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Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in Losses

Accidents Often Cause Broken Bones

Accidents can result in many different types of injuries. Some of the most common injuries related to accidents are broken bones. Although broken arms and legs are relatively common, especially among daredevil youth, they can be very serious injuries when they’re caused by traumatic events like a slip and fall or a motor vehicle accident.

Dealing with broken bone injuries can be painful, stressful, and emotionally exhausting. Also, the cost of a broken bone, including emergency room and doctor visits, x-ray costs, and further complications that may arise, can create serious financial hardship for some accident victims when they face the final bill.

Most people think of a broken bone injury as a broken arm in an arm splint simply requiring non-surgical treatment. But they really have no idea about the cost of a broken arm or the doctors’ fees that might be involved. The term “broken bones” can also refer to multiple breaks in one bone or damage to multiple different bones. Also, crush injuries, fractures to spinal bones, and fractures to facial bones can qualify as commonly broken bones.

Serious fractures like these can end up costing accident victims thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Further, they can also cause significant time away from work, resulting in lost wages or the inability to return to former employment.

The severity of a broken bone from an accident can vary, but they all run the risk of costing thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. Taking the right steps after you are injured is important to ensure your timely recovery. Seek medical attention immediately and then talk to an experienced accident injury lawyer to understand the compensation you may be entitled to recover from the responsible person or insurance company.

What Causes a Broken Bone?

A broken bone or bone fracture occurs when force is exerted against a bone that is stronger than the bone can bear. This causes the structure and strength of the bone to tear or break. Broken bones can lead to severe pain and loss of function. In some instances, bone breaks can cause complications like nerve damage and infection.

Some people think of bones as static or dead tissue. But this isn’t true. Bones are a type of connective tissue that is made up of cells and reinforced with calcium. Our bones have a relatively soft center, called marrow, which is responsible for producing the blood cells humans need to stay alive. But the main functions of our skeleton are to support our body, allow us to move, and protect our internal organs. This tissue-like structure and soft center are what allow a bone to break. The important role of our skeleton is what makes that break so critical.

Many accidents can result in broken bones, such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Falls

If you sustain a fracture in any accident and believe someone else was to blame, you should allow a personal injury lawyer to assess your legal rights and options.

Symptoms of a Broken Bone

If you are involved in an accident or traumatic incident, you should get medical help right away after the personal injury incident. You do not want to risk waiting when you have an injury or making an existing injury worse. In most cases, you will definitely know if you have a broken bone because of clear symptoms. However, shock and other injuries can mask certain fractures. That is why going to a hospital is so important after an accident to ensure that you don’t aggravate an injury.

Symptoms of a broken bone can include:

  • Severe pain
  • Deformities, such as a fractured arm or broken limb appearing to be out of place
  • Swelling, bruising, tenderness, numbness, or a tingling sensation around the injury
  • Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.
  • Hearing or feeling a snap or a grinding noise as the injury happens
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or sick as a result of the shock

Broken bones can range from stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone, to more serious fractures where the bone is actually cracked and moves apart during an accident or fall.

The worst bone break is a compound fracture. Here, the bone breaks into two or more pieces, and one or more of the pieces punctures the skin, exposing the bone and creating a wound. This complex fracture poses a risk of infection. Also, it presents serious issues for an orthopedic surgeon while reconstructing and setting the break. The goal is for the bone to heal properly and as close as possible to its original position. Compound fractures require x-rays, emergency surgery, and additional doctor visits to improve the prognosis and prevent complications.

Any fracture requires immediate medical care. X-rays will determine whether you have broken a bone and whether you need a cast or a splint to treat the fracture. It is also possible that surgery will be necessary, depending upon the location and severity of the break. Pins, screws, or other measures might be necessary to stabilize the fracture. As a result, compound and other complex fractures are the most difficult and expensive to treat.

Broken Bones Are Common in Accidents

Fractures are among the most common orthopedic injuries, with roughly 7 million people suffering bone fractures in the United States every year. The average adult in the United States suffers two bone fractures in their lifetime.

Extremity fractures such as broken arms are the most common, usually suffered by men under 45 years old, or women over 45 years old. For women, this is due to osteoporosis, a reduction in bone density commonly found in older women.

Types of Fractures

There are different types of bone fractures. Some are more severe than others, depending on the strength and direction of the force, the particular bone involved, and the age and health of the victim.

When we speak of a broken bone after an accident, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like a person with their arm in a cast. But other bones in the human body can break too. In fact, if it’s a bone, it can probably break or fracture during a serious accident, like a car accident.

For example, a person may break a rib during an accident; or they may have their foot crushed, causing multiple bones in their foot to break or fracture at once. Someone may also break a bone in their back or neck, which causes its own unique issues and treatments, but nonetheless, is a broken bone.

The point is, insurance companies don’t always take broken bones seriously, since a broken arm or leg can be quite common in daily life. But in reality, these types of injuries are often serious.

Some common types of fractures include:

  • Avulsion fracture: a piece of the bone that is attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone.
  • Comminuted fracture: the bone becomes shattered and breaks into many smaller pieces. Some slip and fall victims try to catch themself as they fall, leading to a broken wrist and comminuted fractures.
  • Compression fracture (wedge fracture): the bone is broken from a downward force, and usually occurs in the spine.
  • Fracture-dislocation: an injury where both a fracture and dislocation happen simultaneously. This will often cause a bone fragment to remain lodged between the dislocated segments and require surgery for removal. Car accident victims often suffer from these types of injuries.
  • Hairline fracture (stress fracture): small breaks along the bone or bruises inside the bone.
  • Impacted fracture (buckle fracture): occurs when the broken ends of the bone are pressed against one another due to the force of the injury.
  • Intraarticular fracture: a fracture that pushes into a joint. This can damage the cartilage between the joints and has a higher risk of developing long-term complications.
  • Pathological fracture: break in a bone that is weakened from underlying illness.
  • Spiral fracture: occurs when torque or twisting is applied to a bone

Complications from Breaks, Fractures, and Crushed Bones

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in LossesBroken bones are not always straightforward. Sometimes, they can be accompanied by or lead to other problems. Serious complications are rare, but they are more common in injuries that are caused by severe force like those caused by car accidents.

This can significantly increase the amount of damage, pain and suffering, and cost of treatment. This is one of the major reasons why some broken bones end up costing thousands of dollars to treat.

Below are some common complications seen in broken bone cases.

#1. Excessive Bleeding and Disrupted Blood Flow

Many fractures cause noticeable bleeding around the injury. In most cases, it’s not serious. However, in some cases like those involving large bones or crushed bones, internal bleeding or bleeding from an open wound can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

Sometimes a dislocation or break can cause a disruption of blood flow. This can cause some tissue to not get enough blood, which can be a major problem for the body. In worst-case scenarios, it may not be noticed and leads to amputation.

#2. Nerve Damage

Sometimes when a bone is fractured, nerves are stretched, bruised, or crushed. These injuries usually heal on their own, but they can also cause severe pain while they do. In rare cases, nerves are torn, sometimes by sharp bone fragments. Torn nerves do not heal on their own and may have to be repaired surgically.

#3. Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is the most common severe complication caused by a fracture, usually to the hip or pelvis. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein, breaks off, travels to a lung, and blocks an artery. As a result, the body may not get enough oxygen.

Pulmonary embolism is most common in older people who break their hip. But they can occur to anyone who suffers a serious fracture.

#4. Infections

If the skin is torn when a bone is broken, the wound has a chance of becoming infected. In some cases, this infection may spread to the bone or blood, which can be very serious and will require extended hospital care.

#5. Joint problems

Fractures that extend into a joint can damage the cartilage at the ends of bones. Damaged cartilage can scar, which makes joints stiff and limits their range of motion. Physical therapy is usually needed to treat joint problems from broken bones. Surgery is required to repair damaged joints in some cases.

#6. Osteonecrosis

When blood flow to a bone is disrupted by a fracture or dislocation, part of the bone may die from a lack of blood. This is known as osteonecrosis. Most of the time, doctors can prevent this before it becomes a problem. However, in cases where blood flow is hindered for too long, patients may lose function or require amputation.

How much does a broken bone cost?

As you can see, broken bones and fractures can be complicated and can result in lots of complications. Even if you have health insurance, a relatively simple procedure involving a broken bone can get pretty pricey.

Adding up charges for an emergency room visit, doctor’s fees, lab fees, x-rays, fees for follow-up care, braces, slings, bandages, splints, casts, clinic visits, CT scans, and other procedures can quickly push the costs over $10,000.

Physical therapy, if necessary, can also add significant costs. Treatments for any nerve damage or other complications, such as muscle damage, also will escalate the cost. Depending upon your insurance policy, there is no guarantee that all or even most of these costs will be covered.

With medical costs constantly on the rise, any injury in an accident may wind up costing far more than you expect. Broken bones are no exception. Even with health insurance, a broken bone can be very expensive.

The Cost of a Broken Leg

Without health insurance, the costs of a broken leg can reach many thousands of dollars

  • If you don’t have health insurance, treatment for a broken leg generally can be as much as $2,500 or more just for a break that calls for a cast. That can include an average of more than $200 for an x-ray – although that can cost as much as $1,000 – about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee. Fees can vary depending on where you are and what prevailing healthcare costs are in your region.
  • If you suffer a broken leg that requires surgical treatment and you do not have health insurance, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $17,000 to $35,000 or more.
  • Health insurance will typically cover a broken leg, but you remain responsible for copayments and coinsurance. These can amount to thousands of dollars. This is especially true if your deductibles or yearly out-of-pocket maximums are high. This would be common with many plans on the Healthcare Exchange.

The Cost of a Broken Arm

A broken arm from an accident is common but no less expensive. Here’s a summary of broken arm costs in the United States:

  • If you have no health insurance, the cost of diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm that does not require surgery generally runs up to $2,500 or more.
  • If surgery is required, without health insurance a broken arm generally costs about $16,000 or more.
  • Health insurance would normally cover a broken arm. However, for someone on a health insurance policy through the Healthcare Exchange, deductibles could be more than $5,000. This means you will wind up being responsible for the full costs yourself.

In addition, the severity of the break is a major factor in how much it costs to treat a fracture. Compound fractures, for example, can be considerably more expensive to treat.

All Broken Bones are Serious, Contact an Experienced Chicago Injury Lawyer

If you suffer a broken bone in an accident involving another party, whether in a traffic accident or an accident on someone else’s property, the other party may be legally liable for your damages. Regardless of what your insurance does or does not cover, you might be able to recover damages from the other driver or property owner, or from that person’s insurance carrier.

It is important to explore your legal options to obtain compensation for your injuries. There is no reason for you to bear all the expenses yourself if another party was responsible. In addition, the law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim for compensation after an accident. Don’t delay, contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t jeopardize your important legal rights.

We can help in the following ways, among others:

  • Gathering evidence that someone else was liable for your accident
  • Collecting your bills and calculating your past and future losses, including non-economic losses
  • Filing the necessary insurance claims with supporting evidence
  • Handling all communications with insurance adjusters
  • Negotiating the highest possible settlement for your broken bone
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit when necessary to seek full compensation
  • Handling all litigation matters, including ongoing settlement negotiations or even a trial

There is no need to add the stress of financial losses or injury claims to an already stressful situation. Instead, allow our personal injury attorneys to take over this process for you.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C.

If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights. The attorneys of Abels & Annes are here to help you following an accident. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.

​What Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

The damages that a truck accident victim may recover depend upon various factors, including the type of truck accident that occurs, the number of vehicles involved, the medical treatment that the accident victim undergoes, the nature and extent of their injuries, and the cost of their medical treatment. While some truck accident victims sustain relatively minor injuries, others wind up in wheelchairs and suffer permanent complications for the rest of their life.

When a truck accident victim can prove the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, they may be eligible to recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, loss of use of a body part, and loss of spousal companionship.

If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident that someone else caused, a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can assist. First, your truck accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss the facts surrounding your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can take the necessary legal actions on your behalf and pursue the total monetary damages you deserve to recover.

Single-vehicle Accidents That Indirectly Involve a Large Truck

A large truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig does not always need to make physical contact with a smaller vehicle to cause serious accidents and injuries. In some circumstances, negligent truck drivers may cause a single-vehicle collision when they make a mistake while driving.

