Getting into a car crash is a frightening experience that can leave the victim with a steep amount of unpaid bills. In 2021, the city of Chicago alone saw almost 10,000 car accidents.
While no one ever intends for an accident to happen, often, the situation could be avoided if not for the negligent actions of one or more drivers.
No two accidents will look the same, and every state has its own laws and standard processes regarding the post-accident process. Managing the repercussions of a crash may be difficult, especially if you’ve never experienced anything like it.
A car accident attorney can help you seek a claim for fair compensation while helping you avoid common traps and easy mistakes. They’ll manage most of the details of your ongoing case and speak on your behalf so you can limit the stress from reviewing and reliving the accident.
The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers is passionate about aiding victims of car accidents through the damages recovery process. Our skilled team has been serving the Chicago community for years, providing relief for victims of car accidents just like yourself.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to fight for compensatory pay from the negligent driver. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer from the Fakhouri Firm, call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.
How Can a Chicago Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
After a car wreck, the victim will be met with endless tasks, like reporting to the insurer, creating a list of damages, and reading endless documentation. Instead of adding all these responsibilities to your day while you are trying to recover, an attorney can manage the bulk of your claim’s tasks while guiding the “big picture” in terms of legal strategy and goals.
Our sole priority is helping you secure the maximum amount of compensation possible from all liable parties. You can prioritize your recovery when you work with an attorney as you’ll no longer worry about:
- Conversations with the insurer: If you’ve been in a car accident, you probably remember the monotonous conversations with the insurance representative where you described the details of the event repeatedly until you felt like a broken record. A Chicago car accident lawyer can speak on your behalf, preventing these time-wasting conversations from wasting your energy. An attorney can manage most of the conversations between you and the negligent party’s representation, including report gathering and negotiations.
- Reading lengthy documents: While you try to recover the cost of damages and healing, you will run into releases, notices, and agreements to review and sign. An attorney can review these documents, complete all needed forms, and advocate for your best interests if something looks off. Documents like liability insurance policies can take hours to scan through. Your lawyer will have seen many similar documents and can efficiently assess any paperwork you receive along with their staff to save you time and energy.
- Avoiding common insurance traps: The other party can use tactics like requesting recorded statements and asking leading questions to throw you off or twist your words for their own gain. A car accident lawyer can protect you from making common mistakes, including the tricks up an insurer’s sleeve. Without an attorney, the negligent party’s insurance representative may not take you as seriously and see you as an easy target for common traps.
- Choosing between physical and financial recovery: Many victims of serious car accidents can feel like they are choosing between their physical health and their financial security when debating on what to prioritize. The complex inner workings of claims are often overwhelming and can add additional stress and pressure to your recovery. Without a lawyer, those major details can go unattended, especially if the car accident victim is trying to recover from major injuries. Having an attorney means you don’t have to choose between your own health and your insurance claim. You can leave the stress of the legal process to us.
Common Injuries From Car Accidents
Every accident will look different, and the associated pain will be relative to the unique details of the event. Every crash victim is likely to experience ongoing body aches that gradually appear after the first few days of the accident.
These pains are most common in the neck, back, shoulders, and hips because of the jolt from impact. Both minor and major accidents can leave the victim with injuries and lasting damage to their vehicle.
In fact, minor accidents can total a car if deemed unsensible to repair.
You may feel aches and pains even after the most minor of accidents, but some of the other most common injuries in minor collisions include:
Serious accidents have the potential of leaving the victim with impactful injuries that can have lasting effects or even a life-altering impact, including:
- Neck injuries
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Serious burns
- Spinal cord injury
- Musculoskeletal injury
Comparative Negligence Liability in Chicago
Illinois is an at-fault state, which means that the victim of a car accident has the right to seek out compensation from the negligent party. A claimant will generally work with the other driver’s insurance company to recover costs incurred from the crash.
As a comparative negligence state, also, a driver in Illinois has the ability to fight for compensation if they are deemed less than the majority responsible for the accident.
For a two-vehicle accident, that can mean they hold 50% or less of fault. For other types of accidents, they simply have to have a lower portion of fault than any party they seek compensation from.
Any contributed fault will reduce the size of the eventual settlement — or court award — by the claimant’s estimated portion of fault. The risk of this happening is why it’s so important to work with a car accident lawyer in Chicago, who can help you establish the exact causes of an accident and fight against any allegations of contributed negligence.
The Four Points of Negligence
In most car accident claims, the injury victim seeks to prove that the driver (or other party who caused the accident) was negligent.
