Car accidents are a serious concern throughout the U.S. but some statistics reveal the risks for Illinois motorists. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IL DOT) reports that there are around 313,000 total motor vehicle crashes in the state every year. Less than 1 percent of them are fatal, but more than 1,000 people still lose their lives annually. More than 20 percent of all traffic collisions cause injuries to at least one person, and the total number of injured victims is almost 64,000. Car accidents are life-changing for entire families, as the physical, financial, and emotional losses take their toll.
Fortunately, Illinois law provides you with legal remedies if you were hurt in an auto crash that was not your fault. You may qualify to obtain compensation, and our team at the Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC can assist with the legal process. We are ready to take on all challenges, enabling you to recover from your injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a complimentary case review. A Chicago car accidents attorney can explain how the laws apply to your unique situation, and some background information may also be useful.
Liability in Illinois Motor Vehicle Crash Cases
Traffic collisions happen for many different reasons, but negligence is the primary reason they occur. In the practice of law, negligence refers to a theory of liability that requires you to prove certain essential elements:
- You need to show that the other motorist had a duty to drive safely.
- You must have evidence proving that the at-fault driver breached this duty.
- You have to establish a causal link between the breach of duty and car accident, such that you would not have been hurt but for the breach.
- You need to prove that you suffered losses because of your injuries.
Some of the most common forms of negligence in auto crash claims include speeding, improper lane changes, running red lights, and other violations of Illinois traffic laws. As in other U.S. states, distracted driving is a problem in Illinois. Despite laws prohibiting cell phone use, motorists continue to text, talk on the phone, and post to social media. Plus, there are other forms of distracted driving that increase the potential for serious collisions, such as eating, drinking, grooming, and using a GPS.
Timeline of a Car Accident Claim
Illinois motorists are required to carry auto insurance, so filing a claim will be your first step after an auto crash. While this may sound as simple as filling out some forms, there can be significant pitfalls in dealing with the insurer. These companies are for-profit businesses, and paying your claim represents a loss. You may receive a denial or lowball counteroffer on the grounds that the accident was your fault.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to pay reasonable compensation, the next step in the timeline of a car accident case is going to court. Litigation involves:
- Drafting the complaint to initiate the lawsuit;
- Court appearances and hearings;
- Motions related to legal issues and factual claims;
- Discovery and depositions; and
- A trial to present evidence, witness testimony, and legal arguments.
What to do if You are Involved in a Crash
In a successful auto crash claim, you may be able to recover for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and many other losses. Our Chicago car accidents attorneys at the Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC will manage the legal process described above, but there are ways you can support our efforts and your rights. Depending on the severity of your injuries, some tasks include:
- Exchange contact and insurance information as required by law, but do not discuss the details of the crash with any other drivers.
- Use your cell phone to capture images of the intersection, stretch of roadway, damage to vehicles, traffic lights and signage, and other physical characteristics at the scene.
- If contacted by an insurer, you should only confirm your contact information. Do not provide a statement, answer questions, or allow your words to be recorded.
- Never sign any document provided by an insurance company, especially a release.
Discuss Your Options with a Chicago Car Accidents Lawyer
It is reassuring to know that you have options after an Illinois auto collision, but this overview should convince you that retaining qualified legal help should be a priority. For more information about your rights and the legal process, please contact the Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC. You can set up a free case evaluation by calling 312.445.4908 or by contacting us here.