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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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Four Tips for Reducing Roadway Collision Risk this Winter SeasonIn even the most ideal conditions, venturing out onto the highways as a motorist is scary and can be downright dangerous, posing many risks to our health and safety. Car accidents happen on all kinds of roadways, for a million different reasons, and no one is immune to the hazards responsible for these collisions. Whether the source of an accident is due to road construction, a negligent driver, or inclement weather, prevention efforts on behalf of motorists nationwide can go a long way in reducing our collision risks. This is especially the case for those who live in cold-weather regions throughout the winter season, as roadways are exceptionally hazardous during these icy, snow-filled months.

Preparation is Key

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emphasizes the need to pay special attention to safe driving habits during the winter months, reminding us that preparation is key in not only the prevention of collisions but also in the event that you are involved in one. Being prepared better equips you to handle the challenges that come with the aftermath of a crash, like avoiding movement that might worsen any injuries you have incurred. As the winter months approach and you get ready to hit the roads, prepare in the following ways to lessen your chances of collision:

  1. Tune-up: Staying on top of your vehicle maintenance is crucial before and during the winter months. Be sure to inspect your tires and all of your lights, including headlights, brake lights, and emergency flashers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends having your mechanic check your battery as well to ensure you have enough amperage, voltage, and reserve capacity. Do not forget to keep your windshield wipers in proper working order, too, with enough fluid in the washer reservoir. Also, make sure your front and rear window defrosters are fully functional.
  2. Get Packing: Have a supply bag packed and stored away in your car for emergencies, should you end up stranded. This will come in handy in the event you are involved in a collision and need to wait for help. Pack blankets, food, water, medications, flashlights, jumper cables, and an abrasive material, like kitty litter. Flares, an ice scraper, and snow brush are also essentials for winter driving emergencies. 
  3. Rehearse: Carve out some time to practice driving your vehicle in winter weather conditions before you set out for longer trips. Rehearsing your movements beforehand will help you get comfortable operating your car in the ice and snow. OSHA recommends practicing in the daytime, in an empty lot. Try steering into a skid and getting familiar with your brakes by pumping non-antilock brakes or stomping on antilock brakes.
  4. Drive Defensively:  Brush up on defensive driving techniques and put them into practice the moment you hit the road. Continually scan your mirrors to keep an eye on what is happening around you, do not tailgate, and obey the rules of the road, especially speed limits. Cut out any distractions, from texting and talking on the cell phone to eating while driving. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the highway. In the wintertime, in particular, do not crowd snowplows. Give them space and pass with extreme caution.

Contact an Orland Park Car Accident Lawyer

If you find yourself in a car collision due to a negligent driver during the winter months, do not panic. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to a qualified Cook County personal injury lawyer, who can address your concerns and help protect your rights in a court of law. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 today to schedule a free consultation.

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Distracted Driving Is One of Illinois’ Leading Causes of Auto AccidentsA recent study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed that over 600,000 drivers across the country use their cell phones while driving. This type of reckless behavior leads to injury or even death of those involved in a car accident with the distracted driver.

In an effort to lower the collision rate in Illinois, the state amended the vehicle code on July 1, 2019, to consider a first offense of distracted driving as a moving violation. Previously, the law stated that only subsequent offenses would be moving violations that would appear on a driver’s record. 

Collisions that happen as a result of cell phone usage will also see the distracted driver responsible for any compensation for victim injury or wrongful death.

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Joliet Motor Vehicle Accident AttorneyIn the latest statistics released April 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that the statewide number of auto accident fatalities rose 8 percent for the second year in a row, while miles driven rose less than 2 percent. The nationwide rise in fatal crashes has been linked to higher highway speed limits, and this is somewhat borne out by Illinois statistics. Controlled-access, interstate-type highways saw a 16% jump in fatalities from 2015 to 2016, while state routes saw a 32% leap.

However, the rise in fatalities was offset by a significant reduction in A-injury accidents, defined as an incapacitating injury such as severe cuts, broken bones, head injuries, and internal injuries. While the total number of fatalities rose from 998 to 1,078, an increase of 8 percent, the total number of A-injuries dropped from 10,078 to 9.060, a decline of 10 percent.

In Cook County alone, there were 255 fatal accidents and 3,170 A-injury accidents. Will County saw 42 fatal crashes and 427 A-injury crashes in 2016.

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Cook County car accident injury lawyerMore than 37,000 people died and over two million were seriously injured in car accidents in 2017. Sadly, most of these deaths and injuries were preventable. In its 2019–2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identifies some of the top causes of highway accidents and ways to prevent these injuries. The ones discussed in this article are all possible factors which could support a claim of negligence or fault for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash.

