If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, having an experienced attorney on your side can help you get the most compensation for your medical bills, property damages, lost wages, future medical care and pain and suffering.
An Overview of Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Law
In Illinois, all drivers are required to carry a certain minimum of insurance coverage. The minimum amounts drivers are required to carry are; $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $15,000 for property damage liability.
Even if the other driver is uninsured or under-insured, you still have options to seek compensation from the other driver if he or she was at fault.
Illinois has a “comparative negligence” law (735 ILCS 5/2-1116) which means that more than one person can be at fault in an accident. Under this law, you can collect damages only if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident, with the other party being “mostly at fault”.
In some cases where the accident occurred as a result of the other driver committing a traffic offense, such as missing a stop sign or if they were driving while under the influence of alcohol – fault may be easy to determine. Other situations may require evidence be evaluated and presented to a jury at trial to determine which party was at fault, unless both parties agree to settle out of court prior to trial.
Insurance companies are for-profit corporations, and they make more money when they pay you the least for your insurance claim. The insurance company will typically not pay out a settlement until you sign a “release for damages”. A release means you agree that the amount offered is the only amount you will ever be able to get from the other driver and the insurance company; hiring an attorney to represent you before you accept any offer can ensure you get the most compensation for your accident injuries, and any possible future medical care costs.
If you believe the other party to be at fault, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance provider. If the at fault driver’s insurance refuses to pay your claim, or offers you an offer for settlement that you believe is inadequate, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance provider if you have under-insurance coverage. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit to force the insurance company, or the at fault driver, to pay your damages.
Collision / Injury With A Corporate or Government Vehicle
In typical auto accident cases, the claim is against the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, if you were driving a company vehicle or simply driving while on work duty, you may also have a workers’ compensation claim.
If the accident involved a corporate vehicle or government vehicle driven by the other party, and they were at fault for the accident, you may also be able to pursue additional claims against the business or government directly. In Illinois, claims against the government must be filed within one year of the date of the accident. Claims filed against the CTA require written notice of the claim within six months of the accident to preserve your right to sue.
“Your hard work throughout the trial was really amazing and me and my family can not thank you enough for the wonderful results.”
– T.A., Blue Island, IL
How Much is my Claim Worth?
The compensation that you can claim covers a number of aspects. You may get compensation for your medical bills, including past, current, and future care. You may get compensation for lost wages if your ability to work has been impaired. You may also get compensation for reasons that are less quantifiable, but are still very important. These include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of consortium (which, simply put, is when your spousal relationship has been affected).
With the complexities of a motor vehicle accident claim, especially in the case of personal injury, it is important that you deal with an experienced and qualified personal injury lawyer. Michael Brennan is dedicated to aggressively fighting for your rights.