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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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Why Drowsy Driving is Considered Just as Dangerous as Drunk DrivingAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), drowsy driving was the cause of nearly 91,000 police-reported car accidents in the year 2017, and since then, the NHTSA maintains that recent numbers grossly underestimate all of the incidents actually caused by driver fatigue. Researchers say the exact numbers can be difficult to nail down, as they are only able to identify specific evidence that confirms drowsy driving as the cause for a crash, but the estimates they are able to provide give us an alarming perspective on just how serious the issue is on our roadways today.

Drunk Driving Is Not the Only Kind of Impaired Driving

Drowsy driving as a public safety issue garners so much attention largely for the fact that it is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving. The National Safety Council has deemed it a valid form of impaired driving, backing this claim up with research that shows the signs and effects of drunk driving and drowsy driving are the same. Here is why drowsy driving is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving: 

  • Studies have found that driving without sleep for more than 20 hours is actually the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, the legal limit in the U.S. 
  • A driver’s ability to concentrate, pay attention, and be aware of the presence of hazards is hindered when sleep-deprived. Similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol, a drowsy driver experiences slower reflexes and reaction times, impairing their ability to react quickly enough to prevent a collision.
  • The National Safety Council reports that drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash when they are fatigued. Fatigue affects both drunk drivers and sleep-deprived drivers and is a common symptom of impaired driving. Drunk and drowsy drivers alike experience the same signs of fatigue, such as frequent yawning and blinking, drifting out of their driving lane, and having trouble keeping their head up behind the wheel. 
  • Drowsy driving crashes have a tendency to happen between midnight and 6 a.m., which are the same hours that many drunk driving crashes take place.

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

Experts recommend that drivers remain alert to possible impaired drivers around them by watching for the telltale signs of drowsiness. If you see someone drifting in and out of their lane, veering off to the side of the road, or frequently changing speed, maintain a safe driving distance from them and call the authorities the moment you believe they are at risk of hurting you, themselves, or other drivers. If you have been hit by a negligent driver, a knowledgeable DuPage County personal injury lawyer can help determine if drowsy driving played a role in the accident and inform you of your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Let the lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law address your concerns by calling 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation today. 

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Three Common Mistakes Drivers Make After an AccidentThe moment you are involved in a car accident, panic automatically ensues, making it difficult to think clearly. In the moments immediately following the collision, you are concerned first and foremost with your safety and the safety of any passengers in your vehicle. As your adrenaline pumps overtime and you work to assess the situation, all other details surrounding the crash are likely a blur at this time. This is especially the case when you are looking for signs of injury, which can be difficult to identify while in a state of shock. However, what you do – or do not do – directly after a car accident can completely alter the outcome of the collision and may even save your life. 

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Protecting both your health and your rights after a car crash is the most important part of managing the aftermath of a collision. It is normal to experience a range of emotions, such as anger at the other driver, confusion over how the accident took place, and fear for your wellbeing. Although it can be difficult in the midst of these heightened emotions, it is helpful to keep things in perspective and keep your best interests in mind. Refrain from these common mistakes after the accident:

  1. Engaging in an Argument: As tempting as it may be, avoid engaging in a heated debate with the other driver. Do not play the blame game or encourage hostile interactions, as anything you say or do during this time may or may not be used against you at a later time if the situation takes a turn for the worse. Try to remain calm, exchange only what information is necessary, and wait patiently for the authorities to arrive at the scene.
  2. Making Assumptions About Your Injuries: Not all car accident injuries can be observed with the naked eye. Internal injuries are not always immediately apparent, and certain injuries can surface in the hours, days, and even weeks following the collision. Do not assume that just because you do not see or immediately feel something wrong, that you are in the free and clear. Make sure you are examined and that you note any changes to your physical and mental health in the subsequent days.
  3. Forgoing Legal Assistance: Whether you discover the other driver is uninsured or you find they are making accusations about your role in the crash, the decision to forgo legal assistance is risky, especially if you suspect you are injured. It is crucial to know the rights you are entitled to and how to proceed in a way that protects your best interests. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney, who can point you in the right direction.

