Five Tips for Safe Travel During the Holidays

The holidays are a joyous and celebratory time of the year for families and friends. They can also be a dangerous time with significant numbers of people on the road, traveling near and far for family gatherings, holiday parties, and vacations. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-54. To keep you and your family safe while traveling, here are some helpful tips for this holiday season:

  1. Be Prepared – Before you hit the road, be sure you are well prepared. Start with your car. Take care of any necessary maintenance, such as an oil change or tire rotation. Check the windshield wiper blades. This is extremely important if you should encounter rain or snow. You need to be able to see clearly out your windshield, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. Stock your car with emergency equipment, such as a blanket, flashlight, jumper cables, ice scraper, cell phone charger, etc. These items will be helpful in the unfortunate event that your car breaks down or you get into an accident.
  2. Check Driving Conditions – As you plan your route, consider the ideal driving conditions. Aim to leave at a time that avoids the heaviest traffic. This often means leaving very early in the morning. If inclement weather is in the forecast, plan ahead. If it is possible to leave before or after the brunt of the storm, do so. Plan your route so that you stick to the main highways, where convenience stores, gas stations, law enforcement, and emergency medical services are more accessible. Check to see if there is any road work along the route, and build in travel time accordingly.
  3. Focus on the Road – There can be many distractions on the road. The kids are whining, Grandma is calling your cell phone to see where you are, your GPS is telling you to make a left turn, and you’re stressed out to boot. Make sure you are well-rested before you depart. If you get drowsy or sleepy while driving, stop and take a break. In absolutely no circumstances should you get behind the wheel if you have had any alcohol to drink, used drugs, or are on medication that impairs your ability to drive. You need to be 100 percent present and focused on the road while traveling during this hectic time.
  4. Stay Vigilant – If you are driving to an unfamiliar location or along an unfamiliar route, remain vigilant during your travels. Criminals can take advantage of you if you are not attentive to your surroundings. When you stop for a break, park in a well-lit area. Do not keep valuable items within plain sight in your car. Be cognizant of your appearance. If you look like a clueless tourist, you might be a target for burglary or worse.
  5. Drive Cautiously – The holidays are a busy time on the road. Not only are countless people traveling to visit family and friends, but large semi-trucks are speeding down the highways to deliver just-in-time holiday presents. Wintery conditions like snow, sleet, and freezing rain only make matters worse. Drive with caution, and constantly be watching for wayward drivers. Practice defensive driving by always using your blinkers, checking your blind spots before merging or changing lanes, double-checking in both directions before entering an intersection, and maintaining a sufficient following distance from the car in front of you. Lastly, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt buckled, always.

If you do find yourself in an accident this holiday season, do not rush to get to your destination. Take time to document what happened, including taking pictures of your car and the other vehicle and of any injuries sustained in the accident, and getting the other driver’s contact and insurance information. Call the police to report the accident. Before departing, make sure you are unharmed and your car is safe to drive.

It may help to contact an attorney about your accident, especially if your car sustained significant damage or you experienced serious injury. An experienced lawyer can advise you about your rights, gather crucial evidence, and if necessary, pursue compensation on your behalf.

Contact Us

The Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC understand that accidents often come at the worst times. Let us handle the stress of the accident so that you can focus on your family this holiday season. Contact our office today at (312) 346-8620 for a confidential consultation.


How Are Truck Accidents Different From Other Auto Accidents?

Traffic accidents happen every day in America, and the numbers have increased during the last year. The statistics hold for all vehicles, including large trucks. Accidents involving large trucks tend to cause more severe injuries than other types of accidents, but why exactly is that? How are truck accidents any different from car or motorcycle accidents? Read on to learn more.

Differences Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents

There are many reasons truck accidents tend to cause more damage and injuries than other types of accidents.

First, trucks are large vehicles. The average tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, be over 70 feet long, and reach over 13 feet high. Compared to a passenger vehicle weighing around 4,000 pounds, a large truck is almost a rolling building.

Trucks require longer distances to accelerate, brake, and maneuver in traffic. Their outward visibility is also significantly less than a passenger car. They are surrounded by no-zones, areas where the driver cannot see, and if your vehicle is inside a no-zone when a truck needs to change lanes or maneuver, the chances of an accident increase substantially.

All these factors mean truck accidents can happen quickly. Not only that, but injuries in truck accidents are almost always more severe for the occupants of other vehicles. Between 1975 and 2019, up to 75% of deaths in large truck crashes were occupants of passenger cars.

