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Chicago personal injury lawyerCell phone use is behind quite a few traffic accidents these days, from minor fender-benders to very serious multi-vehicle pileups. Drivers may be using their cell phones for any number of reasons. They may have received an urgent text from their child’s babysitter, or they may be merely using a navigation app to find their next turn. Regardless of the situation, using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Drivers cannot pay adequate attention to the road while they are focused on a screen. Aside from being dangerous, using a cell phone while operating a vehicle is also illegal in most cases. This may be important if you have recently been hit and injured by a driver who was on their phone. In Illinois, if it is found that a driver was breaking a statute that is in place for safety reasons and ultimately causes just the kind of harm the law aimed to prevent, they may be automatically considered negligent. 

Thus, if the driver who harmed you can be shown to have been using a phone in the moments leading up to the accident, it may help your case quite a bit. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation. 

Illinois State Law and Cell Phone Use While Driving

Drivers in Illinois are not permitted to use a cell phone while driving, with limited exceptions. Drivers under the age of 19 may not use a mobile device at all while driving, and those 19 and older may use hands-free devices. The only times that a driver in Illinois may use a cell phone that is not hands-free are:

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cook county personal injury lawyerWhen you are riding a bicycle or walking down the street, you have nothing but perhaps a helmet to protect you from the impact of a car accident. Negligent drivers present a grave danger to bicycle riders and pedestrians, as their bodies will bear the full force of the collision. These accidents can result in catastrophic injuries that may permanently alter the course of your life. Harms such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, neck and spinal cord injuries, or internal damage may necessitate prolonged hospital or rehabilitation stays. Few are able to return to work promptly, rendering lost income an additional concern. The expenses associated with these accidents may be insurmountable without recovering adequate compensation, particularly in cases in which the victim requires ongoing medical care or cannot return to their chosen career. If you have been hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle, an attorney may be able to recover compensation on your behalf. 

How Negligent Drivers Endanger Bicycle Riders and Pedestrians

There are a number of careless behaviors drivers may engage in that can endanger those who are walking or on a bicycle. To recover compensation, it is critical that proof of this negligent behavior be obtained by your attorney. A skilled attorney-led investigation may suffice, or severe accidents may require the involvement of a dedicated accident reconstruction specialist. Common iterations of driver negligence that lead to accidents of this nature include: 

  • Distraction - Particularly when cyclists are riding on the edge of the roadway, a driver need only look away for a matter of seconds to drift unintentionally into a person riding a bike. Pedestrians may be at a high degree of risk while crossing intersections, as distracted drivers may fail to notice that a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk. 

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Arlington Heights Car Accident Injury LawyerAfter a serious car accident leaves you injured and in pain, it can be hard to figure out your next steps. You probably have a lot on your plate, like trying to get the time you need off from work, attending doctor’s appointments, and trying to secure help with some of the daily tasks you cannot do alone with your injuries. Handling the legal side of your claim might seem deceptively easy - the insurance company calls you with a nice-sounding offer, you say yes, and you get the money. Right? But it is rarely that simple. Insurance companies are not interested in adequately compensating you for your injuries and other losses associated with the accident their customer caused. They are interested in paying out as little as possible. A lawyer can take on the fight for you to help you get the settlement you deserve, not the settlement a corporation feels like offering. 

Why You Should Work With an Attorney After a Car Crash Injury

There are a number of pitfalls that unrepresented parties can fall into. Represented parties are more likely to receive fair settlements and less likely to be taken advantage of. Reasons you should consider working with a lawyer after a car accident include: 

  • Spotting a bad offer - Most people will not be in more than one serious car accident with injury in their lifetime. Most car accident lawyers have multiple open car accident injury cases open at any given time. A settlement offer that looks good to an untrained eye might not look so good to an experienced attorney who is more familiar with all the different types of damages you should be compensated for. 

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mount-prospect-il-car-crash-lawyer.jpgIntoxicated drivers are famous for causing truly terrible car accidents like head-on collisions and even rollover accidents. When a drunk driver caused your accident, it is very likely that either you or a bystander called the police and they responded to the scene. Most of the time, an intoxicated driver who has caused a crash will be arrested promptly and charged with a DUI. If that is the case, proving your case against them in civil court is likely to be fairly easy. However, if the driver was not criminally charged, this does not mean that you will not be able to prove in civil court that they were intoxicated for the purposes of winning your case against them. If you were hit by a drunk or high driver who escaped criminal liability, it is important that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a claim against them. 

Why Would an Intoxicated Driver Who Caused an Accident Not be Charged?

The reasons that a driver who causes a car crash due to intoxication may not be arrested vary. It could be that the police did not notice intoxication caused by drugs other than alcohol, as the signs of impairment can be more subtle. Or, the police may not believe that they have enough evidence to be able to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. For example, if it took the police some time to respond, the responsible driver may have had time between the accident and the officer’s arrival to consume more drugs or alcohol. In other cases, corruption is to blame - the drunk driver may be related to or friends with someone on the force. 

How Can I Prove Intoxication in My Case When There Was No Arrest?

The level of proof needed to hold someone criminally responsible is much higher than the level of proof needed to show civil liability. Even if there is not enough evidence to charge the driver in criminal court and prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were intoxicated, a jury in civil court may still find that it is more likely than not that they were intoxicated. Witness testimony is often important.

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After some car accidentschicago-car-accident-lawyer.jpg, it is very clear whose fault it was. For example, if one driver was going the wrong way down a one-way street, the blame is very clearly on the wrong-way driver. In other accidents, the fault may be shared between two or more drivers. This is often the case with pile-ups, which are rarely caused by one single individual. However, there is usually one driver who is more responsible than others involved. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, you may be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault. If you believe that your own actions may have contributed to the accident in any way, it is critically important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the accident, and definitely before you speak to an insurance agency. Car insurance companies are notorious for misusing admissions of partial fault in order to deny a valid claim. 

What Does Illinois’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Mean?

Illinois uses a system called “modified comparative negligence” to determine how much an injured driver can recover after an accident they had some fault in causing. Generally, if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident, you will still be able to recover compensation. However, the amount of your award will be reduced by the portion of fault you are assigned. 

For example, if the court finds that you were 20% responsible for your accident, and another driver was 80% responsible, you can recover 80% of what you would have been awarded if you had zero fault in the accident. 

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