When a car accident happens in Chicago, you may be unsure what to do. Depending on the severity of the collision, it can be unclear whether you’re required to call the police. If you know someone else is at fault for your car accident, however, calling the police can be beneficial, regardless of whether you’re required to.

Having a police report can serve as strong evidence if you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to fight for a settlement for your damages. If you’re having questions about your car accident and whether you have grounds for a lawsuit, you can speak to a Chicago car accident lawyer from Lane Brown, LLC. Our team will investigate your accident and help move your claim in the right direction.

When You’re Required to Call the Police after a Chicago Car Accident

You’re required to call the police after a car accident in Chicago if the accident results in bodily injury, death, or $1,500 in property damage. Although this may seem like an easy law to follow, you may not initially know the value of the damage that has been done to your car.

To play it safe, you should call the police if you see any property damage after a car accident. Even if your car accident seems unsubstantial on the scene, you should file a report for your Chicago car accident after the fact. By giving the police information about your wreck, you’ll provide yourself with evidence if you end up in court.

How to File a Police Report for Your Chicago Car Accident

You must file your police report within ten days of your Chicago accident. If you don’t file a report and your accident resulted in bodily injury, death, or property damage over $1,500, you can be fined.

You can file your report by completing a motorist crash report with the Illinois Department of Transportation. This report will ask for specific information from your car accident, such as when and where the accident happened, who was involved, how it occurred, and detailed vehicle information about all drivers.

Proving Negligence against the Liable Party in Your Wreck

If you realize that you’ve experienced significant damage from your accident, such as medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages from missing work, you can sue the liable party by proving negligence. Your police report will come in handy as evidence in your case, but you may also need photographs and witness statements from the scene of the accident to support your claim.

Contact a Chicago Car Accident Attorney

By taking the rights steps at the beginning of your accident, you can maximize your settlement later on. Speaking to an experienced attorney as soon as your accident occurs will be helpful if you want to avoid making mistakes while pursuing compensation. To speak with a Chicago car accident lawyer from Lane Brown, LLC, call 312-332-1400 or fill out the contact form below to schedule a free consultation.

We would like to report that 2014 will be the year when there are no driving fatalities in Illinois, but we won’t be able to do it. Despite the Illinois Department of Transportation’s “Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality” campaign, there were 200 deaths from Illinois motor vehicle accidents between January 1, 2014 and April 22, 2014.

Why Is the Focus on Zero?

The Illinois Department of Transportation explains its campaign by emphasizing that every life counts. Even one death caused by a preventable accident is too many. It not only cuts short the life of someone who did not have to die, but it leaves family and friends grieving.

Thus, the state is encouraging drivers from the crowded Chicago Skyway to the rural parts of Illinois to work together to prevent car accidents. Everyone is encouraged to drive defensively, to drive without distractions, to drive sober, and to wear seat belts. While the goal of zero deaths is admirable, it depends on the cooperation of every single driver, which makes it difficult to achieve.

If Zero Is Unachievable, Why Try?

Not every driver is going to do what it takes to prevent a fatal car accident on I-90 or on the back roads. Yet when more drivers try, fewer fatalities may occur and fewer families may be left grieving.

As of April 22, 2014, there were 93 fewer deaths on Illinois roads than there were during the same period of 2013. That is a good thing, and if reaching for zero helps us save lives, it is a goal worth reaching for.

What do you think of the “Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality” campaign? Please leave a comment in the space below and share your thoughts with us.



Practical Ways You Can Help Your Teen Avoid a Car Accident

Parents know that, despite their best efforts to raise safe drivers, teens are sometimes going to make poor choices behind the wheel. However, you may be able to help your son or daughter avoid a wreck by opening the conversation as soon as your child is old enough to learn to drive. While it may seem like there’s a lot to cover, it doesn’t have to be a long or difficult lecture. According to the National Safety Council, it really boils down to addressing two major issues with new drivers.

Setting the “Rules of the Road” in Your Family

Teens learn about Illinois traffic laws as they study for their licenses, but don’t forget that you can also set your own rules at home. Think about how you want your new drivers to handle temptations behind the wheel, such as responding to text messages, and what your expectation are when they have the keys. Once you and your teens have agreed on the rules, have them sign a “new driver deal.” Make sure you establish what the consequences are if the rules are broken, and talk about how to handle unexpected events on the road.

Not sure what to include in your household rules? Take a look at some examples of safe-driving rules for teens.

Driver Inexperience Increases the Chances of a Wreck

Teens are more often involved in car accidents at least in part because they don’t have a lot of experience as drivers. Teens can panic or become overwhelmed on the road, especially in unfamiliar places or conditions. They may be more likely to take unnecessary risks, either as drivers or passengers, or they may be slow to react to other drivers’ actions on the road. However, the good news is that putting in some extra practice hours can help teens overcome the risks of inexperience. Here are some things parents can do:

  • Give your teen regular time to practice driving, whether alone or with you there to help. Make sure your teen knows how to drive in all kinds of situations, on all kinds of road, and in all kinds of weather.
  • Even if their phones are out of sight, inexperienced teens can also be distracted by other people in the car. Until your son or daughter feels safe and confident while driving, consider limiting the number of passengers allowed.
  • Initially, consider restricting driving time to daylight hours. It’s a scary statistic, but the fatal crash rate for 16-year-olds doubles at night.

