There's no doubt about it. Illinois highways are dangerous. At the time of this blog post, there have been 222 fatal crashes in Illinois this year, leading to 235 deaths. These figures only reflect fatalities, not the day-to-day and disabling injuries that often occur. Some people can walk away from the scene of the accident with only minor cuts and bruises, but many are not so lucky.
Car accidents are alarming. Adrenaline, shock and stress take over, making it hard to get a full grasp on the big picture.
Cargo and chemical risk
A car crash is always dangerous, and when cars collide with trucks and other large vehicles, the damages are especially severe. People often think about the size difference in crashes but, just like everything else in life, there are many scenarios.
Take this example from late April, when a leaking tanker-trailer caused dozens of injuries in Chicago's north suburbs. While this specific situation wasn't from a car crash, early reports suggested that it was. It's easy to imagine how deadly such a crash might be. Motorists who simply passed through the chemical cloud were hospitalized, which doesn't mention what first-hand physical exposure might cause.
In other instances, the cargo of a semi might crush the smaller vehicle or, if it was not properly secured, it may fall into the road. Highway debris creates projectiles and chain reaction, multi-car accidents.
Look beyond the surface
Car accident injuries occur many ways. Besides impact, there is broken glass, moving cargo and potentially dangerous chemical exposure. Some injuries are easy to identify, such as head trauma, broken bones, and cuts and scrapes. But many injuries are invisible to the human eye, such as concussions and exposure-related illnesses. Sometimes these effects take time to surface, which means a driver might pull over after a car crash, thinking he or she is fine, only to suffer from headaches and worse ailments later.
The only way to identify injuries after a crash is to visit a doctor as soon as possible. This is best for recovery and also for understanding the full scope of damages when you file a car insurance claim. An attorney will also be able to investigate a collision and any resulting damage to make sure that you're properly compensated, not only for immediate bills but for anything that lingering consequences as well.