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Distracted Driving Accidents

Table of Contents

Our Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable

The distracted driving accident lawyers at Strom Yen Injury Attorneys take traffic safety seriously. Despite strict laws that govern texting and the use of handheld devices while driving in Illinois, distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of serious accidents that cause injuries and fatalities. Nearly 3,000 victims die every year in the United States, and another 400,000 are severely injured because so many motorists put their own convenience and desire for entertainment above the safety of their passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. Our accident attorneys believe that negligent drivers who disregard the safety of others should be held accountable. We help make sure these drivers pay for the harm they cause.

Contact a Chicago distracted driving lawyer at Strom Yen Injury Attorneys online or call (312) 609-0400 to schedule a free consultation.

The Impact of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in America. Any time drivers take their eyes off the road, remove their hands from the wheel, or concentrate on anything other than operating their vehicles safely, they are putting themselves, their passengers, and anyone else on the road in danger.

The Dangers of Using a Cellphone

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it takes the average person approximately 5 seconds to read a text. A vehicle that is moving just 55 mph will have traveled the length of an entire football field during that time. Texting and driving, making a call, or otherwise using a cellphone while driving, increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident by 23 times.Texting and driving, making a call, or otherwise using a cellphone while driving, increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident by 23 times. Despite attempts to limit cellphone-related accidents in Illinois, people continue to text or talk on their cellphones while driving. Alarmingly, roughly 40% of teens surveyed admitted to riding in a car with a driver who was recklessly using a cellphone.

Eating or Drinking Behind the Wheel

Eating and drinking while driving increases accident risk by 80%. Consuming food or beverages takes the driver’s attention away from the road and his or her hands off of the wheel. It may also increase the driver’s reaction time if a hazard presents. Unfortunately, because of American’s busy lifestyles, drive-thru restaurants, and coffee shops around nearly every corner, eating and drinking remains a leading driving distraction. Approximately 56% of motorists surveyed reported eating and drinking while driving, despite the risks.

Driving While Fatigued Can Be a Fatal Distraction

Fatigue is another leading type of driving distraction in the United States, taking the lives of approximately 6,000 people every year. Fatigued drivers cause more fatal car accidents than drunk drivers, according to the CDC. When a person becomes fatigued, his or her mind may wander away from the conscious act of driving, increasing reaction times, reducing attentiveness, and causing problems with information processing.

Let Our Distracted Driving Lawyers Help You Recover

When you suffer injuries in a car accident, and a distracted driver is at fault, various legal options may be available to enable you to recover compensation for your losses. After reviewing your case, your distracted driving accident attorney can help determine the best route to take to ensure your award is maximized.

In most cases, the path to recovery begins by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver was working when the accident happened, he or she did not have adequate liability insurance, or multiple drivers were involved, however, your distracted driving accident lawyer may recommend that you file a personal injury lawsuit against a company, claims against multiple parties, or an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against your own insurance company.

Regardless of the path you and your car accident lawyer decide to take, various types of compensation may be available.

Recoverable Damages After a Distracted Driving Accident

Economic Damages

Economic damages are designed to pay for monetary losses that you endured (or continue to endure) because of your accident. They include things like past and future medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, prescription medications and medical devices, and modifications to your home or vehicle.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify because it is hard to place a value on non-tangible losses that impact one’s emotional, mental, or physical wellbeing. If you are awarded non-economic damages, you could receive compensation for physical and psychological pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are designed to make an accident victim “whole” after a crash, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for grossly negligent or intentional acts. You could be awarded punitive damages if your distracted driving accident lawyer can prove that the at-fault driver was aware of the catastrophic consequences that could be caused by his or her actions, and he or she willfully and intentionally performed the acts anyway.

Filing a Claim Against Your Own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policy

If the distracted driver who caused your crash did not maintain liability insurance, had inadequate coverage, or left the scene of the accident (hit-and-run), a Chicago uninsured motorist attorney at our law firm can help you file a claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This policy covers losses linked to your bodily injuries, like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, up to your policy limits. It can be applied by itself, if the other driver had no insurance or was unable to be located, or it can be used in addition to other types of personal injury insurance awards that are not adequate to cover your losses.

Today’s drivers face more distractions behind the wheel than ever before, from phone usage to personal grooming, or eating and drinking. Engaging in such behaviors while operating motor vehicles puts the negligent drivers at risk, as well as the passengers in their cars and the occupants of other vehicles. Even small tasks can cause dangerous distractions and serious injury or fatality accidents. Reviewing police reports and other evidence from the scene of the wreck may help establish whether a driver was distracted, and prove negligence in a personal injury case.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Evidence Our Distracted Driving Lawyers Use to Prove Fault

Our personal injury lawyers will investigate your crash to reveal evidence that the other driver was preoccupied. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:

Can You Recover Damages If You’re Partly at Fault?

