In the United States, there is an average of 6 million car accidents and tens of thousands of deaths that cost an average of $230.6 billion per year. This is the leading cause of death and catastrophic injury in the country. A victim’s way of life can be destroyed or their income can be negatively impacted so they can’t support their family all due to a negligent driver.
Thankfully, insurance companies and these negligent drivers are required to pay by law fair compensation to the innocent victims that were harmed. Throughout the state of Illinois and specifically in the city of Chicago, the legal team at Ktenas Injury Attorneys is one of the most successful in handling auto accidents. Our litigation team works to achieve the most desirable outcomes for all of our clients.
Why Hire a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer?
Numerous individuals think auto accident lawyers are costly and confounded. Victims may believe they're equipped for taking care of their auto collision guarantee all alone. What they don't understand is they could wind up with substantially less than they truly deserve, on account of mishandled claims. This is particularly evident in cases that include severe injuries or liability doubts.
Try not to get exploited by weak settlement offers from manipulative insurance agencies. Prepare yourself with the skills only a personal injury lawyer can give. Contact an accomplished Chicago car accident lawyer, where we will work to get you the offer you really deserve.
Determining the negligent parties who might be liable for your physical injuries
Calculating the value of your claim
Preparing and filing your claim
Presenting all necessary supporting evidence and documentation
Proving personal injury damages
Communicating with and negotiating with adjusters
Fighting for the settlement offer you deserve
Filing a legal claim against an unreasonable insurer
When you enlist our law office, your lawyer will take it from that point, and you can concentrate on what is significant, which is your medical treatment and physical recuperation.
We've seen numerous individuals settle for offers that are too low essentially in light of the fact that they don't have the time, energy, or resources to battle for a better offer. We have the time, energy, and resources expected to go to bat for accident victims, so please contact our office to get familiar with how an experienced attorney can assist in your particular case!
The entire initial consultation is totally free, so you have literally nothing to lose by discussing your alternatives with a team member today.
Got in a Car Accident? A Step-By-Step Guide on What to do Next
At the point when you get into a motor vehicle accident, there are specific steps you might need to take to help ensure everybody is safe, adhere to the law, and start the insurance claim process.
As per the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following stages may help manage you through significant choices you have to make if you've been in a car accident, regardless of whether you were to blame for it or not.
Stage 1: CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES
In case you're harmed, call 911 or ask another person to do so. In case you're seriously harmed, do not move, and wait for emergency professionals.
Stage 2: CHECK ON THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR PASSENGERS
Check on the other people in your car if you are not too hurt to move. If there are injured parties, ask anyone nearby for help or call emergency services yourself.
Stage 3: GET TO SAFETY
If you can, move to the roadside or a sidewalk. Pull your car to the roadside in the event your vehicle is causing a hazard where it is. If it isn’t, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.
Stage 4: CALL 911.
Regardless of whether a collision is viewed as minor or a significant accident, calling the police is significant — and in certain states, it's legally required. An accident report and documentation of the scene will be filled out by the police officers that arrive on the scene. As indicated by the III, you can fill out a police report at the nearest police station if the police can’t come to the accident scene. A copy of the police report may be needed to assist with the claims process if you filed a claim with your insurance.
Stage 5: WAIT FOR HELP.
Turn off your car, turn on your hazard lights and utilize street flares in your emergency car kit to caution other vehicles to reduce their speed.
STEP 6: EXCHANGE INFORMATION.
Trade contact and insurance information with the other driver after making sure you and any other passengers are not hurt. Here is a list of the most important pieces of information drivers should exchange after a collision:
Complete name and contact information
Insurance agency and policy number
Driver's license and plate number
Type, color and model of vehicle
Location of the traffic accident
It is suggested that you avoid talking about fault when discussing facts with the other driver. At the point when you file a claim, the adjuster checking on your case will figure out who's to blame depending on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, details provided by you and the other parties involved in the collision, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photos from the scene.
STEP 7: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT.
In order to help protect yourself, It is recommended by the III to take the following steps:
Identify the Officers.
Document the name and badge number of all responding officers when they arrive.
