difficult to prove that a police officer is liable for your injury. State law grants tort immunity to police officers for most actions in the line of duty. If you file a personal injury lawsuit against a police department, it will likely ask the court for summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit. However, you should contest a summary judgment if the police officer’s actions were reckless.

Police Policy

Police departments have policies about when officers should initiate and terminate a high-speed chase. For instance, the city of Chicago’s policy states that officers need to balance the necessity of catching a fleeing party against the danger it could create for bystanders. Officers must consider factors such as whether:

  • They are in an area with a high volume of vehicles or pedestrians;
  • The chase requires driving at a speed that is unsafe for the area;
  • The weather or road conditions will make the pursuit more dangerous;
  • The suspect has already caused property damage; or
  • The suspect has been identified, allowing the officer to apprehend them later.

Chicago’s policy prohibits officers from chasing a subject who is suspected of a non-hazardous traffic offense. Violating these policies does not make a police department automatically liable for personal injuries, but it is evidence in determining whether the officer was willfully or wantonly reckless.

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The Dangers of Teenage Driving and How to Protect ThemThe summer is a time of year when many teens are learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license. While teens may be excited by this life development, parents have reason to be concerned about their safety. Drivers ages 16 to 19 are more likely to be in a vehicle accident than any other age group in the U.S. In 2016, more than 2,400 teens in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle accidents and almost 300,000 were treated for personal injuries. As a parent, you need to be aware of the dangers that teenage drivers face and how you can protect them.

Dangers

The main reason that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents is the most obvious reason: they lack driving experience. Beyond the technical aspects of operating a vehicle, learning to drive is about making quick judgment calls. Teen drivers are more likely to:

  • Drive at speeds that are unsafe for the conditions;
  • Misjudge how they need to react to a hazard;
  • Become distracted by digital devices or friends in the vehicle; and
  • Forget to wear their seatbelts.

Teens may also make poor decisions before they start driving, such as drinking alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. A teen driver with any amount of alcohol in their system is breaking the law. Even if a teen’s blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit for an adult, they may not be able to drive safely with that level of intoxication.

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Illinois Police Warn of Danger from Trucks that Bypass Weigh StationsThe Illinois State Police is responding to what it believes is a significant number of truck drivers who avoid the mandatory weigh stations along Illinois highways. Officers are stationed near weigh stations, watching for trucks that do not pass through the weigh stations or violate other traffic laws. “Operation ByPass” is currently focused on Illinois State Police District 5, which includes Grundy, Kendall, and Will counties. Drivers across Illinois are at risk of personal injury from being in a crash with a commercial truck that is over the weight limit.

Problems with Overweight Trucks

Illinois requires trucks to go through weigh stations because a truck that is over the weight limit could cause damage to bridges and overpasses. The maximum allowable weight depends on the number of axles and the length between them. No truck is allowed to weight more than 80,000 pounds. Overweight trucks are also dangerous to other drivers on the road and can increase the risk of accidents. Because of their size and weight, trucks normally have more difficulty:

  • Maneuvering;
  • Making wide turns;
  • Coming to a quick stop; and
  • Maintaining control when going downhill.

These driving problems increase as a truck gets heavier. When a truck is over the weight limit, its response time will be slower than other drivers normally expect from a truck.

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Five Common Causes of Motorcycle CrashesMotorcycles riders are vulnerable in ways that other motorists are not. Even wearing all the recommended safety gear can only do so much to protect a rider during an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to receive personal injury compensation if another party was at fault. However, proving fault may depend on what caused the accident. Here are five common causes of motorcycle accidents and the likelihood that someone else was at fault.

  1. Other Moving Vehicles: Common accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles involve left turns, lane changes, and rear-ending. Drivers of larger vehicles can be careless about watching for motorcycles, misjudge their speed or simply not see them in their blind spots. The driver of the other vehicle may be at fault for your accident if their actions put you in danger and you attempted to use defensive riding techniques to avoid the accident.
  2. Open Car Doors: People inside parked vehicles can cause motorcycle accidents when they suddenly open their doors. It can be difficult to see a motorcycle coming from behind, though some people fail to look when exiting the vehicle. Whether the person in the vehicle was at fault largely depends on whether you were traveling at a safe speed. Motorcycles should be extra cautious when riding down a narrow road with parked vehicles.
  3. Road Hazards: Riders are at risk of losing control of their motorcycles when they encounter surfaces that are wet or covered in debris. There is no liable party when the weather makes the road slick unless the negligent design of the road caused an unnatural accumulation of water or ice. A public road in disrepair may cause an accident, but local governments are immune from lawsuits unless you can prove willful and wanton negligence. Property owners may be liable for the unnatural debris they create on the road adjacent to their properties. For instance, lawn clippings can become slick when combined with rain and many municipalities have ordinances against blowing lawn clippings into the street.
  4. Speeding: Many motorcycle accidents can be avoided if the rider is able to slow down in time. Riders are at least partially at fault for an accident when they are traveling at unsafe speeds. The safe speed may be below the speed limit if the road conditions are poor or the rider is approaching a sharp curve in the road.
  5. Riding Under the Influence: Riding your motorcycle while intoxicated is an avoidable hazard. Other parties will not be liable if you were drunk at the time of your accident.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries to riders, if not death. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive the compensation you need to cover your medical costs and suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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