New Illinois Law Aims to Facilitate Traffic Flow Near Auto Accidents

If you’ve done any driving at all in Illinois, chances are that you have unexpectedly had to sit in traffic for awhile because of an auto accident that was blocking the roadway in front of you. Perhaps you even became frustrated upon seeing that the wreck was just a minor fender bender, where no one was hurt and all vehicles involved could have easily been moved out of the way. Unfortunately, Illinois law prohibits motorists from moving their vehicles after any type of accident. But that appears to be about to change. Senate Bill 3409 has been passed by state lawmakers and is awaiting the signature of Governor Pat Quinn. The legislation would let drivers who are involved in non-injury accidents move their vehicles out of the flow of traffic. The bill was passed unanimously by the House, and it would bring Illinois laws in line with those of other states which encourage (like Iowa) or require (like Texas) that wrecked vehicles move out of the roadway if no one is hurt. Under the new law, motorists could pull their cars into a parking lot, onto a side street or shoulder, or even off of a freeway to an exit ramp or frontage road shoulder. The measure is designed to decrease the number of unneeded traffic jams caused by minor collisions. However, it is important to keep in mind that if drivers or passengers are injured in an auto accident, the vehicles should remain where they are. Some drivers worry that moving their vehicles after a collision could complicate the process of determining which party is at fault. But law enforcement officials counter that experts are capable of accurately reconstructing accident scenes. Motorists should also realize that remaining near the site of a crash could result in them being injured in a second collision by passing traffic. (This was most recently illustrated when a man got out of a car after it struck a tour bus on an interstate, but died after a passing car slammed into his vehicle and hit him.) One area of concern surrounding this new law might have to do with any subsequent personal injury lawsuits that are filed in connection with a collision. It is not uncommon for accident victims to not experience pain, bruising, or discomfort until hours or even days have passed since an accident has taken place. However, if a driver moves their car after a wreck thinking that they aren’t injured, but then develops adverse symptoms later on; a defense attorney might claim that the mere act of the plaintiff moving their car represents proof that no injuries resulted from the crash. If you are hurt after an auto accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney regardless of when you noticed the symptoms. He or she will work hard to gather and ascertain all of the facts in your case, and also strive to get you the best possible outcome.