Chicago’s Trusted Personal Injury Caused By Distracted Driving Attorney
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills thousands of people and injures hundreds of thousands more each year in the United States. Although distracted driving has been illegal in Illinois for decades, in 2014 the state updated its laws to provide specific penalties for distractions involving mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Of course, these offenses result in fines, driver’s license suspensions, and in some cases jail time. When a traffic accident is caused by distracted driving, however, civil compensation kicks in. In other words, you can sue someone for causing an accident that injures you through distracted driving, and you can also file an insurance claim if the driver carries liability insurance.
How Can I Use Distracted Driving to Win a Personal Injury Claim?
If a person injures you through negligent conduct, you are generally entitled to full monetary compensation. Not all “negligent” conduct is illegal, however, and some illegal conduct (such as distracted driving) may or may not be considered negligent under the particular circumstances of the accident. It can get complicated, and that is where Malman Law can help.
How Can Malman Law Help Me Win?
Winning a personal injury claim is not like winning in small claims court. To the contrary, winning a personal injury claim at trial requires a strong command of the complex rules of procedure and evidence. Even negotiating a private settlement can be surprisingly tricky. Here are some of the ways we can help:
- Evidence collection: It is nearly impossible to win a claim without evidence that is admissible in court under the Illinois Rules of Evidence. Even an insurance company seeking an out-of-court settlement will be reluctant to settle unless you have evidence that might result in a courtroom victory. We know how to uncover admissible evidence, and we understand what is legally useful and what is not.
- Bargaining skills: Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators whose sole purpose is to save as much money for the insurance company as they possibly can. Attempting to negotiate a settlement with an insurance adjuster is like stepping into the ring with a prizefighter – you have to know what you are doing or you’ll lose quickly. Our stellar track record proves that we know exactly what we’re doing.
- Information processing skills: Establishing a viable personal injury claim involves applying the facts of your case to a nuanced understanding of Illinois personal injury law, and exploiting these nuances to strengthen your claim for compensation. We fully understand that no two cases are alike, and we know how to use that to your advantage.
- Persuasion: Ultimately the outcome of a case comes down to persuasion – either you can persuade the judge or jury that you are right, or you can’t. Although you may never convince an insurance adjuster that you are right no matter how persuasive you are, we can convince him that he cannot win in court against us and that settlement is the safest course of action.
Our Clients Say…
“This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!” – Cheryl Wagemann
“Two years ago, I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet.” – Malman Law Client
Our Main Practice Areas
Selfies While Driving: Taking “selfies” at the wheel with a handheld device is not only illegal in Illinois, it can result in a civil lawsuit if an accident is caused that way. Even if it was the other driver who caused the accident, your compensation could be reduced if taking a selfie contributed to the accident.
Driving While on Bluetooth: Using a hands-free Bluetooth device while driving might seem like a safe activity. Indeed, there is no specific legal prohibition against it, as long as you are at least 19. If a driver injures you that way, however, it is still possible to win a personal injury lawsuit against him.
Talking on the Phone While Driving: Chatting on the phone behind the wheel is deceptively dangerous, even if you are using a hands-free device — in fact, it is generally thought to be more dangerous than drunk driving. If an accident results, it can be used as the basis for a negligence claim against the driver.
Arguing While Driving: Would you rather share the road with a drunk driver or with a driver engaged in a heated argument? Statistically, you’d be safer with the drunk driver. Arguing while driving can easily be characterized as negligence, regardless of whether the argument is taking place on the phone or in person.
Personal Injury: “Personal injury” is a catch-all term that covers any injury you might have suffered that was caused by someone else’s wrongful conduct. At Malman Law we practice personal injury law and only personal injury law. Keep in mind that “wrongful” can not only mean “careless” (negligent), it can also refer to reckless or even intentional misconduct (a beating for example).
Vehicle Accidents: Over 30,000 people are killed on U.S. roads every year, and over two million people are seriously injured. A great percentage of these deaths and injuries were attributable not to the victims themselves, but to the wrongful behavior of someone else. Because of this, vehicle accident claims are among the most common of all personal injury claims.
Wrongful Death: Any personal injury claim can become a wrongful death claim if the victim dies from the injury. The Illinois legislature has enacted a wrongful death statute to deal with compensation claims, and damages are typically paid to close relatives and the victim’s probate estate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) Can I recover for a passenger injury if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?