Personal Injury Claims Against Alcohol and Drug Impaired Drivers

Alcohol impairment is a leading cause of car accidents. In 2016, one third of fatal car crashes involved a driver with alcohol in their system. While the current standard for DUI is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, the NTSB would like to see states adopt a legal limit of 0.05 percent. This is something to keep in mind if you are ever injured in an accident with a drunk driver: even if the driver is not charged with being over the 0.08 legal limit, they could well be alcohol-impaired at a level of just 0.05 percent. 

The NTSB would also like all law enforcement agencies to collect “place of last drink” data as part of any accident investigation involving an alcohol-impaired driver. This could be another valuable data point for any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyFor many people around the country, the Thanksgiving holiday begins on Wednesday and continues through to Sunday—or even Monday in some areas. Most children do not have school, and a large number of adults take time off work to travel, visit family, and spend the holiday weekend with loved ones. Of course, many Thanksgiving celebrations include alcoholic beverages, which means there is a marked increase in the number of potentially intoxicated drivers on the road at the end of the celebration. There a few things that you can do, however, to avoid becoming the victim of a drunk driver’s bad decisions.

Be Alert When Out and About

Whether you are driving yourself, riding with another person, or simply walking somewhere during the Thanksgiving weekend, you would do well to be aware of your surroundings. Pay particular attention to other vehicles, watching for indications that other drivers may be impaired or not focused on the road. Common signs of driver impairment include:

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Orland Park personal injury attorneyA car accident can be a frightening, traumatic experience, but so can the events that follow. Serious injuries, time away from work, unpaid medical bills, financial problems, and so much more are all possibilities. However, it is possible to recover your losses, including those that may not have a monetary value. Protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation by knowing what steps to take after an accident in Illinois.

Get Immediate Medical Assistance When Needed

If anyone is seriously injured during an accident, your first step should be to call 911. Excessive bleeding, head injuries, lack of consciousness, entrapment, or difficulty moving a body part are all signs to look for in yourself, your passengers, the other driver, or the other car’s passengers. If at all in doubt, call for help. Also, unless you have specific medical training, you should never try to move someone who is seriously injured unless leaving them would put them in greater danger.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyA car accident is not truly safe for the occupants of any of the vehicles involved. Automakers and insurance companies, however, are constantly crunching numbers to determine which seat—if any—may be slightly less dangerous than others in the event of a car crash. Long-standing wisdom suggests that the back middle seat should be the safest in an accident, but recent advancements in safety technology have challenged this way of thinking.

Farthest From the Impact

The prevailing belief regarding the rear middle seat—despite usually being the most uncomfortable position in a vehicle—is that the spot is typically about as far as one can get from the point of impact. When a collision occurs at the front the car, the back middle is, on average, the farthest away and least likely to be affected. Crashes that occur at intersections may result in crushed doors and outer seats, but the middle is statistically safer.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyCar accidents can be complex and messy. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation for your losses. Often times, car accident cases become complicated and require extensive courtroom litigation. A qualified personal injury attorney can assess your case and explain potential strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes an expert witness can be used to testify on your behalf and strengthen your case for collecting damages.

Proving Who Was at Fault

One of the first things an accident victim must do is prove that he or she was not at fault or was less at fault than the other driver for the crash. If fault is not obvious, each side may call upon expert witnesses to testify as to who caused the accident. Expert witnesses may analyze the accident, draw conclusions based on evidence, and explain their findings and fact-based opinions at trial. Medical professionals, economists, accident reconstructionists and engineers commonly use their experience and knowledge to explain what happened during the accident and what the effects were.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyer, personal injury settlement, medical liensFollowing a car accident, your first priority is seeking treatment for your injuries. As we all know, medical care is expensive, especially if you lack sufficient insurance. Even a simple accident can lead to thousands of dollars in unpaid bills. Additionally, Illinois hospitals are not shy about collecting on those bills, even if the injured victim has yet to receive any compensation from the parties responsible for his or her accident.

Court Rules Hospital Did Not Have to Bill Victim's Insurer

Illinois law permits all health care providers—hospitals, doctors, et cetera—to file a lien against “all claims and causes of action” held by an injured person who seeks treatment. In other words, if you are injured in a car accident, the hospital that treats you can legally claim part of any potential personal injury lawsuit that you file. The law limits such medical lien to “reasonable charges” for the care provided, which in no case may be more than 40 percent of the “verdict, judgment, award, settlement, or compromised” secured by the injured victim.

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