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Recovering in a Hit and Run Accident

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

illinois hit and run lawyerAfter a car accident, people have a variety of duties that the law requires them to fulfill. Among these duties is the requirement that the drivers stop and exchange insurance information. This allows the parties the opportunity to recover from the insurance companies for the damages once fault has been decided. However, some drivers ignore this duty and instead flee the scene of an accident. In fact, these hit and run drivers are responsible for over 1,000 deaths every year, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This trend of hit and run accidents is a particular problem because victims of these sorts of accidents can find it difficult to receive compensation from the driver who caused their injuries. Yet, such victims are not without recourse. People injured in hit and run accidents may be able to use a variety of resources to discover the identity of the other driver. Further, even if the other driver cannot be identified, the injured person may be able to file a claim with their own insurance company to help handle their medical costs and repairs.

Identifying the Driver

Hit and run accidents can be a chaotic experience, which makes it difficult for the victim to get any identifying information about the fleeing car. However, injured drivers do have some tools at their disposal. Oftentimes, there will be eyewitnesses on the scene who can help provide descriptions of the car or license plate numbers. Additionally, there may be video evidence of the accident from nearby traffic cameras that can help police determine the identity of the fleeing driver. Finally, some hit and run drivers experience remorse for leaving the scene. Drivers who flee the scene out of fear, especially those under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, have been known to turn themselves in to the police at a later date. All of these methods can help tie a person to the accident, and allow victims to receive full and fair compensation for their injuries.

Without an Identified Driver

In the event that the driver who perpetrated the hit and run cannot be identified, injured motorists may still have the ability to file a claim using their own insurance to receive help with their medical and repair bills. Many insurance policies include insurance for collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. These policies are mostly intended to come into use when the policyholder gets into an accident with someone without insurance or someone whose insurance will not cover all the damages. However, many of these policies count unidentified drivers as uninsured drivers, so it is possible that they would cover hit and run accidents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, contact a Palatine personal injury lawyer. Our team of experienced attorneys serves clients in towns like Deer Park, Inverness, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

What Do I Do if I'm Injured in a Texting-and-Driving Accident?

Web Admin - Saturday, October 05, 2013

What Do I Do if I'm Injured in a Texting-and-Driving Accident?

A car accident of any type can be traumatic regardless of who is at fault. In Illinois, there are some important steps to take to make sure you follow the legal and responsible measures after an auto accident, especially a texting-while-driving collision. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, state laws protect your safety. A knowledgeable Illinois personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

After the Car Accident

First, make sure that you do not need immediate medical care. If you do, call 9-1-1 and wait for an ambulance. If you only have slight pains, it is still crucial to see a doctor. If you do not seek medical attention after an accident, you may not be able to receive coverage for future health care costs.

Second, if you are safely able to, gather as much information as you can on the scene. Make contact with the other driver and write down everything, such as their insurance provider, policy number, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Also, take pictures of both vehicles and your injuries on your cell phone.

Next, contact your insurance agency and report the accident. Some providers require you report an accident within a certain period of time, so make sure to contact them as soon as possible. If law enforcement responded to the accident, you can request and send a copy of the police report.

Finally, seek out a committed personal injury lawyer with experience in Illinois traffic accidents. A knowledgeable attorney will successfully represent you by seeking positive results for your car accident case.

Texting-While-Driving Laws in Illinois

Under certain circumstances, if a driver hits you while texting and driving, it is against Illinois law. According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. Government website for distracted driving, the cell phone driving laws for Illinois are:

  1. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law)
  2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers under the age of 19 (primary law)
  3. Ban on texting for all drivers (primary law)
  4. Ban on handheld cell phone use while driving in school or highway construction zone

Generally, handheld and hands-free devices are permitted in Illinois, except while texting. In Chicago, however, all handheld devices are banned while driving. Since the Illinois cell phone driving laws are considered “primary” ones, a police officer can pull you over for the offense without witnessing another violation (as opposed to secondary laws which only allow an officer to pull you over after witnessing another violation).

If you have been injured in a texting-while-driving car accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury law firm. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, are committed to serving clients throughout Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Lake and Will Counties. Contact DGAA online or call the Chicago and Palatine offices at 847-934-6000.


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