Texting while driving is illegal in Illinois, but that doesn’t stop thousands of drivers from breaking the law – and getting into serious accidents – every year. There’s no excuse for this behavior. And if you or a loved one were hurt in an accident caused by texting while driving, you deserve significant compensation for your injuries. You can count on the Chicago car accident attorneys of Hale & Monico to fight for you.
Texting While Driving Is Illegal In Illinois
On average, sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. To put this in perspective, at 55 mph, that’s like driving an entire football field with your eyes closed. Given the inherent danger, it is against the law to use a cell phone or other handheld electronic communication device while driving in Illinois. That includes texting. The use of the phrase “electronic communication device” is deliberately broad, and it covers anything that can be used to send or receive text messages.
Traffic fines start at $75 for a first offense and get progressively higher for subsequent offenses. A driver will face a misdemeanor if, while violating this law, he or she causes an accident that results in bodily injury. This is bumped up to a felony if the accident victim dies. Despite the fines and risk of serious prison time, many drivers are determined to violate the law anyway.
Injuries You May Suffer In A Texting While Driving Accident
The dangers of texting while driving can’t be emphasized enough. It causes drivers to speed, swerve, drift between lanes, run stop lights and stop signs, and more. Vehicles usually don’t slow down because the driver isn’t thinking to use the brakes; to the contrary, they often speed up. This leads to accidents that cause serious injuries such as:
- Cuts and bruises
- Bone fractures
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Spinal cord and nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
Distracted driving accidents, including those caused by texting, often result in permanent, catastrophic injuries. But the injuries are not just physical. Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, emotional distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common after one of these accidents.
It’s important that you seek immediate medical attention after any kind of automobile accident, even if the injuries seem minor or non-existent. These injuries can become more severe with time if not properly treated. Also, it may be more difficult to get compensation for your injuries if they are not treated right away. That’s because the gap in time allows defendants’ insurance companies to claim that some intervening cause worsened your injuries.
What To Do If You’ve Been In A Texting While Driving Accident
After a texting while driving accident, call 911 and ask for police and medical assistance. Get the medical attention you need and also give a statement to the police. The police report can be used later to establish basic information about the accident.
You should also begin documenting as many details about the wreck as possible. Start by taking notes about the accident: time and date, location, identification of the responsible driver and vehicle, and more. There may be witnesses to your accident, and these individuals can be invaluable later if your case goes to trial. Ask any witnesses for their names and contact information. If you can take photos or videos of the accident scene or your injuries, do so.
Then, call an experienced Illinois texting while driving accident attorney. Your lawyer can advise you on your next steps and handle any communications with the driver’s insurance company. There’s a good chance the insurer will contact you and start asking questions. However, giving statements to the insurance company without legal representation is risky. The insurance company is not on your side, and their only goal is to limit payouts or deny them if they get the chance. Let the insurance company speak with your attorney.
Your lawyer can also explain the potential value of your case by discussing the damages for which you may be eligible.
Possible Damages For Accident Victims
Whether your case goes to trial or you settle with the insurance company, it’s essential to discuss all potential damages with your attorney. Once you settle or the court issues its judgment, you won’t get another chance to ask for compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you could be eligible for such damages as:
- Medical bills, including hospitalization and future treatments
- Prescription drug costs
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Lost earning capacity due to inability to work at the same level as before
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Wrongful death in the event the victim dies
How Can Hale & Monico Help Me?
When we retain texting while driving accident clients, we investigate right away to uncover all details surrounding the accident. Not only do we understand Illinois personal injury law, we know how to obtain the evidence needed to support our clients’ cases. Automobile accidents typically require input from expert witnesses who can, among other things, explain how the accident happened and how the victim will be impacted in the future. We’ve developed a network of trusted expert witnesses who are ready to help. Our firm also has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and aggressively demanding the compensation that victims deserve. If necessary, we will take your case before a jury.
Contact A Chicago Texting While Driving Accident Attorney
Every driver has a responsibility to keep their attention on the road. When they fail to do so, and someone gets hurt, we go to work. Our dedicated attorneys have helped countless texting while driving accident victims get their lives back on track. Call us today to schedule your confidential consultation.