Every time you get into a car, there is a chance that you’ll be involved in an accident. While every driver recognizes this fact on some level, it’s still a shock to most when it actually happens. However, Lake County car accidents are much more common than most people realize. For example, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were nearly 30,000 people involved in 13,575 Lake County car accidents in 2019. Given that the population of Lake County is less than 700,000, that means more than four out of every ten Lake County residents were involved in a car accident. At the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we help accident victims hold the negligent drivers responsible for their injuries accountable. Over more than 35 years of representing accident victims, we’ve successfully recovered millions on behalf of our clients.
Lake County Car Accident Data
The Illinois Department of Transportation releases county-specific car accident data each year. Below are some interesting Lake County car accident statistics.
While Lake County sees its share of inclement weather, most car accidents happen during dry conditions. However, nearly 30 percent of all accidents occurred during times of icy, wet, or snowy conditions. These accidents make up more than 40 percent of all traffic fatalities, meaning weather-related accidents are generally more serious than those occurring when conditions are dry.
Day and Time
For the most part, weekdays see more car accidents than weekends. For example, there were more than 2,000 accidents every weekday, while 1,851 accidents occurred on Saturday and 1,354 on Sunday. This is largely due to the fact that fewer people work on the weekends, meaning most rush-hour accidents are avoided.
Along those lines, most Lake County car accidents occur during daylight hours. More specifically, the most dangerous times to drive in Lake County are between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm. However, given that there are far fewer drivers on the road in the middle of the night, there is still a significant chance of getting into an accident when it is dark out.
Drug and Alcohol Impairment
Impaired driving continues to plague Illinois and Lake County specifically. In 2019, there were 454 accidents involving an impaired driver. Most of these involved drunk drivers. Accidents involving drunk or drugged drivers were about three times more likely to result in one or more fatalities.
Causes of Lake County Accidents
Each day in Illinois, there are more than 850 car accidents across the state. As a result, one person dies in a car accident, and more than 65 people are seriously hurt every single day.5 A car accident can happen for a number of reasons; however, they rarely occur without some level of driver negligence. If drivers paid attention to the road and their driving, almost all car accidents could be avoided. Unfortunately, drivers often fail to take their driving responsibilities seriously.
Some of the most common causes of Lake County car accidents include:
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Speeding and other forms of aggressive driving, such as cutting in and out of lanes and tailgating, are leading causes of car accidents. In fact, in 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that speeding was cited as the cause in one-third of all accidents. Speeding was also responsible for nearly 40 percent of all fatal accidents and 37 percent of those collisions resulting in an injury.
Whether motorists are talking with passengers, texting, chatting on their cell phones or scrolling social media, distractions while behind the wheel are a real threat to everyone on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day, more than eight people are killed in distracted driving accidents across the United States. However, in reality, the number of distracted driving accidents is likely much higher because a driver’s distraction may not always be listed as the official cause of the accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies in a drunk driving accident every 50 minutes,8 and between 2009 and 2018, over 3,100 people died in DUI crashes.9 In Illinois, more than two percent of motorists admit to driving after having too much to drink. While this may not seem like a high number, it’s about 30 percent higher than the national average.
Drivers assume that their vehicles will operate as they are supposed to. However, sometimes a driver experiences an equipment malfunction that can cause them to lose control. Equipment malfunctions are typically the result of defective parts or negligent maintenance. While vehicle manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products, motorists also have a legal obligation to perform the necessary maintenance on their vehicle to ensure it is safe to drive. Common equipment malfunctions that can lead to an accident include:
• Brake systems,
• Steering systems,
• Lights, and
• Ignition systems.
