Southern Illinois Car Accident Lawyers
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Car Accident Attorneys in Southern Illinois
Car accidents can happen anytime, to anyone, and without warning. Car accidents can happen to even the safest drivers. In a split second, your life can change forever. There are thousands of reckless, careless, and distracted drivers on the roads in southern Illinois every single day. Our Southern Illinois car accident lawyers fight for car wreck victims in throughout Illinois. By far the most common type of injury case we handle is auto accidents. We proudly fight against the big insurance companies daily and seek to make sure that our clients get justice and fair compensation for their injuries. Our Southern Illinois motor vehicle injury attorneys are standing by ready to fight for you and your loved ones too. Reach out today for a completely free consultation to discuss your options.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Car accidents can be a traumatic experience for all parties involved. Common injuries that you may sustain could impact your life for months, weeks, or even the rest of your life. The most common types of injuries can vary significantly in severity. In the United States alone, 4.4 million people are injured in automobile accidents that are serious enough that the individual requires medical attention.
Whiplash is likely the most common injury involved in a car crash. During a car accident, the blunt force trauma caused by a rapid reduction in speed can often cause damage to the soft tissue around your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Even though the car may immediately come to a halt after a crash, your body is still moving forward, causing your neck to move in a way that was never intended. One of the unique factors of whiplash is that you may not initially feel the effects—it may not be until a day or two later that you begin to feel neck pain. Whiplash causes a strain on your muscles and ligaments, and it often requires physical therapy or pain medication to treat.
Back injuries often go hand-in-hand with whiplash in that it is commonly correlated with the rapid reduction in speed that causes your back to snap forward or backward in an unnatural manner. This can cause injury to your spinal cord, which may result in long-lasting effects, such as a herniated disk or a pinched nerve. Some back injuries may go away after treatment such as physical therapy. However, more severe back injuries may cause life-long injuries, up to and including paralysis.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Mayo Clinic defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a brain injury caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. Less severe traumatic brain injuries may refer to a concussion, which are can be treated fairly easily. More severe TBIs, however, could cause life-long injuries issues to your brain functions, especially if not recognized and treated promptly.
Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may be headache, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation, or a temporary loss of consciousness.
Although perhaps less thought of, a car accident may also cause burn injuries. Burn injuries can be caused by a number of factors, including exposure to toxic chemicals emitted by a vehicle, a vehicle fire, or a live current caused by exposed electric wires. The severity of this injury may vary greatly, and may include first degree such as damage to only the top layer of your skin, or third degree burns, which may involve damage to underlying tissue and nerve endings.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Unlike soft tissue injuries, broken bones and fractures refer to injuries involving your skeletal system. This could include fractures to your back, arm, or leg. Hard tissue injuries are easily diagnosed by a physician using x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. As a result, these types of injuries are much easier to prove, so it can be easier to develop a treatment plan. Some hard tissue injuries will easily heal over time and proper treatment. However, more traumatic fractures cause significant long-term effects, including paralysis.
In most car crashes, the frame of the vehicle protecting the cabin is intended to remain in tact as to protect its occupants. However, in a more violent car accident, the actual frame of the car may become bent or twisted, causing it to fold inward, breaking limbs. Obviously, amputations are one of the most severe injuries that you can sustain in a car accident, and they will cause lifelong effects to your quality of life.
Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injuries are the most common injury a person may experience as a result of a car accident. Soft tissue refers to a tearing of your muscles, joints, or ligament. Examples of soft tissue injuries include sprains, bruising, or muscle contusions. With physical therapy and pain medication, most people will make a full recovery from these injuries.
Emotional or Psychological Injuries
In addition to physical wounds, major accidents can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of PTSD in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 38,680 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2020. This is despite a significant reduction in travel as a result of COVID-19. This is the largest projected number since 2007. In fact, wrongful deaths caused by car accidents are among the leading causes of death among healthy Americans. Wrongful deaths refer to the accidental loss of life that occurs as a result of a car accident. This includes drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
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Where We Handle Auto Accident Cases in Southern Illinois
|Alexander County||Bond County|
|Clark County||Clay County|
|Clinton County||Coles County|
|Crawford County||Edwards County|
|Effingham County||Fayette County|
|Franklin County||Gallatin County|
|Hardin County||Hamilton County|
|Jackson County||Jasper County|
|Jefferson County||Jersey County|
|Johnson County||Lawrence County|
|Madison County||Marion County|
|Massac County||Montgomery County|
|Perry County||Pope County|
|Pulaski County||Randolph County|
|Richland County||Saline County|
|Shelby County||St. Clair County|
|Union County||Wabash County|
|Washington County||Wayne County|
|White County||Williamson County|
Southern Illinois Car Crash Statistics
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) puts out an annual report of crash data facts and statistics by year. We’ve compiled the data reported by IDOT for our local region, and the charts below reflect Southern Illinois car accident data for 2014 to 2019 and break down the total number of crashes, fatal crashes, and injury crashes in each county.
Common Causes of Southern Illinois Auto Accidents
There are a variety of reasons that can cause a car accident. This includes everything from bad weather conditions to distracted drivers playing on their cell phones. No matter the reason for your car wreck, our southern Illinois car accident attorneys are here for you. We have the experience and knowledge to help guide you through potentially one of the most stressful times of your life. No matter what has caused your car accident, we’re here to help. Below are some of the more common causes of auto accidents we see here in Southern Illinois.
Reckless & Aggressive Driving
Reckless driving car accidents in Illinois can be caused by a whole host of different reasons. Reckless and aggressive drivers account for thousands of car crashes in Illinois yearly, including car wrecks that cause severe bodily injury and even death.
In Illinois, reckless driving is actually recognized as a criminal offense. Under the Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11-503 , reckless driving is defined as:
- When a person is “willfully or wantonly disregarding the safety of other persons or property while driving their vehicle.”
- When a person knowingly uses an incline, like a railroad crossing, to cause their vehicle to become airborne. That’s not something that we see a lot of but it technically is in the law.
If reckless driving results in great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement of another, then it is actually a Class 4 felony.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is kind of a catch-all phrase. Not all “reckless” drivers are going to be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony offense, however, the term “reckless” in everyday still applies to them.
Some potential examples of reckless driving in Illinois are:
- Excessive Speeding
- Weaving in and out of traffic lanes
- Driving Intoxicated
- Unsafe Speed for Weather Conditions
- Driver Inattention or Distraction
- Failure to Yield at Stop Signs
In 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that crashes involving speed accounted for 33.4% of all crashes, and 39.2% of fatal crashes, and 37.6% of crashes resulting in injury. However, no matter what type of reckless behavior the motorist was engaged in, the at-fault driver caused the accident by their own choice.
