🌟 Exciting News! 🌟 We’re thrilled to announce that our Founding Partner, Ken Levinson, and Managing Partner, Jay Stefani, have once again been recognized by Super Lawyers as Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois! 🏆 Ken’s remarkable 15-year streak and Jay’s impressive 5-year run showcase their unwavering commitment to excellence in personal injury law. Thank you for trusting us with your legal needs! 💼⚖️#ProudAchievement #SuperLawyers #LegalExcellence #PersonalInjuryLaw
During the “Low Budget, High Tech” portion of the New Jersey Association for Justice’s (“NJAJ”) Meadowlands Seminar, Levinson and Stefani Injury Lawyers’ managing partner, Jay Stefani, will present to trial lawyers from across the country. His presentation, “Client Communications in Your PI Practice: There Has to Be a Better, Easier Way,” will focus on utilizing technology to streamline and enhance client communication.
The Meadowlands Seminar 2023 will take place from November 15-17, at the Hilton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Over the course of three days 21 seminars will be featured.
John A. (Jay) Stefani is the Managing Partner at Levinson and Stefani Injury Lawyers, a Chicago-based boutique firm concentrating on helping victims of truck and automobile crashes. He is active with AAJ, where he is a past chair of the Sole Practitioner & Small Firm Section; the current Content Curator of the Motor Vehicle Section; and an active member of the Trucking Litigation Group and the Ride Share Litigation Group. Jay is also an active member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the Chicago Bar Association. A DePaul graduate (undergraduate and law school), he continues to be a part of the university acting as a mentor within the DePaul University and College of Law communities and speaking in the law school’s Preparing to Practice (P2P) program. He currently sits on the DePaul Law Alumni Engagement Board and serves as its President.
Levinson and Stefani Injury Lawyers’ founding partner, Ken Levinson, will present on multiple topics during the 2023 Maryland Association for Justice’s (“MAJ”) Auto Negligence Seminar: Litigating Auto and Trucking Cases in State and Federal Court.
During Ken’s 1st presentation, “From Crash to Trial: Strategies for Your Truck Cases,” Ken will provide expert guidance and tips for maximizing results on trucking cases. Ken’s final presentation, “Using Focus Groups to Maximize Your Auto and Truck Cases,” will focus on leveraging focus groups to identify case weaknesses and much more.
MAJ’s 2023 Auto Negligence Seminar will take place on Friday, November 10, 2023, in Pikesville, Maryland.
Ken founded his firm in 2014 in order to offer client-first legal representation for victims of personal injury from auto, truck, and bus crashes. Ken is a co- author of Litigating Major Automobile Injury and Death Cases, published by AAJ Press/Thomson-Reuters. Ken holds leadership roles with the American Association for Justice and sits on the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Board of Managers.
From July 14-18, trial attorneys from across the country will converge on the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia for the American Association for Justice’s (“AAJ”) 2023 Annual Convention.
Levinson and Stefani’s founding partner, Ken Levinson, will be giving the three following presentations:
July 14th: The Melvin M. Belli Societies’ 75th Annual Seminar – “Top Non-Legal Books Trial Lawyers Need for Their Practice.”
July 16th: The Advocacy Track: Freedom of Trial: Methods to Identify and Overcome Various Forms of Jury Bias Program – “What Focus Groups Have Taught Us About Presenting Our Cases.”
July 17th: The Truck/Bus Litigation Group Program – “Most Recent Trends for Focus Groups and Framing Your Client’s Truck and Bus Crash Case.”
Ken founded his firm in 2014 in order to offer client-first legal representation for victims of personal injury from auto, truck, and bus crashes. Ken is a co- author of Litigating Major Automobile Injury and Death Cases, published by AAJ Press/Thomson-Reuters. Ken holds leadership roles with the American Association for Justice and the Chicago Bar Association. Ken also sits on the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Board of Managers.
Left turns can be deceptively dangerous maneuvers, even if they may seem routine to frequent drivers. According to the NHTSA, about 22.2% of all accidents that occur at intersections involve a left-turning driver. If the driver who intends to turn left is speeding, left turn accidents become even more likely.
