Fatal Injuries in Car Crashes
Fatal auto collisions are thankfully a small percentage of all crashes in Chicago. Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation show that in 2012, the last year for which data was published, Cook County saw a total of 131,402 crashes, with only 252 of those including fatalities.
But as small as that number seems in comparison to the total crashes, that’s 252 lives lost and 252 families shattered when their loved one didn’t come home. Many fatal accidents are preventable, and happen because another driver was distracted by a cell phone, intoxicated, or driving faster than they should have been — or sometimes because of a combination of those factors. If someone you know has suffered fatal injuries from an accident, you should contact a lawyer for car accidents today at (312) 236-2900.
Common Causes of Fatal Crashes
- Distracted Driving — Drivers talking on cell phones, texting, eating, or putting on makeup usually aren’t giving as much attention to the road as they should. This can lead to running red lights or stop signs, or drifting into other lanes, and causing collisions. These drivers often don’t slow down before a crash because they’re too distracted to react, and they can cause a lot of damage when they crash into another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist.
- Impaired Driving — When drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their reaction time is slowed. They may weave in and out of lanes or drive at high speeds because they’re just too impaired to handle a car. When they collide with a vehicle or a person, tragedy often is the result.
- Speeding — The faster a person drives, the harder the impact when he or she crashes. Higher speed impacts may result in very serious injuries that can be fatal.
- Adverse Weather — Bad weather often can be a factor that contributes to fatal traffic accidents, but also often in combination with negligence on the part of a driver who isn’t being cautious enough in bad driving conditions.
- Rollover Accidents — People involved in rollover crashes, especially those not wearing seat belts, may sustain impacts from multiple directions and suffer massive injuries to multiple parts of their body, or be ejected from the vehicle.
Injuries Most Likely To Be Fatal
- Head and Brain Injuries — Skull fractures and brain injuries can be immediately fatal, or result in delayed fatalities.
- Neck Injuries — An impact with enough force or at the wrong angle may cause a person’s head and neck to snap back and forth, which can break the spinal cord. A broken neck can be instantly fatal.
- Chest Injuries — In head-on collisions, the chest may be crushed and result in internal bleeding or damage to internal organs so severe that the injury is fatal.
- Burn Injuries — Some collisions may result in burns so serious that they are fatal.
Not every fatality is instant. Sometimes a person may be hospitalized for days or weeks with injuries suffered in the accident. Head injuries may lead to a coma, or a spinal cord break or serious burns may not be immediately fatal. Delayed fatalities are perhaps the most tragic because they add to a family’s emotional toll in the aftermath of an accident as they watch their loved one suffer, and their hope fades that their loved one will recover.
Claims in Fatal Car Crashes
When someone you love suffers fatal injuries in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional action, you may have a claim for compensation under Illinois law. Money doesn’t bring your loved one back, but it can help secure your family’s financial future in the wake of your loss.
Depending upon the circumstances of the accident and your loved one’s death, you may have a claim under the Wrongful Death Act for loss of your loved one’s economic contributions, loss of your relationship with your loved one, and for your grief and emotional suffering. If the injuries weren’t immediately fatal, you may have a claim under the Survival Act for medical bills related to your loved one’s injuries and other personal injury damages your family member would have been able to claim had he or she lived.
An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can discuss with you the circumstances of your loved one’s death and what kind of claim for compensation you may have. Contact a fatal attorney today at (312) 236-2900.
if you’ve been hurt, staver can help.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you manage the paperwork, insurance adjusters, and defense attorneys so you can focus on your health and getting the appropriate treatment. Please call us today for a free legal consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
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