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Schaumburg car crash injury lawyerAccording to Illinois law, driving with a “willful or wanton disregard” for others’ safety is considered reckless driving. Unlike speeding or other minor traffic infractions, reckless driving is a criminal offense. If you were or a loved one were hurt in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The type of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the circumstances of the accident, the severity of your injuries, and the costs incurred by these injuries.

Establishing the Reckless Driver’s Negligence

Criminal charges may bring a reckless driver to justice, but they do not provide restitution to the parties injured by the reckless driver’s actions. If your car accident was caused by a driver who was charged with reckless driving, you may bring a civil claim for damages against the driver in addition to the criminal charges he or she faces. However, a criminal conviction is not needed to recover compensation through a civil claim. You may still be entitled to financial compensation even if the driver was not charged or convicted of reckless driving.

To obtain compensation, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

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Schaumburg personal injury attorney car accident

In Illinois, you have likely seen the phrase “Click It or Ticket” posted above major highways or on the side of busy roads, warning about the potential legal consequences for failure to wear a seat belt. Because of the devices’ proven safety benefits, the state of Illinois requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts at all times. This includes those riding in cars that are equipped with airbags. This law became effective in July 1985 to address the low number of drivers and passengers wearing seat belts while riding in cars. Since the installation of this legislation, seat belt usage has skyrocketed, increasing from 15.9 percent in 1985 to 93 percent usage rates in 2016. Despite the vast majority of drivers and passengers following Illinois’ seat belt requirements, there are some who continue to refuse to use the additional safety measures. Those who decide against wearing a seat belt and get involved in a car accident can face more severe injuries than those wearing seat belts, but surprisingly, Illinois does not recognize this decision as a form of negligence.

Can This Be Used as Evidence?

If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, you are able to file a personal injury claim to recover financial compensation for your losses. These injuries can lead to steep medical bills, time off work, and ongoing conditions that affect your daily functioning. Personal injury claims are meant to make up, in part, for these damages from which you or your loved one is suffering. When filing a personal injury claim, an attorney will work with you to obtain details about the accident. He or she will analyze what happened and determine who was negligent, or at fault, for the accident. A number of factors can contribute to this determination of negligence, such as whether or not the drivers were texting or otherwise distracted, if either party was speeding, if both parties used proper turn signals, if either driver was fatigued, and more.

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Schaumburg auto accident attorney

With mandatory stay-at-home orders in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, Illinois roads have been emptier over the past few months than they have been in a long time. Fewer commuters going to work and hardly any restaurants open for indoor seating have compelled many people to stay at home and off the roads. Surprisingly, despite the fewer number of cars seen on the streets, motor vehicle fatality rates have actually increased in the past few months. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), Illinois is one of the states that has seen this increased fatality rate, leaving a number of Illinois residents incurring serious to fatal injuries because of a car accident.

Looking at the Numbers

The United States as a whole saw a 14 percent increase in fatality rates per mile driven in March. This is especially surprising since most stay-at-home orders were at their strictest during this time as the coronavirus became identified as a rampant issue throughout the country. Illinois itself had an 11 percent increase in roadway deaths within the first three months of the year. One would think that fewer drivers on the road would result in a lower number of vehicle collisions, but the NSC president notes that many see these open roads as invitations for reckless driving. With fewer cars on the road, safety concerns have been disregarded by many motorists, leading to these increased statistics. Speeding has increased since the start of the pandemic, with the idea that fewer drivers mean typical speed limits are no longer necessary for safety.

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Arlington Heights auto accident attorney

Side-impact crashes, otherwise known as T-bone or broadside car accidents, can be devastating for a vehicle's driver and passengers. In fact, researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Center determined that these crashes were more likely to result in death, killing between 8,000 and 10,000 people annually. Even more alarming is the fact that severe or fatal injuries can occur at speeds as slow as 30 miles per hour. For those who have been injured or whose relatives have been killed in a T-bone crash, it is important to understand the importance of filing a personal injury claim, as it may increase the odds of a fair and favorable settlement.

The Potential Aftermath of a Side-Impact Crash

In a front or rear crash, vehicle’s seat belts and airbags usually minimize the impact for any front-seat passengers. Unless the vehicle is equipped with side airbags, this is rarely the case in a T-bone crash. Victims may be thrown against the door of their vehicle, which can result in head injuries and fractures. The vehicle door may also crush in toward the victim, which can cause fractures, compartment syndrome, lacerations, and other serious injuries. 

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Arlington Heights car accident injury attorney

Car crash victims sometimes sustain injuries that require them to seek medical treatment. Of course, this care does come at a cost. Who is responsible for these losses, and what can victims do to ensure their medical expenses are covered? Depending on the circumstances that led to your car accident, the other driver may be responsible for the cost of your medical bills. An investigation may be required to determine who is at fault. If the other driver was deemed responsible for the collision, then the liability for your losses (including medical expenses) will most likely rest with that negligent motorist. 

Covering Your Medical Expenses

Unfortunately, it can take time to recover compensation after your accident. If you need ongoing medical treatment, that wait could compromise your health. To ensure continuity of treatment, you may need to initially cover the costs yourself. If you have health insurance, you can file a claim while paying any co-pays or other related expenses. Alternatively, you may be able to file a claim under your auto insurance policy to make sure your medical expenses are covered while you await your personal injury settlement.

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