For example, the truck driver may carelessly cut another vehicle off in traffic, causing that vehicle to strike another car or a stationary object on the side of the road. At other times, the truck driver may switch lanes without using the proper turn signal, causing another vehicle to swerve out of the way and hit another vehicle or object.

Finally, if a truck driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they may proceed the wrong way down a one-way street, causing another driver to swerve out of the way and hit another vehicle or stationaryobject.

These single-vehicle accidents can cause just as much—if not more—damage than accidents involving two or more vehicles. Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a single-vehicle crash in which a negligent truck driver played a part, you should immediately talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area. You can hold the negligent truck driver and their insurance company responsible for your injuries and other losses, even if the truck driver was not directly involved in the crash.

The difficulty with these types of phantom vehicle accident cases is that some truck drivers are unaware that an accident even occurred. Even if the at-fault truck driver is aware of the accident, they may continue driving away to avoid legal liability. Therefore, you need a lawyer with experience handling phantom vehicle accident cases and investigating the accident circumstances.

In some instances, your lawyer can also retain an expert accident reconstructionist to talk with eyewitnesses, review police reports, and visit the road where the accident occurred. The accident reconstructionist can then piece together exactly how the accident occurred—and who likely caused it.

Roadway Defects and Truck Accidents

In some truck accident scenarios, truck drivers operate their vehicles safely and carefully. However, a roadway defect causes or contributes to an accident that causes other drivers and their passengers to suffer serious injuries.

road_hazardCommon roadway defects that may dislodge cargo from a truck include:

  • Large cracks and deep potholes.
  • Dangerous turns where speed restrictions and road warnings are inadequate.
  • Uneven lanes in construction zones.
  • Objects and obstacles in the middle of the road.

When cargo falls off the back of a moving truck due to a roadway defect, an oncoming vehicle may strike the shipment, causing severe accidents and injuries.

Government entities and municipalities, including cities and counties, have a duty to maintain their roadways in a reasonably safe condition at all times. They must also ensure that roadways are free of severe defects, including deep potholes, uneven lanes, and faded lane markings. If they become aware of a defect, they must remedy it within a reasonable period or, at the very least, warn drivers about the dangerous condition. They may be legally liable if they fail to do so and a severe accident occurs.

Since many of these types of claims involve governmental entities, special rules and considerations apply—including early notice requirements. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can ensure that you comply with the necessary notices and identify all potentially responsible parties in your accident case.

Multi-vehicle Truck Accidents

The most common types of truck accidents involve multiple vehicles, one of which is a large truck, tractor-trailer, big rig, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler. All of these vehicles are extremely large and heavy, and when they collide with a much smaller passenger vehicle, severe accidents and injuries may occur.

Multi-vehicle accidents involving large trucks usually result from truck driver negligence and error. Some of the most common types of negligence that cause these accidents include intoxicated driving, road rule violations, motor carrier violations, driver fatigue, distracted driving, and road rage.

Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if a Breathalyzer device determines their blood alcohol concentration to be 0.08 percent or higher. However, commercial vehicle drivers, including tractor-trailer and big rig operators, must follow stricter legal standards. These drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of at least 0.04 percent.

Drunk Driving

Drivers who sustain a conviction for DUI or some other drunk driving offense may face severe criminal penalties. Moreover, if they cause a traffic accident that leads to injuries, they and their insurance companies may also have to pay civil damages.

In the context of truck accidents, drunk driving is hazardous because it frequently limits a driver’s concentration, delays their reaction time, blurs their vision, and causes other significant consequences which may prevent them from operating their vehicle safely. As a result, intoxicated truck drivers may be unable to stop their vehicles in time to avoid a severe crash.

Negligent Behavior

At other times, serious truck accidents happen when drivers fail to follow posted speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, and other rules of the road. Like passenger vehicle drivers, tractor-trailer drivers are responsible for following all posted signs and other regulations. When these drivers speed, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the proper times, and fail to use their turn signals, they significantly increase their chances of causing a traffic accident.

Truck crashes can also occur when drivers violate state or federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations pertain to truck weight limits, cargo loading and unloading procedures, and methods of safely securing cargo to a trailer bed. When truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them violate these motor carrier regulations, the load may shift while the truck is in motion. This can offset the truck’s center of balance, causing it to overturn while on the road and creating a massive, multi-vehicle pile-up. At other times, cargo may slide off the back of a trailer and into the middle of the road, causing a violent chain-reaction collision.

Drowsy Driving

Serious truck accidents also occur when drivers become fatigued. Many trucking companies incentivize their drivers to deliver their cargo to its final destination before the deadline. Consequently, drivers often resort to drugs and other controlled substances to keep themselves awake for long hours on the road. However, these substances sometimes have the opposite effect and make a driver sleepy. This can limit a driver’s concentration, delay their reaction time, and cause a severe accident with another vehicle or pedestrian.

Distracted Driving

Avoid Distractions- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyDistracted driving is another all-too-common cause of large truck and tractor-trailer accidents. All drivers have a duty to pay attention to the road while they are behind the wheel. However, a distracted driver is one who fails to observe the road. Instead of watching the road, a truck driver might listen to loud music, fiddle with a GPS navigation system, or send a text message or email on a cellular device.

These activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and onto something else. If a driver looks down or turns their head to the side, even for a second or two, they might not see an approaching vehicle or a pedestrian walking in the vicinity and cause a severe accident.

If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that resulted from driver negligence, you have legal options available to you. A skilled truck accident attorney in your area can review your accident circumstances, look at your options, and develop a plan for moving your case forward.

If you can file a claim with the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company, your lawyer can help you promptly. Finally, your lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations and work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive for your injuries.

Potential Trucking Company Negligence

In addition to negligent truck drivers, the trucking companies that employ these drivers may also be negligent. If they are, they may share in some or all of the liability for any truck accident that occurs.

Negligent may arise when trucking companies fail to:

  • Hire capable, responsible, and safe truck drivers
  • Terminate a truck driver who incurs moving violations or DUI convictions
  • Supervise employee truck drivers and ensure that they comply with all safety regulations
  • Ensure that truck drivers complete all continuing education requirements

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can determine if you can assert a legal claim against the employer trucking company, given the circumstances of your accident.

Truck Accident Injuries

When a big truck hits a much smaller passenger vehicle, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who sustain more severe injuries. The injuries that truck accident victims suffer depend mainly upon the type of accident that happens, the circumstances surrounding the accident, how their body moves in the vehicle, and whether or not a part of their body strikes something in the vehicle during the crash.

Common injuries in truck accidents include:

If you suffered any of these injuries in your truck accident, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility right away. You should seek this treatment even if you are not experiencing any current symptoms. This is because untreated truck-accident injuries often worsen the longer they remain untreated.

A medical provider on duty at the hospital can order the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and CAT scans to make an accurate medical diagnosis. The provider can also thoroughly examine you and render emergency medical treatment if necessary. Moreover, the provider can recommend follow-up treatment if your symptoms worsen.

While you focus your attention on making a full recovery from your injuries, your truck accident lawyer can start to gather your medical records, medical bills, lost wage documents, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Your attorney can then submit a settlement demand package and a formal settlement demand letter to the insurance company adjuster after you finish treatment for your injuries.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Your Area Today

Suppose you or a person you love recently suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck. In that case, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you throughout your case.

Your lawyer will be your advocate during every stage of the claims-filing and litigation processes. Moreover, if your case needs to go to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can represent you in court and zealously advocate for your legal interests. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your monetary recovery and highlight the strengths of your truck accident case while downplaying any weaknesses.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads

Car accidents, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents are among the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 77 percent of all drivers have been in at least one car accident in their lifetime.

While drivers can exercise safety measures and passengers can wear seatbelts while their vehicle is in motion, certain things may happen on the road beyond your control. Other drivers may operate their vehicles recklessly or carelessly, and you may suffer injuries in a severe accident that they cause.

If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash resulting from another driver’s negligence, you have legal options. An experienced car accident injury attorney in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident, review your legal options, and help you file a claim for personal injuries. If the insurance company does not compensate you reasonably for your injuries, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and taking your case to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.

Steps for Staying Safe as a Vehicle Driver or Passenger

car accident lawyer in phoenixThere are several essential steps you can take to decrease your risk of suffering injuries in a motor vehicle accident—and to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. These steps include wearing a seatbelt while your vehicle is in motion, adjusting your vehicle appropriately, performing vehicle maintenance regularly, using your car’s electronic safety features, refraining from drunk driving, following speed limits and other traffic regulations, refraining from distracted driving, and ensuring that your children are secure in their car safety seats at all times.

Motor vehicle accidents often involve a very forceful collision. Some crashes are rear-enders, where the front of one vehicle forcefully strikes the back of another vehicle.

Other common accidents involve head-on collisions, where the fronts of two vehicles collide, and sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles strike one another while traveling forward in the same direction. Finally, T-bone accidents—or broadside collisions—occur when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle traveling on an adjacent road.

1. Wear Your Seatbelt

Wear Your Seatbelt- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyWearing a seatbelt while your vehicle is in motion can significantly lessen the blow of a violent motor vehicle crash. In an accident, your seatbelt physically restrains you and helps prevent your body from moving forwards and backward in your vehicle—and from striking something in your car, like the headrest, door frame, window, or dashboard. In short, seatbelts save lives and prevent severe injuries in car crashes.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), seat belts reduce the risk of death for motor vehicle passengers and drivers by approximately 45 percent. Moreover, they lessen the risk of sustaining a severe injury in a car accident by 50 percent.

Whenever a driver gets behind the wheel, they are responsible for ensuring that they are buckled up, along with any passengers they’re transporting in their vehicle.

2. Limit Distractions

Adjust Your Vehicle to Your Needs- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyIn addition to always wearing a seatbelt while your vehicle is in motion, you should adjust the vehicle to meet your height and weight needs. You can adjust your rearview and side view mirrors, adjust your seat, and adjust the climate control before you start driving.

When you make these necessary adjustments, you help to minimize the risk of sustaining severe injuries in a serious crash. For example, by setting the heat and air conditioning as necessary ahead of time, you avoid distractions while you drive.

Moreover, by adjusting your rearview and side view mirrors before driving, you ensure that you have a clear, unobstructed view when you look through them. By adjusting your seat and sitting close enough to the steering wheel while driving, you ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. In the event of a severe crash, this step will also ensure that your airbags deflate correctly and protect you from serious injuries.

3. Maintain Your Vehicle and Keep Up Your Repairs

Perform Regular Maintenance On Your Vehicle- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyNext, you want to ensure that you take your vehicle in for regular maintenance and repairs. This is especially true if you are embarking on a long road trip. In addition to preventing costly repairs, routine maintenance helps to ensure that your vehicle works correctly while driving—and that your vehicle does not malfunction and cause an accident. When you take your vehicle in for a routine oil inspection or tire rotation, you can ask your mechanic to perform a visual inspection of your vehicle.

Likewise, you should use your vehicle’s standard safety features while driving. These safety features, including headlights and airbags, are designed to make your driving experience more comfortable and safer than ever before. Drivers must become familiar with the safety features of any vehicle they operate, including lane change notifications and speed warnings. You also want to make sure that you activate these safety features before embarking on a long journey.

4. Don’t Drink & Drive

Drive Sober Dont Drink and Drive- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyIt should also go without saying, but drinking and driving never go hand-in-hand. Even when drivers have only a small amount to drink, they may not realize that their sensory perception, concentration, and reaction time will suffer. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant that can severely slow down a driver’s central nervous system functioning. As a result, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid an accident. Alcohol may also cause a driver to experience blurred vision, preventing them from even seeing another vehicle or pedestrian and causing a severe crash.

Drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. However, commercial vehicle drivers, including truck drivers, as well as minors who are under 21 years of age, must follow stricter standards. In addition to receiving high criminal penalties upon conviction for DUI, a driver may face civil penalties if they caused an accident that led to injuries.

5. Local Traffic Laws

In addition to refraining from intoxicated driving, individuals must follow all traffic laws and regulations, including posted signs, speed limits, and traffic control devices. When drivers grossly exceed the speed limit, weave in and out of heavy traffic, and tailgate other drivers, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident. The same is true when they violate other traffic laws and operate their vehicles recklessly.

