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Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C.

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IL injury lawyerResearch shows that there are many reasons why a car accident may occur. Some of the factors that increase the likelihood of a collision include weather conditions and driver error, which can include operating a vehicle while distracted, drunk, or drowsy. In many cases, a motorist believes he or she is sober or awake enough to drive when in reality, he or she should not be behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately half of motorists in the United States admit to driving while feeling tired. Shockingly, more than 40 percent of American drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in their driving careers. Despite less traffic on Illinois roadways due to the COVID-19 restrictions, there has been an increase in vehicle fatalities, partly due to fatigued drivers. If you are suffering as a car accident victim, it is important to explore your legal options with a skilled personal injury attorney.

The Impact of Drowsy Driving

Micro-sleep refers to short, involuntary periods of inattention. Although these can last as little as four or five seconds, when a driver experiences micro-sleep while traveling at a high rate of speed, the vehicle can travel the distance of a football field. This translates to not being able to stop in time if the car ahead suddenly stops. A rear-end collision at fast speeds can cause life-altering and even fatal injuries. Simply losing control of a vehicle for a few seconds can be catastrophic, with significant head trauma, internal bleeding, and spinal cord damage.

Drowsy driving is similar to driving under influence (DUI) of alcohol in the following ways:

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IL accident lawyerThis year has been like no other due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. With many restrictions issued to prevent the spread of the contagious virus, people may be struggling financially and emotionally. Certain non-essential businesses have been temporarily closed, while many employees have been allowed to work from home the past eight months. Although the holidays are upon us, health officials are urging folks to stay home or practice social distancing if they do venture out. For those who are feeling cooped up, going for a walk has become a popular pastime.

In the winter months, daylight hours are shorter, so it gets dark much earlier in the day compared to summertime. Combined with motorists who may get behind the wheel after a few too many drinks while celebrating the holidays, the likelihood of cars hitting individuals who are out walking is increased. If you or your loved one was struck as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation if a negligent driver is at fault for your injuries.

Catastrophic Injuries

The sheer nature of a vehicle hitting a person while walking can be devastating. This is partly due to the force of the impact and the fact that a pedestrian does not have any protection compared to passengers in a car. In some cases, a person who is struck by an automobile can sustain life-altering injuries, including paralysis or brain damage, which can impact the rest of their life.

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IL accident lawyerToday’s vehicles feature the latest advancements in safety, including blind spot detection, emergency braking, seat belt restraints, and airbags. All of these devices are made in an effort to avoid a car accident or reduce the severity of injuries in the event that one does occur. Considered a supplemental restraint system, airbags are designed to work alongside seat belts and should be used together. Studies show that when airbags are used correctly, they can reduce head-on collision fatalities by nearly 24 percent.

In many cases, a negligent driver may be at fault for causing an automobile crash. Another motorist may be intoxicated or drowsy, causing him or her to collide with another vehicle or pedestrian. However, in some collisions, a seat belt or airbag may not function properly, resulting in minor to serious injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help car accident victims determine who is liable if an airbag does not deploy in a crash.

How Do Airbags Work?

Airbags work using several sensors and a mini explosion. The airbag includes an accelerometer that detects changes in speed. If deceleration occurs above a preset speed, more than normal braking speeds, the airbag circuit is triggered and the bags are deployed. The circuit passes an electrical current through a heating element, which then ignites a chemical explosive. A significant amount of innocuous gas rushes into a nylon bag that is usually placed behind the steering wheel or within the passenger side dash, and it causes the bag to inflate. When the driver or passenger’s head hits the bag, it starts to deflate while the gas escapes through holes at the edges of the bag. When the vehicle has come to a full stop, the bag should be completely deflated. If it did not inflate, your head would simply bounce off of it due to the sudden and forceful backward movement of the head and neck.

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IL injury lawyerYou can never foresee if or when you will be involved in a car accident. For some, they may experience their lives flashing before their eyes during a crash, while others may be caught in a number of accidents throughout their life. Whether you are the at-fault party or not, being involved in a car accident can greatly impact your life. For those who were not responsible for the crash and have resulting injuries, their financial savings, ability to work, and quality of life can all be diminished depending on the severity of the accident. For those responsible, the cost of compensating the other party can be difficult to manage. This is especially true for those who are uninsured and are required to pay these fees out of pocket. Regardless of your level of insurance coverage, Illinois requires those who are found at-fault to provide financial assistance to the other party.

Determining Who Is At-Fault

Like most states in the U.S., Illinois is considered an “at-fault state.” Under these laws, the drivers involved in auto accidents within the state of Illinois will be assigned a level of fault, determining who is primarily responsible for the accident and how much they will owe the other party. Understandably, you may assume that one party’s actions are what cause the accident, making them solely responsible.

Most accidents, however, are a bit more complex. For instance, if two cars are turning into the same lane from different directions and one car had the right of way, but was also found to be texting while driving, a portion of the blame for the accident may be taken off of the other driver since they were not driving distracted. While you are filing your claim, both attorneys will work to discover who was more at-fault for the accident and fight on their client’s behalf to secure compensation for any injuries, car damage, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

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IL accident lawyerAny type of head injury can be serious, since it usually impacts the brain. A concussion occurs when there is trauma to the head, which affects the brain. This type of trauma can include a blow to the head or violent shaking, both of which may occur in a car accident. Individuals who suffer severe or multiple concussions can have negative long-term effects. Receiving prompt and proper medical care is key to recovering and mitigating permanent damage. In some cases, a negligent party may be at fault for causing a vehicle collision. If you or your loved one is suffering due to a concussion injury after a crash, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for your rehabilitation.

Future Problems

When two vehicles collide, the force of the impact can be devastating. Drivers or occupants in the automobiles can strike the dashboard, windows, or doors. In some instances, they can become pinned between the seat in front of them or even be ejected from the car. In all these scenarios, hitting their heads on a hard surface within the vehicle or on pavement cause a concussion.

Although some symptoms of a concussion may not seem that serious, they can develop over time and greatly hinder a victim’s ability to perform everyday activities. A few of the long-lasting conditions may include:

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