Chicago Car Accident Lawyers
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If you were hurt in a car accident involving DUI, distracted driving, or an otherwise negligent motorist, our car accident lawyers at Strom Yen Injury Attorneys can help you recover maximum compensation. We understand that Illinois car accident victims often face serious injuries that lead to high medical bills and lost time at work. This creates a financial burden for victims already struggling with the aftermath of a crash.
Initial offers made by insurance companies do not usually cover all the expenses of your injury that may be recoverable. We will help you negotiate with the insurance company to help you achieve a fair settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, our attorneys will bring a lawsuit to recover damages.
Since 1977, our law firm has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of crash victims.
Why Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer at Our Law Firm?
Insurance companies will make excuses to drag out the claim process or deny your claim entirely. A car accident lawyer at our law firm will help keep the insurance adjusters on track and prevent you from falling victim to bad faith insurance tactics. Our attorneys take on some of the most complicated accident cases in Illinois, and win.
Chicago car accident victims turn to Strom Yen Injury Attorneys because we offer:
Car Accident Statistics in Illinois
Just under 300,000 accidents occurred in Illinois in 2021 involving cars or other motor vehicles. That averages out to about 810 accidents per day. Car accidents can not only cause injuries that require time away from work, but also cause unexpected medical costs and property damage. If the injury was more serious, it can also impact the victim’s ability to return to work indefinitely. Alarmingly, Chicago ranks as one of the top ten worst cities to drive in. Some of the most dangerous roads in Chicago include:
- Kennedy Expressway
- Eisenhower Expressway
- Tri-State Tollway
- Veterans Memorial Tollway
- Stevenson Expressway
Some accidents are serious enough that they cause fatalities to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the crash. An estimated 1100 fatal crashes took place in Illinois in 2022. Highways and city streets were the top two locations that fatal accidents occurred. Around 300 of these deaths were due to misuse of seatbelts, and approximately 33% of children who died were not properly secured in a safety seat or wearing a seatbelt.
There is a greater chance for accidents to take place at night when there is no proper lighting provided for drivers to see other cars, bicycles, or pedestrians. Accidents also take place more frequently on the weekends and holidays, when there are more motorists on the road. Risky driving, such as speeding or failing to stop at traffic signs or lights, can also increase the risk for accidents. Statistics also show that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents due to inexperience and participating in risky driving behaviors.
What Caused Your Car Accident?
Determining the cause of your car accident, and proving that the other party was negligent, are vital when filing a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, key details that can help reveal how the crash happened are often overlooked by injury victims and bystanders. These details can make or break a car accident injury claim.
Chicago car accidents happen for a wide range of reasons. Our car accident lawyers have handled injury cases caused by negligent drivers where everything from defective vehicle parts and worn out tires to malfunctioning traffic signals, dangerous road designs, and inclement weather also played a role.
While multiple factors can contribute to the cause of a crash, driver negligence is the main reason motor vehicle accidents happen in most cases.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Illinois
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is the leading cause of crashes seen by car accident lawyers in Chicago. While texting and cellphone use are most often to blame, distracted driving accidents are frequently caused by eating or drinking, using stereos and infotainment systems, and using GPS systems while driving as well.
Drunk and Drugged Driving Accidents
People who drive after drinking alcohol, using drugs, or consuming certain prescription medications jeopardize the safety of everyone sharing the road. Reactions times are slower. Judgement is impaired. Cognitive ability is compromised. While impaired driving is not the leading cause of crashes, it is the most deadly.
Nearly 40% of all fatal car accidents in Chicago involve speeding. Traveling too fast interferes with a driver’s ability to stop safely, identify road hazards, or maintain control of the vehicle. Speeding also increases the impact of a collision and reduces the effectiveness of some safety features like airbags and seatbelts.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident in Illinois?
To determine who is at fault for an accident, Illinois follows the comparative fault rule. This rule allows for the victim to file for damages as long as they are less than 51% at fault for the accident. However, the amount of damages that can be received will decrease based on the victim’s percentage of responsibility for the accident.
Evidence gathered at the scene can help to determine which driver is the responsible party, or the more responsible party. This might include photos of injuries and property damage, traffic camera footage, and witness testimony. You should also take notes on any details that might be needed for an insurance claim or lawsuit.
A police report should be filed, even if an officer is not required to appear at the scene. The police report can be used to prove who is at fault in a lawsuit. After the report is filed with the reporting officer or at a local police station, a copy should be requested.
