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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 attorneysThe unexpected loss of a loved one is tragic regardless of the circumstances but losing a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident is often especially heart-wrenching. Knowing that your loved one’s last moments involved a violent vehicle collision can cause you agonizing grief that lasts for years. If you have lost a loved one in this manner, you know that personal grief is not the only consequence of such a tragedy. You must also find a way to survive the burdensome financial consequences of the loss. One way that you may be able to receive financial relief is through a wrongful death claim.

Determining When a Successful Wrongful Death Claim Is Possible

In January of this year, a 46-year-old woman died after being struck and killed in a Waukegan hit-and-run accident. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident after striking a pedestrian are likely to face serious criminal consequences for their actions. Drivers involved in pedestrian accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) will also face criminal charges. Although criminal charges are not a requirement for a successful personal injury claim, criminal charges are likely to make the process of recovering damages easier.

If the pedestrian accident was not the result of DUI, hit and run, reckless driving, or another violation of the law, the driver’s fault for the accident will need to be established. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence and examine information that may prove the driver’s negligence.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysAlthough most people rarely consider it, driving a motor vehicle is a tremendous responsibility. A several-thousand-pound vehicle traveling at a high speed is capable of causing catastrophic damage to both property and human life. When a motorist drives in a way that puts other people’s lives in danger, he or she may be charged with the criminal offense of reckless driving. Reckless driving can cause other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians to be severely injured or even killed. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident involving reckless driving, you may bring a civil claim against the reckless driver in addition to any criminal charges he or she faces.

Illinois Reckless Driving Laws

In Illinois, there are two main ways that a person can be charged with reckless driving. Per the Illinois Vehicle Code, a person commits the offense of reckless driving if he or she:

  • Drives with an intentional or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property; or
  • Intentionally uses an incline, such as a railroad crossing or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

In practice, a person may be charged with reckless driving if he or she drives at extremely high speeds, follows too closely, erratically changes lanes or weaves in and out of traffic, drives over the center line, fails to stop at stop signs and red lights, or otherwise drives in a way that endangers other people’s lives.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_st-patricks-day-drunk-driving-dangers.jpgIn just over two weeks, thousands of Illinois residents will flock to pubs and bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, some of these revelers will inevitably choose to drive home under the influence of alcohol. Because St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year in many communities, it is also one of the most dangerous days to be on the road. Sadly, it is estimated that a person loses his or her life in an alcohol-related car accident every 37 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day and countless more are injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds St. Patrick’s Day partiers to arrange for a designated driver, taxi, rideshare, or other safe means of transportation if they plan on drinking.

Personal Injury Claims Against a Drunk Driver

People involved in drunk driving accidents may suffer broken bones, spine and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more. These injuries can leave a person with enormous hospital bills and ongoing medical costs. The injured person may even be permanently disabled and never regain the quality of life he or she had before the accident. When a drunk driver causes an accident and someone is hurt or killed, a personal injury claim may help the injured person or surviving loved ones collect compensation for their damages. Civil claims for damages can be brought in concurrence with criminal DUI charges.

Dram Shop Liability Laws in Illinois

Illinois law also allows a person hurt in a drunk driving accident to pursue a claim against the bar or other establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol. Successful dram shop liability claims can be difficult to achieve, but they are possible. Four main conditions must be present in order for an injured person to receive compensation through a dram shop claim:

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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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