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the scene after a car crash is often scary and always overwhelming, but having proper legal representation by your side can make a significant difference in the experience and overall outcome of the incident. Take the first step in protecting your rights by speaking with a DuPage County personal injury lawyer. Call the lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation today.

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Orland Park wrongful death lawyersApproximately 30,000 fatal auto accidents occur each year. In those crashes, there are victims—lloved ones who were taken from their families. Grief, anger, resentment, financial loss, and immeasurable emotional devastation are in the aftermath of that loss. Some immediately search for justice. For others, the thought of pursuing a claim seems like an insurmountable challenge—one best avoided until after the grief and pain have subsided. Unfortunately, by then, it may be too late. If you have lost someone you love in a car crash, understand why you should pursue a wrongful death claim, and how an attorney can help to ease your burden in the difficult journey ahead.

Compensation is Not Meant to Replace Your Loved One

Often, the families of victims are put off by the idea of a lawsuit because they feel it is pointless. Money will not bring back what was taken from them, and the grief of drudging it all up seems hardly worth it. They look at it as punishing someone else when, in reality, the compensation is about easing the burden they bear, and may continue to experience, as the months and years pass.

Death experienced during an auto accident creates unpaid medical bills. It takes away an income and makes paying for even the necessities of life more difficult. Sometimes, these accidents even leave behind dependents, including young children for whom the deceased parent may have been saving, in the event that they decided to go to college, or maybe to pay for that first car. True, some of these things may not be “necessities,” but they are losses, nonetheless. They were also the wishes, hopes, and dreams of the deceased. The love cannot be given back, and the hole left by their absence cannot be filled, but the monetary losses can be recovered. That is the purpose of wrongful death compensation.

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Will County personal injury attorneysMotor vehicle accidents do not just harm adults. In fact, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that car crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States, with hundreds of children under age 12 killed each year. Many thousands more are severely or permanently injured. If you are a parent and facing such a situation, it is important to understand your options for pursuing compensation.

Injuries Commonly Sustained by Children in Car Crashes

Because of their smaller size and developing bodies, children are often more prone to severe injury than adults are. Even more concerning is that serious injuries may not always be immediately evident in young children. This is especially true for traumatic brain injury (TBI), which just so happens to be the injury most commonly sustained by children in a crash. Other common injuries include those to the thoracic area and spine. Children can also experience fractures, soft tissue injuries, and lacerations, much like adults can.

What to Do After a Crash

If you are involved in a crash and your child is with you, it is critical that you contact emergency personnel so that your child can be immediately checked for serious injury. You should also avoid moving your child if you have any suspicion that they may have experienced an injury to the head, neck, or spine (unless not moving them would likely cause more harm). If emergency personnel have cleared your child, you should still take them to their regular doctor or to a pediatric trauma center for further evaluation. Again, some injuries may not be immediately evident following a crash. The follow-up will help reduce the chances that an injury is missed.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyMost of us can remember when we were first learning how to drive. Whether in a formal driver’s education class or just in a friend’s or family member’s car, when we were taught how to drive, we learned certain rules. One of these rules was to keep both hands on the steering wheel at “10 and 2.” However, as we became more comfortable driving, many of us started experimenting with driving one-handed while doing things like eating, texting, or attending to children’s needs. Today, we have named this type of behavior “distracted driving.” Sadly, distracted driving is one of the main causes of car accidents. Motor vehicle crashes in the United States involving distracted driving accounted for 3450 deaths in 2016.

