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The Effects of Speed in a Car Accident

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The speed a driver is traveling contributes both to the risk of a car accident occurring and to the severity of that accident.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are one place where we can clearly see the relationship between speed and severity of an accident. If a pedestrian is struck by a car traveling at 20 mph has only a 5% chance of being killed, but a pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 30 mph has a 45% chance of being killed. That risk rises to about 100% at 60 mph.

Car Accidents

However, speed is also associated with increased severity of car accidents. The main factor in car accidents is how much a vehicle’s speed changes at the time of the accident. If the car’s speed changes only 1-10 mph, there is only a 4.5% risk of injury and only a 1% risk of serious injury. However, with a change of 50 mph, there is a 69% risk of injury, and a 52% risk of serious injury.

Fatality risk also increases with speed changes. At about 70mph speed change in a crash, the fatality rate approaches 100%.

Do Slow-Traveling Cars Cause Accidents?

Early research on speed and accidents showed a U-shaped crash curve, with vehicles both below and above the average speed having increased accident risk. However, further research has shown that the increased risk of slow-traveling vehicles is relatively minor, and that the highest risk occurs to vehicles that are traveling 15 mph more than the median speed.

When single-vehicle accident risks and injury severity are incorporated, the risk posed by slow-driving traffic virtually disappears.

Reducing Car Accident Fatalities Caused by Speeding

Remote cameras have been installed at intersections to catch drivers who speed or drive recklessly.

Each year, speeding and reckless driving causes serious car accidents, severe injuries, and even death. In an attempt to reduce speeding in Chicago, remote cameras have been installed in various intersections to monitor offenders and issue tickets.

Automated Speed Enforcement Violations

These traffic tickets are called Automated Speed Enforcement Violations and are issued to an offender via mail. The system uses a 3D tracking radar that calculates the speed of vehicles as the pass through the intersection. A video camera takes images and videos of the car and its license plate number. This data is used to issue traffic tickets to offenders.

The public has shown annoyance and frustration with the system. An investigative report generated by the Chicago Tribune revealed that cameras have issued about 2.4 million incorrect citations. The concern is that the tickets were issued even when the cameras were known to be inactive or when there was confusion regarding enforcement zone signs. The public is outraged against the incorrect issuing of tickets and has been questioning if the cameras were placed there for generating revenue for the state.

Unexpected Outcomes

Even though the public debates over the effectiveness of the ticketing system, data reveals unexpected outcomes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study on a community near Washington D.C. In 2007, the community installed 56 fixed cameras, 30 portable cameras, and 6 mobile speed vans in residential areas, on roads that had speed limits of 35 mph, and in areas with schools and parks.

The study revealed a decrease in speeding by 59% and a 19% reduction in the possibility of intersection accidents leading to fatalities or disabling injuries. The key reason for the reduced speeding is that motorists consciously reduce their driving speeds to avoid getting a speeding ticket. This in turn leads to a reduction in car accidents. The accidents that do take place are not as severe and thus a reduction in fatalities and serious injuries. The data suggests that if these cameras are used nationwide, approximately 21,000 disabling injuries and fatalities per year can be eliminated.

Do Higher Speed Limits Cause an Increase in Car Accident Fatalities?

It can be difficult to remember a time when speed limits were lower on the crowded roads and freeways of Chicago. Prior to the early 1970s, posted speed limits were as high as 75 miles per hour in many states.

The National Maximum Speed Limit Law

In 1974, the federal government set the national speed limit cap at 55 miles per hour. The states were compelled to enact the speed limit laws or be hit by fines by the federal government. But in 1995, the National Maximum Speed Limit Law was appealed to allow states to have the right to set their own maximum speed limits. Posted speed limits would increase across the country and by January 2013, only Washington, D.C. kept their maximum speed limit at 55 miles per hour.

The National Maximum Speed Limit was in response to the 1973 oil crisis and the initial goal was to conserve gasoline. In addition, researchers began reporting a decrease in fatal automotive accidents. More than half of all vehicular accidents can be at least partially credited to someone driving at an excessive speed, often leading to severe injuries or death of drivers and passengers.

Speed-Related Car Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that more than 30,000 deaths from auto accidents have been linked to higher speed limits. The study featured records from more than 40 states – excluding the states and the nation’s capital for not having enough annual miles to give an accurate rating.

