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IL injury lawyerBeing involved in a car accident can leave major physical and psychological damage. Car accidents caused by distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), speeding, reckless driving, and other forms of negligence can lead to brain injuries, spine and neck injuries, broken bones, post-traumatic stress disorder, and much more. Injured parties may need expensive medical treatment and be left unable to work, enjoy hobbies, or care for their children. If you or a loved one suffered “whiplash” or other injuries during a car accident caused by the careless or criminal acts of another, a personal injury claim may enable you to recover compensation.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash is a term used to describe a neck injury caused by sudden force. During an auto accident, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck may be stretched out in an unnatural way. This hyperextension can cause pain and stiffness in the upper back, neck, and shoulders, headaches, dizziness, and tingling and numbness of the arms. Difficulty concentrating, problems with sleep, memory loss, tinnitus, and fatigue may also be caused by a severe whiplash injury. However, these symptoms are often not immediately noticeable. Pain and other symptoms may develop hours or even days after the accident. Symptoms caused by a neck injury like whiplash typically last for a few weeks but may persist for several months or several years. Many people underestimate the damage caused to their body after being in an auto accident. Even a seemingly minor accident can cause damage to tissues, muscles, and connective tissues. This is one reason why it is so important to get medical treatment after being involved in a car accident.

Proving Soft Tissue Injuries Such as Whiplash is Often Challenging

Unlike a broken bone, a soft tissue injury such as whiplash will not show up on an x-ray. Therefore, proving that the injury has occurred is often quite difficult. Insurance companies may use this as an excuse to offer a settlement that does not even come close to compensating the injured person for his or her damages. If you have suffered a neck injury that has caused you financial hardship, the best way to recover compensation may be to file a personal injury claim. An experienced injury attorney will help you gather evidence that supports your claim. Expert witnesses such as doctors or medical specialists may also be called upon to confirm the extent of your injuries.

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IL accident lawyerMost drivers know that stopping and exchanging contact information after a car accident is the right thing to do. Leaving the scene of an accident is not only unethical, it is also against the law. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a hit and run accident, you may feel confused and frustrated. You may also be completely unsure of what to do next. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take after a hit and run that will improve your chances of recovering compensation for your damages.

Get Medical Help Immediately

Many people do not realize the extent of their injures after being in a car accident because they are in a state of shock. Your injuries may be much worse than you realize. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord are often especially insidious. Your injuries may result in only subtle symptoms at first but then get much worse over time. Without documentation of the injuries after the accident, it may be hard to prove that your symptoms are in fact the result of the accident. Getting evaluated by a medical professional is the best way to ensure that your injuries are properly treated and that you have records of your injuries immediately after the accident.

Call the Police and Collect Evidence

Even if you think that the driver who hit you is long gone, it is imperative that you call the police. A police report is almost always needed for a personal injury claim. Furthermore, the information you provide to police may enable them to catch the person who committed the hit and run. If you are able to, write down every detail you can remember about the accident. Note the make, model, and color of the vehicle that hit you as well as any license plate information you can remember. Even a partial license plate number can help police catch the responsible party. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the location of the accident. If your injuries enable you to do so, collect contact information from any witnesses to the accident. These individuals may be able to provide valuable information to police.

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IL injury lawyerBy now, most people have heard the statistics about distracted driving: Over 1,000 people are injured, and approximately nine are killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver every day in the U.S. Distracted driving is also a contributing factor in 60 percent of car crashes involving a teenage driver. To combat this growing problem, Illinois recently enacted harsher penalties for drivers who drive while distracted.

Illinois Law Prohibits Cell Phone Use Behind the Wheel

Distracted driving includes any activity that takes your attention off of the road. It can involve visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Texting, browsing social media, or otherwise using a cell phone while driving is especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions. To reduce the number of auto accidents caused by distracted driving, Illinois and several other states have increased the penalties for cell phone use behind the wheel. The Illinois Secretary of State now has the authority to suspend or revoke a person’s driver’s license if he or she causes a car accident resulting in bodily harm while using an electronic device. The fine for using a device and causing an accident resulting in injury has also been increased from $75 to $1,000. Drivers are expected to use voice-operated or hands-free options if they need to make a call while driving.

Personal Injury Claims and Distracted Driving Accidents

Car accidents caused by distracted driving can result in devastating injuries that require significant medical intervention. In some cases, a serious auto accident can result in injuries that leave a person disabled or disfigured for the rest of his or her life. Medical expenses, property damage, and lost income resulting from a car accident often represents a huge financial burden. Unfortunately, car insurance companies are notorious for offering only partial compensation for the losses caused by car accidents. A personal injury claim can help an injured person pursue the full compensation he or she needs.

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Lake County personal injuryWhile it is prudent to have insurance at all times to protect yourself and others when you are out driving in the event of a motor vehicle accident, some people end up driving vehicles that are uninsured or do not have adequate insurance. One of the worries or concerns immediately following an accident is who will be responsible for the damages caused by the accident or which insurance policy will cover the damage or loss suffered, including personal injuries.

Protecting Against Uninsured Motorists

Under Illinois law, all insurers are required to offer uninsured motorist insurance as well as coverage for underinsured drivers. This means your own insurance policy typically provides protection against damages or injuries caused by a negligent uninsured or underinsured driver.

If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, and that driver is at fault, you have rights to seek compensation for any damages, injuries or loss suffered from the accident. You exercise these rights by filing a claim, which can be time-consuming and demanding as to specific requirements and complying with various timelines, if the claim is to be successfully considered.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThere are many reasons why motor vehicle accidents occur. Chief among them include driver fatigue, mistakes, distracted driving  and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. A common accident that occurs when under any of these circumstances is one where a driver fails to yield and causes an accident. The accident could involve another vehicle or other people using the road such as pedestrians or cyclists.

When to Yield

Under Illinois law, you are required to yield under the following circumstances:

  • Stop Signs. You must yield to any pedestrian or traffic already on the intersection. If it is a four-way stop, the first driver arriving and stopping at the intersection is the one to move first. If all drivers arrive at the intersection at the same time, then the vehicle to the right should move first.
  • Roundabouts. These are the most confusing, especially to new drivers but the rule is, you should yield to traffic already on the road, if you are approaching the road from a driveway, alley or side of the road. You should also yield to pedestrians on crosswalks before the roundabout.
  • Driveways. You should yield to traffic already on the road if you are approaching from a driveway or side of the road.
  • Intersections with no signals or stop signs. You must yield to other vehicles or pedestrians when they are already on the intersection, when there is a vehicle coming from the other direction of where you intend to make a left turn, or when entering a highway from a secondary road.
  • Emergency vehicles. You must yield to all emergency vehicles with sirens or lights flashing. You should also move as far to the right as possible, come to a complete stop, and move only after the emergency vehicle has passed or you as you may be directed by a police officer or other person directing traffic.

These are just some of the situations where you must yield as required under the law. In all other situations, if you are unsure whether to yield or not, err on the side of safety by yielding while being mindful of drivers behind you. Failure to yield can result in serious and even fatal accidents so it is important to obey the rules that govern when to yield.

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