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How the Other Driver’s Negligence Can Affect Your Car Accident Claim

Whenever you are involved in a car accident where the other party is at fault, you have the right to seek compensation for damages to both your vehicle and your physical and mental health. Sometimes, however, car crashes aren’t just pure accidents—they involve some kind of negligent behavior from the other driver, like drinking and driving or driving while texting.

These behaviors are not just illegal, they are dangerous forms of driving with potentially serious consequences for you and the other passengers in your vehicle. If you are the victim of an accident involving such driving, you should know what you are entitled to when making a claim.

Distracted Driving

Given today’s tech-centric lifestyles, distracted driving is common. It claimed 3,166 lives in the United States in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While the category actually includes a wide range of activities (eating, smoking, reaching for something not immediately at hand), in Illinois, distracted driving is only illegal for the use of handheld devices like a phone. That includes texting, emailing, and talking while holding the phone (911 calls being the exception).

How It Affects Your Claim

Distracted drivers found to be at fault in a car accident are liable for any damages they cause. That includes damages to physical property (your vehicle) as well as the cost of hospitalizations, medications, surgeries, lost wages, and other procedures needed in the event of injury due to the accident.

It can be tricky to prove that the other driver caused the accident by driving distracted. Illinois also operates under a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning that partial liability for the accident could be assigned to you unless you can prove the other party was 100 percent at fault.

In order to prove the other person was distracted while driving and therefore liable for damages in the accident, your best bet is to find an experienced attorney who can help you understand the laws around these situations as well as what your options for pressing a claim are.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence causes serious and often life-threatening consequences every year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 270 people died in drunk driving crashes in Illinois in 2016.

Driving under the influence includes more than just drunk driving. By law, drivers over 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher are considered alcohol-impaired, according to the CDC. For commercial drivers over 21, that limit drops to 0.04 percent.

How It Affects Your Claim

If you are the victim of an auto accident involving someone driving under the influence, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you understand what compensation you may be entitled to.

If proven to be at fault because of drinking and driving, the other driver may be liable for damages incurred because of the crash. Like distracted driving cases, those damages include physical property like the car as well as medical expenses and lost wages for those inside the vehicle.

But in Illinois, at least, the other driver may not be the only one at fault in a drinking and driving accident. The Liquor Control Act, which is the state’s dram shop law, dictates that commercial establishments could be liable if they sold alcohol to the intoxicated person that caused the injuries.

An attorney experienced in car accidents involving drunk drivers will be able to guide you through this process and help you understand what you can make a claim for when you file. If you are the victim of an accident involving a drunk driver or a person found driving distracted, reach out today to get your questions answered.