It’s no wonder you need a car accident lawyer in Chicago. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over 2 Million drivers in Chicago, drive on an estimated 10.8 million miles of streets and roadways within our city every single year!
With that many drivers on that much local roadway, car accidents are unfortunately going happen. That is when insurance needs to do its job and take care of accident victims like you.
Chicago is one of the largest cities in America. In fact, an annual report for 2018, conducted by INRIX, revealed that Chicago is now the 2nd “most congested urban area in the U.S.” on their list.
If you are the victim of a car crash, whether you were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you need and deserve fair compensation and we know that isn’t always the easiest thing to pursue on your own!
The professional car accident lawyers at Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD., have extensive experience handling accidents involving vehicles. This means you don’t need to struggle with the bureaucracy on your own! We investigate every possible contributing cause of your accident to ensure you receive full compensation for your damages.
Though not exhaustive, when we say we handle extensive vehicle accidents, that refers to all these types listed below:
Do you need a car accident attorney?
Clients come to us as car accident attorneys wondering if they deserve compensation or feeling confused about what type of compensation they can ask for.
No two accident cases are the same, and a consult with one of our accident attorneys is free, so we recommend you make that call regardless. If you have been in a car crash or car accident and you are experiencing one of the following situations listed below, you should seek help from a lawyer.
- You Sustained Lingering Injuries
Taking legal action after very minor injuries may not be worth the time and effort. You hear about minor bumps that are trivial so maybe you don’t want to step forward. However, if you are facing long-term or even permanent injuries that affect your ability to work, your mental and emotional well-being or your quality of life, you’ll come to regret not taking action after an accident. The State of Illinois observes a statute of limitations for car accident claims, so it’s better to speak with an attorney about your options early, rather than waiting until it is too late.
- Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses Are Significant
When medical expenses and other costs associated with an accident are relatively minor, hiring an attorney and filing a personal injury lawsuit may not make sense financially. However, when you are facing steep medical bills, lost wages due to missed work or future lost earning potential, you NEED to find out whether you are entitled to compensation.
- The Other Driver Does NOT Admit Fault
If the other driver and his or her insurance company refuse to admit fault, you will only win compensation by proving in court that the other driver was at fault. This will be much easier to do with the help of an experienced car accident attorney who is familiar with the relevant laws and has experience presenting evidence in a courtroom setting.
How a car accident lawyer can help:
If you were injured because of an auto accident, and have lost significant time from work, your household is likely to struggle without that income. Likewise, if you find yourself unable to perform household duties or meet your school requirements, you are suffering a loss that demands compensation.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, it is especially important to secure the services of a professional car accident lawyer.
Injuries, lost wages or insurance and disability claims can significantly complicate a case and drown most people in bureaucracy and paperwork during an already difficult recovery time. We can cut through that red tape and take care of these details while you focus on your recovery.
Our expert car accident attorneys will help you do the following:
- Complete the lengthy paperwork from doctors, insurance companies and SSI/SSDI (disability) that often accompanies car accident claims.
- Communicate with insurance companies.
- Locate witnesses/investigate the accident scene.
- We handle all the details – YOU RECOVER.
Our car accident lawyers have the skill and experience required to critically evaluate all the facts involved in the cause of your accident. We take over the investigation of your case so you can concentrate on your essential recovery.
We will help you find the appropriate medical specialist to treat your injuries and make arrangements to delay payment of medical costs until your case is resolved through settlement or trial.
In addition to helping you address your medical needs and expenses, we will assist you with other issues that often surround a car accident, including:
How you can help move your case forward:
We have learned over many years that people feel best when they can take some action towards securing what they need. Although, we want you to focus on recovery, there are some areas where we know you can contribute, if you are well enough, that do make a difference.
The best way to ensure you have a strong case is to begin gathering all relevant paperwork related to the accident immediately. That’s step one and something that you can help with. Here are a few things we will need to file a car accident claim:
- Police reports
- Auto insurance claims
- Medical billing statements
- Any other important letters/documents directly related to your case
These are the documents that will cover the facts about How, When and Why the incident occurred. These details tend to become blurred, especially if you’ve been hurt. The odds are that if you’ve been injured, or your car was damaged in some way, there will be medical and auto repair bills to pay.
Those moments immediately following the crash are a critical time to document as many of the details as possible so that you can be compensated adequately.
Auto Accident Report Information
Car accident reports can never contain too much information! So often, drivers remember to ask about car insurance information but forget simple details like phone numbers and license plate numbers.
It’s recommended that you always dial 911 to call the police to the scene of an accident, even for minor fender benders. A police officer will be equipped with the proper forms and the experience so nothing important is left out.
