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IL accident lawyerThe Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) maintains a running total of traffic accident fatalities each year, which provides important data to identify trends and inform the state’s efforts to implement safety measures. Two years ago, we looked at the 2019 fatality statistics in Illinois and noted that there had been a decline in fatal accidents from the previous year. Unfortunately, this trend has reversed in the last two years, resulting in a troubling increase in accident fatalities. With this in mind, it is important to take all available safety precautions when you are on the road and to understand what you can do if you lose a loved one in a fatal car crash.

Fatal Car Accidents and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Illinois law enforcement reports that the rise in car crash fatalities has coincided with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, despite there being fewer drivers on the road overall, there was a substantially higher number of fatal accidents compared to 2019. Officers cite higher speeds and greater use of alcohol and drugs as contributors to this increase. Statewide, fatal accidents increased by 16 percent from the previous year, and in Chicago, fatal accidents increased by 45 percent. These numbers made 2020 the worst year for fatal Illinois car accidents in 13 years.

As the pandemic has continued into 2021, the number of fatal accidents has also continued to increase. As of this writing, there have been 727 traffic fatalities in Illinois this year, which is an increase of 55 from the same time in 2020.

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IL accident lawyerAlmost everyone has had the experience of feeling drowsy while driving, especially given our busy lifestyles and tendencies to stay up late or forgo the sleep we need to stay fully rested. While drowsy driving may seem fairly innocent, it can have very serious consequences. This is especially true for drivers of commercial semi-trucks, who can easily lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident if they start to drift off to sleep even for a few seconds. If you have been injured in a truck accident, drowsy driving may have been a contributing factor, and you could be entitled to compensation from multiple liable parties.

What Causes Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving, otherwise known as driver fatigue, can happen for many different reasons. Lack of sleep is one of the most common, including in cases in which the driver generally does not get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each day, as well as cases in which the driver is on the road late into the night. Drowsiness is also a common side effect of many medications, and it can start to take hold when a driver has consumed alcohol or certain other drugs.

Among commercial truck drivers, however, one of the most prevalent causes of drowsy driving is the pressure to work long hours, most of them behind the wheel, in order to meet delivery schedules. In order to curb this problem, there are federal regulations in place that limit a driver’s hours of service.

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IL injury lawyerWith many Illinois students returning to in-person schooling in the coming weeks, school buses will become a common sight again on the roads. Just like any other motor vehicle, school buses are sometimes involved in accidents that result in serious injuries. Although these accidents are fairly uncommon, they can be some of the most complicated when it comes to recovering compensation. If you or your child is injured in a school bus accident, a personal injury attorney can help you determine who is at fault and take the appropriate steps to settle or resolve your claim.

School Bus Accidents in Illinois

Illinois has had its fair share of serious school bus accidents, with perhaps the most notable being a 1995 railroad crossing collision in Fox River Grove, in which seven students lost their lives. Certainly, not every school bus accident results in such tragic losses, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that school buses are actually one of the safest forms of transportation for passengers. However, in 2019, there were still more than 1,200 school bus accidents in Illinois. More than 200 of those crashes resulted in injuries.

All told, in 2019, 85 school-age children and 39 school bus drivers were injured in Illinois school bus accidents. Occupants of other vehicles are also at risk of injuries in collisions with school buses, and they tend to suffer some of the most severe injuries.

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IL injury lawyerLaw enforcement officers often have dangerous jobs, and they can be injured in any number of ways while performing their duties. Of course, there is the risk of intentional injury at the hands of a criminal suspect or a person who chooses to target a police officer, but patrolling officers are also often injured in car accidents. Just this past weekend, an Illinois State trooper in Chicago was injured while conducting a traffic stop when he was struck by a driver who was subsequently charged with a DUI. Fortunately, officers and their families have options for recovering compensation for injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Workers’ Compensation and Other Benefits

Like most employees in Illinois, law enforcement officers who are injured in the course of their work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their employers. These benefits provide for the costs of an injured officer’s medical care, and they can also provide lost wage benefits when the injuries result in long-term or permanent disabilities. Officers also have additional protection under the Illinois Public Employee Disability Act, which provides benefits in the full amount of the officer’s salary for the first year of their disability. These benefits are often the first place an injured officer should look for the compensation they need.

Third-Party Liability

In many cases when an officer is injured in a car crash, especially when the officer is on foot, the fault lies with the driver of the other vehicle. As such, there may be another available avenue for compensation in the form of a third-party personal injury claim. As with any personal injury claim, an injured law enforcement officer will need to demonstrate that their injuries were caused by another party’s negligence. For example, the driver may have been speeding, driving recklessly, or operating while distracted or under the influence of a controlled substance.

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IL accident lawyerThis summer, jet ski accidents have been brought to public attention in Illinois after a couple of tragic incidents. In June, a man died in the Illinois River near Peoria when his jet ski became submerged. Then, in July, another man lost his life in a collision between his jet ski and another in Lake Michigan near Chicago. There is clearly a risk of serious injury for anyone who rides a jet ski, but you may wonder just how prevalent these accidents are, and what you can do if you or a loved one is injured.

Illinois Jet Ski Injury Statistics

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) publishes an annual recreational boating report, which includes statistics regarding accidents, injuries, and fatalities throughout the year. According to the most recently published report, between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, there were 36 recreational boating injuries and 21 fatalities throughout Illinois. Twelve of those injuries were due to accidents involving personal watercraft, including jet skis. Fortunately, there were no personal watercraft fatalities during that time frame, but recent accidents demonstrate that the risk is there.

According to the United States Coast Guard, jet skis and other personal watercraft are responsible for hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths throughout the U.S. each year. These vessels account for about 20 percent of all recreational boating injuries, and about 8 percent of all recreational boating fatalities.

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