Distracted Driving Leads to Increased Risk of Car Accidents

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Arlington Heights distracted driving accident lawyerThe dangers of distracted driving are well-known in the United States, but even though many states have passed laws against texting or using a cell phone while driving, people across the country continue to put themselves and others at risk. The statistics are sobering; in 2016, 3,450 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted driving, making a total of 9.2% of all car crash fatalities. Every day, at least eight people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in these types of accidents. Yet despite the obvious danger of distracted driving, studies have shown that approximately 660,000 people use cell phones or electronic devices while driving on a daily basis.

The Risks of Distracted Driving

Modern cell phones are powerful computers that provide their users with the ability to easily look up information and communicate with others, and the ease of using these devices makes it tempting for people to do so while they are behind the wheel. While some people may believe that they are able to multitask and use a cell phone or complete other activities while driving, these types of distractions cause extreme danger to everyone who uses the road.

Use of electronic devices while driving is especially dangerous because it causes three separate types of distractions:

  1. 1. Visual distractions, in which drivers take their eyes off the road and are not aware of what is happening around their car.
  2. 2. Manual distractions, in which drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and are not in full control of their vehicle.
  3. 3. Cognitive distractions, in which drivers take their attention off their surroundings and are unable to quickly react to changing traffic conditions or hazards.

If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour, and they take their attention off the road for five seconds to read or send a text message, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed. 

Keeping one’s full attention on the road is incredibly important, but many drivers fail to do so. Distracted driving extends beyond the use of electronic devices; many drivers are distracted by adjusting their radio or environmental controls, eating and drinking, grooming, or communicating with passengers.

Contact a Schaumburg Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorney

Drivers who use cell phones or otherwise take their attention off the road while driving put themselves and everyone around them in danger. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident that was caused by distracted driving, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Contact our Barrington personal injury attorneys today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout 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.


Automated Cars, Legal Liability, and Trolley Problems

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

driverless car liability, Rolling Meadows car acciddent lawyerAlthough driverless cars were squarely in the realm of science fiction until recently, Google and other companies are moving towards making them a reality at a surprisingly rapid pace. As beneficial as these cars may prove to be, there are also concerns about them from a legal standpoint. One of the major issues is the question of who the law should hold responsible in the event of a traffic accident. There are also separate concerns about legal liability and ethics when driverless cars face difficult decisions, such as in the famous Trolley Problem.

General Liability Issues

One of the biggest legal issues related to driverless cars is the question of liability for accidents. With ordinary cars, liability is usually limited to one of the drivers, but that system would not work with driverless cars for obvious reasons. Many people's first instinct is to place liability on the company that makes the car. However, there are a variety of issues with that. First, it is possible that the accident with a driverless car was not the result of error by the manufacturer, but a problem with upkeep on the part of the owner. If the car's owner did not keep it properly maintained and that resulted in an accident, it would be unusual to put liability on the car's manufacturer. Beyond that, placing that much possible liability on the company could potentially cripple the development of the driverless cars.

The other competing theory is to treat driverless cars much like we treat cars now, and require people to insure them. This would remove liability from the possibly innocent owners, but it would come at the cost of increasing how expensive driverless cars are.

The Trolley Problem

A related issue is the question of how driverless cars would deal with the Trolley Problem. The Trolley Problem is an ethical dilemma in which a person is standing at a railroad switch, and they see a train coming. They know the train is going to hit five people on its current track, but the person at the switch has the option to throw the switch, sending it down a different track and only killing one person. Although it is an ethical dilemma, it may have important legal ramifications.

For instance, suppose a child darts out in front of a driverless car, and the car’s only option to avoid the child is to crash into something else, likely injuring the passengers. The car would need to make that decision, and definitely injure either the child or the passengers. The law would then need to determine whether the victim of the car's decision would have a claim against the manufacturer.

Although driverless car accidents are still a few years off, ordinary car accidents can still cause serious injuries. If you have recently been hurt in a car crash, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC serves clients in many northwest suburban towns, such as Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Des Plaines. 

Ken ApicellaAbout 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.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claims

Web Admin - Thursday, April 17, 2014

illinois uninsured motorist attorney

Driving is such a mundane part of many people's lives that they often take it for granted. However, because driving is so common, it is only a matter of time for most people before they end up in an auto accident. In fact, according to estimates done based on car insurance industry data, most people will experience three to four accidents over the course of their lives. That means that for the majority of drivers, car accidents are a matter of when, rather than a matter of if.

Consequently, carrying car insurance protection is not only a good idea, but it is actually legally required in Illinois. However, despite these laws, many motorists take to the roads without any insurance at all. Furthermore, even those who do carry state minimum coverage may not have enough to cover the injuries and property damage that often arises from more serious accidents. That means that drivers should take their security into their own hands by maximizing theiruninsured and underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage.

What Is UM/UIM Coverage?

UM covers both your property damage and bodily injury in cases where the driver at fault for the accident either does not have insurance or has too little insurance to pay for the full cost of the crash. Many"full coverage" insurance policies in Illinois already have this sort of coverage built into them. It is important to read the policy carefully to understand whether they involve UM coverage, as well as the maximum amounts of property damage and personal injury that the plan will cover.  Ask you agent to maximize your UM/UIM coverage.

Using UM/UIM Coverage

UM coverage comes into play in two circumstances. The first circumstance occurs when there is no way to receive damages from the driver at fault for the accident. Often, that is because the driver at fault is illegally driving without insurance, but UM coverage may also protect against hit-and-run accidents where the driver at fault flees the scene.

The second circumstance occurs when a person ends up in an accident with a driver whose insurance will not cover the full cost of the accident. Suppose someone with $100,000 in personal injury UM coverage is hit by a driver with only $30,000 of personal injury insurance. If the accident is serious enough that the medical bills exceed $30,000, then the driver with UM insurance can pursue a claim against their own insurance company to make up the difference.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, seek help from a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Filing UM insurance claims can be a complicated process, and our team of attorneys helps people across the northwest suburbs in towns like Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake. Our attorneys will help ensure that you receive the full protection provided in your insurance contracts.

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.

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