Moreover, drivers have a duty to refrain from distracted driving. A distracted driver fails to observe the road. Electronic devices, including GPS navigation systems, cellular phones, and tablets, are some of the most common distractions in vehicles today. Distracted drivers might look for a restaurant on a GPS device, change channels on a device, or send a text message, all of which may divert their attention away from the road. When that happens, the driver may look down—or to the side—taking their eyes completely off the road. Even when a distraction lasts for one or two seconds, that may be sufficient time for them to miss seeing an approaching vehicle or pedestrian in the vicinity, causing an accident.

6. Whats in Your Car?

Avoid Distractions- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyFinally, drivers have a duty to ensure that they properly secure their children in car seats. In most instances, children who are under eight years of age require an appropriate child restraint system. For example, a child may need to use a booster seat until they reach a certain age or weight limit. Ensuring that you correctly secure your child in a car seat helps to ensure that their body does not move around the vehicle if a severe accident occurs.

Injuries That Car Crash Victims May Suffer

Even when drivers take all of the necessary precautions and follow all safety regulations, serious accidents can still happen. These accidents usually result from other drivers’ recklessness, carelessness, or negligence.

Car accident victims may suffer debilitating injuries that require ongoing medical treatment, complicated procedures, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Moreover, car accident victims may suffer pain and other symptoms—sometimes for the rest of their lives.

A car accident victim’s injuries usually depend upon various factors, including the force of the collision, how their body moves in the vehicle, and whether they strike something in their vehicle when the crash occurs.

Typical car accident injuries include traumatic head and brain damage, paralysis injuries, spinal cord injuries, soft tissue contusions, bone fractures, cuts, abrasions, and internal organ damage.

As soon as possible after your car accident, you should follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility for medical treatment. The provider on duty can physically examine you and order the necessary imaging studies, including x-rays and MRIs. The provider can then render an accurate medical diagnosis.

Seeking prompt, same-day medical treatment after your car accident is extremely important because it helps ensure that your injuries do not worsen. Moreover, if you later need to file a personal injury claim—or a lawsuit in court—it is less likely that the insurance company will dispute your claimed damages if you seek prompt medical treatment after your accident.

While you focus on getting better, your lawyer can begin to gather up your medical records, lost wage documentation, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company and begin negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf.

Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s carelessness, time is of the essence in your case. Because of the statute of limitations, accident victims do not have an unlimited period to file a claim or lawsuit seeking damages. Your lawyer can help you file a timely claim or lawsuit within two years after your accident date, safeguarding your right to pursue and recover the monetary damages you need.

The claims-filing process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand package, along with a demand letter, to the insurance company handling your claim. In most instances, this is the insurance company for the at-fault driver. The parties will then typically negotiate, and if they reach a favorable settlement agreement, the case will not proceed any further. However, if the parties reach an impasse, the accident victim’s lawyer may need to file a lawsuit in the court system.

Even while a personal injury case is in litigation, the parties can still resolve it through settlement. However, if the case does not resolve by the end of litigation, the parties may need to take their case to a civil jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding.

Your lawyer can explain your legal options and help you decide the best course of action to pursue.

Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a person you care about suffered injuries in a recent car crash, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to represent you. The sooner you seek legal representation in your case, the better off you will be. With a knowledgeable lawyer on board in your case, you are more likely to recover reasonable monetary compensation for your injuries.

If you try to represent yourself in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the insurance company is more likely to take advantage of you and offer you far less compensation than your case is worth.

Insurance companies are often quite large and have vast resources at their disposal. They hire teams of adjusters and lawyers whose interests align with the company’s. The insurance company makes a profit by paying as little as possible as often as possible, and you can rest assured that it will do whatever it can to not pay you the money you deserve.

Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident, file a claim or a lawsuit on your behalf, and assist you during settlement negotiations. Moreover, if your case must go to court, your lawyer can advocate on your behalf and aggressively pursue the monetary damages you deserve. Those damages may include compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a body part, permanent disability, and loss of spousal companionship.

Smartwatches and Distracted Driving

Drivers become distracted when they fail to pay attention to the road. But long before cell phones and other electronic devices existed, drivers can still become distracted. Sometimes, small children misbehaving in the backseat diverted a driver’s attention away from the road. Similarly, drivers became distracted when they listened to loud music playing in their vehicle or roughhoused with vehicle passengers.

However, with the advent of cellular technology, the number of distractions in vehicles has increased dramatically. One of the newest technologies that distract drivers is a smartwatch.

distracted driving lawyer in chicago illinoisSmartwatches are essentially small computers that a driver can wear on their wrist. Just like traditional watches, smartwatches tell the time. They also alert individuals to incoming phone calls, text messages, instant messages, and social media updates. Individuals who own smartwatches can also download various apps, including personal organizers and digital maps. Smartwatches can also gather information or receive data from other computers or electronic devices.

When drivers use their smartwatches, they may feel the temptation to send or read text messages and emails while driving. A driver may also use their smartwatch as a GPS navigation device, further distracting them while they drive.

You have legal options if you suffered injuries in a car accident resulting from distracted driving. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and retain an accident reconstructionist or other expert. If you can file a auto accident injury claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your attorney can take those steps and recover the monetary damages you need for your injuries.

Categories of Distracted Drivers

When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car or truck, they have a duty to observe the road and to refrain from distractions. However, many drivers allow electronic devices and other individuals in the vehicle to distract them from their primary duty of watching the road. In some instances, a distraction may cause a driver to look down or to the side, preventing them from seeing an approaching vehicle or nearby pedestrian.

Moreover, in some cases, the distraction only lasts for one or two seconds. However, those few seconds may be enough time for a serious accident to occur. In addition to putting other drivers and their passengers in danger, distracted driving also puts yourself and your passengers in harm’s way.

Distracted driving can take several forms and may include cognitive distractions, manual distractions, and visual distractions.

A cognitive distraction is any type of activity that prevents a driver from focusing on operating their vehicle. Manual distractions, on the other hand, occur when a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel for any period. Finally, a visual distraction is something in the vehicle or on the side of the road that takes a driver’s attention off the road.

In some situations, drivers experience several of these distractions simultaneously. For example, sending a text message or drafting an email on a cellular phone, smartwatch, or another electronic device requires that a driver use their hands, look at the device screen, and think about what they plan to write. Distracted driving of this nature can prevent a driver from reacting quickly to an emergency that arises on the road.

Specific Dangers Unique to Smartwatches

Smartwatches are different from other electronic devices and come with their own set of dangers. In some instances, smartphones are safer to use while driving than smartwatches because a driver can operate their smartwatch with one hand. However, in most situations, a driver must use both of their hands to send a text message or read an email on a smartwatch.

Moreover, since the screen on a smartwatch is so tiny, a driver will typically need to lift the watch to eye level to read the information on the screen, including notifications. Smartwatches also frequently produce noises when the driver has a notification, tempting them to check the device and divert their attention away from the road. In fact, reading a text on a smartwatch takes an average of 2.52 seconds. Even though this is a relatively short time, it is enough time for a serious accident to happen.

What Are Some Distracted Driving Laws?

The law recognizes that distracted driving is a hazardous activity with a high probability of causing motor vehicle accidents. In some states, a driver may not receive a citation for using a smartwatch, per se. However, many state laws do prohibit drivers from operating their motor vehicles on a road while using an electronic device at the same time. Moreover, many state statutes do not explicitly exclude smartwatches from the category of electronic devices.

In some states, the law issues financial penalties to individuals who use electronic devices while driving. In addition to paying a high monetary fine, the offending driver may also lose their driving privileges for a period of time—especially if they are a repeat offender.

Although it only takes a second or two to glance at a smartwatch, the accidents that may result from distracted driving can cause accident victims to experience lifetime complications, suffering, pain, and inconvenience. They also may require ongoing medical treatment for the rest of the accident victim’s life, depending upon the nature and extent of their injuries.

Types of Car Accidents That Result From Distracted Driving

When drivers fail to watch the road attentively, several types of car accidents may happen. One of the most common car accidents that result from distracted driving is a rear-end crash. A rear-end accident occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle, often causing the occupants of the front vehicle to suffer serious injuries. When drivers fail to pay attention and watch the road, they may not notice an approaching traffic intersection or highway traffic back-up. Consequently, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.

The force of a rear-end accident may cause the accident victim’s body to move around inside their vehicle, causing traumatic head injuries or soft tissue neck and back injuries. These injuries are widespread if a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in their vehicle.

Distracted driving can also lead to head-on collisions. In a head-on crash, the fronts of two vehicles collide, usually while traveling in opposing travel lanes. A driver who fails to watch the road attentively might negligently cause their vehicle to cross the centerline or concrete median strip and strike an oncoming vehicle head-on. When these injuries happen at high rates of speed, they may lead to fatal injuries.

Finally, sideswipe accidents occur when the sides of two vehicles traveling in the same direction strike one another. These accidents usually happen on multi-lane highways where all of the travel lanes proceed forward in the same direction. When a driver looks at their smartwatch or another electronic device, they may negligently cause their vehicle to veer across a lane marking and strike another vehicle. Sometimes, the force of the collision is so great that it pushes the vehicle on the receiving end entirely off the road—or into another vehicle’s direct path.

If you suffered injuries in any of these accidents that resulted from distracted driving, a car accident lawyer in your area can explain your legal options and help you select the best course of action for your case. If you are eligible to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a conclusion in the court system.

Injuries that Typically Result from Distracted Driving

Is New Technology Making Distracted Driving Worse - Abels and Annes Chicago Illinois Car Accident Personal Injury AttorneyDistracted driving accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, which leave an accident victim in need of ongoing medical care. The injuries that an accident victim sustains typically depend upon the force of the collision, the way their body moves in the car at the time of the crash, and the type of accident that occurs. When car crashes occur at high rates of speed, they are more likely to result in severe and sometimes permanent injuries.

A permanent injury is one that is unlikely to improve over time. To establish that a particular injury is permanent, a medical provider must state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the injury is unlikely to get better with time. Your lawyer may also retain a medical expert to establish a causal relationship between your claimed injuries and the distracted driving car accident.

Common injuries that car crash victims suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue contusions, fractures, broken bones, internal organ damage, cuts, scars, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.

As soon as possible after your car accident, you should follow up with your primary care doctor or at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. The medical provider on duty can order the necessary imaging studies, including CAT scans, X-rays, and MRIs, to determine the severity of your injuries. In addition, your provider can recommend ongoing future treatment, such as following up with a medical specialist for continuing care.

Seeking same-day medical care is extremely important after a car accident—even if you do not feel any symptoms at that time. This is because symptoms of specific injuries do not appear until days or weeks after a car accident happens. Moreover, by treating as early as possible in your case, the insurance company will see that your injuries are severe and that you made your medical treatment a top priority after your car accident.

While you attend medical appointments and focus on improving your physical condition, a car accident attorney in your area can begin advocating for you and your legal interests. Your lawyer can start gathering your medical treatment records, bills, lost wage statements, and other potential evidence to introduce in your case. After you finish treating your injuries, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand package to the insurance company for the at-fault driver and begin negotiating fair compensation on your behalf.

In some instances, insurance companies are unwilling to offer accident victims the compensation they deserve. Insurance companies do this to try and resolve claims quickly and save themselves money. However, a knowledgeable car crash attorney on your side can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and pursue a better settlement offer. If the insurance company does not take your case seriously for whatever reason and fails to offer you the total monetary damages you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to a conclusion.

If your car accident case does not resolve by the end of litigation, it may go to a civil jury trial, where a jury will determine the total damages to award you for your injuries. You may also elect to pursue alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or binding arbitration, as a way to resolve your car accident claim favorably.

Call a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer to Represent You Today

In car accident claims and lawsuits, time is of the essence. If you wait too long to file your claim or a lawsuit, the law may prevent you from recovering damages in your case. Therefore, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable car crash lawyer as soon as possible in your case. Let your lawyer handle your legal business while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and meet with you to discuss a plan of action for your case. Your lawyer can also assist you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company—and with litigating your case in court if that step becomes necessary.

Finally, your injury accident attorney will be by your side during all legal proceedings, advocating for you and pursuing the maximum amount of damages you deserve for your injuries. Those damages can include compensation for your related medical expenses, lost earnings, mental distress, inconvenience, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and permanent disability or disfigurement.

