If you need compensation after your car accident, one of the most important things you can do is work with a Chicago car crash lawyer.
Illinois is more than familiar with car accidents. In fact, in 2015, our state saw more than 313,000 motor vehicle accidents, and nearly 66,000 of those involved injuries. Because Chicago is the most populous city in our state, we see a substantial portion of those injury-causing accidents each year.
All of the victims in these crashes must face the difficult financial realities that follow. Medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time away from work are just a handful of the expenses tied to a motor vehicle accident.
At Lane & Lane, LLC, we believe in helping car accident victims get the personal injury compensation they deserve. If you were injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with a car accident lawyer at our Chicago firm to learn more about how we can help you.
The Cause of Your Crash Is Important
After your car accident, you were likely dazed and in pain, meaning you were unable to fully understand what had just happened. You might have missed key details about the events that led to your car accident—details that could determine the cause and, ultimately, who you should name in your claim for compensation.
Identifying and proving the cause of your Chicago-area motor vehicle accident is going to be a key part of your lawyer’s job. We will gather evidence to show who or what caused your crash so we can build you the strongest case possible.
Driver Errors and Car Accident Negligence
More often than not, the driver of the vehicle that struck you will have contributed to the cause of the accident in some way. The following are some of the most common ways that drivers cause car accidents in Chicago:
Drunk Drivers and Car Accidents
Chicago’s vibrant nightlife has a dark side: Drunk driving is a serious problem in and around Chicago. If a driver chose to drive while intoxicated and injured you as a result, you can hold him or her accountable with our firm's help.
Texting and Other Distractions in the Car
These days, everyone has a smartphone, and many people think it’s acceptable to use these devices while they’re driving. It’s not acceptable, and it causes countless injuries every year. Texting, using GPS systems, and engaging in many other distractions could be considered negligent behaviors for which you could be entitled to compensation if they caused your injuries.
Driving While Drowsy
Drowsy driving is an extremely dangerous driving behavior, and drivers who cause wrecks because they’re too tired can be held accountable for their decision to drive when their reactions and reflexes are numbed by fatigue.
It seems that, when drivers think they can get away with it, they speed. No matter how clear the roads are or how much of a hurry drivers are in, speeding is against the law. It can easily cause serious Chicago car accidents, and, for that, speeding drivers should be held financially accountable.
Poor driving practices are the primary cause of car crashes in Chicago. When another driver has neglected to consider the safety of those sharing the roads with them, your attorney will be ready to bring a civil claim against them so you can secure the compensation you deserve.
Other Frequent Causes of Wrecks
Apart from driver negligence, you may also be able to file a claim against the a local government road authority or the manufacturers or technicians of the cars involved in the car accident.
The government could have played a part in the cause of the wreck if the roads weren't safe. This might be due to deep potholes that haven’t been repaired, missing street lamps or signs, debris in the roads, and unsecured road construction zones. The government is responsible for maintaining the safety of the roads, and when they neglect to do so, they should be held accountable.
Likewise, automakers and technicians have an obligation to ensure that the parts they install in vehicles are in working condition and report any recalls on parts so they can be replaced—free of charge to the driver of the car. When this doesn’t happen and a part malfunctions or is faulty, the manufacturer should be brought to justice for their irresponsible decisions.
Summing Up Car Crash Liability
The only way your claim can be a success is if your legal team is able to establish negligence on the part of another. After your attorney has gathered enough information to prove fault, he or she will begin the process of pursuing compensation from the other involved driver or the relevant insurance company.
Negligence Laws and Vehicle Wrecks
It may come as a surprise to learn that you can still file a claim if you contributed to the cause of your collision. Residents of Illinois are subject to a modified comparative negligence law when filing claims. Essentially, this means that you can pursue compensation if you’re partially at fault, but your award will be reduced by your percentage of the blame.
Here’s an example: You’re awarded $1,000,000 after suffering a traumatic brain injury caused by your auto accident, but you are found to be 25 percent liable. You should expect to come away with an award of $750,000 after modified comparative negligence laws are applied.
However, you need to keep in mind that there is a threshold for liability in Illinois of 49 percent. If you exceed this percentage of blame, you will no longer be able to pursue your claim and could even be the subject of a claim yourself. Your Chicago attorney will be able to explain how your case will be affected if you are partially at fault for your collision.
Identifying Your Injuries
After your crash, you likely went to the hospital if you were seriously injured. If you haven’t yet gone to see a doctor, you should do so as soon as possible. That’s because a medical professional can make sure you’re OK and provide official documentation of all the injuries your auto accident caused.
This sort of documentation is going to be critical when you list your injuries in your claim for compensation. And the more severe your injuries are, the more compensation you should receive if your claim is successful. Here are some common serious injuries tied to car accidents in Chicago:
With severe injuries come significant damages, and your inability to continue working due to the extent of your condition can put your family in serious financial stress. With household bills continuing to pile up and medical expenses climbing, it is in your best interest to speak with a top-rated Chicago car accident attorney who can help you fight for the compensation that’s rightfully yours.
Your Fight with the Insurance Companies
In the aftermath of your crash, you might find yourself dealing with two insurance companies: yours and the other driver’s. Dealing with one is bad enough when you’re already dealing with your own injuries and stress, but dealing with two insurers only highlights the benefits of allowing an attorney to handle the matter for you.
Most insurance companies like to project the image that they’re always on their customers’ side. That would be nice if it were true, but, most of the time, it’s not. Your own insurance company will likely make every effort it can to downplay your injuries and property damage to reduce the amount of compensation it owes you.
You’re likely going to deal with the same issues when you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. They may make it sound like asking you for a statement about your crash is just a part of the process, but you don’t have to answer them. In fact, answering them could open you up to liability if they’re able to twist your words to point the blame at you.
An easy alternative is to simply inform the insurance company that you have hired a Chicago car wreck attorney. Advise the insurers to call your lawyer, who will know exactly what to say to make sure you aren’t the victim of shady insurance tactics after your car accident.
Get the Most Out of Your Claim
While building your case, your Chicago auto crash attorney will be responsible for calculating the value of your claim. It’s difficult to say how much your damages will amount to, but it stands to reason that the more serious your injuries were, the more they’ve impacted your life—and the more money you’ll be awarded.
Generally speaking, damages are categorized as either economic or non-economic. Economic losses will be the ones that have an impact on your financial situation, while non-economic damages will affect your emotions and lifestyle.
We have placed some of the most frequently sought damages in their respective categories in the table below:
||Loss of enjoyment of life
|Damage to your earning potential
||Pain and suffering
||Loss of companionship and love
When you are discussing the details of your collision and subsequent injuries with your car accident attorney in Chicago, you should be sure to leave no loss unaccounted for, no matter how small it may seem. This will ensure that every single loss is included when determining what your auto accident claim is worth and how much compensation you're owed.
Chicago Car Accident FAQ
Many of our clients have never been involved in a car accident before and therefore have many questions regarding what they should expect when they are filing a claim. For this reason, we have answered some questions we often hear from our clients below.
How much is my claim worth?
We won’t be able to give you an exact value for your claim until we have spoken with you and examined all the evidence. However, we can tell you that the value of your claim is going to hinge on the damages you’ve suffered as a result of your crash.
You could receive compensation for medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost income, damage to your quality of life, pain and suffering, and many other damages.
Will I have to go to court for my lawsuit?
You might. In most cases, we are able to continue negotiating with the insurance company until they offer a settlement that is fair and reasonable. However, there are times when the insurer thinks they can get one over on you, and that’s not acceptable to us.
In these cases, we’ll bring your case to court, where an impartial judge and jury can review the details of your car accident and award you based on the damages you endured and the negligence of the defendant.
If I was in a single-car crash, can I still sue?
That is going to depend on the cause of your crash. For example, if you ran off the road because a tool from a roadside construction site was in your lane, you might be able to recover compensation from the construction company.
Alternatively, if your brakes failed and caused your Chicago single-car crash, you might be able to name the manufacturer of the defective brakes in your claim. Your lawyer will give you a better idea of what you can expect after you discuss the details of your single-car crash in your free case review.
Partner with a Chicago Car Accident Attorney
Starting on the date of your injuries, you only have two years to file your claim for compensation, so there isn’t much time to waste. Get in touch with Lane & Lane, LLC to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us at 312-332-1400 or fill out the online contact form below to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer.