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How Are Expert Witnesses Used in an Illinois Car Accident Injury Claim?Car accidents are often caused by a complex combination of numerous factors. Drunk driving, distracted driving, poor road conditions, weather, and countless other issues may all contribute to serious auto accidents. If you or your loved one were injured in a car accident, you may be interested in bringing a personal injury claim against the liable party or parties and seeking compensation. However, in order to be successful, you will need to prove that the responsible party’s negligent or wrongful actions caused the accident and that you suffered damages as a result. In complex or multifaceted car accident cases, testimony from expert witnesses can be especially useful.

Establishing the Elements of a Negligence Claim

To win your car accident claim, you and your attorneys will need to establish four main points. First, you must show that the defendant, meaning the person against whom you are bringing the lawsuit, owed you a “duty of care.” All drivers owe a duty of care to drive in a safe, lawful manner. Secondly, you must show that the defendant breached this duty. The defendant may have neglected their duty of care by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, making erratic lane changes, failing to adequately secure truck cargo, or otherwise acting negligently. Next, you must demonstrate “causation” and show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages, or financial losses, as a result of your injuries.

Expert Witnesses Provide Testimony That May Bolster Your Case

There are many different ways that testimony from expert witnesses may be used to establish the elements needed to obtain compensation. Accident reconstructionists are professionals skilled in accident scene investigation and analysis. They use information from a variety of sources – including traffic signal phasing diagrams, event data recorders, and GPS tracking systems – to determine how an accident unfolded. They then use this information to recreate the accident and explain, in their own professional opinion, what they believe happened. Science and engineering experts may also weigh in how different factors contributed to the accident.

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Cook County personal injury attorney car accident

When a motorist drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), drives while distracted, or is otherwise negligent, the driver jeopardizes the lives of everyone on the road, including innocent children. In 2017, nearly 700 children died in car accidents and almost 116,000 suffered injuries. If your child was hurt in a car accident, you may justifiably feel angry, confused, and overwhelmed. You may be unsure of the steps you should take to hold the negligent diver accountable for his or her actions. You may also have concerns about how you will pay for the costs incurred by your child’s injury.

Insurance Companies Are Often Quick to Offer Inadequate Settlements

Car accidents can leave lasting physical and mental scars. A child who is severely injured by the negligent actions of another driver may suffer painful, debilitating injuries that require months if not years of medical treatment. When anyone is injured in a car accident, they may assume that the responsible party’s insurance company will reimburse them for the damages incurred in the accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer compensation that only covers part of the injured party’s damages. In many cases, a personal injury claim is the best way to obtain the full compensation you and your injured child deserve. Through a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, disability, disfigurement, and more.

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Common Mistakes Made After an Auto AccidentUnderstandably, many people are in a state of shock after being hurt in a serious traffic accident. They may not realize that the actions they take immediately after being in an auto accident can mean the difference between receiving full compensation for the expenses incurred by their injuries and being saddled with burdensome medical bills and other costs related to the accident. If you or a loved one are ever involved in an accident, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Not Calling the Police: There are many reasons that a person involved in a car wreck may not call law enforcement to the scene of an accident. Perhaps the driver has had a negative interaction with a police officer in the past or does not realize how much a formal police report will benefit him or her if he or she ends up filing a personal injury claim. In some situations, a driver does not call the police because another driver involved in the accident suggests or outright demands that the police remain uninvolved. Do not let another driver convince you not to call law enforcement. Even if you do not plan on filing a claim, calling the police and getting a police report after an accident is essential.
  2. Underestimating Your Injuries: There are many injuries such as whiplash and traumatic brain injuries that are not immediately evident. You should always get checked out by a medical professional after a major auto accident – even if you think your injuries are only minor. If you do end up being more injured than you realized, receiving compensation for medical expenses or lost income caused by the injuries can be nearly impossible without an official record of these injuries.
  3. Not Gathering Evidence and Witnesses Information: After an accident, get the names and contact information of witnesses. These witnesses can be extremely helpful if you need other people to corroborate your version of the events in the future. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, damage to your car, damage to the other car, and the position of the vehicles.
  4. Assuming You Cannot Receive Compensation if You Were Partially At Fault: Imagine this scenario: A man is driving down the highway when he is struck by another vehicle. He sustained major injuries in the accident, incurred massive hospital bills, and is left unable to work. However, he does not pursue compensation for these damages because he was speeding at the time of the accident and assumes that he cannot win a personal injury claim. This is a common misconception about personal injury claims. Under Illinois comparative negligence law, a plaintiff may still receive partial compensation for an injury as long as he or she was less than 51 percent at fault.