Call Our Southern Illinois Reckless Driving Accident Lawyers Today
If you, a friend, or someone you loved has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a reckless driver in Illinois, contact our reckless driving accident injury attorneys today.
Most of us remember what it was like being a teenager. You feel invincible and you know everything. It isn’t until much later in life we realize how that wasn’t even close to being true. Teen driving accidents in Illinois are a serious problem, and these auto collisions can lead to catastrophic injuries to other drivers. Teen car accidents are caused by a whole litany of problems from being distracted with cell phones to just complete driver inexperience. Teen drivers and their passengers are already at high risk for accidents but the drivers around them are at risk as well.
Here at Olson & Reeves, our Southern Illinois car accident lawyers have a successful track record of representing victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our Southern Illinois car accident law firm has a friendly staff and down-to-earth injury lawyers to talk to.
Teenage Driver Statistics
- In 2019, nearly 2,400 teenagers in the United States were killed, and 258,000 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes
- According to teendriversource.org, 42% of high school students across the United States admitted that they text or email while driving.
- At the annual Pediatric Academic Society (PAS) meeting, it was reported that teens who text and drove were also 5x more likely to binge drink, use marijuana and tobacco.
- USA Today reported that teens who texted while driving were also 40% more likely not to wear their seat belts.
- An Allstate survey found that 55% of teen drivers admitted to speeding more than 10mph over the speed limit.
- Teen drivers who have passengers in the car with them are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. A University of Michigan Transportation Research Center found that 69% of teenage drivers frequently drive around with at least two friends.
- Car Crashes are the leading cause of death of teenagers. Teens are 3x more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than drivers over the age of 20.
Negligent Entrustment of a Vehicle
In Illinois, a parent may be held liable when their teen child injures another driver. Illinois negligent entrustment of a vehicle as a cause of action. So what is negligent entrustment? A cause of action for negligent entrustment “consists of entrusting a dangerous article to another whom the lender knows, or should know, is likely to use it in a manner involving an unreasonable risk of harm to others.” Norskog v. Pfiel, 197 Ill. 2d 60 (2001.)
Accordingly, under Illinois law, it is possible for a parent to be held liable for injuries due to their teenage driver if the parent lends the vehicle to the child and knows, or should know, that the teen intended to use the car, or was likely to use the car, in a way that would create an unreasonable risk of harm to other motorists.
Southern Illinois Teen Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one are a victim of a teen car accident in Illinois, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our Southern Illinois teen car accident attorneys to schedule a 100% Free Consultation to discuss your options with you. Our injury attorneys proudly fight for motor vehicle accident victims across Illinois! Reach out today and let us help you get what you deserve.
Cell Phones & Texting
Cell phone usage while driving is the number 1 cause of rear-end collisions in the United States. According to the National Safety County (NSC) 1.6 million people are injured in car accidents yearly.
Cell Phone & Texting Auto Accident Statistics
- Motorists who text while driving are 6x more likely to get into a car accident than drunk drivers.
- On average, it takes 5 seconds to read a text message, and during that span of time while traveling at 55mph you can drive the length of a football field.
- In a report published by NHTSA, 36% of drivers admitted to using their phones at a red light or stop sign, while 35% of drivers admitted to continuing to use their phone while driving.
- According to this National Occupant Use Survey, women are statistically more likely to use a cell phone while driving than men.
- On average, a cell phone ticket increases car insurance premiums by 21.38%
Use of cell phones and texting while driving in Illinois is against the law. Under 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2, drivers on Illinois roads are prohibited from using electronic communication devices. Illinois has a graduated fine system in place for motorists caught texting and driving. Illinois cell phone ticket fines are:
- 1st Offense – $75
- 2nd Offense – $100
- 3rd Offense – $125
- 4th Offense – $150
Considering how incredibly devastating a car accident caused by a motorist who is texting while driving can be, the penalties for cell phone tickets are pretty minimal.
Southern Illinois Texting Car Accident Lawyers
If you, a friend, or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident that was caused by another driver texting or distracted by their cell phone, reach out to our Southern Illinois auto accident attorneys. Call or E-mail us today to schedule a 100% Free Consultation with our texting and driving lawyer in Southern Illinois.
No matter how safe of a driver you are, other careless drivers can cause a car wreck in the blink of an eye. Often times we take for granted driving from point A to B every single day and arriving safely, but with so many reckless drivers on Illinois roads, operating a motor vehicle on a highway can be extremely dangerous.
The most common cause of car accident calls we get is distracted drivers. Drivers can be distracted for a whole host of reasons, and because driving involves coordination between reflexes and vision, being distracted for even a moment can lead to a catastrophic car accident. According to a report put out by AAA, 36% of drivers admitted to sending a text or e-mail while driving. This means that over 1/3 of drivers on the road are driving while distracted—and that’s just among those drivers willing to admit it.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that distracted driving can be defined into three categories:
- Visual – This occurs when a driver takes their eyes off of the road.
- Cognitive – This occurs when a driver is not paying attention or loses focus.
- Manual – This occurs when a driver takes their hands off of the steering wheel.
Some examples of distracted driving are:
- Playing with the Radio
- Talking to backseat drivers
- Watching something out of the side windows of the car
- Putting on Makeup
- Talking on a Cell Phone
- Trying to grab something inside the car
- Texting or Sending E-Mails
Distracted Driving Statistics
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), More than 400,000 motorists were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving.
- NHTSA reported in 2019 that distracted driving was a factor in 8.5% of motor vehicle crashes resulting in a fatality.
- Distracted driving results in approximately 3,500 deaths per year. This means distracted driving claims eight lives every day.
- NHTSA reported that drivers are distracted by their phones at least 10% of their drive time.
- According to the Illinois State Police, law enforcement agencies wrote over 15,000 traffic tickets for distracted driving in 2018.
- Motorists are 8x more likely to get into an accident if they are reaching for something while driving.
- 56.7% of Americans surveyed admitted to eating or drinking behind the wheel.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a distracted driving crash in Southern Illinois, you deserve the right to get justice for yourself and your family. With the help of our experienced car accident lawyers from Olson & Reeves, you can seek compensation for your losses. We have the experience necessary to help, and we are aggressive on behalf of our clients who are victims of car wrecks.
We can’t stop distracted drivers, but we can fight for Southern Illinois car accident victims whom they have harmed.
