In 2012, Cook County had more than 131,000 car crashes. Of these, 37,000 resulted in non-fatal injury and more than 3,100 resulted in what the Illinois Department of Transportation calls an “A” injury—an injury that prevents the person from walking, driving, or carrying out everyday activities that could be performed before the accident. These staggering statistics are the highest of all counties in the state.
More than half of all Illinois car accidents occurred on city streets and roads while less than 20 percent happened on state highways.
Crashes caused by speeding account for almost 30 percent of all car crashes in Illinois. Exceeding the posted speed limit, running red lights, and other speeding and reckless or careless driving behaviors cause aggressive drivers put themselves and others in danger. They may also weave between the lanes without signaling.
The probability of sustaining serious injuries is three times higher in speed-related crashes than in non-speed related crashes. Speeding contributes to the impact of a car crash, because it:
If a driver exceeds the speed limit and collides with another vehicle, that driver could be given a summons for a criminal offense.
In Cook County in 2012, about 27 percent of fatal crashes were caused by drunk driving. Drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol violate the law and put themselves and others at risk. Causing bodily harm or death through an accident escalates the criminal charges against them.
In Illinois, a driver faces drunk-driving charges when his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) measures at or above 0.08 percent. This varies, however, by whether the driver is a minor or operates with a commercial driver’s license. In both these cases, the threshold is lower.
If a driver’s BAC exceeds the legal threshold, he or she is in violation of Illinois DUI law and faces criminal charges, which are intentionally severe.
In January 2013, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released revealing survey results: Motorists who use cell phones while driving are more likely to engage in other activities that include speeding, driving while sleepy, driving without a seat belt, and sending texts and emails. A driver can be distracted either by external or internal factors. A driver could stop paying attention to the road by looking out the window at buildings, signage and accidents. Inside the car, drivers could be distracted by their cell phones—talking, texting, emailing, accessing the Internet—or by eating, drinking, and adjusting settings on the dashboard. Without any indication to those around them, they could easily shift into another lane or off the road.
As of January 1, 2014, Chicago’s cell phone ban, that is, cell phone use in the car is only legal through a hands-free device, extends to the entire state. That means if the driver who strikes your car was using his or her cell phone, there could be criminal charges against them as well.
Rear-end collisions accounted for 29 percent of all car crashes in Illinois in 2012. This kind of collision is the most common type. It’s often caused by a driver’s failure to brake in time. It could be the result of driver distraction, following too closely, or faulty brakes. Pushed from behind, the car that’s struck could spin out of control, causing even more damage if it collides with other vehicles or road barriers. Fault is usually assigned to the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the car in front of it. If it’s a three-car accident, fault is usually assigned to the driver of the first car that caused the collision.
Nearly 14 percent of 2012 car crashes in the state were caused by turning vehicles. This could be caused by speeding, driver distraction, or road obstructions, among other factors. According to a 2012 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers, failure to appropriately use turn signals results in twice as many accidents as distracted driving.
Almost 12 percent of 2012 Illinois car crashes occurred with a parked car and another nearly 12 percent with a fixed object, such as a tree, building, or road barrier. However, crashes with fixed objects account for the largest number of fatal accidents in the state.
Sideswipes represented nearly 10 percent of Illinois car accidents. A sideswipe happens when two cars parallel to each other make impact. They could either be heading in the same direction or opposite direction. A sideswipe in the same direction is far more common. In these types of accidents, injuries and damages could be minimal unless the weight and speed of the colliding vehicles cause one or both of the cars to spiral out of control.
Determining the cause of your car accident is not a trivial matter. It can also help to determine who is at fault. Illinois adheres to comparative negligence law. This means that if you contributed to the accident, comparative negligence law determines who receives compensation and in what amount. As the plaintiff, the party filing the complaint, you can only recover damages if you are less than 50 percent at fault. If you were, for instance, 30 percent at fault, the other driver’s insurance company might only want to pay for 70 percent of your damages. But with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney as your advocate, you stand the greatest chance of receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an car accident in Illinois, contact one of our experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at or email us today.