You’re a good driver who follows the rules, and it can be frustrating when other people don’t. Most of the time, your frustration is just about the annoyance of a delay because someone cut you off and you got stuck at a red light as a result. But sometimes when other drivers fail to follow the rules or to behave reasonably in traffic, they can cause collisions and you might find yourself the victim of a car crash.
Chicago’s streets and highways are crowded and busy, making car crashes an inevitable fact of life in the city. There are dozens of injury accidents in Chicago every day, and Chicago car accidents make up nearly half of all injury accidents in the state.
A car wreck can have a profound effect on your life. You may suffer significant injuries that leave you unable to work while you recover, or even permanently. If you were seriously hurt, you may have to have expensive surgeries or other treatments for your injuries. You may have been psychologically traumatized by the crash and are afraid to get behind the wheel of a car again, and that may be harming your ability to live your normal daily life. You’re probably getting numerous medical bills, while your household bills may be falling behind because you can’t work the way you did before.
If your auto accident was caused by someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior, there may be help for you. Illinois law may allow you to be compensated for your injuries and damages arising from the crash, depending upon your individual circumstances. An experienced Chicago car accident attorney can discuss the facts of your case with you and help you determine whether a claim for compensation might be successful.
What You Must Prove in Auto Accidents
When you make a claim for damages, it’s your responsibility to prove that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. That involves establishing a few important things:
- The other driver acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally
- The other driver’s actions caused the accident
- You suffered harm that can be compensated
- Your harm was caused by the accident
Car accidents can be complicated, and it may be the case that the accident was caused by some combination of the other driver’s actions and your own. Even if you were partly negligent, Illinois law allows you to make a claim as long as your own negligence didn’t contribute more than 50 percent of the fault for the car crash.
What You May Recover
If your claim is successful, you may be able to get reimbursement for your current and future medical costs and lost wages resulting from the accident. You also may be compensated financially for your pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement, and loss of normal life. However, your compensation is going to be limited to the amount of insurance coverage involved.
If the other person has a policy that caps payment for bodily injury at $20,000 per person, then that’s the most you can get unless you have underinsured motorist coverage that exceeds the other driver’s policy limits.
How a Chicago Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Typically, you’ll start the process of seeking compensation by submitting a claim to the other driver’s insurance company. If you hire a Chicago car accident attorney, your lawyer will help you investigate the crash and compile the evidence, testimony, accident reports, medical bills, photographs, and other documents that support your claim. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to try to get you a settlement. If the insurance company settles, then you get a check and you’re done. If you don’t have a lawyer, chances are the insurance company will offer much less than your claim is actually worth. That’s why it’s always a good idea to at least talk to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney before you agree to any settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to settle or disputes your version of what happened in the crash, then a lawsuit may be necessary. You’ll definitely want a Chicago car accident lawyer if you have to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can file the suit, go to court on your behalf, make arguments to the judge, and attempt to negotiate a pre-trial settlement. If the case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you in court and make the strongest case he or she can to convince the judge or jury that you deserve compensation.
Staver Law Group has over a decade of experience representing people in Chicago car accidents and would be happy to guide you through the process. Call us today for a free legal consultation at with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.