Although it’s hard to think about, too many teens are hurt or killed in car accidents each year. While your young driver may follow the rules faithfully, you can’t always count on the safe choices of other drivers. If your child has been seriously hurt in a wreck, don’t hesitate to call our legal team at 312-332-1400 for immediate assistance.

Parents Need to Be Ready to Help Teens Deal With Insurance Companies After an Accident

As a parent, there’s a lot you’ll need to do for your teen after he or she has been hurt in a car accident. However, as concern about your teen’s physical recovery takes the top priority, don’t forget about protecting his or her legal rights, too. There are some things teens should know about dealing with another driver’s insurance company after a serious wreck, and it’s up to you to help them avoid wrecking their rights.

What Teens Need to Understand About the Other Driver’s Insurance Company After a Wreck

Even as an experienced adult, it can be difficult to deal with the demands of pursuing compensation for a serious injury in an accident. Teens, however, don’t have an adult’s experience with driving, and they often don’t understand potential pitfalls of filing an injury claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company. Before he or she is contacted by an insurance adjuster, here’s what your teen should know:

  • The insurance company is trying to help, but they don’t work for your family. No matter how friendly or helpful the insurance company’s representatives may seem, they are trained to minimize how much their employer must pay out after an accident. While they aren’t really “out to get you,” they are interested in any information that may help them reduce the amount an injury claim is ultimately worth.
  • Always stick to the facts and the truth. Many teens think that they can help by exaggerating or lying about what happened, but they need to know that this is more likely to hurt the chances of success. If they have been legitimately injured because of another driver’s negligence, there is absolutely no need to lie or “pad the truth.” However, it is important that they stick to facts and avoid offering more information than is strictly necessary. If your family is having trouble deciding what is appropriate, don’t be afraid to talk with an attorney and bring your teen along.
  • Be careful what you post online. Most modern teens are hooked on social media and post everything about their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. However, insurance companies can and will look for information about your teen online that could be used to call a claim into question. If in doubt, make sure your teen knows not to talk about the accident online—you might even consider having your teen avoid social media entirely until everything has been settled.

The aftermath of a serious accident can be especially hard on teens, but it is possible to get through it. This little bit of simple guidance about the reality of dealing with an insurance company can save you and your teen a lot of struggles down the road and help you find success in your case.

Get Help With Your Accident Questions Today

If your family needs help after your teenaged child has been involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced legal team 312-332-1400 for a free case review and answers to your questions. We have extensive experience working with children, teens, and families in difficult legal situations, and we would be happy to answer your questions today.

Angry, Irritated, and Aggressive Drivers Cause Accidents and Take Lives

Heavy traffic, road work, delays, or even just a bad day can cause drivers to lose their tempers, and we’ve probably all had a few moments in our driving histories where we’ve gotten a little irritated—or even downright mad. However, allowing that anger and aggression to creep into your driving behavior is a big mistake. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has estimated that aggressive driving behaviors cause more than half of all traffic deaths and are a serious risk on the road.

Aggressive Driving Is More Than Just “Road Rage”

While “road rage” is one form of aggressive driving, it isn’t the only kind. The AAA Foundation mentions a number of other driving behaviors that may be motivated by anger or aggression, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Driving slowly in a passing lane
  • Tailgating other cars
  • Racing with other cars
  • Ignoring traffic regulations

While most drivers say that they believe aggressive driving is dangerous, around half of the drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation reported that they had driven over the speed limit in the last month—one of the most common aggressive behaviors. And keep in mind that just one aggressive driver in the mix can trigger aggressive driving by others in the area.

Have you been hurt in an accident by an aggressive driver or “road rage” incident? You can get help with your legal questions by calling our law office at 312-332-1400, and you can also start getting informed by requesting a copy of our free book, The 8 Steps to Follow After Your Illinois Car Accident.

Study Shows That Drivers Are Distracted by More Than Just Calls and Texts

We spend a lot of time talking about some of the most common causes of distracted-driving accidents, like texting or taking calls behind the wheel. But even though cell phones and smartphones are involved in a large number of wrecks, they’re not the only distraction behind the wheel. A recent study was highlighted in the Chicago Tribune—just in time for April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month—that shows that drivers may be distracted by anything from a quick kiss to guitar practice behind the wheel.

Drivers Admit to All Kinds of Scary Distractions Behind the Wheel

Erie Insurance surveyed approximately 2,000 drivers during an informal, three-day study of distracted driving at the end of February 2015. Although it wasn’t conducted as a scientific study, their results showed that about thirty percent of drivers admitted to taking risks by texting and driving—but smaller percentages of drivers admitted to engaging in a whole range surprising and potentially dangerous distractions while driving, including:

  • Taking “selfies”
  • Putting in contact lenses
  • Dental hygiene, like brushing and flossing
  • Putting on makeup
  • Styling hair
  • Changing drivers while a vehicle is in operation

In fact, Erie Insurance says that simple daydreaming behind the wheel leads to more fatal accidents than any other type of distraction. Remember that you are distracted any time something takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off the task at hand—and any distraction can be a danger to others on the road.

If you or a family member has already been seriously hurt by a distracted or reckless driver, you can get immediate help with your questions today. Read through a free copy of our book, The 8 Steps to Follow After Your Illinois Car Accident, or reach out to our law office directly at 312-332-1400.

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