While speeding is dangerous for many reasons, it is important to discuss how driving too quickly requires your reaction time to be much quicker. At busy intersections, there are many potential hazards that drivers must react to in order to make a safe left turn.
Speeding also makes it more difficult to control your vehicle. This is especially dangerous during left turns because left-turning drivers must be careful not to encroach on other lanes.
Additionally, speeding makes it difficult for other drivers in the intersection to predict your actions. Even if a left-turning driver signals properly, other drivers may not have enough time to register the signal if the left-turning driver is speeding.
It is also important to note that high speeds increase the severity of left turn accidents. This is especially concerning because left turn collisions at busy intersections often involve vulnerable pedestrians. Moreover, a speeding vehicle intending to turn left may collide with oncoming traffic that is also moving at high speeds, leading to a catastrophic T-bone or head on collision.
Let’s go over some specific scenarios that illustrate the risks that we mentioned above:
- At busy intersections, visibility is often limited. For left-turning vehicles who need to see oncoming traffic, this can be particularly dangerous. A speeding driver making a left turn may approach the intersection too quickly to see if there is a safe gap in oncoming traffic.
- A speeding driver may approach the intersection without leaving themselves enough room to stop if the light changes to red. Without enough stopping distance, the driver may encroach on the intersection and cause a T-bone collision with a driver moving in the adjacent direction.
- A driver that is executing their left turn too quickly may overestimate the capabilities of their vehicle. Turning too quickly, especially in adverse conditions, could cause the left-turning driver to skid into traffic. In severe cases, the left-turning driver may even roll their vehicle, resulting in catastrophic injuries or death.
- A speeding driver may not have time to react to pedestrians in the crosswalk. When making a left turn, even if there is a protected green arrow, drivers still must check the crosswalks and yield to pedestrians. If the turn is unprotected, pedestrians will often have a walk sign when the left turning driver has a green light. Therefore, drivers must always be ready to yield to pedestrians. Failing to do so could cause a fatal collision with a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
- A left-turning driver who is speeding when they approach the intersection may need to brake suddenly to wait for oncoming traffic. This could confuse the driver behind you who may have assumed that you intended to proceed straight through the intersection without slowing down. This could result in a rear-end collision which is made even more dangerous due to the proximity to the intersection.
Speeding can make any maneuver more dangerous, especially left turns. It is always better to approach your left turn with caution and employ defensive driving techniques.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to make your left turns safer in addition to slowing down:
- Always remember to use your turn signal prior to making your left turn. This will alert the drivers behind you of your intention to turn, as well as signal to the surrounding traffic. It is best to signal early to allow other drivers to register your intentions.
- Check your blind spots, especially at intersections where there are multiple left turn lanes. When in doubt, be sure to stay in your lane to avoid encroaching on the lanes of other left-turning vehicles.
- Assess the traffic conditions prior to executing your turn. It may not be the best time to make your turn, and you may need to wait for a wider gap in oncoming traffic.
- If you are not sure whether it is safe to complete your left turn, it may be best to proceed straight and find a safer intersection. If it is safe and legal to proceed straight the intersection you are uncomfortable with, try and find an intersection with a protected green arrow and clear visibility.
- Pay attention to the type of oncoming traffic. Larger vehicles may need more time to stop, so do not assume that oncoming traffic will yield for you if the light turns yellow.
- Be aware of the weather conditions. The law requires drivers to drive in a manner that is safe depending on the conditions of the roads. This means that you may be required to drive slower than the speed limit if the roads are wet or icy.
Left turns can be stressful and complex even if you are driving safely. There are many variables to consider, such as oncoming traffic, pedestrians, signal changes, and the type of intersection. Adding speeding and other types of reckless driving (like phone use and other distractions) into the mix can be extremely dangerous and even catastrophic.
By avoiding speeding and following these additional safety tips, you can help make our roads safer for yourself and others.
When we think about distracted driving, certain types of distractions come to mind. Phone usage, eating while driving, and adjusting the radio are often mentioned as particularly dangerous habits. But did you know that conversing with a passenger can also be a dangerous distraction? One study from the University of Michigan has even compared the level of distraction that occurs when talking to a passenger to that of texting on a cell phone.
This is because talking to passengers while driving can divert your attention away from the driving task at hand and cause you to miss important visual cues like the presence of a pedestrian. Even if your eyes remain on the road, your attention might waiver to the conversation between you and the passenger.
Remaining attentive when driving is always important, but distractions are especially risky when making left turns. Left turn are notoriously dangerous maneuvers even if they may seem routine to the average driver. This is because drivers must be aware of multiple hazards, including oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
Let’s dive in to some of the specific ways that a conversation with a passenger can cause a collision during a left turn:
- Taking your attention away from the road: Like we mentioned above, you can still be distracted even if your eyes remain on the road. This is because you may be thinking about how to respond in your conversation with the passenger without realizing that a hazard is in your path. During a left turn, conversing with a passenger could even lead to forgetting to wait for a safe gap in oncoming traffic.
- Leading you to miss important visual cues: We already mentioned how conversing with a passenger could lead to missing an important visual cue like a pedestrian in the crosswalk. But there are many other visual cues that you must remain aware of, such as the changing phases of a traffic light or an unusual traffic sign.
- Causing you to make mistakes in judgment: Left turns require good judgement on the part of the left-turning driver. For example, a left-turning driver must be able to accurately judge the speed and distance of an oncoming vehicle. Talking to a passenger could lead you to misjudge oncoming traffic, resulting in a catastrophic collision.
If a left-turning driver is distracted, there are multiple points during the course of the turn where a collision is likely to occur. Let’s dive in to some of these possible collisions:
- Oncoming traffic: As we talked about above, conversing with a passenger could lead to a collision with oncoming traffic. Commonly, left-turn collisions with oncoming traffic result in T-bone or head-on collisions. These are two of the most dangerous types of accidents, with high casualty and fatality rates.
- Pedestrians: When making a left turn, drivers are often required to proceed through the pedestrian crosswalk. At an intersection without a protected green arrow, pedestrians will usually have a walk sign at the same time that a left-turning driver has a green light. Pedestrians always have the right of way in this case, and it is vital for drivers to be extra attentive so as not to collide with a pedestrian. A vehicle colliding with a pedestrian is the most fatal common collision, and drivers should be aware of any pedestrian activity.
- Rear-end collisions: Distracted driving may lead a left-turning driver to forget to signal prior to executing their turn. This is particularly dangerous for intersections that do not have a designated left turn lane. This is because the driver behind the left-turning driver may assume that the driver in front intend to proceed straight through the intersection. This could lead to a read-end collision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is a factor in approximately 15% of all fatal crashes. Talking to passengers is one of the most common forms of distracted driving, especially among younger drivers.
However, we are aware that occasional communication with a passenger while driving is not entirely avoidable. For that reason, we would like to cover some tips to keep in mind to remain attentive while driving:
- Keep Conversations Short and to the Point: If you must have a longer conversation with a passenger, it is best to pull over to the side of the road until you can give your full attention to operating your vehicle.
- Avoid Potentially Emotional Topics: Emotional conversations can be more distracting, so it is best to save more emotional conversations for another time.
- Set Expectations with Passengers before Driving: It may be best to inform your passengers that you may not be able to respond to them right away while driving.
- Refrain from Conversing during Left Turns: Left turns, which are some one of the more complex maneuvers, require your full attention. It is best to save your conversation for after you have completed your left turn.
Talking to passengers while driving can be a distraction, just like phone use or eating while driving. It is important to remember that, even though your eyes may remain on the road, your brain may be preoccupied with the conversation at hand. This can lead to dangerous collisions and cause serious harm to yourself or others.
For that reason, it is important to give driving your full attention, especially during left turns. You should be able to focus fully on pedestrian activity, oncoming traffic, and other traffic activity in the intersection where you intend to turn. Remember, safety first!