Chicago Car Accident Lawyers

If your hurt or need compensation after an auto accident, one of the first things you should do is reach out to one of our experienced Chicago car accident lawyers here at Lane Brown. Our auto accident attorneys will help guide you throughout the entire process.

Illinois and Chicago are more than familiar with car accidents. In fact, in 2015, our state saw more than 313,000 motor vehicle accidents, and nearly 66,000 of those involved injuries. Because Chicago is the most populous city in our state, we see a substantial portion of those injury-causing accidents each year.

All of the victims in these car accidents must face the difficult financial realities that follow. Medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time away from work are just a handful of the expenses tied to a motor vehicle accident.

At Lane Brown, LLC, we believe in helping car accident victims get the personal injury compensation they deserve. If you were injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with one of our auto accident lawyers in Chicago to learn more about how we can help you.

The Cause of Your Car Accident Is Important

After your car accident, you were likely dazed and in pain, meaning you were unable to fully understand what had just happened. You might have missed key details about the events that led to your car accident—details that could determine the cause and, ultimately, who you should name in your claim for compensation.

Identifying and proving the cause of your Chicago-area car accident is going to be a key part of your lawyer’s job. We will gather evidence to show who or what caused your crash so we can build you the strongest case possible.

Driver Errors and Car Accident Negligence

More often than not, the driver of the vehicle that struck you will have contributed to the cause of the accident in some way. The following are some of the most common ways that drivers cause car accidents in Chicago:

Drunk Drivers and Car Accidents

Chicago’s vibrant nightlife has a dark side: Drunk driving is a serious problem in and around Chicago. If a driver chose to drive while intoxicated and injured you as a result, you can hold him or her accountable with our firm’s help.

According to a study done by the National Highway Safety Administration, approximately three out of every ten people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. Alcohol impairs coordination, perception, reaction time, and concentration, all extremely important factors required when operating a motor vehicle.

Texting and Other Distractions in the Car

These days, everyone has a smartphone, and many people think it’s acceptable to use these devices while they’re driving. It’s not acceptable, and it causes countless injuries every year. Texting, using GPS systems, and engaging in many other distractions could be considered negligent behaviors for which you could be entitled to compensation if they caused your injuries.

Failing to keep your eyes on the road can cause significant unintended injuries. By not staying vigilant, the sudden appearance of a road hazard, a pedestrian, or a car may go unnoticed until it’s too late. Texting is one of the most common culprits of driving distractions, but other sources may include eating while driving, changing the radio, and passengers requiring attention.

Driving a Car While Drowsy

Drowsy driving is an extremely dangerous driving behavior, and drivers who cause wrecks because they’re too tired can be held accountable for their decision to drive when their reactions and reflexes are numbed by fatigue.

Speeding and Car Accidents

It seems that, when drivers think they can get away with it, they speed. No matter how clear the roads are or how much of a hurry drivers are in, speeding is against the law. It can easily cause serious Chicago car accidents, and, for that, speeding drivers should be held financially accountable.

Obeying the speed limit is especially important in inclement weather. When roads are wet or icy, reduce your speed even below the posted speed limit to maintain control over your vehicle. Speed can make an accident more dangerous if you do lose control. Fog and rain impair visibility and high speeds in these conditions are always dangerous.

The amount of traffic on the road you’re traveling on will also affect the appropriate speed. Regardless of the fact that you’re traveling at the posted speed limit, if you encounter a vehicle going slower than you, it may be necessary to adjust your acceleration to accommodate traffic. Failing to do so is negligent and a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes.

Many accidents involve speeding, and many of these accidents turn deadly. When a driver travels faster than the speed limit, the time and distance required to stop in an emergency decrease, and the response time needed to react is lost.

Poor driving practices are the primary cause of car crashes in Chicago. When another driver has neglected to consider the safety of those sharing the roads with them, your attorney will be ready to bring a civil claim against them so you can secure the compensation you deserve.

Other Frequent Causes of Car Accidents

Apart from driver negligence, you may also be able to file a claim against the a local government road authority or the manufacturers or technicians of the cars involved in the car accident.

The Illinois or Chicago government may have played a part in the cause of the wreck if the roads weren’t safe. This might be due to deep potholes that haven’t been repaired, missing street lamps or signs, debris in the roads, and unsecured road construction zones. The government is responsible for maintaining the safety of the roads, and when they neglect to do so, they should be held accountable.

