Experienced Lawyers For Victims Of Drivers Arguing With Others
Arguments are appropriate for the dinner table, but not on the road. In fact, the only “winner” of such an argument, which constitutes distracted driving, could be the plaintiff who files a lawsuit in response to a resulting traffic accident. If you were injured by a driver who was busy winning an argument while he should have been watching the road, you might have a personal injury claim under Illinois law.
What is the Law on Distracted Driving?
Illinois distracted driving laws specifically prohibit certain activities, such as using a hand-held electronic device while driving, and using a any device if you are under 19. That doesn’t mean you are safe as long as you were arguing with a passenger rather than arguing over the phone – however you could be found negligent even without any specific prohibition against “arguing while driving.”
Proving the negligence of a driver who was arguing immediately prior to an injury accident is no slam-dunk. Even if he was breaking the Illinois prohibition against using a cellphone while driving, he might still be able to prove that his conduct was not negligent even though it was illegal. It all depends on the specific facts surrounding the accident.
Experience Is What Makes the Difference
Winning a personal injury claim, whether in or out of court, can be tricky. Every case is a unique blend of facts and legal nuance, and winning a claim with favorable facts is like winning a hand of poker with a good hand – a lot depends on how you play your cards. At Malman Law we have been helping injured victims win compensation for 23 years now, and our track record speaks for itself:
- We practice nothing but personal injury law – we don’t dabble in other areas of practice
- We have won 95 percent of our cases
- We have obtained compensation for over 20,000 clients
- We have won many multi-million dollar settlements and judgments
- Our clients have won an aggregate total of $200,000,000 due to our representation
- We settle 95 percent of our successful claims at the bargaining table, not in court
- But when we do go to court, we almost always win
What Our Clients Say About Us
“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
Steve and Kelly were great! The entire process moved much faster than we thought it would. We received a nice size settlement. I would highly recommend Malman Law! – Susan
Our Primary Areas of Personal Injury Practice
Car Accidents: Someone dies in a Chicago car accident nearly every other day, and it is only a rare day that several people aren’t seriously injured on Chicago roads. Some of these injuries can be attributed to the victim’s own error. Most of the rest are the fault of someone else, resulting in a valid personal injury claim.
Wrongful Death: The death of a personal injury victim transforms a personal injury claim into a wrongful death claim. The right to file a claim is transferred from the deceased victim to his probate estate executor, and the right to receive damages is transferred from the victim to the victim’s probate estate and next of kin.
Cell Phone Accidents: Talking on a cell phone while driving on an Illinois road can get you a traffic ticket.The real danger,however, is causing an accident that way — something that is 23 times more likely to happen if you’re using a cell phone than if you’re not. Unfortunately, this is something that happens every day in Chicago. Although using a cell phone while driving does not add up to automatic negligence, it is strong evidence of negligence.
Motorcycle Accidents: If mothers ruled the world, motorcycles would probably be illegal. They are still legal, however, and they are probably the most dangerous vehicles on the road. A motorcycle’s lack of frame protection and low visibility combine to frequently produce serious and even fatal accidents.
Truck Accidents: Truck accidents can be horrific, and personal injury damages can run into five- and even six-figure sums. If the accident appears to have been caused by the truck driver, the attorneys representing the other party will typically check to see if it can be traced to the violation of one of the hundreds of trucking regulations that govern the operation and maintenance of commercial trucks..
Underinsured Driver Accidents: Merely “having insurance” might not be enough to secure full compensation for a traffic accident. Illinois minimum coverage requirements are so low that the at-fault driver’s insurance may not be able to fully compensate the victim. Fortunately, alternative sources of compensation exist in certain circumstances.
Train Accidents: Chicago’s commuter rail system adds tremendous convenience and economic value to the city. With so many miles being traveled every week, however, accidents are bound to happen. When they do, injured parties are entitled to full compensation regardless of whether the accident was caused by the operator, the condition of the train or the tracks, a pedestrian or another vehicle.
Other Personal Injury: Any injury to a person that is caused by the misconduct of another person can be characterised as a personal injury claim, regardless of whether the misconduct was intentional (a “road rage” assault), reckless (a DUI accident), or merely negligent (distracted driving). Just because your type of accident was not listed above doesn’t mean you don’t have a personal injury claim.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) What effect does proving the violation of a safety regulation (such as distracted driving) have on a personal injury case?
In some states, violating a safety regulation would result in automatic negligence under the negligence per se principle. In Illinois, however, violating a safety regulation is only prima facie evidence of negligence. This means that instead of you having to prove that the defendant was negligent, the defendant will have to prove his action was not negligent even though it was illegal.You will also have to prove the defendant’s negligence caused the accident.
