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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 attorneysMarijuana has several substantial effects on a user’s body and mind. Depending on the amount of cannabis smoked or otherwise consumed, the drug may cause impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and slowed reflexes. These effects can significantly impair a person’s ability to safely drive. On January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized the recreational consumption and use of cannabis. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, you may wonder what your options for compensation are now that cannabis is legal.

Drugged Driving Laws in Illinois

When most people think of driving under the influence (DUI), they assume the intoxicating substance is alcohol. However, driving drunk is not the only way a person can be charged with a DUI in Illinois. It is also against Illinois law to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle if:

  • There is a controlled substance in the driver's body.
  • A driver's blood contains a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of five nanograms per milliliter or more. THC is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis.
  • Another bodily substance (such as saliva) contains a THC concentration of ten nanograms per milliliter or more.
  • A driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to an extent that leaves him or her unable to drive safely.

The legalization of recreational marijuana does not negate the laws prohibiting drugged driving. Even though it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis in Illinois, a person can still be guilty of a criminal offense for driving under the influence of cannabis.

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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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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 car accident lawyersWhen we think about negligent drivers, drunk driving or drugged driving often comes to mind. However, those under the influence of alcohol and drugs are not the only drivers who can cause serious and even deadly car accidents. In our busy world, about half of U.S. adults report not getting enough sleep at night. When a sleep-deprived driver gets behind the wheel of a car, the results can be catastrophic. In one survey, a shocking 40 percent of drivers admitted to actually falling asleep while driving at least once in their lifetime. Fatigued drivers who cause car accidents can be held legally responsible for the damages caused by the accident.

How Does Sleepiness Affect Driving?

If you are like most adults, you probably sleep fewer hours than you would like to. While it is extremely common, being sleep deprived can significantly harm your brain’s ability to properly function. Not getting adequate sleep can negatively affect cognition, alertness, decision-making, attention, and memory. 

One of the most common side effects of sleep deprivation is a slowed response speed which is especially dangerous for drivers. Being sleepy and being under the influence of alcohol can have a very similar effect on driving ability. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about one out of every six fatal car accidents is caused by a fatigued driver. About 72,000 car crashes were caused by sleepy drivers in 2013 alone.

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