Likewise, automakers and technicians have an obligation to ensure that the parts they install in vehicles are in working condition and report any recalls on parts so they can be replaced—free of charge to the driver of the car. When this doesn’t happen and a part malfunctions or is faulty, the manufacturer should be brought to justice for their irresponsible decisions.

Summing Up Car Accident Liability

The only way your claim can be a success is if your legal team is able to establish negligence on the part of another. After your attorney has gathered enough information to prove fault, he or she will begin the process of pursuing compensation from the other involved driver or the relevant car insurance company.

Establishing negligence without a lawyer’s guidance can be tricky. Without a Chicago car accident attorney’s guidance, you may have trouble getting the answers and the evidence you need in the courtroom to prove your case. Let your lawyer handle the details of proving liability and showing the other party was at fault for your injuries.

Illinois Negligence Laws and Car Accidents

It may come as a surprise to learn that you can still file a car accident claim if you contributed to the cause of your collision. Residents of Illinois and Chicago are subject to a modified comparative negligence law when filing claims. Essentially, this means that you can pursue compensation if you’re partially at fault, but your award will be reduced by your percentage of the blame.

Here’s an example: You’re awarded $1,000,000 after suffering a traumatic brain injury caused by your auto accident, but you are found to be 25 percent liable. You should expect to come away with an award of $750,000 after modified comparative negligence laws are applied.

However, you need to keep in mind that there is a threshold for liability in Illinois of 49 percent. If you exceed this percentage of blame, you will no longer be able to pursue your claim and could even be the subject of a claim yourself. Your Chicago attorney will be able to explain how your case will be affected if you are partially at fault for your collision.

Identifying Your Car Accident Injuries

After your crash, you likely went to the hospital if you were seriously injured. If you haven’t yet gone to see a doctor, you should do so as soon as possible. That’s because a medical professional can make sure you’re OK and provide official documentation of all the injuries your auto accident caused.

This sort of documentation is going to be critical when you list your injuries in your claim for compensation. And the more severe your injuries are, the more compensation you should receive if your claim is successful. Here are some common serious injuries tied to car accidents in Chicago:

  • Back and spine damage, including paralysis and chronic pain
  • Traumatic brain injuries, such as contusions and concussions
  • Burns, including extremely severe third-degree burns
  • Amputations
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Organ damage
  • Death

With severe injuries come significant damages, and your inability to continue working due to the extent of your condition can put your family in serious financial stress. With household bills continuing to pile up and medical expenses climbing, it is in your best interest to speak with a top-rated Chicago car accident attorney who can help you fight for the compensation that’s rightfully yours.

Common Types of Car Accidents

Every time you get into a car and get on the road, there’s a risk you may be involved in a Chicago car accident. Despite your diligence and practicing defensive driving, the careless acts of someone else’s negligence are beyond your control. There are many types of accidents that occur and certain injuries that they typically cause.

Single-Car Accidents

Single-car accidents can happen when a driver swerves to avoid some hazard in the road to avoid hitting it, when road conditions are less than favorable, or when weather causes unsafe driving conditions. The impact is often with a fixed object such as a tree, fence, or pole. Though it may seem that the driver is at fault in these instances, that is not always the case.

These accidents may occur when some problem with the car causes the driver to lose control. This may be due to road conditions, faulty car parts, or other conditions outside the driver’s control.

Multi-Car Accidents

Multi-car accidents, also known as pile-ups, typically describe an accident involving three or more vehicles. A chain reaction can occur after two initial cars have collided. It can be difficult to determine who is initially at fault and the insurance companies will try to point fingers every which way to avoid liability.

These types of crashes can lead to a variety of injuries and a multitude of different types of crashes. Cars can run into each other from the back, front, or side at any angle. Many try to swerve to avoid the impact causing them to miss one obstacle only to hit another.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are one of the most commonly-seen accidents. This occurs when one car hits another from behind if they do not stop in time, distractions are the most common cause. Most of these are minor, but depending on speed, injuries such as whiplash and other spinal cord injuries may occur. Damage to both cars is almost inevitable.

In rear-end collisions, the force of the impact can be calculated by using the speed of the second car minus the speed of the first. These are usually seen during commuter hours when there is stop-and-go traffic. The driver from behind is typically felt to be liable. Failure to maintain the breaks in your vehicle can also contribute to the occurrence of rear-end crashes.

Head-On Collisions

One of the most dangerous and deadly types of car crashes is head-on collisions. The force of the impact is the sum of both vehicles’ speeds. Serious injuries for both parties result from these types of accidents and vehicles are usually beyond repair. Devastating injuries such as total brain injuries and spinal cord injuries happen when high-speed collisions occur.

Many head-on collisions occur when a driver is either impaired or unfamiliar with the roadways and goes the wrong way on a one-way street or enters a highway exit ramp. Some incidents also occur when a driver crosses into the other lane or over a median into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, though the injuries can be devastating, these types of crashes are seen the least.

T-Bone Crash

T-bone crashes can also be referred to as side-impact or broadside collisions. These typically occur when a driver is traveling at excessive speeds making them relatively dangerous. The victim on the side of the car that is struck is especially at risk for traumatic injuries, but the force of the collision may also harm the passenger on the other side of the vehicle.

These types of accidents often occur at intersections. The driver at fault may run a stop sign or a red light running into the side of the automobile going the right of way. Most vehicles take steps to put safety features in the front of the car, such as airbags, but many do not have safety features to protect the passengers properly when they are hit from the side.

Concussions and broken bones tend to be the most common injuries in these accidents. Side-impact accidents account for a little over thirty percent of motor vehicle crashes reported with about half of those resulting in devastating loss.

Rollover Accidents

Rollovers happen when a vehicle flips over. There are many factors involved in these types of accidents, typically speed is one of the leading causes. Any type of vehicle can roll over, but based on their design, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and vans are most at risk. Icy and wet conditions increase the chances of this happening during a crash.

Side-impact crashes or when a driver takes a turn too quickly also cause this frightening occurrence. Automobiles can roll over multiple times landing on their roof, and there is a high chance that someone is ejected.

Immediate Actions to Take After a Crash

Regardless of the type of accident you are in, the first thing that should be done is to check to see if everyone is safe. Call 911 as soon as possible to get medical assistance if it’s required for you or for anyone involved. If your vehicle is operable, you should pull over to the side of the road out of the way of oncoming traffic and activate your hazard lights and wait for law enforcement.

You should also collect as much information as you can. Take pictures and videos of your surroundings, the road, car damage, weather conditions, and any injuries or lack thereof. You should exchange information with all parties involved including the police officer and anyone who witnessed your accident getting their names, phone numbers, and insurance information.

Any accident needs to be reported to your insurance company. However, don’t let them talk you into a settlement that is far less than you deserve and that may not cover the extent of your injuries and losses. Speaking to a car accident lawyer is your best chance at a successful claim.

Fight the Insurance Company with Help from a Lawyer

In the aftermath of your car accident, you might find yourself dealing with two insurance companies: yours and the other driver’s. Dealing with one is bad enough when you’re already dealing with your own injuries and stress, but dealing with two insurers only highlights the benefits of allowing an attorney to handle the matter for you.

Most insurance companies like to project the image that they’re always on their customers’ side. That would be nice if it were true, but, most of the time, it’s not. Your own insurance company will likely make every effort it can to downplay your injuries and property damage to reduce the amount of compensation it owes you.

You’re likely going to deal with the same issues when you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. They may make it sound like asking you for a statement about your crash is just a part of the process, but you don’t have to answer them. In fact, answering them could open you up to liability if they’re able to twist your words to point the blame at you.

An easy alternative is to simply inform the insurance company that you have hired a Chicago car wreck attorney. Advise the insurers to call your lawyer, who will know exactly what to say to make sure you aren’t the victim of shady insurance tactics after your car accident.

Keep in mind that you may find yourself dealing with shady insurance companies after a variety of accidents, from commercial trucking collisions and motorcycle crashes to public transit accidents and bicycle wrecks.

Get the Most Out of Your Chicago Accident Claim

While building your case, your Chicago auto crash attorney will be responsible for calculating the value of your claim. It’s difficult to say how much your damages will amount to, but it stands to reason that the more serious your injuries were, the more they’ve impacted your life—and the more money you’ll be awarded.

