Belleville Car Accident Lawyers
The roadways in and around Belleville often experience swells of traffic. This influx of commuters and travelers is attributable to the Illinois city in St. Clair County being just a quick trip from St. Louis, with three airports nearby, several major highways, the draw of Scott Air Force Base, and a growing population. This growth is a positive sign from an economic standpoint, but for drivers in Belleville, it can mean a higher likelihood of car accidents, representing a significant source of injury and death.
If you suffered injuries after a motor vehicle accident in Belleville caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions, our compassionate personal injury lawyers at NST Law can evaluate your claim’s value and help secure fair compensation to assist with your recovery.
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Common Causes of Car Accidents in Belleville
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) 2018 City Summary Crash Report, the most common type of car accident to occur in Belleville is a rear-end collision. In 2018, almost 30% of the 1,076 total crashes resulted from rear-end impacts. This type of accident often occurs at intersections due to the driver of the following car tailgating the driver of the lead car.
Following too closely is hazardous because it reduces the time a driver has to perceive dangers ahead. Accidents usually happen when the driver in front of a vehicle following too close suddenly stops, and the following driver doesn’t have time to respond appropriately by pressing on their brakes. It also reduces the distance needed to bring a vehicle to a complete stop even when the brakes are depressed.
In addition to tailgating, other common causes of car accidents in Illinois include:
- Drunk driving: Drunk driving is the leading cause of deaths from motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., where more than 10,000 people die every year due to drunk driving accidents. In Illinois, drunk driving is responsible for about 300 deaths a year.
- Bad Weather conditions: In 2018, rain caused 122 crashes in Belleville, while snow caused an additional 27 accidents.
- Speeding: Driving too fast is another leading cause of car accidents in Belleville. Speeding increases the severity of the crash while reducing the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective equipment such as seat belts and airbags.
- Failure to yield: Failing to yield the right-of-way is a common cause of accidents, resulting in more than 300 crashes a year in Belleville. Examples of failing to yield the right-of-way include running stop signs or red lights, failing to stop at a marked crosswalk, and failing to stop at rail crossings. Additionally, drivers need to know who has the right-of-way and survey their surroundings thoroughly before completing left turns.
- Fatigued driving: Belleville is close to several major highways and interstates, often operating as thoroughfares for long-haul truck drivers and road trippers alike. Many truck drivers traversing these routes have been driving for long hours and are fatigued, increasing the likelihood of truck accidents.
- Wrong-way driving: Truck drivers and commuters aren’t always familiar with the roadways, including the entrances and exits for the state highways. Additionally, many distractions can keep drivers from entirely focusing on the road and traffic signs or signals in front of them. Truck drivers, specifically, might be on their radios or engaging in other work duties that pull their concentration from driving. This unfamiliarity and lack of focus can result in a wrong-way driving accident, including deadly head-on collisions.
Belleville Car Accident Statistics
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) compiles data on traffic accidents annually. The following statistics correspond to the 2018 City Summary Crash Report prepared by IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety:
- Belleville had over 1,000 traffic accidents that year, resulting in injuries to more than 450 people.
- Around 80 percent of those accidents occurred in clear weather conditions when the roads were dry.
- Animals on the roadway caused 19 Belleville car accidents.
- The majority of car accidents in Belleville happen on Fridays.
- Nearly 70% of car accidents in Belleville occur during daylight hours.
- In the overwhelming majority of incidents, no road or vehicle defects were present.
- About 86% of drivers involved in the 1,076 Belleville car accidents in 2018 were on medication of some kind.
Additionally, similar to most of the U.S., Illinois saw an uptick in traffic accident fatalities during the pandemic, with a 16 percent increase from 2019 to 2020. State officials presume that the rise was commonly a result of more drivers speeding or engaging in other risky driving behaviors on less congested streets during shut-downs.
Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Belleville
Recently, District 115 issued a warning that one of its Whiteside Elementary and Middle School bus routes contained a dangerous intersection. The intersection is at Sunnyslope and Floral is an unmarked intersection featuring narrow streets, trees, and cars on the side of the road that can obstruct the view of drivers. Most of these car crashes happen during the daytime and on urban city streets instead of rural areas and interstates.
Other dangerous roads and intersections around Belleville include:
- Carlyle and Green Mount
- Frank Scott Parkway West
- Illinois Street
Common Types of Car Accidents in Belleville
Some types of car accidents happen more frequently than others, especially depending on the type of roadway, and some are more severe than others. However, any car accident can lead to injuries and property damage.
Common types of car accidents in Belleville include:
- Head-On Collisions: In 2018, five head-on collisions resulted in 10 total injuries.
- Rear-End Collisions: 160 people suffered injuries in 310 rear-end accidents in 2018.
- Rollover Accidents: Eight rollover accidents in 2018 caused injuries to 10 people.
- Sideswipes: In 2018, 6% of Belleville crashes were sideswipe accidents, resulting in 12 total injuries.
- Turning Accidents: Over 260 Belleville accidents happening during turns in 2018 accounted for nearly 150 total injuries.
- Fixed Object Crashes: Drivers hitting fixed objects in Belleville made up 164 accidents in 2018, killing one person and injuring 48 people.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Motor vehicles struck three pedestrians on Belleville roads in 2018, resulting in injuries to all three people traveling by foot.