Herniated Disc: Causes, Symptoms, and Complications

Discs in the human spinal cord play a very important role. They support an individual’s upper body, help them absorb shock, and move their bodies in different directions. Although these discs are extremely tough, they may suffer serious damage in a forceful car accident.

Spinal discs have several layers, the outermost of which is tough and rubbery. However, if the disc’s outer layer sustains damage in an accident, it may bulge out. As a result, an accident victim may suffer significant leg and back pain.

Herniated discs often happen in serious car accidents where the collision force knocks the accident victim’s body around the interior of their vehicle. These injuries are equally common when accident victims suffer serious back injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, such as at a restaurant or grocery store.

Herniated disc injuries can cause ongoing medical complications, sometimes requiring accident victims to undergo surgery and other expensive medical treatment. Accident victims may also suffer extreme pain from a herniated disc that can last for the rest of their lives. Even sitting down or driving a vehicle for a long time may hurt if the accident victim suffers a severe enough disc injury.

If you suffered a disc injury in a motor vehicle crash, slip and fall, or some other accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you have legal options available to you.

First, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit seeking damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can file the necessary claim or lawsuit to pursue monetary damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Your spinal cord injury lawyer will do everything they can to help you maximize your monetary damages and recover the compensation you deserve for your disc injuries.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

When a person suffers a herniated disc in an accident, they typically experience damage to one of the rubbery discs sitting between two or more vertebrae going up and down their spine. This condition typically develops when one of the discs that sit between bones making up the spinal column becomes ruptured or torn.

The annulus is the thickest disc layer and encases a softer substance called the nucleus pulposus. Whenever the annulus portion of the disc suffers a tear, the soft portion may stick out through the outer wall, becoming a ruptured—or slipped—disc.

This condition differs from a disc bulge that affects only the annulus, or the outermost disc layer.

There is no disputing that a herniated disc may cause an accident victim to experience significant pain. These conditions are painful because when the disc protrudes, it tends to affect nearby nerves, which are extremely sensitive. This nerve pressure may cause an accident victim to experience swelling and other serious problems.

Moreover, since nerves send communications throughout a person’s body, a herniated disc may cause an accident victim to experience all sorts of pain. In addition to back pain, the accident victim may suffer extreme pain in their legs and arms.

Herniated Disc - Abels and Annes Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys

 

How Do Herniated Discs Happen?

A herniated disc may result from any type of spinal trauma. This is especially true when an accident causes a person’s spinal column to twist and turn in an unnatural direction. When this occurs, one or more discs located at various levels on the spinal column may rupture. Although herniated discs can result from relatively minor accidents, these injuries also occur when accident victims suffer injuries in major accidents.

Some common accidents that lead to herniated disc injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, such as car crashes, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents, where one vehicle strikes another, causing serious property damage and injuries to the vehicle occupants
  • Slip and fall accidents, where a property owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition at all times, causing a visitor to fall on the ground—often landing on their neck or back
  • Sports injuries, especially for individuals who play contact sports, like basketball or football, fall to the ground.

Potential Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated discs often have extremely painful symptoms that can last the rest of the accident victim’s life. The symptoms that an accident victim may experience typically depend upon how their back and spinal cord move and twist during the accident.

In general, herniated disc injuries come with symptoms much like those associated with bulging discs, fractured vertebrae, sprains, strains, and whiplash. Some of the most common symptoms associated with herniated discs include numbness, tingling, and extreme pain. In some instances, healthcare providers mistake these symptoms for less serious injuries. However, the herniated disc may become apparent when the accident victim undergoes a CT scan or MRI.

In most instances, accident victims sustain herniated discs in the lower portion of their spine. However, they can occur in any area of the spinal cord.

When a person suffers a herniated disc in their lower back, they tend to experience pain in their buttocks that radiates down to their legs. When they suffer a herniated disc in the upper portion of their back, including the neck, they may experience pain in their shoulders and arms.

No matter where the herniated disc is, accident victims typically experience the most pain when they are active. However, they may suffer pain in their upper or lower back if they must sit still for a long period, such as when driving or riding in a vehicle on a long road trip.

Another common symptom associated with herniated discs is muscular weakness. For example, when an individual is moving, their arms or legs may suddenly give out and cease functioning. Finally, since herniated discs typically involve nerves that transmit pain to various areas of the body, an individual suffering from a herniated disc can experience pain in any bodily region due to their injury.

If you believe you suffered a herniated disc or other serious neck and back injury in your accident, you should seek prompt medical treatment immediately. You can follow up with a primary care doctor or seek treatment at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care facility. Generally speaking, the sooner you seek this treatment after your accident, the better off you will be. This is because herniated disc injuries often worsen the longer they remain untreated.

At an emergency medical facility, the medical provider on duty can thoroughly examine you and order the necessary imaging studies to diagnose your medical condition. Moreover, the doctor can refer you to a specialist, such as a chiropractor, neurologist, or another provider, for ongoing medical treatment after your initial visit.

Common Limitations that Accident Victims Experience from Herniated Discs

Accident victims who suffer herniated discs may experience numerous limitations. In some cases, a herniated disc can cause a much more serious problem called cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome may develop when a person cannot control their bowel movements due to nerve damage from a herniated disc.

Herniated disc disease also comes with chronic pain and ongoing symptoms. These symptoms can prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed before your accident. Those activities may include playing sports, engaging in recreational activities, and spending time with your children and grandchildren. After suffering a herniated disc injury, small tasks like taking your grandchildren to the park or walking your dog can be a harrowing experience.

In addition to the lost quality of life, herniated disc injuries may affect your ability to earn an income. ‘[‘This is especially true if you have to take time off work to recover from your injuries—or to attend medical and physical therapy appointments. Moreover, if your job requires manual labor, you may need to switch positions or take a pay cut due to your accident-related back injuries.

Potential Treatments for Herniated Disc Injuries

If you suffered a herniated disc injury in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, there are several types of treatments that you can undergo for relief. These treatments can help control inflammation, make you feel stronger, and help you partake in activities you once enjoyed. First, you can take common over-the-counter drugs, like ibuprofen, to control inflammation from a herniated desk.

At other times, your doctor may prescribe pain medication to control your symptoms. However, these medications often cause patients to become dependent. In fact, this dependence can happen in as little as five days. Consequently, doctors have a duty to monitor their patients when they prescribe them pain medication on a regular, ongoing basis.

Herniated disc sufferers might also take muscle relaxers for pain relief. These drugs treat muscle spasms connected with herniated discs. However, the downside to these medications is that they may make the accident victim sleepy and prevent them from driving or operating heavy machinery while at their job.

Physical therapy can also significantly help a herniated disc injury. Some of the most common types of PT therapists use to treat this condition include deep tissue massages, cold therapy, and aqua therapy.

Sometimes, a medical provider can supply you with a TENS unit. These units use electrical stimulation to reduce muscular spasms. Using these devices often helps to reduce spasms and significantly relieve pain in the neck or back.

Accident victims who suffer herniated discs can also receive epidural steroid injections. People typically receive these injections in the lower part of their back. However, individuals may risk suffering other complications when they undergo these injections.

Finally, you can undergo a surgical procedure to correct your herniated disc injury as a last resort. Several types of surgeries may be available, including artificial disc surgery and spinal fusion surgery—both of which are invasive medical procedures that can lead to longer recovery times.

Your medical provider can help you make an informed decision about the best medical treatment to undergo to treat your accident-related herniated disc injury. Your personal injury lawyer can help you pay for those treatments and recover compensation for your pain and suffering by filing a lawsuit for you.

Deadline to File a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit for a Herniated Disc

Accident victims who suffer herniated disc injuries have a very limited time period in which to file their personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages. The time clock begins to run on the date of your accident and ends exactly two years later—to the day. If you file your personal injury claim after the deadline expires, in almost all circumstances, you will no longer be eligible to recover damages of any kind. Therefore, you should retain a knowledgeable car accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible after your accident.

Potential Damages You Can Recover Financially for a Herniated Disc Injury

Accident victims who suffer one or more herniated discs might be eligible to recover several types of damages, including compensation for their related medical expenses—and lost wages if they need to miss work time. Other potential damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, past and future pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.

Call a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Near You Today

Dave Abels Personal Injury LawyerIf you suffered a herniated disc injury in an accident that someone else caused, you might be eligible to recover various monetary damages. An experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer in your area can explain your legal rights and options to help you maximize the monetary damages you recover for your herniated disc injury.

You should focus on your physical recovery and keeping up with your medical treatment. Trying to navigate an injury insurance claim or lawsuit is not something you want to add to your plate. Instead, put your case in the hands of an experienced injury lawyer who handles cases like yours. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a no-cost consultation and case evaluation as soon as possible.

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Driving Drowsy Is as Bad as Driving Drunk

Drowsy Driving Accidents in Chicago

There are many reasons why tired drivers are on the road. Whether someone is on a road trip, driving long work shifts in a truck, coming off the night shift, or has a sleep disorder, drowsiness can often affect people behind the wheel. While most people do not worry about driving while tired, drowsy driving can impair a driver similarly to alcohol or drugs. When drivers are not alert, they make mistakes and cause serious accidents and injuries to others.

If you suffered injuries in an accident where a driver fell asleep or lost focus due to fatigue, you need a Chicago drowsy driving lawyer to review the circumstances. It is difficult to prove someone’s state of mind, including drowsiness, so these claims can be challenging. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. handles all types of car crash claims, including those stemming from drowsy driving.

We have extensive experience recovering compensation for injured car accident victims through case settlements and judgments, including:

  • $905,000 for a passenger who needed spinal surgery
  • $600,000 for catastrophic car accident injuries
  • $735,000 for serious back injuries from a driver who failed to yield
  • $460,000 for a herniated disc in a stop sign accident
  • $250,000 policy limits settlement in an uninsured motorist claim
  • $200,000 for shoulder injuries in a collision
  • $220,000 policy limits settlement for a fatal drunk driving crash

These are only some examples of how we help our clients move forward and have financial security following an unexpected injury. If your injuries were someone else’s fault, they should also be responsible for covering your losses. This is our goal at Abel & Annes, P.C. – to uphold the rights of car accident victims.

Reach out today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

What causes fatigued driving?

Not sleeping enough is the primary cause of fatigue, and drivers feel confident that they can make it home even when experiencing extreme drowsiness. While excessive sleep deprivation, like 18 to 24 hours awake, is similar to drunk driving, anything less than eight hours can cause a drowsy driving accident. Those who only get six to seven hours of sleep are twice as likely to be in an accident. Additionally, anyone who sleeps less than five hours is four to five times more likely to be in a collision.

Most often, drivers are tired from:

  • Getting off work late, overworking, or pulling a double shift
  • Sleep disorders that affect sleep quality, such as sleep apnea
  • Overexertion while on a road trip to get to a specific destination
  • Being abruptly awakened from sleep due to an emergency
  • Attending a late-night event like a concert, show, or party
  • Alcohol and drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause tiredness
  • Weather and car trouble delays that exhaust a person’s energy
  • Truckers need to meet unrealistic deadlines to meet employer demands

Medications are hazardous, and manufacturers will place warning labels warning consumers that they cause drowsiness. Doctors and pharmacists will also warn patients that the medicine they are prescribing can cause drowsiness and that they should avoid driving. Drivers do not always listen.

Some commonly known medications that cause sleepiness are:

  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anxiety medications
  • Allergy medications
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Prescription sleep aids

Combining alcohol and medications is also a deadly combination that can lead to drowsiness and additional impairment.Even experienced drivers are not immune from legal repercussions for taking medications that cause drowsiness. Anyone taking medication must read the warning label and take the necessary precautions to stay safe and keep others safe. They cannot plead ignorance of the side effects.

Drowsy driving also leads to other distractions because drivers are trying to stay awake, so they believe that talking on the phone, blasting loud music, and other activities will keep them awake. When you combine sleepiness and distractions, it is a recipe for disaster.

Regardless of the combination of factors that led to your crash, always have our attorneys review your options. We can identify whether another driver should be responsible for your losses and seek the compensation you deserve.

Who is at risk from a drowsy driving accident?