Dangerous Road Conditions
If you drive on Southern Illinois roadways long enough you will quickly learn that many of our roads are damaged, neglected, or otherwise not properly maintained. These road conditions present extremely dangerous hazards to Southern Illinois drivers.
Poorly Designed– Design defects are a real issue that can cause unsafe driving conditions. Injuries to a driver can happen when a roadway has poor lighting, excessively sharp curves, insufficient length of on- and off-ramps, or other design defects.
Hydroplane – During heavy rainfall, or after a sudden downpour, drivers should be extra cautious. Anyone who has driven during a thunderstorm in Southern Illinois when it is difficult to see 5 feet in front of you knows how scary and unsafe it can be. This problem is worsened by the fact that other drivers on Illinois roadways are not always as cautious. Drivers who drive too fast or recklessly under these dangerous rainy conditions can hydroplane. Hydroplaning occurs when enough water gets under your tires that it actually lifts them up which can cause your vehicle to uncontrollably skid. When you get in an Illinois car accident caused by hydroplaning, it is important to figure out why it happened. Was it due to another motorist’s careless driving? Was it due to poor drainage that led to an unreasonable pooling of water?
Icy Roads – Southern Illinois drivers likely are quite familiar with how dangerous road conditions can be after a winter storm. Most drivers understand that icy road conditions create a serious hazard to drivers and in turn, take proper precautions to drive slower and with extra care. Although state and local governments take great efforts in clearing ice and snow from roadways, this is not always possible, especially during particularly bad winter storms.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet. On average, 1,300 people are killed and over 116,800 drivers are injured in car accident crashes on winter weather pavement yearly.
Black Ice is another threat to Southern Illinois drivers. Black ice is particularly dangerous to drivers because it may be difficult to detect even for the most cautious driver. The National Weather Service (NWS) defines black ice as “patchy ice on roadways or other transportation surfaces that cannot easily be seen. It is often clear (not white) with black road surface visible underneath. It is most prevalent during the early morning hours, especially after snow melts on the roadways has a chance to refreeze overnight when the temperature drops below freezing. Black ice can also form when roadways are slick from rain and temperatures drop below freezing overnight.”
Poor Traffic Control & Signage – These hazards can apply to many different issues. Defective stoplights, missing or improper traffic signs, improperly placed road construction signs, and even overgrown plant life blocking traffic control signs can create dangerous conditions that may lead to auto accidents. These issues usually point to neglect by the local government to maintain and upkeep these roadways. This neglect can lead to confusion between drivers, which in turn can lead to devastating car accidents.
Among the many dangers to motorists on Southern Illinois roadways are accidents caused by fatigued driving, otherwise known as drowsy driving.
Drowsy Driving Statistics
- The National Sleep Foundation reports that about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently driving while feeling drowsy.
- 20% of U.S. drivers admit to falling asleep while driving at some point in the previous year.
- More than 40% of drivers admit to falling asleep at least once in their driving career.
- NHTSA conservatively estimates that 100,000 car accidents are caused each year by drowsy driving.
- Drowsy Driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses annually.
While most drivers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, most do not realize just how dangerous fatigued driving can be. Drowsy drivers operating vehicles on Illinois roads while experiencing exhaustion can cause collisions in a variety of ways including:
- Rear-Ending another car
- Sideswiping or clipping other vehicles
- Veering off the road or into another lane of oncoming traffic.
- Blowing through stoplights and stop signs.
In addition to falling asleep, fatigued driving can affect the motor skills of the driver, such as slowing reaction time or getting tunnel vision. This decrease in driver alertness can significantly inhibit a driver’s ability to maintain concentration of any obstacles around them.
Contact a Southern Illinois Fatigued Driver Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s drowsy driving, you should speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to ensure that your rights are protected. Call or Fill out our form to schedule a Free Consultation with our Southern Illinois Auto Accident Attorneys today! We will provide tireless representation to ensure you can obtain justice for another driver’s careless habits.
Car accidents caused by drunk drivers in Southern Illinois can have devastating consequences for the injured victims. Drunk driving crashes can happen at dangerously high rates of speed and frequently involve head-on collisions. Not uncommonly, the drunk driver may walk away from a car accident completely unscathed and unharmed, while the innocent victim they struck may be killed or left with catastrophic life-altering injuries.
Our Southern Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers ensure that victims and their families receive the compensation they are entitled to under the Illinois justice system. We always fight to secure our car crash clients maximum financial recovery.
Drunk Driving Statistics
- According to the Illinois Secretary of State, In 2018, 26,386 drivers were arrested in Illinois for DUI, and in 2019, 26,224 drivers were arrested for DUI.
- In 2019, 276 people were killed in Illinois due to alcohol-related crashes.
- NHTSA data reports that in 2017, 37,473 drivers were killed in the United States due to drunk driving car crashes, and in 2018, 36,560 motorists were killed in drunk driving car crashes.
- According to drivesoberillinois.org , there are more than 111 million self-reported alcohol-related driving episodes in the U.S. every year.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) reports that drunk driving results in 300,000 injuries per year.
- Every 2 minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving crash.
- Every 51 minutes someone is killed due to a drunk driving collision.
- MAAD also reports that Drunk Driving is the #1 cause of death on roadways in the United States.
Illinois Drunk Driving Laws
Under Illinois law, driving under the influence is a criminal offense. Typically, a first offense is a misdemeanor. The Illinois Statute governing drunk driving is found in the Illinois Vehicle Code at 625 ILCS 5/11-501.
Dram Shop Lawsuits
Victims of drunk driving accidents may be able to not only sue the drunk driver, but also those who overserved drunk drivers. Under the Illinois Dram Shop Act 235 ILCS 5/6-21, employees or owners of a business that serves alcohol (typically bars and restaurants) can be held liable for any injuries caused resulting from a crash from an intoxicated driver who was served at the business. Essentially, an injured plaintiff can sue the establishment that served the drunk driver. This provides victims of drunk driving accidents another avenue to obtain justice, and to ensure that those responsible for creating the dangerous conditions are held accountable for their reckless actions.
Contact A Southern Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If a drunk driver has been the cause of an injury to you or a loved one, you have the right to take legal action against them and hold them accountable for their actions. In Illinois, you are able to seek full and fair financial compensation for any and all harm you have suffered due to a drunk driver. Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer at Olson & Reeves today. Our Southern Illinois car accident attorneys are committed to seeking maximum recovery for drunk driving accident victims and their families in Illinois.
