Shutterstock 719930443 07/20/20

What You Need to Know About Illinois’ New Driving Laws

Drivers in Illinois now face stiffer penalties for injuring people in crosswalks, in school zones or while texting and driving.

“People may think it’s harmless to multitask and text while behind the wheel,” McNabola Law Group partner Mark McNabola said, “but the result can be catastrophic. These new laws help hold reckless and distracted drivers accountable. Pedestrians, cyclists and fellow motorists depend on drivers to follow the rules of the road.”

Under a new amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code, drivers who cause “great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person” while texting and driving now face a 12-month license suspension and minimum $1,000 fine.

Illinois banned texting and driving in 2010 and cracked down further on distracting driving last year with stiffer penalties for people who use electronic devices behind the wheel.

Distracted driving killed more than 2,800 people in 2018, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Among those killed were 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists.

The agency also estimates 400,000 people across the U.S. were injured in 2018 crashes involving distracted driving.

A second Illinois law that went into effect July 1, 2020, establishes a 12-month license suspension for drivers who seriously injure someone in crosswalks or school zones. Previously, drivers could be subject to a fine without losing their license.

The law, an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code, has been named “Mason’s Law” in memory of 24-year-old Mason Knorr, who was killed in August 2018 when a semi-truck driver ran a stop sign and crashed into Knorr’s pickup truck.

“Distracted driving and the safety of pedestrians remain among our biggest challenges to get the number of traffic deaths where it should be: zero,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement.

McNabola Law Group in May filed a lawsuit after a Lake County cyclist was struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk. The 41-year-old victim suffered major internal injuries and 14 broken ribs. He required extensive surgery.

The crosswalk, located at the intersection of the Skokie Valley Bike Path and Westleigh Road in Lake Forest, Ill., was clearly marked with a bright yellow street sign and white paint on the pavement.

“Anyone behind the wheel should know yellow signs at crosswalks are the equivalent of a stop sign,” McNabola said. “Mason’s Law reinforces how serious and necessary it is to pay attention and stop.”

Two other driving laws went into effect this month:

• Illinois’ gas tax doubled last year to 38 cents per gallon to help fund statewide road improvements. It rose again this month by 0.7 cents per gallon.

• Drivers will no longer have their license or vehicle registration suspended for unpaid parking fines or tollway violations. “Parking tickets have no impact whatsoever on your ability to drive safely, so it really shouldn’t impact the privileges of your driver's license,” Henry Haupt, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, told NPR.

Across the state line, Indiana this month became one of three new states to ban the use of hand-held cellphones. Under the new law, drivers can be fined up to $500 and potentially lose their license for holding a phone while driving — even if the phone isn’t being used.

Texting while driving has been illegal in Indiana since 2011.

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From our offices in downtown Chicago, our personal injury litigation attorneys represent clients in communities throughout Cook County and Illinois. Learn more about ways we can help you receive the compensation you need for your physical, mental, emotional and financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

$27

million

Product Liability - A married father of three was paralyzed in a boating injury when he fell from the upper deck of a yacht. The offer by the insurance company for the defendant was $3 million before trial and $25 million after 3 weeks of jury trial.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$20

million

Construction Site Negligence - A man was demonstrating construction equipment known as a “man lift” and was elevated in the air. The lift collapsed and two men suffered permanent injuries. McNabola Law Group represented one of two men injured totaling $20 million. Prior to jury trial the offer was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$14

million

Medical Malpractice - A young mother died during child birth when doctors failed to monitor her properly. Her newborn baby also suffered irreversible brain damage during the delivery at a Chicagoland hospital. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$12

million

Medical Malpractice - A 52 year old man suffered an anoxic brain injury following routine bowel surgery when doctors and nurses at a suburban hospital failed to properly monitor and treat him post-operatively. The offer before jury trial was $3 million. Case settled after it was set for jury selection.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A young girl was killed when she was struck by a vehicle that had previously collided with a bus that was traveling too fast for conditions. After a ten-day jury trial, a Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high verdict for the wrongful death of a minor in a motor vehicle accident. There was no offer for settlement by the defendant.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A Cook County jury entered the verdict in favor of a 72-year-old grandmother rendered wheelchair-dependent after a car vs truck accident. The offer prior to trial was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A 72 year old woman was paralyzed following an automobile accident. The defendant turned into the plaintiff’s vehicle causing her to sustain a spinal fracture and dislocation at C6-C7 requiring a fusion. She is wheelchair dependent. The offer for settlement before jury trial was $4 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.2

million

Medical Malpractice - A young woman suffered amputation of her legs as a result of complications following surgery at a suburban hospital. Doctors and nurses failed to develop and implement an appropriate plan to manage blood thinning medications pre and post-operatively leading to severe clotting and tissue death. The case settled during jury selection. The offer was $3 million before trial.    

