Lake County Distracted Driver Accident Lawyers

Best Lake County Distracted Driver Accident LawyerDistracted driving is a serious issue nationwide. While many people commonly think of texting while driving, other forms of distracted driving can be just as deadly. Examples include eating while driving, distracting conversations with passengers, and excessive use of control panels in a car. If you are the victim of a car accident with a distracted driver, review your legal options with Lake County distracted driver accident lawyers.

Serving Northern Illinois for Over 40 Years

Many of our attorneys at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley have personal connections in the North Illinois area. We strive to represent the people of Lake County with compassionate and dedicated legal representation. We understand how troubling car accidents can be, especially if they are caused by a distracted driver. Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley will work to ensure you are properly compensated following an accident with a distracted driver.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any behavior that prevents you from paying full attention to the road while behind the wheel. While the most common form is operating a cell phone, other distractions include things like eating or drinking while driving, grooming or doing makeup, and reading. Different distractors can cause different types of distractions on the road:

  • Visual: This is the most obvious form of distraction. The less time you spend looking at the road, the less likely you are to spot sudden traffic changes or things obstructing the road. Even if you do notice them, you will probably notice them later than a non-distracted driver, giving you less reaction time to slow down or move out of the way.
  • Manual: Not keeping your hands on the wheel can also contribute to additional risk while driving. Eating, grooming, or smoking while driving also adds to the time it will take you to respond to traffic conditions, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Cognitive: Even if you are staring at the road and have your hands on the wheel, failing to mentally engage in the demanding task of driving a vehicle will increase the risk of collision. These distractions include things like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, talking to a passenger, calling someone while driving, or driving while drowsy.

While most forms of distracted driving include at least one of these factors, texting and driving incorporates all three of these factors, making it exceptionally dangerous.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

If your accident in Lake County results in injuries from the other driver, you might be able to file a personal injury claim against them. This can cover damages for things like medical bills, lost wages due to missing work, and emotional or psychological damage. Even if you choose not to file a claim, an attorney can help you negotiate with an insurance company to get the greatest amount possible in a settlement payout.

What Do I Do if I’m Hit by a Distracted Driver?

There are several important actions to take following an accident. Ensuring you take appropriate action can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

  1. Stay Safe: If you are in the middle of traffic, try to get the vehicle to a safe location. If it will not move, get everyone in the vehicle to a safe location. If you are injured, losing blood, or feel too weak to move, stay where you are.
  2. Contact Authorities: If you are injured or are blocking a major roadway, call 911 for medical services and for emergency services to help clear the area. If you are not hurt and not blocking any major road, it is still necessary to call the local police department for the city, town, or municipality. If you are not in an incorporated area, contact the highway patrol or county.
  3. Take Records: If you feel well enough to do this, take photos of the scene of the accident. Photograph the cars involved as well as the license plate numbers, the damage to the scene, and any injuries you sustained. It can also be helpful to take photos of traffic signs, traffic lights, and other elements on the road near the accident. Note the exact location where the crash occurred, as well as the other party’s contact and insurance information.
  4. Wait for Police: If you feel like you need to go to the hospital with emergency services, you should. If you do not, wait for the police to arrive and file a report to make sure you can provide them with accurate information. Do not admit fault or say that you were to blame for the accident.
  5. Receive a Medical Examination: If you go to the hospital, you should receive records of your injuries. If you choose not to be hospitalized, you should still visit a doctor to get a record of what injuries you sustained due to the accident. This is important for evidence if you choose to file a personal injury claim, but it can also be important because injuries can get worse in the days or weeks following a crash.
  6. Contact an Attorney: After the accident, contact a car accident attorney in Lake County to review what happened and what your next steps should be. Whether you plan on negotiating with an insurance company or going to trial, it is helpful to have an attorney representing you to improve your odds of success. They can also communicate with insurance companies on your behalf to avoid costly mistakes.

How Will I Pay My Medical Bills for a Personal Injury?

Many individuals in the United States do not have medical insurance, which can make them anxious to receive medical treatment for a car accident. Even insured individuals can be hesitant to go to the doctor to avoid unnecessary costs. In most cases, you should seek medical attention for the following reasons:

  • Long-Term Complications: Some injuries might seem mild on the surface, but if left unaddressed can lead to long-term health complications. An initial consultation and treatment can prevent dealing with a more advanced version of the injury in the future.
  • Health Insurance: If you do not have additional medical payments coverage on your auto insurance, which is an additional piece of coverage that is not required for Illinois drivers, you can rely on your health insurance to cover costs initially.
  • Doctors on Lien: If you are uninsured, in some cases, you can arrange an agreement with doctors or other medical providers to receive payment after your settlement is finalized. If you are interested in this option, contact an attorney to help you negotiate the details of this agreement.

