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Livas Law Group

Chicago personal injury lawyerEstablishing fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. Often, when motorists are involved in a car crash, there are a number of factors at play. For example, outside distractions, such as pedestrians, construction work, closed lanes, or heavy traffic, can make an accident more likely to occur. Car accidents often involve several vehicles, and it can be extremely difficult to determine which car actually caused the accident.

Proving who was at fault for a crash is crucial for several reasons. First, the at-fault party's car insurance company is usually responsible for paying repair costs for other vehicles involved in the accident. Secondly, if another person was injured in the accident, the at-fault party may be responsible for that person’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

No-Doubt Liability

Generally, it is up to the car insurance companies of the individuals involved in an accident to determine financial liability for a car accident. The insurance companies use the help of claims adjusters and police reports to determine which of the drivers involved in an accident was at fault.

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Chicago motorcycle accident lawyerIllinois is one of the few states in the country that does not have a motorcycle helmet law. Our state leaves it up to individual riders to decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwarz, we represent many motorcycle accident victims who have suffered terrible injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). With this in mind, we encourage riders around the state to consider some of the evidence around the safety and effectiveness of motorcycle helmets.

Helmets Do Not Meaningfully Restrict Vision or Hearing

Many riders refuse to wear a helmet because they believe it will restrict their vision or ability to hear. These are certainly legitimate concerns. A rider’s safety would be compromised if they could not see or hear as well, in which case a helmet could be counterproductive and could, in fact, cause an accident.

However, research has shown that these fears are not well-founded or supported. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated, a person’s range of vision, including peripheral vision, usually covers between 200-220 degrees. Helmets provide up to 210 degrees of vision—so that is very slight impairment if any at all. Further, more than 90 percent of accidents happen within a 160-degree range, which means that vision impairment caused by a helmet will not contribute to most collisions. A rider can easily counter any slight restriction in peripheral vision by simply moving her head a little bit more in either direction.

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Chicago personal injury lawyerThe actions motorists take can often contribute to the severity of their injuries in the event of a collision. Refusing to wear a seat belt is a classic example. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we routinely field questions about whether the refusal to wear a seat belt will harm a person’s personal injury lawsuit. In particular, accident victims want to know whether the seat belt defense is valid in Illinois.

Why the Seat Belt Defense Matters

Illinois recognizes the concept of comparative fault. Under this concept, a motorist cannot receive compensation if he or she is “more” at fault for an accident than all defendants combined. Put simply, a victim can be up to 50 percent responsible for their injuries—but not more—to collect compensation.

Failure to wear a seat belt probably sounds like a form of negligence. After all, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of injury and save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seat belt reduces the number of serious injuries by approximately 50 percent. In one year alone (2016), seat belts saved approximately 15,000 lives. Furthermore, wearing a seat belt is the law in our state. Everyone ages 8 or older must buckle up, even if the car is equipped with airbags.

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Chicago personal injury attorneyDistracted driving is a major threat to road safety and there is no bigger distraction than cell phones. Far too many people are texting behind the wheel of a vehicle and the results can be disastrous. At Livas Law Firm, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we represent motorists who have been injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Illinois has tried to address the dangers of distracted driving by making it illegal to text while driving. Any motorist convicted could have their license suspended and face various other penalties. Still, on any given day, countless motorists are driving with one hand on the wheel and the other hand clutching a cell phone. Below, our personal injury lawyers identify why the act of texting and driving is so risky.

Texting Delays Brake Onset

When drivers text, they have their eyes on their cell phones — not on the road. Consequently, they will not see anything that may be in their way, such as a pedestrian crossing the street or another vehicle stopped at an intersection. It is not surprising that brake onset is delayed while a person is sending or reading a text message.

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Chicago personal injury attorney sideswipe car accident

Before an accident victim can obtain compensation, he or she must show that another driver was at fault for the crash. In certain crashes, the fault is obvious. For example, a motorist might run a red light and T-bone another vehicle, all of which may be caught on camera if the intersection has video surveillance. Establishing fault for a sideswipe collision can be more complicated in some cases. Fortunately, the personal injury lawyers at Livas Law Firm, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, have brought many successful claims for sideswipe car accidents.

Situations Where Sideswipes Occur

The location of the accident can help narrow down ways for proving fault. Most sideswipe accidents occur in the following places:

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