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Involved in a Car Accident in Chicago?


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Car Accidents Common in City of Chicago

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there are an estimated 772 car wrecks in the state every day. Cook County leads the State of Illinois in fatal vehicle accidents. In 2018, there were 276 fatalities as a result of a car accident in the county. The statistics are staggering. If you are involved in a Chicago car accident, a Chicago car accident lawyer can help if you find yourself injured in a car accident.

 

TorHoerman Law – Your Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

As an urban area, Chicago has some of the most dangerous roadways due to traffic creating congested roads, regular winter weather bringing ice and snow to the area, and roadways in need of repair.

Even the safest drivers can get into a car accident because ultimately, you can’t control the behaviors of other drivers or outside factors such as weather conditions like snow, ice, or rain. You can, however, take control of your future by seeking legal options. A Chicago car accident lawyer can help when you are faced with the uncertainty of the aftermath of a car accident.

At TorHoerman Law, the Chicago car accident lawyer team will evaluate your case and answer any questions you may have free of charge. Our experienced team of Chicago car accident attorneys is here to handle your Chicago car accident lawsuit, navigating the civil litigation process, so that you can focus on your recovery.

 

I Was in a Chicago Car Accident. What Do I Do Now?

  1. STOP! Never leave the scene, unless seriously injured and you need to go to the hospital.
  2. Call the Chicago police and Chicago medical professionals for assistance. Illinois law requires you to report an accident if an injury or death occurred. If the accident resulted in more than $1,500 in property damage, the accident must be reported within 10 days. Failure to report an accident is considered a felony in the state of Illinois.
  3. Document. Record details and collect photos, including photos of the license plates and licenses of anyone involved in the accident. Write down the names of the responding law enforcement officers. The more details you collect, the better.
  4. Do not admit fault to anyone, including the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company.
  5. If hurt, keep track of all medical and billing records. This will help your case down the road.
  6. Hire a personal injury lawyer. Contact a Chicago car accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law right away. They can help you navigate the complicated Illinois legal system. Ask your legal team question any and all questions.. We’re here to help and make the process run smoothly for you.

 

Common Chicago Car Accident Causes and Injuries

While statewide campaigns, such as Click it or Ticket, End Distracted Driving, or the Illinois Speed Awareness Day, have been successful in creating awareness, they haven’t completely eliminated the factors that can cause car accidents. Chicago car accidents are most often caused by six different factors:

  • Speeding
  • Alcohol or drug impairment
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless or careless driving
  • Vehicle defects
  • Road hazards

These common causes of Chicago car accidents are very similar to the most common causes of car accidents nationwide, although the bad winter weather and busy roadways are too factors that contribute more to Chicago car accidents.

After alerting emergency personnel of an accident, the responding officers will determine who is at fault for the accident and what factors caused the accident. That determination, in conjunction with the severity of your injuries and damages, will later help in establishing your case for compensation.

Common Injuries in a Chicago Car Accident

Common injuries incurred in a Chicago car accident can range from:

  • neck injuries
  • back injuries
  • spinal injuries
  • broken bones
  • head and brain trauma
  • death

The most common car accident injuries are oftentimes avoidable by taking the right safety precautions, like wearing a seatbelt.

Regardless of the injury, you should seek medical attention to properly diagnose and treat your injury. Seeking medical attention is an important step in mitigation and can greatly increase your chances of winning your Chicago car accident lawsuit.

 

Timeline of a Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit

Each case is unique which means there is no “right” timeline for a Chicago car accident lawsuit, but typically cases proceed in a similar manner.

