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A car accident can leave you with serious damages to your vehicle, severe injuries to yourself or your loved ones, and a lot of questions about what to do next.
On top of all this, you may have been left with large medical bills or expenses that you cannot afford and were never prepared to take on.
If you have recently found yourself in this unfortunate position after a car accident in Illinois, LegalFinders is here to help.
Not only can we help connect you with a top-quality car accident attorney or law firm in your area, but we can also get you started with a free case evaluation to determine your eligibility.
Hiring an auto accident lawyer is highly recommended in most situations — someone should only represent themselves if they have a high level of legal expertise or knowledge.
You may need an Illinois car accident lawyer if:
In 2022, there were 1,269 fatalities across the state of Illinois from car accidents, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Further, there are around 300,000 total car accidents in the state of Illinois every year.
While Illinois only really has one major city in Chicago, there are multiple dangerous highways that run through the state.
Most dangerous highways in Illinois include:
Illinois has few large and major cities, but there are a few areas of Illinois that are more common for speeding citations and other traffic incidents.
Top areas for speeding citations in Illinois include:
After getting into a car accident in Illinois, accident victims may file personal injury claims or personal injury lawsuits.
Personal injury claims are the first legal option that accident victims in Illinois have after getting into a car wreck.
The at-fault auto insurance laws in Illinois and other states allow the victims of accidents to file claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to collect compensation.
In other states that are no-fault, motorists must first file claims with their own insurance policy before filing against the at-fault party.
When car accident claims are denied or when both parties are unable to agree upon a settlement offer amount, people then have the option of filing car accident lawsuits.
Car accident lawsuits are handled in court and usually presented for a jury, though in some instances they can be presented before a judge only.
There are many good reasons why a person would hire a car accident lawyer in Illinois, even if it is not a legal requirement to do so.
Reasons to hire a lawyer for an Illinois car accident claim include:
If you still can’t decide whether hiring a lawyer is the right choice for you, it never hurts to take part in a free case review and to get legal advice from an expert in personal injury law.
Illinois car accident attorneys perform a variety of services that can make it very worthwhile to work with one during an auto accident claim or lawsuit.
Your first step with an Illinois car accident lawyer is always to determine whether you are eligible for a car accident case.
This is usually done through a free consultation during which a case manager will listen to your story and evaluate whether you have a valid case.
There are countless potential causes for car accidents, and some car accidents may even have multiple causes.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be aware of potential causes that you may not have previously considered or which may have not been caught in the original accident report.
Because Illinois is one of 38 states that is an at-fault state for car insurance, determining fault for a car accident is especially important.
Determining fault will also determine the roles that each driver plays in all legal proceedings, either as plaintiff or defendant.
Negligence is rarely intentional when it comes to car accidents, but occurs when a person’s thoughtless or careless actions result in harm to other people or vehicles.
For example, a person acts negligently by running a stop sign or red light, then causing an accident to occur in the intersection.
Car accidents can result in both minor and catastrophic injuries and everything in between. In turn, medical bills can get very high after a motor vehicle accident.
Common car accident injuries include:
Your car accident claim will need to be filed in a timely manner or you may lose the ability to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
Your auto accident attorney can make sure all paperwork and evidence is submitted before the statute of limitations runs out, or two years from the time of the accident.
In order for a settlement to be reached in a car accident case, both parties have to agree upon a fair settlement amount.
This can often involve an extensive negotiation process, during which your lawyer will fight for maximum compensation to cover your damages and injuries.
Car accident cases rarely end up in court, but you will need someone to defend you in court in the event that yours is one that does.
An experienced lawyer can do this in a manner that is knowledgeable and confident, securing the amount of fair compensation you deserve.
Illinois car accident lawyers tend to handle a wide variety of car accident cases, as there are so many different types of accidents that occur on a common basis.
Types of car accident cases that lawyers handle include:
There may be a lot going on immediately following a car accident, and you may even already be thinking about contacting an attorney.
There are a few steps you can take first, however, before contacting a personal injury lawyer.
Illinois drivers must report an accident any time there is bodily damage, a fatality, or property damage of $1,500 or more.
If a police officer does not appear and file a report at the scene of the accident, the motorist must file an accident report within 10 days of the accident.
Seeking medical attention should be a priority any time you have been in any type of accident, especially if there are obvious or apparent injuries.
