New technology is bringing rapid changes to society, and the law is almost always a step behind. To be more specific, Bluetooth and other hands-free electronic communications technology are changing the way we drive. Illinois law is struggling to catch up while the death rate for certain kinds of accidents continues to soar, particularly distracted driving. Illinois distracted driving law currently prohibits any use of a hand-held device while driving. Penalties include fines and a potential driver’s license suspension for repeat offenses. By contrast, using a hands-free Bluetooth device is not specifically prohibited unless you are under 19 years old, even though using hands-free communications devices has been shown to be even more dangerous than drunk driving.
There is no simple answer to that question. Although there is no law specifically prohibiting the use of hands-free devices for those 19 and older, a party to a lawsuit can try to prove that you were driving negligently even though you were not breaking any specific law. That is how the rules that apply in civil court differ from the rules that apply in traffic court. This loophole can pave the way for a party to argue that you were driving negligently due to your use of Bluetooth. He could then attempt to prove this claim by establishing certain facts – that you were weaving between lanes immediately prior to the accident, for example.
If you were injured in an accident, you can try to prove that the accident was the defendant’s fault due to his use of Bluetooth. On the other hand, if you were the one using Bluetooth, the defendant might claim that the accident was partly your fault. This could reduce or even eliminate the value of your claim.
If all of this sounds complicated, there is a reason why – because Illinois personal injury law is indeed quite complex. If you were injured in a traffic accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, now is no time to “go it alone” and try to represent yourself. Malman Law can help.
At Malman Law we refuse to accept mediocrity, and our track record proves it:
“The Malman Law team is exceptional. Knows personal injury law, very responsive to my personal workers’ comp case, recovered money I thought I would never see. And it happened twice as fast as I thought it would. Thank you, Malman Law.” – Malman Law Client “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
Car Accidents: Millions of car accidents occur every year, and hundreds of thousands of people suffer serious injury. Car accidents are usually somebody’s fault, and a compensation claim arises when the injured party is not the at-fault party. Texting and driving in particular is a rapidly increasing cause of car accidents. Personal Injury: Just about any type of accident qualifies as a personal injury claim if an injury occurred due to the wrongful act or neglect of another. This is also true of many other types of accidents, such as pedestrian/vehicle accidents, that are not specifically listed here. Wrongful Death: Just about any personal injury that results in the death of the victim can give rise to a wrongful death claim. In Illinois, the personal representative of the victim’s estate (named in the will or appointed by a court) may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of close relatives and, for certain expenses, the estate itself. Cell Phone Accidents: Pennsylvania’s distracted driving laws cover all usage of handheld devices, and even hands-free models for users under 19. Although breaking a traffic law and being found negligent in a civil lawsuit are two different things, a driver causing an accident through cell phone use is likely to be found negligent. This likelihood increases the odds that the defendant’s insurance company will be willing to settle the claim out of court. Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycles are probably the most vulnerable motor vehicles on the road, and accidents tend to be catastrophic. Such accidents are typically (but not always) the fault of an automobile driver, due to the disregard with which so many drivers treat motorcycles. Truck Accidents: Truck accidents are typically caused by driver negligence or the defective condition of the truck. When the accident can be traced to the truck, an astute personal injury lawyer will check to see if the accident can be traced to the violation of a trucking industry regulation. Underinsured Driver Accidents: Of what use is it to win a personal injury lawsuit against a driver who cannot afford to pay you because he didn’t carry sufficient insurance at the time of the accident? Fortunately, in many cases it is possible to secure full compensation from another source. Train Accidents: The city of Chicago maintains over 200 miles of local train tracks to transport over 750,000 people a day. Obviously, accidents are inevitable, and they are not always caused by the train operator — technical malfunctions as well as pedestrians and other vehicles can cause accidents as well. You are entitled to compensation, however, if the accident can be traced to negligence.
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