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When Careless Drivers Pass the Blame

Posted on in Car Accidents

IL injury lawyerDrivers who have just caused an accident are often quick to blame anyone or anything but themselves. One common scapegoat is the weather. Another is the road itself. A negligent driver may even attempt to claim that the accident was all your fault when it was clearly on them. If the negligent driver who caused your car accident is trying to put the blame on anyone but themselves, you may worry about how it will affect your case. In most cases, it will not. Drivers are expected to adjust their driving to match the conditions of the road they are on. If it is you that they are trying to pass the blame to, you may have a bit more of a challenge, but a prompt investigation can help reveal the truth. Our attorneys will strive to help you make sure the right party is held accountable.

Road Conditions Negligent Drivers May Blame for an Accident

When road conditions are adverse, drivers should adjust the manner in which they drive to reduce the odds of a crash. If you hear the other driver blaming one of these conditions, they are highly unlikely to escape liability for doing so:

  • Weather - Rain, snow, and ice make the road slippery. This does not mean that drivers are not liable if they skid into someone. Drivers should slow down, increase their following distance, and start stopping earlier to compensate for slick roadways.
  • Hills and curves - Drivers should be aware that hills and curves can interfere with their ability to see into the distance. When approaching the top of a hill or the center of a curve, drivers should be prepared for the possibility that other cars may come into view.
  • Lane closures - If a lane is closed off, drivers should cooperate with others and merge. Some drivers who attempt to “cut the line” will claim that they did not know their lane was ending - this is not an excuse for causing a crash.

In the rare event that a road or its signage is truly designed or maintained in a way that is unreasonably dangerous even for cautious drivers, it may be possible to file a claim against the governing body responsible for the problems.

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IL injury lawyerA large percentage of car accidents happen at intersections. At an intersection, drivers are required to take turns using a common driving space to cross the intersection. There is plenty of opportunity for mishaps when multiple vehicles going in all different directions must share space. T-bone accidents and rear-end collisions are both very common around intersections. Some intersections are naturally more dangerous than others. Every city has at least one dreaded “malfunction junction,” and Chicago is certainly no exception. Dangerous intersections like those involving more than two intersecting roads, or multiple lanes controlled by a stop sign can become confusing and increase the odds of a crash. However, nothing plays a bigger role in intersection accidents than negligent drivers. If you were injured in a car accident, we may be able to help you recover compensation.

What Negligent Driving Habits Lead to Crashes at Intersections?

Drivers are responsible for taking reasonable care to avoid accidents. It is particularly important for drivers to use caution when faced with an intersection. Careless behaviors that may lead to crashes include:

  • Navigation struggles - Everyone has gotten lost at some point. GPS systems are not perfect. However, the middle of an intersection is not the place to go to battle with your navigation system. Drivers who have become turned around should follow their lane until it is safe to pull over rather than rapidly forcing their way into a different lane or making an abrupt turn.
  • Distraction - Drivers who are texting, emailing, or fighting with their GPS may not notice cars ahead of them stopping for a red light or stop sign. This can cause rear-end collisions. However, if the driver fails to notice an upcoming intersection due to their distraction, they may fail to stop entirely.
  • No signals - Good communication with other drivers is key. At intersections, this means that drivers must signal their intention. Other drivers may rely on a vehicle’s lack of turn signals and assume they are going straight when they are in fact turning.
  • Road rage - It can be very frustrating to deal with a driver who is not respecting the rules of the road. Some drivers have a bad habit of waiting too long to merge into the lane they need to be in and cutting others off. It is unsurprising that intersections, especially heavily trafficked intersections, tend to see a lot of crashes related to road rage.

If you were hit by a careless driver at an intersection, it is important to speak with an attorney before speaking to an insurance company.

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IL DUI lawyerYou probably already know that drunk drivers can be held liable for the harm they cause after an accident. Pursuing compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company or the drunk driver personally is always an option after a DUI crash. However, you may have another option. Illinois has what are called “dram shop laws.” “Dram shop” is an outdated term for any establishment that serves alcohol on the premises, like bars and clubs. Under dram shop laws, you may be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served the drunk driver who hit you. These laws are on the books both to hold drinking establishments responsible for overserving people who then go on to injure others due to their intoxication, and also to provide the victims of drunk drivers with an additional source of potential compensation. An attorney can help you understand how dram shop laws may impact your case.

What do Illinois’ Dram Shop Laws Say?