Proven Results: Recent Southern Illinois Car Accident Victories
We don’t just talk a big game. We get results. We’re ready to get results for you too. Here are some of our recent results for our Southern Illinois car accident clients:
- $250,000 Insurance Policy Limit Settlement – Our client was in a car accident in St. Clair County, Illinois. After trying to handle the case by himself for 18 months, he had an offer of $65,000 on the table. After retaining us, we settled the case within 1 month, getting the maximum policy limit of $250,000.
- Insurance Policy Limit Settlement – Our client was involved in a motorcycle accident after a distracted driver ran into the back of his motorcycle. Thankfully, our client did not have any long-term injuries. He suffered from road rash and soft tissue injuries. We were able to settle his case for the maximum insurance policy limits available.
- Insurance Policy Limit Settlement – Our clients were a husband and wife that were pulled over on the side of the road assisting another vehicle with a flat tire. After getting back into their vehicle, a distracted driver came across into their lane and drove off the road, and caused a head-on collision. After hiring us to handle their car accident case in Wayne County, Illinois, we were able to help them settle both of their cases for the maximum insurance policy limits available.
- Insurance Policy Limit Settlement – Our client was stopped at a stop sign in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. A distracted driver rear-ended her. Our client suffered from whiplash and a shoulder sprain. After trying to negotiate with the insurance company herself and being offered barely enough to cover her medical bills, she hired us. We were able to help her get a settlement for the maximum insurance policy limits available.
- $110,000 Settlement – Our client was a passenger in a passenger vehicle and was involved in a car accident in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
- $100,000 Settlement – Our client was sideswiped in a car crash near Vandalia, Illinois.
- $45,000 Settlement – Our client was involved in an I-57 car accident in Jefferson County, Illinois. Our client was side swiped on Interstate 57 after a careless driver did not check his side-view mirror when he changed lanes. Our client was pushed off the road but fortunately, he only sustained soft tissue damage, mainly, a strained neck and shoulder.
What is the average settlement for a car accident?
Without a doubt, the most commonly asked question for our attorneys is “how much will I get for my car accident settlement?” This question does not have a definitive answer, and the answer to the question can vary widely depending on the facts of the specific case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the potential value of your case, but he or she will look at numerous circumstances surrounding your auto accident, including:
- What injuries did you sustain?
- What type of medical treatment did you receive?
- How much are your medical bills?
- Will you require future medical treatment?
- Is this a minor or catastrophic injury?
- What are the insurance policy limits?
- Is there any issue with liability?
- Where exactly did the accident happen?
- Was there any loss wages or loss of normal life?
Calculating your damages depends can depend on a combination of all these factors, and until an attorney has this information in front of him, it would be impossible for them to reasonably determine how much a victim deserves. Call Us Today!
Compensation You Can Recover After a Southern Illinois Car Accident
In Illinois, if you have been injured in a car accident you are entitled to recover compensation for your injury. The compensation you can recover is also referred to as “damages.” In Illinois, damages are typically broken down into two categories: Economic Damages and Non-Economic Damages. Economic damages are those related to an actual financial loss, such as medical expenses or lost wages. Non-Economic damages are not quite as easy to measure and are more subjective. Non-economic damages would include pain and suffering and loss of normal life.
Some examples of the types of damages you may be able to recover after a Southern Illinois Car Accident include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Normal Life
- Loss of Companionship or Affection
- Wrongful Death
- Car Repairs or Vehicle Replacement Cost
- Rental Car Fees
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, Illinois allows for parties to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are different because they are not intended to compensate the victim for their damages, but rather punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are rare in most car accident cases as these damages are usually given when the conduct by the defendant is particularly egregious.
Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
This is a very common question we get asked, and the answer is ‘it depends.’ If you were in an auto accident but nobody was injured and you are only dealing with property damage to your vehicle, it may not be worth it to hire a lawyer. However, if you or someone else in your car was hurt, then hiring a car accident attorney is very likely a good idea.
We frequently tell clients, if you needed a new roof for your house, would you do it yourself or hire a roofer? Most people hire a roofer, why? Because it is what they do. Car Accident attorneys have specialized training, and understand the process and the ins and outs of the legal system.
The Insurance Research Council performed a study where they found those car accident victims who hired an attorney received settlements that on average were 40% higher than plaintiffs who represented themselves. So when determining whether you should hire an attorney after a car accident, remember that average settlements are over 3x higher with a lawyer than without one.
When making your decision as to whether to hire an attorney, take into consideration that almost all personal injury attorneys offer 100% free consultations, so you can at least speak to a lawyer to discover your options completely free before making a decision.
How Much Does a Southern Illinois Car Accident Attorney Cost?
Nearly every single personal injury lawyer works on a “contingency fee” basis. A contingency fee means the attorney’s fee will be taken out of the final settlement amount in the client’s case, or if it goes to a trial, the final verdict amount. If the attorney is unable to win the case or is unable to recover any money for the client, then the client does not owe the lawyer anything.
Normally, a personal injury attorney’s contingency fee varies between 33% and 40% of the total. It usually depends on the type of case and the potential damages. For example, if your contingency fee is 33% for your car accident case, and the case settles for $30,000. The attorney would receive $10,000 while you would receive $20,000.
Most personal injury cases include costs and expenses associated with them, which include obtaining medical records, hiring expert witnesses, filing fees, or conducting depositions. Most personal injury lawyers front these fees and they are deducted from the total at the end of the case. If the attorney is unable to win, then you do not owe them anything for the fees.
Why Choose Olson & Reeves as Your Southern Illinois Car Accident Lawyers?
- Over 98% Success Rate – We have a record of winning injury cases. So you know if we take your case, you’re in winning hands.
- Lowest Fee Guarantee” – All Personal Injury Attorneys work off a contingency fee basis. We guarantee we’ll be the lowest, which puts more money in our client’s pockets.
- Access To Your Attorney – When we become your Car Accident attorney, you’ll actually be able to talk to your lawyer. No frequent calls with no response. Our injury clients get calls back ASAP.
- We Hate Bullies – Insurance Companies try to take advantage of those that have been injured. We don’t let them. We go to War against the insurance companies daily. We make sure you get what you deserve.
Proud Member of the National Motorist Association Dedicated Protecting Motorists Rights
Still Not Sure? Listen To Former Clients!
- Matthew W. – “This firm is highly recommended!! They are professional, efficient, and polite! The firm keeps you updated step by step and explains the process clearly!! Sydney is just plain awesome!! Love these guys!”
