Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Learn The Facts About Distracted Driving in Illinois

Despite the known dangers, the number of distracted driving accidents continues to grow each year. In 2015, almost 3,500 people were killed in car accidents caused by a driver engaging in distracted driving behaviors.

The National Safety Council has classified distracted driving as a national epidemic and has declared April Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

One of the most common – and deadliest – forms of distracted driving is the use of cell phones and other hand-held devices. Texting while driving is considered one of the most dangerous. When a person is reading or sending a text, their eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds.

That may not seem like a long time, but if you are driving at 55 mph, you will travel the length of a football field. Now imagine driving that distance with your eyes closed because that is what is essentially happening when you text and drive.

In Illinois, it is against the law to use a hand-held cell phone. Drivers are only allowed to use hands-free devices or phones with blue tooth technology, but only if they are 19 years of age or older.

However, keep in mind that studies have shown that even using hands-free technology can be a dangerous distraction while driving because it takes your attention away from the road.

And while much of the focus on distracted driving is pointed at cell phone use, distracted driving is any kind of activity that takes your attention away from driving.

This can include playing with the vehicle navigation, radio, or entertainment systems, talking to passengers in your vehicle, or eating and drinking. Anything that distracts you from keeping focused on the road is a potential distracted driving crash waiting to happen.

In order to help decrease your risk of being in an auto accident, consider practicing these safe driving habits:

  • Finish personal grooming at home, before you get in your vehicle;
  • Try to avoid eating while driving by having meals or snacks before you leave. If you do have to bring a snack with you, make sure it is not a messy one which could divert your attention;
  • Before putting your vehicle in drive, make all the adjustments with mirrors, seats, GPS system, etc.; and
  • Put all your electronics away so they will not be a distraction while you are driving. If you do have to make a phone call or text someone, pull over onto a safe area off the road and do it while your vehicle is parked.

Unfortunately, no matter how many safe driving behaviors we practice, there are many other drivers who fail to do the same. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a skilled Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss what your legal options are.

How Long Will it Take to Settle My Car Accident Case in Illinois?

how long you can expect your auto accident claim to take and the steps an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can take to help

If you have been injured in a car accident in Illinois, you’ll want to know how long it will take to settle your case.

Not only might your injuries cause substantial pain and suffering, but if you are left temporarily disabled and cannot go to work, the loss of income you may suffer as the victim of a car crash could cause you overwhelming financial burdens.

The time required to reach a resolution in a car accident claim depends on many factors.  Firstly, it is dependent on the medical treatment plan an accident victim uses to recover from the injuries sustained in the accident.

An attorney cannot negotiate the settlement of a claim until the accident victim completes medical treatment and recovers from their injuries sustained in the accident.  The longer the course of the treatment plan, the longer the process will take.  And getting the right treatment plan is critically important: an accident victim can only settle their claim once.

That means that the accident victim cannot come back after settlement and recover more money if she is still feeling pain or continues to suffer from accident related injuries.  Therefore, the medical treatment plan is one of the most important factors that determines how long it takes to resolve a claim.

A second major factor in the time it takes to settle a claim, is the conduct of the adverse insurance company in response to the claim.  The adverse insurance company will carefully review the medical treatment plan to determine if all the treatment was related to and required by the injuries sustained in the accident at issue.  A claimant’s prior medical history, including other accidents and injuries suffered near the time of the accident at issue, may complicate and delay that review.

The adverse insurance company will also carefully evaluate the cause of the accident and whether the claimant is at all responsible for the accident.  The more cars involved in the accident, the more complicated that evaluation can be and the longer it might take.

A third factor to consider in determining how long the settlement of a claim might take is the time it will take to gather all the facts of the case: the extent of the damage to the vehicles, the costs of repairs and the severity of the impact, the information contained in the police or traffic crash report and whether a moving violation was issued to either driver, witnesses to the accident and their statements, and the sobriety of the drivers involved. Investigating all the factual issues and gathering all the important evidence may take time.

With all these different issues to review, even those claims that seem simple can quickly become complicated.  Insurance companies have the experience and resources to dig up even the most unlikely defenses to any claim.

When the insurance company takes a position regarding either the medical treatment or the cause of the accident, and the claimant believes the insurance company is not correctly evaluating the claim, he can file a lawsuit under most circumstances.  But lawsuits take time and require costs and expenses, like filing fees.  If you have been injured in a car accident in Illinois, then it is critical that you contact an Illinois car accident attorney to advocate for you.

There is no crystal ball to predict how long your car accident claim will take to resolve, but the message here is that once you understand the complex factors involved in the process of settling your case — from injury to recovery to compensation — you can be certain that having a seasoned Illinois personal injury attorney representing you will help ensure that the insurance company does not take advantage of your situation and that you get all the compensation you deserve.