Get a Copy of the Accident Report.
Your insurance adjuster may ask for a copy of the accident report when you file a car insurance claim. Ask one of the officers where you can get a copy of the report.
Take pictures of your car from different angles, showing the damage on both cars to document the accident thoroughly. Taking pictures of the other car’s license plate might also be a worthwhile idea. These photos may be shared with your insurance to help support your claim during the claims process.
Take Down Names.
Document the names and addresses of everyone involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
Talk to Witnesses.
Document the names and contact information If there were any witnesses to the accident.
You can keep this accident information page in your vehicle to help keep all of this documentation in order.
STEP 8: CALL US.
Contact an accident lawyer ASAP. The sooner you have a lawyer, the sooner they can begin securing your legal rights. Additionally, call an attorney before you discuss with any auto insurance carrier. They will frequently attempt to take a statement from you, which can be utilized against you later on.
Should You Omit Anything in Your Accident Report?
You should never talk about fault with the other party or parties involved. It is not their concern how you feel or what you were doing at the time.
You should not ever acknowledge fault or accept responsibility even if you feel like you did something wrong.
How Much Does an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
The vast majority of people are either reluctant or won't try to contact an attorney after they have sustained a personal injury, as they think that a lawyer will be too expensive.
Large numbers of personal injury lawyers based in Illinois work on a contingency basis, which means you will just need to pay them after they win your case. At this point, you will pay a fee that is based on a percentage that is pre-arranged with your attorney, which is typically between 25% to 40%.
This pre-arranged fee also depends on the amount of work the attorney has to put into your case or if you accept a settlement from an insurance company before your court hearing begins.
In these cases, you will most likely owe the lawyer less than what you would have if the case got to the point of going to court.
Once you are granted a fair settlement, you will need to pay your lawyer with this kind of pay structure. Because their pay is dependent on your settlement amount, your attorney will most likely be more committed to your case.
There are different kinds of payment options that some lawyers prefer. These normally incorporate either hourly pay or a flat rate for their services.
Most clients will be better served when they agree to a contingency basis but sometimes these options might be preferred in certain cases.
What are the Steps Involved in Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit?
FILE A COMPLAINT.
Automobile accident lawsuits regularly start with the victim filing a claim or petition with the nearest court and are considered civil cases. The complaint documents any claims against the other individual and also any money you might qualify for. The lawsuit will formally start once the complaint is filed.
You should know that you typically have a set period of time in which you are able to file a car accident claim. This is known as the Statute of Limitations, and it changes from state to state. You should check with your Chicago car accident lawyer to determine how long you have to file a claim from the date of your accident.
THE DEFENDANT ANSWERS THE COMPLAINT.
The person at fault or the defendant, has a specific amount of time to respond once they are served a copy of your complaint. They may concede to the charges or deny them. They could also counterclaim, which would explain how you possibly played a part in the accident and are responsible for your own injuries and losses.
The respondent can likewise make many motions, including a change of venue, a different judge, or even a motion to dismiss.
You and your lawyer may be required by a judge to meet with the defendant and their lawyer which is called mediation. Talks are directed by a nonpartisan third party who mediates and manages the discussion, attempting to orchestrate an understanding between the two parties, such as a settlement.
In the event that mediation doesn’t work, the lawsuit then enters into discovery. Here, lawyers from both sides of the case investigate the details of the accident. That might include reviewing documents or speaking with witnesses. All information gathered during this phase is shared between the two legal teams. This process typically takes at least a few months, sometimes longer, depending on the scope of the case.
At the point when a lawsuit goes to court, the two parties present their cases. Evidence is presented and witnesses are questioned. At this point, the jury must arrive at a decision. Unlike TV-drama style courtrooms where the word “trial” seems drawn out, in all actuality, personal injury lawsuits are typically settled within a day or two. The two parties will have the right to appeal the verdict after the trial has ended.
How Does Accident Compensation Work in Illinois?
Like most states, Illinois is viewed as a "fault" state for auto accidents. This means the individual liable for an accident - or, more probable, their insurance carrier - is responsible for compensating individuals harmed in the accident. Proving fault is extremely important in getting financial compensation after a crash in Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois.
