Driving is no longer just driving; there are more ways now than ever to preoccupy drivers while they’re on the road. The problem is, this often leads to distracted driving which needlessly puts others at risk. If you or a loved one were injured in a distracted driving accident, you’ll have to prove that person acted negligently.
No one should have to worry that they will be hurt or killed while crossing the street or driving. And accident victims shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay medical bills and other losses. The car accident attorneys of Hale & Monico fight to hold distracted drivers liable for the injuries they inflict on others. We will investigate what happened in your case and then get to work to demand justice.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of automobile accidents are due to some form of distracted driving. That’s because there are so many different ways a driver can become distracted. Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from safely operating the vehicle can be considered a distraction. Some examples are:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Listening to the radio or changing stations
- Putting on makeup or combing your hair
- Using a navigation system
- Talking with other passengers
- Distractions outside the vehicle, like another accident
The good news is that courts do not look kindly upon distracted driving, and can award significant compensation to accident victims. The bad news is that proving the distraction took place can be difficult. After all, very few victims actually witness the driver being distracted right before the accident. Even those who do rarely have anything more than their word against that of the other driver. So what should you do to prove your case?
How An Accident Attorney Proves Distracted Driving
Fortunately, accidents are more than just he-said/she-said statements. A skilled attorney will go deeper to uncover any evidence that the other driver was acting negligently.
For example, cell phone records may prove that the other driver was talking on the phone, texting, using email, or surfing the web on their smartphone or other device. Eyewitness statements also provide valuable evidence that someone was swerving, speeding, hitting their brakes, or otherwise driving in a manner consistent with being distracted.
You may need to look closer at the accident scene to find out what really happened. An accident reconstruction expert can analyze the crash and find evidence that the driver was negligent. For example, the explanation given by the defendant may be inconsistent with the damage to the vehicle.
Holding The Other Driver At Fault
Automobile accidents are based on a legal concept known as negligence. Negligence means more than simply being careless. These are the elements an injured plaintiff has to prove:
The driver owed a duty of care to the victim. All drivers have a legal duty to follow the law and operate their vehicles safely. This duty is owed to everyone else on the road, along with passengers in the car and pedestrians.
The driver breached that duty of care. This is typically the most contested aspect of any lawsuit. The victim must show the driver violated the duty of care. Usually this means showing that a reasonable person would not have acted in the same manner the defendant did.
The breach caused injuries to the victim. You have to prove that the negligent driver caused injury to you, whether in the form of physical injuries or property damage. You can also show that the breach aggravated a previous injury or condition.
The breach caused financial losses. These losses, of course, include medical bills and related expenses to recover from your injuries. But they also cover lost wages, lost ability to work at the same level as before the accident, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What If I Was Partly At Fault?
It is possible for an accident victim to be partly at fault for his or her injuries. For instance, if you were also engaged in distracted driving at the time of your accident, you may be considered partially liable.
Illinois uses what is called modified comparative negligence in cases like these. This means that if you are determined to be at fault, a percentage of fault will be assigned to you. The amount of your compensation will be reduced by that percentage. However, if you were 50% or more responsible for the accident, you won’t recover anything.
Distracted drivers often try to falsely blame the victim for the accident. You may have been operating your vehicle completely legally, or crossing the street at the crosswalk. If the other driver lies and says you were responsible, you could be put on the defensive in your own case. Worse, the at-fault driver may try to deny liability altogether by saying you were mostly to blame.
That’s why you need an attorney, regardless of the circumstances in your case. Insurance companies also play these games and try to blame the victim. But we get to the bottom of what happened and will demand the responsible party pay for your injuries.
Contact A Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
You can count on hearing from the insurance company at some point after your accident. But beware. Insurance companies are notorious for tricking victims into “admitting” liability or saying something that will be used against them later. At Hale & Monico, we understand that all you want to do is get your life back to normal. Insurers know this too, and often try to pressure victims into accepting an unreasonably low settlement offer.
You deserve to be compensated fairly for your injuries. Talk to the experienced and compassionate team at Hale & Monico today.