Any medical treatment that you receive can be included as damages on your accident insurance claim or lawsuit.
Gathering evidence from the scene of the crash can be important both for proving fault and as evidence of road and weather conditions that may have led to the crash.
Important evidence from the accident scene can include:
Make sure to obtain information from the at-fault driver as well, although keep in mind that they may not be in the state of mind to cooperate, especially just after the accident.
Items to collect from the at-fault driver include:
Anyone in your vehicle or on the streets when the accident occurred is a potential witness for your case, and you should try to speak with them before leaving the scene.
Try to take down their statements in writing if you are able to, and also be sure to write down your own statement while the accident is still fresh in your mind.
If you are trying to decide whether hiring a car accident lawyer is the right choice for you, consider some of the following benefits of an Illinois auto accident attorney.
A car accident attorney can help you get the most out of your collision damages assessment so you get compensation for all possible damages.
They can do this by catching damages that others missed or by finding potential causes of the accident that had not been considered.
Expert witnesses may be needed for certain car accident cases, especially those that involve any type of mechanical failures or vehicle errors.
Reputable law firms will already have established relationships with expert witnesses all around the country who can be called upon at any time for testimony or other assistance.
During discovery, both sides present their evidence for the case so they can prepare, to avoid surprises later on.
A thorough discovery process can help both parties decide whether they want to settle and can be what prevents a case from going to court before a judge or jury.
Handling the insurance companies is an important part of the negotiations process, and insurance companies are known for doing everything they can to avoid paying accident victims.
A good car accident attorney will make sure that your rights are always protected and that you never have to worry about insurance companies trying to take advantage of you.
One of the biggest benefits of working with an experienced lawyer is the wealth of knowledge and expertise that they have around Illinois law and car accident law in general.
Relevant Illinois car accident laws include:
A car accident case can be a time-consuming process, especially during certain parts of the process like discovery and settlement negotiations – most accident victims don’t have time for this.
While working with an Illinois car accident attorney, you can be confident that your case is being taken care of while you focus on your own recovery and healing.
People who work with experienced car accident attorneys often report better outcomes than those who do not, including higher and faster settlements, and an overall more comfortable process.
Those who work with lawyers will likely also have a better chance of their case staying out of court and reaching a successful settlement before that can happen.
Choosing the right Illinois car accident lawyer can be the difference between a low or high settlement and whether your case goes to court.
Tips for choosing a quality Illinois car accident lawyer include:
The cost of an Illinois car accident lawyer will always depend on the individual lawyer or law firm, but most of them charge on a contingency basis.
With contingency fees, clients pay their lawyer a percentage of their award only after their case has reached a successful settlement or verdict, and never a penny before.
No one should have to live with high medical expenses after getting into a car accident that wasn’t even their fault.
If this is what you’re experiencing, you may be able to receive compensation to help cover these costs, as well as the costs of your pain and suffering or lost income.
When you are ready to determine your eligibility and find out what your car accident settlement could be worth, contact LegalFinders for a free consultation.
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Illinois and Chicago car accident lawyers.
The most common age group for car accidents in Illinois is 25 to 34 years of age, with this group also experiencing the most injuries and fatalities from car accidents as well.
This is similar to the national data for most common age groups for accidents across the United States.
It is quite rare to find personal injury lawyers who charge an hourly fee or any upfront costs — it is much more common for Chicago car accident attorneys to work on what is called a contingency fee basis.
This means that lawyers only get paid after their cases reach settlements or verdicts, so accident victims can file their cases without any financial risk.
You are never required to hire an auto accident attorney when filing an auto accident claim or lawsuit, and some people do choose to file their own.
However, it is never recommended to do this unless a person has legal experience or extensive knowledge of car accident law, which most people do not have.
Most personal injury attorneys and law firms would prefer to settle an accident claim outside of court, and this is true of the legal representation for both sides.
If a lawsuit ends up going to court it could earn a much higher amount for a verdict, but the process could take much longer and incur many more costs along the way.
In all states, people have until the personal injury statute of limitations runs out, which is usually two or three years in most states.
In Illinois, car accident victims have two years from the date of their accident to file their personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Illinois Department of Transportation. “Illinois Roadway Crash Data.” Retrieved from: https://idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/transportation-safety/roadway-safety/illinois-roadway-crash-data.html.