Determining negligence, in the legal sense, is rarely as simple as who crashed into whom. It can be difficult to establish in certain circumstances.
There are four points that determine negligence:
- Duty of care: A duty of care refers to a person’s responsibility to uphold a level of safety for others in a given environment. On the road, drivers have a duty of care to one another.
- Breach of duty: This occurs when a person fails to uphold their duty of care.
- Causation: Next, the breach of duty had to have directly caused the accident for causation to be met.
- Injury and damages: Finally, it was, in fact, the accident that caused or worsened an injury, resulting in damages
Insurance companies will expect a claimant to be able to point to all four parts of negligence in order to establish fault for a wreck, even when the claim doesn’t proceed to court. The stronger the level of proof, the more likely they will be to settle for an amount you are requesting.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Even though an accident can feel different for everyone, there are a few standard steps that professionals, from insurance representatives to lawyers, recommend. By following the few tips below, you can also protect yourself and maximize your chances of successful damage recovery.
Always Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, the first thing you should do is see a doctor. A medical professional can assess you for any injuries that you may not notice at the scene.
If paramedics arrive, they may need to transport you to a nearby hospital. Always heed their recommendation, even if you aren’t sure if you are seriously hurt.
In traumatic situations, the body will release adrenaline, which distracts from the pain receptors, sending signals to your brain. This way, you won’t feel the extent of painful injuries, often until hours after, when the body knows it’s safe to calm down.
Under these circumstances, an untreated injury can worsen. Failing to seek timely care may even give the negligent party’s representation room to argue that you contributed to your own medical condition.
Seeking immediate medical attention promptly prevents this problem from arising.
Document Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
It is important to remember that after the scene of an accident is cleaned up, it can’t be perfectly duplicated. You’ll want to take as many pictures and videos as possible to help professionals reconstruct the scene as accurately as possible, including small details like scattered debris, damaged belongings, and tire tracks.
Photos of your injuries and how they develop over time can also help the severity of the situation ring through to the insurance company. This evidence can help the insurer’s investigators better understand how the events unraveled and give your attorney more evidence to refer to during later steps in the process, such as negotiations.
Having witnesses on your side to recount the events of the crash can make an impact on how your claim is seen by an insurer because there are other sets of eyes that confirm your story. If you are physically capable, prompt bystanders to stay and offer statements to local law enforcement, or you can even exchange numbers to relay information to the police for the accident report later.
Your lawyer may be able to use witness statements to express the severity of your accident and the lasting effect it had on you.
In some cases, you may be approached by a professional, such as a lawyer, aiming to retain your services at the scene of the accident. These solicitors’ actions are actually prohibited by the American Bar Association.
A reputable attorney will not follow first responders to the scenes of accidents or pull over at the side of the road to offer legal services at the drop of a hat. Avoid these solicitors, and reach out to a trusted attorney like a member of our team at The Fakhouri Firm.
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents?
An accident can happen for many different reasons, but some are seen by first responders more often than others. Some of the most common causes of accidents include driving under the influence at 35% and speeding coming in a close second, resulting in 29% of car accident fatalities in 2023.
Distracted and detached driving are also large factors in many accidents.
Most accidents are the result of human error, but occasionally, there may be a mechanical issue with the car. Simple car problems still fall under the liability of the car owner, as it is their responsibility to keep the car functioning in a safe way.
Let’s say a vehicle crashes into another car because their tire pops after having the pressure too low– the responsibility would still be placed on the car owner and not the tire company. If, however, your tires are recently purchased and in great condition yet still pop on the road, you may have a case against the manufacturer.
What Kind of Compensation Will I See After a Car Accident in Chicago?
Soon after your accident, the bills will start to roll in. This is when you begin to question how you’ll be paying for these expenses. In these claims, compensation for car accidents can be thought of as existing in two categories: monetary and non-monetary damages.
Monetary damages will make up most of the settlement amount. This type of compensation generally covers all confirmed expenses. If there is a set price attached, chances are it falls into monetary damages.
Monetary damages refer to costs like:
- Past medical bills
- Future projected medical costs
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
There are also non-monetary damages, like pain and suffering. These don’t have a set dollar amount, but they are still something the injured party must endure. Compensation for non-monetary can still be sought in a car accident injury claim.
Non-monetary damages cover things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of partnership (consortium)
- Mental anguish.
Injured in a Car Crash? Talk to Our Chicago Car Accident Law Firm
We at The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping you recover after your serious accident. Our associates are available to discuss your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.
You can get answers to your questions and learn about what types of damages may be appropriate for your case.