Contact a Joliet Car Accident Attorney

After an auto accident, you should always call the police, get evaluated by a medical professional, and gather evidence and witness information. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident and you want to learn more about your options for receiving compensation, contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer from Schwartz Injury Law. Call our office at 815-723-7300 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

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What Should A Victim Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?Being involved in an automobile crash can be a life-altering event. Pain and suffering, serious injuries, extensive medical bills, and extreme property damage can leave a victim unsure of how to proceed. After an accident takes place, it is likely that everyone who was linked to the collision will remain at the scene, exchange information, and wait for the authorities to arrive. However, there is always the possibility that the driver at fault will flee the scene. Before reckless actions are taken, there are several “Do’s and Don’ts” that the victim of a hit-and-run accident should consider.  

Do: Gather as Much Information as Possible

Without risking injury or breaking the law, the victim of a hit-and-run car accident should look to collect any relevant information for the police. For instance, if the at-fault vehicle starts to drive away, the victim should try to remember:

  • A description of the vehicle, such as the year, make, model and color
  • The license plate number
  • A depiction of any exterior damage done to their car
  • The direction the motorist was heading
  • The time and location in which the accident occurred

In addition, any pictures or video footage taken could immensely help law enforcement catch the driver. New information can be found within the footage that might not have been originally noticed, such as the motorist’s race, age, and gender.  

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Most Common Traffic Laws Broken by Illinois DriversGetting behind the wheel means business. Abiding by Illinois driving laws, rules, and regulations is important to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. 

Unfortunately, rules get broken, accidents happen and injury occurs. The Illinois Vehicle Code lists hundreds of transportation offenses and their matching penalties, but there are the five outstanding rules of the road drivers constantly and continuously break:

  1. Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign or Running a Red Light: Red is the universal color of traffic signs and signals meaning “stop.” Even though you are supposed to come to a complete stop at stop signs, many drivers do what is known as a rolling stop. At a stop sign or stoplight, you are required to come to a complete stop before the white line, which marks the start of the intersection and allows other cars and pedestrians to travel safely when it is their turn to do so. Penalties for improper stopping at a stop sign, failure to stop at a stop sign, and/or running a red light range from a fine to points on your driving record.
  2. Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit decreases your ability to control your vehicle. If you are pulled over for speeding, there are different levels of consequences you could endure depending on how fast you were going.
  3. Operating a Vehicle Without a License or Proof of Insurance: A valid driver's license and auto insurance is required to operate a vehicle. Penalties for failure to have one or both range from license suspension to revocation.
  4. Driving without Wearing a Seatbelt: Illinois law requires all drivers and passengers age 8 and older to wear a seatbelt, regardless of whether they are in the front or back seat. Passengers under age 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system that complies with the Child Passenger Protection Act.
  5. Distracted Driving: The odds of getting into a car accident increases drastically if you are distracted. It is important to minimize distractions before getting in the car and stay focused on the road while you are driving. Distractions while driving include but are not limited to:
  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Smoking
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Singing or listening to music
  • Applying makeup or shaving
  • Trying to retrieve something that fell
  • Rubbernecking
  • Trying to read a map, newspaper or book

Providing Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, and Northern Illinois with Car Accident Representation

If you have been injured in a car accident from another driver breaking the law, contact Schwartz Injury Law. We will provide you with the best legal representation to get you the compensation you deserve for your case. To schedule a free consultation with a Cook County personal injury attorney, call our law firm at 708-226-9000 or fill out a form online today. 

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