While overall fatalities decreased over the past 20 years, the number of vehicle deaths from speed-related accidents have increased. Other factors that were considered included the time these fatal accidents happened, the number of younger drivers entering the roadways, an increased unemployment rate, and how much alcohol was consumed in these states.

These numbers were then compared to the number of deaths that would have likely occurred without the increased speed limits during that timeframe. After making the necessary comparisons, it was found that there was about a four percent increase for every five miles per hour added in the maximum speed limit on regular roadways. That increase in fatality risk was doubled to eight percent for every five miles per hour added to the maximum.

Injuries from Low-Speed Car Collisions

Most car accidents that occur in Chicago during traffic are at relatively low speeds. This increases during the winter when ice makes it hard to stop at even low speeds.

Even so-called low-speed collisions strain the body beyond the range of force that it’s designed to withstand.

A low-speed collision that results in a velocity change of about 6 mph can subject your body to nearly 3 g’s of acceleration. That’s three times the normal force of gravity—and from a direction that your body is not designed to withstand it. A velocity change of 10 mph is the equivalent of an 8-foot fall, such as off a low roof. While it’s certainly possible to avoid injury in that situation, it’s also possible to suffer potentially serious injuries.

Common Injuries in Low-Speed Car Accidents

If you are wearing your seat belt during a low-speed car accident, you should not strike anything in the passenger compartment, so you should avoid broken bones (although some people suffer cracked ribs from seat belts). Instead, the most likely injuries you will suffer include:

  • Neck strain—“whiplash
  • Jaw injury
  • Knee strain and other tendon injuries
  • Coup-countercoup brain injury, resulting in headaches, dizziness, and vertigo
  • Back strain

These injuries may take several days to manifest themselves, but when they occur they can have long-lasting repercussions.

Your Risk of Injury in a Low-Speed Car Accident

A person’s individual risk for injuries in low-speed car accidents is highly variable, depending on your age, weight, height, gender, physical fitness, and posture when driving.

In addition, defective design or manufacture of your vehicle may increase your risk of injury. Factors that may increase your risk of injury include:

  • Head rest design
  • Bumper design
  • Bumper mismatch
  • Low overlap crash design
  • Airbag inflation or failure to inflate

If you suffered an injury in a low-speed collision, we can check to see whether a vehicle defect may be partly responsible.

Let us help with your case, Call Us 24/7: (312) 957-4166

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Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Navigate Your Injury Case

Willen’s Injury Law Offices’ Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers have varied and extensive experience with personal injury law, from both sides of the aisle, is a true asset for their clients. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys not only have years of litigation and negotiation experience working for victims of accidents or negligence, but they also have Matthew L. Willens’ background as a former insurance company executive. 

Additionally, another accident lawyer at the firm, David Baez, spent the first part of his career as a defense attorney who represented insurance companies. As the firm’s clients sometimes say, “It’s like they know the other side’s playbook!”