To prove who is liable in a lawsuit, four elements will have to be demonstrated through the use of evidence and testimony. The first element to prove is that the driver owed a duty of care to the victim. Second, victims must show that the duty of care was breached due to the actions of the negligent driver. Next, this breach of care must have caused the victim’s injuries. Finally, the victim’s injuries must have resulted in damages that can be recovered by the victim.
Determining fault is easier in some types of accidents than others. For example, it is usually the fault of a driver who is backing up when a collision occurs. If more than two vehicles are involved in an accident, it can be much harder to identify who is at fault.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit Against a Business
Determining which parties to include in a lawsuit will help the victim recover as much compensation as possible. A negligent driver may not always be liable for the damages they cause, especially if he or she is on the clock for a company. If the accident was caused due to improper vehicle maintenance, then it is the company that is responsible for the accident.
If you have questions regarding who might be at fault for your accident, it is best to consult a lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer can review your case to see which party should be included in the lawsuit. An attorney might also find that multiple parties are at fault and should all be listed so that fair compensation can be recovered for the client.
Recovering Compensation After Hit-and-Run Accidents
Chicago has seen an alarming spike in the number of hit-and-run accidents in the city in recent years. On average, the city sees approximately 100 car accidents each day involving drivers who leave the scene. These crashes frequently cause incapacitating injuries. Oftentimes, they are deadly. When the at-fault driver cannot be found, pursuing compensation for medical bills and other losses may seem like a lost cause. Fortunately, these crashes are classified as uninsured motorist accidents. Our Chicago hit-and-run accident attorneys can help victims file claims against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy to recover damages.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Experiencing a car accident is a stressful and often traumatic event. Knowing what steps to take immediately following an accident can make a significant difference in ensuring your safety and protecting your legal and financial interests. Here are five essential steps to take after a car accident:
- Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention:
Your first priority is safety. Check for injuries, and if anyone is hurt, call 911 for immediate medical assistance. Move to a safe location if possible, and turn on your hazard lights. If you’re uninjured, and it’s safe to do so, check on the well-being of others involved in the accident.
- Contact Law Enforcement:
Call the police to report the accident, even if it seems minor. An accident report can be crucial when dealing with insurance companies and legal claims. When the police arrive, provide them with accurate and factual information about the accident, but don’t offer any opinions, apologies, or unnecessary statements.
- Exchange Information:
Exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. Get their names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance details. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses. Document the accident scene with photos, capturing vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage.
- Notify Your Insurance Company:
While you should promptly notify your insurance company about the accident, you should not provide any statements without getting legal advice first. Provide your insurer with the important details you’ve collected, and answer their questions about your identity, but keep responses short and to the point. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurer.
- Consult an Attorney:
If you’ve been injured, get in touch with a car accident attorney at our law firm. We can help you understand your rights and navigate any insurance claims. We will answer your questions, and assist you in preserving evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In addition to these five steps, it’s essential to be cautious about discussing the accident with others, especially on social media. Statements you make can be used against you in legal proceedings. After an accident, emotions can run high. Remain calm, respectful, and focus on gathering necessary information and ensuring your well-being. By following these steps, you’ll be better equipped to protect your interests and work towards a resolution after a car accident.
Common Injuries Our Car Accident Lawyers See
Motor vehicle accident injuries might seem minor, but if you are injured, you should seek medical treatment to be evaluated. Some injuries may not present symptoms at the scene of the accident, but when left untreated, they become life-threatening. It is important to attend any follow-up visits that are ordered by the doctor.
Some of the most common injuries from a car accident include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, are one of the most common car accident injuries. TBIs range in severity from mild concussions, which may heal over days or months, to life-altering functions of the brain that may not ever heal. Traumatic brain injuries can be penetrating, in which an object has penetrated the brain from the outside, and non-penetrating, which can involve the brain being jostled against the skull.
Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include headaches, nausea, blurred or double vision, and convulsions. Neurological signs of a brain injury can involve slurred speech, a lack of balance, or weakness in the arms, legs, or face. If you begin to show any of these symptoms after an accident, you should see a doctor immediately. If left untreated, even minor brain injuries can become fatal.
Spine injuries not only impact the neck and back, but also the nerves that the spinal cord controls to help move different parts of the body. Injuries to different parts of the spine impact different motor functions of the arms or legs. The severity of the injury can determine if the injury will cause permeant damage.