Common Injuries Suffered in a Car Accident
Nearly any part of the body can sustain an injury in a car accident, depending on the circumstances of the collision. Rear-end collisions happen most frequently in Belleville, and the most common injury to this type of accident is an injury to the neck’s soft tissues known as whiplash. Whiplash presents with neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck, and headaches starting at the base of the skull.
Other types of injuries that commonly result from car accidents in Belleville include:
- Catastrophic injuries: These severe injuries include those involving the brain and spinal cord, which make up the body’s central nervous system and control sensation and function throughout the body. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries are often serious because both organs, despite their importance to the body, have only a limited ability to heal once damaged and thereby often cause permanent and grave impairment and disabilities.
- Bone fractures: Bones commonly affected by fractures after a car accident include the collar bone due to pressure from the seat belt during the impact, as well as arms, legs, and ribs.
- Internal injuries: Extremely violent collisions can make the body’s internal organs particularly vulnerable to injury. Generally, these organs obtain relative protection from the rib cage. However, during a car accident, ribs can break, allowing the internal organs to sustain damage. Some injuries happen due to the ribs breaking from the impact. For example, pneumothorax is a collapsed lung often resulting from a rib puncture.
- Burns: Vehicles contain several fluids that are both flammable and caustic. Individuals involved in car accidents might sustain burns due to contact between the skin and open flames, hot surfaces, hot liquid or steam, or certain chemicals.
What should I do if I'm in a car accident in Belleville?
After a car accident, you must remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives. If the other driver hasn’t done so already, you’ll need to contact the Belleville Police Department to report the incident. Remember to remain calm and relay the facts of what’s going on, including relaying any information about possible injuries and whether the 911 call center needs to send an ambulance to provide emergency care. Never admit fault to the authorities, the other driver, or the relevant insurance companies.
If you’re able, move yourself and your vehicle to a more secure location where you’re not obstructing the flow of traffic or risking additional accidents and injuries. Ultimately, your safety and well-being and that of your passengers and the other driver are most important.
Always seek medical attention to evaluate possible injuries after a car accident, even if you feel fine at the moment. Adrenaline and shock can mask many injuries, and some don’t always become apparent for hours or days. You can see your primary care physician soon after the accident, preferably the same day. You also have the option to seek immediate treatment at Memorial Hospital Belleville or other local emergency or urgent care centers, such as Belleville Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic or one of Belleville’s SIHF Healthcare Convenient Care Centers.
Obtain as much information as you can from the other drivers involved and any witnesses to the accident. The information you’ll need to collect includes the driver’s name, telephone number, insurance company, policy number, and vehicle information, such as make, model, year, and color. Retrieve the name and contact information of all witnesses and, if you can, a brief statement of what they saw.
Keep all documentation regarding your accident and injuries, including the police report, medical reports, and bills for services. Be sure to report the car accident to your insurance company and refer to your policy for pertinent information. Finally, contact a personal injury law firm to review your case and determine your legal options for compensation to cover your damages and assist in your recovery. Our Belleville attorneys offer free case consultations.
What compensation can I receive after a car accident in Belleville?
You can seek to recover both economic damages and non-economic damages in Illinois. Economic damages refer to compensation for actual or monetary expenses incurred after your accident. Non-economic damages include compensation for quality-of-life impacts stemming from your car accident.
Common damages you can receive compensation for after a Belleville car accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
How can I prove the other driver is responsible for the car accident?
To prove liability, you must show the following elements in your case:
- The at-fault party had a duty to take reasonable actions to protect others from harm.
- There was a breach of this duty when the at-fault party took actions contrary to the duty owed.
- This breach resulted in your injuries and caused you to incur expenses and impacts.
- The injuries or damages you suffered were the proximate cause of the at-fault party’s breach.
Illinois is a fault state, meaning whoever caused the accident and your resulting harm must compensate you for your losses. Illinois also operates as a comparative fault state, meaning if you contributed to the accident, a court can reduce your right to compensation by the apportionable percentage of your liability when your liability is less than 50%.
A personal injury attorney can gather the necessary evidence to support your negligence claim, determine any shared responsibility, and secure fair compensation for your damages.
Time Limit to File a Car Accident Case in Belleville
Generally, for individuals seeking compensation for an injury after a car accident in Illinois, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in your local circuit court. There are few exceptions to this rule. If you don’t file your civil lawsuit timely, the court can bar you from recovering compensation even if your case is valid.
Property damage lawsuits have a five-year statute of limitations in Illinois, and wrongful death lawsuits also have a two-year time limit starting from the date of death.
A personal injury lawyer can review important deadlines in your specific case and help protect your legal right to sue for compensation when settlement negotiations aren’t successful after a Belleville car accident.
How can the personal injury attorneys at NST Law help me after a car accident in Belleville?
Our compassionate attorneys at NST Law have been helping injured people since 1990, obtaining over $1.5 billion on behalf of our clients. We are well-versed in assisting accident victims to obtain fair compensation while making the process easy for our clients through regular and flexible methods of communication.
Our Belleville personal injury lawyers can help you learn more about your legal options after a car accident. Contact NST Law today for a free case evaluation.