Generally, dram shops laws state that if an establishment serves alcohol to an individual who then goes on to hurt others due to his intoxication, the establishment can be held liable. To recover compensation from a drinking establishment, you will need to prove a few things. First, you must be able to show that the establishment sold or served alcohol to the drunk driver. This can be established by witness testimony, or by proof of a transaction.

Showing that the alcohol the defendant was served caused him to become intoxicated can be a little trickier. The bar may try to argue that the defendant kept drinking after he left, or did not drink enough there to become intoxicated. Witness testimony may play a major role.

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IL injury lawyerCrashing is far from the only way that passengers on public transportation can get hurt. In Illinois, “common carriers” - an old legal term for modes of public transportation - owe the highest duty of care to their passengers. Professional transportation agencies are legally bound to be much more careful about the safety of their passengers than say, a friend giving you a ride in their car. Even if the bus, train, or plane you were on did not crash, the transportation company operating it may still be liable for injuries you sustained while riding. The duty of care involves more than simply not causing an accident. The passenger areas of public transportation vehicles should also be designed and maintained so as to preserve customer safety. If you were injured while using public transportation, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney about whether you may be entitled to compensation.

How do Accidents on Public Transportation Happen?

Public transportation can be risky sometimes. Motor vehicle accidents are not the only causes of injury on public transportation. In fact, you are more likely to be injured in a manner that does not involve a crash. Common causes of injuries on public transportation other than crashes include:

  • Sudden stops - Bus drivers may sometimes need to slam on their brakes to avoid a crash. However, even if the driver avoids an accident, passengers may be violently thrown around due to a lack of seatbelts. Broken bones or even head injuries may result. In some cases, the driver would not have had to brake so suddenly and sharply if they had been paying better attention to the road or driving more carefully.
  • Inadequate security - Security on public transportation is critical. One of the most common dangers associated with public transportation is the other passengers. Common carriers cannot prevent all assaults committed by other passengers, but some degree of security should be offered. Drivers should never ignore an assault in progress taking place on a vehicle they are responsible for. Trains should be equipped with emergency alert systems, like a button or pulley that can be activated by passengers.
  • Falls - Falls are one of the top causes of injury on public transportation. The causes of falls are numerous, ranging from loose or missing handrails where they are needed to ignored spills to unsteady seats.

While public transportation agencies cannot prevent all injuries, they do have the highest duty of care to keep passengers safe. If you were injured on public transportation, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation.

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IL injury lawyerThe safety standards that apply to products meant for children are much more stringent than those that apply to products meant for adults. Children do not have the life experience and reasoning skills that help adults use dangerous products safely. Parents of toddlers often say that children that age seems as though they are designed to self-destruct, always finding ways to endanger themselves. This is why we do not entrust things like lighters or weapons to children. Parents should be able to reasonably expect that toys marketed for use by children are safe for children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Injuries related to product defects in children’s toys are much more common than they should be. If your child was harmed by a dangerous toy, an attorney may be able to help you recover the compensation they need through a product liability case.

Common Toy Defects That Put Your Child in Danger

Toy designers should have the safety of children at the top of their priority list. Sadly, adult toy designers do sometimes overlook design flaws that can endanger children. Defects commonly found in children’s toys include:

  • Choking hazards - Small children love to put things in their mouths. Very young children are inclined to examine new objects using their mouths. For this reason, it is important that toys meant for toddlers do not involve any small, removable pieces that a child could choke on. Even the eyes on a stuffed animal can become dangerous if they detach too easily.
  • Batteries - When batteries are needed to operate a child’s toy, they should be well-secured so that young children cannot access them. Batteries can be extremely dangerous for a child’s health if they are swallowed.
  • Sharp edges - A child should not be able to easily cut themselves on a toy. Darts and other throwing toys or projectiles should feature soft tips in case another child is hit.
  • Fall risks - Indoor and outdoor play equipment that children are meant to climb up, like slides or jungle gyms should have features like railings that mitigate the risk of a child falling off and being injured.
  • Burn risks - Quite a few modern children’s toys involve some type of heating component. Think about toys like easy bake ovens, or activity kits where the finished project must be baked in an oven. Young children are not often capable of safely using heat sources, especially when they are very excited about their toy.

Children are quite able to injure themselves in ways adults would never expect. It is critical that toy designers and manufacturers are exceptionally careful about making sure their products will be safe when used by a child.

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