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Distracted Driving: The Dangers Driving and Texting

Driving is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly – and, when that responsibility is shirked, the responses can be devastating. This is one of the reasons why distracted driving is such a serious problem. Defined by the CDC as driving while engaging in any manual, cognitive, or visual activity that proves a distraction. To put it a bit more simply, distracted driving means doing anything that takes your mind or eyes off of the road or your hands from the steering wheel. Some more concrete examples of distracted driving include:

  • Eating
  • Talking on the Phone
  • Looking for Directions on the Phone
  • Texting
  • Applying Makeup
  • Talking to a Passenger
  • Looking for Something in the Glove Box

Out of the above, which is by no means an exhaustive list, perhaps the most serious issue is texting. Texting is an activity that initially seems fairly harmless. This is especially true if you are only responding to a “short” text. It is important to understand, however, that regardless of the length of time you spend texting, your eyes, hands, and mind are all removed from driving in the process.

What are the results of texting and other forms of distracted driving? Well, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 alone 3,477 people driving while distracted ended up in a fatal accident or situation. Additionally, 67% of those victims were between the ages of 16 and 19.

Leading Cause of Death for Adolescents

According to numbers released by Allstate Insurance, one in two drivers said that they texted and drove. This comes from a poll conducted over three years (2013-2016) with 7,600 participants. Of those respondents, 76% also stated that they had either below average or average knowledge regarding the dangers of texting and driving. It should also be noted that as many as 66% of respondents also admitted to talking on the phone while driving. And while the majority of drivers surveyed admitted to distracted driving habits, even more actively disapprove of them, according to a poll funded by ATT: 95% of drivers surveyed disapproved of driving while distracted, but 71% of them also admitted to using smartphones while driving.

Why go into all of this? Well, distracted driving happens to be the leading cause of death for adolescents from the ages of 16 and 19. With so many people losing their lives at such a young age, it is important to really understand just how common distracted driving is, and how big the draw can be. Even amongst individuals who disapprove of it in theory, many of them are engaging in distracted driving behaviors.

In order to combat these distressing facts, let’s take a look at some risk factors that actually increase the risk of teen fatalities.

  • Tailgating and Speeding
  • Failing to Understand the Dangers of Driving
  • Failing to Accurately Identify Dangerous Situations
  • Not Wearing a Seat Belt
  • Weekend Drives
  • Drinking and Driving

It is important to keep the above in mind and make sure that your loved ones, of any age, understand the risk factors. This is perhaps especially true as, according to a Bloomberg study released in 2017, car accident fatalities are actually on the rise. It is suspected that the main cause of this is an increased rate of use of smartphones while driving.

Have you been injured while driving thanks to the distracted driving of another? The attorneys of Frederick & Hagle can help! Contact us today for a free consultation at 800.642.1227.

Is your Car Insurance Enough?

For many people, buying a car is one of the most important moments of their lives. Cars tend to equal freedom and independence, after all, not to mention a way to travel to work, school, family and friends. With that said, it should be noted that owning a vehicle is as much a responsibility as it is a boon to your lie. That means that there are things you must do in order to maintain your vehicle and protect yourself and others. One of the most important of these is ensuring that your insurance is sufficient.

What’s required in Illinois?

Every state has different rules regarding car insurance. In Illinois, there are two different kinds of insurance for motor vehicles that you are required to carry – body and liability coverage and property coverage. Body and liability cover is insurance that, as the name implies, covers deaths or injuries stemming from a car accident that you caused. Property insurance, on the other hand, covers things like damage to the property of another person involved in the accident, including things like the vehicle, yards, fences, personal items, and pets.

The state of Illinois only requires that you maintain the minimum of each kind of insurance coverage in order to remain in good standing with the law. That means that you must purchase the following:

  • $20,000 in property insurance (for each accident that occurs)
  • $25,000 in liability insurance that covers the death or injury of a single person
  • $50,000 in liability coverage to cover fatalities and injuries (for each accident that occurs)

Make sure to speak with your insurance broker to ensure that you meet the minimum insurance requirements set forth by the state. Additionally, you must carry your proof of insurance on your person at all times. Without it, you are not fully complying with the law.

Optional vs. Necessary Insurance Coverage

It is important to keep in mind that simply complying with the state law means carrying the bare minimum in insurance, not actually purchasing enough to cover yourself in the event of an accident. To ensure you have adequate security against car accidents, consider investing in voluntary insurance policies like:

  • Towing
  • Collision
  • Medical Payments
  • Comprehensive
  • Under-insured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Should you find yourself under-insured or uninsured, you could see your license suspended as well as be required to pay an expensive fine. You might also find yourself on the receiving end of civil penalties like a judgement finding you to be responsible for damages and injuries caused by the negligence you displayed when causing the accident in question.