When Do Accidents in Illinois Become Personal Injury Claims

What it takes to file an injury lawsuit in Chicago No matter how careful you are or how safely you drive, there is always the risk that another driver on the road is engaging in bad driving behavior which will eventually lead to a crash. Some of the leading causes of car crashes include speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving.

If you sustain injuries in a car crash caused by another driver, then under Illinois law, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for your injuries.

This is true for just about any type of accident you may be involved in and are injured including pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, workers’ compensation, or medical malpractice.

If the accident and/or injury are caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

There are two parts to a personal injury claim – liability and damage. In order to determine liability, your Chicago personal injury attorney will examine all the evidence of the accident, including any police reports, photographs, and witness statements.

The at-fault party’s insurance company will also be conducting their own investigation and may be trying to find even the slightest indication that you were somehow responsible for the incident.

This is why it is critical to have a skilled accident attorney advocating for you and allowing he or she to deal directly with the insurance company.

Once liability has been determined, the next step is to determine the amount of damages. These damages typically include any past and future medical expenses, lost wages from being unable to work because of the injuries, and pain and suffering you have gone through.

You might also be entitled to damages if there is any long-term or permanent disability issues.

If you are considering bringing forward a personal injury claim, it is important to note that in most circumstances, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file.

Your Chicago personal injury attorney will be able to assist you in filing your claim before the statute of limitations expires.

How Long Does Someone Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Illinois?

Seek the assistance of a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney with Glen Lerner injury attorneys today to ensure that you meet the statute of limitations for your case.Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are often much more severe than in other motor vehicle accidents. A motorcycle offers no protection for its riders like an automobile or other vehicles.

Victims of motorcycle accidents often face long and expensive recovery and rehab, however, it is important to note that there is a statute of limitations in Illinois on how long a victim has to file a claim for damages.

This is a primary reason why motorcycle accident victims should contact a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Is a Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the time in which a victim has to file a civil claim or lawsuit.

The reason these laws are put into place is to avoid situations where the alleged at-fault party indefinitely has the threat of a personal injury lawsuit being filed against them.

These laws also help ensure that evidence used in a claim is “fresh” and not old or degraded, which could put into question the legitimacy of the claim.

Illinois Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations

Under Illinois tort law, anyone who has been injured in a motorcycle accident has two years from the date the injuries are discovered to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for any injuries that were caused in that accident.

In most cases, this would be the day of the accident, however, there may be exceptions.

It is not uncommon for symptoms of injuries from a motor vehicle crash to not show up for a few days, or even weeks, after the accident. In these instances, the victim would have two years from that date.

A Chicago motorcycle accident attorney can discuss this in more detail with you to determine what the statute of limitation is in your situation.

Illinois does not have a minimum age for passengers on motorcycles, so there is the risk that a minor could be injured in a motorcycle crash. In these situations, the statute of limitations does not kick in until the minor reaches the age of 18. At this point, the victim has two years in which to file their claim.

What Value Can Be Placed on Your Health Following a Car Accident in Illinois?

How injury damages are determined in Chicago car accident cases and how an auto accident lawyer can helpMany people believe that there are things you cannot put a price on, such as happiness, love, or your health.

But for victims who have been injured in a car accident caused by another party, putting a price on their health is exactly what is done in a personal injury lawsuit.

If you have been injured in an accident and consult with a Chicago personal injury attorney, he or she will most likely discuss with you the possibility of collecting economic and non-economic damages from the party or parties who are deemed responsible for the accident or circumstances which resulted in your injuries.

Economic damages include the cost of all the past and future medical treatment your injuries will require, as well as whatever loss of income you had from not being able to go to work.

You may also be entitled to financial compensation for any property damage as a result of the accident, such as a vehicle which was damaged or totaled in a car crash.

Victims can also be awarded compensation for non-economic damages. These damages are for the ways the injuries had affected or continue to affect the victim’s life. Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering: This includes both the immediate pain the victim has suffered from the injury, as well as residual pain they may have in the future.
  • Emotional distress: It is not uncommon for accident victims to suffer emotional distress when they have experienced a traumatic event. Many accident victims struggle with anxiety, sleep difficulties, fear, or PTSD.
  • Loss of enjoyment: If an injury causes permanent damage, there may be recreational or other types of activities that the victim can longer perform.
  • Loss of consortium: If an injury affects the ability of the victim to maintain the same relationship level they had with their spouse and/or children, they may be able to collect damages for loss of consortium.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to consult with a skilled Chicago personal injury attorney to find out what type of damages you may be entitled to.