Injuries in Truck Crashes

The large size and weight of trucks also mean more frequent and severe injuries in truck crashes. Even at low speeds, the inertia of an 80,000-pound vehicle striking a passenger car can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s structure and safety equipment. The truck driver may only experience a jostling or may not feel anything at all when hitting a passenger vehicle or motorcycle.

Some injuries common to truck accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Paralysis
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Crushing injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Coma

Truck Drivers Aren’t the Only Responsible Parties

Determining who is responsible for a truck accident is more complex than in car accidents because truck drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for the truck and its contents. Liability can often be spread across several different parties depending on the circumstances. The following entities may be held liable in a truck accident:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Truck owner
  • Freight company
  • Freight loading company
  • Truck maintenance company
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Road construction contractors

Liability could shift depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if you’re injured in a truck accident due to faulty brakes on the truck, the maintenance company may be responsible. If you’re hit in a low-speed accident by a truck trying to maneuver in tight spaces, the trucking company may be held accountable for not training their drivers properly. Suppose you’re injured by a truck due to a defect in the design. In that case, the manufacturer may be liable, or if the truck driver causes an accident due to fatigue from driving more hours than allowed by federal law, they may be responsible.

Freight Accidents

Tractor-trailers are made to haul thousands of pounds of cargo. This cargo can be anything from plumbing fixtures to petroleum, from toys to live cattle. This freight must be properly loaded and secured before the truck begins its journey. If it isn’t, lost load or other freight accidents can occur.

A lost-load accident occurs when a truck’s cargo is not loaded or balanced properly and spills out on the roadway, leaving a trail of debris or fluid that can cause accidents and injuries as other motorists collide with it or swerve to avoid it. Even properly secured loads can work loose over the course of a long road journey if not checked frequently.

Some of these loads can be hazardous, such as industrial chemicals or gasoline, increasing the danger even more. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to have specific licensing and certifications to handle hazardous cargo, and not keeping these licenses current may be considered negligence.

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If a truck accident ended in severe injury for you or a loved one, you should consider speaking to the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. We may be able to help you get compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, or property. Call us today at (312) 346-8620 for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a truck accident.


Preventing Autumn Motorcycle Accidents – Don’t Fall In the Fall

Unless you are fortunate enough to live someplace where the weather never changes, the end of summer means a change in road and riding conditions. Some of them are obvious, like rain and wind; some are less so, like the effect of riding in chilly weather. At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we know that motorcycle riders love to ride in all weathers, and we want to keep you safe from avoidable accidents.

Here are some tips to keep you and your fellow bikers and passengers safe as fall approaches.

  • Watch the Weather. Autumn brings rain, wind, and even sleet and early snow. All of these are hazardous to the motorcycle rider. Check the weather report before heading out and know your bike’s limits before you ride. Also remember that in wet or icy conditions you will have trouble stopping quickly, and so will other vehicles on the road.
  • Dress for Warmth. What was a nice breeze off the lake in the summer turns into a chilly blast in the fall. As the temperature drops, pull out the leathers, fleece, and gloves to stay warm and dry. Both wind and rain will suck the warmth out of your body, causing low-level hypothermia, which dulls your reaction time on the brakes.
  • Wear a Helmet. Unlike some states, Illinois does not have a mandatory helmet law. However, in cold, wet, or windy weather, wearing a full-face helmet keeps your head dry and warm, and keeps road grit and dust out of your eyes. Also, keep in mind that even though the law does not require a helmet, if the conditions seemed to warrant wearing one, a judge could find that you were careless for failing to do so. In hazardous conditions, err on the side of caution.
  • Don’t Forget to Turn Back the Clock. As the days get shorter, the roads get darker, and that is not a good thing for motorcycles. If you ride in the city, it’s easy to forget that motorcycles are hard to see at night because of their lower profile and single headlight. It gets dark much sooner in September than it did in July, so keep an eye on the time.
  • Be Alert for the Unusual. There are things on the road in the fall that weren’t there during the summer. Deer are mating in autumn and where there is one, there may be others. They dart into the road without warning. Children are heading back to school or back from school and are not paying attention to much of anything. Traffic is always heavier in autumn, especially near schools, colleges, and business districts. Keep your eyes open for these unusual hazards.
  • Bikes and Snow Don’t Mix. As much as you love your motorcycle and the open road, ice, snow, and two wheels are a bad combination. If the weather report reads snow, whether cloud or lake-effect, you should really take the car.