How much insurance do I need?

As indicated above, the state minimums for auto insurance are $20,000 for property insurance, $25,000 for liability (injury or death), and $50,000 in liability (injury and fatalities), or 20/25/50. Most professionals will tell you that you should consider upping these amounts to 100/300/100, respectively, if you have a savings account and are in the middle class. Should you be wealthy and have more expensive assets, then consider investing in 250/500/100. What these higher coverage limits do is help protect your assets should you be found at fault for an accident.

Optional Policies and When to Consider Them

There are a number of optional policies that you can opt to add to your insurance policy. Under-insured motorist coverage, for example, is vital if you have no way to pay for medical care or damage done to your vehicle should you end up in an accident. If you have collision coverage and health insurance, this kind of policy is perhaps a bit more “optional”, but it is still an important one to consider as it helps keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.

Many people would prefer to avoid collision and comprehensive insurance policies because they are the more expensive additions. It is important to invest in them if your vehicle is ten years old or less, and especially if you have some kind of loan against the vehicle (in which case the lender in question will often dictate a minimum amount of collision/comprehensive coverage to maintain). This kind of optional policy is what helps pay for damage to your vehicle after an accident.

Finally, medical payment coverage is the policy that will help pay for your medical bills should you be injured in an accident. This is especially important if you have no health insurance or if your insurance is inadequate. While this policy addition can be pricey, that cost pales in comparison to the amount of money you could find yourself spending on medical payments should you be injured without it.

Remember that insurance only covers as much as you’re willing to pay for – and after the insurance runs out, you will end up paying for excess expenses. That money will come from your assets and finances. In order to help avoid this, make sure that you maintain adequate insurance coverage at all times.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, contact the experts at Frederick & Hagle today! We offer free consultations at 1.800.642.1227.

Medical Issues & Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers often find themselves facing the possibility of serious medical issues as they age. These issues have the potential to impact more than just their health – they can negatively impact their ability to drive safely and healthily. Trucking is not an easy profession, and the physical exhaustion, paired with mental stress, that are associated with the profession can also actually increase the medical issues in question.

Safety and Medical Conditions Related to Age

Drivers in charge of large commercial trucks often find themselves on the road for many long hours as well as plenty of heavy lifting when it comes to unloading and loading cargo. This is a profession that can prove difficult for even those who are in their prime and are physically healthy. When truck drivers begin to age, their risk of ending up with medical issues that impact their ability to safely do their job increases. This can also increase their chances of being injured on the job.

Some of the medical issues to be aware of in aging commercial truck drivers include:

  • Hearing and Vision Loss
  • Heart Disease
  • Bone Loss
  • Mental Disorders
  • Diabetes

Commercial Truck Drivers and Medical Requirements

Anyone driving a commercial motor vehicle that weighs 10,000 lbs. or more must meet a set of minimum physical requirements in order to work. That means that, unless you have been exempted under state or federal law, you must pass a medical exam performed by a licensed physician in order to ensure that you are physically and mentally capable of handling the unique stressors that commercial truck driving inflicts upon its drivers. Note that drivers in charge of commercial vehicles are subject to more rigorous mental and physical examinations and standards than individuals driving non-commercial vehicles.

In order to obtain your commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL, you must receive a FMCSA Medical Examiner’s Certificate. This must be carried with you and renewed at least once every two years. Failure to maintain this certification or presenting falsified documentation about their mental and physical health could lead to a loss of employment and/or steep fines.

Automobile Safety

If you had to pick a place to sit during a car accident, where would you choose? Many people would opt for the backseat. That could very well be a mistake, however, because recent research has found that passengers sitting in the backseat are as much as 46% more like to be fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident than individuals in the front seat.

What makes the backseat so risky?

As technology has developed over the past decade, so too has the structure and safety of the front-end of vehicles. This is largely due to changes in electronic stability controls, structural changes, and side airbags. With that said, the backseat has not adapted at the same pace. Perhaps this is why fatalities from individuals sitting in the front seat of significantly fallen, fatalities from people sitting in the back have not. Mentioned briefly above, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that individuals in the backseat are killed in car crashes 46% more often than those in the front seat. Note that this risk increases with age. The backseat is still the safest place for young children who are 13 years old and younger – but for every year over that threshold, the risk incurred by sitting in the backseat increases.

Backseat Safety

Many people miss wearing their seatbelts when they are in the backseat. This is likely brought on by a false sense of security that the backseat is “safe” and they are less likely to experience injuries. Seatbelt laws also don’t typically pertain to backseat passengers, which means that passengers can choose whether they want to wear them or not without breaking the law. And, of course, backseat seatbelts are often less comfortable than those in the front seat, leading to many individuals who prefer to ride without them.