Drowsy driving is prevalent among young drivers, binge drinkers, truck drivers, and more. Drivers between 18 and 29 are more likely to drive drowsy due to lifestyle habits. Men are twice as likely to fall asleep while driving than women. Adults with children are also at a higher risk of drowsy driving than childless individuals, especially when the child is very young.

Some employers have varied shifts, and working a regular day shift lowers the chances of driving drowsy. Shift workers, especially night or graveyard shifts, have a higher risk of drowsy driving because they have irregular sleep patterns. Even having one night shift a month can be detrimental to a sleep schedule and lead to drowsy driving.

Another risk factor is specific to truck drivers and those who spend hours on the road. Commercial truck drivers spend long hours driving to deliver cargo and merchandise across Illinois and the U.S. Nearly 20 percent of all large truck accidents involve drowsy drivers, as these drivers often push their limits and fail to get enough rest.

Our bodies automatically associate nightfall with sleep, and nighttime driving becomes very dangerous. There is lower visibility at night compared to daytime driving. Nighttime driving is conducive to riskier driving habits that lead to fatal accidents. Since fewer vehicles are on the road after 9 p.m., many drivers will drive more recklessly, putting others on the road at risk.

Victims of drowsy drivers have legal options, but you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving attorney. We can identify whether a driver fell asleep or was overly fatigued and gather evidence to prove their liability. Reach out to Abels & Annes, P.C. as soon as possible so we can review what happened in your case.

Common Types of Drowsy driving accidents

car accident lawyerDrowsy driving causes similar to drunk driving crashes since many symptoms are the same. Many types of collisions might occur.

Head-on crashes often happen when a drowsy driver crosses the center lines into oncoming traffic. Deviating from the street onto the shoulder can lead to a crash with a stationary object like a light pole. If the person is on the highway, veering off the road can result in a deadly rollover accident.

A sideswipe accident happens when a drowsy driver is weaving from their lane and coming into contact with another vehicle’s side. Rear-end collisions are common since falling asleep at the wheel means the driver does not notice brake lights or obstacles in front of them.

Truck drivers are particularly hazardous because they carry tons of weight and cargo that can crush vehicles and bystanders when a driver falls asleep.

There are many other accidents that drowsy drivers cause, but these are the most common. You have the right to file an insurance claim to recover payment for the damages you suffer as the victim of a fatigued driving accident. You must contact a Chicago drowsy driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C. as soon as possible.

What Are The Signs of a Sleepy Driver?

Fatigue shows signs before someone falls asleep, and here are some telltale signs that a motorist is drowsy:

  • Restlessness
  • Impatience
  • Bob their heads
  • Repeatedly yawning
  • Irritability
  • Acting distant
  • Memory lapses
  • Drifting into other lanes of traffic

If you’re in another vehicle, it can be challenging to spot these signs until it is too late. Drowsiness only worsens as time passes, and drivers will begin to exhibit other signs like blinking more rapidly, forgetting the last few miles of terrain, and not staying in their lane.

When a driver fails to pull over or get off the road when they know they are overly tired, they should be liable if they cause a crash.

Injuries From Fatigued Driver Accidents

Injuries in a car crash can be life-altering, and they might be worse in a truck accident. It can take months or years of medical treatment to reach maximum medical improvement, and even then, you might not be the same again.

Accident victims can suffer blunt force trauma that injures internal organs or the head or causes fractured or broken bones and soft tissue tears. You can also suffer neck or spinal cord injury that results in partial or complete paralysis.

If these injuries sound scary, they should because drowsy driving results in some of the most heartbreaking injuries victims suffer. You might need surgery and rehabilitative services for the rest of your life. These expenses are not cheap, and you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C. to review your compensation options.

Seeking Compensation After a Drowsy Driver Accident

compensation for Phoenix wrongful death claimCompensation is vital after a drowsy driving accident, and you will need to take legal action to ensure you get the payment you need for the losses the drowsy driver caused. While insurance companies should make the claim process more manageable, they do not. They commonly delay and deny claims. Thankfully, there are Chicago drowsy driving lawyers who will negotiate with the insurance company to get the maximum compensation for your injuries.

If an insurance claim does not settle for a fair amount, then Abels & Annes, P.C. will look into filing a personal injury lawsuit to hold liable parties responsible. Most clients are wary of filing a lawsuit because they feel it will be complex and hinder their recovery. The opposite is true; while there are legal complexities, you will not need to deal with them because your Chicago drowsy driving attorney will handle that for you. There are only two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit, so do not hesitate.

If a loved one dies from a drowsy driving accident, the best option is to file a wrongful death claim within a year of their death. Depending on case specifics, other avenues might be available for you to recover compensation and hold sleepy drivers responsible for their negligence.

When a driver falls asleep while driving, some complications arise with these accidents. Drivers do not remember the accident, blame others, or deny they fell asleep. The driver’s insurance company will use their statements to deny your claim, sometimes even if an accident report says the driver was asleep at the wheel.

Do not trust the other driver or insurance company will believe you when you tell the truth. Drowsy drivers do not want to take responsibility for their actions, so you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving lawyer to advocate for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

How we can help

Why should you contact a personal injury lawyer? When you reach out to our law firm, we begin assisting you in many ways. You no longer have to wonder about your legal rights, as we can advise you of them. You can focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery while trusting that someone is protecting your rights.

We can:

  • Identify liable parties, which can include the driver and employers if a driver was on the job
  • Calculate your past, future, and intangible losses, which can include medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering
  • Handle all insurance company claims, including communicating and negotiating with adjusters on your behalf
  • Advise you if a settlement offer is fair or not
  • Proceed to litigation if necessary to seek full compensation

With our team on the case, you get access to our resources and experience at no up front cost to you.

Speak to an advocate from Abels & Annes, P.C.

As the victim of a drowsy driving accident, you deserve financial compensation for your losses. Getting compensation for your injuries is not always easy, so you need a legal advocate in your corner. You should focus on your medical care and allow a professional to handle your claim.

The Chicago drowsy driving lawyers from Abels & Annes, P.C. are here to get you justice for another driver’s negligence. Contact us today at (312) 924-7575to get started with a free case evaluation and consultation.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Is New Technology Making Distracted Driving Worse?

There is no disputing that distracted driving is extremely dangerous and causes many serious accidents and injuries. With bigger and better technologies coming out, including smartphones, tablets, and other electronic gadgets, it is extremely easy for a driver to become distracted while behind the wheel.

A distracted driver fails to watch the road attentively. When a driver takes their eyes off the road, even for one or two seconds, it can limit their reaction time significantly and prevent them from responding quickly to an emergency situation that arises on the road. As a result, they may inadvertently cause an accident that leaves others injured.

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that a distracted driver caused, you have legal options available to you. First, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. If the insurer refuses to compensate you fairly, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for damages in court.

In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after a distracted driving car accident, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney to represent you throughout the claims filing and litigation processes. Your lawyer can file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company, negotiate with the settlement adjuster on your behalf, and, if necessary, pursue litigation in the court system.

Your lawyer can help you maximize your damages by highlighting the strengths of your case, downplaying any weaknesses, and aggressively advocating for your legal interests throughout the case.

The Effects of Smartphones on Distracted Driving

Nearly everyone today owns a smartphone and other electronic devices. Smartphones have ever-increasing apps that individuals may download to make their lives easier—and keep themselves informed. Those conveniences include GPS navigation systems, games, movies, and remote meeting capabilities.

In many ways, these new smart devices are both a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing in that they improve people’s lives and offer them many conveniences. However, they are a curse when they distract drivers and divert their attention away from the road.

Notifications on smartphones and other devices are especially problematic concerning motor vehicle operation. Devices frequently vibrate or emit a sound when a user has a notification, such as a text message, email, or telephone call. These notifications often tempt drivers to check their devices immediately—even in heavy traffic. This may cause a driver to look down or turn their head to the side, missing an oncoming vehicle or nearby pedestrian.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous activity that causes motor vehicle accidents every day. When a driver gets behind the wheel, they have a duty to watch the road attentively and become fully engaged in their driving. This obviously includes watching the road in front of them and scanning rearview and side view mirrors regularly to check for oncoming vehicles.

According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), several types of distractions may occur in vehicles. These distractions include cognitive distractions, manual distractions, and visual distractions.

A cognitive distraction causes a person’s mind to wander, preventing them from becoming fully engaged in their driving. On the other hand, a manual distraction causes a driver to take their hands off the steering wheel, such as when they reach for something in the backseat. Finally, a visual distraction causes a driver to take their eyes off the road and look at something else.

One of the worst distractions for drivers is texting. That is because when a driver sends, receives, or reads a text message, they engage in all three types of distracted driving behaviors.

Why Texting and Driving Is so Dangerous

Texting and driving is an extremely dangerous activity and significantly increases a driver’s chances of causing an accident. Statistically, when a driver sends or receives a text message, they must take their eyes off the road for at least five seconds. In those five seconds, many things can happen. A pedestrian can wander into a nearby crosswalk, or a motor vehicle may approach, unbeknownst to the texting driver.

Moreover, when an individual sends a text message while traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour, that is the equivalent of taking their eyes off the road for the entire length of a football field.

Moreover, when an individual sends a text message while driving, their chances of causing a motor vehicle crash increase 23-fold. If they dial a phone number while operating their vehicle, they are three times more likely to cause an accident. Likewise, drivers who talk to someone on a smartphone while driving are 33 percent more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident.

Using a cell phone while driving causes approximately 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents across the country each year. Of those accidents, approximately 390,000 people suffer injuries due to smartphone use while driving. Approximately 25 percent of these accidents result from texting and driving. In fact, texting while driving is even more serious than operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol due to the driver’s lack of focus and concentration.

Texting while driving is also common among teenagers who are well-versed in smartphone technology. Whenever a teen driver texts and drives, they are one-tenth more likely to veer out of their travel lane on a multi-lane highway. Moreover, 94 percent of teenage drivers believe texting while driving is dangerous. However, 35 percent of teenagers admit to violating the law by texting and driving. Finally, approximately 50 percent of teens think they have a problem with smartphone addiction, meaning that they constantly look at their cellular devices—even while driving.

Why Do People Use Smartphones While They Drive?

Whenever a driver gets behind the wheel and texts, they put their own life—and the lives of other drivers and passengers—at serious risk.

There are several reasons why individuals use smartphones while driving. In one sense, smartphones have developed as extensions of individuals. People essentially keep their lives on their smartphones and use them for many essential aspects of daily life. However, when drivers get behind the wheel, they must resist the temptation to constantly look at—and listen to—their smart devices.

Some of the most common reasons individuals use smartphones while driving are to look for directions, scroll social media, reply to messages, find a music playlist, and entertain themselves.

First, many individuals use map apps on their smart devices for directional purposes. Although you can use a GPS navigation app to find your destination, you should not be programming your device while driving—or constantly looking at your phone. If you need to look at the directions or reprogram the phone, you should pull off to the side of the road. You can also use hands-free voice commands as a way of programming directions into your device.

Likewise, some drivers use their smartphones while driving to scroll social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, looking at social media while driving is extremely dangerous because it completely takes a driver’s eyes off the road, potentially causing them to miss a nearby pedestrian or vehicle.

Drivers may also use their phones for text messages and emails. When they receive a notification, they often have the temptation to check their device right away and even send a reply. Again, these activities may take their eyes completely off the road, causing a serious crash.

Drivers also frequently use their smartphones for entertainment, such as listening to music and watching movies. Although listening to music while driving is generally okay, drivers should not increase the music volume to such a level that it becomes distracting. They should also refrain from searching for music selections and playlists while operating their vehicle. Watching movies, on the other hand, is extremely dangerous because of the visual distraction. Drivers should also refrain from playing games on their mobile app devices while driving—and even while stopped at a red traffic light.

Laws Regarding Distracted Driving

Under current laws, drivers may not use handheld electronic communication devices like smartphones while driving their vehicles. If a driver is at least 19 years of age, they may use hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, to access the features on their mobile devices. However, the law still discourages this practice. That is because even if a driver does not use their hands to dial a number or answer a telephone call, they may still experience a cognitive distraction, diverting their attention away from the road.

In certain limited exceptions, a driver can use a smartphone that does not have hands-free technology. Those exceptions include while they are parked on the shoulder of a road, when reporting an emergency situation, and when a normal roadway obstruction stops traffic—and the vehicle’s gear is either in park or neutral.

