Holiday Highway Accidents Cause Injuries, Deaths

The holiday season can bring increased traffic, rushing motorists and sometimes rainy, slippery weather. But these conditions do not excuse drivers from following the rules of the road and exercising due caution.

Holiday car crashes can lead to serious injury and wrongful death. Since the beginning of 2012, Illinois has seen 867 fatal motor vehicle accidents, including 177 involving unlicensed drivers, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. According to the Daily Beast, one of the most dangerous interstates in Illinois is I-94, which saw 85 fatal accidents between 2004 and 2008; that equates to 1.38 fatal accidents per mile.

Illinois Crash Leads to Death

In the early morning hours of Dec. 2, a Tinley Park, Illinois, woman died after her car collided with the car of a 33-year-old Orland Hills man at the intersection of 183rd and 80th Avenue, according to Tinley Park Patch. The woman, who was 50, was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center of Oak Lawn. Though the Tinley Park Major Crash Unit is investigating the accident, the surviving driver has not been charged.

Holiday periods have traditionally been associated with increased accident rates. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an average of one to five people were killed each day from the years 2005 until 2011; roughly half of fatal crashes during this weekend are alcohol-related, according to a September 2012 report by the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety. During the Christmas holiday from 2005 to 2011, an average of one to four people were killed per day, with roughly a third of those crashes associated with alcohol. In 2006, 77 percent of Christmas crashes were alcohol-related. During New Year's Eve and New Year's Day from 2005 to 2011, one to four people were killed per day, and about half of those crashes were alcohol-related.

Know Your Rights After a Holiday Car Crash

The increased likelihood of alcohol involvement during holiday crashes can make personal injury claims easier to pursue. Usually, drivers under the influence at the time of the accident are presumed to be responsible for the crash. Even if alcohol is not a factor, investigators can usually determine who was at fault for the crash. Fatal accidents can result in wrongful death suits aimed at securing compensation for the family of the deceased.

Even seemingly minor accidents cause injuries with long-term effects, which is why it is important to get a full picture of the medical and legal ramifications as soon as possible. Illinois readers who have experienced a car accident and are unsure of their rights should seek legal counsel.