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$7.8

million

Medical Negligence - A woman presented herself to the emergency room on three consecutive days with worsening symptoms. Finally, she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis but suffered severe injuries due to the delay of diagnosis and treatment. The initial settlement offer was $3 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.9

million

Construction Negligence - A man lost his leg while working at a City of Chicago construction site. The man was working near his truck at the construction site when a driver struck him and pinned him against his truck. City workers failed to properly mark their construction site, failed to safely route traffic around the area, and failed to use flaggers to warn traffic to slow down and direct it to move one direction at a time. The offer prior to jury trial was zero. A Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Medical Negligence - A 48 year old woman suffered severe brain damage at a Chicagoland hospital after surgery to alleviate sleep apnea. Her breathing tube clogged because of inadequate monitoring by the nursing staff. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 30 year old man suffered severe injuries from a 30-foot fall at a construction site and received blood thinning medication at the defendant hospital that was intended for another patient. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6

million

Motorcycle Negligence - A teenager and her father were injured in a motorcycle crash. The 15 year old suffered severe fracture to her right ankle which required multiple surgeries. Her father sustained numerous injuries including a fractured wrist and ankle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A wheel assembly dislodged from the axel of a semi-trailer killing two seventeen year old boys.  McNabola Law Group represented the family members of one of the two boys. The extent of liability insurance coverage for both families was six million dollars.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.5

million

Automobile Negligence - A 29 year old woman suffered a fractured cervical spine and subsequently died after the car she was riding in crashed into a construction pit. The jury held the contractor liable for failing to place concrete barriers at the construction site. The offer prior to jury trial was $1 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Product Liability - A man working in Will County was unexpectedly sprayed in the face with anhydrous ammonia when a house coupler failed to close properly. The incident caused severe eye injuries. During the investigation, the coupler was thrown away. The primary cause of this action was based on spoliation of evidence against the insurance adjuster. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high result for this type of injury. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Construction Negligence - A 27 year old man’s legs were crushed causing below the knee amputations when a wall fell onto his legs after an employee cut a steel beam while demolishing a Union Pacific railroad bridge. $5 million was the extent of the insurance policy limit. This case concluded after it was set for jury trial. 

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$4.9

million

Medical Malpractice - A young girl who suffered from cardiac arrhythmias due to a cardiac abnormality had a cardiac procedure. Four weeks after the procedure, she was cleared to resume sports and other activities, she collapsed in gym class and later died. The case settled prior to jury trial.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4.7

million

Construction Negligence - A man was working on a ladder, painting a Chicago building, when his ladder came in contact with electrical wires. He suffered severe electric shock, broken ankles and ribs, and a fractured back. An Illinois utility company, ComEd, was called four times before the incident to shut off the lines but they never shut off the lines. The victim has undergone multiple surgeries and has not been able to return to his career since the incident.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4

million

Medical Negligence - A young woman died at a Chicago hospital when doctors failed to timely diagnose symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. She had a cardiac procedure performed so that she could stop taking anti-arrhythmia medications. She was discharged from the hospital only to die two days later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3.6

million

Medical Negligence - A 12 year old girl was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes during a routine surgical procedure. Plaintiffs alleged the surgical residents mismanaged the young girl’s airway and negligently allowed her condition to deteriorate before attempting intubation at the bedside. Following a two week trial the jury awarded $3.6 million. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Automobile Negligence - A man’s automobile was struck by a taxicab and he suffered permanent weakness in his legs and a laceration of an artery in his chest. The extent of insurance company policy limit was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Medical Negligence - A 60 year old man who suffered from uncontrolled diabetes and vascular disease was admitted to a Chicago hospital with an infected ankle wound. Doctors postponed the procedure and failed to timely readmit the plaintiff to undergo a procedure to reestablish blood supply to his leg. Plaintiff leg was amputated below the knee a month later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.9

