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IL injury lawyerToday’s modern technology has changed the way we live compared to just decades ago. Cellular or mobile phones allow us to communicate while on the go. They can come in handy when you find yourself stranded with a flat tire on the side of the road and need to call for help. However, cell phones are one of the leading causes of distracted driving. According to reports from the National Safety Council (NSC), driving while using a cell phone leads to 1.6 million automobile accidents every year in the United States. That means one out of every four car crashes is caused by texting and driving. There are other distractions behind the wheel that can lead to a serious car accident with injuries to the driver as well as any passengers, pedestrians, or other motorists.

Activities that Take a Driver’s Attention Off the Road

If a motorist takes his or her eyes off the road ahead even for a few seconds, that greatly reduces the time he or she has to stop in time if the car in front suddenly brakes. You may be able to see this negligent behavior in drivers next to you. A few examples of actions that reduce a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely by limiting his or her reaction time include:

  • Looking down at the phone
  • Chewing/eating
  • Talking to passengers
  • Applying makeup
  • Waving hands or yelling
  • Operating navigation system

Recognizing a Distracted Driver

As a motorist, it is important to drive defensively and notice distracted driving behaviors around you while you are operating your vehicle. In some situations, signs that a person may be distracted includes swerving between lanes without using a turn signal. This is likely because he or she does not have both hands on the wheel. Other signs that a motorist is distracted include driving erratically by slowing down and then speeding up again. Constantly hitting the brakes is a typical indicator that a driver is not paying attention and then tries to stop at the last minute.

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IL injury lawyerAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile accident injuries are a leading cause of fatalities among children in the United States. Studies show that many of these deaths can be prevented when safety restraints and car seats are used properly. However, kids can still suffer serious injuries in collisions even when safety precautions are taken. After any accident, emergency responders should be called to assess the physical injuries and vehicle damage. In some cases, a negligent driver who was intoxicated or distracted may have caused the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with the legal steps for pursuing compensation for your child’s pain and suffering.

Head Trauma

According to the National Institutes of Health, head injuries are one of the leading causes of trauma sustained by children in crashes. Because kids are smaller than adults, they are sometimes more vulnerable in the event of an accident. These types of head injuries may include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussion
  • Whiplash
  • Contusions
  • Skull fractures

Broken Bones/Fractures

Like adults who are involved in a crash, children passengers may try to brace for impact and in the process suffer hand, arm, wrist, or foot fractures. They can also sustain a broken pelvis or spinal cord damage if they become trapped in the vehicle. Children who are thrown from the vehicle may sustain a broken femur, back, or neck.

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IL disability attorneyEven with fewer citizens commuting to and from their jobs on a daily basis because they are working remotely, Illinois roadways have seen an increase in vehicle-related fatalities recently. After months of staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are taking cross-country road trips instead of traveling by airplane. In some cases, reckless actions such as speeding or disregard for traffic laws have led to an increase in car accidents with injuries. Victims of automobile crashes may be confused and unsure of what to do in the aftermath of a crash. Seeking immediate medical attention for any injuries should be your first priority. Your next step should be talking to witnesses who saw the incident unfold. An eyewitness who provides a statement to the responding officer can offer a neutral third-party perspective of the collision and why it may have occurred.

Illinois Liability Laws

In any personal injury case, a victim must prove who was liable or at fault for the accident. The state of Illinois follows a fault-based system, sometimes referred to as a tort liability system. This means Illinois motorists who are responsible for causing a crash are responsible for paying for any damages related to the accident.

All Illinois drivers must carry auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements for liability coverage. Anyone who is hurt in a vehicle collision typically files a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, insurance companies are known for minimizing the payouts for injury victims. In certain cases, a driver or passenger could suffer serious injuries that require a lengthy hospital stay, surgery, or rehabilitation. That is why it is important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about how to go about filing a claim for your pain and suffering.

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IL crash lawyerA car accident can range from a minor fender-bender to a catastrophic collision with serious injuries. In some cases, a car crash can even prove fatal depending on the severity of the impact and other factors, such as speed, seat belt use, and more. Common injuries suffered in a vehicle crash include fractured or broken bones, or severe bruising and swelling, often to the legs, arms, or hands. In some instances, this can lead to compartment syndrome, which can be acute or chronic. Acute compartment syndrome is usually caused by a crush injury and poor blood flow. Chronic compartment syndrome may be due to repetitive exercise. If you were hurt in a vehicle collision, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine liability for the accident and hold those accountable for any damages.

