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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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Lake County Personal Injury AttorneyAlmost every personal injury claim hinges on the concept of negligence. In order for an injured person to collect compensation for damages related to an accident, they will most likely need to provide evidence that shows that the accident was caused by another party’s negligence. 

It can often be hard to know exactly what type of behavior constitutes negligence. Sometimes, experts like doctors, accident reconstructionists, civil engineers, or law enforcement officers will need to weigh in on a personal injury case to help prove negligence. Eyewitnesses to the accident may also provide valuable insight when it comes to showing how negligence contributed to the claimant’s injuries.

Defining Negligence

A person acts negligently if he or she behaves in such a way that a reasonably cautious person would not. This can include negligent acts as well as negligent failure to act. In most personal injury claims, the negligent party owed some type of duty to the injured person. For example, anyone driving on public roadways has a “duty of care” to drive safely and obey traffic laws. Typically, there are four elements which must be demonstrated in order to prove that a party acted negligently:

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysAt grocery stores, shopping centers, and business parks throughout the region, it is not uncommon to see drivers scrambling to find convenient parking spaces. In most parking lots, you can expect the constant movement of cars and pedestrians—the combination of which can easily lead to an injury-causing accident.

Accidents in a parking lot are often caused by drivers not paying attention for various reasons. For example, drivers may distracted by their phones or by small children in the car. Regardless of the cause of distraction or inattentiveness, the outcome is too often an accident involving another car or a pedestrian.

Determining Who Is at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident

The popular belief is that fault in a parking lot crash is equally shared by the drivers involved. However, this is not always the case. A parking lot accident is handled the same way as any other accident on the road would be. This is because parking lots have right-of-way rules that must also be followed and obeyed. A driver who did not yield to another driver or pedestrian with the right of way is likely to be found liable if an accident were to occur.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysIt is against the law in Illinois, but it is not uncommon for a driver to drive through a steady red-light signal, and many drivers intentionally do so. This typically happens when a driver is in a hurry or the light abruptly turns red on them. Driving through a red light is dangerous as it can cause a car accident resulting in serious injuries or even death.

Illinois Law on Red Lights

Illinois law provides that a driver must come to a complete stop at a red traffic light. A driver must remain at a complete stop until an indication is given to proceed through the intersection, usually by a green light. If the driver’s intention is to turn right at the intersection, a driver facing a steady red-light signal may turn after stopping completely and ensuring that making the turn is safe. A driver can also proceed to turn left after stopping if he or she is on a one-way street and is turning left onto a one-way street.

However, a car facing a steady red arrow signal is not permitted to turn in the direction indicated by the red signal and must stop by a line marking the intersection stop point. If there is no such a stop line, a driver must still come to a complete stop before entering the intersection and remain stopped until the signal turns green.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThere has been a sharp increase in the number of vehicles affected by safety recalls in recent years, not just in Illinois, but across the country. The number of such recalls sharply increased from almost 13 million recalls in 2011 to over 51 million in 2016. Vehicles are recalled if there is new information that shows a vehicle has a safety issue or problem that must be fixed. It is important to have the problem fixed because failure to do so can lead to a serious motor vehicle accident.

Vehicle Recall Procedures

A recall may be issued by an automaker on the manufacturer’s own initiative or by operation of law. A recall usually means that the vehicle in question has a design, production, or operation flaw. This decision is often based on the manufacturer’s own studies or data from accidents involving the vehicle subject to recall. The latter, meaning data from accidents, is gathered and shared by agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which can order recalls without the manufacturers’ concurrence.

If a recall is ordered by the NHTSA, the manufacturer is required to send instructions on what should be done in a letter via first-class mail to all owners, dealers, and outlets which sold or is selling the vehicle subject to recall. The letter must also include directions for resolving the safety issue. Any required repairs must be offered at no expense to the owner.

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