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Winnebago County car accident attorneysThere are currently nine states—plus Washington D.C.—in which recreational marijuana has been legalized. A substantial number of other states have decriminalized low-level possession of marijuana, implemented legal medical marijuana programs, or both. Illinois is one of those that has done both. The increasingly lax laws regarding marijuana use have led many to wonder what the impact will be on public safety. Two recent studies that seem to contradict each other offer a fairly reasonable insight into the effect of legalized marijuana on the rate of car accidents.

More Accidents

The first study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and looked at insurance claims for crashes filed between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults over the age of 21. The researchers looked at those two states along with Oregon and compared their accident claims with neighboring states that did not legalize recreational use. The study estimated that crash rates were about 3 percent above what they would have been if marijuana had not been legalized. While the increase is not dramatic, it is statistically significant, according to the study.

No Effect on Fatalities

The second study was published by researchers from the University of Texas and Rice University and examined car accident fatality rates between 2009 and 2015. Their findings indicated that there was no increase in fatalities in Colorado or Washington compared to other states during the first three years of legalization.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_gavel-justice-personal-injury-courtroom.jpgWhen you or someone you love is injured in a car crash, or any other situation caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. This compensation is meant to reimburse you for medical expenses, lost wages, damage to your property, and other types of losses that can be measured financially. Your recovery may also include damages for non-economic considerations like pain, suffering, scarring, and disfigurement. Unfortunately, collecting the compensation you deserve is not always easy, and it is important for you the steps that could be necessary.

Filing Your Claim

In most personal injury matters, the first step is file a claim for damages with the insurance company of the person or entity you believe was at fault for the accident. This process usually includes an exchange of relevant information, in addition to reports filed by the police and witness statements. At this stage of the game, you will probably need to have some type of proof to show the insurance company that their client is responsible for your actions. Most insurance companies are not likely to admit responsibility without convincing evidence.

Depending on the details of your case, the insurer might offer a settlement. It is critically important to remember that accepting a settlement almost always limits your ability to take legal action in the future. You should never agree to a settlement offer without first consulting with your lawyer.

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Rockford car accident attorneysIf you have ever been in a car accident, you know that the moments after impact can be confusing and overwhelming. After realizing they have just been in an accident, most people have several thoughts racing through their heads. One of these thoughts is usually about if anyone was hurt during the accident. However, it can be very difficult to assess your own injuries after an accident accurately.

Common Car Accident Injuries

One of the tricky things about car accident injuries is that some injuries are not outwardly visible. For example, a person may have experienced whiplash during a sudden stop but have no immediate signs of this internal neck injury. Whiplash, also called a neck sprain or strain, can cause severe pain, stiffness, headaches, numbness, and fatigue. However, these symptoms may take up to 24 hours to develop. Soft tissue damage, spinal injuries, concussions, broken bones, herniated discs, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries can all be caused by a car accident.

Delaying Treatment Can Exacerbate Medical Issues

Imagine this scenario: a driver is rear-ended by another vehicle. The driver feels a pain in his back but ignores it. The driver who was hit is so consumed by exchanging insurance information and taking care of his vehicle that he does not get checked out by a medical professional. A few days later, the back pain has dramatically worsened, and the man finally goes to a doctor. The doctor explains that the man will need expensive back surgery to correct the problem. 

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Winnebago County car accident lawyersThere is little argument against the fact that smartphones and other hand-held technology has dramatically changed Americans’ lives in the last few decades. We use our phones for everything from texting and calling to GPS navigation, social media, “Googling” information, and even streaming video. Unfortunately, some people choose to do these things while driving. Even though some mistakenly believe that they can “multitask” while driving, the reality is that doing anything other than driving while behind the wheel greatly decreases a person’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in car accidents caused by a distracted driver in 2015. During the same year, a shocking 391,000 people were injured in these types of accidents. A countless number of public service announcements and campaigns have attempted to decrease the number of people killed or injured by distracted driving incidents each. Many states have enacted laws to make using a cellphone while driving illegal or to require the use of hands-free devices. Unfortunately, some people continue to endanger others by using their phone at the wheel.

Cell Phones Are Not the Only Dangerous Distraction

The tricky thing about cell phone use legislation is that many everyday occurrences can be even more distracting while driving. For example, studies show that talking on a hands-free phone or through a Bluetooth connection may be just as distracting as using a handheld phone. In fact, the simple act of talking to another person inside the car can be distracting. Australian researchers found that the presence of children in a vehicle is 12 times more distracting to a driver than using a cell phone. Startlingly, the research also showed that people driving with children in the car take their eyes off of the road for more than three minutes of a 16-minute trip on average.

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