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Do I always have to wear a seat belt in Illinois?
It may surprise you to learn that the answer is no because the safety benefits of seat belts are widely publicized. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 14,688 lives were saved in 2016 because people wore seat belts in passenger cars. A seat belt can prevent you from being ejected from a car, protect you from airbag injuries, and protect you from fatal, critical, and moderate car accident injuries.
Illinois requires the use of seat belts for most drivers and passengers, but there are exceptions to the law.
When Seat Belts Are Required—and When They’re Not
Generally, all drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts. Drivers are required to make sure passengers who are under the age of 16 are buckled up.
However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Specifically, drivers or passengers are not required to wear a safety belt in Illinois if:
- They are frequently getting in and out of the vehicle, and the vehicle does not go above 15 mph.
- They have a written statement from a doctor that they can’t wear safety belts for medical reasons.
- They have an official certificate or license endorsement from another state exempting them from wearing a seat belt.
- The car is going in reverse (applies to drivers only).
- The car has a model year earlier than 1965.
- The vehicle is a motorcycle, moped, or another vehicle that is not required to have safety belts pursuant to federal law.
- They are in the back seat of a taxicab.
Other exceptions also apply for mail carriers and emergency vehicles.
The police may check for seat belt use if you are pulled over or if the police are conducting seat belt checkpoints. You may receive a ticket for not wearing a seat belt if you are required to wear one and you are not buckled up. If you are driving with a graduated license and you have more than one ticket for failing to wear your seat belt, then your license may be suspended. However, the police cannot search your car any further unless they have probable cause to do so.
Most People Wear Seat Belts in Illinois
While Illinois law does provide exceptions to seat belt use, seat belt use has increased significantly in Illinois since the first state seat belt law went into effect on July 1, 1985. In 1985, 15.9 percent of Illinois motorists surveyed reported wearing seat belts. By 2000 that percentage increased to 70.2 percent of motorists, and in 2016, 93 percent of motorists surveyed reported wearing seat belts.
While most drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts, Illinois law is clear: the failure to wear a seat belt is not evidence of negligence if a crash occurs. A small fine may be imposed for failing to wear a safety belt as required by Illinois law, but you may pursue a car accident lawsuit, and you may still be entitled to car accident damages if you’re hurt. These damages may include compensation for things like past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
If you were hurt in an Illinois car crash, then we encourage you to reach out to an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt. Our lawyers know what evidence to look for in car accident cases, and insurance companies know that we mean business. We will go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you get the damages that you deserve. Call us, text us, or contact us via this website any time—247/365—to learn more about your rights and possible recovery.
I was hurt in a pedestrian crash. Why do I need a lawyer?
It may be tempting to try to handle your pedestrian accident case on your own. You may think that it is an open and shut case and that hiring a lawyer may make the case more complicated and costlier. However, neither of these things is true.
Pedestrian Injury Cases Can Be Legally Complex
Even if you were the one who was hit by car or truck, you will still need to prove that the driver (or another party) was negligent and that the negligence caused your physical injuries. In other words, you will need to convince the insurance company or the court that the driver:
- Owed you a duty of care.
- Breached the duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable driver would in similar circumstances.
- Caused your injuries by breaching the duty of care.
Additionally, you will need to prove that you have a legal right to recover damage.
If you fail to prove just one of these things then you will fail at protecting your recovery.
Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer May Be a Smart Financial Move
You have one chance to settle your pedestrian accident claim. Once you agree to a settlement, the terms of the settlement will prevent you from seeking additional compensation later.
Additionally, insurance companies are more likely to take you seriously and to settle for a fair amount that truly compensates you for your past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering when you are represented by counsel.
For these reasons, it is important to work with a personal injury lawyer. We invite you to contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in one of our Illinois offices (Bloomington, Gurnee, or Rockford) or to come to you. If you decide to hire us and we take your case, then we won’t be paid an hourly fee. Instead, our compensation will come when your compensation comes, as a previously agreed upon percentage of your settlement. In the end, you may be able to recover more compensation with our help than you could on your own.
Contact us online or call our office directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule your free consultation.
Who will pay my damages if I’m hurt in an Illinois rideshare accident?
You called an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare driver when you needed a ride. However, this ride didn’t end the way you expected. Before you reached your destination, you were involved in a car accident. You weren’t driving and you couldn’t have prevented the crash, but you have been injured.
You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Your Injuries
If you take steps to protect your recovery after a rideshare accident, then you should not be the one left paying for your accident injuries and recovery. Instead, one or more of the following parties, or their insurance companies, may be responsible for paying your damages. The potentially liable parties include:
- The rideshare driver. Rideshare drivers, unlike taxi cab drivers, are generally not employees. An Uber driver, for example, is an independent contractor. The Uber driver may have his own insurance coverage that could be applicable to your recovery.