Driver error is the most common reason for crashes. Other common causes for car accidents include:
Unsafe driving speeds
Tailgating and other forms of aggressive driving maneuvers
Texting while driving and/or distracted driving
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Falling asleep at the wheel and/or driving fatigue
It can be possible for a person or company to be liable for an accident with the exception of a motorist. In some cases, accidents can be caused by mechanical issues like steering or faulty brakes, or by issues with the roadway like potholes or inadequate lighting that can impede safety.
In many cases, both or multiple parties can be partially responsible for an accident. In those cases, each party pays compensation for their percentage of fault which in Illinois is called comparative negligence. In more detail, Illinois uses what is called modified comparative negligence with a 50 percent bar to recovery. Anyone who is 50 percent or more at fault for a crash cannot receive compensation.
How is a Car Accident Settled in Illinois?
You will have to attend a mandatory settlement conference after you file your lawsuit. It is less likely that car accident lawsuits are tried all the way to a jury verdict and more likely that it will be settled. The two common types of settlements are either lump-sum or structured settlements. Structured settlements are like a payment plan; they set up multiple payments over the span of many years.
How Much is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Illinois?
The average car accident settlement is around 27,000 dollars. But there are many factors that determine how much yours is worth. There are maximums available under that at-fault driver’s car insurance policy that car accident settlements are often limited to.
These maximums may not be enough to cover all of your damages if you are seriously injured. Don’t accept any settlement unless you are sure that the settlement is enough to compensate you for:
Medical treatment costs
Pain and suffering
Lost wages from time away from work
When Do I Need to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?
Our Car Accident Lawyer Will Look at the Following to Calculate the Amount a Victim may Receive
Medical Costs. The majority of a victim’s losses are typically injury costs particularly if they required emergency treatment, surgery, hospital stay, or rehabilitation. All medical treatment that pertains to the injury including continued doctors appointments, assistive devices, medications, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Lost Wages. It is possible that victims may not be able to work for an extended period of time and some may not be able to return to their job altogether. Your loss of income can be factored into your claim.
Future Losses. Paralysis, brain damage, and disability are injuries that are considered permanent losses. These types of injuries typically need long-term care and require long-term expenses and reduced earning capacity. Victims are awarded their economic losses as well as an amount for their pain and suffering (non-economic damages).
Insurance Policies. Normally, auto collision victims are only able to receive the amount of money allotted by the drivers’ insurance policy. This is not the case if the accident was caused by a commercial trucking carrier or due to a defective car part. In these cases, victims are able to seek further compensation through a third-party claim.
Can I Win a Car Accident Case if I was Partially at Fault?
You can still win your case even if you were partly at fault for a car accident. As long as you are less than or equal to 50 percent at fault for the accident, you may receive damages (sometimes reduced) according to Illinois comparative fault principles. Damages will be reduced based on the percentage at fault. For example, you are 25 percent at fault for an accident. The court will then calculate your damages as it would with 0 percent fault and then subtract 25 percent from the total.
Using real figures, you get in a car crash that causes you $100,000 in damages. It also causes the other driver $50,000 in damages. If you were 25 percent at fault and the other driver was 75 percent at fault, the court will calculate your damages like:
[$100,000 – (25 percent times $100,000)] = ($100,000 – $25,000) = $75,000. The other driver was more than 50 percent at fault and will be entitled to nothing.
If an Accident was Caused by a Vehicle Malfunction, Who am I Able to Sue?
You may qualify for a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or anyone in the chain of distribution of the vehicle component that malfunctioned if your auto collision in Chicago was due to a vehicle malfunction. In order to win your case, you would need to prove that the part in question was dangerous and damaged when it went on the road. For example, you can sue a car parts dealer for making an error but don’t need to prove negligence.
Does a DUI Automatically Decide a Case?
It may, but not 100 percent of the time. A well-seasoned car accident lawyer in Chicago would be able to answer this question. A crucial point to determine this answer is whether or not the car accident was caused by DUI and not something else. For example, if you got rear-ended by a speeding driver but you were intoxicated while driving the speed limit, it would be hard to prove your DUI was the cause of the accident. The other driver will have to pay you damages if the court rules their speeding the cause rather than your intoxication. You will not be liable for anything except possibly a personal DUI charge.
No matter how the accident happened, the principle of causation still applies. This means a defendant’s misconduct will only make them liable if it is the cause of the accident.
Can I Sue an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver Who Caused an Accident?
You get into an accident and the person responsible has minimum to no car insurance. This means there probably is very little or no coverage from the person responsible to cover your claim.
Your auto insurance should include Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage if you are wise enough to be covered yourself. Your attorney can seek an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim against your personal auto insurance. These types of claims are called UM and UIM.
Your car insurer will handle the uninsured or underinsured driver and pay you for this type of claim. Finally getting payment from your insurance company can be just as difficult as it would be coming from another party’s insurance company.
However, UM and UIM claims get settled swiftly. You can also sometimes get more money from these auto accident claims while spending a smaller amount on costs.
We can help at this time. Our lawyers are eager to take on your concerns if you have suffered an injury due to a car accident. Issues that will be evaluated and investigated are:
Who is at fault
The amount of insurance coverage available to pay on the claim
Calculating your out-of-pocket expenses, like medical care and lost income
Determining your non-economic costs and long-term needs
UM and UIM claims are very common and handled by our lawyers on a regular basis.
What Kind of Damages am I Entitled to in Illinois if I’m in a Car Accident?
Monetary damages typically include medical bills and loss of wages but it can differ from case to case. Loss of normal life, disability, disfigurement (scarring), and pain & suffering are included in non-economic damages. If laid out by a certified medical doctor, you might be entitled to damages that are likely to occur in the future with a reasonable degree of medical certainty. A spouse could also be entitled to their own claim called a consortium. This means a loss of services, companionship, or relationship, etc.
Can I Sue More Than the At-Fault Driver for Damages?
Yes, in some cases auto accident victims are able to sue other parties than the at-fault driver. If the driver was not the owner of the car, the owner may be liable for your damages for example. Another possibility is a “dram shop” complaint. In these cases, the at-fault driver consumed too much alcohol and you can file a claim against the business that supplied the alcohol to the already impaired driver.
Other parties that you may be able to file complaints against are an automobile manufacturer or construction company due to defects in the vehicle or roadway that in turn caused the accident. A driver’s negligence of rules and regulations could be a reason for a lawsuit against the driver or employer if the car accident involved a tractor-trailer.
How Much Time Does it Take to Receive Money From a Car Accident Lawsuit?
The time it takes to complete a car accident injury lawsuit depends on many factors. If your accident caused serious injury, you do not want your case settled until you are treated and a doctor has released you. This is so your future medical expenses from the accident can be determined by a doctor.
The amount of time it takes for you to receive treatment and heal will likely determine the time necessary for your case. Another factor that can contribute to the length of time for your case is if it is settled or if it needs to go to trial.
Can I Protect My Rights After an Auto Accident in Illinois?
After a car accident, there are many steps you can take to protect your rights and ensure you get the money you deserve for what you have lost. An important part of ensuring this is by keeping detailed records of everything about your accident and injuries.
After the accident has occurred, report it immediately to the police and ask for a copy of the report. To start a claim for compensation you should call your car insurance company. If injured, seek medical attention. All three of these things provide facts about your accident and possible injuries.
Getting emergency medical care should be the first priority if you need it. You should see a doctor as soon as you can even if you don’t think you are hurt. Some injuries may not show signs or symptoms until later.
Take photos and video of the accident and injuries if you are able. If there are witnesses, get their contact information. If your car is towed, be sure to find out where because investigators may need to examine it and collect important evidence.
If you pay out of pocket for anything related to your accident or injuries, keep all records and receipts. You should also keep documentation by writing a journal or a video journal of your recovery. Be sure to attend all doctor’s appointments and/or therapy sessions.
Abstain from posting to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that could undercut your case.