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Client Reviews

Willens Injury Law Offices was highly recommended by a friend. Upon my initial consultation, David was very friendly yet profesional. He was able to get a favorable result, I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends. Thank you!
Lucia R.
19:41 08 Apr 21
When I got into my accident in 2018, I was 18, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. David worked with me and made sure I was taken care of all the way to the end. He fought for my case and made sure I got the settlement I deserved. Definitely will be recommending the Willens office to my friends and family .Thank you!!!!
Emmalee R.
19:51 23 Nov 20
I 100% back this firm. I was in an accident that caused me some injury that needed medical attention. I reached out to Willens Law Offices to assist since I noticed a large amount of overwhelmingly positive reviews. Believe all the positive ones!!This firm is very professional and helpful from the beginning to end. They look out for their clients, and do their best to achieve 100% client satisfaction. If you consult with them to help, you will not be unhappy at the end.I want to give a huge shoutout to David Baez who assisted my throughout the entire case. I highly recommend him and this firm.Please note, if you utilize them and don't hear back a lot during the case, don't be alarmed. They will reach out to you when the time is right. They are not neglecting you, they are working hard day in and day out to resolve your case.1 Million % recommended!!!!!
Michael R.
18:42 13 Jun 20
It's been over a year since I was involved in my car accident - everyone knows that is a very stressful time for the injured party. I considered going through the whole process on my own but I quickly realized the insurance company was NOT my friend. I reached out to Willens Law Offices, met Matt and the attorney that would be handling my claim, David Baez. David was excellent, I'm big on communication and anytime I texted David; sometimes ad nauseam, he would always respond quickly and professionally. I had a ton of questions, and David answered everyone of them to my satisfaction. I could not have asked for a better attorney to fight for me, I have extremely high expectations and they were exceeded consistently.
Edmond P.
15:33 28 Apr 20
Reliable, efficient, & informative. Personable yet professional, Willens office took care of my every last need & then some!!
Kyle M.
15:35 10 Apr 20
I got into a car accident a couple years back, I didn’t know what to do so I researched on Google then found Willens law office. At the time it was new to me but after they help me out, guided me, let me in the right path and I haven’t been happy here ever since because justice was served! Thank you Willens coming from the Herrera family
Jose H.
18:38 03 Apr 20
I had an accident injuries and based on google reviews I reached out to Willens Law Offices in Chicago. David Baez helped me with my case. He came to meet us and understood our case in detail and he guided me all the steps of the process. I had advices from friends that you are unnecessarily going after the process and nothing will happen. David made everything worthwhile and he gave right advice always which was right for my health and right for the case. He worked very hard on my case for 2 years collecting all the paperwork, talking to physicians and taking care of my case and making it in my favor. I was truly blessed by having David Baez handling my case who was extremely professional, great ethics and felt as my family with him. After the injuries and pain I was afraid to select one but my God made me select the right one. If anyone feel they need accident injuries lawyer then I will only recommend David Baez. Nobody will beat his hard work, professionalisms, ethics and perseverance and yet down to earth and honest. Thank you for everything you have done for me and blessings from my heart for his success.
Mamta S.
14:25 06 Mar 20
David A. Baez at Willens Law office has been fantastic to work with. Very professional, informative and responsive to all questions. Hopefully I don't get into another car accident but if so I will call the Willens Law Offices asap.
steve B.
17:33 10 Dec 19
The initial impressions I had of this place turned out to be false, and I am thankful that I am pursuing the case with Mr. Willens. He is pretty incredible at what he does.
Donald B.
08:05 27 Nov 19
I can only say good things about Mr. Willens. He was fantastic, Aside from his awesome expertise, he is very down to earth and make you feel like family! HE TRULY CARES! Always eager to help and make himself available at every point of time. Thank you Matt again for everything!
Arthur L.
10:27 25 Nov 19
Truly passionate about their clients. Professional and easy to work with.
Peter W.
11:01 22 Nov 19
I came across Willens Law Offices after searching endlessly for a law firm to represent me in my personal injury case. I was well accommodated and he made me feel at ease, you truly feel like he will go the extra mile for you from the moment you hand the case over to him until the very end. I highly recommend this firm to anyone looking for representation!
Edna S.
10:05 20 Nov 19
If I ever find myself needing another law firm I will not hesitate for a second to contact him!
Micheal E.
10:12 18 Nov 19
I was involved in a car accident and was having trouble getting compensated for the amount I felt I should get. I contacted Willens Law Offices through a referral, worked with David Baez and had a very good experience. They helped educate me on the process along with helping me get what I deserved. I would HIGHLY recommend contacting them if you are involved in an accident.
mohsin M.
19:38 15 Nov 19
His staff was always so nice and friendly and responded promptly if I ever had any questions. I'm very thankful to come across them and will highly recommend them!
Rodrick M.
10:04 15 Nov 19
I'm sending a special thanks to Matt for working patiently and closely with me regarding the status of my case till the end. I can't recommend him highly enough.
Randy D.
14:08 13 Nov 19
