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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a third of U.S. adults are sleep-deprived on a regular basis. Experts suggest that adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night, but many of us are getting far less than that. Sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on concentration, reaction time, and coordination. Driving while sleep-deprived dramatically increases a person’s chances of being involved in an auto accident. According to research from AAA, missing just one or two hours of sleep doubles a driver’s chances of being involved in a car crash.

Drowsy Driving Thought to Be a Factor in 20 Percent of Fatal Car Accidents

When a driver is too tired to drive safely, he or she does not only put his or her own life at risk, he or she also endangers the lives of other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. Sleep-deprived truck drivers are especially worrisome. Although federal law mandates that truck drivers get a certain amount of sleep and take regular rest breaks on the road, many drivers do not adhere to these standards. Drivers may be expected to meet tight deadlines and may therefore skip sleep in order to meet these deadlines. Some truck drivers and trucking companies even falsify log books in order to conceal the fact that truck drivers drive while dangerously sleep-deprived.

Lawsuits Involving Sleep-Deprived Drivers

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident involving a driver who fell asleep at the wheel or was too sleepy to drive safely, you may be considering bringing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Proving that a driver was too sleepy to drive safely can be difficult, but a personal injury lawyer can help. A lawyer can examine evidence, collaborate with experts such as accident reconstructionists, interview witnesses, and take other steps to gather support for your claim. Though a personal injury lawsuit you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you experienced as a result of the accident including compensation for medical bills, lost income, future medical costs, reduced employability, pain and suffering, and more.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysWhen most people think of personal injury claims involving car accidents, they typically assume that the driver of one vehicle is bringing a claim against the driver of another vehicle. However, this is not the only type of situation in which a person may be seriously injured in an auto accident. Passenger injuries can be just as catastrophic, if not worse, than driver injuries. If you have been hurt in a car accident and someone else was driving, read on to learn about how you may be able to recover compensation.

Determining Fault in a Passenger Injury Claim

The person at-fault for a car accident involving passenger injuries may be another motorist or it may be the driver of the vehicle that the passenger was riding in. In many car accident cases, the fault lies with more than one party. Often, passengers injured in a car accident feel uncomfortable bringing an injury claim against the driver of the vehicle that they were in because they have a personal relationship with that person. If this is your situation, it is crucial to remember that a personal injury claim is not an attack against the at-fault driver. If you choose to file a claim, you will most likely be bringing the claim against the insurance company, not the individual. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries even if the liable party is your friend, relative, or colleague.

Recovering Compensation for Damages

In order to bring a successful injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to prove two main elements: liability and damages. A driver who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly, using a cell phone while driving, or otherwise acted negligently will most likely be considered liable for the accident. Damages refer to the economic and noneconomic losses you suffered from the accident. Emergency room bills, expenses related to ongoing medical treatment such as physical therapy, prescription medication costs, and other medical expenses are some of the most common damages awarded in car accident injury lawsuits. Many claimants also pursue compensation for lost income due to missed work. If you had personal property in the vehicle that was damaged or ruined in the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for these items as well. In many cases, a claimant is also awarded compensation for his or her physical pain and mental suffering.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysBeing involved in a severe car accident can impact the rest of your life. Not only can a car crash leave you with enormous medical bills, but it can also stop you from enjoying life the way you did before being involved in the accident. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to get compensation for your hospital bills, prescription medication costs, and other expenses. You may also be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering as well as any disability or disfigurement caused by the accident. These are only some of the damages available to injured plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. However, in order for a person seriously injured in a car accident to win a personal injury claim, he or she must prove that the other driver was in some way responsible for the accident. Along with a qualified attorney, an accident reconstruction specialist may help you prove fault in a car accident claim.  

Proving Negligence or Fault in a Car Accident

Some car accidents are straightforward. For example, when someone is driving under the influence and hits a pedestrian on the sidewalk, there is little question as to who is at fault for the pedestrian’s injuries. However, some accidents can be highly complex and involve a variety of factors. Multi-car pile ups can be especially hard to sort out. In situations where fault is not obvious, an accident reconstruction specialist may be able to help. 

In Lake County, Illinois, the Technical Crash Investigations Team may assist in determining what happened during a serious car wreck. The team may be able to reconstruct the scene of the accident in order to understand whether or not a criminal offense has been committed. 

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Lake County car accident attorneysIllinois is known for its harsh winters. The combination of icy roads, low visibility due to snow, and an increased number of vehicles on the highways can make driving during the winter holiday season especially perilous. This time of year, many people are also attending holiday parties and events where alcohol is served, which increases the number of drunk drivers. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) estimates that over 75,000 Americans are injured in car accidents that occur when it is snowing every year. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident this winter, contact an experienced attorney to learn about your options for compensation.  

Stay Safe While Traveling This Holiday Season

If you plan to travel for the holidays, there are several steps you can take to minimize your chances of being injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can to do stop other drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol, violating traffic laws, or otherwise driving unsafely. However, you can ensure that you are taking steps to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible.

Safety experts and law enforcement officials recommend that you:

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysWhen you are involved in a car accident, you may be completely unsure of what to do next. The first step in any car accident is to address any injuries and move the vehicles out of harm’s way (if possible). If the accident appears minor, many people choose to exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver without involving the police. It may seem easier and less stressful to avoid police involvement after a car crash. Doing so, however, can be very risky.

You Cannot Be Certain as to the Extent of the Damage to Your Vehicle

How certain are you of your knowledge of motor vehicles? After an accident, a cursory glance at the vehicles involved may lead you to believe that the damage is minimal. However, even minor fender-benders can cause damage which is not immediately apparent. A jolt to your car or truck may have caused the frame to shift, damaged electronic sensors, or caused other internal damage. These issues can significantly increase the cost of repairing the vehicle. Without a formal police report, it may be difficult to prove that these issues were caused by the accident.

You May Be More Injured Than You Realize

Adrenaline is a hormone released into the bloodstream during a stressful or scary event such as a traffic accident. This hormone results in an increased heart rate and dilated pupils, but it also can reduce the pain that an injured person feels. Many people do not realize how injured they actually are until hours or even days after being involved in a crash. If you do not contact the police after an accident, it might be nearly impossible to prove that any injuries you sustained were a result of the accident. A full police report can dramatically strengthen your claim to cover the costs caused by the accident.

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