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4 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident Injury in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, October 17, 2019
Palatine car accident attorneyBefore a motorist or passenger gets into a vehicle, the possibility of a car accident must be taken into consideration. Victims of a fender bender may need to deal with pain and suffering, financial repercussions, and medical complications. If the crash can be attributed to the negligence of another individual, compensation may be owed to the injured parties. A lot of confusion may result after an accident, leaving the wounded parties unsure about how to proceed. These steps can provide guidance and clarity to anyone involved in a car accident: 

1. Think About Safety


Immediately following an accident, the safety and well-being of yourself and your passengers should be addressed. If a serious injury has occurred, try to remain still until medical assistance arrives. If possible, try to move your car to the side of the road with your hazard lights on, and the use of cones, warning markers, or flares could provide additional safety. After addressing your own safety concerns, you may want to check on the welfare of others involved in the accident.

2. Seek Help


Whether the crash is a minor accident or a major collision, you should contact the police to report the incident. Police officers will come to the scene of the crash and provide an incident report that can help establish who is at fault. Additionally, the presence of law enforcement may deter the person responsible for the collision from fleeing the scene.

Visiting a hospital or seeing a doctor following a collision can ensure that you receive the proper medical treatment, and it can provide insight about how the accident may affect your long-term well-being. Car crashes can result in serious injuries that might remain dormant for an extended period of time. Seeking medical help will create a record of your injuries that can determine how your life will be affected.

3. Exchange Information and Gather Evidence


While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, the following information should be exchanged between everyone involved in an accident:
- Names and contact information
- Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year)
- License plate and driver's license numbers
- Insurance information

You should also obtain any evidence that could be used to determine fault for the collision, including:

- Eyewitness contact information and statements
- Pictures of the scene
- Pictures of any damage to vehicles
- Pictures of any injuries sustained
- The police officer’s name and badge number

Furthermore, it is important not to sign any documents other than what is requested by the police. Do not accept payment from another driver or sign any statements regarding fault for the accident.

4. Contact a Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyer


While you will likely be able to make an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company or under your own policy, you should contact an attorney before speaking to an insurance company. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we can help you determine the full extent of your damages, and we can negotiate a settlement with insurance companies to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and damages. If necessary, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve. 

A car accident injury can result in loss of future wages, unforeseen medical expenses, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. If you have been injured because of another driver’s negligence, our experienced Palatine car accident attorneys will work with you to seek the compensation you are owed. For a free initial consultation, contact our office today at 847-934-6000. 

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.



Sources:
https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insurance/in-case-of-a-car-accident.aspx
https://www.statefarm.com/claims/claims-help/auto/how-to-handle-an-accident

Why Distracted Driving Can Lead to Serious Car Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Friday, July 19, 2019
Buffalo Grove car accident attorney distracted drivingThe risk of getting in a car accident is something that affects everyone who uses the roads throughout the United States, and because of the potential for serious injuries or death, it is important for everyone to drive carefully and follow the laws. Unfortunately, distracted driving is one way in which many people threaten the safety of others, and this practice is alarmingly common and dangerous.

The Dangers of Multi-Tasking While Driving


Driving a car or truck is a common, everyday activity for most people. Adults who have spent a large amount of time behind the wheel may slip into “autopilot” and stop paying close attention to what is happening on the road around them. This problem is compounded if they attempt to do other tasks while driving, such as making a phone call, reading or sending a text message, looking up information on a smartphone, checking a navigational system, changing stations on the radio, adjusting climate controls, eating or drinking, or talking to passengers. 