Car accident reports always contain contact information with names, addresses and phone numbers of all drivers involved in the accident as well as the insurance company and policy information. Talking with drivers, passengers and witnesses will also provide details of the event from different perspectives to add to the documentation.
All this information is important to car accident attorneys when fighting for client settlements. If you were injured, or not thinking clearly then you, your lawyer and your insurance company representative will always have the police report to refer back to.
By gathering this information ahead of time, our experienced car accident lawyers can get to the heart of your case quickly and make an informed decision about how to proceed.
How do I choose the right Chicago car accident lawyer?
We know from our clients that it can be hard to initially determine which accident lawyer is going to be right for you and right for this particular case. Especially when you’re already dealing with the aftermath of an accident. Here are some suggestions to help you feel confident when facing this choice:
- Seek out an attorney with solid Experience
Has the lawyer you are considering been in the field, stood for clients in similar situations, or gone to trial and won compensation for others in your situation? In this instance, you are in search of an experienced car accident attorney. This type of attorney will have experience working with personal injury victims like you. Although any attorney can fight your case, experience in this area as with any other will provide you with a better probable outcome.
- Schedule a Consultation (Interview your potential lawyer)
Once you find an experienced car accident lawyer, schedule a free consultation. Experienced car accident attorneys will meet with you for free to discuss your case. Use this meeting to review what happened during the accident and directly experience what the lawyer you’re interviewing is like to work with.
- Check references – Look for a Proven Track Record of Success
Next, make sure the lawyer you are interested in working with has a proven track record of success. If they win the majority of their cases, then there’s a good chance they will win yours too. If they do not have the best track record, then it might be better to keep looking for another attorney. Take advantage of the free consultation to ask for credentials and history to help you make this critical choice.
Our car accident lawyers can help you understand what type of compensation you need and deserve in terms of the law. They can also answer any questions you might have about your case.
What compensation could I receive after a car accident?
There is no distinct formula for an average car accident settlement because no accident case is precisely like another. Even if conditions of a car crash are recreated precisely, recovery of parties involved could lead to the award of damages distinct from otherwise similar scenarios.
There are a few rules of thumb you can use to figure what you may be able to recover in a car accident settlement.
The Rule of Thumb
Many attorneys have a rule of thumb accounting for medical bills. That rule of thumb is the assumption of a settlement that recovers three times the cost of medical expenses. If you have insurance coverage beyond liability or you are the injured party, the insurance company will cover medical bills and vehicular repair.
The court will ultimately determine pain and suffering through a judge by examining the injury that has been diagnosed, the treatment options involved, the duration of treatment, if there were pre-existing conditions, whether the crash was severe or minor and if income loss has been sustained during the present or ongoing recovery period.
Choose a Firm with a Proven Track Record
For the average car accident settlement, what you need is a strong legal representation that maximizes recovery. An excellent way to determine whether a legal firm can do this is through an examination of their track record.
Another rule of thumb to identify a solid firm is approximately a million dollars in recovery per one hundred clients served. If you divide that out, it comes to an average of about $20,000 in compensation per client.
Yet actual recovery averages on an individual basis are likely to be higher. Simply because no legal firm can win every case. This means if they are averaging a million dollars per hundred clients, individual clients have likely been able to recover more because that figure factors in clients who the judge didn’t favor.
If you can find a firm with these numbers, you can expect that a successful ruling could potentially return you $20,000 or more, depending on your case.
Since 1996, the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates have advocated on behalf of over 25,000 injury victims and their families, helping them successfully navigate the complexities of the legal process. As experienced attorneys, we can help you evaluate the facts, assess your options, manage the legal challenges. We help you recover damages for your loss so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Illinois Car Accident FAQs
How do negligence laws work in Illinois?
Illinois works on a modified comparative negligence system. This means that whoever is found to be responsible for an accident is also responsible for paying damages to the other parties involved based on the percentage of their fault for the accident.
For example, if you were considered 30% at fault for an accident and the other party was 70% at fault, you would be able to seek compensation for 70% of your damages from the accident. However, this is generally limited to if you are 50% or less than fault for an accident.
What do I do if I was involved in an accident with an unattended car?
If you are involved in an accident where your vehicle collides with a parked vehicle or other unattended property, you must stop immediately at the scene or as close to it as possible and attempt to find and alert the driver or owner of the damaged car or property.
You must give them your name, address, and vehicle registration number. If you are unable to locate them, you must leave a written note attached in a clearly visible place on the damaged property, leaving the same information you would have shared if you had managed to find them.