- Heather M. – “They are amazing! I contacted them and they responded immediately! Kept me updated through the whole process! I will always recommend them and use them in the future!”
- Johnnie T. – “They were honest with us from the start and really gave us every option they could think of. They took their time and really listened to the whole story. I would highly recommend them!”
- Chad H. – “Best results that I ever had from an attorney! Highly Recommend!”
- Heather M. – “Josh was amazing! He cared about my concerns and made me feel comfortable. I cannot recommend Olson and Reeves enough for anyone needing an attorney.”
- Rita S. – “Very friendly, cared about me as a person. Great communication.”
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Driving Directions to Our Southern Illinois Law Offices
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Mt. Vernon Office
Olson & Reeves, Attorneys at Law
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Phone: (618) 316-7322
Olson & Reeves, Attorneys at Law
310 S. Elm Street
Centralia, IL 62801
Proving Fault After a Car Accident
Car accidents almost always involve the negligence of one of the parties involved in the crash. As a result, you have to prove that the other party acted negligently or careless in such a manner that they are the cause of the accident.
Unlike some states, Illinois is not a no-fault state. Instead, the State of Illinois relies upon a traditional system that examines who caused the accident as a result of their actions. Sometimes a Southern Illinois Car Accident may be caused, in part, by the negligence of both parties. In this instance, Illinois follows a comparative fault system, which means that whoever is more than 50% to blame is the party at fault.
The most common way to prove negligence is whether one party is issued a ticket for a traffic violation. After a car accident, it is common for the police to arrive and fill out a written police report. This includes the police officer laying out the facts of the accident, and that officer’s opinion as to whether someone is the cause of the accident because of his or her actions. Consequently, it is vital that if you’re in a Illinois Car Accident, that you contact the police and ask them to file a police report.
Clear examples of a traffic violation may include running a red light or following the car in front of you too closely, causing the driver to rear-end the car ahead of them. In almost every circumstance involving a rear-end collision, the fault is not on the front driver, but rather the rear-driver—not matter how suddenly the front-driver stops. This is because the rear-driver will be considered to have been following the front driver too closely to safety come to a stop.
Similarly, in accidents involving cars making a left-hand turn, it is almost always the faut of the car turning left, and not the car going straight. This is because the car going straight should have the right-of-way, assuming they have a green traffic light.
It is important to never admit fault at the scene of the accident because this admission can be used against you. Moreover, if a driver receives a ticket, and they later plead guilty to the traffic offense, this is strong evidence that this driver is the party at fault.
How Much Time Do I have After My Southern Illinois Car Accident to File a Lawsuit?
Although each state is different, in Illinois you have only two years to file suit from the date of the accident. This is known as a statute of limitations. If you do not file suit within two years, then you are prevented from seeking compensation for the injuries caused to you as a result of a car accident in Illinois.
Before suit can be filed, it is highly recommended that you have time to perform an investigation and gather all of the facts in support of your case, such as proving that the other driver is at fault. It also gives you time to seek medical treatment to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for medical bills and pain and suffering that you have experienced.
This is why it is vital that you seek an attorney shortly after an accident so that your rights are protected, and you can ensure that you obtain compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
Tips for Immediately After You Have Been in a Car Accident
Your reaction immediately after a car accident can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover in a personal injury claim. The following are the steps to take immediately after a car accident to start building your personal injury case today!
Step 1: Call 911
Under Illinois law, drivers are required to stop immediately after a car accident to find out if anyone is injured. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, drivers must share the name, address, registration, and driver’s license if asked.
It is extremely important to notify emergency services of a car accident for two reasons. First, if you or another individual have been injured, it is imperative that medical treatment is received as quickly as possible. Second, it is equally important that the facts immediately after the accident are documented by the police, even if the crash is minor. Even the best car accident cases can be severely hampered by the lack of a police report. Depending on the availability of witnesses or other neutral observers of the accident, a police report is commonly the first place an insurance company will look to determine fault in an auto accident.
Keep in mind that it is common for long periods of time to pass between a car accident and bringing your personal injury claim against the at fault party’s insurance. With the passing of time, cases without police reports frequently become highly contentious and come down to your word versus the word of the other party. Calling the police after an accident, no matter how minor, prevents the insurance company from disputing liability or distorting the facts months after the accident actually takes place.
If you are able, it can also be helpful to document the location of the vehicles as well as the damage immediately after the accident by taking photos. Even if you are only able to take a few pictures with your cellphone, any documentation that can further support your account of the accident and who was at fault is ammunition your personal injury attorney can use against the insurance companies.
Step 2: Go to the Hospital/Doctor
You have just been in an accident. Your adrenaline is pumping. Even if you do not have any visible injuries, it’s important that you receive medical assistance immediately. In many cases, you won’t feel the effects of an injury from an accident until several days after the accident. If the paramedics arrive on the scene of the accident and recommend that you go to the hospital, you should listen. Similarly, if they are recommending you go to the emergency room by ambulance, you should take their advice. Keep in mind that if you are not at fault and the at fault party has insurance, your medical bills will almost always be covered by their insurance. Even if they are not insured, frequently your own insurance coverage will provide for the cost of your medical treatment.
Do not try to tough it out. If emergency personnel are recommending medical treatment, it means they believe your injuries are serious and need to be checked out. Only a medical facility with the proper diagnostic tools such as an x-ray or MRI can determine the severity of your injuries. Should you decide your injuries are not serious enough to warrant an ambulance ride to the hospital, and then you start feeling pain a few days later once the excitement and adrenaline of the accident have worn off, you should still go to the emergency room immediately. The longer you wait to have your injuries treated, the more likely the insurance companies are to point to the gap in treatment to downplay the seriousness of your injury claim.
Step 3: Contact Your Insurance Provider
A common misconception is that if you are not at fault for your car accident, you should not contact your insurance company. This is not the case. It is very important you inform your insurance carrier as soon as you are able and give them the details of the accident. Even though the accident might not be your fault, if the other driver is uninsured, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance policy. Your insurance company might also pay for part of your medical bills. More importantly, it is disturbingly common that the at fault person attempts to file a claim against your insurance for the accident they caused. While your insurance company will defend against their claims, if you fail to give your insurance company the necessary details they need, they might settle with them even though they are at fault severely affecting your own injury claim.
Step 4: Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
While it is not impossible to settle a case without an attorney, it is extremely likely that your settlement will not be as large as it would have been if you had a skilled personal injury attorney, even when including the attorney fees. On average, personal injury lawyers settle cases for three times as much as people who do not hire a lawyer.
