Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 44, according to the CDC. Motor vehicle accidents are the second highest cause of those injuries, just behind unintentional poisoning (e.g., drug overdose), which overtook it in the past decade.
People injured in motor vehicle crashes can suffer debilitating, lifelong injuries or worse, death. These injuries affect both the victim and their families.
Illinois Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
The Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) collects and analyzes data on motor vehicle crashes statewide. The data is uploaded in real-time so provides both up-to-date and historical data on the number, location, and type of motor vehicle crashes that occur on Illinois roads.
As of October 1, 2023, 833 fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois have caused 905 deaths; that is 29 fewer deaths than this time last year. Of fatal crashes to date this year:
- 127 involved motorcyclists
- 138 involved pedestrians
- 24 involved bicyclists
- 97 were the result of a crash with a semi-truck
- 17 occurred in work zones
- 193 (21%) involved passengers who used a seatbelt improperly or not at all
- 193 (21%) included passengers who used a seatbelt properly
Illinois or U.S. routes are the leading locations for fatal motor vehicle crashes, with 326 occurring on those roads, followed by 291 on city streets, and 141 on the Interstate.
For comparison, in 2022, 1,147 fatal car crashes caused 1,268 deaths. Of those fatalities, 469 occurred on state or U.S. routes, while 415 occurred on city streets. Most motor vehicle crash-related deaths in 2022 involved automobile-on-automobile crashes; 146 involved motorcycles, 195 pedestrians, 167 semi-trucks, and 33 bicycles. Thirty-seven fatalities occurred in work zones. In 303 of those fatalities, the passenger was not wearing a seat belt or was wearing it improperly.
Cook and Lake County Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
In addition to statewide data, the DOT provides information on motor vehicle crashes at the county level. In 2022, 399 motor vehicle deaths – 31.5%, almost one-third – happened in Cook County; in 2023 there have been 296 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes to date, putting the county on track to exceed 2022 numbers.
In Lake County, motor vehicle crashes caused 60 deaths in 2022; there have been 41 in 2023 to date, putting Lake County on track to exceed last year’s numbers as well.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Crashes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects nationwide data on motor vehicle crashes. Based on 2019 data, the five leading causes are:
- Alcohol: Motor vehicle crashes where one driver was under the influence of alcohol caused 14,219 deaths in 2019 and 497,000 injuries
- Distracted driving: Motor vehicle crashes where at least one driver was distracted caused 10,546 deaths and 1.3 million injuries
- Failure to wear a safety restraint: Passenger failure to wear a seatbelt or other safety restraint, or wearing one incorrectly, resulted in 2,400 deaths and 46,000 injuries.
- Speeding: Drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit were responsible for 10,192 deaths and 498,000 injuries
Personal Injury Claims Following an Illinois Motor Vehicle Crash
If you were injured following an Illinois motor vehicle crash – or if a loved one was killed – you may be considering filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver. There could be one or more defendants depending on the cause of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle is the obvious defendant, but others may include: their employer (if the crash happened during work hours); the vehicle manufacturer; the manufacturer of any defective vehicle parts, or; the cargo company that loaded the truck (if the crash was caused by an unbalanced load).
Personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the crash. Victims may be entitled to economic and non-economic, or compensatory, damages and/or punitive damages.
Economic damages are damages for which an actual dollar amount can be determined and may include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Future lost earning capacity
- Property damage (for example, if the accident totaled your car)
Non-economic damages have no specific dollar amount attached and are dependent on the nature and severity of the injuries. They may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disabilities, impairment, or disfigurement
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter them, and others in similar positions, from further engaging in the actions that caused the crash. They are typically only awarded in egregious cases. For example, if a faulty engine caused the crash, and the manufacturer knew of, and did nothing to correct, the defect, punitive damages may be awarded as punishment for their failure to act.
The amount that can be recovered in a personal injury claim varies depending on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, whether you were at fault (Illinois is a comparative negligence state, which means that your overall award is reduced by the percentage of fault, if any, assigned to you for the crash), and whether the case goes to trial or settles. Recent awards in Illinois for motor vehicle accidents include:
$50,000 settlement (2023): The plaintiff suffered lacerations and scarring to his face after the defendant failed to yield before making a left-hand turn.
$35,201 verdict (2022): The plaintiff suffered whiplash with neck and back sprains and strains after the defendant, who was texting while driving, rear-ended his car.
$145,000 verdict (2021): The plaintiff suffered post-concussion syndrome with memory loss and migraine headaches, as well as long-lasting numbness and weakness in his legs and arms following surgery for herniated cervical and lumbar discs, when his vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer traveling 65 mph.
$16,000,000 settlement (2020): A motorcyclist filed a personal injury claim against the driver and the driver’s employer for severe leg shoulder injuries, including a below-the-knee amputation, when the driver of the other vehicle crashed into him after failing to yield the right-of-way.
Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys
The personal injury attorneys at The Good Law Group have more than 30 years combined experience helping people receive compensation for their injuries. Call us at 847-577-4476 to schedule a free case consultation.