Winter Weather Accidents May Be Grounds for Compensation in Illinois

On most weekday mornings, yellow school buses carrying kids from kindergarten to high school flood the streets of Illinois. At the same time, drivers rushing to work are looking for ways to shorten their commute and make it to the office on time. This combination can be a recipe for disaster, especially in winter weather and icy road conditions.

icy-tail-light-1182383Of course, all drivers know that the flashing red lights on a school bus mean “stop.” But many drivers think they are smarter than the lights and can squeeze past a bus in time to avoid any sort of accident. Equally egregious is the fact that buses are poorly equipped to keep children safe. Lax federal regulations allow bus companies to bypass upgrades that can prevent injuries and even save lives.

In Illinois, all drivers must take reasonable care when driving a motor vehicle. This means they have to drive at safe speeds, avoid known distractions like texting behind the wheel, and not drive while intoxicated, which includes the side effects of prescription medications. If a driver fails to take any of these precautions, they may be held liable for their negligence by anyone injured as a result.

When a driver or passenger is injured by another’s negligence, he or she is entitled to compensation for any injuries suffered. There are two types of compensation. The first, called economic damages, compensates an injured party for out-of-pocket expenses like lost wages and unpaid medical bills. The second, known as non-economic damages, compensates injured parties for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a general loss of enjoyment in life. In Illinois, there is no limit on the amount of non-economic damages an injured party can be awarded.

In addition to the reasonable care that all drivers must take, school bus drivers must satisfy certain state requirements before they are permitted to drive a bus. Background checks must be completed and proper licensing obtained. These requirements are not unlike the requirements that train operators, cruise ship captains, and mass transit bus drivers must also satisfy. In addition, federal regulations require that some motor vehicle drivers, like tractor trailer drivers and long haul bus drivers, be given a certain amount of rest between shifts to ensure that they remain alert while driving.

Despite these precautions, accidents involving school buses are not uncommon. Too often, pictures on the news show a yellow school bus turned on its side, windows shattered and wheels off the ground.

Recently, an accident like this occurred in Grayslake. According to an article, police were called to the scene early one weekday morning after a car crossed over the center line and hit a bus traveling in the opposite direction. The car was trying to pass another car traveling in the same direction when the driver lost control and struck the bus.

As a result of the accident, the bus rolled onto its side, and two adults were forced to evacuate through an emergency hatch. Fortunately, there were no students on the bus at the time of the accident, and the two adults suffered only minor injuries. The driver of the car was cited for driving at an excessive speed under the current road conditions. The collision between the car and the bus also caused an accident between two other vehicles.

Have You Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

While you may be accustomed to driving in winter weather, others may not be. Maybe another driver is new to the Chicago area and hasn’t experienced icy road conditions. Or maybe you were involved in an accident because another driver simply rushed to work, cutting corners along the way. No matter the circumstances, the Chicago car accident lawyers at Moll Law Group know how to handle motor vehicle accident cases. We have experience with cases involving snow and ice, as well as cases involving drivers who simply were not careful behind the wheel. If you have been in an accident, even if you believe you may be partially at fault, you should talk with a lawyer, since you may still be entitled to compensation in Illinois. For a free consultation, call (312) 462-1700.

See More Posts:

Common Carriers Must Take Reasonable Care or Face Liability, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2016.

State-Owned Railway Is Protected by Sovereign Immunity, Supreme Court Decides, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 9, 2016.

Doctors and Drug Companies May Be Liable for Medication Side Effects, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2015.