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Criminal Charges in Head-On Collisions Can Support Civil Claims for Damages

Posted on in Car Accidents

Waukegan Motor Vehicle Lawyer Head-on collisions between two cars are relatively rare compared to other types of car accidents, but they are much more likely to be fatal or cause serious injuries. In Lake County alone, there were 130 head-on collisions—more than two per week—in 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. 10 of these crashes, 7.7 percent, resulted in a fatality. 33 of these crashes, 25 percent, resulted in serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room. For perspective, there were 2.744 accidents where one vehicle was turning at the time of the crash. Just 0.5 percent of those crashes resulted in a fatality and 3.3 percent resulted in serious injuries.

Head-on collisions do not always involve another vehicle. They can also involve a car running into a tree or embankment. Out of 1,542 crashes involving a fixed object in Lake County in 2016, nine of them, 0.6 percent, resulted in a fatality and 64 of those crashes, 4.2%, resulted in serious injury.

Criminal Charges Help Support Claims for Damages

Excessive speed, improper lane usage, distracted driving, driver fatigue, and alcohol or drug impairment can all contribute to these types of crashes. When a driver is charged with a traffic violation in conjunction with an accident, that helps make the case that the driver was negligent and should be held responsible for financial damages to injured victims. A driver who was particularly reckless and caused a fatality can even be charged with the crime of reckless homicide. If the police do file criminal charges against the driver, that adds substantial weight to the passengers’ claims of negligence and their right for compensation.

Excessive Speed Can Contribute to Head-On and Fixed-Object Crashes

The Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team investigates car accidents in which someone is seriously injured or killed. In March 2019, they were called to investigate a crash that occurred about 3:45 am.m on northbound Route 41 where the road veers sharply to the left. They determined that the driver was exceeding the 45 mph speed limit when it failed to follow the curve in the road and instead drove off the right side of the road and struck several trees. The driver and one passenger were hospitalized with serious injuries and another passenger was killed. A fourth passenger was wearing a seatbelt and sustained only minor injuries. The driver will likely be found at fault for this accident, exposing him to a wrongful death claim from the family of the passenger who died as well a claim for damages from the other severely injured passenger.

Improper Lane Usage Can Contribute to Head-On Crashes

In July 2018, a woman was killed in head-on crash on Route 45 in Lake County. A 17-year-old driver was deemed responsible for the crash, as he crossed the center line of the highway into oncoming traffic and collided with the woman’s car. Police charged the teen with improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Consult an Experienced Waukegan Car Accident Lawyer

When someone is seriously injured or killed in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to minimize the amount they pay out in damages. Before accepting a settlement, consult a knowledgeable Lake County car accident attorney to discuss the potential value of your claim and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303 for a free consultation.

Sources:

http://apps.dot.illinois.gov/eplan/desenv/crash/County%20Summaries/Year%202016/Lake.pdf

https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/2019/04/04/speed-was-a-factor-in-fatal-crash-on-route-41-in-lake-forest-police-say/

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/teen-faces-charges-in-fatal-lake-county-crash-506957311.html

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