While people may believe that they can safely “multi-task” and divide their attention between driving and other activities, this can be incredibly dangerous. Any distractions can cause a driver to miss important signals that could help them avoid danger. Multi-tasking while driving is dangerous for the following reasons:

- Performing two activities that require thinking greatly increases a person’s reaction time. For example, if a person is talking on the phone while driving, a significant part of their brain is focused on the conversation rather than on the road. The time it takes for the brain to switch between talking and reacting to sensory input will result in an increased reaction time. Even a difference of a split second can cause a driver to be unable to react in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
- Talking on a mobile phone reduces a driver’s field of perception. Studies have shown that when a person is speaking, even if they are using a hands-free device, their visual field is reduced by up to 50%. This could result in them not seeing pedestrians, traffic lights, or obstacles on the road.
- Even if a driver only uses a cell phone or other electronic device while they are stopped at a red light, this still can cause dangerous distractions. Studies have shown that when someone sends a text, this causes them to be distracted for up to 27 seconds after doing so. By this time, the light may have changed, and other vehicles or pedestrians around the vehicle may have begun moving. Mental distractions that occur while navigating an intersection can lead to serious injuries.

Contact a Des Plaines Car Accident Lawyer


Even though the dangers of talking on a phone or texting while driving are well-known, many people continue to risk the safety of those on the road around them. If you or a member of your family have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney today by calling 847-934-6000 to schedule a free 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.



Sources:
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/tools-resources/infographics/great-multitasking-lie
https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

Can I Sue a Bar or Restaurant for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Web Admin - Thursday, April 18, 2019
Des Plaines drunk driving accident attorneyWhen a drunk driver seriously injures another person, the injured person can sue the drunk driver for compensation under Illinois’ personal injury laws. If the at-fault driver became intoxicated in a bar, the injured person may also sue the owner of that bar under state liquor liability laws, also known as dram shop laws. 

What Are Dram Shop Laws?


When a bar serves enough liquor to a patron to cause their intoxication, dram shop laws make the bar owner strictly liable to any person injured by the intoxicated patron. 

What Is the Illinois Liquor Liability Law?


Illinois is one of 38 U.S. states with dram shop laws. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) states that anyone who is injured in Illinois by an intoxicated person can sue the establishment responsible for that person’s intoxication. That is, the injured person can sue the bar that sold or gave alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person. 
 
The intoxicated person himself, however, cannot sue the liquor-serving establishment for injuries to himself or his own property, nor can their family make a claim for the loss of the intoxicated person’s support or society.

The Liquor Control Act also specifies limits on the amount of damages that an injured person can claim. These limits are updated annually based on inflation. For incidents occurring on or after January 20, 2019, the maximum compensation is $70,091.09 per person injured. The injured person’s immediate family can also claim loss of support or loss of society up to a maximum of $85,666.89. Each establishment holding a liquor sales license is required to have liquor liability insurance of at least $225,849.07.

What Do You Have to Prove to Win a Liquor Liability Case?


If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you will need to prove three key points in order to obtain compensation under Illinois’ liquor liability laws:

- The person who injured you was served liquor at a specific bar.
- That person was served enough liquor at that bar to become intoxicated.
- That person, while still intoxicated, caused the car accident in which you were injured.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence. 

For example, when police suspect that intoxication contributed to a car crash, they will typically order immediate blood-alcohol testing of the at-fault driver. That will establish the level of that driver’s intoxication. The police may also obtain verbal testimony from the at-fault driver and any passengers they were transporting, which could reveal where they had been drinking and how much alcohol was consumed.

If the police investigation does not reveal where the at-fault driver became intoxicated, a private investigation led by an experienced lawyer may turn up this information. For example, a drunk driver’s alcohol consumption in the hours just prior to a car crash could be documented through credit card transactions, cell phone tracking, security camera video, or eyewitness testimony from other patrons of the bar.

Consult an Aggressive Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer


If you or a member of your family have been injured or killed in a car crash involving a drunk driver, you may be able to claim compensation from more than one source. For a free initial consultation on your case, call an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney. Contact the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000.