An Escalating Problem

While distracted driving has been present since the invention of the car, in today’s technology-dependent society, there are more ways than ever to be distracted behind the wheel. One of the most notorious problems is using a phone while driving. When drivers take their eyes off the road, they are essentially driving blind. They will be unable to react appropriately if an expected hazard were to appear. At 55mph, a car travels the length of a football field in only five seconds. At high speeds such as these, a distracted driver becomes a threat to themselves and everyone around them. One study has shown that distracted driving may be even more dangerous than drunk driving.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Orland Park personal injury attorneysCar accidents can happen for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes, one or more drivers share fault in causing the accident. Other times, the entity who is at fault for the accident is not even on the scene of the accident because the party at fault is the manufacturer of the vehicle. Motor vehicles are extremely complex machines and because of this they frequently have malfunctions which can put the passengers in the car, other motorists on the road, and pedestrians at risk of death or serious injury.

Anti-Lock Brakes Can Malfunction

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a computer-assisted braking system which prevents the brakes from locking up. ABS have come into widespread use in production automobiles since their adoption in the 1970s. In addition to anti-lock brakes, modern motor vehicles also often have electronic control of the front-to-rear bias, traction control, electronic stability control, and emergency brake assist. These computer-assisted features are supposed to make the car safer and more easily controlled. Unfortunately, computer systems in cars can malfunction just like other computer systems.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysBeing involved in a car crash is one of the most stressful things a person can experience. It can happen in the blink of an eye. In the moments after a car crash a driver may think, “Am I injured? Is anyone else injured? What should I do now?” After a car accident, it is important that everyone involved check themselves for injuries. Car accident injuries can result in broken bones, concussions, neck and back injuries, and damage to soft tissue. Many individuals who get into car accidents quickly determine that they have not been injured, however, it may be hard to know this for sure in the moments following an accident. Car crashes are extremely very dangerous and may lead to disability, reoccurring pain, and even death. Between 20 and 50 million Americans suffer injuries in car accidents annuallyr, resulting in over 1 million days under hospital care due to these accidents.

“Fight or Flight” Hormones Masks Pain

If you have ever been in a car accident, you know the gut-wrenching feelings that can overcome you immediately after the accident. After a traumatic event such as an accident, adrenaline floods a person’s system. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone and is responsible for readying our bodies to face danger. Also called epinephrine, adrenaline increases the production of sweat, dilates the pupils, and elevates the heart rate. One of the most important functions of adrenaline, however, is blocking the recognition of pain.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Orland Park car accident attorneyEvery time a person gets in a vehicle, he or she is are taking a risk. Although we often do not think about it, driving or riding in a motor vehicle is a dangerous activity. Advances in vehicle safety have helped, but car accidents do still happen. There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being in a car accident, but making sure your car is ready for the winter is one way you can lessen it.

Experts suggest that drivers take the following steps in order to keep their car maintained adequately for the winter:

  • Read the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule;
  • Keep your gas tank filled and add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month during the coldest months. This can help prevent moisture in the fuel line from freezing, which can cause issues;
  • Have your battery checked and consider keeping a set of jumper cables in your car. If your car has had problems such as stalling, hard starts, rough idling, or reduced power, get it serviced immediately. Cold weather can make these problems worse;
  • Examine tires for adequate tread depth and check that there are not tears, cuts, or uneven wearing. Do not forget to check your spare tire as well.
  • Replace dirty air, fuel, and PCV filters;
  • Get your oil and oil filter changed regularly. This is a step that many people forget or wait too long to take. Regular oil changes are essential in protecting your engine;
  • Make sure that the heater and defroster work correctly. A nonworking defroster can become a serious hazard when a driver cannot see out of their windshield due to frost. Always carry an ice scraper;
  • Flush and refill your cooling system at the frequency dictated by your owner’s manual. A mix of antifreeze and water is recommended, and the exact mix may vary by your vehicle’s make and model;
  • Replace old windshield wiper blades and keep the washing fluid filled, as you will use more of it in the winter.
  • Have your brakes and transmission checked regularly. Do not wait until there is a serious problem to have brakes serviced; and
  • Always carry an emergency kit with you. In it pack blankets, warm clothes, drinking water, snacks, flashlights, extra cell phone chargers, flares, reflectors, and sand or kitty litter.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

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