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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysSmartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other and get information about the world. Smartphones are so wonderful that some people have trouble putting them down, even while driving. The statistics about texting and diving are grim: over 1,000 people are injured every day in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers. If you were injured or someone you love was killed due to the inattention of another driver, you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Texting While Driving Is Reckless and Irresponsible

Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving because it integrates visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Trying to text or otherwise use a cell phone while driving means that a driver takes his hands, eyes, and mind off the road. Someone who is texting and driving is essentially driving blind. If a driver is traveling at 55 mph and looks away from the road for only five seconds, he or she has already traveled the length of a football field.

 Because of the great danger it poses to other drivers and pedestrians, Illinois bans texting and driving by law. Illinois motorists may still talk on the phone while driving, but only using Bluetooth technology or a hands-free device. Recently, Illinois imposed even stricter penalties for distracted drivers which will start in July 2019. Those caught texting while driving will now face more serious penalties for violating the law including possibly having their driver’s license suspended.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysNews reports of fatal drunk driving accidents are sadly common. Poor road conditions and winter weather only increase the risk of alcohol-related traffic accidents. On average, approximately 30 people in the U.S. die as the result of drunk driving accidents each day. This adds up to over 10,000 lost lives per year. Monetary damages from accidents involving a drunk driver are estimated to be more than $44 billion annually. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident involving an intoxicated driver, you may be able to receive compensation.

Winter Weather and Poor Road Conditions Add to Danger of Intoxicated Drivers

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is always a reckless move, but it is especially dangerous during winter road conditions. Icy roads can lead to rear-end collisions when a driver fails to stop their vehicle in time. Multiple car pile-ups may be more likely to occur during adverse weather as well. The combination of an intoxicated driver and slippery roads can also increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck and killed.

Negligent Drivers Can Be Held Liable for Damages

Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car has an obligation to everyone else around him or her to drive with care and attention. When a driver chooses to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit or while otherwise intoxicated, he or she is not fulfilling his duty to act with reasonable care.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysGetting hurt in a car crash or other accident can be an overwhelmingly emotional experience. In the moments after an accident, most people are in shock. They immediately start thinking about how to handle the situation and give little attention to their own well-being. Unfortunately, many people have decreased their chances at receiving compensation for their injuries because they delayed or skipped medical treatment after an accident. If you are ever involved in an accident and you are hurt, it is critical that you have a medical professional assess your injuries.

Adrenaline Masks Pain During Traumatic Events

Imagine you are driving down the highway with your family. Suddenly, another car veers into your lane, causing your vehicle to crash into the guardrail. After the impact, you will probably be more concerned with the other passengers in your vehicle than yourself—even if you are seriously hurt. This is partially due to a mechanism in the brain which helps block the feeling of pain in dangerous situations. In traumatic circumstances, an injured person’s bloodstream is flooded with a hormone called adrenaline. In addition to dilating the person’s pupils and increasing their heart rate, the hormone also blocks their brain’s ability to sense pain. This “stress-induced analgesia,” can trick injured people into believing they are less hurt than they really are. The injured person may cause further bodily damage by delaying medical treatment.

Delaying Medical Treatment Can Decrease Your Chances of Getting Compensation

Being involved in a serious accident can leave a person with burdensome medical bills and financial hardship due to missed work. Symptoms that do not become apparent until days or weeks after an accident can be more difficult to relate directly to the accident. As a result, insurance companies may try to evade liability. Getting compensation for injuries by means of a personal injury lawsuit may be a viable solution for some, but those without documentation of their injuries will have a much harder time making a successful claim.  

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysFor many people, the upcoming six weeks are the best time of the year. Getting together with friends and family to enjoy a special meal, exchange gifts, or simply catch up is a cherished part of the holiday season. Many of these holiday gatherings will also involve alcohol. Unfortunately, this means that there are more alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads during the holiday season. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that on average, about a third of fatal car accidents involve an alcohol-impaired driver. During the winter holiday season however, an astounding 60 percent of fatal traffic accidents involve a driver who was drinking. This holiday season, make a commitment not to drink and drive and take steps to keep you and your family as safe as possible on the roads.

Make a Transportation Plan Before Drinking

One of the most misunderstood things about drinking and driving is that most individuals who are caught driving under the influence never intended to drive intoxicated. Often, auto accidents occur when drivers do not realize how impaired they actually are and overestimate their ability to drive a car safely. When a person consumes alcohol, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This results in lowered inhibitions, increased impulsivity, and diminished decision-making skills. It is extremely important to always have a travel plan in place before starting to drink. Waiting to figure out how you will get home from a holiday party after you have already begun drinking can be disastrous.

If You Are Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver, Act Quickly

The team at Mannarino & Brasfield hope that your holiday season is safe and enjoyable. However, if you are involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver, make sure to take the following steps: Always call the police if you have been in a car crash with a person you suspect has been drinking. If you have been injured—even slightly—get checked out at the hospital immediately. Often, individuals involved in a car accident do not realize how hurt they really are until hours after the accident. Lastly, take steps to document the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you sustained.

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Rockford personal injury attorneyFrom the beginning of automobile manufacturing, auto manufacturers have worried about safety. Motor vehicles are constantly being redesigned with increasingly effective safety features. Components like seatbelts, safety glass, and padded dashboards were among the first efforts at increased automobile safety. Airbags designed to cushion passengers in the event of a car crash were another significant addition to automobile design. More recently, experts have been working to understand how these safety features work together to prevent passenger injury during a traffic accident. Insurance companies and automakers are continuously analyzing data in an attempt to answer the question, “Which seat is the safest to be in during a car crash?” 

The Rear Middle Seat Is Often the Farthest from Impact

Many people believe that the rear middle seat is the safest seat in an average automobile. This seat is the furthest away from the sides of the car. In the event of a crash, the passenger in the middle seat is theoretically less likely to come into contact with crushed windows and sides and suffer injury. Statistically, the rear middle seat has been found to be the safest seat during crashes that occur at intersections.

NHTSA Says Children Should Always Ride in the Back Seat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officially recommends that parents place children under 13 years of age in the back seat. The rear middle seat is considered the best seat for children, but only if that seat is equipped with a functioning 3-point seat belt. The NHTSA also recommends the rear middle seat as the safest location for a child in a car seat. Studies show that placing a car seat in the rear middle may reduce the risk of injury by up to 43 percent.

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