million

Medical Negligence - A DuPage County record jury verdict for the family of a 5 day old baby who died when physicians failed to timely diagnose an obstructed bowel. The jury concluded physicians also delayed administering IV fluids, antibiotics and transfer to an institution with a pediatric surgeon available. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A 41 year old father and husband was killed instantly when the defendant ran a red light and hit his vehicle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.5

million

Medical Negligence - A 58 year old woman died after a radiologist from a Chicago hospital misread the patient CT scan and failed to identify her bowel obstruction. 10 days later another CT scan was done and the obstruction was located and emergency surgery performed. She suffered complications which resulted in her death.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$2.5

million

Trucking Negligence - A 31 year old man was hit by a flatbed truck after he stopped and exited his car to gather a loose dog from the roadway. He suffered degloving of his left leg above and below the knee, vascular and nerve injuries. Plaintiff has been unable to return to work.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.3

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman was killed while driving on I-88 when an upraised backhoe on a flatbed trailer hit the underpass and fell on top of her car.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.2

million

Medical Negligence - A 42 year old high school teacher died of severe coronary atherosclerosis after a Chicago hospital failed to recognize or timely provide treatment for high cholesterol and hypertension.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman driving on I-80 was cut off by a truck driver, forcing her off the roadway. Her car flipped, causing de-gloving of her right arm and serious injuries.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 39 year old man sustained bilateral hip fractures, shoulder dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff during a fall from inadequate scaffolding at a construction site.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Negligence - A railroad worker was injured when he was working underneath a train car. The train car moved resulting in injuries to his shoulder, knees, hip and neck. The accident was caused by miscommunication between employees and the company that managed railcar movements in the yard.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Product Liability - A settlement against a furniture company in the case of a 3 year old who died when a poorly-constructed dining room chair toppled over. The front legs of the chair were one half inch longer than the back legs. The child suffered a seizure, became unconscious and died the next day at a Suburban hospital.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Trucking Negligence - An 81 year-old woman was struck by semi-tractor trailer resulting in multiple fractures to her right femur, left tibia, left ankle and right hip. The defense had two witnesses who claimed the plaintiff walked into the back of the trailer while crossing mid-block outside the crosswalk. The case settled during jury trial. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A young man was driving on a highway when his vehicle was struck from behind by a sports utility vehicle. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his back which required surgery.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.6

million

Record High Jury Verdict - A college student suffered burns on her face, arms and chest in an incident at a campus bar at the University of Iowa. A bartender poured grain alcohol into the bar well and lit it on fire. The flames went out of control and into the crowd.  After a six-day jury trial, in Iowa City the jury returned a verdict in favor of the victim. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the award is one of the largest in Johnson County history. The offer prior to jury trial was $200,000.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.5

million

Construction Negligence - A 37 year old mason was working on a construction site when a forklift struck a crossbar of the structural steel frame, dislodged unsecured concrete planks, and fell killing him instantly.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.3

million

Automobile Negligence - Three plaintiffs were in an automobile that struck and hit a construction barrel on I-94. The passengers took off their seat belts and one of the passengers exited the car. The defendant then struck the vehicle and the vehicle hit the passenger who exited the vehicle throwing her onto the CTA tracks. She suffered a brain bleed, fractures to her ribs, pelvis, tailbone, jaw and ankle. The plaintiffs that were in the car was ejected and died. There was a limited amount of insurance coverage.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Negligence - An 8 day old baby died on the operating table when the anesthesiologist improperly managed the baby’s anesthesia during the surgery. The anthologist failed to advise surgeons of the baby’s low blood pressure and abnormal blood gas readings.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Malpractice - A woman suffered a stillbirth despite having carried her baby to term through a healthy pregnancy as a result of the failure of the nurses and physicians to properly monitor and to timely reverse signs and symptoms of significant fetal distress.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Construction Negligence - Plaintiff fell from a temporary staircase in his new home suffering a hip injury. Investigation of the staircase concluded it was not properly re-installed and secured after hardwood flooring was installed.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1

million

Record High Settlement - After seven days of jury trial, the parties agreed to settle a work injury case involving a reflex sympathetic dystrophy injury to a 37 year old man. The plaintiff slipped on an unnatural accumulation of ice and water at the Bismark loading dock at Navy Pier, fracturing his right leg. The injury resulted caused RSD. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is the highest result on record for this type of injury. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola