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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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Seeking Compensation for a Wrongful Death Caused by a Distracted Truck DriverBy now, most people have heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Unfortunately, despite dozens of public awareness campaigns and increased consequences for distracted drivers, cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving continue to be a major problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that accidents caused by distracted driving take the lives of nine people every day in the U.S. If you have lost a loved one in a car crash involving a distracted truck driver, you may be eligible for compensation.

Fatal Traffic Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence

Motorists of all kinds should keep their eyes and attention on the road while driving, but for drivers of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, careful attention to the road is even more crucial. A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs and takes 40 percent longer to stop than a medium-sized car. Truck drivers taking their eyes off of the road for even just a few seconds can cause devastating accidents. In January of this year, two adults and a one-year-old child were killed on I-65 when a semi-truck collided with a line of slowing vehicles. The truck driver told police that at the time of the accident, he was looking down to put his coffee cup away. Another fatal truck accident that occurred last April involved a truck driver who was allegedly watching pornography on his cell phone at the time of the crash. The parents of an 18-year-old boy killed in the accident have filed a lawsuit against the company that owned the truck.

Wrongful Deaths Lawsuits

There is no amount of compensation that could ever fully make up for the tragic loss of a loved one. However, a wrongful death claim may help families receive financial compensation that lessens the financial burden caused by loss. A personal representative of the deceased person may bring a wrongful death claim against a party when that party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing caused the person’s death. Compensation for the deceased person’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and funeral and burial expenses may be available. In cases involving especially egregious conduct, the court may also award punitive damages, which is additional compensation intended to punish the wrongdoer.

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Research Shows Distracted Driving Is More Than Taking Our Eyes Off the RoadFrom the implementation of state-to-state cell phone laws and public awareness campaigns to startling news reports in the media, it seems the warnings about the dangers of distracted driving and related car accidents are everywhere we turn. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported over 3,000 deaths in 2017, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in recent years, nearly 400,000 people have been injured due to distracted driving incidents. Despite the fact that statistics such as these keep surfacing, the number of alarming accidents continues to leave trails of both fatal and non-fatal injuries across our roadways.

Distracted Driving Takes Different Forms

Cell phone use is typically the first thing most drivers think of when it comes to the subject of distracted driving, but research shows that the issue is more complex than simply using a cell phone behind the wheel. According to the CDC, distracted driving takes many different forms and can be anything that pulls our attention away from the road. The CDC tells us that our attention can be disrupted in three different ways: visually, manually, and cognitively. Here are some examples of how these distracted driving incidents can take place: 

  • Visual Distraction: Texting alone takes our eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds, but our ability to safely operate a vehicle is instantly impaired anytime we are visually distracted, whether our eyes are peeled from the road due to sightseeing or we are engaging in a heated debate with a passenger next to us. Not only are we unable to see what is happening directly in front of us, but we are also losing sight of our speed and the proximity of other cars around us, rendering us incapable of driving defensively. 
  • Manual Distraction: Physically removing our hands from the wheel can be just as deadly as taking our eyes off the road, and usually, these two forms of distracted driving intertwine. Some common dangers that involve taking our hands off the wheel include adjusting the radio or air conditioning or eating while driving. Operating a navigation system while in motion is another common, risky activity.
  • Cognitive Distraction: One of the biggest reasons texting and talking on the phone garners so much attention and racks up the highest statistics is the cognitive factor behind the risk. A cognitive distraction is considered anything that takes our minds off the road, and replying to a message or engaging in a phone conversation is more than a simple glance out the window. Conversations redirect our thinking entirely, consuming our attention and eliminating our ability to focus. While science may prove we are able to multitask, we also know that it does not automatically mean we can divide our attention evenly. We can only devote so much focus on a particular task, especially when it comes to driving and the distractions competing for our attention.

Contact an Orland Park, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney

Studies show that young adults and teen drivers are most at risk for crashing due to distracted driving, but victims of all ages are affected on a daily basis by the negligence of those causing these types of accidents. If you have had the unfortunate experience of becoming a victim statistic, it is important to inform yourself of your rights so you can fully advocate for your health. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The moment you are involved in a collision, speak with a knowledgeable Cook County personal injury lawyer, who can examine your case and determine the nature of the crash. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 and ask for a free consultation today.

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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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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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Will County personal injury attorneysOver the last decade or so, lawmakers and public safety advocates have been trying to create awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted. Many of these efforts have been centered around the use of a cell phone and texting behind the wheel. While many wireless service companies like Verizon and Sprint have joined the fight and introduced “driving modes” to eliminate texting while driving, thousands of people are still injured each year in accidents that could have been prevented if drivers simply put down their phones. A recent study found, however, that your phone can be distracting even if it is not in your hand or where you can see it.

The Call of the Unknown

A research team from Florida State University wanted to know how much driver distraction was caused the act of texting as opposed to the thought that is involved with sending and receiving messages. They found that simply hearing a notification from a cell phone was enough to significantly distract a driver from the task of driving the vehicle. The distraction was found to be so severe that it was comparable to the distraction of a cell phone call or sending a text message. One of the project’s contributors said it “was really shocking” to see the level of distraction caused by just a notification.

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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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Orland Park distracted driving accident lawyersThe fall season has officially arrived in Northern Illinois and school is back in full swing. If you have school-aged children, you may have struggled with them adjusting to getting up early again, finishing homework before dinner, and the everyday stresses that are part of the educational process. Of course, the new academic year affects those without children as well, particularly individuals who live near a school or who must pass by a school on their way to and from work. Every day, millions of Americans drive through school zones, but a disturbing new study suggests that as many as one in three drivers may be distracted when they do.

Safety Analysis

Zendrive is a California-based tech company that develops tools for capturing and analyzing driving behaviors for individuals, fleets, insurance companies, and other organizations. The company recently conducted a study that examined some 75,000 schools across the United States and how drivers who passed them behaved behind the wheel. According to Zendrive’s numbers, nearly nine out ten drivers (88 percent) still use their phone while driving despite laws against hand-held device use in nearly every state.

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