The streets of Chicago can be extremely congested. Drivers are in a hurry and often drive aggressively to get from point A to point B. It’s no surprise that car accidents happen on a daily basis on the city’s roads.
While accidents are common, you might not always know what to do if you are involved in an accident. Here, our experienced team at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers provides some answers to your Chicago, IL, car accident FAQs.
Our trusted Chicago car accident lawyers are always available to offer more detailed information. To learn more about legal representation, call our law offices in Chicago, Illinois, at (312) 929-2884 to schedule a free consultation today.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Chicago, IL?
First and foremost, it’s important to remain calm after an accident. Remain at the accident scene and, if you’re able, call 911 for help. Law enforcement can also ensure that emergency medical professionals are notified so that injured parties can be brought to the hospital. Filing a police report is also extremely important.
Under Illinois law, you must also report the accident to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) if:
- The crash caused at least $1,500 in property damage
- The crash resulted in bodily injury or death
At least one party to the accident must file the report within ten days of the accident.
If you are physically able to do so, it’s also important that you:
- Ensure that other parties are okay, but do not apologize or admit fault
- Exchange insurance, driver’s license number, address, phone number, and other contact information with all other drivers
- Obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene and damaged vehicles
- Take photos of any obvious injuries you have suffered
- Seek medical attention–remembering that some injuries may not be obvious
In the wake of an accident, the insurance company may call or even visit you in the hospital. While you should be polite, do not agree to provide a recorded statement or sign any documents. Instead, call an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your legal options.
Should I Give a Statement to the Insurance Company In Chicago, IL?
You should report the accident to your own insurance company soon after the accident.
However, it’s important to speak with an attorney before you share information with your own insurance company or file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Insurance companies are out to make a profit. That means it’s in their best interest to minimize your settlement award.
Even when you think you’re giving a simple statement, insurance companies tend to look for ways to twist your words. They want to find something that they can use against you to avoid paying the full compensation you deserve.
It’s always in your best interest to get quality legal advice before giving any statements to the insurance company.
Is It Important To Photograph the Crash Scene of a Chicago Car Accident?
Yes. If you are physically able to do so, it’s important to take photos and even videos of the crash scene. Any documentation that you can gather may be important to your personal injury claim at a later date.
Keep a record of your medical progress, as well. It can be helpful to make notes about your symptoms, daily lifestyle changes, doctor’s recommendations, and any medical treatment you receive.
The bottom line? It’s important to gather as much evidence as possible after an accident. Our car accident lawyers in Chicago are here to help you gather and organize medical records and other evidence to support your claim. Just give us a call to schedule a free consultation.
How Can Illinois Comparative Negligence Laws Impact My Case?
To recover compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the other party was responsible for the accident. That typically means proving negligence.
Negligence means that:
- The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care
- They breached the duty of care
- The breach caused your injuries
- You suffered damages
Every driver has a legal duty to exercise reasonable caution when they get behind the wheel. As the injured party, you also share that same duty of care. It’s very possible that someone could claim that your acts were also negligent.
Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence law with a 51% bar to recovery. In plain English, that means you can recover partial compensation if you’re less than 51% “at fault” for the accident. In that case, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. Once your share of blame reaches 51%, you lose your right to damages entirely.
How Do I Obtain an Accident Report After a Car Crash in Chicago, IL?
A police report can contain important information about your accident. Our lawyers can obtain a copy on your behalf, or you can obtain an accident report from the Chicago Police Department online. You can also call the police department at (312) 745-5130. The fee to obtain a crash report is $6.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Chicago, IL?
You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to take legal action after an accident. The deadline is called the statute of limitations. In Illinois, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The two-year period starts running on the date of your accident.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Is Responsible for Paying My Medical Bills If I Was Injured in a Car Accident in Chicago, IL?
Medical bills can pile up quickly after a crash. Medical expenses are often one of the most substantial components of a personal injury settlement.
After an accident, medical bills may be paid by:
- Your health insurance company
- Your personal funds
- Your own car insurance company
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company
- The at-fault driver’s personal assets
Ultimately, you are responsible for making sure your medical bills get paid. If you have health insurance, your bills will probably first be paid through your insurance provider. Once health insurance is exhausted, most accident victims end up paying out of their own pocket.
However, when someone else causes a crash, you will eventually seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company and the at-fault parties themselves.
Under Illinois law, all drivers are required to carry insurance to compensate victims for bodily injury or death, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Drivers must carry coverage of at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
If more than one person is injured, the $50,000 amount is divided between those injured parties. This insurance typically does not cover medical bills incurred by the at-fault driver, if that driver was also injured. Instead, it pays the medical expenses of other parties (including passengers in the at-fault driver’s vehicle).
If the driver chooses the minimum coverage limits, it is possible that the policy limits may be exhausted before your medical bills are covered. In these cases, our lawyers can also help you pursue compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
As you can see, getting your bills paid can be an extremely complicated process. It’s important to have an experienced Chicago car accident attorney by your side. To learn more about how we can help, contact Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation today.
Will I Have To Go to Court To Recover Compensation for My Injuries In Chicago, Illinois?
Most personal injury cases settle out of court. Insurance companies know that a court battle takes time and money. The trial process is also extremely uncertain because it can be difficult to predict what a jury might decide. The insurance company doesn’t want to go to court any more than you do.
If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement deal, it may be necessary to go to court. A trial is often necessary in cases involving serious injuries and high dollar amounts. It can also be necessary if the parties disagree on critical issues.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Chicago Car Crash Lawyer?
Many people are reluctant to hire a car accident lawyer because they don’t think they can afford a personal injury attorney.
Like most personal injury lawyers, our Chicago personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means you are only required to pay our attorneys’ fees if we recover compensation for you. If your case is successful, attorneys’ fees and costs are deducted from your settlement or verdict.
The amount of attorneys’ fees is determined as a percentage of your compensation. Most attorneys charge somewhere around 30% of the eventual settlement or verdict.
In the most simple terms possible, there are no upfront costs to hiring a car accident lawyer in Chicago. At Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers, we also offer a free consultation so that you can get answers to these and other Chicago, IL, car accident FAQs.