Despite the well-known and advertised dangers of distracted driving, some people persist in texting while operating a motor vehicle. If a driver using an electronic device caused an accident that injured you, you could be entitled to damages.

Texting while driving in Hazel Crest is illegal but some drivers ignore the prohibition and end up hurting innocent people. A trustworthy car accident attorney could help an injured person find justice and hold the driver accountable.

What Are the Laws on Texting While Driving in Hazel Crest?

Illinois bars drivers from using electronic communication devices while driving. 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/12-610.2 defines electronic communication devices as not just cell phones, but tablets, portable digital assistants, and other hand-held devices. It does not include GPS devices or computer functions that are integrated into a vehicle.

Adult drivers cannot use any hand-held devices while driving but can access devices using hands-free mode. Drivers under age 19 cannot use electronic devices at all.

If a person was texting while driving in Hazel Crest and causes an accident that results in another person suffering disfigurement, permanent disability, or great bodily harm, they have committed a misdemeanor. The penalties for violation include fines of up to $1,000 and a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Proving a Violation of the Duty of Care

To win damages in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. Demonstrating negligence is a four-step process that requires the plaintiff to show that:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff
  • The defendant breached the duty
  • The plaintiff was injured as a direct result of the breach
  • The plaintiff suffered documentable losses due to the injury

What is Negligence Per Se?

Drivers have a duty to obey the law and refrain from actions that might endanger other motorists of the roadways. When a driver is convicted of the misdemeanor of driving while using an electronic device, that makes it much easier for a lawyer to prove negligence. The violation of the law is considered negligence per se. This means the plaintiff will need to prove only the damages they suffered because of the defendant’s negligence.

Sharing Responsibility for a Car Accident

Sometimes both drivers bear some responsibility for a wreck. If a plaintiff was negligent and their negligence contributed to the accident or their injuries, it is up to a judge or jury to decide how to allocate the blame.

When the plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, the law bars them from recovering damages from any other party. If the plaintiff is less than 50 percent to blame, they could claim damages from any other negligent party, but the court will reduce their damages by an amount that reflects their portion of the fault.

Defense lawyers and insurance company adjusters might attempt to assign fault to a plaintiff as a means of reducing or eliminating their liability to pay damages. If the plaintiff was using their cell phone while driving in Hazel Crest but was hit solely due to the defendant’s action, a lawyer could argue that their cell phone usage was irrelevant to the case and that they should not have their compensation reduced.

Seek Help from an Attorney After a Texting While Driving Accident in Hazel Crest

If you have suffered an injury because someone was texting while driving in Hazel Crest, you should focus on your health. Allow a professional advocate to manage recovering your financial losses.

It is to your advantage to bring a lawyer onboard sooner rather than later, so they could investigate the circumstances while the evidence is available. Contact a lawyer today to schedule a case review.