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Distracted Drivers May Be Liable to Accident Victims for Their Negligence

Drivers today are faced with too many distractions. Not so long ago, pay phones were more common than cell phones, and billboards were bland and often went unnoticed. Cars had a stereo, but it was usually limited to a radio and single CD player.

These days, cell phones are essentially portable computers, and some drivers not only talk on the phone while driving, but they also text and email as if they aren’t even behind the wheel of a car. In addition, billboards are full of eye-catching innuendoes and pictures, often flashing from one image to another. One minute they tell drivers which suspects are most wanted by the FBI, the next which airline offers the cheapest seats to pictured Caribbean beaches.

Of course, not all drivers are distracted by these factors while driving. In fact, many make a point of not talking or texting at all while they drive, or they will only communicate with a hands-free device. But with so many drivers rushing between work and home to meet all of their obligations, even the most cautious of drivers, at some point or another, gets distracted while driving. When this happens, and an accident results, the driver may be liable for negligence.

In Illinois, negligence occurs when a driver fails to take reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle. This can mean many things, with distracted driving among them. It can also mean operating a vehicle at excessive speeds or driving while intoxicated. Drivers may also be liable for negligence if they are involved in an accident while grooming themselves or eating breakfast behind the wheel.

Drivers or passengers injured because of the negligence of another driver are entitled to be compensated. There are two types of compensation. The first, often referred to as economic damages, compensates an injured party for out-of-pocket costs like unpaid medical bills or time lost at work. The second, which is called non-economic damages, compensates people for their pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

Illinois has also adopted what is known as modified comparative negligence. Modified comparative negligence allows an injured driver to receive compensation even if he or she was partly at fault in an accident. Under Illinois law, as long as a party is less than 51% at fault in an accident, that party may recover damages for injuries resulting from another driver’s negligence. In these situations, the injured driver’s damages will be reduced by the percentage at which a judge or jury finds him to be at fault.

Not surprisingly, with all of these distractions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a person dies every 16 minutes in the United States due to a motor vehicle accident, and approximately 10 million people are involved in a motor vehicle accident each year. In addition, people who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident.

Of course, nobody is above being distracted while driving, and even celebrities can be forced to compensate others for their negligence. According to a recent news article, this appears to be the fate of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, an Olympic gold medalist. In 2015, Jenner was involved in a multi-car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway, and local Sheriff’s investigators determined that Jenner was traveling at an unsafe speed at the time of the accident. One woman died as a result of the accident, and many others were injured, including a one-month-old child.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Jenner. One case was filed by the stepchildren of the deceased. A second, filed by another woman involved in the accident, was recently settled. A third claim was filed in December 2015 by several members of a family also injured in the accident. That case is still pending, and it alleges damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering. Criminal charges have not been filed against Jenner.

Have You or Someone You Love Been Injured In a Car Accident?

If you were injured in a car accident, you may not be sure if another driver is responsible for your injuries. Since there are so many subtle ways that another driver can be liable for negligence, you should consult a lawyer to help you answer this question. The lawyers at Moll Law Group have the experience and expertise to not only evaluate your case but also maximize your compensation. Even if you are partly at fault in an accident, our lawyers can help you recover for costs associated with another driver’s carelessness, as well as your pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call Moll Law Group at (312) 462-1700.

See More Posts:

Child Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice Claims, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2015.

Public Schools Enjoy Some Level of Immunity for Injuries to Students, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 16, 2015.

Doctors and Drug Companies May Be Liable for Medication Side Effects, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2015.

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