  • In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury, meaning you have two years from the date of your accident to file a Chicago car accident lawsuit. It is imperative you contact a Chicago car accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case as quickly as possible as to not miss your chance of filing a lawsuit.
  • If, after an investigation into the facts, the attorney agrees to proceed with your case, a Chicago car accident lawsuit will be filed on your behalf.
    • After the filing of the lawsuit, the discovery phase of the litigation occurs – where information and evidence is exchanged and depositions of the parties and potential witnesses will be conducted.
  • In many cases, after the completion of the discovery phase but before the trial, the parties will attempt to resolve the case. While some cases can be resolved in as little in six months, the facts of each case will dictate the timing and potential of any settlement.
  • If a settlement is agreed upon, after all liens and attorney fees and case costs have been paid, you can receive the net proceeds as either a lump-sum payment or in a structured settlement, where the proceeds are paid over an agreed-upon timeframe.
  • If a settlement cannot be reached by the parties involved, the case will likely proceed to trial.

More often than not, Chicago car accident lawsuit cases settle before going to trial. However, there is a small chance your case could go to trial. Your Chicago car accident lawyer will be there to help you every step of the way regardless of which route your case could take.

 

Receiving Compensation for Damages in your Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit

The accident has happened and been taken care of by emergency personnel, but you’re still in pain, either physically or emotionally. The aftermath of a Chicago car accident is often incredibly stressful, but seeking compensation for the damages you suffered can help alleviate some of that stress.

Damages typically sought in a car accident lawsuit are, but not limited to:

  • Vehicle repair
  • Vehicle replacement
  • Payment of medical bills
  • Lost income compensation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Depending on the specifics of your Chicago car accident lawsuit, you may choose to both compensatory damages and punitive damages against the party who holds liability for your losses. You should discuss both types of damages in detail with your Chicago car accident lawyer.

Insurance Laws in Illinois

By law established in 1989, Illinois drivers are required to carry liability insurance. Specifically, drivers must carry the following:

  • $25,000 in injury or death to another person
  • $50,000 in injury or death to two or more people
  • $20,000 in property damage

The right type of auto insurance can keep you protected in the event of an accident.

As a driver, you are required to not only have the aforementioned coverage but to carry your insurance card with you at all times while operating the vehicle.

If you were in a car accident in Chicago and the other driver does not have insurance, confusion can arise. What are the next steps?

 

What Happens If I Am in a Chicago Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

Unfortunately, this is an all too common issue on Chicago roadways. If you have full coverage on your vehicle, your policy likely covers uninsured motorists, but often, it comes with a price tag at your expense. You’ll be required to submit a claim and pay an out of pocket deductible, which often will be paid back but takes a significant amount of time. Because of the claim, you filed, your insurance premiums could rise at the time of renewal.

If you only have liability insurance on your car, it’s a whole new ballgame. You’ll likely have to pay out of pocket for almost all of the expenses unless you added uninsured motorist property damage. The add-on gives drivers damage protection to the driver if hit by an uninsured motorist. But, you have to be able to identify the driver, and it cannot be a hit-and-run, otherwise, you will be responsible for fixing the damage to your car.

It’s important to note that uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can likely save you from paying thousands in out of pocket expenses if hit by an uninsured motorist. The add-on will increase your insurance costs by a small amount, but that amount is a small price to pay when faced with an accident involving an uninsured driver.

Uninsured motorists cause havoc on Chicago roadways. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that in 2015, 13.7% of motorists were uninsured. Illinois is ranked 18th in the country for the number of uninsured motorists on the roads.

 

Illinois Laws of the Road

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, nearly 100,000 people suffer injuries due to car accidents in the state every year. However, many of these accidents could have potentially been avoided if drivers were following the rules of the road.

In the City of Chicago, the universal speed limit for urban streets, not including expressway streets, is 30 miles per hour. If there are no visible speed limit signs, you can assume the speed limit is 30 MPH. This is a universal law throughout the State of Illinois. However, there are exceptions. In the case of streets that are more similar to highways, the speed limit will be higher, and when in school or construction zones, the speed limit will be lower. There also may be instances of lower speed limits when bike lanes are present. Even if a driver is not from Chicago, the NHTSA says that most urban areas follow the same speed limits which should provide guidance even if a sign is not in place.

