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Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Distracted Driving Accidents in Chicago

Unfortunately, multitasking while driving has become the norm for drivers, which has led to a surplus of accidents across Chicago. Experience is no match for a manual, vision, and cognitive distraction. When a driver does not maintain focus on the road, they are distracted and endanger the lives of those around them.

Victims can suffer serious injuries due to distracted drivers, but they have options and must contact a Chicago distracted driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C., to discuss their rights.

Our Chicago car accident lawyers regularly represents car accident victims, and we have obtained these results, among many others, through court judgements and case settlements:

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

We can consult with you and determine what we might collect for your injuries from the distracted driver. Case evaluations are free, so please reach out to Abels & Annes, P.C. today to learn more.

Distracted driving laws in Chicago

Illinois has made cell phone usage without a hands-free device illegal. Additionally, teens and bus drivers cannot use cell phones at all. The only exception is during an emergency. The law prohibits any other handheld device usage, and those who cause crashes due to cell phone usage can face serious penalties.

Using a handheld device is a primary offense in Illinois, which means that Chicago police officers can pull over drivers who they witness using a cell phone in any manner. A first or second offense can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to 30 points on a driving record. A third offense is a Class C misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense.

If a driver causes an accident while using a cell phone and someone else suffers serious injuries, they can face Class A misdemeanor charges and up to a year in jail. If someone dies in a cell phone-related accident, the distracted driver can face Class 4 felony charges, up to three years in prison, and fines up to $25,000.

In addition to criminal penalties, drivers who cause serious crashes can face civil liability for the injuries and damage they cause. Injured victims can file insurance claims or injury lawsuits to hold distracted drivers accountable for their losses.

While distracted driving laws only address cell phones, using devices is not the only distraction drivers face on the road. For example, while there is a ban on handheld devices, Bluetooth technology and headsets are still legal to use, though controversial, when driving. While these technologies help drivers keep their hands on the wheel, they still take their minds off driving, which is still a distraction. There are also many non-technological distractions drivers can engage in.

Without any other specific distracted driving laws, non-cell phone-related distracted driving actions fall under general driver negligence. Our car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. know how to present evidence of distracted driving and liability for the injuries to our clients.

Modes of distractions

Car Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

Drivers can face three primary distractions. In general, being distracted means doing or thinking about something other than the task you are performing. When you are a passenger, it is customary to find a way to entertain yourself, but drivers should never participate in the same actions. There are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions when driving.

Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, like looking into the backseat to speak to a child or reading something on your phone. Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions, like paying attention to a podcast, take your mind off driving.

Some distractions overlap into two or three of these categories, like texting and driving, which requires a driver to take their hands, eyes, and mind off driving to focus on sending or reading text messages. Eating, drinking, or grooming can all require you to use your hands and look away from the road.

While combinations of distractions are particularly dangerous, any type of distraction – no matter how minor it seems at the time – can be risky and lead to crashes and injuries.

What causes distractions behind the wheel?

Cell phones are the leading cause of distractions, including both texting and talking on the phone, but they are far from the only ones.

There are many other distractions drivers place on themselves like:

  • Computer usage
  • Reading books
  • Listening to podcasts or audiobooks
  • Changing the music
  • Discipling or tending to children
  • Excessive talking
  • Reaching across the vehicle or into the back seat
  • Programming GPS devices
  • Applying makeup
  • Eating and drinking
  • Dealing with pets

Each of these presents a danger to motorists, and they are all a choice by the driver. When a driver decides to engage in distractions, they should be accountable for any accidents they cause.

Types of distracted driving accidents

Distracted drivers do not only cause car accidents, but they can hit anyone using the road. Motorcyclists are in grave danger from distracted driving accidents because they are smaller in size, and distractions can make a driver less likely to see a motorcyclist. When a driver is distracted, they might not see a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk, and they might hit the person walking. The same is true for bicyclists.

Truck drivers are common culprits of driving while distracted. They are on the road for long periods, and while trying to stay awake and fight off boredom, they might participate in dangerous activities instead of keeping their eyes on the road. Sometimes they become so comfortable behind the wheel that they feel capable of engaging in other activities while driving. However, distractions are always risky, no matter how much driving experience a truck driver has.

A rideshare driver’s job inherently involves distracted driving. They must use their phone to accept rides, follow the GPS, and communicate with potential passengers. They do all this while driving, generally at high speeds, to reach their next destination. Passengers are constantly changing, and many rideshare drivers will strike up conversations to pass the time.