- The rideshare company. The rideshare company may have some liability and insurance coverage that could help with your recovery.
- Another driver who caused the accident. Your accident may not have been caused by your rideshare driver or the rideshare company. Instead, it may have been caused by a different driver who is liable for your recovery.
These parties may try to place the blame on each other in order to avoid paying you. Additionally, if you fail to take any action then you may be left solely responsible for all of your damages even though you didn’t cause the accident.
Accordingly, it is important to learn more about how insurance companies work by ordering our FREE DVD, Secrets Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know, and it is important to contact our experienced car accident lawyers today to schedule your own free, no-obligation consultation so that you can be sure that your rights are protected after a rideshare accident in Illinois.
Can I sue after an Illinois car accident?
If you are a mentally competent adult who has been injured because of another driver’s negligence, then you have the right to bring a lawsuit to recover damages in an Illinois court.
However, there may also be some other times when you have the right to bring a lawsuit.
You May Have the Right to Bring a Lawsuit on Behalf of Someone Else
You may have the right to bring a lawsuit based on your legal relationship with someone else who has been injured. For example, you may be able to bring a personal injury case on behalf of...
- A minor. If you are the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18, then you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the child if the child was hurt in a crash.
- A mentally incompetent adult. If you are recognized by the court as the guardian of a mentally incompetent adult, then you may have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of that adult if the adult was injured in an accident.
- An estate, If you are the personal representative of an estate and the decedent died because of his car accident injuries, then you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
The legal right to file a lawsuit is known as standing. If you don’t have standing, then the defense will likely raise that argument and your case will be dismissed. Thus, it is important to know whether you have standing before you file a complaint to begin your lawsuit.
You Don’t Have to Bring a Lawsuit On Your Own
Even if you are sure that you have standing to sue and you’ve decided that it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit, you don’t have to do it on your own. You have the right to hire an attorney to help you. A lawyer can make sure that all of your legal rights are protected. To find out more, please contact our experienced Illinois car accident lawyers today via this website.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Illinois?
The amount of time that you have to file a car accident lawsuit in Illinois depends on what happened to you, or your loved one, in the car crash.
Generally you have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit if you were hurt in the accident and only private vehicles were involved in the crash.
In other cases, you might have:
- One to two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if your loved one was killed in the crash.
- Only one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if your crash included a government vehicle.
- Five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if you are only claiming property damage from the crash.
In some cases, such as when a minor is hurt in a crash, the statute of limitations may be extended.
Don’t Wait Until You Are Up Against the Deadline
There is no reason to wait to take action if you have been hurt or if you have lost a loved one. Rather, you may want to take action as quickly as possible so that:
- Evidence from the accident can be gathered and preserved for your case.
- You can recover damages sooner rather than later.
- You don’t risk missing a deadline and foregoing a recovery.
Remember, if you miss the deadline set by the Illinois statute of limitations, then the court may refuse to hear your case and you may never get the damages that you deserve. Accordingly, we encourage you to find out more about your rights today so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your claim. You can find out more by downloading our FREE brochure, After an Accident: What to Expect.
Can I report a medically unfit driver in Illinois?
As a relative, friend, or person concerned about a medically unfit driver, you do not have the authority to report that driver directly to the state of Illinois. While some states allow people to report potentially unfit drivers to the state for investigation, Illinois is not one of those states. Instead, Illinois only allows licensed physicians, law enforcement officers, and members of the judiciary to request that the state investigate an individual’s continued fitness to drive.
You Can Still Protect the Driver You Are Worried About—and Others
Even though the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will not accept a report from a friend or relative, there are steps that you can take to protect your loved one and others on the road. Specifically, you can:
- Contact your loved one’s doctor or the police. You can share your concerns with the doctor or police office, and request that they contact the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office so that the state can begin an investigation into whether your loved one is medically fit to drive a car.
- Talk to your loved one or take action as a family. This may be very difficult—particularly if your loved one is suffering from dementia and is unable to appreciate the risk of continuing to drive a car. However, you may be able to convince your loved one to stop driving or to accept rides from friends and family so that she doesn’t get hurt or cause an accident.
You are not in an easy position. It is hard to convince someone you care about to give up the independence that comes with having an Illinois driver’s license. However, it may save your loved one’s life—or the life of an innocent person. Accordingly, it is important to have these difficult conversations today.
How many people died in Illinois motor vehicle accidents in 2014, and what is happening on Illinois roads in 2015?