Additionally, you are going to be receiving phone calls from an increasing number of people every day that passes since your accident. These include insurance adjustors, bill collectors, doctors, even other lawyers. The sooner you retain a personal injury lawyer to represent you, the sooner you can start focusing on only your recovery. A personal injury attorney will handle all the communication with these individuals on your behalf. Once you are represented, all of these individuals should leave you alone.
Lastly, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so that you avoid the traps and pitfalls that can lessen the value of your claim. For instance, one of the first things the insurance adjuster will attempt is to take your recorded statement. Under no circumstance should you do this. It is not required and can only hurt your case. These recorded statements will be used against you by the insurance company. An injury lawyer can also make sure you are seeing the right medical professionals for your injuries, and that you are following through with your physician’s recommended treatment. One of the biggest factors that can lower the value of a personal injury case is a significant gap in treatment. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will use anything you do that might suggest your injuries are not as serious as you claim them to be, even if they are taking them way out of context.
Tips for the Weeks Following Your Car Accident
Step 1: Follow Up With Your Doctor
Any gap in your medical treatment, especially where your doctor suggests a certain treatment that you refuse, will be used by the insurance company and defense lawyer against you. Even when these so-called gaps are taken way out of context, the insurance company’s lawyers will use anything they can to lower the value of your case.
After a serious accident your health can change rapidly for better or for worse. It is important that you attend your regularly scheduled appointments so that your medical condition can be monitored frequently. This allows your attorney to show the insurance company and possibly even a jury how serious your injuries were.
Your medical bills incurred for injuries that resulted from your accident play a significant role in how much a personal injury case is worth. If your medical bills are high, you can expect your personal injury settlement or verdict will go up proportionally. But most importantly, make sure you are following the treatment your doctor recommends.
Step 2: Keep Your Lawyer Updated
One of the most important things to do while your personal injury case is pending is to keep your lawyer in the loop. While your attorney will have access to almost all of your information that he or she may need, they are not mind readers. It is imperative that you let your lawyer know if you receive medical treatment at a new facility or from a different doctor than you have treated with before. Your lawyer will get all of your medical records and bills to submit to the insurance company. However, if you do not inform your lawyer of any new medical treatment, it is possible that those records and bills could be missed, reducing the amount you receive in a settlement.
Step 3: Document Your Experience
One of the biggest ways you can help your car accident lawyer get a bigger recovery is by documenting your day-to-day emotions and experiences. This can be by written journal, photographs, videos, anything that can document your condition over time. Not only does this help your lawyer, it also helps you keep the details and facts, and most importantly the dates straight. A personal injury case can go on for years. It is almost impossible to recall all the details of your condition and experiences with any level of specificity as time progresses. Consistent note-taking or journaling will allow to recall all the details of your case and prevent defense attorneys from twisting small inconsistencies out of context in an attempt to decrease the value of your case.
Medical Bills after an Illinois Car Accident
Medical bills incurred as a result of injuries you received from an accident that was someone else’s fault will be the responsibility of the other driver’s insurance. However, they do not pay these bills directly to your doctors. You will not receive this money until your case settles or there is a verdict in your favor. Some personal injury lawsuits can take as long as several years. Obviously, most doctors will not be willing to wait several years to get paid. Accordingly, you must submit your medical bills to your health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other source that might provide some assistance in paying your medical bills, including your own car insurance company. While you will be reimbursed for the costs you have to pay, you will still need to pay your bills as they are incurred to avoid being sent to collections.
However, it is important to consult with your attorney if you are having difficulty keeping up with your medical bills. Frequently, a skilled lawyer can keep your bills from being sent to collection and may even be able to refer you to physicians that will work on what is called a physician’s lien. In this scenario, a physician will provide you medical care, and in exchange they will file a lien against your personal injury case. Any charges they have are uncollected until your case is settled. The physician’s lien allows the physician to recover his expenses for the treatment he or she provided directly out of your settlement.
Different Types of Car Accidents
Without a doubt, the most common type of car accident call we get is for those that have been involved in a rear-end collision. According to an article by the National Law Review, rear-end collisions account for 29% of all car accidents resulting in serious injury. Also, in a study published by the Insurance Information Institute, rear-end crashes account for over 7% of of all traffic-related fatalities.
A vast majority of the time the driver who rear-ends another driver is at fault for the car accident. Illinois law requires you to maintain a safe distance between cars while driving. The logic is that even if the driver who is in front slams on their breaks, the driver behind should also have enough time to stop the vehicle.
A rear-end collision can lead to several serious types of injuries including whiplash and concussions.
Rear-End Case Victory: A former client of ours was stopped at a stop sign when a driver who was not paying attention rear-ended our client leading to her suffering whiplash and a shoulder sprain. The insurance company offered to pay her medical bills plus $500 for pain and suffering. She ended up hiring us which led to us settling her case for the maximum insurance coverage limits.
If you or a loved one has been injured from a rear-end collision in southern Illinois, call us today to discuss your options during a 100% free consultation.
Of the various types of car accident types, head-on collisions are typically the most devastating. A head-on collision, also sometimes referred to as a front impact accident or front to front collision, occurs when two vehicles traveling in different directions smash into the other’s front end. Head-on crashes are particularly dangerous because the force of impact is exponentially higher than other types of accidents.
For example, if two vehicles were traveling down a two-lane highway, with each car traveling at 60 mph, and they hit each other in a head-on collision, the force of impact would be double. This is because the cars meeting each other head-on at that rate of speed would be the same as a car driving 120 mph hitting a stationary pole.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation published statistics, there were 2,637 front-to-front collisions in 2019 resulting in a tragic 115 deaths. NHTSA reports that annually, head-on collisions are approximately 2% of all car crashes, yet they are responsible for about 10% of all traffic-related deaths.
If you or a loved one has been injured from a front impact accident, reach out today to speak to our Illinois head-on collision lawyers to discuss your options.
A rollover accident happens when a vehicle tips over onto either its side or roof. Rollovers can lead to catastrophic injuries. In some of the worst cases, rollover accidents can result in a passenger being ejected from the vehicle. The extremely violent nature of these car accidents can completely change a person’s life in an instant.
Rollover accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, but all rollover accidents can be broken down into two types, tripped and untripped. When an untripped rollover accident occurs, it usually happens when the driver is making a dangerous maneuver, such as driving at excessively high speeds around a sharp corner. This causes the center of gravity of the vehicle to move beyond a vehicle’s anticipated limits. Untripped rollovers are a tiny fraction of all rollover accidents.