New Vehicle Technology

New technologies on vehicles have helped keep distracted driving at bay. Although using an electronic device hands-free is safer, the law still discourages it. However, some technological advances do help to prevent distractions. Those devices include phone safety features, parking assist features, lane departure systems, forward collision warnings, built-in GPS devices, backup cameras, pedestrian detection, lane departure assist, heads-up dashboard displays, cameras in the cabin, and blind spot sensors.

Smartphone technology has also improved to help prevent distracted driving. For example, the new iPhone X will likely include a “do not disturb while driving option.” When a user activates this option and the phone determines that the driver is operating their vehicle, it will mute all incoming notifications. This will help to prevent drivers from becoming distracted while behind the wheel.

Moreover, companies are currently developing various apps that will help protect against distracted driving. When a user activates one or more of these apps, the app will prevent the phone from doing certain activities while the car is in motion.

For example, the lifesaver app prevents text notifications from coming through when a driver is behind the wheel. The “drive safe” app works similarly, and it blocks all incoming text messages and phone calls, allowing a driver to keep their eyes on the road. Moreover, a driver may utilize the emergency mode feature on this app in the event an individual calls several times in a row.

Finally, Drivesafe.ly announces a caller’s name so that you have the opportunity to answer the call hands-free while you operate your vehicle. Moreover, it will read an email or text message aloud if you ask it to do so. A user may also set the app to auto-reply.

All of these features help to keep a driver’s attention on the road and help prevent ongoing distractions and potential car crashes.

Injuries and Damages in a Distracted Driving Accident

Distracted driving can cause very serious accidents, which in turn leave others severely injured. Accident victims may incur mounting medical bills and may need to miss time from work to recover from their injuries.

The injuries that a distracted driving accident victim suffers will depend upon various factors, including the type of accident that occurs. Distracted drivers may cause rear-end collisions, broadside collisions, sideswipe accidents, or head-on crashes. Another factor that determines the extent of an accident victim’s injuries is the force of the collision.

Common car accident injuries include broken bones, traumatic head and brain injuries, cuts, bruises, abrasions, internal organ damage, soft tissue contusions, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accident injuries that can be avoided by taking simple steps

We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. Technology, however, just keeps producing better and better distractions—often in the form of ever-more interactive smartphones and tablets—for today’s drivers. When you hit the road, always make safety your top priority by diligently avoiding distracted driving and by being alert to those distracted drivers with whom you might share the road.

New Technology Has Changed the Way We Live Our Lives

Smartphones and the ever-growing list of apps available on them have changed the way we live our lives. In some cases, technology has changed things for the better. In other cases, technology has made our lives more dangerous.

One of the reasons that new technologies have made our lives more dangerous is the number of distracted drivers on the road.

Just about everyone has a smartphone. And we are using them for nearly everything. For those of us that can’t find our own driveway sometimes, GPS apps are a lifesaver. Introverts have found the ability to read on their phone in place of small talk a source of comfort. Gamers can finally leave the house but bring with them their entertainment. And workaholics can check their email, send documents, and engage in meetings on the go.

This ability to do anything at any time is both a blessing and a curse. It has changed the way we live our lives for better or worse. But one area that is unquestionably worse is the number of people who think it is okay to operate a multiple ton steel machine without looking at where they are going.

The fact is, our phones and other technology tools are only going to become a bigger part of our lives. But our willingness to use them while driving needs to be dropped from our list of new habits or else we will see a huge increase in car accidents in our collective future.

Why Distracted Driving is a Dangerous Habit

A distracted driver cannot pay full attention to the driving task at hand. Dangerous situations on the road can arise in the blink of an eye, and if drivers are not fully engaged, the results can be tragic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that distracted drivers allow their attention to become engaged in any activity other than driving. The NHTSA divides these distractions into:

  • Visual distractions – Visual distractions require us to look at them.
  • Manual distractions – Manual distractions require the use of our hands.
  • Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions require us to use our minds.

Texting represents the mother of all distractions because it engages all three distraction classifications at once. In fact, texting while driving is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Technology, therefore, has significantly contributed to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Statistics: Why You Shouldn’t Text and Drive

The sobering statistics associated with texting and driving are worth noting:

  • When drivers text, their attention veers away from the road for at least five seconds.
  • If a person is traveling at 55 miles per hour while they text, their attention is off the road for the full length of a football field.
  • When someone texts and drives, their odds of being involved in a car accident are multiplied by 23.
  • When they dial while driving, their odds of being involved in a car crash multiply by three.
  • If a driver chats on a smartphone while they drive, their odds of being involved in a car accident are elevated by about a third.
  • Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • 390,000 people are injured each year due to using a phone while driving.
  • 1 out of 4 accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting and driving.
  • 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 1 out of 20 drivers are on their phone right now.
  • Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol. You are 6 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash while texting and driving versus being intoxicated.
  • 3,477 people died in 2015 because of texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • Different states have different fees for texting while driving, with the low being only $25 (Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico) and the high being $750 (Utah). Some states, like Arizona and Minnesota, still don’t have a ban on texting and driving.

Statistics on Teenage Distracted Driving

  • Teenagers who mix texting and driving veer out of their own lane about a tenth of the time.
  • 94% of teen drivers acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous. But 35% admit to doing it anyway.
  • 50% of teenagers believe that they have a smartphone addiction problem. 72% of teens feel pressured to respond right away to texts they receive, even if they are driving.

These statistics are a stark reminder that it’s always best to drive phone-free, because engaging with your smartphone or tablet while driving endangers everyone on the road. Arriving alive should always be your goal, and eliminating distractions while driving can help you get there. This does not mean, however, that you can stop other drivers from using technology while driving—and putting your life at risk.

Why Phones Are So Distracting For Drivers

The meteoric rise of smartphones has left drivers with little time to fully comprehend just how dangerous mixing driving and smartphones can be. In fact, technology has evolved in such a way that smartphones have become so much more than just phones.

Many people have begun to think of their phones as personal extensions of themselves— but this can lead to bad choices when driving is added to the equation. No matter what you are doing, your phone takes your attention away from the road—where it should be. Such distractions make it that much easier to miss the warning signs of impending danger on the road, like crossing pedestrians, hard to see motorcyclists, and other dangerous drivers.

Below are six of the most common reasons people are distracted by technology while driving. And the scary part is, almost all of them require all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Abels and Annes - Common Smartphone Distractions

Looking for Directions

Looking for directions while driving is a common reason for a person to be distracted. Obviously, you may need to use your phone’s GPS app while you’re driving to find your destination. But where the danger comes in is when you type or search for a location while operating your car. If you need to search for directions, find a safe place to pull over and set your GPS before you get back on the road. If you can use hands-free voice commands, that’s one way to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.

Finding Your Favorite Playlist

Finding something to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, or any other platform is a task you should complete before you begin moving. With the increased popularity of long-form podcasts and playlists, changing songs or stations has become less of a problem. But searching for any type of media while driving is extremely dangerous.

Scrolling Social Media

As we all have become more involved with social media for personal and professional uses, checking social media while driving has become more common. The solution to this problem is a no-brainer. Social media is extremely distracting and should never be used while behind the wheel.

Using Phone for Entertainment

With so many different forms of entertainment available, it’s almost like we can’t go 15 minutes without needing to be entertained. With short-form video apps like TikTok and games that can be played in spurts, more people feel comfortable participating in these activities while driving even though it’s extremely dangerous.

Looking Down at Smartwatch

Smartwatches allow wearers to get text and email notifications, read and respond to messages, send reminders, schedule a meeting, answer incoming calls, play music, and set a GPS location—all from their wrist. With so many functions and so many more people adopting wearable technology, it’s clear how smartwatches can be a huge distraction.

Replying Right Now

The pressure to respond to a message right away is definitely something we all battle. We’re always expected to be reachable–by family, friends, or clients. This artificial urgency to respond right away is a major factor in why people decide to use their phone while driving.

Illinois Law and Distracted Driving

Illinois law prohibits the use of handheld electronic communication devices, including smartphones, while operating motor vehicles. If you are 19 or older, you may implement hands-free technology to access your device, but even this is discouraged. Illinois considers hands-free technology a driving distraction that can prove dangerous and encourages drivers who must make calls to pull safely off the road before doing so. There are only three occasions in which it is legal for a driver to use a smartphone that’s not hands-free:

  • To report an emergency on the road
  • While parked on the roadway’s shoulder
  • When traffic is stopped due to a normal roadway obstruction and the vehicle is in either neutral or park

Technology Making Cars Safer

While technology has certainly played a significant role in the rise in distracted driving, it can also help mitigate distracted driving. Hands-free technologies are one such example. Hands-free interaction is considered safer, but phone calls—in and of themselves—are distracting whether hands-free or not. There are, however, other technological advances that can help mitigate distractions, including:

  • 360-degree camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic braking systems
  • Backup cameras
  • Blind spot sensors
  • Built-in GPS
  • Cabin camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Heads-up display
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Parking assist
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Phone safe features

These technological advances, along with other innovations, can help drivers perform important driving functions while helping to keep them on task.

The Evolution of Smartphone Technology

Because smartphones are among the most dangerous distractions for drivers, phone developers are working to address this important issue and mitigate their bad reputations. The new iPhone X, for instance, is poised to include a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, which is an option that drivers can choose and that will help allay the phone’s distraction level.

One complication, however, is that once the safety feature is activated, the phone proceeds to determine when you are driving—and driving is difficult to distinguish from riding. Once the phone does determine that you’re driving, it will automatically mute your phone to distracting notifications. In addition, your favorite contacts will receive an automated I’m driving response if they attempt to contact you while you’re behind the wheel. The distractions of technology aren’t going away anytime soon, but technology can help implement important mechanisms for mitigating these distractions.

Apps that Help Prevent Distracted Driving

There are many apps on the market that are designed to limit drivers from texting while driving. These apps work by preventing your phone from performing certain functions while your car is moving.

LifeSaver blocks text notifications while you drive and disables other features (like access to email and camera) while your car is in motion.

Drive Safe works in a similar way, blocking all calls and texts so you can stay focused on driving. This app has some great extra features like ‘emergency mode,’ which allows a call to come through if you’re called multiple times in a row.

Drivesafe.ly doesn’t block calls or texts. Instead, it announces callers by name so you can answer hands-free. It also reads text messages and emails aloud if you ask it to. It can also be set to auto-reply. That way, the caller or texter gets an automated message saying you’re driving and will call them back shortly.

In addition to these apps, most new phones are starting to come with these features built-in. These kinds of features are going to be critical in the future as new technologies are only increasing the number of ways we can find ourselves distracted behind the wheel.

Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Today

Dave Abels Personal Injury LawyerIf a distracted driver’s negligence caused injury to you or someone you care about, you don’t have to face this difficult time alone. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes are here to help. We handle the entire injury claim process. From negotiating with claims adjusters to rejecting any lowball offers, our main goal is to advocate for you to get a fair settlement amount.

We have the skill, knowledge, and dedication to help you navigate the often-confusing path toward just compensation. Your case and your rights are too important to leave to chance. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, please don’t hesitate to contact or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Explaining Lost Wages After You Were Injured

Accidents resulting from others’ negligence can lead to serious personal injuries, which may cause mounting medical bills. Victims sometimes need to undergo complicated medical procedures or surgery after an accident. They might also need to pay for a hospital visit, ongoing physical therapy, and other medical appointments.

Healing after a serious accident can also take a financial toll on the accident victim. However, that burden may increase significantly if their injuries prevent them from working. Many accident victims who work in the building or construction industries must take a lengthy leave of absence from their job. If they don’t have a regular paycheck coming in, they may experience severe financial hardship.

If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s carelessness, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary damages. In most instances, your lawyer can file a lawsuit with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

You can recover your lost wages as part of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. In some circumstances, you can also claim loss of earning capacity.

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim and pursue lost earnings. If so, your attorney can assist you with every aspect of the claims-filing process and will work diligently to recover the damages you need. If the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your lost earnings, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case to a conclusion in court.

What are Lost Wages in Personal Injury Cases?

