Illinois Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas
Distracted driving is a growing problem in Illinois and across the United States. Nationwide, about 10% of traffic fatalities involve a distracted driver. Texting and driving draws the most attention, for good reason. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says cell phones play a role in about 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents each year. However, the possible distractions on the road are far more diverse. Some common examples include:
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Texting or emailing
- Programming GPS or looking at a map
- Turning to talk to children in the back seat
- Selecting music
- Lighting a cigarette
- Reaching for something dropped on the floor
Many of these behaviors are routine, and drivers may not recognize how dangerous they can be. In fact, most of these actions are not specifically prohibited by Illinois law. But, looking away from the road for just a few seconds can be catastrophic. A car traveling at 60 miles per hour covers 88 feet per second. Multiply that by a few seconds, and there’s plenty of opportunity for another driver to merge into your lane, an object to roll into the road, or the traffic pattern to change.
Liability for Distracted Driving Accidents
Establishing liability in a personal injury case requires that:
- The defendant had a duty to exercise a certain degree of care
- The defendant did not exercise the required care
- The accident occurred as a result of the failure to exercise the required care
- The plaintiff sustained damages as a result of the accident
Every person operating a motor vehicle on Illinois roadways has an obligation to drive safely and to comply with traffic safety laws. When a distracted driver fails in that duty and causes an accident in Illinois, he or she may be liable for damages.
Under certain circumstances, another party may share liability for the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, if the distracted driver is operating the vehicle in the course of his employment, the employer may be liable for damages. Or, if the front-seat passenger in the car decides that it would be funny to obstruct the driver’s vision or otherwise distract her and that interference causes an accident, the passenger may be partly or wholly responsible.
Damages in a Distracted Driving Case
Damages in distracted driving cases vary significantly, depending on factors such as the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff’s age and earning capacity, and whether the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident. Some damages that are commonly awarded in serious car accident cases include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and projected lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Costs of rehabilitation and other accommodations
Other factors not specifically related to the accident may also impact the damages an injured party is able to recover. For example, the amount of insurance coverage available plays a role in both settlement negotiations and the collectability of a jury verdict. An experienced Illinois car accident attorney can be your best resource for information about the damages that may be available after you’ve been injured by a distracted driver.
Preserving Your Rights after a Distracted Driving Accident
If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, to protect both your physical health and your claim for damages. If you are able, you will also want to gather information at the scene of the accident, including witness names and contact information.
In the days following the accident, you will want to exercise caution in speaking with insurance company representatives, as their job is to find a way to deny your claim or to arrange for a quick settlement that does not provide full compensation for your injuries. You should also refrain from discussing your accident in social media or other public forums.
Connect with an Experienced Distracted Driving Attorney as Soon as Possible
The sooner you retain a car accident attorney, the more opportunity that lawyer will have to investigate your claim, gather evidence and assemble a strong case on your behalf. The attorney will also take over negotiations with the insurance company, and will take responsibility for managing deadlines and other procedural requirements.
Schedule your free consultation right now, so you can focus on your recovery while a knowledgeable advocate focuses on your case.