What Is Compartment Syndrome?

Compartment syndrome is a painful condition in which excessive pressure builds up near an enclosed muscle area of the body. The syndrome typically occurs as a result of swelling or bleeding after a significant injury, such as those sustained in a car accident. The sudden impact and force of a vehicle collision can cause an occupant to be slammed against a door, window, or dashboard. A driver can also be pinned between the seat and steering wheel.

High pressure caused by compartment syndrome disrupts blood flow to and from the surrounding tissue. A decrease in blood flow prevents nourishment and oxygen, which can severely damage nerve and muscle cells. In some cases, it can be considered an emergency, requiring immediate surgery to prevent permanent damage. If left untreated, a patient may need to have the affected body part amputated.

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IL accident attorneyCOVID-19 has impacted people all over the world, including here in Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order in March, temporarily closing non-essential businesses such as salons, bars, and restaurants. This was made in an effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. Although some of the restrictions were lifted recently, many people were urged to stay at home for the past few months. With more individuals working from home, that meant fewer commuters on the state’s highways and tollways. Although some states witnessed a decrease in traffic crashes, Illinois saw a higher number of vehicle fatalities, up 11 percent in the first quarter of 2020 according to the National Safety Council (NSC). With fewer cars on the roads, drivers may be tempted to engage in reckless driving behaviors, which can lead to car accidents with serious to fatal injuries.

Negligent Driving Behaviors

Motorists who have felt cooped up at home for months may be hitting the road just to get out of the house for a change of scenery. Drivers might be tempted to go faster than normal or above the posted speed limit since they are not sharing the road with that many other cars. They may also feel a false sense of security if they think law enforcement officers may be busy with other duties.

Distractions such as texting or talking on a cell phone take a driver’s attention and eyes away from the road. Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs significantly impairs a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Actions such as these can directly lead to an auto accident. Here are a few other behaviors that can cause a collision:

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IL crash lawyerThere are many factors that can lead to a car accident, including weather conditions, driver error, and fault equipment. Regardless of the reasons for a crash, the consequences can be devastating. Although many fender-benders result in only minor injuries, head-on and side-impact collisions can cause severe to even fatal injuries. Often referred to as a “T-bone” crash, a side-impact accident occurs when the side of one or more vehicles is impacted. These crashes are common at intersections, in parking lots, or on multi-lane highways. According to statistics, more than 3 million broadside crashes occur in the United States every year. Even at low speeds, side-impact car crashes routinely cause serious injuries to the occupants of the struck car.

Reckless Driving Behaviors

Drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road once they obtain their driver’s licenses. This includes operating their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. When motorists are acting recklessly or are impaired, this can increase the chances of them losing control and striking another vehicle. For example, an intoxicated driver does not have the same quick reflexes of a sober driver. Similarly, texting behind the wheel takes a driver’s eyes off the road for valuable seconds.

In other scenarios, defective equipment can cause the brakes or steering to fail. In those cases, the vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for any injuries caused by a crash. The typical scenarios in which a T-bone collision occurs include:

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IL accident lawyerDespite national and local efforts to prevent car accidents, they still occur on a regular basis due to various reasons. There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of a vehicle collision, including driver behavior, inclement weather, and poor road conditions. Recent advances in automotive technology have been made to increase the safety of a car’s driver and passengers. From built-in cameras to visual and audible warnings, these can alert a motorist to a potential hazard near or approaching the car. Head-on crashes occur when two vehicles driving in opposite directions collide with each other. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported a 58 percent fatality rate for vehicle occupants in front-impact crashes in 2017. They can result in devastating injuries and even wrongful death for drivers and passengers depending on the circumstances.

Factors that Can Lead to a Head-On Car Accident

In many instances of a head-on or frontal crash, one of the drivers is traveling the wrong way or driving into oncoming traffic. This can be due to impairment from driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. The drunk driver may mistakenly merge onto a one-way street. Because his or her reflexes are delayed, he or she may not be able to stop in time before hitting an approaching car. Likewise, being fatigued behind the wheel can cause a motorist to swerve into oncoming lanes of traffic, especially if there is not a median to divide the lanes.

