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IL injury lawyerBy now, everyone has heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Many states, including Illinois, have instituted laws prohibiting the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. April has been identified as national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Unfortunately, knowledge does not always equate to action. Many drivers still engage in activities other than driving behind the wheel. Distracted driving leads to thousands of car crashes a year. If you or a loved one have been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Study Suggests Distracted Driving Collisions Are Much More Frequent Than Previously Estimated

According to a recent study analyzing over 85,000 auto collisions, 57 percent of crashes involved cell phone use. About 17 percent of the crashes studied involved cell phone use less than five seconds before the impact. Of the 25 most populous cities in the U.S., Chicago ranks second in terms of phone use while driving. Distracted driving collisions involving other vehicles as well as crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians led to nearly half a million injuries and thousands of deaths in 2018 alone. Many experts believe that the problem is only getting worse.

Holding Distracted Drivers Responsible for Their Actions

If you were involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to hold the driver responsible through civil legal action. You may also be entitled to financial recovery. You could receive monetary compensation for your:

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IL crash lawyerIf you or a loved one were involved in a serious auto accident, you probably have questions about your legal rights. You may already know that a personal injury claim may allow you to recover financial reimbursement for your medical bills and other damages, but you are unsure of what your case is worth. You may ask, “How much compensation am I entitled to through a personal injury claim?” The exact amount of compensation that an injured person may be able to recover after a car accident varies dramatically from case to case. The amount you may be entitled to will likely be influenced by the severity of your injuries, whether there is shared liability for the accident, and several other factors.

The Severity of Your Injuries and Your Prognosis

In a car accident injury claim, damages often include medical bills, future medical care, and other injury-related expenses. If your injuries required significant medical treatment such as surgery or specialist treatment, this would likely increase your potential payout. If your injuries require ongoing care such as physical or occupational therapy, this too will likely increase the value of your claim. The severity of your injuries will probably affect the amount of work you will need to miss and therefore increase the amount you may be entitled to for lost income. Catastrophic injuries and injuries resulting in permanent disability often lead to higher payouts. However the severity of your injuries and your prognosis are just some of the many different factors that can influence the value of your claim.

Shared Liability for a Car Accident

If your actions partially caused the accident or worsened the injuries resulting from the accident, this may heavily influence your payout. Illinois is a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means that if an injured person is considered 50 percent or more at fault for the injury-causing incident, he or she is barred from recovery. If there is shared liability but the injured person’s fault is less than 50 percent, the damages he or she may be entitled to are reduced proportionate to his or her share of fault.

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IL accident lawyerBeing in a car accident can have a profound impact on your life. Injuries may lead to long-term pain and suffering, loss of functioning, reduced independence, and other negative consequences. In addition to the physical pain and emotional anguish caused in a serious car accident, being hurt in a crash can also lead to major financial harm. Neck injuries are very common in car accidents – especially rear-end and T-bone accidents. Even a low-speed accident can lead to neck injuries that cause months or years of painful symptoms. If you or a loved one suffered a neck injury in an accident or the accident aggravated an existing neck injury, you may be able to seek financial compensation.

What Types of Neck Injuries May Be Caused by a Car Accident?

Most people rarely think about it, but the neck has a tremendously important function. Not only does the neck control the movement of the head, but it also encompasses important nerves, muscles, and bones. An injury to the soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or vertebrae in the neck can lead to significant disability. Some of the most common neck injuries caused by car accidents include:

  • Whiplash – When the head suddenly moves forward or backward in a crash, the soft tissues of the neck can become significantly damaged. Whiplash can be extremely painful, but it is often difficult to prove because the injury does not show up on x-rays.
  • Injuries to spinal discs – The vertebrae of the neck and spine are sandwiched between fluid-filled discs that absorb shock and prevent damage to the vertebrae and spinal cord. A car accident can cause the discs to slip out of place, tear, rupture, or otherwise become damaged. Herniated discs can be severely painful -especially if the disc puts pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord.
  • Nerve damage – Nerves are responsible for sending signals throughout the body. Damage to nerves in the neck and back can cause significant disability. If nerves are stretched, torn, or otherwise harmed in a car accident, the victim may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of function in certain body parts.

Damages in a Neck Injury Claim

If your car accident was caused by the negligent or illegal actions of another party such as a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. The most common damage in a car accident claim includes medical expenses, lost income from missed work, impairment to the victim’s future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. However, to recover compensation, you will need to show that:

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IL injury lawyerAlthough most rarely consider it, getting into a car is statistically one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other traffic accidents lead to severe injuries and death every day in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Americans spend over 1 million days in the hospital every year because of traffic accidents. In 2012, car accident injuries led to an estimated $18 billion dollars in expenses. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you may wonder which medical expenses may be recoverable through a personal injury claim.

Past Medical Expenses

Being hurt in a car accident is a traumatic ordeal. After the initial shock caused by the accident wears off, an injured car accident victim may experience a secondary shock from the medical bills incurred by the accident. The first expenses may people encounter after a car accident are ambulance fees and emergency room bills. They may then accumulate medical bills related to hospitalization, diagnostic tests like laboratory blood tests, x-rays, or CT scans, surgery, and more. A personal injury claim may enable you to recover compensation for these medical expenses.

Ongoing and Future Medical Expenses

If your injuries are severe or have led to long-term or permanent disability, you may also be facing considerable future medical costs. A personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for the estimated medical expenses you will encounter in the future. This may include compensation for physical therapy, occupational therapy, or vocational therapy as well as ongoing psychological treatment. The cost of in-home health aides and nursing care may be recoverable. If your injuries required you to purchase assistive equipment like a wheelchair or hospital bed or make modifications to your home or vehicle, the costs of these items may also be recoverable.

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IL accident lawyerBeing involved in a car accident is a distressing experience regardless of the circumstances. However, hit and run accidents are often especially traumatic. Illinois law requires motorists to stop and exchange contact and car insurance information whenever they are in an accident causing property damage or personal injury. Unfortunately, some drivers attempt to evade responsibility for an accident by speeding away from the accident scene. If you or a loved one were hurt in a hit and run accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and pursue the compensation you need to cover accident-related costs.

Can I File a Claim Even if the At-Fault Driver Cannot Be Located?

In the moments after a traumatic car accident, most people are in a state of shock. They may be disoriented or even knocked unconscious by the force of the impact. Taking note of the at-fault driver’s vehicle or license plate number may simply not be possible. Without this information, it can be difficult for law enforcement to catch the driver and for you to recover compensation through the driver’s insurance company. Footage from dash cameras or nearby security cameras and other types of evidence may help to locate a hit and run driver, but there are many cases in which hit and run drivers are never brought to justice. Fortunately, you may still be able to recover compensation after a hit and run accident even if the driver cannot be located.

Bringing a Claim Against Your Own Insurance Company

The at-fault driver’s car insurance company is typically on the hook for costs resulting from a car accident. In a hit and run accident, obtaining compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer may not be possible. However, you may be able to recover financial compensation through your own insurance company. If you have liability insurance in Illinois, you also have uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is intended to cover costs caused by someone without insurance or someone who has too little insurance. Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer settlements that do not fully compensate injured victims for their damages. A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and seek compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more.

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