If you were involved in a car accident in Chicago, IL, you might be dealing with many debilitating consequences. A serious crash can impact you and your family financially, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Getting compensation from the at-fault party on top of all of this can seem overwhelming.
Zayed Law Offices is here to handle the legal side of things while you focus on recovering from your injuries and the accident. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience; to date, we’ve obtained tens of millions of dollars for our clients. We’ve been helping accident victims recover the compensation they need and deserve since 2009.
We offer a free initial consultation to go over your case and offer some initial legal help and advice. You can get started today by giving us a call at (312) 726-1616 or reaching out online. Until then, continue reading to learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding car accidents in Chicago, Illinois.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Chicago, Illinois?
It might seem unfair, but the truth is that the aftermath of a car crash in Chicago can significantly influence the success of any compensation claims down the line. To protect your rights and interests, consider the following “dos and don’ts” regarding auto accidents:
- Receive medical attention as soon as you can, whether or not you have an obvious injury. Some injuries only present symptoms after the fact, and seeing a doctor can create valuable evidence that you can use to prove your case.
- Call 911 to report the accident to the authorities. This is required by law in most cases and will lead to a police report for the crash which you can use during insurance settlement negotiations.
- Do not accept blame for the accident, and do not apologize. Making statements like these can hurt your claim.
- Stay at the scene of the accident, as leaving could harm your case (at best) or leave you open to hit-and-run criminal charges (at worst).
- If you can do so safely, collect any available evidence. This means things like taking photos and videos of the accident scene as well as taking down the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
It’s also a good idea to contact a Chicago car accident lawyer as soon as you can after a crash. An attorney can guide you on how to proceed appropriately based on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your accident.
Is Illinois Considered an At-Fault or No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Most states are considered either “at-fault” or “no-fault” regarding their car insurance systems. In no-fault states, drivers must turn to their own insurance carriers for compensation after a crash. Victims can only file claims against drivers responsible for their accidents if their injuries are especially serious in most instances. Conversely, in at-fault states, injured motorists can pursue claims against those responsible for their accidents in all cases.
Illinois is an at-fault state. Drivers must purchase minimum amounts of coverage to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state. After a car accident in Chicago, you are free to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurer.
What if the Driver Who Caused My Chicago Car Accident Doesn’t Have Insurance?
You can likely still obtain compensation even if the driver who caused your car accident in Chicago doesn’t have insurance. Illinois requires drivers to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage (UIM/UM). Assuming you are in compliance with the law, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to receive benefits.
Alternatively, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, this option only makes sense in certain situations, as the responsible party may not have the funds to pay your claim out of pocket.
A qualified Chicago car accident lawyer with Zayed Law Offices can help you evaluate your legal options after a crash with an uninsured motorist. Call today for a free case review.
How Should I Deal With the Insurance Company After a Car Accident in Chicago, IL?
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses at the end of the day. They make money by accepting monthly premiums, not by paying out large car accident settlements. As a result, you can be certain that the insurance company does not have your best interests as its priority.
For these reasons, ideally, you would not contact or correspond with an insurance company until you’ve spoken with a Chicago car accident lawyer for advice. You also should not agree to a recorded statement, as doing so could allow the insurance adjuster to ask you pointed questions that are designed to minimize liability for your claim.
The bottom line is that you should proceed with caution when dealing with insurance companies, whether it’s your own insurer or the at-fault party’s. If you hire an attorney to represent you, they’ll be able to handle all of the communications and procedures on your behalf. That way, you can have peace of mind that you won’t be taken advantage of and that you’ll level the playing field throughout the car accident claims process.
What Is Comparative Negligence and What Does It Mean for My Car Accident Case in Chicago, Illinois?
In many car accidents, multiple parties may share some blame for the crash. Comparative negligence is the legal concept that addresses how this issue is evaluated. In some states, accident victims cannot recover compensation if they contributed to the cause of the accident even slightly. In others, accident victims can share most of the blame and still get a financial award.
Illinois has taken an in-between approach. The state operates under a “modified comparative negligence” law with a 51% bar to recovery. This means that as long as you weren’t mostly to blame for the crash, you can still receive compensation. However, your compensation can be reduced based on the percentage of the accident that was your fault. Sharing 25% of the blame, for example, means your damages can be reduced by 25%.
It’s likely that the opposing party will try to say the accident was mostly your fault; after all, they won’t be liable for your claim if they do so successfully. But if you hire a trusted Chicago car accident attorney to represent you, you’ll be equipped to respond to allegations of blame effectively.
How Can a Chicago, IL Car Accident Lawyer Help Me After a Crash?
A Chicago car accident lawyer can provide you with comprehensive legal services after a crash. Some of the specific ways an attorney can help include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Investigate your car accident
- Collect evidence in favor of your case
- Hire experts to assist and strengthen your claim
- Take care of all the paperwork, communications, and procedures
- Negotiate a settlement agreement with the at-fault party
- File a lawsuit and take your case to court
- Bring your case all the way to trial if necessary
- Apprise you of your legal options as your case progresses
- Protect you from accusations of comparative negligence
Would you like more information regarding how an attorney can help with your case? Reach out to us today to set up your free consultation.
What’s the Time Limit To File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois?
After a car accident in Chicago, you’ll generally have two years to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This is the deadline set by the Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury cases. Submitting your lawsuit too late means you’ll lose your right to pursue legal recourse.
However, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations deadline for certain cases. The best way to determine the appropriate deadline for your particular case is to contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of My Car Accident Police Report in Chicago, IL?
Under Illinois law, drivers are required to report car accidents to law enforcement that cause death, injury, or property damage of more than $1,500. The property damage threshold drops to $500 if the damaged vehicle is uninsured. Generally, if a police officer arrives at the scene, they will create a report you can obtain a copy of later.
You have a few options for getting a copy of your car accident police report in Chicago, depending on who was responsible for creating it. If it was the Chicago Police Department, you can click here to obtain a copy online. If the Illinois State Police created your report, you can click here to get a copy online or here for instructions on how to get a copy by mail.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Law Firm in Chicago for a Free Case Review
Zayed Law Offices is here to help if you’ve been injured in a Chicago car accident. Our award-winning legal team has a substantial track record of success that you can depend on. If you hire us, we can put the full force of our resources, passion, and attention to work for your case.
Further, our Chicago car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means you can hire us for free, and we’ll only get attorney’s fees if we obtain compensation for you.
Call today to learn more and set up your free case assessment.