Attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are dedicated advocates for people injured in distracted driving accidents. It’s our mission to protect your rights, hold responsible parties accountable, and pursue compensation for your injuries to the fullest extent possible.
What is considered distracted driving?
NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from operating a motor vehicle. This may involve:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers in the vehicle
- Personal grooming
- Tuning the stereo or entertainment system
- Using the navigation system
Texting while driving is the most alarming form of distracted driving, as it takes the driver’s eyes off the road for up to five seconds at a time – equivalent to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph.
Steps to take after being in a distracted driving crash
The immediate aftermath of a distracted driving accident can be chaotic and confusing. To ensure that your rights are protected and that your safety is preserved, be sure to take the following steps.
1. Move your vehicle to a safer location
If you are able, move your vehicle to a shoulder or nearby parking lot. This will help protect you and other drivers from further harm.
2. Check yourself and your passenger(s) for injuries
Take a moment to check yourself and your passenger(s) for any visible injuries. If you spot any signs of injury, try not to move the person unless absolutely necessary.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
It’s important to call 911 as soon as possible after the crash. Ask for police and an ambulance, even if it appears that no one was injured. The responding police officer will create an accident report which may be needed later.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
Be sure to provide an accurate description of the crash to the responding police officer. Provide details about the other driver’s distracted driving behavior, if applicable, and refrain from making any statements that accept blame for the accident. Your statement will be incorporated into the police report.
5. Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Provide factual information about the crash, but do not admit to any fault or accept blame.
6. Gather evidence at the scene
If possible, photograph or video the scene of the accident, including any visible damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. Also, try to collect the contact information of any witnesses who may have observed the crash. This will help your claim if you decide to pursue legal action.
7. Visit urgent care or your primary care physician
Even if you don’t feel any pain, it is important to have a medical professional evaluate your condition after the crash. This will help document any injuries that may have occurred, even if they aren’t apparent right away.
8. Meet with a distracted driving accident attorney to understand your legal options
As a victim of distracted driving, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help you understand and protect your rights. Once you’ve gathered the necessary evidence, meet with a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Make sure you file a claim on time
Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to car accidents, which means that you must file a claim within two years of the crash to be eligible for compensation.
If you fail to file a claim within this time frame, you may be prevented from receiving compensation, so it’s important to take action as soon as possible. By taking prompt action, you will give your attorney plenty of time to build a strong case on your behalf.
Possible damages you can claim
When negligence is successfully established, victims of distracted driving accidents may be able to recover compensatory damages. These are the losses that can be directly linked to the careless actions of a negligent party and can be divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are tangible losses that are easy to assign a dollar value to. Examples include medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and accommodations for any physical disabilities caused by the accident. Both future and past economic losses can be claimed.
Non-economic damages are more subjective losses that don’t necessarily have a clear-cut dollar value associated with them. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement or scarring.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
To recover damages after a distracted driving accident, the injured party needs to demonstrate that the other party was negligent.
While the most obvious liable party is the distracted driver, not all accidents can be linked to the actions of a single individual. In cases where multiple factors contributed to the accident, other parties may also be held liable. For example, if faulty brakes or a malfunctioning traffic light contributed to the crash, the entities behind those factors may be held accountable, too.
Exploring all available legal options is the best way to ensure that you’re fully compensated for your losses. When filing a claim, your attorney can investigate the accident to determine who’s responsible and how much they owe in damages.
How our Chicago attorneys prove negligence
Operating a vehicle is the wrong time for a driver to multitask. Operating a moving vehicle weighing thousands of pounds requires a driver’s full attention.
Every driver has a duty to use reasonable care. When a driver chooses to drive distracted and an accident occurs as a result, that legal duty has been breached. At this point, negligence on the part of the distracted driver may be established.
Using hand-held devices and texting while driving is prohibited in the state of Illinois, but speakerphones, headsets, and Bluetooth systems are permitted. When a distracted driver has violated a law or safety ordinance, negligence can likely be established.
We fight the insurance company to get you maximum compensation
Our team of experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys understands how to fight back against the tactics of insurance companies. We’ll craft a convincing case and use it to negotiate a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to cooperate, we’re prepared to take them to court.
Common distracted driving accident injuries
Common injuries associated with distracted driving accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of limbs
- Bruising and lacerations
- Chronic pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
These injuries can be both physically and emotionally debilitating, resulting in long-term medical expenses and lifestyle changes. While no amount of money can undo the harm caused by a distracted driving accident, securing maximum compensation can help make it easier to move forward.
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
Although our attorneys will handle most of the correspondence with the insurance company, there may be times when the insurance adjuster will reach out to you directly. If this happens, there are a few things you should do – and avoid doing – to protect your rights.
- Talk to your attorney first before speaking with insurance adjusters
- Stick to the facts, and provide only basic information about the accident
- Keep copies of all paperwork related to the case
- Sign any forms without consulting your lawyer first
- Speculate about what happened or admit fault
- Accept a settlement offer without getting it approved by your lawyer
Cost of hiring a Chicago distracted driving accident lawyer
You’re dealing with enough stress as it is. The last thing you need is to worry about how much it’s going to cost to hire an attorney. We understand, and that’s why we don’t charge a fee until we’ve secured the compensation you deserve.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s vital to visit a doctor right away after an accident. Not all injuries are immediately apparent and some, like traumatic brain injuries, can take days or weeks to develop symptoms.
Why work with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
The attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have over 30 years of experience representing people who’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. We’ve achieved one of the largest spinal cord injury verdicts in Illinois and have recovered over $1 billion in compensation for our clients.
When you choose us to represent you in a distracted driving case, we’ll handle the entire process from start to finish. As you focus on rebuilding your life, we’ll be busy gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and working to get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Our Chicago distracted driving accident attorneys are here to help
Our Illinois injury attorneys have been awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 Under 40.
If you or your loved one has been hurt in a distracted driving accident, schedule a consultation with our record-breaking team. Find out what our distracted driving attorneys can do to help you hold responsible parties accountable and recover compensation for the full extent of your injuries in Chicago.
Call (800) 985-1819 to schedule your free consultation to learn how we may be able to help you.