The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that there were 845 deadly crashes in the state during 2014 and that those crashes resulted in 924 deaths. This is lower than the totals for 2013, when 895 fatal accidents in Illinois resulted in 991 deaths. However, it is slightly higher than the 2011 statistics, which indicate that 835 deadly crashes occurred and resulted in 918 deaths during that year.
More Information About 2014 Fatal Accidents
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation:
- Restraints such as seat belts and car seats were used in 321 of the fatal crashes, and restraints were not used in 246 of the fatal accidents. It is unknown if restraints were used in the rest of the crashes.
- 126 unlicensed drivers were involved in 2014 fatal crashes in the state of Illinois.
Statistics are released, in part, so that we can learn from them.
Unfortunately, Hundreds Have Already Lost Their Lives in 2015 Illinois Accidents
As of July 2015, 527 people had died in 479 accidents on Illinois roads. The counties with the highest number of accident fatalities included:
- Cook County: 128
- Will County: 32
- St. Clair County: 19
- Lake County: 17
- Madison County: 16
The causes of all of these accidents have not yet been released. However, it is important for all drivers to recognize common risks of fatal accidents, such as drunk driving and distracted driving, and to avoid these dangerous activities that could end their lives or those of innocent people with whom they share the road.
Why should I buckle up in a Chicago cab? What should I do if I’m hurt in a taxi accident?
Generally, Illinois law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. However, the law has a specific exemption for passengers in the backseat of taxicabs. While passengers in the backseat of cabs are not legally required to wear seat belts, it is a generally a good idea to do so. A cab is no safer than any other vehicle on the road. If the cab is involved in an accident and you are not wearing a seat belt then you may be seriously hurt or killed—just as you would in any other vehicle.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt
Regardless of whether you wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, you should take specific steps to protect your potential recovery after a cab crash. Specifically, you should:
- Insist that the police come and investigate the accident. Illinois law requires that many accidents be reported.
- Make sure to get all relevant driver information. This includes the medallion number, name, employer, license and insurance information of the cab driver, and the name, license, and insurance information from other drivers.
- Accept medical help if you are hurt. Go to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer for help. A lawyer will investigate what happened and help you recover from the cab company, the taxi driver, or another driver, as appropriate.
You were not driving any of the vehicles involved in the accident and you did not cause the crash. However, you will need to take steps to protect your own recovery. For more information, please start a live chat with us today.
Can I bring a civil lawsuit if a criminal case is pending against a drunk driver in Illinois?
Yes, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a driver even if a criminal case is pending against the same driver for the Illinois accident that caused your injuries.
Why This Is Permitted
Civil and criminal lawsuits are brought by different parties and serve different purposes. It is up to the state of Illinois to decide whether to bring a criminal case and it is up to the state of Illinois to prosecute that case. In order to have a drunk driving case, the prosecutor will need to be able to prove that the driver who caused your accident violated a criminal statute. While you may be a witness in the case and you may be interested in the outcome of the case, you are not a party to the case and you will not recover damages even if the driver is convicted.
Why You Should Consider a Civil Lawsuit Even After a Conviction
As the person who has been physically injured by the drunk driver, however, you may have the right to bring your own personal injury lawsuit.
As the plaintiff in this type of case you would allege that the driver was negligent and that his intoxication was evidence of his negligence. If you are successful in proving that the driver was negligent, then you may be able to recover damages. These damages may include compensation for your past, current and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain, suffering and other accident related losses.
For this reason, it is important to carefully consider all options and to take action to protect your rights.
What kind of damages can I recover if I was hurt in a road rage accident?
The other driver who hurt you was angry even before the cars collided. As you recover in your hospital bed or in your own home, you probably wonder what would have happened if the other driver had not been so aggressive. Would the collision have occurred? Would you have been hurt?
These thoughts are understandable, but they will not change what happened.
Now You Need to Focus on Your Recovery
The other driver’s road rage may have led the other driver to be negligent. For example, if the other driver was tailgating your vehicle, trying to run you off the road, or even gesturing rudely, then the driver may not have been driving with reasonable care. It may have been that driver’s actions that caused your crash and resulting injuries.
If you are able to prove that then you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. Those damages may include things such as past, current, and future:
- Medical expenses.
- Rehabilitation costs.
- Lost income.
- Out-of-pocket costs.
- Other damages.
For a more individualized accounting of how much you may be able to recover, please contact an experienced car accident lawyer directly via this website. You can also learn more about your rights by reading our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims.
Remember, you only have one chance to get a fair settlement for a car accident case. Once the case is settled or decided in court, you will likely be unable to get additional damages in the future. Accordingly, it is important to get your recovery right this time.