It is important to note that passengers can still be seriously injured in the backseat. At Frederick & Hagle, we see many backseat passengers suffering from injuries like facial lacerations, neck and head injuries, broken bones, and chest injuries.

Injuries and Accidents

Studies have shown that adults 55 years or older have an increased risk of dying from backseat injuries, and that’s even if they are wearing their seatbelt properly. When they fail to wear their seatbelt at all, the risk is even higher. In 2015, this danger was illustrated tragically well with the death of John Forbes Nash, Jr. and Bob Simon. Nash was the mathematician who inspired the movie A Beautiful Mind and Simon was a popular 60 Minutes correspondent. The public was devastated at these losses, but many people still neglect to wear their seatbelts and take precautions when riding in the backseat.

Personal Injury Claims in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, personal injury law covers auto accident injuries, although a wrongful death case might be established should it possible to prove negligence. Personal injury lawsuits are covered by civil court, and there is a two-year statute of limitations in effect (from the date of the accident) usually limits when cases can be filed. There are also several different statutes of limitations that might apply depending upon the case in question, which is why contacting an experienced attorney is such a good idea.

For more information about how Frederick & Hagle can help you understand the court process, contact us today!

Illinois Motor Vehicle Insurance

If you, or any of your loved ones, have been involved in a car accident, you might wonder how, exactly, you can expect auto insurance to work. To answer that concern, it is important to understand that Illinois is classified as a “fault car insurance state”. That means that the individual who is found at fault – the person who caused the accident – must compensate those who were injured or had property damaged as a result. In generally, the auto insurance carrier of the individual found at fault will pay for the aforementioned costs.

At Frederick & Hagle, attorneys at law, we have experience working with insurance companies to help ensure that our clients receive compensation. Let’s take a look at some of the insurance requirements for auto insurance in Illinois.

Car Insurance Requirements in Illinois

If you have a motor vehicle registered in Illinois and live in Illinois, there are certain requirements/laws that you must follow. As a driver, you are required to carry a minimum of $20,000 of insurance coverage in case anyone is injured or dies in an accident (including you or someone else). You must also carry a minimum of $40,000 in coverage that will cover the death or injury of more than one person as the result of an auto accident. Finally, you must carry $15,000 in coverage to cover property damages incurred as a result of an auto accident.

Note that these are minimums, and it is advisable to carry more than this in coverage. This is because, should you be found at-fault in an auto accident, you could be found personally liable for any damages that exceed the amount of your insurance coverage.

Uninsured Driver Coverage

In Illinois, it is required that your insurance policy contain uninsured motorist coverage. As the name implies, uninsured motorist coverage is used to help compensate you in the event that are in an accident with an uninsured driver. Instead of attempting to seek damages from their insurance company, you seek help from your own. Consider this a “safety net” of sorts. Note that while Illinois law does require that your uninsured motorist coverage be equal in limits to your policy for Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, you can make the decision to select a smaller limit. Should you opt for this, you must make that selection in writing. The lowest limit that Illinois law allows is $40,000 per accident or $20,000 per person.

Hire an Auto Accident Attorney in Illinois

If you have found yourself in an auto accident and need help to seek compensation, reach out to Frederick & Hagle, attorneys at law, today for a free initial consultation.

Have you found yourself the victim of an accident?

If so, you might have already realized just how quickly you can fall into debt and just how far your stress levels can rise. This is especially true if you needed to seek medical treatment for your injuries. And if the injuries were so severe that you found yourself unable to work normal hours, then you might have landed in an impossibly difficult financial situation that just seems to get worse and worse. When that happens, you might consider pursuing compensation for your lost wages and other expenses and injuries via a personal injury claim.

There are two main forms of damages your lawyer can help you pursue: punitive damages and compensatory damages. This is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as compensatory damages can be broken down even further to reference very specific issues. In order to have the best chance at receiving the kind of compensation you deserve, consider reaching out to experienced attorneys like those at Frederick and Hagle. We understand personal injury law, and we will work hard to ensure that your rights and needs are looked after.

Let’s take a look at the different forms of compensation available through personal injury claims and why you might or might not qualify for certain benefits depending upon the nature of your case.

Punitive vs. Compensatory Damages

Punitive damages and compensatory damages are not one in the same. In fact, each type of damage is awarded independently from the other by the jury or the judge in charge of listening to the case and coming to a decision. The differences between the two kinds of damages are as follows:

  • Punitive Damages. These kinds of damages are saved for cases where purposeful acts of harm and malice, or even gross negligence so extreme that it borders on purposeful, are in play. They are also not necessarily considered compensation for the victim, but rather as a kind of punishment levied against the defendant. Note that these damages are still fairly controversial, however they have increased in popularity over the past few years and are more common than they used to be.
  • Compensatory Damages. These damages are awarded to victims as a way to compensate for their time, medical costs, physical injuries, lost benefits or wages, damage to reputation, or emotional distress caused as a result of the accident in question. These damages are awarded as compensation to victims.

Comparative Negligence and Compensation

In the state of Illinois, comparative negligence is enforced in the courts. Comparative damage states that a party that has been injured in an accident and is seeking compensation can only collect damages if they are no more than 50% at fault for the injuries. If they are determined to have been even 51% responsible for them, then they will be unable to collect compensation via compensatory damages. In addition, the victim’s compensation will be reduced according to how “at fault” they were for the accident in question. That means that even if you are found to be 50% or less at fault for your own injuries, the amount of compensation you receive will go lower as your percentage of fault increases.

To put it more clearly, let’s take a situation where a victim would receive $50,000 in compensatory damages, but they have been found to be exactly 10% at fault for the injuries. The court will reduce their compensation accordingly by removing 10% of $50,000. That means that they will receive $5,000 less than they might have otherwise received had they not been found to be at fault.

If this sounds like a fairly big issue for victims, that is because it is! Many defense attorneys will seek to use the concept of comparative damages to lower the amount of compensation the victim receives. That is why it is important that victims seek out a skilled personal injury attorney familiar with comparative negligence in order to ensure they receive the compensation to which they are entitled.

It should be noted at this point that one major way victims can be found at fault for their injuries is via “assumption of risk”. This means that they willingly put themselves at risk of a known danger. If this is true of your case – or even if it isn’t – it is especially important to seek out an attorney to help you file and argue your claim.

Different Forms of Compensatory Damages

When it comes to compensatory damages, they can include one to three things. These include:

  • Economic Damages
    • Medical Costs
    • Loss of Future Earnings
    • Loss of Earning Capacity
    • Lost Wages
    • Loss of Personal Property
    • Legal Fees
  • Loss in Value
    • This is a loss in the victim’s overall performance, and is most commonly seen in breach of contract lawsuits.
  • Non-Economic Damages
    • Pain and Suffering
    • Emotional Distress (Mental Anguish)

Punitive Damages

As briefly mentioned above, punitive damages are given when the jury or the judge find that the defendant deserves punishment for their actions. This is not the case in all claims. In fact, punitive damages are fairly rare except in the cases of malicious intent or gross negligence.

Punitive damages are awarded when certain factors are present. The defendant’s acts must have been reprehensible, for example, to the extent where they should serve as a public example warning others away from repeating their course of action. Other elements to look for include:

  • More than simple negligence.
  • Damages that are proportionate to the amount of compensatory damages awarded.

Punitive damage amounts are left up to the discretion of the judge in question, and rarely exceed four times what the victim was awarded in compensatory damages.

Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney today!

For more information about your personal injury case and how we can help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, reach out to us at Frederick and Hagle! Our knowledgeable and passionate attorneys are ready to help, and we offer free initial consultations! Contact us at 217.367.6092 or 800.642.1227 today!


Auto Insurance and Traffic Accidents in Illinois

If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how important it is to have auto insurance. This is especially true if you were at fault in the accident. Illinois is an at-fault state, which means if you caused the accident, you will have to pay for the damage done to the any other vehicle involved and provide compensation for any injuries anyone else suffered. Continue reading “Auto Insurance and Traffic Accidents in Illinois”

Rollover Motor Vehicle Accidents

When it comes to things most people hope they never experience while driving, rollover crashes tend to rank pretty highly. The sad reality, however, is that they are not an uncommon occurrence. According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports, at least 280,000 rollover accidents happen every year. Between them, they are responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 people. Continue reading “Rollover Motor Vehicle Accidents”

Motor Vehicle Accidents Are Commonplace In Illinois

Obtaining your license is one of the most common rites of passage experienced in the United States. In fact, in certain parts of the country it is almost a necessity to have your license. That does not mean that having a license is a right, however, or that driving is not something to be seen with respect. Every time you drive somewhere, you are taking responsibility for the safety of yourself and everyone around you. Continue reading “Motor Vehicle Accidents Are Commonplace In Illinois”

Meat industry workers suffer job injuries from repetitive motions

On behalf of of Frederick & Hagle posted in Industrial Workers’ Accidents on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.

Sitting down to a supper of chicken or beef might not cause many people in Illinois to wonder about the conditions in which the animal was killed. Continue reading “Meat industry workers suffer job injuries from repetitive motions”