2) What is the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit?
The general rule is that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the value of your claim will drop to zero immediately. Since legal nuances might affect the exact deadline, consult with your lawyer on the statute of limitations deadline after he becomes familiar with your case.
3) Will I lose the case if I was also at fault for the accident?
The Illinois comparative fault works as follows when two parties are at fault:
- If the other driver was mostly at fault (more than 50 percent), your damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault.
- If you were mostly at fault, you will be entitled to nothing, and you might even end up owing the defendant money to cover part of his damages.
- If you were both equally at fault, neither party will be entitled to damages from the other.
4) What kinds of damages might I be eligible for?
Illinois law authorizes three types of damages:
- Economic damages such as medical expenses and lost earnings
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental distress
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant (seldom awarded)
5) Am I qualified to receive punitive damages?
Punitive damages are only awarded if:
- The injured victim is also eligible for economic and non-economic damages (punitive damages are never awarded alone).
- The defendant’s conduct was utterly outrageous. Arguing while driving may or may not be sufficient to justify punitive damages, depending on how recklessly the defendant was driving.
- The injured victim proves the outrageous nature of the defendant’s conduct by “clear and convincing evidence” (a mid-level standard of proof).
6) Can my child file a personal injury lawsuit in his own name?
No, at least not until he turns 18. Once he turns 18 he can file a personal injury lawsuit even if the accident occurred before he turned 18. Until then, the court must appoint an agent to file the lawsuit on his behalf. Courts usually choose a parent for this role.
7) What is the best way to win a generous out-of-court settlement?
The best way to win a generous settlement is to use admissible evidence to prove to the opposing party that you are ready to win at trial if they don’t offer fair compensation. We have noticed that insurance companies tend to become far more cooperative with our clients once they learn who is representing them.
8) Who files the claim if the victim died in the accident?
If the victim dies from a personal injury, the personal representative (executor) of the victim’s estate is authorized by Illinois law to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The probate court selects the representative, and they usually select either the person named in the deceased’s will or a close family member such as the surviving spouse.
9) Can I sue the defendant’s employer?
You can sue the defendant’s employer if the defendant was on-duty and acting within the scope of his duties at the time of the accident. You don’t even have to prove that the employer was negligent. Keep in mind, however, that most truckers are not employees of the trucking companies they drive for.
10) Can I sue Uber if its driver caused the accident that injured me?
You generally can’t, for the same reason that you generally can’t sue a trucking company for an accident caused by a trucker. Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. Nevertheless, Uber offers its drivers a generous liability insurance package, so suing the driver and their insurance may be the way to go in this situation.
11) How much will the IRS tax my compensation?
It depends on the type of compensation. Personal injury compensation per se is not subject to federal taxes. However, punitive damages are taxable as ordinary income; and judgment interest (a small part of most awards) is taxable as interest income.
12) Can I recover for a car accident injury even if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident?
Yes. Illinois law will not allow a court to reduce your damages simply because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, even if you could have prevented your injuries that way. Please note that despite this tolerance, Illinois law still requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, and you can be ticketed if you don’t wear one.
13) What is the “household exclusion”?
The household exclusion is a clause found in many auto insurance policies that prevents you from filing an insurance claim against a family member. Such an exclusion would prevent a spouse from claiming damages from her husband after she was injured in an accident caused by an on-the-road argument between them.
14) How do I find out how much liability insurance the at-fault driver carries?
If the at-fault driver doesn’t want to reveal his insurance coverage, you can obtain an Illinois Traffic Crash Report from the Illinois Division of Traffic Safety – or ask the Illinois Department of Transportation for an insurance certificate.
The Malman Law Zero Fee Guarantee
Your financial interests are adverse to an insurance company or a defendant because the more they pay you, the less they get to keep. With us it’s just the reverse – since our fees are calculated as a percentage of your actual recovery, you will owe us absolutely nothing for our services unless we win compensation for you. And the more you win, the more we make.
Injured By a Driver Arguing With Someone? Take Prompt and Decisive Action By Contacting Reliable Attorneys
The Illinois civil compensation system is competitive, regardless of whether you file a lawsuit or negotiate a private settlement. The sooner you contact us, the more time we will have to prepare a winning case for you.
Telephone us today at 1-888-836-5975, or fill out our online contact form so that we can schedule a time to meet and discuss your case free of charge. We are available 24/7, and we will even come to meet you if your injuries prevent you from coming to us.