Contact a car accident lawyer with experience in Chicago personal injury law. A car accident attorney works for you to protect your rights to recover any losses.
What if I am Contacted by the at Fault Individual’s Insurance Company?
You should always have your insurance company or attorney handle all calls from the at-fault individual’s insurance company. The opposing insurance company is most likely trying to get you to agree to a settlement. It is very common for this to happen before you have even figured out your damages.
Don’t feel rushed to do anything from the opposing insurance company until your lawyer gives you their expert opinion.
What Information Should I Provide at the Scene of an Accident?
When you are on the scene of an accident, it is important to comply with the police and be honest with the medical professionals tending to your injuries. You will need to give honest statements to those groups of people.
Giving statements to anyone else present is highly discouraged. This includes giving statements to the other driver and especially the other driver’s insurance company or someone from the vehicle company that caused the accident. In those cases, commercial vehicles notify their company within minutes that an accident has occurred. The company then works immediately to get their insurance company informed.
The insurance company will likely send someone to investigate the scene within an hour. It is important that you do not speak to those representatives. They do not represent you or your rights. Their main goal is to pay you the least amount of money as possible for your damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and impairment. In short, only give statements to law enforcement and medical professionals at the scene of the accident.
Can I Have a Lien Put on My Car Accident Settlement by the Medical Personnel Who Treated Me?
A surgeon or other medical personnel can put a lien on your settlement depending on the amount, to ensure payment for their services
A car accident settlement requires some time to work out the settlement and then distribute payment to you which is one of the downsides. The legal process may take many years from start to finish which is what can take even more time is if your case goes to trial. While you wait for your case to be completed, other parties involved that have provided you services are not able to get paid. Medical personnel and surgeons are one of those parties. In order for them to know they will get paid in the future, they can put a lien on your settlement.
On the bright side, any lien placed on your settlement from your surgeon or hospital where you received treatment cannot be for the entire amount of your settlement. Only up to 40 percent of your settlement can be granted towards medical liens according to Illinois’s Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10). In the event the insurance settlement does not cover all of your medical expenses, you are ensured to have money left over from your settlement.
In some cases, you might have both the doctor and the hospital place liens on your settlement or verdict. If this happens, they can only place a lien on twenty percent each of your settlement. Up to 33 percent of your settlement may get a lien placed on it if it is just the doctors. When medical providers are reimbursed from your settlement, they must share proportionally in your attorney fees.
How is the At-Fault Party Determined in a Chain Reaction Auto Accident?
All of the drivers involved in the accident will have their actions looked at in extreme detail. The circumstances leading up to the accident will be examined closely in order to determine who is at fault.
Typically, it can be challenging to determine the at-fault party in a multi-car pileup. The fault of the accident may not belong to the driver whose vehicle hit you. It is very beneficial to have an attorney with you if you have been in a multi-car crash because they are usually complicated. Depending on what other drivers were doing at the moment of the accident, the driver responsible for the first collision may not be fully responsible for the entire accident.
An accident involving multiple vehicles commonly starts with one collision which causes any number of secondary accidents. The first car might rear-end the one in front which causes a domino effect where a number of cars behind may not be able to stop in time. Another possibility is that a driver loses control of the car and crosses the roadway unintentionally causing a multi-vehicle crash.
Just one small failure of a driver can start a chain reaction. An example of this might be when a driver improperly changes the lane and causes an accident. Other drivers behind might not be able to avoid a collision. If a third driver involved in the crash is found to be speeding at the time of the accident, all three drivers may hold some responsibility for the accident.
The actions of each driver at the time of the accident, along with speed and how they might have been able to avoid the accident will be analyzed by an insurance company or a court. You will need to document in detail your actions when determining liability in order to receive any compensation for injuries or damages regardless of the role you played in the crash.
What Happens if I Hit an Unattended Car or Other Property?
You should try and locate the owner if you have been in an accident with an unattended car or other property.
If the owner has been found, you need to give them your information. This includes your driver’s license, vehicle registration, auto insurance and your home address. You also need to give the car owner’s contact information if you were driving someone else’s car.