A seat belt must be worn by all passengers regardless of seating, age, height, or weight. Seat belts can save lives, and not only is it illegal to not wear one but by wearing a seatbelt, you are ensuring your safety.

In Chicago, the City strongly enforces the Red Light Camera Program designed to reduce the number of dangerous crashes at intersections. Rear-end, side-swipe, angle, and head-on crashes are the most common types of car accidents that can cause significant harm to all individuals involved. By issuing citations to those who run red lights, the City hopes to deter drivers from carelessly passing through intersections when the light has turned red. Originally established in 2003, red-light cameras were placed at two intersections – Peterson and Western and 55th and Western. Since then, the program has expanded to other busy and problematic intersections.

While driving in the City, you’ll see a number of pedestrians walking to and from work or school. While this isn’t uncommon in a city of its size, there have been efforts to continually improve pedestrian safety. In 2014, the Chicago Police Department began an initiative to deter drivers from speeding around crosswalks and failing to yield to pedestrians. The initiative involves off-duty, undercover officers posing as pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks. If a driver failed to yield or was driving at an unusually high rate of speed – a law in Chicago, the driver would be pulled over by a police spotter down the street. Results of the campaign in 2015 revealed 2,602 citations were issued for “Failure to Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk”.

 

Eliminate Distracted Driving in Illinois

Illinois has one of the most restrictive distracted driving laws in the country, a benefit to all motorists on the roadways. Illinois law prohibits the use of cell phones, unless using hands-free or Bluetooth technology while operating a motor vehicle. Any drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from any cell phone usage. Talking on a cell phone, regardless of the use of hands-free or Bluetooth technology, is illegal in school and construction zones.

The state is one of 16 states prohibiting hand-held cell phones, making it at the forefront of ending distracted driving on roadways.

TorHoerman Law is also dedicated to ending distracted driving. Our “End Distracted Driving” campaign aims to educate Illinois youth and drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Why Choose TorHoerman Law as Your Chicago Car Accident Lawyer?

The legal team at TorHoerman Law is both experienced and skilled in handling car accident lawsuits. Highly regarded as top lawyers in their field, five of our lawyers were regarded as 2019 Super Lawyers, including Eric Terry, Jacob Plattenberger, Kenneth Brennan, Tor Hoerman, and Chad Finley. Tor Hoerman was honored further by being named a “Top 100 Lawyer” in the State of Illinois, an incredibly prestigious award that demonstrates his capability and expertise in the legal field.

You can count on the lawyers and staff of TorHoerman Law to work hard for you.

At TorHoerman Law, an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can help answer any questions you may have. Contact us today and let a Chicago car accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law help you work through your Chicago car accident lawsuit.

 

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For additional practice areas in Chicago, IL, see the following pages:

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Chicago Car Accident Lawyer | Chicago Car Accident Attorney
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Hurt in a car accident in Chicago - Contact a Chicago car accident lawyer at THL to discuss your potential Chicago car accident lawsuit.
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TorHoerman Law
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References

Batty, Stuart. Illinois Roadway Crash Data, www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/safety/Illinois-Roadway-Crash-Data.

Driving-Tests.org. “2020 Driving Statistics: The Ultimate List of Driving Stats.” 2020 Driving Statistics: The Ultimate List of Car Accident Stats, driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Can I be held liable if I am driving in the bike lane?

A. Driving or parking in bike lanes is not only dangerous, but it is illegal. You can only travel in the bike lane when turning, when moving to a parking spot, or when entering or leaving a private road or driveway.

Q. What are common causes of accidents in Chicago?

A. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, aggressive driving, illegally turning right at red lights, driving in restricted zones, and driving in heavy traffic are all common reasons accidents occur. One of the most prominent reasons and a cause for growing concern is distracted driving.

Q. What is the speed limit in downtown Chicago?

A. The speed limit in urban areas, such as downtown, is 30 miles per hour. Vehicles that are speeding can be held accountable for accidents they are involved in, even if the other driver is also at fault.

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