You suffered injuries in an auto accident, and think the other driver was distracted. But what if your actions also played a role in causing the wreck? Sharing some fault for a distracted driving accident may affect your damages, but will not necessarily prevent you from pursuing compensation.  

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule. As such, you can recover compensatory damages if you contributed to causing the accident, provided the court does not find you 51% or more at fault for the crash. Factors that may contribute to fault in such collisions include speeding, failing to use the proper signals, performing illegal traffic maneuvers, and drinking alcohol.

If you share fault for the accident, the court will diminish your compensation based on the percentage of responsibility assessed to you for causing the crash. For example, the court determines you were 25% at-fault for a distracted driving accident. Your recoverable damages are valued at $100,000. You can still receive $75,000 for the losses the car accident caused.

What to Do After an Accident with a Distracted Driver

The steps you take in the moments, hours, and days after a distracted driving wreck can have a significant impact on your ability to pursue compensation for your losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Getting into a car accident can be a harrowing experience for those involved. Overwhelmed, upset, or even angry, you may say or do something that affects your recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. Knowing what to do ahead of time can help you keep a clear head in the event of a collision, which may help protect your rights and interests.

After getting into a car accident, you should:

Report the Accident

Illinois law requires you to report motor vehicle collisions that result in substantial property damage, injuries, or death to law enforcement. Whether a police officer comes to the scene or takes statements over the phone, you should make sure to report your crash and obtain a copy of the police report. It will contain information, such as how the crash occurred and who might have caused it, that may prove helpful in filing a personal injury claim.

Gather Evidence

To recover the compensation you are due, you may need to prove a negligent driver caused the crash that resulted in your injuries. Therefore, it will help if you have gathered evidence at the accident scene. This includes taking pictures of where the collision happened, the cars involved and any resulting property damage, and any visible injuries suffered by yourself or others. You should also exchange contact, vehicle, and insurance information with the other driver, as well as get the contact details for any witnesses.

Seek Medical Treatment

Even if they seem minor, or you do not think you suffered injuries in a car crash, you should still seek medical treatment. You may have suffered harm you aren’t aware of, such as internal injuries or broken bones. Additionally, the symptoms of what you thought were minor injuries may worsen over time. Seeking medical care right away will help identify any injuries and start treatment right away to help expedite your recovery. In the event you must file a civil lawsuit, having medical records will serve as valuable evidence to help prove you suffered injuries as a result of the crash.

Consult with a Distracted Driving Attorney

It can be difficult to prove that a driver was distracted and, as a result, caused the collision that led to your injuries. As soon as possible after your crash, you should consult with a distracted driving accident lawyer to learn more about your rights and options for pursuing compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.

Common Types of Injuries Sustained in Distracted Driving Accidents

Due to the force and impact of accidents involving distracted drivers, they may cause wide-ranging injuries, from minor to catastrophic or deadly. Even if traveling at slower speeds, when automobiles collide, it can violently shake drivers and passengers, potentially bruising tissue, causing tears, or breaking bones. 

Various factors will affect the type and severity of injuries vehicle occupants suffer when involved in crashes. For example, these may include the type of accident, the speed of the vehicles involved, and whether seatbelts were in use. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, wearing seatbelts saves the lives of 15,000 people annually. 

Some of the most common types of injuries suffered by victims in distracted driver accidents include:  

Evidence Our Distracted Driving Lawyers Use to Prove Fault

Our personal injury lawyers will investigate your crash to reveal evidence that the other driver was preoccupied. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:

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FAQs About Distracted Driving Accidents in Chicago

What is the statute of limitations for distracted driving lawsuits in Illinois?

In Illinois, you generally have just two years from the date of the crash to file a distracted driving injury lawsuit. It’s best to take legal action sooner rather than later, however. Physical evidence may not be preserved and witnesses’ memories may fade if you wait too long to sue.

Can I still file an injury claim or lawsuit if the driver was not convicted of distracted driving?

You can still file an injury claim or lawsuit and recover compensation for your losses, even if the at-fault driver was not convicted of distracted driving in criminal court. While a conviction can help support a claim for damages, the lack of one will not hinder your success in civil court.

What is the most common type of distracted driving?

Cellphone use is the most common type of distracted driving. It is estimated that one out of every four car accidents is caused by texting or talking on cellphones.

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