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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 injury lawyerThe human back, also known as the dorsum, is the large posterior area of the human body, encompassing the top of the buttocks to the back of the neck. Back injuries can be debilitating, often causing a victim to become immobile. Damage to the back resulting from car accidents or slip and falls often require costly and extensive medical treatment. These types of injuries can also leave individuals with chronic pain and suffering. In some scenarios, an injury may be caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party.

Damage to the Spine

Because the spine makes up such a large part of the body, any damage to it can affect a person’s ability to move and walk. In some cases, an individual could end up temporarily or permanently paralyzed. This condition can require the use of a wheelchair and other adaptive equipment. Depending on the severity of the injury and what a person does for a living, he or she may not be able to return to his or her job.

Several types of back injuries that commonly result from a vehicle collision or similar blunt force trauma include:

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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 lawyerConsumers use various outlets in order to get the products they need and want, such as visiting brick-and-mortar stores or going to a retailer’s or a third-party vendor’s website. With many people opting to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, more and more shopping is being done online. This means consumers are often buying items “sight unseen,” or without physically holding it or trying it in person first. Regardless of how shoppers purchase a product, in some cases, the product may have a defect or a faulty part, which can cause minor to serious injuries. As a consumer, you may be entitled to compensation if you suffered as a result of using a bad product. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine liability and explain your legal options.

Illinois Product Liability Laws

There are several ways that a product can be dangerous for users. In certain cases, the design itself can make the product unreasonably hazardous. A manufacturing defect is when the design of the product was reasonably safe, but there was a mistake made while actually making or producing the product. According to Illinois law, a product may be considered “defective” if a defect is found in any of the following:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Warning labels

If an item does not have any posted warnings about its use or fails to provide sufficient information or instructions on an included warning label or accompanying pamphlet, that can be considered negligent. When proving negligence in a product liability case, a plaintiff must show that there was an alternative option, which could have made it safer.

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