Regardless of what type of medical treatment you seek, keep all the bills associated with the treatment, even the ones you paid out of your own pocket. An accident attorney might be able to add those costs to your settlement to reimburse you once it is paid out.

At-Fault States and Car Accidents

Illinois is like most other states in the US in that it is an at-fault state. This means that they assign expenses related to the accident and settlement payout amounts depending on how much you were deemed at fault for causing the accident. Illinois also participates in modified comparative negligence. If it is determined that you caused at least 51% of the accident, then you are not entitled to any damages as a result of the accident.

Every accident is different, but here are some other general aspects of a collision in an at-fault state:

  • Fault is usually determined by who is to blame. In most car accidents, at least one individual acted negligently. Whether they did not brake in time, engaged in distracted driving, or were speeding, these actions usually result in the driver who participated in them being labeled as mostly at fault.
  • Fault can be determined by things that seem trivial. Even small statements might be used by an insurance company to try to claim you were at fault. Never admit to an accident or even apologize at the scene of the accident. Unnecessarily engaging with the other driver usually does not benefit the situation and can sometimes make things worse.
  • When an insurance adjuster attempts to determine the fault of an accident, they usually rely on things like the police report, statements from any witnesses at the scene, where the cars collided, and any photos taken of the accident. This is why it is so important to properly document the event.

Discussing the accident with an attorney can help you get a good idea of how an adjuster might assign fault in your specific situation.

How To File an Insurance Claim

It might seem easy to simply call your insurance company and let them know about a car accident, but there are several steps that should be taken to get the most out of your claim:

  1. File a Claim: Once you file a claim with the insurance company, they will likely want to call you to ask questions about what happened. If you are working with an attorney, they can answer these calls for you to make sure they only receive the necessary information to do their job.
  2. Determine Damages: With the help of an attorney, you can then work to evaluate the amount of damages the accident caused you. This includes things like economic damages, such as medical and vehicle expenses, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. An attorney can also help estimate things like future medical costs if you incur severe injuries during the accident.
  3. Receive a Claim Response: If the insurance company accepts the claim, an attorney can help negotiate the amount to better represent the level of damages you experienced. If the negligent party’s insurance company gives you an offer, it is likely to be lower than expected in the hopes that you accept it without negotiation. If the claim is rejected, an attorney can help you file an appeal.
  4. Start a Case: If you are not able to successfully negotiate with the insurance company, you might need to file a case against them in court.

Vehicle Accident Attorney FAQs

Q: Is Distracted Driving the Main Cause of Accidents?

A: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused the deaths of over 3,500 people in 2021. It is one of the largest reasons for car accidents. Looking away from the road for even as short as a single second can make the driver oblivious to changing conditions or obstructions on the road. Distracted driving does not just include texting while driving but includes any behavior that distracts you from paying attention to the road.

Q: Can You Bring a Claim Against a Driver in Illinois?

A: Illinois is an at-fault state, so if the other driver caused the accident, they are responsible for covering the cost of the damage via their insurance company. If the driver is uninsured, you can sometimes receive coverage through your car insurance with uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. If you are unsure whether or not you can file a claim against someone for a car accident, consult with an Illinois car accident attorney to review your options.

Q: What Are the Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois?

A: In Illinois, drivers cannot interact with text messages while driving, including sending or reading them. Hands-free devices are sometimes allowed, but not for drivers under 18 or drivers in a school zone. While other forms of distracted driving, like eating, are not specifically prohibited by law, you can still be pulled over by law enforcement if distracted driving causes you to break any traffic laws.

Q: Is Illinois a No-Fault State for Auto Accidents?

A: No, Illinois is instead an at-fault state for car accidents. This means that if a driver is deemed responsible for the accident, then they are responsible for covering the victim’s damages. Individuals in at-fault states are not required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to use when they are involved in an accident. In Illinois, if a driver was found at least 51% at fault or higher, then they are not eligible to receive compensation for any damages.

Find Support for Your Case

One brief distraction can cause a lifetime of injuries for the victim of a car accident. Hold the negligent party accountable by filing a personal injury claim. Stand up for your rights and receive the damages you deserve. Schedule a consultation with Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley to review your options for a personal injury claim against a distracted driver.

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