Secure a written note explaining the incident if the property owner cannot be located. Be sure to include your name, address, and registration of the car.
The last step is to call or visit in person the closest police department to report the accident.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver Threatens to Sue or Demands Money From Me?
The first thing to do is to stay calm. You can tell the other driver you won’t talk about payment at the scene. Tell the other driver to get in touch with your insurance company. Make sure you have exchanged contact information like names and insurance information.
If another driver files a claim against you for property damage or bodily injury, your insurance policy contains a promise to defend you at no additional cost. If you are sued, this promise includes the cost to hire a defense attorney.
Can I Settle With the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
You should always consult with a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer before speaking with another insurer or accepting a settlement offer. It is possible you might not receive the maximum benefit of your claim if you accept a settlement offer prematurely. The true value of your claim and a settlement that reimburses you for any injuries and/or medical expenses can be negotiated by an attorney.
It is very important to speak with an attorney as soon as you are able to after you are injured in an accident. The lawyer will be able to determine if it is in your best interest to seek a car accident lawsuit by thoroughly examining the details of your case.
Fault, damages, and insurance are the three main factors an attorney will focus on during the review process.
The fault is reviewed first to determine if another party was at fault for the accident. This means another driver is responsible for the accident. Some examples include:
Careless or reckless driving such as speeding by a motorist
An inadequate repair done by a mechanic
A defective vehicle or vehicle part sold by a manufacturer
A government agency that allowed a hazardous road condition to exist.
The attorney will also determine whether you played a role in the crash and are potentially at fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, you are not allowed compensation under Illinois law.
The second aspect decided in your case by an attorney is the amount of damages. This includes:
Pain and suffering
An attorney may advise against a lawsuit if the estimated amount is minimal.
Lastly, the insurance coverage available will be reviewed for both the opposing party and possibly your own. In some cases, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage might be used to pay for your damages.
A lawyer will advise you to move forward or drop an auto accident lawsuit after reviewing all three of these factors. If it is determined to go ahead with the lawsuit, your attorney will work intensely for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
What is the Car Repair Process Like After an Accident?
Your insurance company may direct how and where you can get your car repaired.
The first step to take after an auto accident is to get in touch with your car insurance company. They might have certain conditions for filing a claim and can include estimates for damaged vehicles. It is important you follow their procedure.
For example, your auto insurance may want you to use specific Chicago repair shops for estimates or the actual repair job. Your insurance company may agree to you using a shop of your choice but may not provide the estimated amount made by the shop they chose.
Your car needs to be carefully inspected for evidence of the crash before it is towed or taken to any garage for repairs. One of the first few steps after a car accident should always include calling a car accident lawyer.
Your car can be inspected for evidence before it is disturbed or destroyed if a lawyer starts working on your case as soon as possible after the accident. The other driver’s car may also be able to get examined for other possible important evidence before it is lost which may require going to court.
The insurance adjuster will make a decision about your car which is another important aspect regarding repairs. The adjuster may think the repairs to your car will be more expensive or more than what the insurance company is willing to pay than what your car is worth. This means your car is “totaled.” The insurance company will pay you the actual cash value (ACV) for your car.
Your car might be able to get repaired or the ACV might be less than what your car is worth.
You can dispute the ACV on your totaled car and you can dispute the adjuster’s ruling that your car is totaled. Another option is to accept the ACV for your “totaled” car and repair it with that amount plus any of your own money to cover the difference. The insurer’s offer will have to be accepted or rejected which is why it is important to weigh all of the pros and cons.
Immediately after you contact an attorney we will start to help you with your accident. We can protect your rights to ensure the best compensation for your damaged car, help it get repaired, and help provide an ACV for your vehicle.
We can help you avoid mistakes that will hurt your claim and also help protect possible personal injury claims.
Why Call Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers?
You need a skilled personal injury attorney to protect your rights and interests if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost someone due to a car accident.
Ktenas Injury Attorneys has an impressive winning record and is recognized as a top Chicago personal injury law firm. We have settled numerous historic verdicts on behalf of our clients. We genuinely care about who we represent way beyond our legal expertise.