You must also make a report to the police notifying them of your accident if it resulted in a total of more than $1,500 in damages, which is likely to be the case in many instances.
What do I need to do to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Illinois?
When starting a lawsuit in Illinois, a Complaint must be filed with the local court, and a Summons must be prepared. The Complaint outlines your legal arguments as to why the other party, the defendant, should be required to pay for damages from the accident, and the summons notifies the defendant that the lawsuit has been filed and that they have the right to respond to the lawsuit. In the case of a small claims case, the summons can be delivered by certified mail with a return receipt, but they are often served personally.
The defendant can then respond to the claim, and depending on the circumstances, there may be mediated negotiations in hopes of reaching an agreed settlement before the lawsuit proceeds.
If negotiations fail to reach a satisfactory conclusion, the suit then proceeds into the discovery phase, where lawyers from both parties investigate the accident independently. Information found during the discovery phase is shared between both legal teams. This can be a very lengthy process depending on the scope of the case. When the discovery phase is complete, the trial begins. The trial itself is often resolved within a few days for most car accident claims.
What kind of compensation can I expect?
Car accident settlements can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, as well as the type of treatment needed. For people who have suffered serious injuries, the settlements are generally much larger, and the topic can be much more complicated than straightforward physical damages.
A few of the things that come into the equation when finding out how much you can expect from damages in an accident are Lost wages / Reduced earning potential, property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life such as through lost companionship or through other forms of suffering caused by the accident.
When discussing your injuries, treatment and recovery with your Attorney, you should be sure to include any losses you can think of, even if you might think they are small or unimportant. For example, if you are unable to do recreational activities, household work, lifting objects, etc., these are taken into account when determining your damages. By discussing these, we will be better able to make sure you are compensated for as much of your losses as legally possible.
How long do I have to file a claim?
If you have been in a Car Accident in the State of Illinois and are unable to reach an agreement outside of court, there is a limited window of time where you can still file a claim for your injuries or property damage.
In the State of Illinois, the Statute of Limitations for filing a claim for injuries from a car accident is two (2) years, though this is reduced to one (1) year if the other party was a local public employee. The Statute of Limitations for filing a claim for property damage is typically much longer and can be for as long as five years.
In either situation, it is usually a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible so that they can help you to make the best choice for your case and to navigate the often-complicated process.
How long can I expect my case to take?
Though the total length of a case varies based on a variety of factors. The most important factor is the length of treatment needed before a person recovers. We cannot begin the settlement process until you are released from your doctor. Once you have completed your treatment, we will immediately order all of your medical records and bills. Able to gather all the medical records and bills. In many straightforward cases, your case can then be resolved within 2-4 months after you complete your treatment. In more complex cases, however, your case could last for more than a year.
A few factors that influence how long a case takes include how long insurance takes to respond to you, the nature and extent of your injuries, and the degree of cooperation from the other side.
Most cases do not end up needing to go to trial, which also can significantly reduce the time taken for completion, as it can sometimes take many months to get a trial date set in court. Trials themselves can last anywhere from a few days to two or more weeks, depending on the complexity.
What are the insurance requirements for your car in Illinois?
According to Illinois law, motorists are required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability insurance to help pay for damages they might cause in an accident.
Though higher amounts are always recommended, the legal minimums for your insurance are $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $20,000 per accident for property damage. You are also required to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage worth at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This is often included with higher levels of coverage.
What do I do after a car accident?
Though the response to an accident may vary depending on its severity, there are at least a few basic things that you should do after any car accident.
First, you want to stop in a safe place if possible and check to see if anyone is injured. Call 911 for medical help if anyone is hurt and to report your accident. Even if you have no visible injuries or your visible injuries are relatively minor, you will want to arrange to see a doctor as soon as possible. There may be injuries that are not immediately apparent, and in your shock from the accident, it can be easy to overlook some profoundly serious injuries. It is also important so that your injuries can be documented should you need to file a case in the future.
If you are in a condition to do so, take pictures of the vehicles involved and the immediate surroundings of the scene - any skid marks, broken glass, and other nearby hazards that may have contributed to the accident. You will want to exchange your contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved, and to get their information as well. If you can, also try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
If your accident was significant (with a total of damages greater than $1,500 between the involved parties), you would have to file a written report with the police as soon as possible afterwards, within ten days of the accident. You should also report your accident to your insurance provider, but don't make any statements and stick strictly to the facts until you've had the chance to speak with an attorney, as your insurance company may use that as a reason to treat your accident as less severe than it was or to assign responsibility for the accident to you.