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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=023500050HArt%2E+VI&ActID=1404&ChapterID=26&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=13600000
https://www2.illinois.gov/ilcc/News/Pages/2018-Dram-Shop-Liability-Limits.aspx

Pursuing Compensation in Car Accidents Involving Self-Driving Vehicles

Web Admin - Monday, August 20, 2018
Crystal Lake autonomous vehicle accident attorneyNew technologies seem to appear on a daily basis, promising to improve our lives in a variety of ways. However, we must often weigh the benefits of these new developments with the risks they bring. Self-driving cars are one notable example of this type of technology. While autonomous vehicles may provide their owners a great deal of convenience, many people are concerned about whether they improve safety on the road or present risks to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In addition, when a self-driving vehicle is involved in a car accident, people who are injured may have difficulty determining how to recover compensation.

Legal Issues in Self-Driving Car Accidents

People who are injured in car accidents have the right to pursue financial compensation from the party or parties who were liable for their damages (which may include the costs of medical care, lost income due to missed work, property damage, and pain and suffering). Typically, a person must show that their injuries occured because of someone else’s negligence. In most cases, the liable party is a driver who was not following the rules of the road or operating their vehicle safely.

Self-driving cars are likely to make the identification of liable parties more complicated. In some cases, an injured person may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer or the developer of the software used to control the vehicle. However, a variety of factors can affect liability, such as whether a human driver was partially in control of a self-driving vehicle or whether a company that operates autonomous vehicles for hire can be considered a liable party. 

Contact a Schaumburg Car Accident Lawyer

94% of car accidents are caused by driver error, and proponents of self-driving cars believe that these vehicles can significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur. However, it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of accidents, and since self-driving cars are a new technology, the laws regarding how accidents involving these vehicles should be handled have not been fully defined. This means that those injured in an accident with an autonomous vehicle are likely to face some legal obstacles when they attempt to recover damages.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you determine your best options for pursuing compensation. The Barrington personal injury lawyers of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the legal issues involved in your accident and help you receive the compensation you deserve from any and all liable parties. Call our office at 847-934-6000 to arrange a 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.



Sources:
http://fortune.com/2018/04/25/self-driving-car-accident-fault/
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/can-you-sue-a-robocar/556007/

Common Causes of Dangerous Truck Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Schaumburg truck accident attorneyDriving is such a commonplace activity that many people do not consider the risks inherent in operating a vehicle. While modern automobiles have a wide variety of safety features, they can only do so much to protect drivers and passengers in a collision, especially when large vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks are involved.

Due to their massive size and weight, accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks can be especially deadly. Every year, there are an average of almost 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries in truck accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents are preventable, and people who have been injured in these types of collisions should be aware of the reasons these accidents can occur and understand their options for receiving compensation for their injuries.

Factors Leading to Truck Crashes

Drivers of commercial vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and they must follow certain rules and procedures when operating their vehicles. Trucking companies must also meet certain requirements, including keeping equipment maintained and following proper safety procedures. When drivers or their employers fail to follow the correct procedures or act in violation of the law, they put other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone using the road in danger. 

Some of the most common reasons that truck accidents occur include:

  • - Driver fatigue - When truck drivers are on the road for over eight hours, their likelihood of becoming involved in an accident doubles. Unfortunately, many of these drivers regularly drive for longer than is safe, often due to encouragement or even requirements from their employers, and their fatigue can lead to deadly accidents.
  • - Equipment problems - Tractor-trailer trucks have a large amount of equipment that must be properly maintained, and failure to perform regular maintenance can lead to tire blowouts, engine failure, brake failure, detached trailers, or steering problems, all of which can cause accidents. Failure to properly secure loads can lead to shifting cargo that can cause a driver to lose control of their truck, and objects which fall from trucks can cause serious injuries to other drivers.
  • - Driver error - Truck drivers who drive at excessive speeds, follow too closely behind other vehicles, make improper or unsafe lane changes, fail to slow down or stop in time, run their vehicle off the road, or fail to properly account for road conditions or weather risk the safety of everyone around them.
  • - Distracted driving - Attempting to make a phone call or texting while driving is dangerous for any driver, but especially so for truck drivers. These drivers are often prone to distraction from a variety of sources, including radios or equipment used to log the time and distance they have driven.
  • - Intoxicated driving - The legal limit for blood alcohol content for commercial drivers is .04%, as opposed to .08% for other drivers. Truck drivers must take extra care to avoid impairment from alcohol, prescription medications, or other drugs. Unfortunately, these drivers often use stimulants or illicit drugs to combat fatigue, and impairment from these drugs can cause deadly collisions.