Throughout the process of the case, he did an exceptional job. The entire process was extremely smooth and the staff kept me up to date on the status of my case. I give him 5 stars as he is the best legal attorney there is in the greater Illinois area. He truly deserve it.
Regina B.
15:40 11 Nov 19
I just want to thank Mr. Willens for being extremely reliable and diligent. He was able to adequately answer all my questions and concerns. He settled my case rather quickly. I will definitely recommend him to friends and family.
Bernadette F.
15:43 08 Nov 19
I was involved in a bad accident with multiple cars and I was in a terrible shape. Matt Willens handled my case exceptionally. Everyone that helped was also great! he was detailed and clear in all our communication and he always made sure I was aware of everything that was going on throughout my whole case. Really helped me get through a rough time. I am 100% satisfied with the outcome of my case. If you need a good lawyer on your side, look no further!
Laura W.
14:49 06 Nov 19
Willens Law Office handled my accident and they were incredible! Matt drove all the way to see me and I could see he really cared. He handled my injury case from start to finish and I’m now rebuilding the part of my life that I lost. Thanks for your help.
Todd Z.
05:55 11 Oct 19
I was involved in an accident back in last year and was searching for an attorney who looked like I can trust. I found Matt Willens and I am thankful. I called him up just to get a feel for him as a person and I could tell right away that he truly cared, not only about me but my family too. To say that he fought for us would be an understatement. He was ready to go to trial! Luckily we settled and it was for more money than I imagined, especially after my initial talk with the insurance company. Thanks Matt!
Paula D.
13:14 10 Oct 19
Matt Willens went above and beyond for my case. I felt as though he cared more about me and my situation than he did himself and the time that he was required to spend on my case. I highly recommend using him.
Marci P.
13:24 03 Sep 19
It was great to work with this firm. They handled every piece of paperwork. David Baez handled my case. He kept me informed through the whole process and treated me like family. I highly recommend David and the entire firm.
John C.
14:42 16 Aug 19
Willens Law is a firm I trust in because they specialize in personal injury matters. I have had a wonderful experience with Matt WIllens personally and I can say he is pleasant to work with and communicates thoroughly with his clients. I would recommend Willens Law.
Grant V.
05:28 19 Jul 19
I’m rarely compelled to leave a review for anyone but I felt I needed to show my gratitude.From the first time I spoke with Matt Willens on the phone I actually felt like he was there for me, looking after my best interests and not his own. That’s rare in my experience.Matt is an absolute pro and I wouldn’t think to call or recommend anyone else if I or a loved one were injured in the future. Thanks Matt!
Kyle W.
04:16 19 Jul 19
When I first contacted Willens law office, I just wanted to make sure everyone was paid after I was rear ended and I wasn’t the one doing it. My correspondence was primarily with David, he was always patient when I was slow to get him information and ended up calling me with great news after almost a year of back and forth with the at-fault insurance company.I can’t thank David and the Willens law office enough.
Amanda H
18:36 14 Jun 19
Willens Law Office is GREAT! David handled my case. He made me feel like family. He explained everything in detail every step of the way. He fought to get the results that would best benefit me. David is a great attorney. Thanks David and the Willens Law Office family.
Michael S.
17:53 31 May 19
Willens Law came highly recommended after I was badly injured when hit by an out of control car. I in turn most highly recommend Willens Law based on my great experience over the past year and a half.I am very pleased with both the outcome of my case as well as the experience working with Matt Willens and David Baez throughout the process.I had no specific expectation regarding a case outcome, seeking only ‘the best outcome possible.’ I certainly believe my case outcome was a great outcome. And I strongly believe that outcome was a direct result of fantastic work done by Matt and David.From beginning to end Matt and David were great to work with. They did a great job setting expectations; explaining what was to happen, including the why and the how; guiding me through the steps I needed to take; and answering both my “need to know” and “just curious” questions. They were always extremely prompt and clear in their guidance and responses to me.A silver lining in a tough situation was working with Matt and David, both of whom I came to respect professionally and like personally. I do most highly recommend Willens Law to others who may need such services.
Keith
18:55 22 May 19
Willens Law Offices is simply the best!!! David handle my case , and was nothing but professional! He is the best at what he do!!!!!Every step of the way, I was informed of my case!!!Thanks again!!
cassandra J.
17:55 26 Mar 19
Great team, did me right, pleasurable experience.
Robert P.
03:34 21 Feb 19
David Baez was prompt and professional in answering all of my questions.
Richard D.
00:19 07 Feb 19
David Baez was very professional, helpful and always kept me informed about my case. David responded quickly to any questions I may of had. I highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury case. Thanks again David for all the great work you did.
JCSM 1.
21:39 06 Nov 18
After being in an Uber accident about a year ago, I reached out to Willens Law to assist me through the settlement process. I had the pleasure of working with David Baez. From the start he was very personable and professional. He was always willing to educate me on the process and made sure I understood each step before going forward. Even after receiving my settlement, David has been willing to assist with any questions related to my case. I would highly recommend Willens Law.
Madelyn D.
02:47 05 Oct 18
