So, is it really worth hiring a car accident lawyer? Chicago is by far the most populous city of Illinois so it is not surprising to see that it has its fair share of car accidents. In 2018, the city experienced 162,527 auto accidents that resulted in injury, property damage, and loss of life.
Sad as it is, most accidents are usually the fault of reckless driving or ill-maintained vehicles and many of these can be prevented.
If you have been in a car accident in Chicago, it can upend your life. The potential property damage, recovering from personal injuries, and the hassle of estimating the cost of your damages can be very intimidating, but you need to understand that you have the right to hold the person who is at fault for the accident accountable for their actions.
Chicago Car Accident Lawyers can help you get reparations for the harms done to you and get you the justice you need.
Illinois Is a Tort Liability State
Illinois is not a no-fault state. It follows the law under a traditional fault-based system, also known as a tort liability system. This means the injured party can file a claim against the driver who caused the accident and it will be the responsibility of the at-fault driver to provide them with compensation.
Because getting into a car accident is a common and predictable risk of driving, Illinois requires their drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of auto insurance to mitigate the cost of the damages in case a car accident happens.
Minimum Insurance Requirements for Illinois Drivers
Every car driver policy in Illinois must allow for minimum insurance coverage under the state’s law. A car insurance policy must provide at least $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury and wrongful death for a person injured or killed in an auto accident.
The auto insurance policy must also provide $50,000 in total accident coverage for bodily injuries and wrongful deaths caused by the policyholder. It also must provide at least $20,000 in property damage coverage in case of an accident.
Although these amounts may seem sufficient in case of a car accident, however, the ensuing medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and various other damages often eclipse the minimum policy coverage. Getting premium coverage means higher monthly payments, but it can also provide you with more flexibility when it comes to an accident.
Illinois Is Also a Comparative Fault State
Aside from being a fault-based state, Illinois also practices the law of comparative negligence. In many car accidents, both parties share a certain percentage of the responsibility for the accident, though the at-fault party shares the bigger burden of fault. That means that compensation is still available to the plaintiff even if they contributed to their own injuries as long as more than 50% of the blame for the damages lies on the defendant.
For example, if 15% of the blame for the accident lies on the plaintiff and 85% lies on the defendant, the plaintiff will be eligible for a 15% reduced compensation for their damages.
Proving Fault After a Car Accident in Chicago
Car accident claims in Illinois are based on negligence and to hold the other party responsible for damages, one must prove negligence. The four basic elements that make up a negligence claim are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care
- The defendant breached the duty of care
- The breach led to the car accident
- This resulted in injury to the plaintiff.
Keep in mind that you have to prove that your damages happened due to the other party’s negligence rather than some other cause.
Illinois Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
Under the Illinois state law, a victim of a car accident has two years after the incident to file a case against the at-fault party. However, the deadline is different when it comes to wrongful death.
If a person is killed as a result of a car crash, their loved ones have one year to file a wrongful death suit after the death. If the claim is for vehicle damage only, the law gives you five years to file it in court.
If these deadlines pass and you are unable to file a suit, you may lose your right to get compensation for your damages permanently. That is why it is important that you hire a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer who can inform you of your deadline and make sure you file a suit in time.
Questions to Ask a Car Accident Attorney in Chicago
When hiring a car accident attorney in Chicago, make sure you ask them the following questions:
- How long has the lawyer practiced personal injury law in Illinois?
- Do I have a good case for compensation?
- Does the attorney specialize in car accidents?
- What kind of damages do you have the right to claim?
- How much compensation can you reasonably expect?
- How many similar cases has the attorney dealt with in the past?
- How much does the attorney cost? Do you have a contingency payment method?
- How long will it take for your car accident case to be resolved and for you to get compensation?
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Car Accident
A car accident claim may be based on types of negligence like speeding, moving violation, road rage, driving under the influence, and taking a vehicle with a known defect out on the road. Proving negligence and filing your own claim can be very challenging and time-consuming, especially when you are still reeling from the shock of the accident and may also be recovering from your injuries.
This is why Chicago Car Accident Lawyers recommend hiring the services of a skilled and experienced attorney who has experience in these matters. Our personal injury lawyers can help you negotiate with the lawyers and insurance company of the other party and fill all your documentation on your behalf.
During the case of the claim, we will be informed of the legal proceedings in detail and will be given advice on what course of action will benefit you the most.
It is also a sad reality that some personal injury cases can drag for years, resulting in increased costs. A good car accident attorney will review your case and discuss all your available options with you, including negotiating an out of court settlement or to move the case to the court.
Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Attorney in Chicago
The injuries and damages that a person sustains in a car accident can have horrifying consequences. One of the most important decisions that you need to make is to hire an experienced attorney who can give you the best chance of receiving your just compensation.
Below are some of the benefits of hiring a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer:
Dealing With the Defendant: People who are named as defendants in a car crash will go to all lengths to minimize or outright avoid liability, even going as far as blaming the victim. Our car crash lawyers have experience in dealing with such people and can help ensure they are held accountable for their negligent actions.
Negotiating with Insurers: It is the job of an insurance company agent to minimize payout. A plaintiff may get a call from an insurance agent who may try to persuade them to settle for a low-ball sum. It is important that you do not bow down to their demands as it will likely result in you getting an unfairly small compensation which will not be adequate enough to pay any of your bills. Our personal injury lawyers highly recommend not discussing your case with an insurance company and let them handle it so that you can get a just amount of compensation.
Obtaining Necessary Documentation: An insurance company will request to see your accident report, doctor’s report, and all pertinent information on the case. Instead of you going through the hassle of obtaining the multitude of documents, a car accident lawyer will do it for and supply the insurance company with only the information that will help strengthen your case.
Ensuring Fair Compensation: A victim of a car accident may no longer be able to work their regular jobs, drive, or even live a normal life without prolonged medical care and assistance. The medical bills and cost of renovating your home to accommodate disability can be extremely high. A Chicago Car Accident Lawyer can ensure to calculate a fair estimate of all your physical, emotional, and mental damages, and strive for your rightful compensation.
Fighting For You: A lot of times, defendants are unwilling to provide you with a fair compensation through a settlement. This is the time when a car accident lawyer is more important than ever. A car accident attorney is not afraid to take your case to the court, if the defendant is being unreasonable, and will fight for your right for justice.
Why You Need to Speak With a Lawyer Before Filing an Insurance Claim for a Car Accident
A person who has recently suffered a car accident may not be in the right frame of mind to make sound decisions that may be in their best interests. The defendant may be able to take advantage of this weakness and undermine the victim’s damages, offer them a low settlement, or blame the accident on them entirely. This can further exacerbate the financial losses of the victim.
Chicago auto accident attorneys have experienced these tactics and can provide you with sound advice on how to approach your case. They will investigate your case, find evidence on your behalf, and build a strong case that will help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.
At CCAL, we have years of combined experience handling car accident and personal injury cases. If you or your loved ones were involved in a car accident, call us today at (insert phone number) to schedule an appointment with us. Our lawyers are available to visit you in-house or in a hospital and offer you a free consultation with them.