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Chicago makes Allstate’s worst drivers list

| May 19, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Many people who commute regularly may question the competence of their fellow drivers. Recently, Allstate Insurance’s annual report on traffic accidents proved that, for drivers in Chicago, these feelings may not be unfounded. According to the report, Chicago is among the cities with the worst drivers, and residents are more likely to be involved in car accidents than the average driver.

To generate rankings of the cities with the best and worst drivers, Allstate analyzes claims from 195 cities. Since the company provides insurance coverage to about 1 in 10 drivers in the country, the report provides a reasonable indicator of national trends. The latest report was based on claims made between January 2010 and December 2011.

Alarming findings

During this time, drivers in Chicago were 25.2 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than other drivers. On average, drivers in Chicago experienced accidents every 8 years. In contrast, drivers in Fort Collins, who Allstate ranked as the safest drivers in the country, only experienced accidents once every 13.9 years.

These results are especially troubling because Chicagoans may not spend as much time driving as people in some cities. The Chicago Transit Authority reports that it runs the country’s second largest public transportation system, while the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 6 in 10 Chicagoans who regularly use public transportation own cars. Since Chicagoans have such a high accident risk even with their reduced use of cars, drivers can benefit from understanding their rights after an accident.

Accident victims’ rights

People injured in motor vehicle accidents have the right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Illinois observes a modified comparative fault rule, which bars victims from seeking compensation if they were primarily at fault in the accident. Victims who were 50 percent or less at fault may seek compensation, although any award will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the victim.

In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the other driver failed to provide due care in performing his or her duties. If the other driver was violating the law without reasonable cause, he or she might be found guilty of negligence per se. A common example of this occurs when a driver causes an accident while speeding or driving intoxicated. Drivers who were not violating the law can also be found guilty of negligence, but it may be harder to establish.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is two years. However, accident victims can benefit from speaking with an attorney about their options soon after the accident, to ensure any needed evidence is preserved and claim deadlines are met.