In other cases, when traveling over the posted speed limit, a driver may try to make it through an intersection on a yellow or red light. If there is another automobile making a left turn, they can hit each other head-on. In some cases, faulty parts may lead to brakes or steering to fail, which may result in a driver losing control of his or her car. Bad weather can also lead to reduced visibility so a driver is unable to properly navigate signs and traffic signals.

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IL injury lawyerMany people take their physical health for granted until one day when it is unexpectedly taken away from them. This can occur after being involved in an automobile accident. The back is one of the most complex parts of the human body. It encompasses the top of the buttocks to the back of the neck and the shoulders. The main part of the back is the vertebral column, which holds the spinal cord in its spinal canal. Any time a person’s back is exposed to blunt force trauma or severe impact such as in a car crash, there is the potential for paralysis. In some cases, a victim may require assistance, extensive rehab, or a wheelchair for the rest of his or her life. That is why it is especially important to hold the negligent party responsible for a back injury accountable. In many cases, this is a negligent motorist.

Lasting Consequences of a Back Injury

Symptoms of a back injury may seem minor at first, with just a dull ache or pain. However, significant damage to the spine can also result in devastating consequences, often requiring surgery or substantial rehabilitation to regain even a small amount of mobility.

Below are a few of the conditions a victim of a back injury may experience:

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IL accident lawyerAnyone who watches the news knows that our nation’s roadways can be dangerous. Statistics show that approximately 2 million people are injured in car accidents every year in the United States. There can be many causes for a vehicle crash, including inclement weather, negligent drivers, and poor road conditions. However, improper or incomplete maintenance on automobiles can also contribute to causing accidents. In some cases, an auto repair shop or the dealership may put in a faulty part from the manufacturer. In other situations, an untrained employee may not install a piece of equipment properly, putting a driver at risk for significant injury. Still more scenarios involve negligent drivers who disregard notices to replace recalled parts or do not properly maintain their cars.

Routine Service Affects Road Safety

It is important for vehicle owners to inspect their cars and perform regular maintenance, or they may be held responsible for collisions that are caused by failure to keep their vehicle in safe and proper working order. For example, a tire that does not have enough tread can cause a driver to slide on ice or snow and hit another vehicle or a pedestrian. A tire blowout can lead to a motorist losing control and sending his or her car careening into oncoming traffic.

A few common examples of issues that can cause a car to malfunction:

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IL car accident lawyerObtaining a driver’s license is something that most Illinois teenagers look forward to when they turn 16. Studies show that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The first year after teens get their license are the most dangerous. During this period, new drivers are four times more likely than adult motorists to get into an auto accident. Besides the lack of experience behind the wheel, other reasons can include distracted driving or driving while intoxicated. These types of crashes can lead to minor or serious injuries depending on the circumstances. In certain cases, parents can be held liable if they were negligent in by not properly supervising their child, which resulted in actions that caused the accident and any subsequent injuries.

Contributing Factors to a Collision

Statistics show that even if a motorist takes his or her eyes off the road for a few seconds, this can lead to a rear-end collision or other type of crash, often with devastating consequences. In addition, when a motorist is intoxicated, his or her reaction time is much slower than when sober. Going over the posted speed limit also presents a major risk since the time needed to stop if the car ahead brakes is much greater.

Some of the most dangerous teen driving behaviors that can cause a crash include the following:

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IL accident lawyerPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a frightening experience. A person may suffer from PTSD after being directly involved in a terrifying incident or even after simply witnessing it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 39 percent of car crash victims develop PTSD.

A motor vehicle crash can be a sudden and devastating event for a driver and passengers to go through. The aftermath of a car accident may include injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, or whiplash. However, victims can also exhibit characteristics of PTSD in the days, weeks, or months following the crash. This can significantly affect their day-to-day living. That is why it is imperative to seek medical treatment and legal guidance for pain and suffering, especially if the accident was due to the negligent behavior of another driver.

Symptoms of PTSD

Many people who are involved in automobile accidents are able to recover from their injuries in a few weeks. For example, a fractured or broken leg can be fixed by wearing a cast for approximately 30 days. It is normal to feel some anxiety after being involved in an auto collision. Some crash survivors, however, suffer emotionally and mentally for an extended period of time due to the traumatic nature of a crash.

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IL accident lawyerThe winter holiday season is a time for special family and friend gatherings. Whether they are Christmas shopping or traveling to visit relatives, more people are on the roadways, which can wreak havoc on traffic. In addition, this time of year also brings inclement weather, especially in Illinois and throughout other parts of the country. Snow, sleet, and wind can cause blizzard-like conditions that can make it difficult for drivers to see in front of them. These “white-out” factors often result in chain-reaction crashes and multiple-vehicle pile-ups. This is why it is especially important to remember basic safe driving tactics to avoid serious injuries due to a car accident.

How Traffic and Weather Can Impact Travel

Regardless if you are making a long-distance trip to visit relatives or just heading across town, you should follow the rules of the road. However, you should also be aware of how weather and holiday traffic can affect your route. Here are some helpful strategies for driving during the busy and chaotic holiday season:

  • Plan ahead: Before embarking on your trip, make sure your vehicle is in proper working order for extended travel. This can include installing snow tires and making sure your windshield fluid and antifreeze fluids are full. You should also keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case your car breaks down or traffic comes to a standstill.
  • Stay awake and alert: Make sure you get plenty of sleep before a long drive that may take you across state lines. If you are driving drowsy, you risk falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into other cars, medians, or even buildings.
  • Reduce your speed: Give yourself plenty of time considering long traffic delays and lower speeds due to snowy or icy conditions. When precipitation hits the pavement and freezes, it will take a car longer to brake and come to a complete stop. Although you may be in a hurry to get from place to place, slowing down can save being involved in an accident.
  • Drive defensively: Be aware and alert of other drivers on the road. Other motorists may not be paying attention or could be intoxicated and therefore driving recklessly. Never assume what another driver is going to do, but be prepared for sudden lane changes or turns ahead of you.
  • Do not drive impaired: It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in every state. It is the time of year for office Christmas luncheons or New Year’s Eve parties, where alcoholic beverages may be served. If you choose to drink, call an Uber or appoint a designated driver who is sober.
  • Avoid distractions: Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as impaired driving. Glancing at your phone, eating, applying makeup, or changing the radio station all take your eyes and attention off the road. Even just a few seconds of distraction can greatly reduce your reaction time if the car in front of you suddenly stops.

Contact a Bloomingdale Personal Injury Attorney

When winter weather hits, Illinois motorists need to adjust their driving habits. Even if you are careful about your behavior behind the wheel, other drivers may not be as diligent. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as medical bills and lost wages. A skilled DuPage County car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C. will examine the details of your case to determine if negligence played a role. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 630-665-5678.

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IL injury lawyerTraffic laws, such as maintaining an appropriate speed, wearing seat belts, and not operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol are more likely to be followed by elderly drivers compared to younger motorists. Furthermore, elderly drivers often avoid difficult driving conditions, like rush hour, driving at night, or driving in poor weather conditions.

According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 2016 recorded 41.7 million licensed drivers over the age of 65. Breaking that down, out of the 221.7 million licensed drivers in the United States, almost one in five drivers are 65 years or older. While elderly motorists are considered to be safer drivers, they are at a much higher risk of car accident injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, an experienced lawyer could advise you on the best course of legal action.

Why Are Car Accident Injuries More Common for Elderly Drivers?

As our bodies continue to age, certain vulnerabilities start to become more prevalent and noticeable. The act of operating a motor vehicle requires quick reflexes, increased awareness of your surroundings, good vision and hearing, and the ability to make immediate decisions. As the aging process continues, several factors can contribute to an increased risk of car accident injuries:

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IL car crash lawyerTraveling by car has become a way of life for a majority of U.S. citizens; millions of people hit the road every day either as a driver or a passenger. However, how many of these motor vehicle occupants are involved in car accidents? Based on recent statistical trends, it is estimated that there are roughly 4.5 million people injured from car accidents in the United States per year, including about 40,000 deaths. These accidents can be physically and emotionally draining on all parties involved.

If you or a loved one is hurt in a vehicle crash, you might be entitled to compensation if the accident was due to another driver’s reckless behavior. Taking certain actions immediately following the accident can help with seeking damages.

