Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents across the country, especially in large, urban areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving accidents claimed more than 3,100 lives in 2019. Chicago is no exception when it comes to distracted driving accidents. Each year, more than 162,000 Cook County car accidents result in about 35,000 injuries and 250 deaths. Many of these accidents are caused by distracted drivers.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a term used to describe a situation where a driver’s attention is somewhere other than on the road. There are many potential distractions for motorists. For example, a few of the most common include:
• Talking on the phone
• Talking with passengers
• Eating or drinking
• Personal grooming
• Changing the radio station
• Dealing with children in the back seat
• Reading a book or magazine
Of course, the most common form of distracted driving involves cell phone use. Talking and texting while driving are two of the most dangerous behaviors drivers can engage in. For example, if a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour, in the amount of time it takes them to read an incoming text message, their vehicle will have traveled the length of a football field—all while they are not looking where they are going.
Illinois Distracted Driving Laws
Currently, there is no law in Illinois making it illegal to drive while distracted. However, like many other states that have tried to reduce distracted driving accidents over recent years, Illinois lawmakers passed a handheld device ban.
Under Illinois law, drivers are prohibited from using a handheld device, such as a cell phone, from talking, texting or engaging in any other form of communication. However, motorists 19 or older can drive while using a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset.
Drivers who violate the handheld device ban face a modest fine. However, as of 2019, if a distracted driver was using their phone and caused an accident, the fine increased to $1,000. This was a significant effort by lawmakers to crack down on the dangers of distracted driving.
Recovering After a Chicago Distracted Driving Accident
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a Chicago distracted driving accident, the fact that the at-fault driver must pay a fine is of little consequence to you. Accidents change lives, and you should be compensated for the toll the accident took on your life. Pursuing a Chicago car accident lawsuit is a way to hold a distracted driver accountable for their actions while at the same time obtaining much-needed compensation for your injuries.
Distracted driving lawsuits are like other car accident claims in that you must prove the following elements:
1. The other driver owed you a duty of care;
2. The other driver violated the duty of care they owed to you;
3. The other driver’s violation of this duty caused your injuries; and
4. You suffered legally recognizable damages as a result of the accident.
In a distracted driving accident, the first element is typically met without issue because all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road. The second and third elements are often where accident victims run into challenges.
For example, while distracted driving is a violation of the duty drivers owe one another, it can be challenging to prove that another driver was distracted. While there may be direct evidence of distraction, such as cell phone records indicating the other driver was on the phone at the time of the collision, that will not always be the case.
It can also be challenging to prove that another driver’s negligence caused the accident. For example, were other cars involved? Was there anything you could have done to avoid the accident? These questions bear on the determination of whether a distracted driver’s actions were the legal cause of your injuries.
Damages in a Chicago Distracted Driving Accident
The damages element of a Chicago distracted driving accident case will not often prevent an accident victim from recovering compensation for their injuries, as some amount of damages are easy to prove. However, it is imperative that you identify the full extent of your injuries, which may include compensation for the following:
• Past medical bills
• Future medical expenses
• Income you could not earn due to your injuries
• Any reduction in your income-earning potential
• Pain and suffering
At the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we skillfully represent accident victims in Chicago distracted driving accident lawsuits. Our team of attorneys works closely with you and your medical providers to determine the total impact, financial and otherwise, that the accident had on your life.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a Chicago distracted driving accident, contact the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg for immediate assistance. For more than 30 years, we have been successfully helping accident victims obtain the compensation they need to move on with their lives after a serious accident.
As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we will provide you with a free consultation where you will meet with an actual lawyer who can answer your questions and explain the recovery process. And because we accept cases on a contingency basis, you will never be responsible for any legal fees unless we win your case. To learn more, give us a call at 877-595-4878, or contact us through our online form. We proudly serve clients in Chicago, Joliet, Waukegan, and throughout Cook County, Lake County and Will County.