You might suffer injuries due to a distracted driver while you are driving your car, riding in the back of a Uber, or walking or riding a bike. You might be in the car with a friend when they get distracted and crash. A large semi-truck or bus might hit you when the driver gets distracted. These crashes can happen in many ways, and our lawyers can handle all types of accident claims relating to distracted driving.

Contact our office to discuss how your accident happened and your legal options for compensation.

Injuries from distracted driving

Distracted driving accidents are similar to any other car accident, with the only difference being the cause of the accident. Victims can suffer life-altering injuries, mainly because drivers do not have enough time to react and avoid a hazard.

Distracted driving injuries in Chicago include:

  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Airbag-related injuries
  • Seat belt injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Wrist injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal injuries

These injuries need immediate medical treatment, and victims often need ongoing care and face costly medical bills. You should not be responsible for paying for treatment if someone else caused your injuries.

How do you hold the negligent driver liable?

Most car accident claims go through the negligent driver’s insurance policy, and you might not think you need legal help from a Chicago distracted driving attorney to file an insurance claim. However, many people face obstacles when seeking the insurance benefits they deserve. Abels & Annes, P.C. knows how to seek the compensation you need to recover from the distracted driver’s negligence.

We present evidence of liability and your losses, negotiating for a settlement that fairly covers all your losses. When negotiations stall and the insurance company is unwilling to budge, we can take further action by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Your case can still settle out of court before it goes to trial, and most cases end in a settlement.

Even if a trial date is on the calendar, the case can settle the day before the trial starts. Abels & Annes, P.C. will do anything possible to settle amicably and without litigation. However, we fully advocate for our clients, and if litigation is necessary, we will take that step for you. In some accident cases, you will need to file a lawsuit immediately, but your Chicago distracted driving attorney will determine the best option.

Compensation recovery

The liable party for an accident must pay for all losses the victim suffers. There are only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Chicago for a distracted driving accident, so you will need to move quickly to secure evidence and meet all deadlines.

Distracted driving accidents are often severe, and you can suffer immeasurable losses.

Compensation can be available for:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Surgeries
  • Doctor and physical therapy bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Prescription medication
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Transportation services
  • Lost income
  • Future lost earnings abilities
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Property damage
  • Repair costs
  • Loss of consortium

You can recover many economic and non-economic damages, which will come down to the specifics of your case and the severity of your injuries. In a fatal distracted driving accident, the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. Our legal team helps both injured victims and families who have suffered a devastating loss.

Proving distracted driving

who needs to pay after a three-car accidentIf the distraction is talking or texting on the phone, your Chicago distracted driving attorney can review police reports or even subpoena the cell phone records of the negligent driver. These records can show if the driver was on the phone or texting right before the accident happened. They can also look for text message records.

You will need to move quickly so your lawyer can request this evidence in a timely manner. The sooner you call Abels & Annes, P.C., the sooner we can gather those records.

We can also speak to witnesses who saw the driver participating in distracting actions like eating and driving. Witnesses can be bystanders or even passengers in the vehicle. We can also request video footage from local establishments that may have caught drivers partaking in distractions.

You will need a Chicago distracted driving attorney who has creative solutions for proving the negligent driving habits of another driver. An accident reconstructionist might also analyze the scene and determine how it concurred and who is to blame.

Even if we cannot prove the specific distraction, we can still show that the driver’s actions were unsafe. If a driver veered out of their lane into oncoming traffic or failed to stop before rear-ending you, this can be a sign of negligence, even if you do not have evidence of a specific distraction.

Abels & Annes, P.C. advocates for distracted driving victims

Distracted drivers will not admit to the police or the insurance company that they were doing anything wrong. They will say they have no idea what happened or that the collision was your fault. Many victims do not think they need a lawyer because they believe liability should be evident. However, negligent drivers and insurance companies will often try to challenge liability for the accident and injuries. Having legal protection can circumvent these actions and prove what you already know – that the distracted driver should be liable.

You can seek the total compensation you deserve and prove your claim with help from a Chicago distracted driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C. We know what evidence is necessary to prove distracted driving, and we can assess your losses accurately.

Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us through our website for the legal representation you deserve. We are your advocates and will evaluate your case for free.

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★★★★★ These guys were great to work with. At the end of the day, tough case and all, Abels & Annes helped us get enough to pay our bills and then some. My wife has now recovered and we are able to move forward without the cloud of a huge medical debt. Brett
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