Contact a Palatine Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered, including the costs of medical care, lost income from missed work, and pain and suffering. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer by calling 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.



Sources:
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2015
http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/02%2012%2013%20--%20FINAL%202013%20Car-Truck%20Fault%20Paper.pdf
https://www.truckdrivingjobs.com/faq/truck-driving-accidents.html

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.



Sources:
https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/dangers-texting-while-driving
https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
https://www.ghsa.org/issues/distracted-driving

Common Causes and Factors in Rollover Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Rollover accidents are frightening, dangerous, and complex. They can also lead to serious or life-threatening injuries. In some cases, they may even cause short-term, long-term, or permanent disability. Learn more about the causes of rollover accidents, and what your rights as a victim may be, with help from the following information.

Some Vehicles are Prone to Rollover

Although any vehicle can experience a rollover accident, some are more prone to tipping than others. Generally, it is vehicles that are considered “top-heavy,” such as sport utility vehicles, minivans, pickup trucks, and full-size vans. These automobiles are narrower, taller, and have a higher center of gravity, which is why they are more susceptible to flipping in a crash.

Turns, Curves, and Uneven Road Surfaces

Turns, curves, and uneven surfaces, such as curbs and construction zones are also common causes of rollover accidents. The risk is even higher for vehicles that are prone to rollover. Sadly, this could come into play in situations involving construction zone negligence and negligence on the part of another driver. Examples might include swerving to avoid a drunk driver, running over a curb to avoid hitting a driver that suddenly swerves into the lane, or being side-swiped while attempting to make a turn.

Environmental Conditions

Driving in rain, sleet, snow, or other hazardous road conditions can also increase the risk of a rollover accident, especially for vehicles that are prone. To make matters worse, severe weather conditions increase the overall risk of a vehicle losing control because of their speed or maneuvers. In short, any driver that is negligent during such conditions is exponentially increasing the risk of accident death or injury to the drivers around them.

Drunk Drivers

Drunk drivers increase the risk of accident for every other driver on the road. They can also increase the risk of a rollover crash, especially for those driving vehicles that are prone to flipping. Unfortunately, some of these accidents end up being hit-and-run crashes, which can even further complicate matters. In these situations, it is crucial that you find experienced legal assistance with your claim.

How Our Arlington Heights Car Crash Lawyers Can Help

If you or someone you love has experienced a rollover accident, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help. Dedicated and experienced, our Arlington Heights car accident attorneys will fight for your rights and best interest. We pursue the most compensation possible in every case. Schedule your consultation by calling 847-934-6000 today.

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.


Source:https://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle-Shoppers/Rollover/Causes

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.

The Dangers of Hands Free Cell Phone Use While Driving

Web Admin - Friday, November 28, 2014

hands free device danger, Illinois personal injury lawyerEveryone knows they should avoid texting and driving. Focusing on a smartphone screen rather than the road is a recipe for disaster, and may lead to serious accidents. This common sense principle has led Illinois to pass a law forcing drivers to only use hands free devices when they are driving. However, even though hands free cell phone use lets people keep their eyes on the road, it still does not entirely remove the distraction of speaking on the phone. Additionally, the use of hands free technology may also bring a curious piece of human psychology known as the Peltzman effect into play.