The purpose of bringing a lost wage claim is to recover the monetary compensation you should have earned from your job had you not suffered injuries in an accident. In some instances, the sheer pain associated with your injuries may prevent you from working for a significant period. Alternatively, you may need to take time off work to attend medical and physical therapy appointments. This is especially true if you suffer a permanent injury or disability in your accident.

Permanent injuries are those which are unlikely to become better over time. These injuries may also cause an accident victim to experience lifelong pain and discomfort in the affected areas of their body.

The burden of Proof in a Lost Wage Claim

In all personal injury claims and lawsuits, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Therefore, they must establish every legal element of their claim. On the other hand, the at-fault party does not have to prove anything in the case. The same holds true in a lost wage claim, as the accident victim has the legal burden of proof.

Proving lost wages in a personal injury claim is sometimes an uphill battle. That is because insurance companies often try to avoid paying these damages.

One of the best ways to prove your entitlement to lost wage compensation is by documenting your income. For example, you might submit a letter from your employer that shows the dates and times that you missed work, along with the amount of money you lost.

In addition to recovering monetary compensation for past lost wages, you may be eligible to make a future lost wage claim. You improve your chances of recovering these damages when you introduce medical records in your case. In those records, a medical provider must estimate—to a reasonable degree of medical probability—the amount of time it will likely take you to recover from your injuries. The insurance company can then use this information, along with your employer’s records, to determine the anticipated work compensation you will lose.

For example, if a medical provider believes that you will need to undergo a complicated medical procedure in the future, they can estimate how long it will likely take for you to make a full recovery.

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you obtain the documents necessary to prove your past or future lost wage claim. Your lawyer can then submit these documents to the insurance company as part of a settlement demand package and pursue a fair offer from the settlement adjuster.

Lost Wages When an Injured Worker Is Self-employed

Obtaining lost wage compensation when a worker is self-employed can be more difficult. This is because self-employed individuals typically do not receive a formal salary.

In this instance, the insurance company will have to look at the self-employed individual’s average earnings from their company or another business enterprise. In cases where a self-employed individual’s monthly or yearly income has gone down significantly following their accident, they may use this fact as a basis for proving their lost wage claim.

In cases where an injured accident victim is self-employed, they will need to demonstrate that the reason why their company’s profits decreased is that they were unable to work following their accident.

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you prove your entitlement to lost wages and other monetary compensation stemming from your recent accident.

Monetary Compensation for Loss of Earning Capacity

Explaining Lost Wages After You Were InjuredIn addition to pursuing monetary compensation for lost wages, an injured accident victim may be eligible to make a claim for loss of earning capacity. These types of damages are especially common among injured construction workers and builders. These workers typically rely heavily upon their bodies to perform their work duties.

If they suffer injuries in a serious car crash or slip-and-fall accident, they may be out of work for a significant time. Moreover, if they suffer severe enough injuries, they may need to change jobs or entire careers due to their inability to work. As a result of accepting a less-lucrative position, they may also need to take a large pay cut.

When the insurance company evaluates your claim, they should consider any pay cuts you experienced, as well as a lack of bonuses, promotions, or career advancement. A personal injury attorney in your area can help you decide if you are eligible to bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. If so, you can pursue the necessary claim with the insurance company.

Workers’ Compensation, SSDI, and SSI Considerations

Whenever an individual suffers injuries while working at their job and within the scope of their employment, they may be eligible to bring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are generally available to accident victims without regard to fault. Moreover, the benefits an accident victim recovers usually depend upon the circumstances surrounding their accident and other related factors.

As a result of a workplace injury, injured workers may be eligible to recover a portion of their lost wages, along with compensation for their medical expenses. If they suffered a permanent disability or impairment in their accident, they might also be eligible for permanency benefits. Finally, if the workplace accident prevents them from working at their current job, they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits.

Similarly, disabled individuals may be eligible to recover Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits under certain circumstances. These benefits may provide individuals with the financial relief they need after becoming disabled in an accident.

A knowledgeable attorney in your area can determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation or disability benefits and can help you file the necessary benefits claim.

Types of Accidents That Lead to Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits

Personal injury claims, including claims for lost wages, usually arise from others’ negligent actions and inactions. A person or entity is negligent when they fail to follow the applicable standard of care under the circumstances. In other words, they must act unreasonably.

To prevail in a negligence claim, an accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof. Specifically, they must show that the at-fault party behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and that, as a result, the subject accident occurred. Next, they must show that they suffered at least one injury in the accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.

When individuals and entities behave negligently, they may cause various types of accidents.

Some of the most common accidents that result from others’ negligence include:

  • Motor vehicle crashes, where a driver engages in road rage, violates one or more traffic accidents, or engages in distracted or intoxicated driving.
  • Premises accidents, where a property owner fails to take care of their property and correct—or warn about—dangerous conditions within a reasonable time period

If you suffered injuries in any of these occurrences that resulted from someone else’s negligence, your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim—including a claim for lost wages. If so, your attorney can assist you throughout the process and work to maximize the lost wage compensation you recover.

Injuries That Accident Victims May Suffer

Whenever individuals and entities behave negligently, and an accident occurs, victims may suffer various injuries. The specific injuries that accident victims sustain often depend upon the type of accident that occurs, the force of the accident, and the body part(s) affected.

Common injuries that accident victims suffer include traumatic head and brain damage, soft tissue contusions, broken bones, fractures, internal organ damage, cuts, bruises, abrasions, paralysis injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

If you suffered injuries in an accident that prevented you from working, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you file your lost wage claim—or a claim for loss of earning capacity. If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not offer you the wage loss compensation you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate it in the court system.

What Other Damages Can I Recover Besides Lost Wages?

In addition to lost wage compensation, accident victims can recover other types of damages. The total damages that an accident victim recovers usually depend upon the severity of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and other related factors.

In addition to wage loss compensation, accident victims can pursue damages for their:

  • Related medical expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of the ability to use a body part
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Loss of spousal companionship and consortium

A skilled personal injury attorney in your area can negotiate with the settlement adjuster and work to maximize the total compensation you recover in your case. If your case must go to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can aggressively represent you and fight for your right to recover the damages you deserve.

Disability and Workers’ Compensation due to Personal Injuries

In the United States, 61 million adults live with a disability. Some of these disabilities leave them unable to work. Fortunately, there are resources like Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to keep Americans able to take care of their bills. SSDI is available to longtime members of the workforce. SSI is available even to those who don’t have an extensive work history. This often includes young people who become injured prior to starting their careers or shortly after they start working.

Both SSI and SSDI provide a great deal of financial relief for people living with a disability. However, the application process is detailed and lengthy. It can take over six months to begin receiving benefits, and not all applications are approved.

If you were injured due to a workplace injury, you can collect Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are eligible under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. When you are injured while on the clock, you may be able to collect temporary total disability pay (TTD). Your personal injury attorney can help you to get the proper benefits and walk you through what steps will be necessary to get you financially stable as quickly as possible.

In any situation involving lost wages or wage compensation, it is best to speak to an attorney as early as possible. Having a qualified personal injury attorney handle your injury claim from the start can help you to receive maximum compensation for your injuries much faster.

Call a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney to Represent You Today

Dave Abels Personal Injury LawyerIf you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from another person’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable help. In fact, if you elect to represent yourself, the insurance company handling your claim will likely take advantage of you. Most insurance companies and their adjusters believe that unrepresented individuals lack the necessary settlement negotiation and litigation skills to handle their cases effectively.

Therefore, insurance companies typically offer unrepresented accident victims far less compensation than their case is actually worth. If you incur lost wages after your accident, the adjuster may not even consider those damages as part of your personal injury claim.

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can represent you during every stage of your claim or lawsuit and work to recover the damages you deserve, including compensation for your lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Do not risk losing out on wage replacement payments. Seek legal help today.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Who Is the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Me?

An accident often leads to chaos and confusion, and you might be unsure where to turn. It is normal to feel angry and fearful about what will happen next, and while you address the feelings from your accident, you will also need to deal with the legal aspects. You must find a personal injury lawyer who works for you and can adequately represent your best interests.

Victims are often unsure where to start, but you know you need a Personal injury lawyer, so today, we will show you how to find the best personal injury lawyer for your situation.

Why you need a personal injury lawyer

Anyone can try to settle an insurance claim independently, but you are likely doing yourself a huge disservice. You have the impression that you should get a certain amount of reimbursement and coverage for your losses. When the insurance offers you an attractive but low settlement, you might want to take it immediately. Still, as time passes, reality sets in, and you realize what you accepted is insufficient to cover all of your losses.

A personal injury lawyer helps with the legal elements of the insurance claim process and also offers emotional benefits. Since someone you trust is handling the legalities and negotiations, you can use your emotional energy towards other pertinent items like medical care and getting back to everyday life.

You might get various settlement offers during the claim and potential lawsuit. You will need to decide whether the amount is sufficient and fair. A personal injury lawyer can advise you whether an offer is fair and covers all your damages. They can tell you the risks and benefits of moving forward with a settlement. While they can advise you, they do not make the final decision for you. The ultimate decision is yours.

What is the focus of the firm?

Personal injury law covers many topics, and since it is a vast area of law, some personal injury lawyers will focus on specific types of cases. They can technically handle any case but choose to concentrate on certain kinds. For example, there are lawyers whose sole focus is on class action lawsuits. Some lawyers focus on workers’ compensation, and others on vehicle accident claims.

If you were in a car accident, find a personal injury lawyer who regularly handles car accident claims. Their focus is not the only thing to consider but also how far they take these cases and if they have experience winning compensation. Their track record will speak volumes, and finding just any personal injury law firm is not enough. You need one that handles and succeeds in cases similar to yours.

Consider their experience

While the firm’s focus is vital, you must also consider the experience of the lawyer you are meeting with. You can conduct some research to determine how much experience they have and if they are the right fit. Find out what other attorneys say about them, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

You can ask how many referrals they get from other lawyers because it is a strong indicator of someone’s experience that another person in their field refers clients to them. High referral rates mean that other lawyers hold them in high regard and respect their work ethic. Also, ask to speak to references and conduct a search through the state bar to get information on their disciplinary record.

Consider the length of time the personal injury attorney has been practicing law. You will want a seasoned lawyer to handle your case and should consider this when you ask about experience. Also, look for how many years they have been handling personal injury cases specifically, as some lawyers can start in one field and later switch areas of law. Overall, you should feel confident in your attorney’s past experience helping people in similar situations to yours.

Have they ever been to trial?

Nearly all personal injury cases settle before reaching trial. Still, on the chance you go to trial, you need a personal injury lawyer with experience and a winning track record. You must find out how often they successfully negotiate insurance claims, how often they file lawsuits, and how many go to trial for those lawsuits.

Ask about the lawyer’s success rate; if they cannot give you one, it is likely not very high, or they do not have enough experience to calculate it. Having one or two low-value cases resolved successfully out of court is insufficient to take on a severe case like a truck accident that might go to trial. Your claim will likely not make it to trial, but you will have peace of mind knowing that you have a chance at winning if it goes that far.

Insurance companies will also pay attention to who represents you to gauge their risk factors. The insurance company works with many lawyers, knowing how far some personal injury lawyers are willing to go and how much they will fight for their clients. Always ask about a trial track record.

How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer help Victims?

Aside from providing advice and handling paperwork, attorneys play a critical role in your accident claim. They will assess your damage and conduct a professional investigation into the accident.

Since they have experience helping injury victims, they likely have created relationships with medical professionals over the years. These connections can help you get the care you need and allow your personal injury lawyer the opportunity to gain more knowledge and present your medical condition properly.

The legal realm is complex, and your claim can go through more steps and processes than you might ever imagine. Your personal injury lawyer knows how to work through these processes and keep everything running smoothly and on time.

Examples of what personal injury lawyers handle include:

  • Analyze insurance policies
  • Calculate damages
  • Gather evidence of liability
  • File claim forms
  • Negotiate medical bills
  • Review medical records
  • Negotiate with relevant parties and insurers
  • Consult with experts when necessary
  • Prepare witnesses for testimony
  • Draft summons and complaints
  • Filing motions
  • Conducting depositions
  • Preparing interrogatories
  • Creating trial exhibits
  • Analyze verdicts and file appeals
  • Address liens against the settlement

A personal injury lawyer will handle a range of tasks for you, and if you do not have the best lawyer possible, some of all of these tasks might fall on you.

Ask questions during an initial consultation.

