If you were hurt in a car accident, do you know who is to blame? One of the first challenges after a collision is finding out who was at fault. It’s obvious in some cases but not others. By working with an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer, you have someone to collect all the evidence available, analyze it, and determine who is liable for your injuries. The party who is responsible for compensating you might be a manufacturer, government agency, or vehicle owner that wasn’t even at the crash scene.
To learn more about who might be a party to your car accident claim, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900, or through the online form. We offer free consultations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis.
Car accident claims can involve several people and businesses depending on the circumstances:
The Injured Party (You): If you were injured in an auto accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, then you can pursue a car accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. During an insurance claim, you’re a claimant. If you file a lawsuit against another person or business, you become a plaintiff.
Other Victims: You might not be the only person hurt in the crash. Other occupants in your car, other vehicles, at the negligent driver’s car could’ve been hurt. In some circumstances, the injury victims pursue separate claims. Each injured person will deal with their own insurance company, for instance. But if you and other people in your car were hurt, you could choose to file a lawsuit together. You should talk with an attorney about whether to file a lawsuit separately or together.
The At-Fault Driver: At the very least, your claim is between you and one other person: the negligent driver. You can demand compensation from the other driver through their auto insurance, which Illinois requires them to carry, or through litigation. If you file a lawsuit, you’ll name the at-fault driver as a defendant.
The At-Fault Driver’s Employer: You might learn the driver who caused the crash was working at the time. If a negligent driver was on the clock when they caused your crash, then you’ll want to pursue compensation from their employer. This means you might have a claim against a business, school district, or a government agency.
A Rideshare Company: Were you injured because of a negligent Uber or Lyft driver? Rideshare drivers are independent contractors, not employees. The rideshare companies are liable for their actions the way businesses are for their employees. But that doesn’t mean Uber or Lyft won’t get involved in the crash. You might be able to demand compensation from an insurance policy provided by Uber or Lyft. If you were a passenger when your Lyft or Uber driver caused a crash, you could pursue compensation from a $1 million policy.
The Vehicle Owner: It might turn out that the driver was in someone else’s vehicle. Maybe the car was borrowed from a friend or relative. Maybe it was a rental from a company like Hertz. The driver also could be a vehicle share program, like a Zipcar. When an investigation uncovers the vehicle had an owner who is different from the negligent driver, this might give you another avenue to pursue compensation. The owner likely had another insurance policy. It’s also possible a person negligently lent the driver their car when they shouldn’t have.
A Construction Company: Your car accident might not have happened because of a negligent driver. Instead, there might’ve been a hazard in the road. In some cases, a negligent construction company working on or nearby the road leaves equipment around or fails to put up the proper warnings.
A Bar, Restaurant, or Liquor Store: Illinois has what is known as a Dram Shop law. Under this law, a business can be responsible for selling alcohol to someone who then goes out and hurts someone else while intoxicated. If you were hit by a drunk driver, then your lawyer will investigate where the driver purchased their alcohol and when. If they had been at a bar, restaurant, club, or liquor store just before the drunk driving crash, then you can file a lawsuit against that establishment.
A Manufacturer: Were you injured because of a vehicle defect? If your investigation uncovers a manufacturing or design defect in your vehicle or a specific part of your vehicle, then you’ll likely pursue a claim against the vehicle or part manufacturer.
The State or a Municipality: Your crash might have happened because the roadway wasn’t safe. It could be that a road wasn’t designed well. Or, more likely, that a road didn’t have the appropriate safety controls in place, like a yield sign, stop sign, or stoplight. The speed limit might be too high. When the road itself was the hazard, your claim is against the authority in control of that road, which is likely a state or municipal agency.
Insurance Companies: Every car accident claim involves at least one insurance company. After a crash, it’s important to notify your insurer of the incident right away. When you deal with using your auto insurance coverage, you’re in a first-party claim. When you pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance, you’re in a third-party claim. In some cases, you’ll deal with several insurance companies. For instance, if you were in a crash caused by an Uber driver, you’ll have to recover compensation from the driver’s personal insurance policy first and then Uber’s insurance coverage.
Never hesitate to call a lawyer after being hurt or losing a loved one in a car accident. Car crash claims can be complex, but even straightforward cases are a burden when you’re trying to recover from injuries or mourn a relative. You shouldn’t have to deal with the investigation, insurance company, or litigation yourself. Instead, let Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., do the hard work on your behalf.
To schedule your free, confidential consultation, submit your information through our online form or call (312) 236-2900. We’re here to listen and answer your questions. We will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
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