A tripped rollover usually occurs when a car exits the roadway and slides sideways, digging the vehicle’s tires into soft soil, hitting a stationary object such as a curb, or colliding with another driver which leads to the car becoming destabilized.
Illinois Rollover Accident Statistics
- According to IDOT, in 2019 there were 3,337 crashes resulting in overturned vehicles.
- Of the 3,337 rollover accidents, 2,151 resulted in injury or death.
- This means that a whopping 64% of overturn vehicle accidents resulted in injury or death.
- NHTSA reports that 81% of all rollovers were single-vehicle accidents.
- NHTSA data also reports that 95% of all single-vehicle accidents were tripped.
- NHTSA data reports that over 30% of all fatal accidents involve rollovers.
Contact our Illinois rollover accident lawyers today for a 100% Free Case Evaluation
The car accident attorneys at Olson & Reeves completely understand how life-changing being involved in an Illinois rollover accident can be. We fight every day for those injured on Illinois roadways to make sure our clients get fair compensation and have their medical bills taken care of. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a rollover, reach out today to speak to our Illinois rollover accident attorneys to discuss your options completely free.
Hit and Run Accidents
Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are extremely common and are among the most frustrating types of car accidents. Hit and run accidents often occur because the at-fault party was engaged in some illegal behavior, whether it be drunk driving, driving without auto insurance, or driving on a revoked driver’s license.
Illinois Hit and Run Accident Laws
Pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/11-401 it is unlawful for a driver to leave the scene of an accident in which they have been involved, regardless of whether the driver was at fault for the car accident. The purpose of this is to ensure there are no injuries, make statements to the police, and exchange insurance information. Any person convicted of any section of this statute shall also have their driver’s license suspended.
Under Illinois law, any person involved in a car accident without bodily injury who leaves the scene of an accident is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person involved in an Illinois auto accident that involves bodily injury and leaves the scene is guilty of a class 4 felony. In addition, if the driver fails to report the accident to the police they are guilty of a class 2 felony which is punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois department of corrections. Any person involved in an Illinois car accident that results in death and leaves the scene is guilty of a class 4 felony, and if they fail to report the accident to police, they are guilty of a class 1 felony punishable by four to fifteen years imprisonment.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
- According to Insurify, Illinois ranks #4 in the United States for most Hit and Runs
- Illinois has nearly double the national average of the proportion of hit and runs.
- According to AAA Motor Club, a hit-and-run crash happens every minute in the United States
- 20% of pedestrian deaths in the last 10 years were caused by hit and runs
- On average, there are 682,000 hits and run accidents annually in the United States
- Almost 2,600 traffic-related fatalities are attributed to hit and runs annually
Hit and run accidents can lead to devastating injuries and incredible frustration for the victim. Unfortunately, in many cases, the at-fault party is never found and the hit and run victim is left believing they have no options. However, that is almost never the case. Uninsured motorist coverage is usually the answer.
Contact the Illinois Hit and Run Accident Lawyers at Olson & Reeves for a Free Case Review!
The at-fault party in hit-and-run accidents are careless people who show no decency. We assure you the car accidents attorneys at Olson & Reeves care about you and your case. If you or a family member has been the victim of a hit and run accident in Illinois, reach out today and speak to one of our Illinois hit and run attorneys to learn all of your options.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Section 143a(1) of the Illinois Insurance Code requires the inclusion of an uninsured motorist coverage provision in all liability insurance policies, which means that drivers are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. The idea behind mandatory uninsured motorist coverage is to ensure that if a driver is injured in an Illinois car crash and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, the victim will be in a similar position that they would have been in if the at-fault driver carried minimum liability insurance.
Pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/7-203 Illinois drivers must carry at least $25,000 in uninsured motorist bodily coverage (UMBI) coverage per person (up to $50,000 per accident) as well as $25,000 in underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person (up to $50,000 per accident). Illinois does not require drivers to have uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage for injuries to car accident victims when they are in an auto accident caused by another driver who does not have auto insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage helps to cover injuries to the victims in the event that the at-fault driver has insurance, but their auto insurance policy is insufficient to cover your damages. In that scenario, the victim’s auto insurance company will cover damages that exceed the policy limits of the other driver.
Uninsured Motorist Facts
- A 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) revealed that 12.6% of motorists or one in eight drivers were uninsured, which means there are approximately 32 million uninsured drivers in the U.S.
- In 2019, an estimated 11.8% of Illinois motorists were uninsured.
- Illinois ranks 24th in the United States for a percentage of uninsured motorists.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorists cost insured drivers approximately $13 billion annually in the U.S.
- According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, 82% of uninsured drivers either cannot afford car insurance or have a vehicle that is inoperable or unused.
Speak to one of our Illinois Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers Today!
At Olson & Reeves, we fight on behalf of victims of uninsured auto accidents to ensure they get compensation for their injuries. If you were hit by an uninsured driver, contact us today to speak to one of our highly skilled Illinois uninsured motorist accident attorneys during a free case evaluation.
T-bone car crashes, also known as broadside collisions, occur when one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle, which forms the shape of a “T.” T-bone car accidents are exceptionally common at intersections where a driver blows through a stop sign or red light and strikes another car as they are traveling through the intersection. A T-bone car accident can cause devastating and catastrophic injuries.
- Sideswipe Collisions
- Multivehicle Crash
T-Bone Accident Statistics
- NHTSA research shows that T-bone accidents account for 13% of all traffic accidents in the United States and 18% of all fatal car accidents.
- Approximately 8,000 people die yearly as a result of T-bone car crashes.
- According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2015, T-bone crashes made up 25% of all fatal car accidents making it the second most lethal type of car accident.
Side impact collisions are some of the most serious and dangerous types of car accidents a driver can be in. Due to the manner in which automobiles are designed, side panels are typically the area of the vehicle with the least amount of safety features and protection to the cabin. Many car manufacturers have made strides in making vehicles safer for side-impact collisions, such as adding airbags specifically designed to protect against injuries during a T-bone collision. However, even with these added features severe injuries due to broadside collisions is a common occurrence.
Call the Illinois T-Bone Accident Lawyers at Olson & Reeves for a 100% Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a T-bone car accident contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our Illinois T-bone accident attorneys are here to help.
Twenty years ago, rideshare companies were rarely heard of, but in 2021 companies such as Uber and Lyft are a staple in our country. While taxi companies are still being hailed from the street, rideshare companies have proven to be an easy and reliable source of transportation just a few clicks away on our smartphones. Unfortunately, as easy as these services are to use, they can be extremely complicated to deal with after a car accident.