An initial consultation is a time to ask all the questions and ensure the lawyer is the one for you. Before you meet with any lawyers, compile a list of questions you might like to ask.

Here are some sample questions start:

  • What are your fees?
  • Are there case-related costs I will pay if you do not win?
  • How long do you estimate my claim will take to resolve?
  • How many cases have you handled that have gone to trial?
  • How large is your caseload?
  • How much time will you spend on my claim?
  • What is an estimate of what my case is worth?
  • How involved will I need to be, or can I be with my claim?
  • Will my claim go to trial?
  • How much communication should I expect between the firm and me?

You will have many questions, and your lawyer should take the time to answer them appropriately. While legal jargon is necessary for some answers, they should also explain answers in layperson’s terms.

Pay attention during a consultation.

The initial consolation is very telling, and you should look for red and green flags during your time together. Pay attention to their level of dedication; if they give you the time and attention you deserve, that is a good sign. Suppose they cannot focus on the details and face constant distractions; that can be a red flag. Judge the communication with the law firm. Are staff polite, prompt, and professional? If not, this might not be the way to go.

Practical factors to consider

One worry often comes up is the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. As you can imagine, hiring a lawyer can be expensive, but that is not always true. Personal injury lawyers, in particular, have a different fee structure than other types of lawyers, starting with the initial consultation, which is free. During the consultation, you can ask as many questions as possible and feel whether the lawyer is right for you. Conversely, the lawyer can also determine if your claim is something they can handle effectively.

During the consultation, you should ask about fees and remember fees can vary depending on what your claim requires. Pre-litigation settlement might have one fee, and litigation might have another. A trial will come with additional fee structures. While most reputable personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, always verify the fee structure and ensure it is fair before hiring a lawyer.

You should also determine how professional the office is since you interact with the lawyer and the entire firm. A law firm must work like a well-oiled machine, and there should be consistent communication between all parties. Organization and professional staff are crucial to ensuring you do not miss important deadlines and have access to support. The lawyer and staff should be on time when you have conference calls and other meetings. These are signs that they are a professional and reputable law firm.

Tips for choosing the right lawyer

Dave Abels Personal Injury Lawyer
Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

While you likely have never had to file a personal injury claim, you likely have a relative or friend who has and can point you in the direction of the best personal injury lawyer. Ask family and friends for an attorney referral if you have no idea where to begin a claim. Make sure they have a good experience with the attorney, as you do not want to go with someone who will not give you the time and respect you need.

Your comfort level with the lawyer is essential, and you need to pick a lawyer based on all the above practical factors, but also someone you get along with. Depending on the details of your case, you might work with the lawyer for months or years, and you do not want to battle with them. You want someone you can be honest with and have amicable conversations with.

Signs that you are comfortable are a lawyer who patiently answers your questions, listens, and explains things until you understand. If you think they are only taking your claim because they see dollar signs, it might not be the right fit. But if they seem to have your best interest at heart, you will want to move forward.

An initial consultation can help narrow down who you feel most confident and comfortable with. You can get a good idea of their experience and what you can expect. Since consultations are free, you can meet with multiple law firms if you feel you have not still found the right fit. However, you might find the best fit on your first try.

There are online rating sites for attorneys; they get these ratings from their peers and clients. Three rating sources are The Best Lawyers in America website, the Super Lawyers website, and the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry. Once you have your list of criteria and a list of lawyers, it is time to make some appointments. While you should stay practical, you should also follow your gut. Consider the size, availability, and experience of the firm. Most importantly, go with a firm that understands you and feels good about it.

Take time to think

While moving quickly is important, you also should take a little time to consider which law firm and attorney you choose. Compile a list of criteria that outline what is important to you, which will help narrow down your list. Conduct online research about different law firms and their reputation.

A local lawyer is often the best option, as they will have experience working with the courts and other resources in your area where the accident happened.

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

An accident can result in severe injuries that can alter your life forever. After you suffer an injury, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party and obtain compensation. Most cases will settle before reaching a trial, but knowing the personal injury timeline is essential since you cannot predict the outcome. Read on below to learn more from our experience personal injury lawyers.

What is personal injury?

Any accident that was another person’s fault that resulted in injury is a personal injury case.

Some examples of personal injury cases are:

There are many more accidents and injuries that fall under the personal injury umbrella, and you must discuss your options with a nearby personal injury lawyer.

Medical treatment

Before you take any legal steps, you will need to get medical treatment directly from the site or by making an appointment with your primary doctor within a few days. Medical treatment allows you to get the help you need but also shows a link between the injury and the incident.

You may experience minor discomfort and ignore it until it becomes unbearable. That is a huge mistake because if you wait too long for care, your condition gets worse, and your legal case gets weaker. Insurance adjusters and juries see a delay in treatment as the person not suffering significant injuries. Get medical treatment for your health and for your claim.

Contact a local personal injury lawyer

No matter how minor your injury and incident are, the least you can do is contact with a local personal injury lawyer. You lose nothing by getting a legal opinion on the case. During an initial consultation, a lawyer can inform you of your options and determine if it is worth your time. Most personal injury lawyers will not take on a case that is too small or will not have a favorable outcome.

You can handle mirror accidents independently if you are comfortable with the process and paperwork that comes with it. However, since most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, it’s always better to be sure. Serious accidents always require personal injury lawyers because the opposing side is unwilling to budge. A severe injury includes being out of work for more than a few days, medical bills over a couple of thousand dollars, and broken bones.

Filing a personal injury claim

Filing a claim will look differently depending on the accident you suffer. Suppose it is a car accident; you must file a claim with the insurance company, which will assign an adjuster to your claim. The store will have liability insurance to cover these cases for a slip and fall. Medical malpractice claims depend on where they occurred, but it can be the doctor’s insurance or the hospital’s.

Investigation and medical records for your claim

Once you retain a lawyer for your personal injury case, they will begin conducting an investigation. The first step will be an interview about the accident. Your consultation is essential to your injury claim because your lawyer will get to know everything about the incident and your viewpoint of what happened. You must be honest, so your lawyer can prepare and not face any surprises down the line.

The next part of the process is obtaining medical records from the accident and previous incidents. Getting these records will take time.

We will speak to witnesses and collect police reports, videos, photos, and other pertinent information for your claim. Once they have enough evidence, they will move on to the next step.

Demand package and negotiations

how to pay for a lawyer with no moneyCompiling all of your medical records, receipts, and more to place in your demand package. Your lawyer will send the demand package to the insurance adjuster or the opposing lawyer. Once your personal injury lawyer has sufficient evidence, they will begin calculating your case’s worth and future prognosis.

Within the demand letter, your lawyer will outline the theory of liability, the injuries per your medical records, and the amount you are demanding. You can only send a demand package when you reach maximum medical improvement, which means you do not have any more medical treatment.

In more severe cases, your lawyer can file a demand package to move the case, but waiting to reach MMI is always best. Most personal injury claims settle before you need to file a lawsuit and settle with a demand package.

Once the opposing party receives the demand, they will review the terms and issue a response. They will either accept the offer or come back with a new offer, and there will be some back and forth. You will move into litigation if negotiations stall or the two parties are too far apart.

filing a personal injury lawsuit

The litigation process begins when your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit with the local courts. Up to this point, all legal actions were pre-litigation, but once settlement negotiations stall, you will go into the litigation phases. There are many actions to take during this phase, and while preparing for trial, it is not to say that trial is necessary.

The pretrial process will vary slightly depending on where you reside, but the steps are about the same. A trial will be one to two years after you file a lawsuit barring exceptional circumstances. There are stringent deadlines to file a lawsuit, so while you need to reach MMI, you also need to be aware of the statute of limitations for your lawsuit.

Discovery process

After filing a lawsuit, the discovery process will begin. This is one of the most extended phases because both sides will ask for evidence. Depending on what is in your lawsuit, the opposing party will investigate your claims. They will also begin to build a defense that disproves your claims.

The insurance company’s lawyer will send you interrogatories, take depositions and request various documents. In comparison, your lawyer will do the same but will look for things that help your claim.

Request for production

One of the requests opposing counsel will make are interrogatories that ask for basic information like employment history, names, and date of birth. It will also require you to answer questions regarding the incident and your injuries. You will need to provide information about all medical providers you have seen in the past ten years; your lawyer can help you fill these interrogatories out.

There is also a request for admission where one party will ask the other to admit to the date of the accident and other facts of the incident. They will also need to confirm ownership of the vehicle or premises, depending on where the accident occurred. All parties will have 30 days to respond to any requests.

Depositions

Another element is taking depositions, an interview that goes over your interrogatories and clarifies any issues. While the parties in the lawsuit will undergo depositions, so will other witnesses. The deposition will take time to schedule because the opposing party must request and review pertinent documents to prepare.

There will be your attorney and the defense attorney, and a stenographer. For the most part, the questions will be similar to your interrogatories and confirm what you already reported. The defense lawyer will ask all the questions, and your lawyer will object to anything you should not answer.

Expert witnesses

While you will visit your doctors, the defense might try to send you to a Compulsory Medical Exam (CME) or an (IME) to confirm or deny your prognosis.

If you must attend one of these appointments, do not trust the doctor because they work for the opposing party and not for you. They do not provide medical care and will look for ways to provide a favorable opinion to the defense lawyer.

The more witnesses and injury victims, the longer the process can take. However, when there is a permanent injury, your discovery will surpass a year.

Mediation and negotiation

Once discovery is complete, the attorneys will reconvene to negotiate again. They will first try to negotiate among themselves, and if they are still too far apart, they will schedule mediation. During mediation, both lawyers, the plaintiffs, and a third party will meet to reach a resolution.

The beginning of mediation is when all parties are in the same room. Each attorney will present their case and opening statements describing the accident, injuries, and damages. It is confidential, so you cannot speak to anyone else about what happens during mediation. The discussions cannot come up at trial, and it allows both parties to go back and review their cases.

Next, the parties will break into separate rooms, and the mediator will go back and forth to settle. The mediator does not decide the case’s outcome; they only help both parties reach a middle ground. They will point out the strengths and weaknesses of each side and even give you an idea of how the trial can go depending on the current arguments. If your case goes into litigation, it will likely resolve during mediation, and if it does not, then a trial is the next and final step.

Trial

If the issue did not resolve in mediation, all parties must agree to a trial date, depending on the judge and attorney’s availability. The trial length will vary, but they will schedule a trial for longer than you need.

Scheduling a date for trial does not mean it will happen because you can resolve the lawsuit before trial. You can have a trial day on the schedule, which the court will push a few times. Do not think that a trial date push is a bad thing; it can be due to the judge’s schedule or another irrelevant reason.

Before trial, the attorneys will continue to negotiate and reach a resolution. No one wants to go to trial because it is costly and time-consuming. Severe accidents or those with contentious negligence issues will likely go to trial, but there is no surefire sign that your claim will go this far.

Personal Injury Claim Results

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Injury Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

A trial verdict is not always the end, the other party can agree to the terms, and your legal troubles are over. If they disagree, they can appeal the verdict through the appellate process. Sometimes they agree with parts of the decision and want to appeal to other parts. When the opposing party files an appeal, it can take another year before you get a resolution.

At the end of the process of the appeal, the jury verdict is final or reversed. You may need to try the case again if a court reverses it. The personal injury timeline is extensive, and depending on your injuries and liability, the claim can resolve at different points.

Upon settling, no matter during which phase of the timeline it occurs, you will have a disbursement of funds. The award disbursement will happen within 30 days, but that does not mean you will get the money the right way. Before you receive any funds, your lawyer and medical providers will receive payment. That can prolong the process of receiving funds.

Factors that might prolong your claim

Injuries that resolve in a few months will have a shorter timeline than those involving catastrophic injuries. However, other factors can prolong your claim. While you want to settle soon, you should not settle too soon.

Some factors that will prolong your timelines are:

  • Your recovery
  • Your injuries
  • Liability disputes
  • Permanent impairment or disability
  • The length of the investigation
  • How willing is the insurance company to settle

Always stay patient and communicate with your lawyer.

Don’t wait to consult a personal injury lawyer

After an accident, you will want to resolve your case as quickly as possible, but it may not be that simple. Any respectable lawyer will not rush the process and will instead take the time to review all aspects and reach a resolution that works for your circumstances.