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Pursuing Compensation After an Illinois Car Accident Involving a Drunk DriverIt is illegal in all states to operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet, this does not stop people from doing just that. Driving while you are intoxicated increases the chance that you will get into a car accident and unfortunately, DUI-related traffic accidents are common in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 10,500 deaths caused by drunk driving accidents in 2018, accounting for around 29 percent of all traffic deaths that year. Even if you are not killed in a drunk driving accident, you can be seriously injured. The state of Illinois gives you a few options when it comes to pursuing compensation after a drunk driving accident.

The Illinois Dram Shop Act

In Illinois, it is possible to pursue compensation from different responsible parties. Not only can you pursue compensation from the drunk driver themselves, but you may also be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served the driver his or her alcohol. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (also known as the Dram Shop Act) is the legislation that allows bars, restaurants, and other establishments to be held liable for damages and injuries caused by a drunk driver that they served.

Pursuing a Case Under the Dram Shop Act

In order to prevail in a case where you are holding an establishment responsible, you are required to prove certain elements. The burden of proof lies with you, meaning you must convince the court that the establishment was responsible. To do this, you must prove the following is true:

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What is Comparative Negligence in an Illinois Car Accident Case?When it comes to car accidents, there are few instances in which the fault of the accident can be entirely blamed on one person. In many cases, the actions of all those who are involved contributed in some way to the accident, meaning there is more than one person to blame for the outcome of the accident. In some personal injury cases, it is even possible for the person seeking compensation to have contributed to the accident in some way. Some people may think this bars them from recovering any type of compensation, but that is not necessarily true.

Determining Fault for the Accident

Aside from making sure everyone’s injuries are attended to, one of the first things that must be done when attempting to claim compensation for a car accident is determining who was at fault. This can prove to be difficult because to determine whose fault the accident was, you have to piece the events of the accident together from witness statements, your own recollection of the accident, the other party’s account of what happened and the police report.

To determine the fault of the accident, you have to prove that someone acted negligently and that their negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injury. Sometimes, there may be more than one other driver who committed a negligent act that led to harm. In some cases, the person who is claiming compensation for damages could have committed a negligent act that contributed to the accident. In those cases, the idea of comparative negligence comes into play.

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Tips Everyone Can Follow to Help Prevent Pedestrian AccidentsAt some point during the day, we are all pedestrians. If you are not in a motor vehicle, you are a pedestrian. During the warm-weather months, the number of people walking from place to place greatly increases. Unfortunately, so does the risk that they will be involved in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Though this is less than the number of pedestrians killed in 2016, pedestrian fatalities still remain a large issue in our country. 

Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries, if not death. A 150-pound human is no match for a 3,000-pound car, especially if the vehicle is traveling at a relatively high rate of speed. Fortunately, pedestrian accidents can be avoided with a little effort from both drivers and pedestrians.

Tips for Drivers

In many areas, pedestrians have the right of way, meaning you must yield to them while they are in the street. Even if the pedestrian does not technically have the right of way, you are in a vehicle while they are unprotected; you could cause serious damage to them. Here are a few tips to help avoid a pedestrian accident:

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What You Should Do If Your Teen Has Gotten Into a Car AccidentTeenagers are one of the most car accident-prone groups in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 3,200 teen drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2017 and more than 2,500 were killed. Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., with many of the crashes being caused by distracted or other types of impaired driving. A car accident can leave you with thousands of dollars worth of damages and your teenager with serious injuries or even criminal charges, depending on the situation. Here are a few steps you should take if your teen has gotten into a car accident: 

  1. Call Emergency Services Immediately: For many teenagers, their first instinct after they get into an accident is to call their parents. While this can be relieving for you, you also need to make sure that emergency services are called. Either you or your teen needs to call 911 immediately, even if injuries are not serious. Calling 911 will dispatch police and ambulances if needed.
  2. Take Photos: If your teen is able to, you should have them take photos while they are still at the scene. These photos could be crucial to the successful settlement of a car accident case. Make sure they take as many photos as possible, especially of the damages to their car and the other person’s car, any visible injuries they may have, the license plates of each vehicle, the scene of the accident as a whole and any factors that may have contributed to the accident.
  3. Record Information: You should tell your teen to take notes of any other information that might be useful. Important information can include the make and model of the other vehicle, road conditions, weather conditions, the date and time of the accident, the time police arrived, the officer’s badge numbers and any witness information. Tell them to get the insurance information of anyone else involved in the accident before they leave the scene.
  4. Get a Copy of the Police Report: When police are called to the scene of an accident, they will begin compiling information about the accident that will later be written into a formal police report. It will also be helpful to have a copy of the police report when you begin a case with your insurance company or a lawyer. The police report will include information about testimonies given to the officer by both parties involved in the accident, the officer’s opinion of what happened and any witness testimonies, including their contact information. 

A Cook County Car Accident Attorney Can Help

It can be a scary thing to receive the call that your teen has gotten into a car accident. Once you know that your teen is safe, you should begin taking steps to ensure the situation is resolved quickly. Depending on the severity of the accident, your teen could be suffering from serious injuries that could cause them to miss school or lose out on wages from their job. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we understand that injuries from a car accident can be so severe that it will affect your teen for the rest of his or her life. Our compassionate Tinley Park, IL, car accident lawyers can help you fight for the compensation that you and your teen may deserve. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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How to Determine Negligence in a Car Accident Injury CaseGetting into a car accident can leave anyone feeling shaken up and worried. Even if the car accident only resulted in relatively minor injuries, such as a broken bone, it can come with even more damages, like missing work, medical costs, and repair costs, among others. This is typically when the idea of a car accident injury claim may come in handy. Most car accident injury claims are based around the idea of negligence, which just means the other person involved in the car accident failed to exercise their duty to drive safely on the road. To prevail in a car accident injury case, you must prove the following elements exist:

Duty of Care

When it comes to car accident claims, the duty of care is the responsibility that every driver has to operate their vehicle in a safe manner that is also consistent with traffic laws and other precautions most reasonable drivers would take. Examples of duty of care include:

  • Using turn signals;
  • Avoiding distractions, such as your cell phone;
  • Driving at a safe speed; and
  • Fully stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Breach of Duty of Care

The breach of duty of care is rather important because this pinpoints the action that caused your damages. You must prove that the driver either blatantly violated a traffic law or that he or she committed an action that put you and other drivers in unwarranted danger.

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National Rifle Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Cook County Bar Association National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys The John Marshall Law School Hellenic Bar Association Will County Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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