Distracted Driving & Auto Accidents
Chances are you’ve been sitting in rush hour traffic somewhere in Chicago and noticed another driver talking or texting on a cell phone, eating a hamburger with one hand while driving with the other, fiddling with their stereo, or applying lipstick while looking in the rearview mirror. Americans’ lives are busy, and multitasking is how many people get through the day. They cram as much into each moment as they can, including when they’re driving.
Distracted driving is a common cause of auto accidents in Chicago, and can result in serious or fatal injuries. The Illinois State Police reports that driver inattention is the cause of more than 1 million car crashes each year nationwide that impact the American economy by $40 billion. Based on the current year’s budget, you could run the city of Chicago for more than four years with $40 billion.
When You’re Injured by a Distracted Driver
On a personal level, it’s an incredibly frustrating experience to be hit by a driver who was paying more attention to his or her cell phone or personal grooming than to the road. That anger and frustration only deepens when the collision left you injured and you’re left with medical costs and other damages you shouldn’t have to shoulder.
If you’ve been injured in a wreck caused by a distracted driver, a personal injury attorney may be able to help. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you collect evidence and build a case that may result in an insurance settlement or jury verdict to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, and loss of normal life.
Using Cell Phones on the Road
Talking or texting while driving has become a common cause of auto accidents. The Pew Research Center shows that 91 percent of Americans own some sort of mobile phone, and 61 percent of Americans have a smart phone that doubles as a mobile computing device. An internet trends report that came out in 2013 said people check their phones 150 times per day — or an average of about six times per hour.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, Illinois banned the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. That means no talking unless you’re using a Bluetooth or other hands-free device, and no texting, emailing, or checking the Internet. Drivers under 18 aren’t allowed to use cell phones while driving at all, even with a hands-free device, and adults aren’t allowed to use them in school zones or highway work zones.
If you think your accident was caused by someone talking or texting, there are ways to prove that. Your lawyer will go through a process called discovery, which is basically a legal term for gathering evidence, that may include getting the other person’s cell phone records or text messages. Your lawyer may have to subpoena that information, and it would be very difficult for you to get on your own without a lawyer.