What makes rideshare car accident cases complicated is figuring out when and which insurance policy coverage applies. Uber drivers for example are independent contractors, so they are required to carry their own auto insurance coverage in addition to insurance coverage by Uber. However, Uber’s insurance only covers passengers for a specific portion of a trip, which can vary depending on if the driver is “offline”, “available”, “en-route”, or “on trip.”
Rideshare Accident Statistics
- According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago approximately 987 fatal car accidents daily are related to an increased number of rideshare vehicles being on the road.
- In 2018, Uber reported an average of 3.1 million trips daily, with 98.6% of trips completed without any incident.
- With regard to Uber-reported car accidents, the breakdown of victims is: 21% riders, 21% drivers, 58% third party, 2% were bicyclists.
On October 7, 2020, Uber announced they would become available in every county in Illinois, which includes twenty-six southern Illinois counties. With Uber and Lyft expanding and becoming widely available in our area, we will undoubtedly witness a rise in the number of southern Illinois rideshare car accidents.
Contact our Illinois Rideshare Accident Lawyers at Olson & Reeves Today!
Whether you were injured in an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi car accident, our Illinois rideshare attorneys are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve and to help you get your life back on track. Our experienced personal injury attorneys handle rideshare accidents across Southern Illinois and the entire state. Contact us today for a 100% free consultation to discuss your case.
FAQ for Car Crash Victims
Will the police respond to the scene of the accident?
The police are almost always sent to the scene of an accident if there are injuries or the placement of the vehicles is causing traffic problems.
What information should I share at the scene of the accident?
Illinois law requires the following information to be shared by drivers and passengers involved in an accident, regardless of fault: 1) Names of driver, passenger, and vehicle owner; 2) addresses of those individuals in item 1; 3) registration numbers of the vehicles involved in the accident; and 4) your insurance information. This information must be provided when requested.
What if I get a ticket for an accident?
Common citations issued at accident scenes include Failure to Yield, Improper Lane Usage, Illegal Turn, Following Too Closely, Speeding, Cellphone, and more. If a police officer decides to issue you a ticket, you must sign the ticket even if you disagree with it. A traffic ticket is deemed an admission of fault if you plead guilty and/or pay the fine resulting from the ticket. This is why it is so important to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will likely be able to reduce your traffic citation to an offense that will not negatively affect your personal injury claim.
Do I have to report the accident to my insurance if I wasn’t at fault?
Almost all insurance policies contain a clause called the Cooperation Clause. This clause requires that you give your insurance company notice of any accidents as soon as possible. Your insurance company will want to hear your side of the story as soon as you are able to contact them. While you may know that you are not at fault for an accident, this doesn’t mean that the at fault party still won’t attempt to file a claim against your insurance. By discussing the accident with your insurance company, they can defend you against baseless allegations of negligence against you.
What if I was partially at fault for my accident?
Illinois is a comparative fault state. What this means is if you are 50% or less at fault, you may still recover damages from the other party. As an example, if it is determined that you were 25% at fault due to not wearing a seatbelt, and your damages total $150,000, you would be able to recover 75% of that amount, or $112,500. This principle is called the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule and is codified in the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure at 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
What if the other driver threatens to sue me?
The most important thing is to stay calm. Do not discuss any issues of payment of damages or fault at the scene of the accident. Instead, refer the matter to your insurance company. Your insurance policy requires that your insurance company defend any potential lawsuits against you as a result of an accident at no cost. This includes the cost of hiring an attorney to defend you.
When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
Personal injury cases are extremely nuanced. While it is possible to bring a personal injury claim without an attorney, you will likely not recover as much as you would have with a competent personal injury attorney, even when taking their fees into account.
How much does personal injury lawyers cost?
If a personal injury lawyer is attempting to charge a flat fee or an hourly rate to take your case, you should leave their office immediately and search for another attorney. Personal injury attorneys always work off of what is known as contingency fees. What this means is your attorney will not get paid unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor. The typical contingency fee is between 30% and 40% with 33% being the most common. The smartest thing an injured person can do after an accident is to hire an experienced attorney right away.
How long do I have to bring my car accident claim?
The statute of limitations for an auto accident claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, there are some specific exemptions. For example, if the vehicle that hit you was being driven by a government employee while on duty, the statute of limitations may be as soon as one year after the date of the accident. This is why is imperative that you hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
How much is my car accident injury claim worth?
The value of your car accident injury depends on a variety of factors. The main considerations are your out of pocket expenses, such as medical bills, and your pain and suffering. A competent personal injury attorney will use these factors to calculate what an appropriate settlement would be. However, even minor car accident injuries can settle for as much as $10,000 or more. The more severe your injuries, if you have lost wages, and the more your life is permanently changed, the larger a possible settlement may be.
What kind of damages can I receive for an auto accident?
Damages in a car accident personal injury case are generally broken down into two categories: economic losses and general damages. Your economic losses are sometimes referred to as your specials, special damages, or hard costs, including any damages you have incurred that have cost you money or been charged against you as a result of your auto accident. These include, but are not limited to, your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, future medical bills, decrease in wage-earning capacity, and more.
Your general damages include any other losses that do not result in a direct economic loss, despite being actual harms that you have suffered as a direct and proximate result of your car accident. Unlike economic damages, general damages have no direct correlation to a specific dollar amount. Your general damages include money for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
What is loss of consortium?
Loss of consortium is a standalone claim brought by the spouse or family member of a person who has been killed or injured in an accident due to the fault of another party. It has been defined to include the support, society, companionship, and sexual relationship that a husband or wife has been deprived of to date, and which he or she is reasonably certain to be deprived of in the future, due to the claimed injury to or death of a spouse.
What if the other driver has no or not enough insurance?
When the at fault driver has no insurance or is uninsured, your own uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage may apply. Many auto policies have provisions that provide coverage for this type of situation. This coverage is sometimes referred to as UIM coverage. For example, if an at-fault driver only has $25,000 of coverage and your medical bills exceed that amount, your underinsured coverage may come into play. Hypothetically, if you had $50,000 in underinsured coverage, you would be able to recover $25,000 from the driver’s insurance and $25,000 from your own underinsured policy.
Do I have to have a lawyer to settle my car accident case?
While a lawyer is not required to receive a car accident settlement, it is extremely likely you will not be able to recover as much without a lawyer. A qualified lawyer can guide you through the hurdles and obstacles you may come across throughout the entire claim or lawsuit process that a car accident claims entails.