September 2011 Archives

3 Truck Accidents In 9 Hours On Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway

September 29, 2011, by

There were three truck accidents on Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway within a 9-hour span early Tuesday.

According to a CBS Chicago story from September 27 titled "3 Truck Crashes In 9 Hours On Dan Ryan Expressway" :

A semi and dump truck were involved in a crash in the inbound local lanes of the Dan Ryan near 57th street around 1 a.m., according to the Illinois State Police. No injuries were reported.

Also, about five hours later, around 6:10 a.m., another semi truck was in an accident about 5 miles north. This truck flipped over and hit two cars in the outbound lanes. According to the Illinois State Police, the accident occurred near the Taylor Street - Roosevelt Road exit. It is unknown if injuries were sustained during this accident.

Continue reading "3 Truck Accidents In 9 Hours On Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway" »

Cab Driver Safety In Chicago - Investigative Reports

September 25, 2011, by

Lately there have been quite a few media stories about Chicago cab drivers and various facets related to some of their driving records.

One such story on September 22, from Channel 2 (CBS Chicago) is titled "2 Investigators: City Vows To Crack Down On Dangerous Cabbies."

One of the problems is that although some cab drivers get issued many tickets, they have far less convictions stemming from these tickets. As the story says:

It happens because many of the tickets - sometimes, most of them -- get dismissed because the complaining witness is not in court. Typically that's the police officer who wrote them.

Another problem has to do with the insurance coverage cabbies carry. As stated in the article:

The crashes underscore another problem, says Michelle Crayton's attorney.

"What is most outrageous is that the vast majority of cabs on the road today have the same level of insurance that they had 23 years ago," he said.

That level of insurance is $350,000 per incident, the minimum required by the city. That won't cover the medical costs for Crayton's broken arm, hip, leg and back.

There are policy changes in the offing. As stated by the article:

Now, a citywide review of rules and ordinances for cabs is underway to update them, including the $350,000 insurance minimum.

A cab driver with three or more convictions for moving violations in the past year will no longer get his license renewed.

The city's working to set up an electronic notification process to quickly get police information about tickets and accidents.

Another story has been done by the Chicago Tribune. This story was seen in the September 23 paper, titled "Cabbies pile up tickets but stay on the road."

This story is relatively extensive and contains a variety of statistics. One notable excerpt from the story:

An analysis by the newspaper suggests that a far higher percentage of tickets are thrown out for cabbies on average than for regular drivers. The frequent court dismissals have repeatedly helped cabbies keep their chauffeur's licenses -- including drivers who were later blamed for injuring or killing pedestrians.

Continue reading "Cab Driver Safety In Chicago - Investigative Reports" »

Lawsuit Filed In Morton Grove Illinois Health Club Injury

September 24, 2011, by

A personal injury lawsuit has been filed in response to an accident that occurred in a health club.

Olga Chernyavskaya claims that while she was exercising on September 26, 2009, at a Bally's Total Fitness Club at 6821 W. Dempster Street in Morton Grove, Illinois, she was injured by a leg curl machine.

She claims in the lawsuit that the leg curl machine failed to stop when she stopped exercising, and it struck her in the face and shoulder.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims Bally and Magnum Fitness Systems negligently failed to maintain and inspect the exercise machines, provide adequate safeguards, or a safety lock.

The lawsuit seeks more than $100,000 in damages and court costs.

Both parties, Bally and Magnum Fitness, could not be reached for comment.

Additional details and possible updates can be found in the September 22 Chicago Sun-Times story titled "Suit: Leg machine injures woman's face and shoulder."

Injuries Caused By Damaged Sidewalks In Chicago

September 24, 2011, by

The problem of crumbling and poorly maintained sidewalks in Chicago was featured in a September 20 CBS Chicago (Channel 2) segment. This is recapped in an article titled "Thousands Of Crumbling Sidewalks Going Unfixed."

Some excerpts from the article:

It's not hard to find cracked, broken and crumbling sidewalks in Chicago. Just about every neighborhood has problem and sometimes dangerous sidewalks and it's likely to get worse with budget cutbacks threatened by the mayor.


Last year, Chicago officials received 12,596 requests for sidewalk repairs.