I reached out to Willens Law Offices following a car accident that my girlfriend and I were involved in, and we met with David Baez for an in-person consultation shortly after. David was very personable and knowledgeable, and gave us confidence and peace of mind in a situation where we felt initially felt completely overwhelmed. There were times when we felt the communication could have been more proactive, but David was always responsive when we felt the need to check-in, even if there were no significant updates on our case. The process took a little longer than anticipated, but David was honest, thorough, and professional throughout.Overall, great experience and I'd recommend to anyone in need. Thank you David!
Geoff B.
20:44 17 Sep 18
After I was injured, and after researching Chicago's best law firms, I found Willens Law and read their reviews. After meeting Matt, I retained their services, along with the special efforts of his Partner, David Baez.They handled my case in a professional, efficient manner, while keeping me regularly informed. We worked incredibly well together, and won a very nice settlement. You would be foolish not to consider Willens Law for your Counsel, as I did. I highly recommend them!Ed Dybas
Ed D.
21:26 07 Sep 18
We had a very positive experience and felt their representation was very effective.
Kent M.
22:43 29 Aug 18
Working with Willens Law was a pleasure. They were responsive and extremely pleasant whenever I had questions or concerns. In my case, I personally took a little longer than I should have to start the process on my end, but David was able to pickup on my delay and process my personal injury case in a timely manner. I would highly recommend Willens Law and David when looking for an attorney to represent you in a case.
Maggie O.
14:07 23 Jul 18
I had a tremendous experience with this law firm, and I would highly recommend them. I had a bicycle injury caused by a negligent Uber car, and when I was first doing research and calling law firms all over the Chicago area to find representation, Matt Willens himself returned my call personally within ten minutes. I found that to be a huge integrity move as every other firm I contacted had a lower level employee call me back. Nothing wrong with that per se, but to have the lawyer whose name is on the door personally return my call meant a hell of a lot to me and was ultimately why I decided to meet with them first.I made an appointment and met Mr. Willens and the fantastic young attorney David Baez in their offices and they were wonderful to deal with. They are down-to-earth, funny, intelligent, tenacious, capable, experienced lawyers who explained the entire process to me in a way I could understand and made me feel comfortable and confident, and we were off and running with my case.I work in a law firm and I know exactly how slowly the wheels of justice turn, and my case was settled in about half the time that these things normally take! Amazing results. Mr. Baez and his team were incredible throughout and kept me informed every step of the way, and negotiated a higher settlement number and a lower fee for the insurance company in the eleventh hour which meant more money in my pocket!! I wholeheartedly recommend this law firm for your personal injury case. They are highly skilled and I couldn't be happier. This organization is fantastic and they will produce results for you.
saxmantommy
15:01 05 Jun 18
Matt has been there for us every step of the way. He, personally, has taken the time to answer all of our questions. We never feel like we are bothering him or pestering him. We have only experienced patience and professionalism from both Matt and his team.
Maribeth C.
15:45 03 May 18
David was very good at keeping me up to date with what was going on and helping with every step throughout the entire process. I could not have asked for better representation.
Jennifer B.
21:14 24 Apr 18
David Baez was an excellent representation of the Willens Law Office. He achieved my desired result along with keeping me updated during the entire process. Very fortunate to have him by my side - thank you David.
keith B.
19:29 20 Apr 18
Matt is an impressive attorney and person! Took on State Farm and won for me. Highly recommend Matt for PI cases.
Danielle B.
22:47 10 Apr 18
This Law firm has been very prompt and kind in dealing with my case. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs injury lawyers.
F Z.
22:45 10 Apr 18
I used Willens Law for a personal injury claim. Matt was knowledgeable and professional. He also responded quickly which I really appreciated. I would definitely recommend.
Robyn R.
21:44 29 Mar 18
After a bad auto accident, and months of rehab, Matt Willens and his staff worked with me as though they were part of my family. They were professional, courteous and looking out for my best interest during the entire legal process. I would highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury.
dan B.
19:27 25 Mar 18

What Types of Cases Can Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Injured in an Accident? Give Us a Call Today: (312)-957-4166

Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle My Case?

You are not legally required to have a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim. You could file all the necessary paperwork yourself and represent yourself in court. However, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much higher if you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why You Shouldn't Settle Directly With An Insurance Company

Insurance providers will try to get you to settle quickly. In the midst of your crisis, they might offer you what seems like a large dollar amount. The problem is they rarely make an offer of settlement for the true full cost of your damages. Don’t be misled, hospital bills aren’t the only things for which you will need compensation. You also need to keep in mind the suffering and pain associated with your traumatic event. 

Personal Injury Resources

Illinois Personal Injury FAQs

The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Willens Injury Law Offices respond to frequently asked questions related to personal injury, car accidents, medical malpractice, and workers’

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