Yes. Illinois law prevents defendants from arguing that your damages should be reduced because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. This is true even though Illinois law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts (or child restraints for children under 8).
2) What is the “household exclusion” and how might it affect my claim?
The household exclusion is a term found in auto insurance policies that prevents you from collecting insurance proceeds from a claim against a family member (it might prevent you from collecting insurance proceeds from an accident caused by your spouse, for example).
3) How do I discover the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver?
If the driver refuses to tell you how much liability insurance coverage he has, or if you suspect he is lying, you can either obtain an Illinois Traffic Crash Report from the Division of Traffic Safety, or contact the Illinois Department of Transportation for a certificate.
4) Does it matter if the accident was partly my fault?
Yes, it matters, but it won’t kill your claim unless the accident was at least 50 percent your fault. Even if the defendant was mostly at fault, however, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault. If you were 25 percent at fault, for example, you will lose 25 percent of your damages; while if your fault is 50 percent or more, you will receive no damages at all.
5) Will I automatically win if I prove that the defendant was texting and driving at the time of the accident?
Not automatically. The defendant could still avoid liability by showing that his texting did not cause the accident (if the accident was caused by an unrelated brake failure, for example). Another way the defendant could avoid liability would be to show that the accident was at least 50 percent your fault.
6) Does it make any difference if the defendant was driving on a commercial license?
Possibly. The fact that the defendant was driving on a commercial license might indicate that he was an on-duty employee at the time of the accident. In that case, you might be able to sue his employer and obtain compensation even if his own insurance is insufficient to cover your claim.
7) Can I file a claim against the manufacturer if I was injured because my airbags failed to deploy?
You might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Nevertheless, since the airbags’ failure to deploy couldn’t have caused the accident, you could only claim for the extent to which your injuries were increased by the failure of the airbags to deploy.
8) Why shouldn’t I just settle the case and be done with It?
In fact, most of our clients’ claims are resolved through private settlements. Nevertheless, any quick settlement offer you receive will probably be woefully inadequate and offered in the hope that you will be willing to settle for less just to obtain compensation right away. Remember that you can settle a case even after a lawsuit has already been filed.
9) What kinds of damages might I be eligible for?
Three different types of damages are possible in Illinois – economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
- Economic damages are easily countable – medical bills and lost earnings, for example.
- Non-economic damages are awarded for intangible harms such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages are occasionally awarded when the defendant acted intentionally or willfully (a “road rage” incident, for example). They are unlikely to be awarded in a distracted driving accident.
What do I have to prove to win a distracted driving case?
You must prove each of the following four elements under a “more likely than not” standard:
- Duty: This one is easy to prove – every driver has a duty to drive with reasonable care.
- Breach: Failure to drive with reasonable care. Distracted driving, for example, is not usually considered reasonable (although the defendant can try to prove that it was reasonable under the circumstances).
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty actually caused the accident that hurt you.
- Damages: You suffered actual injury and/or property damage.
Can I sue a trucking company for an accident caused by an on-duty truck driver?
Not in most cases, since most truck drivers are not considered “employees” of the trucking companies they work for. If the truck driver was not an employee, you would have to prove that the trucking company itself was negligent in order to hold them liable.
If I win my case and run out of money later, can I come back to demand more money?
No, you can’t, regardless of whether you won in court or arranged a private settlement. If you anticipate long-term future medical expenses, you will need an attorney to help you calculate how much to ask for in your settlement. This is the best way to avoid running out of money down the road.
The Malman Law Zero Fee Guarantee
At Malman Law, we don’t expect you to pay us for nothing, and we would consider it an outrage if our legal bill amounted to more than the amount you won. Fortunately, our Zero Fee Guarantee ensures that this will never happen. Unless we win compensation, you will owe us nothing. Your bill will not come due until your compensation arrives, and it will be calculated as a fraction of the amount of compensation you receive.
How Our Skilled Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Distracted Driving Case
Once we take your case, our goal will be to secure generous compensation for you as soon as humanly possible. And we know how to do it – over the last 23 years, we have won compensation for over 20,000 personal injury clients, for an aggregate total of more than 200 million dollars.
The sooner you act, the better your chances will be for a decisive victory. Call us today at 1-888-836-5975 or contact us online for a free initial case consultation. We are accessible 24/7, and we’ll come to you if you can’t come to us.