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Arlington Heights personal injury attorneyThe winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to use the road, since there are a variety of factors that affect drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles safely. Snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, and other weather conditions can reduce traction on the road, making it more likely that drivers will lose control of their vehicles. Drivers’ visibility may also be limited in the winter, and this can occur during snowstorms or heavy rain, because of snow built up on a vehicle, or due to fogged windows. Shorter days during the winter also require many people to drive after dark, which will further limit visibility, making it more difficult for drivers to see obstacles in the road and respond to other vehicles or pedestrians. All of these factors can combine to increase the likelihood of car accidents. Those who have been involved in a collision will want to determine whether another driver’s negligence was to blame for the injuries and damages they have suffered.

Driver Negligence That Can Lead to Winter Car Accidents

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24% of all car accidents take place on roads that contain snow, ice, or slush. These accidents lead to nearly 120,000 injuries and 1,300 deaths every year. In addition, 15% of all accidents take place during snowfall or sleet, and these crashes result in 76,000 injuries and 900 deaths annually. Illinois is one of the most dangerous states for winter car accidents, with an average of 38 fatal collisions taking place during the winter each year.

Because of these dangers, drivers should take extra care to drive safely during the winter and avoid collisions. Some forms of driver negligence that can lead to winter car crashes include:

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Arlington Heights personal injury lawyersFor many drivers, sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be frightening. These vehicles are much larger and heavier than passenger cars and trucks, and a collision with a semi-trailer truck can result in devastating injuries. There are a variety of factors that can lead to truck accidents, but driver fatigue is one of the biggest concerns, since a truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel or attempts to operate a vehicle while drowsy can cause serious harm to other drivers, their passengers, or pedestrians. 

Increased Concerns About Truck Driver Fatigue

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many people to remain at home and avoid traveling, fewer people have been using the roads in Illinois and throughout the United States. However, this has also led to an increase in products being ordered online, which has resulted in additional trucks on the nation’s roads to ensure that cargo is shipped and delivered quickly. Due to a shortage in the number of truck drivers in the U.S., the increased need to deliver products means that fewer drivers are being required to drive more often, which may increase the chances that drivers will be pushing their limits and operating their vehicles when they are unable to do so safely.

The federal government has created regulations meant to prevent truck driver fatigue and ensure that drivers can remain awake and aware of the conditions on the road at all times. Under these hours-of-service regulations, truck drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 hours, and they cannot drive for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours.

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Schaumburg DUI accident attorneysThe holiday season is a dangerous time on our nation’s roads due to increased amounts of drunk driving. This period typically starts with “Blackout Wednesday,” when many people drink large amounts of alcohol on the day before Thanksgiving. The rest of Thanksgiving weekend usually sees hundreds of fatalities in drunk driving accidents, and this trend generally continues in the weeks leading up to Christmas as people enjoy drinking with friends and family during holiday parties. Alcohol consumption is also prevalent on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and this often leads to another spike in traffic accidents and deaths. 

While this year’s holiday celebrations are likely to be smaller and more subdued than in years past for most families, there will still be too many people drinking and driving. Those who have been injured in accidents involving drunk drivers will want to understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.

Liability for Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents

In most car accident cases, victims will need to demonstrate that a driver acted negligently in order to collect compensation for their injuries and damages. In accidents involving a drunk driver, proving negligence is not difficult, since violating the law and driving while intoxicated is an act of negligence that puts others’ safety at risk. Victims may be covered by a drunk driver’s insurance policy, or they may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and seek to recover compensation for their damages, including medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

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Arlington Heights personal injury attorneysA car accident can be a frightening, traumatic experience. Even if a collision does not seem to cause serious injuries, it can still have long-lasting effects on your health and well-being. Addressing the costs of immediate medical treatment, long-term therapy, impairment to your ability to earn an income, repairs to your vehicle, or replacement of other damaged property can be difficult. These matters can become even more problematic if the driver who was responsible for the collision did not have insurance or if their insurance policy will not fully cover the costs of your damages. In cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, a skilled attorney can help you determine how you can receive the financial compensation you deserve.

UM and UIM Coverage

In Illinois, liability insurance policies are required to include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage at the legal minimum amounts. The minimum coverage for bodily injury or death is $25,000 for one person or $50,000 for multiple people. Your liability insurance will provide you with at least this amount if you are injured by a motorist without insurance. Depending on the terms of your policy, you may have coverage that is above this minimum amount. Your policy may also include underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage that will address the difference between what is covered by an at-fault driver’s policy and the full amount of your damages.

Before making a claim through another driver’s insurance policy or with your own insurance company, it is advisable to consult with an attorney. Insurance companies will be looking to minimize the value of your claim, and any information you provide to them could be used to reduce the amount you can receive. Our lawyers can speak to insurance companies on your behalf, and we will work to negotiate a settlement that will fully address your injuries and damages and ensure that you receive compensation that will allow you to recover from your accident.

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Arlington Heights personal injury attorneysAlthough it may seem like second nature to experienced drivers, driving a vehicle takes a great deal of attentiveness and concentration. When a driver is distracted by his or her cellphone, GPS system, stereo, or even other vehicle occupants, the driver can make critical errors. Distracted driving is estimated to cause over 1,000 car accident injuries and approximately nine deaths every day in the U.S. In fact, some experts say that distracted driving has become an even greater danger than drunk driving.  If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation.

Proving a Distracted Driver’s Negligence

Through a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs incurred by your accident. You may receive compensation for your medical bills, vehicle damage, future and ongoing medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, and reduced earning capacity. If your loved one was killed in a distracted driving accident, you could be compensated for the loss of his or her financial support and household services, funeral and burial expenses, and more. However, to win a personal injury claim and recover compensation, you will need to prove that the driver’s negligence led to your injuries or your loved one’s death. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence that demonstrates the driver’s negligence. Police reports, photo and video evidence, data from the vehicles’ event data recorders, accident reconstruction, and eyewitness testimony may all be used to prove the driver’s fault.

Texting and Driving is Against the Law in Illinois

When a driver looks down at his or her cellphone or other electronic device, he or she cannot possibly pay attention to the road simultaneously. Texting and driving or using other smartphone applications while driving has led to countless car accidents in Illinois and across the U.S. Because of the danger it poses, Illinois has established laws prohibiting the use of hand-held phones and other electronic devices while driving. If your accident was caused by a someone texting and driving, it is possible that the driver will be considered “negligent per se.” This is a legal doctrine that makes an action automatically considered to be negligent because it is in violation of the law.

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