Potential Injuries From a Vehicle Crash

The aftermath of an auto accident can produce lasting effects for every party involved, including serious injuries. Depending on the circumstances, some of the most common consequences of car crashes include:

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Posted on in Car Accidents

IL accident lawyerCruise control is a convenience included on many vehicles today. Cruise control is a way to automatically control the speed of your vehicle when driving. Instead of keeping your foot on the gas pedal and constantly shifting up and down a few miles per hour, you can set cruise control to stay at a more consistent speed. Many drivers use cruise control because it is convenient, allowing them to be more comfortable on long trips and it allows them to make sure they are under the speed limit. However, some drivers do not use cruise control because they worry it is more dangerous than driving normally.

Safety Depends on the Driver

A study published by a French foundation, VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for Responsible Driving, indicated that there are some disadvantages to using cruise control. The disadvantages were related more to the driver’s attentiveness than the mechanics of cruise control. When the drivers in the study had cruise control enabled, they were overall less attentive when driving and had longer reaction times.

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IL accident lawyerAutomobile collisions can be as simple as a fender-bender, or cause fatalities. Thousands of pounds of metal colliding with each other at high speeds can be a recipe for disaster. Usually, car crashes are one vehicle hitting another, but occasionally there are multiple vehicle pile-ups or collisions. When multiple vehicles are involved in the collision, it may be difficult to determine who exactly is at fault and needs to pay damages. Determining the fault in a collision is key to a court case, and is made more difficult in multi-vehicle situations.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Fortunately, Illinois law has a system which helps determine the fault in collisions with multiple vehicles, called modified comparative negligence. With the modified comparative negligence doctrine, jurors can assign a percentage of fault to each party responsible and divvy up the damages based on the percent the plaintiff is responsible. If the plaintiff is not at fault at all, they will get more money, if they are at fault 20%, they will get 20% less than they normally would. This goes all the way up to 50%. If the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault or negligent, they do not receive any damages.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

IL accident lawyerThe last thing anyone wants to deal with is filing a car accident claim. Car accidents are scary business and can leave you with not only physical injuries and pain but also emotional trauma. Though not all accidents can be prevented, many accidents can be avoided through safe driving practices. Injuries sustained during car accidents can be extensive, which is why you should try to avoid risky situations in the car at all times. Here are four tips to follow to help reduce your chances of a car accident:

  1. Keep Your Attention on the Road

One of the biggest causes of accidents is distracted driving. You can be distracted by almost anything, but you should try to keep your attention on the road at all times. Many times, drivers are distracted by their cell phones, but the distraction is not always digital. Drivers can become distracted by other passengers in the vehicle, things outside of the vehicle or even something as simple as changing the air conditioning in the car.

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IL accident lawyerIn almost every way, car accidents can be traumatic, affecting you emotionally, mentally and especially, physically. Even if the car accident was a minor one, you can come out of it with serious injuries that put a damper on your well being. These injuries can become costly medical bills and can cause you to lose out on wages at work. Thankfully, if you can successfully prove a personal injury car accident claim, you might be able to recover some of these lost expenses, but only if you have proof and documentation. Proper records and proof can be lifesavers when it comes to proving cases. Here are six tips on how to keep thorough records of your personal injuries:

  1. Take Photographs

Having photographs available as evidence is one of the best ways to prove your case. Photographs are hard evidence and can help illustrate the extent of the damage from the accident. Be sure to take photos of:

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Illinois injury lawyerAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 6,296,000 car accidents reported to police in 2015. An estimated 737,100 of those were hit-and-run accidents. In Illinois alone, 313,316 crashes were recorded in 2015. Hit-and-run accidents can be stressful and take an emotionally toll on the victim. Hit-and-run accidents can also be expensive - unexpected medical bills and vehicle reparations can put a dent in your finances. Understanding what a hit-and-run accident is, common causes of them and what you should do after an accident will be pertinent to getting the compensation you deserve.

What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?

A hit-and-run accident is when a person flees the scene of the crash before giving any information to the other person involved in the accident or if they fail to report the crash. According to Illinois state law, all accidents involving death or personal injury must be reported to police within 30 minutes of the incident, or you will face criminal charges.

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Illinois car accident lawyerIt has been reported that, despite laws designed to help keep drivers focused on the road, the rate of auto accidents occurring in Illinois continues to increase. If you are injured in a car accident  the pain suffered can have lasting results. However, the law provides a variety of options one can pursue to help offset the various expenses that accompany most automobile accident injuries.

Your Options

If you or someone close to you is injured, whether as a pedestrian, driver or passenger, it is important to know the various avenues to consider when seeking monetary relief to help pay for medical bills or cover loss of income.

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