Hands Free Device Statistics

Hands free driving seems like it should make people safer, but some studies show it may actually pose even more risks. Either way, the statistics show that it can still be dangerous. For instance, even though only nine percent of drivers are using phones at any given time, these drivers are involved in 26 percent of all crashes. This is because 90 percent of crashes involve driver error rather than the environment or mechanical failures.

A lot of the problems caused by phones are a function of how the brain processes information. Although many people believe they are capable of multitasking, that is actually an illusion. The brain cannot actually perform multiple tasks at one time. Instead, the brain switches rapidly back and forth between the two tasks, but it does not do it perfectly. This means that the brain's visual processing can be reduced by up to 33 percent while on the phone. This can lead to people missing half of everything going on around them while they talk. However, that failure to multitask is not the only human mental quirk that affects this scenario.

The Peltzman Effect

People using hands free technology may also be falling victim to what economists refer to as the Peltzman effect. The Peltzman effect, which was originally identified by its namesake in the 70s, relates to the fact that people generally have a reasonably constant amount of risk they are willing to take. This can result in regulations that are designed to keep people safe actually having a diminished effect because people are then more willing to take other risks. For instance, people may feel safer when using hands free technology, so they may be more willing to drive faster or pay less attention to the road. Importantly, economists still debate how much extra risk the Peltzman effect actually encourages people to take. Although numerous studies have found evidence of its existence, the magnitude of its impact varies greatly between each study.

Distracted driving is dangerous, regardless of the distraction. If you have recently been injured by the carelessness of a distracted driver, contact a Crystal Lake personal injury attorney today. Our firm helps injured victims across the northwest suburbs in towns like Palatine, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and Barrington.

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.

Using Rumble Strips to Prevent Crossover Accidents

Web Admin - Thursday, September 25, 2014

rumble strips safety, Deer Park traffic accident lawyerIt is a common experience for drivers heading home, especially late at night, only to veer slightly out of the lane and be jolted awake by the rumble strips guarding the center of the road. These concrete ridges, originally invented in Illinois in the 1950s, serve a valuable purpose in preventing crossover accidents. Crossover accidents are some of the most dangerous types of traffic accidents and they occur when drivers, either careless or distracted, swerve out of their lane and into oncoming traffic, resulting in a powerful, head-on collision with another car.

What Crossover Accidents Are

Crossover accidents occur when a car leaves its lane, crossing over the median and into traffic heading the other direction, resulting in a front-end collision. The physics behind these sorts of crashes makes them some of the deadliest types of accidents. The issue is one of speed. In a single car crash or even a crash into the side of another car, most of the accident's force comes from the one car's forward motion. This is not true in crossover accidents because the two cars are heading in opposite directions, so their forces both contribute to the accident. By way of example, two cars colliding in a crossover accident, each traveling 60 miles per hour, would have the same force as a single car crashing into a wall at 120 miles per hour. These sorts of violent collisions can lead to all sorts of severe injuries including whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and in many cases, even death.

How Rumble Strips Help

Rumble strips can be instrumental in preventing these sorts of accidents. They function as an early warning system, alerting drivers to the fact that they are leaving their lane and are about to veer dangerously into oncoming traffic. In fact, a study from the Kansas Department of Transportation and the University of Kansas reports that these sorts of safety device can reduce crossover accidents by as much as 21 percent.

There may be some circumstances in which the absence of these sorts of rumble strips can give rise to a claim against the municipality for failing to properly design or maintain the road. Although such claims are difficult to bring, there are scenarios in which a poorly designed road, such as one lacking in centerline rumble strips, could lead to a traffic accident for which the victims would have a right to recover.

If you or one of your loved ones has recently been injured in a crossover accident or some other type of crash, contact an experienced Illinois traffic accident attorney today. Our firm's team of dedicated professionals protects the rights of clients in towns across the northwest suburbs, including in Deer Park, Arlington Heights, and Crystal Lake.

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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