As people have picked up increasing responsibilities in recent years, it’s led to an increase in the number of drowsy driving accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that driving while tired has a similar effect on a motorist’s abilities as driving under the influence of alcohol. This means that drowsy drivers suffer increased reaction time and compromised decision-making abilities. Between 2005 and 2009, the CDC reports that more than 83,000 traffic accidents were the result of drowsy driving.10
Regardless of the reason for another driver’s negligence, there is never an excuse for engaging in dangerous driving behavior. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our Lake County personal injury lawyers are dedicated to ensuring every one of our clients recovers fair compensation for what they’ve been through.
Bringing a Lake County Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Car Accident
Motorists injured in a Lake County car accident can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or drivers responsible for causing the accident. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil claim filed by an accident victim in hopes of obtaining monetary compensation for the injuries they suffered in the accident.
Proving Liability in a Lake County Car Accident Lawsuit
To successfully bring a Lake County car accident claim, an injured person must prove the four elements of a negligence claim:
1. Duty – Did the other driver owe the victim a duty of care?
2. Breach – Did the other driver violate the duty of care owed to the accident victim?
3. Causation – Was the other driver’s negligence the cause of the accident?
4. Damages – Did the accident victim suffer legally recognizable damages as a result of the accident?
If each of these elements is met, an accident victim can recover for their economic and non-economic damages related to the accident.
Economic damages are the out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a result of the accident. They also include the money that you would have expected to earn, but for the accident. Economic damages include:
• Emergency room expenses and hospital bills;
• The cost of follow-up medical treatment;
• Lost wages while you cannot work;
• Any decrease in your ability to earn income in the future; and
• Property damage.
To establish your economic damages, a Lake County car accident lawyer will gather all documentation of your injuries, such as medical records, bills, receipts, and paychecks. They may also present the testimony of an expert witness to help identify the cost of future medical care.
Non-economic damages provide accident victims with compensation for the emotional and psychological effect the accident had on their lives. While these damages are harder to quantify because they are subjective in nature, they can be substantial. For example, common types of non-economic damages are:
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of consortium
• Loss of society
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages cannot be proven by presenting objective evidence. Instead, proving non-economic damages requires you to present a compelling case to the judge or jury explaining how the accident affected your life. For example, what was your life like before the accident compared to what it is like now? Are you limited in the activities you can enjoy? Are you living with lingering pain? Were you forced to miss out on important family events or milestones?
At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated Lake County car accident lawyers begin each relationship by spending as much time as necessary getting to know you and understanding how the accident impacted your life. This allows us to identify the full extent of your economic and non-economic damages, which we can use to guide us through settlement negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If I was partially at fault for a Lake County traffic accident, can I still bring a personal injury lawsuit?
Most likely. Illinois courts use a system called “modified comparative negligence” when deciding which accident victims can recover for their injuries. Under this system, as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident, you are entitled to recover damages against any other negligent party. However, any amount of fault assigned to you will reduce your recovery award.
For example, assume you suffered $150,000 in damages in a Lake County car accident. At trial, the jury finds that you were 10 percent responsible for the accident and the other driver was 90 percent responsible. In this case, your recovery amount would be reduced from $150,000 to $135,000, which represents your total damages reduced by your percentage of fault.
While sharing the blame for an accident may not stop you from recovering compensation, it is important you work with an attorney to prevent the other driver’s insurance company from unfairly shifting blame onto you.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Lake County?
Drivers injured in an Illinois car accident must file a case within two years from the date of the accident. If an accident victim waits too long to file their case, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case, leaving the accident victim with no way to recover for their injuries. While accident victims have up to two years to start the process, it is recommended you file a claim as soon as possible. This ensures that your Lake County personal injury lawyer can locate all the witnesses and physical evidence that may help prove your claim.
Call Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to Speak with a Lake County Lawyer About Your Injuries
If you were recently injured in a Lake County car accident, the lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are here to help. Since 1987, we’ve provided accident victims and their families with compassionate yet aggressive representation. Over this time, we’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our injured clients, helping them move on with their lives and overcome the challenges they face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Lake County personal injury lawyers, give us a call at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form. As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we make to all clients, we will never bill you for any of our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf.