Importance of Defensive Driving

Car Accident Attorneys Representing Injured People in Chicago

Drivers often make mistakes. The importance of defensive driving cannot be overstated. Defensive driving occurs when drivers consciously reduce the danger associated with driving by staying aware of what is happening, rather than getting distracted, and responding appropriately as issues arise. Generally, defensive driving reduces the likelihood of getting into a crash and can also reduce the costs associated with maintaining and refueling a vehicle. The Chicago car accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck may be able to help you recover damages if you are injured due to another driver's failure to drive defensively.

Understanding the Importance of Defensive Driving

Drivers should always be looking ahead and giving themselves time to react appropriately to dangerous situations when they arise. A defensive driver does not assume that another driver will make a good decision that allows for the avoidance of a collision. Instead, a defensive driver accepts that it is possible that another driver will act erratically or fail to drive safely.

Defensive driving can include leaving sufficient room when following another car. It can include yielding to another driver when it is not clear who has the right of way or when it is not clear that the other driver is going to yield appropriately. Defensive driving includes minimizing lane changes and turning on the turn signal early enough to give the driver behind you time to react. Generally, defensive drivers do not drive while emotional or fatigued. They also eliminate distractions, such as their cell phone or snack foods. They pay attention to the weather and make sure that they have enough time to get to where they are going.

If you are injured by an aggressive or non-defensive driver, you may be able to recover damages. In most cases, your lawyer will need to establish negligence by showing that the other driver failed to drive safely and caused your accident as a result. A driver who does not leave enough room between himself and another car, or who pushes forward even though another driver has the right of way, is likely to be found negligent.

Sometimes multiple drivers fail to drive defensively. Two drivers behaving aggressively are likely to get into an accident. The other driver or their insurer may claim that you were aggressive, whether or not you were. The insurance adjuster's goal is often to save money rather than pay according to the terms of the policy. As a result, they may look for errors that you made in hopes of building a strong defense based on comparative negligence. Under a theory of comparative negligence, your damages will be reduced by an amount equivalent to your degree of fault. For example, if the damages are $100,000, but you are found 40% at fault for weaving through traffic, and the other driver is 60% at fault for speeding up to cut you off, you would be able to recover $60,000 from the other driver. On the other hand, if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the injuries, you would be barred from recovering any damages.

After getting into an accident in which another driver failed to drive defensively, or both of you failed to drive defensively, you should seek medical care. When the jury looks at how much money would reasonably and fairly compensate you, it is supposed to consider that an injured person must use ordinary care to get medical treatment for injuries. If your damages are worse because you failed to get medical care, you will not be able to recover the damages legally caused by your delay or failure to seek medical care.

Get Assistance from a Car Crash Lawyer in the Chicago Region

If you were injured in a car accident and concerned about the other driver's failure to use defensive driving techniques, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent accident victims in Chicago, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation, or contact us online.