Generally speaking, damages are categorized as either economic or non-economic. Economic losses will be the ones that have an impact on your financial situation, while non-economic damages will affect your emotions and lifestyle.

We have placed some of the most frequently sought damages in their respective categories in the table below:

Economic Damages Non-Economic Damages
Lost wages Loss of enjoyment of life
Damage to your earning potential Pain and suffering
Property damage Loss of companionship and love
Medical expenses Mental anguish

Calculating Economic Damages

Economic damages, as per the examples above, are tangible losses that can be easily calculable. Once your legal representative determines liability, the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff (yourself) will need to be proven. The value of your economic losses doesn’t change depending on what judge, jury, or insurance representative is evaluating them.

Save all of your receipts and agreements when you’re injured at the fault of another. Hospital bills and receipts from car repairs, rental car fees, and new services required due to your injuries such as housekeeping, landscaping, and delivery fees for goods and services are all accounted for when calculating these losses. Medical insurance coverage is also taken into consideration.

Lost earnings are supported by pay stubs submitted to your attorney. This will determine your earnings base as well as your earning capacity. Loss of retirement benefits, health and life insurance, and vacation time associated with the inability to work are taken into consideration.

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

As noted above, non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and changes in your relationships. These losses do not come with receipts and pay stubs. By building trust with our clients we are able to understand the entirety of your suffering and account for each element of your life affected by your accident.

Additional factors that can be considered for monetary compensation include the inability to perform activities of daily living that you once enjoyed. If you are unable to participate in recreational activities such as sports or group events or even play with your grandchildren in a manner you once were able to, don’t let these challenges go undocumented.

Severe injuries can lead to disfigurement. The catastrophic loss of a limb or physical scarring can lead to a huge blow to your self-confidence causing a significant change in your ability to even leave the house. Emotional suffering in these cases should not be overlooked.

It is noted that a good rule of thumb is that pain and suffering damages can be estimated at one to three times the amount of your medical bills and wages lost. No two cases are the same, and every injury is unique. Amounts may be much higher depending on the circumstances surrounding your car accident.

Eleven states have caps on what one can claim as non-economic damages in a personal injury claim, but Illinois is not one of these states. Having a car accident lawyer in Chicago with extensive experience on your side will ensure that you receive all of the compensation you deserve. We have the knowledge and resources available to accurately calculate a fair settlement.

When you are discussing the details of your collision and subsequent injuries with your car accident attorney in Chicago, you should be sure to leave no loss unaccounted for, no matter how small it may seem. This will ensure that every single loss is included when determining what your auto accident claim is worth and how much compensation you’re owed.

What Are Punitive Damages?

In some cases, your injuries may have been especially bad because of the wanton disregard for safety of the at-fault party, or because they were intentionally trying to harm you. In these cases, you may also be due punitive damages. These damages don’t compensate you for your losses, but instead punish the at-fault party for their actions.

In Illinois, there are no caps on the amount of punitive damages you can receive when you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another. It was ruled by the court that a legal cap on compensation violated the Illinois separation of powers clause. It was determined that these decisions should be reserved for the judge and jury to decide.

Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to File a Car Accident Claim

Being involved in any car accident can leave you dazed and confused. When you are injured as a result of negligent driving or poorly-maintained town or state roadways, the level of stress increases significantly. You may be left with injuries that take time to treat, and property damage that significantly impedes your ability to piece together a plan to move forward.

Don’t let the time lost dealing with the resulting physical, emotional, and property damage make you lose out on your ability to file a claim for compensation. Minor car accidents with little to no injury incurred may be resolved between insurance carriers. However, there are many times when victims should file personal injury lawsuits to aid not only their financial but physical recovery.

The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file a claim against the at-fault party after an injury. Every state has its own time frames and laws to abide by. In Illinois, the time limit for a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. If this two-year time frame has expired, you may lose your right to compensation.