One hazard that is present year-round is the sightseer. In the summer, these slow-driving wool-gatherers are looking at the lake and the sky, and the buildings. In the fall, they’ll be looking at the lake and the sky and the pretty leaves and the deer. They won’t be looking for motorcycles. Pay close attention to slow-moving drivers, and always be prepared to stop suddenly.

If you and your passenger are the slow-driving sightseers, pull over and sightsee from the safety of a marked turnout or parking lot. This will protect you from traffic and other distracted drivers while you look at the spectacular scenery.

If You Have an Accident

If you have done all these things and still get into an accident through no fault of your own, the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are here to help. We know the unique issues facing a motorcycle rider in an accident, and we’re ready to work through your case with you and help you get fair compensation for your injuries.

In motorcycle accident cases, we look for issues beyond the other driver’s liability for the accident. Road conditions, inclement weather, poor lighting, wildlife in the roadway, all of these can contribute to a serious accident and can be factors beyond your control in a collision. We know how to gather the information and the witnesses that will help make your case and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.

Contact Us

Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC offers free consultations at (312) 346-8620 or our website live chat. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and need someone to help you out, give us a call today.


What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

Auto accidents happen in a split second. All it takes is one drowsy blink, one change of the radio, one look at the view, or one text to send, and lives could be changed forever. And that’s just car accidents. Accidents with trucks are big. A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s more than 20 times the weight of a normal car. Truck accidents result in big injuries, big financial issues, and big life disruptions.

After a truck accident, you might be scratching your head wondering, “how did it happen?” What you need now is someone in your corner to help you through the next steps. If you’ve been in an accident with a truck in the Chicago area, give the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC a call. We are here to help you navigate the legal intricacies of an accident with a commercial truck and to get you back on your financial feet in no time.

Laws and Regulations that Govern Truck Drivers

Many of the specific regulations that truck drivers must follow have to do with their Hours of Service (HOS). HOS regulations dictate how long a truck driver may operate their vehicle and be considered safe. Hours of Service are created, regulated, and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Why does the FMCSA care so much about the HOS of truck drivers? Simply put, a drowsy truck driver can end a life. Sleepy drivers have slow reaction times and therefore are not able to make the split-second, life-saving decisions that could be necessary on the highway.

Here are some of the rules that the FMCSA has in place for truck drivers. If not in compliance, truck drivers could be fined or worse.

  • 11 Hour Driving Limit — After resting for ten consecutive hours, truck drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours.
  • 14 Hour Limit — After said ten hours of rest, drivers may not drive beyond 14 consecutive hours.
  • 30-Minute Break — After driving for eight hours consecutively, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break. This break can be satisfied by being ‘off duty,’ being a passenger, sleeping, or a combination of these.
  • 60/70 Hour Limit — If driving seven or eight consecutive days, truck drivers’ HOS cannot exceed 60 or 70 hours.
  • Adverse Driving Conditions — When adverse driving conditions are expected, truck drivers are allowed to operate longer to account for slower progress on the road.

What’s a Travel Log?

In years past, truck drivers logged their HOS on paper sheets. These logs included the date and time of departure, the time driven, the locations of all stops, and the mileage of the vehicle. Drivers would regularly mail these to their employer, who would keep them on file for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reference.

These days, almost every commercial truck is required to be outfitted with an ELD, or Electronic Logging Device. ELDs are how truck drivers, their companies, and the DOT keep track of compliance with HOS laws and regulations. ELD’s are synchronized with the truck’s engine and record the time, date, and location of all stops, as well as the engine’s run time. ELDs will even warn drivers that their HOS are about to end — or that they must take a break.

ELDs contain valuable information about what happened in the moments before, during, and after a crash. If a truck driver was in violation of their HOS and then caused an accident, the ELD can help prove that they are liable.

The problem is this. If a trucking company suspects their driver is at fault for an accident, they won’t want to hand over ELD records. This is where the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help.

Our experienced attorneys are here to go to bat for you against multi-million dollar trucking companies. We can help you find, collect, and present proof that a reckless truck driver caused your pain and suffering.

Call Us Today

Before you sat behind the wheel of a car for the first time, you knew to follow the posted speed limit, come to a full stop at all stop signs, use your blinker, and never drive tired. To avoid accidents, truck drivers have to follow the same rules and more. But, sometimes, truck drivers break the law and cause lasting pain for innocent people.

If you have been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, call Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC at (312) 346-8620 today. We can help guide you through the legal process and work on getting the compensation you need to cover your accident-related losses.


