There are many causes of traffic accidents that are preventable. One of these is rubbernecking. Many people rubberneck when they see an accident on the road. Unfortunately, this distracts the rubbernecker from the traffic conditions surrounding him or her. Rubbernecking is a form of distracted driving that can cause serious or catastrophic injuries to passengers of the rubbernecker, as well as people inside other cars that are nearby. If you are injured in a rubbernecking accident, you should consult a Chicago car accident attorney.Holding a Driver Accountable for a Rubbernecking Accident
Rubbernecking is the act of looking at something as you drive past it. People often rubberneck in connection with a car crash or other accident. Sometimes people rubberneck at other spectacles, such as beautiful scenery or a monument. Rubbernecking can cause a traffic jam or a collision.
A large percentage of car crash deaths in the country are caused by distraction. After being initially distracted, drivers may continue to pay less attention to the road for around 27 seconds after the distraction ends. In other words, a rubbernecker may not only be distracted by a particular spectacle but may also be distracted after it and may not respond appropriately to changing circumstances.
Rubbernecking is a conscious decision to look at something outside the car rather than pay attention to road conditions. To hold a driver responsible for a resulting collision, you most likely will need to show negligence. This means showing that it is more likely than not that the other driver owed you a duty, which they breached in causing the accident. In most cases, a jury will find that rubbernecking was a breach of duty. It is different from a momentary distraction over which a driver has no control, like a bee flying into the car or another driver honking a horn. Instead, rubbernecking is a conscious choice to look away from the road and pay attention to something else. Usually, drivers who are rubbernecking slow down and may even stop in the road to satisfy their curiosity.
Often, drivers who rubberneck try to pin the blame on another driver. For example, they may argue that you were tailgating or did not leave enough room to enter a lane of traffic, and this led to a rear-end collision. Illinois follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. Rubberneckers who are injured also may try to blame the drivers involved in the accident over which they were rubbernecking. Illinois juries often examine all of the parties' potential fault for a car crash and assign percentages of fault. As a plaintiff, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. If you are found to be over 50% at fault, you will not be able to recover any damages. However, if the total damages are $100,000, and you are found to be 25% at fault, for example, you can recover up to $75,000 worth of damages.
Damages that your attorney may be able to recover after a rubbernecking accident include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are tangible losses, often documented. They may include past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, replacement services, medical equipment, prescription medication, and other out-of-pocket costs. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
The amount of damages that you will be able to recover depends on the extent of your injuries and costs. For example, some accident victims have only soft tissue injuries after a rubbernecking accident, and the amount of damages in that case may be modest. However, the damages are likely to be substantial when catastrophic injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, crushing, amputations, or complex fractures are involved.Discuss Your Situation with a Car Crash Lawyer in Chicago
If you were injured in a rubbernecking accident in Chicago, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney about whether you have a basis to sue for damages. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent accident victims in Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other communities in Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.