Signs of an injury to the spine can include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Loss of movement or paralysis might begin to develop due to swelling. Feeling pressure and pain in the head, neck, or back might also indicate an injury to the spine.
The high impact of a crash can cause injuries inside the body to organs or tissues, leading to internal bleeding. The most common organs to sustain damage during a car accident are the kidneys or liver. Signs of an internal injury can include feeling dizzy or cold, pale skin, and dizziness and confusion. If you start to experience any of these symptoms after a car accident, get the injury examined. Internal bleeding or organ damage can have lifelong impacts if not treated promptly.
The force of impact that occurs during car accidents can cause fractures or other broken bones to occur. There is a higher likelihood of broken bones if the victim was ejected from the vehicle or off of a motorcycle. Some of the most common breaks that occur during car crashes are broken ribs, arms, or legs. Airbag deployment can cause breaks or fractures in the face, ribs, or sternum. Any loose items moving around the car can also be slammed into the driver or passengers, causing injury. All fractures and broken bones can take weeks or months to recover. The severity of the break and the location can determine how long the rehabilitation process may take.
The severity of burn injuries is measured in degrees. First degree burns are the least severe and only cause damage to the first layer of skin. Second degree burns occur when the first two layers of skin are burned, this can be caused by touching hot metal after an accident. Third degree burns occur when the innermost layer of skin has been effected. The most severe burns are fourth degree, and this is when not only all the lawyer of skin has been damaged, but also nerves and muscles have been impacted. All types of burns can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement.
How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
The average car accident settlements in Illinois range from a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands. For minor car accidents, the settlement will amount will be reduced due to less property damage and less severe injuries. Major accidents will have a higher calculated value due to more serious injuries, which might have impacted the victim’s ability to work. Fatal car accidents typically have the highest settlement amounts, which will also include funeral and burial costs.
The types of damages included in calculating the settlement amount are:
- Economic damages, which are the direct costs that arise from the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages. These are the intangible costs associated with an accident, such as emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disfigurement
- Wrongful death damages, which can include funeral and burial costs and lost wages if the decedent was the main financial provider.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Typically, a victim has up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after an auto accident in Illinois. The legal term for this timeframe is known as the statute of limitations. The day of the accident is when the statute of limitations begins to run. If a case is filed passed this timeframe, it is usually dismissed.
Some car accident cases might be eligible for an extension to the statute of limitations. Our car accident lawyers can advise if these exceptions apply to your case. It is best to start consulting with us as soon as possible after the accident. This gives our law firm time to attempt settlement negotiations prior to filing a lawsuit.
If the accident involved a fatality, then a family member might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case begins on the day of the decedent’s death. This may not always be the same day of the accident.
I have known Neal Strom for many years and have had the need to use his legal services more than once. I have always found Neal and his team to be highly professional and helpful in many ways and most importantly, to be truthful all the time. He and his team are always willing to step up when needed to answer all my questions and any concerns that I might have. I have been very satisfied in the settlements won on my behalf and therefore, I highly recommend Neal Strom & Associates.
Types of Cases Handled by Strom Yen Injury Attorneys
In addition to auto accident cases, the lawyers at Strom Yen Injury Attorneys have experience handling a wide variety of accident claims. We are:
FAQ About Car Accidents in Illinois
No personal injury lawyer can guarantee how much you will receive from a car accident settlement. However, experienced car accident lawyers can provide you with an accurate estimate by calculating your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Most auto accident lawyers work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means the law firm will get paid out of your settlement or awarded amount. This is usually capped between 33%-40% of the awarded amount. Some costs may have to be paid upfront, which might include fees to obtain copies of police and medical reports. Some of these expenses can also be taken out of the awarded amount or settlement on top of the attorney fees.
Although your case could go to trial if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, most car accident cases in Illinois are settled out of court.
Illinois drivers should call the police to report an accident and see if an officer will need to come to the scene of the crash. If there were no major injuries or property damage over a certain amount, police presence might not be required. The driver will have ten days to file a report with the closest police station. If a driver does not notify the police or file a report, it may be considered a hit-and-run.
You should not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company after a car accident until you have gotten advice from your lawyer. We recommend against making a statement to your own insurance company prior to seeking legal advice as well. Insurance companies are notorious for twisting victims’ words around to avoid paying injury claims.
Injured in a car crash? Schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer at Strom Yen Injury Attorneys. Call (312) 374-6626.