Phil Fowler to speak at National Business Institute

Chicago personal injury attorney Phillip J. Fowler of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC will be speaking at a CLE event hosted by the National Business Institute.

The seminar, Personal Injury 101, is on Friday, February 24th, beginning at 9:00 am. It will provide general information about personal injury law procedures.

You can learn more about the seminar and register to attend at http://www.nbi-sems.com/Details.aspx/R-74507ER


Potentially contaminated chocolate products recalled

An Iowa-based company issued a voluntary recall on January 9 on some of their chocolate products after determining they might be contaminated with harmful salmonella. The bacteria could cause serious or fatal illness to consumers, an article of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported.

The recall affects various chocolate products manufactured by Palmer Candy Company. The recall was issued after Palmer Candy was notified by one of their suppliers that the milk powder used in the affected products supplied nationwide could contain salmonella. Neither the recalling company nor the FDA have received any reports of illnesses linked to the affected chocolate products. Consumers who might have purchased the chocolate were advised to discard it or return it to where they bought it for their money back.

Unfortunately, many children and elderly people are at high risk of suffering serious illnesses after accidentally consuming contaminated food products. However, a Chicago attorney at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can work on your behalf to pursue damage claims from negligent companies. Call us today at (312) 346-8620 to find out how we may be able to help you recover from your loss.


Thousands of potentially faulty strollers with injury risks recalled in US

A December 20 article of the CPSC revealed that approximately 29,400 infant strollers sold in the U.S. are under recall by a Massachusetts-based company due to complaints that they may cause harm to intended users.

The “Qbit strollers” imported by Aria Child Inc., may cause personal injuries to the caregiver and the infant occupying the stroller. According to the recall, at least five stroller models of Qbit have a space on the side hinge that could cause laceration hazards. The strollers could also fail during use, which may result in babies suffering fall injuries if the stroller unexpectedly collapses. Aria Child received 71 reports of malfunctioning strollers resulting in 12 babies sustaining injuries and five caregivers getting injured by the side hinge. The importer is expected to address the issue by replacing the potentially faulty strollers for free.

Families are often devastated when their children suffer injuries. However, the product liability attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC in Chicago may be able to work for you if a defective product was involved. Call us today at (312) 346-8620 to find out how we could help you obtain compensation.


1 dead, 1 injured in Chicago accident caused by wrong-way driver

One person was killed and another was injured in a recent vehicular accident in Chicago caused by a driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road, a December 4 article of Chicago Tribune reported.

According to reports, the wrong-way accident happened on December 3 in the westbound lanes of the Chicago Skyway. Skyway police said around 9:40 at night a 70-year-old man drove in the opposite lane until he struck a vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle, a 50-year-old man, was declared dead and the wrong-way driver was transported to a medical facility for his injuries. Charges have not been filed as of reporting and the condition of the injured driver was not available. A major accident unit of the Chicago Police Department is figuring out the cause of the fatal crash.

The Chicago legal team at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC send their deepest thoughts to the family and friends who mourn the loss of their loved one.


New rule might encourage drivers to file safety complaints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering a ruling that would encourage drivers to file complaints if they detect safety issues in their vehicles, CBS New York reported on November 30.

According to the proposed rule, auto manufacturers would be required to place a label describing how to file a safety complaint inside the vehicle. The label would remind drivers that filing a complaint would allow federal authorities to investigate the manufacturer.

Defective vehicles can cause devastating accidents. If you have been the victim of negligence on the part of a manufacturer, the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help. Call (312) 346-8620 today.


Two badly hurt in Illinois semi truck crash

At least two people are in critical condition in Skokie, Illinois after a recent collision between a semi-truck and an SUV took place, an article for Chicago 5 reported on November 17.

Information coming from the Skokie police revealed that at 3:51 a.m., a two-vehicle accident happened in the 4200 block of Golf Road. The semi truck reportedly fell on its side in the course of the incident, police also said. The names of the persons involved in the crash were not released by authorities, but they did confirm that two critically injured people were transported to Evanston Hospital. Both lanes of Golf Road were closed for several hours as authorities investigated the cause of the crash. People who might have a knowledge of the crash are encouraged to coordinate with Skokie authorities.

In the case that a loved one has suffered critical injuries in a collision involving a semi truck, working with a skilled legal team is important for you to possibly get compensations you need to cover costly hospitalizations. Discuss your situation with the Chicago legal team of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC today at (312) 346-8620 to learn more about your options.


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