For the most part, this two-year rule is set in stone, but there are a few exceptions in which it may be extended. The clock can be paused or lengthened if some of the following scenarios apply:

  • If at the time of the injury, the victim was suffering from a legal disability such as a permanent or temporary mental illness
  • A disability did not exist at the time of the motor vehicle accident, but a diagnosis was received before the personal injury lawsuit was filed
  • Minors under the age of eighteen have until they turn eighteen for the two-year timer to start

A statute of limitations exists for both civil and criminal cases. It exists to protect the defendant’s rights and limit unfair legal action. The more time that passes, the increased chance that the defendant may no longer be in possession of key evidence needed to defend themselves. Though initially created in support of the defense, timely filing can work in favor of the prosecution.

Over time the relevance of eyewitness testimony may be called into question, memories fade and it is unreasonable to expect a witness to recall events clearly, especially if no formal statement was obtained. With car crashes, there may be changes to signage, the condition of the roadway, and foliage over time that may change the landscape of the scene of the accident.

Limiting the amount of time one has to bring a personal injury claim to fruition also decreases the occurrence of delays in the court system. Long drawn-out litigation due to the extra resources and effort required to look into facts from an incident that happened long ago is not in anyone’s favor. The sooner you file, the sooner your road to recovery begins.

Partner with a Chicago Car Accident Attorney

Starting on the date of your injuries, you only have two years to file your claim for compensation, so there isn’t much time to waste. Get in touch with Lane Brown, LLC to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Call Lane Brown, LLC at 312-332-1400 or fill out the online contact form below to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer.

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Chicago Car Accident FAQ

How much is my Chicago car accident claim worth?

We won’t be able to give you an exact value for your claim until we have spoken with you and examined all the evidence. However, we can tell you that the value of your claim is going to hinge on the damages you’ve suffered as a result of your crash. You could receive compensation for medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost income, damage to your quality of life, pain and suffering, and many other damages.

Will I have to go to court for my Chicago car accident lawsuit?

You might. In most cases, we are able to continue negotiating with the insurance company until they offer a settlement that is fair and reasonable. However, there are times when the insurer thinks they can get one over on you, and that’s not acceptable to us. In these cases, we’ll bring your case to court, where an impartial judge and jury can review the details of your car accident and award you based on the damages you endured and the negligence of the defendant.

If I was in a single-car accident in Chicago, can I still sue?

That is going to depend on the cause of your crash. For example, if you ran off the road because a tool from a roadside construction site was in your lane, you might be able to recover compensation from the construction company. Alternatively, if your brakes failed and caused your Chicago single-car crash, you might be able to name the manufacturer of the defective brakes in your claim. Your lawyer will give you a better idea of what you can expect after you discuss the details of your single-car crash in your free case review.

What should I do immediately following an injury?

Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents happen every day. They do not discriminate between towns, cities, or states. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, our state accounted for 320,000 car crashes in one year alone. This accounted for over 90,000 injuries and a devastating 1,000 or more fatalities. When you are injured in an accident it is important that you report it immediately to the police as well as your insurance carrier. First and foremost any medical emergencies need to be cared for. Once you are able to seek legal assistance, make the call! Don’t let the statute of limitations run out. You deserve compensation for your injuries and we can get you what you are entitled to.

How do I know I have the right attorney for me?

The legal team at Lane Brown is ready to hear the details of your accident and injuries and create a strong personal injury case for you. If this is your first time needing a lawyer, you might be asking yourself “How do I find the best lawyer to suit my needs?” We are here to help you feel confident with your choice in choosing us. Regardless of how your injuries occurred, you want to work with attorneys with experience in your type of case. We have helped a vast number of victims obtain the compensation they deserve when injured in a car accident. If a settlement cannot be reached in out-of-court negotiations, we have successfully brought many cases to trial. Clear communication is key. You will naturally have a lot of questions regarding your case. The legal process can be complex and laws may change regularly. We pride ourselves on being available to support you from start to finish and keep you informed every step of the way. We will explain things clearly and have a proven track record of satisfied clients.

What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

When talking about compensation, it makes sense to also discuss legal fees. You should look for attorneys who work on contingency. This means that we don’t get paid unless you do. We will work closely with you and ensure that you understand all fees involved. Building trust with our clients is very important to each and every one of the Lane Brown team. Though it is possible to handle negotiations with the insurance company on your own without enlisting the help of a lawyer, if your injuries have had any negative impact on your health and well-being, you may be cheated out of what is owed to you. Insurance companies profit greatly off of unknowing victims keeping their claim costs as low as possible.

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