Car accidents are one of the most common causes of preventable injury in Waukegan. While the city doesn’t have any major highways passing through it, as the largest city in Lake County and the tenth-largest in the state, Waukegan sees a fair amount of vehicle traffic. Most drivers understand the risks involved when getting behind the wheel and take the necessary precautions. However, history tells us that is not always the case.
Each year, there are more than 300,000 car accidents across the state. In fact, in 2019, fatal Illinois car accidents claimed over 1,000 lives and injured tens of thousands of others. If you’ve been hurt in a Waukegan car accident or lost a loved one in such an accident, contact the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. Our compassionate personal injury lawyers have worked with accident victims for decades, helping them obtain the compensation they need to begin moving on with their lives after a serious car accident.
Causes of Waukegan Car Crashes
Driving a car is a major responsibility; however, it is also something most people do every day. This can lead motorists to get a little too comfortable behind the wheel, causing them to make bad decisions.
While the term “accident” is used to describe a vehicle collision, the reality is that almost all crashes are preventable. Accidents don’t happen for no reason; they are the result of a driver not doing what they are legally obligated to do. For example, some of the most common causes of Waukegan car accidents include:
Each year in Illinois, more than 26,000 people are arrested for drunk driving. Impaired driving includes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more. Additionally, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of any drug, including street drugs and prescription medication. Not only is driving under the influence illegal, but it is also incredibly dangerous. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over 270 people die each year in drunk driving accidents, making up nearly 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. When a motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their ability to safely drive is substantially impaired. They become less aware of obvious dangers, their reaction time increases, and their decision-making abilities become suspect.
Distracted driving has always been a problem; however, over the past decade, the rate of Waukegan car accidents caused by distracted driving has skyrocketed. Across the United States, more than ten people die in distracted driving accidents each day, with hundreds more suffering potentially life-changing injuries. Distracted driving occurs anytime a driver engages in an activity that removes their attention from the road—even for a split second. The most common forms of distracted driving include using a cell phone to talk, text or scroll social media, interacting with passengers, grooming, reading, daydreaming or reaching for objects in the car. Research indicates that drivers who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to cause an accident.
Unfortunately, most people have experienced road rage at some point while navigating the streets of Waukegan. However, aggressive driving includes more than intentional acts intended to intimidate other motorists. For example, speeding, frequently changing lanes, running traffic signs and signals, aggressive merging, and failure to use turn signals are all considered forms of aggressive driving. Aggressive driving plays a role in nearly half of all traffic accidents. And one recent report indicates that there has been a 14 percent increase in the number of drivers who speed in and around the Chicago area.
In today’s busy world, most people have a lot of obligations. Whether it is working more than one job, caring for children or elderly family members, or a combination of both, people are under tremendous pressure. The result is that many people push themselves past their limits. This has led to a precipitous increase in the rate of drowsy driving. According to several studies, the effects of drowsy driving are similar to the effects of drunk driving. Drivers have the choice to pull over when they know they are too tired to drive; however, too many end up taking a chance. In doing so, they put everyone else on the road at risk.
Pursing a Waukegan Car Accident Lawsuit
If you’ve been injured in a Waukegan car accident, you can bring a personal injury case against the driver responsible for causing the collision. A personal injury case is a type of civil claim in which you seek compensation for injuries you suffered as a result of another person’s negligent actions. To succeed in a personal injury case stemming from a motor vehicle accident, you must establish:
1. The other driver owed you a duty of care;
2. They violated that duty;
3. The other driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident; and
4. You suffered damages as a result.
In the context of a car accident case, establishing the first element is typically not an issue. All drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road. This includes their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
However, proving the remaining elements of a Waukegan car accident lawsuit can be more challenging. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in understanding how the law applies to the facts of your case and what you can expect to recover for your injuries.
Determining Fault in a Waukegan Car Accident
One of the most important aspects of a car accident lawsuit is establishing fault. While some motor vehicle collisions are clearly the fault of one driver, that is not always the case. If you were hurt in a Waukegan car accident, you should expect that the other driver will attempt to shift at least some of the fault to you.
When it comes to determining who can recover for their injures after an accident, Illinois uses a system called “modified comparative fault.” Under this analysis, an accident victim who is found to be partially at fault for causing a collision will not be prohibited from pursuing a claim against another driver unless they are more than 50% responsible for the accident. However, your total damages award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, assume Henry and Abbie get into a car accident. Henry suffers serious injuries in the crash, totaling damages of $250,000. Abbie was not hurt. If a jury finds that Abbie was 80 percent responsible for causing the accident and Henry 20 percent responsible, Henry’s total damages award would be reduced from $250,000 to $200,000. However, if the jury found that Henry was 55% responsible for the collision, he would be entitled to nothing.
Thus, accident victims considering bringing a personal injury claim should work with an experienced attorney who can prevent the other driver from unfairly reducing their damages award by shifting blame onto them.
Damages in a Waukegan Car Accident Case
State law allows for anyone injured by another’s negligence to pursue monetary damages against the at-fault party. Car accidents are no exception. If you were injured in a Lake County car accident, you may be entitled to recover for the economic and non-economic damages you sustained in the accident.
Both economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory damages in that they compensate you for the impact that the accident had on your life. Economic damages cover the out-of-pocket costs you incurred as a result of the accident. For example, economic damages include:
• Past medical bills
• Costs of any necessary future medical care
• Lost wages while you could not work
• Any decrease in earning capacity
• Property damage
• The cost of modifications to your home to accommodate a disability
Proving economic damages usually involves gathering evidence of your accident-related expenses, such as receipts, medical bills, and work records. Calculating future economic damages requires you accurately forecast the expected costs you will face in the future.
Non-economic damages compensate you for those injuries that are more difficult to assign a dollar value to. State law refers to these as “intangible” damages. For example, non-economic damages in a Waukegan car accident claim may include any of the following:
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of consortium
• Loss of society
Proving intangible damages is more difficult; however, doing so is critically important to your overall recovery. Car accidents significantly impact your ability to live your life the way you want to. You deserve to be compensated for the full extent that the accident had on your life.
Because non-economic damages are much more subjective than economic damages, proving them requires you to explain how the accident changed your life. Are you living with constant pain? Can you no longer participate in the activities that used to bring you joy? Did you develop depression or anxiety after the accident? An experienced Waukegan car accident lawyer can help you identify the full extent of your damages to ensure that you are fairly compensated for what you’ve been through.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with Your Car Accident Claim?
If you’ve been injured in a Waukegan car accident, you understandably have a lot on your mind. You cannot work, yet the bills continue to come in. Your financial future may be uncertain. At the same time, the thought of filing a lawsuit may not be something that you feel you can take on at this time. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we are here to help.
When you bring our team of attorneys on your side, we will handle everything so you can focus on your recovery. From the moment you bring us on your case, we will get to work gathering all the necessary documents, investigating the accident, and preparing your claim. Once we file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, we will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, so you don’t have to. This includes negotiating an out-of-court settlement offer that may spare you the stress of going to trial. However, as experienced trial attorneys, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial if the insurance company is not willing to extend a fair settlement agreement.
Contact the Waukegan Car Accident Law Firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
The road to recovery after a car accident can be a long one. However, it is not one that you need to embark on alone. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we’ve been helping accident victims obtain the compensation they need and deserve for decades. We have the skill, dedication, and knowledge necessary to effectively bring your case, so you can rest easy throughout the process, knowing you are in good hands. As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we provide all accident victims with a free consultation to answer their questions and explain the process. And if you allow us to work with you, we will never bill you for our services unless we can successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.