Of those, 971 were fixed and then the city replaced another 172 blocks of sidewalks as part of their regular maintenance - an effort that left thousands of sidewalks in disrepair.


The 2 Investigators have learned that, over the past three years, the city has paid out $3.5 million to people injured by broken sidewalks.

Michael Surratt received one of the largest settlements - $375,000 - after tripping on a hole and falling on a downtown sidewalk.

Continue reading "Injuries Caused By Damaged Sidewalks In Chicago" »

$975,000 Settlement Of Lincoln Park Balcony Fall Wrongful Death Lawsuit

September 21, 2011, by

The family of a 24-year-old man who fell to his death from the balcony of a Chicago (Lincoln Park) apartment in 2007 has reached a $975,000 settlement with the building's owner.

The settlement was part of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Sean Heflin.

The accident happened on July 1, 2007 as Sean Heflin was attending a party at the home of his girlfriend in the 1900 block of North Bissell. He fell from a second-floor balcony onto the concrete below. He suffered traumatic brain injuries and died seven months later.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, the family alleged the porch railings were not in compliance with building code ordinances; they were approximately 10 inches lower than the Chicago building code requirement of 42 inches.

Additional information on this story as well as possible updates can be found in the Chicago Sun-Times article of September 13 titled "Family of Lincoln Park fall victim reach $975,000 settlement with building owner."

NTSB Recommendation To Ban Trucker Cellphone Use While Driving

September 21, 2011, by

The NTSB has recommended that truckers not be allowed to use either handheld or hands-free cellular telephones while driving during commercial operations, except in emergencies.

This recommendation is seen in an accident report of a fatal collision that occurred in Kentucky on March 26, 2010.

As seen in the "Highway Accident Report: Truck-trailer Semitrailer Median Crossover Collision with 15-Passenger Van...", the use of a cellphone by a trucker is said to have caused a "distracted driver" situation that led to the March 26, 2010 accident in which 11 people died.

As stated in the Report's Executive Summary:

On Friday, March 26, 2010, about 5:14 a.m. central daylight time, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a 1999 Freightliner truck-tractor in combination with a 1998 Strick Corporation 53-foot-long van semitrailer, owned by the motor carrier Hester, Inc., and being driven by a 45-year-old male, was traveling south on Interstate 65 (I-65) near milepost 61.5. The truck departed the left lane of southbound I-65 at a shallow angle and entered the 60-foot-wide depressed earthen median between the southbound and northbound roadways. The truck traveled across the median and struck and overrode the high-tension, four-cable, alternating-post median barrier adjacent to the left shoulder of northbound I-65. It then crossed the left shoulder and entered the travel lanes of northbound I-65.

At that time, a 2000 Dodge 15-passenger van, driven by a 41-year-old male and occupied by 11 passengers, was traveling northbound in the left lane. As the truck crossed in front of the van, its tractor was struck by the van. The van rotated clockwise and became engaged with the truck's trailer; the two vehicles continued across both travel lanes and the right shoulder of northbound I-65. As the truck and van traveled across the right shoulder, the van separated from the truck, struck the cut rock wall beyond the shoulder, and rebounded back into the travel lanes, coming to rest in the left lane of northbound I-65, facing south. The truck's tractor struck the cut rock wall, and the vehicle rolled onto its right side. As the truck came to rest across both northbound lanes, a fire ensued that destroyed the tractor and the sides and roof of the semitrailer.

As a result of the accident and subsequent truck fire, the truck driver, the van driver, and nine van passengers died. Two child passengers in the van, who were using child restraints, sustained minor injuries.

Under "Probable Cause" was this paragraph:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the truck driver's failure to maintain control of the truck-tractor combination vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cellular telephone. Contributing to the severity of the accident were a median barrier that was not designed to safely contain or redirect the heavy vehicle and the lack of adequate guidance to the states in the form of high-performance median barrier warrants.

One of the recommendations by the NTSB, made To The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as well as to the 50 States and the District of Columbia is:

Prohibit the use of both handheld and hands-free cellular telephones by all commercial driver's license holders while driving in commercial operations, except in emergencies. (H-11-XX) [This recommendation supersedes Safety Recommendation H-06-27.]


Elman Law Group LLC concentrates in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases involving car accidents as well as other types of vehicle accidents (bike, bus, motorcycle, pedestrian, truck, etc.) This intense focus allows us to consistently achieve winning verdicts and settlements for our clients.

If you or a relative have been injured or killed in an accident, call 773-392-8182 at any time for a free consultation to discuss your rights. There is no fee for this consultation.

Fatal Car Accident On I57

September 17, 2011, by

One person is dead and three others seriously injured in a car accident that occurred on I57 (Illinois Interstate 57) this morning.

An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article of today titled "South Holland man dead, 3 injured in Interstate 57 crash at 111th Street" :

The car took an S-curve north of 111th Street at a "high rate of speed" and rolled over after hitting a light pole, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Joe Stangl said.

Andre Jelk, 24, of the 16700 block of Clyde Avenue in South Holland, died in the accident, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Stangl said police noticed a strong alcoholic odor on the breath of the driver, who survived, and charges are pending.

The driver and two others were transported in serious-to-critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The three survivors weren't identified by police.

Continue reading "Fatal Car Accident On I57 " »

Pedestrian Safety In Chicago - Report Findings

September 13, 2011, by

Recently, the City of Chicago released a report titled "City of Chicago: 2011 Pedestrian Crash Analysis." (pdf)

The report was created by T.Y. Lin International under the direction of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). The report incorporated data from 2005-2009.

There are several findings of this report that are notable and can be helpful to pedestrians' safety, especially with regard to safety within crosswalks.

Among these notable findings:

  • "Total Pedestrian Crashes" numbered 3130 in 2009
  • There were 34 pedestrian fatalities in 2009
  • The age group of 15-18 had the highest crash rate per population
  • Taxi involvement in pedestrian crashes in the Central Business District (CBD) was 28%
  • Taxi involvement in pedestrian crashes outside the CBD was 2%
  • Thursdays had the most crashes
  • The "high crash time period" was from 3:00-6:00 p.m.
  • 80% of fatal and serious crashes were within 125 feet of the midpoint of the intersection
  • Hit and run crashes accounted for 33% of overall pedestrian crashes in Chicago
  • "The most common pedestrian action at the time of the crash was "'crossing with the signal'"
  • In the 2005-2009 period there were 17,487 total pedestrian crashes

Within the report, it is shown that by numerous measures pedestrian safety has improved over the years. As well, "Chicago has the lowest pedestrian fatality rate of large, densely populated cities."

However, as the statistics indicate, there is significant risk to pedestrians, even while they are within crosswalks. Special care should be exercised as motorists may be impaired and/or distracted while driving.

Continue reading "Pedestrian Safety In Chicago - Report Findings" »

Man May Receive $300,000 From City Of Chicago Because Of Accident Caused By Pothole

September 8, 2011, by

According to a story in today's Chicago Sun-Times, titled "Man who lost leg in pothole crash may get $300k" a man who lost his leg after a car crash caused by a pothole may get a $300,000 settlement from the City of Chicago.

Zuriel Padilla was driving home on February 10, 2008 when the 1998 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving hit a pothole near Archer and Kedzie in the Southwest Side's Brighton Park neighborhood.

The impact was severe enough to cause his car to jump the curb and crash into a fire hydrant. Padilla's leg was severely injured from the accident and had to be amputated the following day.

Padilla filed a personal injury lawsuit blaming the city, saying the city either created the pothole due to city crews working in the area, or the city knew about the pothole because of work being done in the area and failed to fill the pothole.

The $300,000 settlement must still pass the full City Council.

SUV Veers Off Chicago's Eisenhower, Hits Tree - Driver Charged With DUI

September 6, 2011, by

On September 5, a SUV driving on Chicago's Eisenhower Expressway veered off the roadway and hit a tree.

According to the Illinois State Police, the accident happened at approximately 5:20 a.m. just past Kostner Avenue.

Two men were trapped in the vehicle in the course of the accident, and had to be extricated by the Chicago Fire Department. The men were then taken to area hospitals in serious condition, but their injuries were considered non-life threatening.

The driver was cited for driving under the influence.

Continue reading "SUV Veers Off Chicago's Eisenhower, Hits Tree - Driver Charged With DUI" »

Man Run Over By Truck He Was Driving Near Litchfield Illinois

September 5, 2011, by

According to WSMI Radio, a truck driver was run over by the truck he was driving Sunday morning near Litchfield, Illinois.

The truck driver has been identified as John Yarian, of Apache Junction, Arizona.

The accident happened, according to Illinois State Police, when Yarian pulled his truck off the interstate to check a mechanical problem. The accident's cause was reported to be that the truck was not completely put into "Park," and subsequently the truck rolled over Yarian.

According to the Montgomery County Coroner's office, Yarian was pronounced dead at the scene.

Continue reading "Man Run Over By Truck He Was Driving Near Litchfield Illinois" »

Low-Speed Accidents - Harmless or Harmful?

September 5, 2011, by

Many assume that low-speed car (or other vehicle) accidents are harmless to the health of those involved. However, there is a growing body of evidence that challenges this assumption.

This topic is especially relevant to those who have been involved in low-speed accidents as it may well determine whether or not compensation will be received for injuries incurred during these low-speed collisions.

Many of these low-speed injuries are commonly referred to as "whiplash." While "whiplash" injuries can have many manifestations - some symptoms may not be immediately apparent - perhaps its most common cause is when a rear-end collision causes the neck and spine to stretch impulsively due to the sudden impact.

Many factors determine whether a "whiplash" injury is sustained, including - but not limited to - speed of the crash, angle of the collision, whether the impact was expected by the occupant, car seat design, seat headrest design, seat headrest height, car bumper design, relative sizes and weights of vehicles involved, etc.

Symptoms of "whiplash" can include neck, shoulder, and back pain; muscular strain; headaches; possible degeneration of the spine; possible disc herniations; tingling in the hands and/or fingers; and a range of other maladies.

Continue reading "Low-Speed Accidents - Harmless or Harmful?" »

Woman Killed While Walking On Eisenhower Expressway

September 2, 2011, by

Today at approximately 6:00 a.m. a woman was struck and killed on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway.

Details are limited at this time. The accident occurred just east of Manchester Road in Manchester.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times story, titled "Pedestrian killed on Eisenhower had been arrested that night for DUI" :

A South Side woman pulled over earlier in the night for DUI was struck and killed while apparently walking on the Eisenhower Expressway on Friday morning near west suburban Westchester. A trooper had given her a ride her to a nearby gas station after she bonded out.


According to a witness statement, she was walking in a marked median area east of Mannheim Road when the truck crossed the median area and struck her, according to a release from ISP.

The driver remained at the scene and is cooperating, the release said. He has been charged with violating the restricted median.

The accident closed all lanes temporarily.

Additional details can be seen in a variety of news sources including the Sun-Times story cited above and The Houston Chronicle story titled "Woman killed walking on interstate near Chicago."

Chicago's Rank In Allstate's Safest Driving Cities Report

September 2, 2011, by

On September 1, Allstate released its Seventh Annual "Allstate's America's Best Drivers Report."

As per the release, "The Allstate Insurance Company (NYSE: ALL) today released its seventh annual "Allstate America's Best Drivers Reportâ„¢." The report ranks America's 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers, according to Allstate claim data."

The report also states: "Drivers in U.S. cities with populations of one million-plus are more likely than the national average to experience a collision."

Chicago ranks #157, which is ranked 5th in the cities with over 1 million residents. According to the report, the average driver in Chicago will experience an auto collision every 7.7 years, which is 30.0 percent more likely than the national average of 10 years.

In the release, Allstate also offers safe driving tips. These tips include the following items, which are further discussed in the release:

  • Minimize distractions
  • Be aware of road conditions
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you
  • Steer clear of road rage
  • Maintenance matters

Woman Struck And Killed By Northwest Line Metra Train

September 1, 2011, by

A 27 year old woman has died Wednesday night in a train accident involving the Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line between the Arlington Park and Palatine stops, according to officials.

Details at this time appear limited; however, investigators say the Palatine woman appeared to have run out on the tracks. The accident happened around 9:35 p.m.

Additional details can be found in the September 1 Chicago Tribune story titled "Woman killed by Metra UP Northwest Line train."