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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 injury lawyerFor many Illinois residents, riding a motorcycle is one of the highlights of summer. Although a motorcycle can be an enjoyable mode of transportation, it is also one of the riskiest ways to travel. Statistics show that just under half of all motorcycle accidents result in serious injury. Motorcyclists are also 29 times more likely to die in an auto accident than drivers in passenger cars. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other life-changing injuries are commonly caused by motorcycle accidents. In many cases, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury. If you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Illinois, you may have questions about how helmets influence personal injury claims involving motorcyclists.

Illinois Law Regarding Motorcycle Helmets

Illinois is one of a handful of U.S. states that do not have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Helmets are strongly encouraged, but a motorcyclist cannot receive a citation for not wearing a helmet. However, the law does require motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear eye protection. Glasses or sunglasses made of shatter-resistant material, goggles, or a transparent shield are all acceptable forms of eye protection. Although not required by law, research shows that helmet use significantly reduces the likelihood of serious injury to the face, head, and neck during a motorcycle accident. If an injured motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet or eye protection at the time of his or her accident, it is very possible that this fact will influence his or her personal injury claim.

Pursuing Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle collisions can cause horrific injuries that result in massive medical expenses. An injured motorcyclist may also be unable to work for months or even years after his or her accident. Fortunately, it may still be possible for an injured motorcyclist to receive compensation for these and other expenses even if he or she was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear at the time of his or her accident. Personal injury claims in Illinois are subject to a legal doctrine called “modified comparative negligence.” If an injured party is found to be less than 51 percent responsible for an injury-causing accident, he or she may still pursue compensation through an injury claim. However, the amount of compensation that he or she is entitled to is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

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IL injury lawyerMost people take prescription or over-the-counter medications from time to time. Whether the medication is for a heart defect, blood pressure problem, skin condition, or another medical concern, you probably trust that the medications you take are safe and effective. Unfortunately, medications with dangerous defects sometimes make their way into consumers’ hands. If you were harmed by a defective drug, you may be left with terrible side effects and insurmountable medical expenses. In some cases, a person who was injured by a defective medication may be entitled to financial compensation.

Drug Defects That May Lead to Product Liability Claims

The United States pharmaceutical industry is worth approximately $482 billion. Although pharmaceutical companies are responsible for countless beneficial and often life-saving medications, there are also times when a medication causes more harm than good. Pharmaceutical companies have a legal duty to ensure that the drugs they manufacture and sell are safe, effective, and meet quality standards. They must also disclose the potential side effects associated with the medication. A medication may be considered defective if it:

  • Was manufactured using the wrong ingredients
  • Contains ingredients of the wrong amounts
  • Poses severe side effects
  • Contains only inactive ingredients

Pharmaceutical companies also have a legal duty to warn consumers of the risks associated with the drug. If a pharmaceutical company knew that the drug carried certain risks and failed to make this information available, it may be liable for any harm caused to consumers of the drug.

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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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