Don’t Cruise to Disaster: Know the Car Accident Laws in Chicago, Illinois – and How to Receive Justice if You’ve Been Injured
Chicago, Illinois, is truly a gem on the edge of Lake Michigan. There’s nothing better than cruising down Lake Shore Drive at night, looking out over the peaceful lake lit up by the skyscrapers. However, Chicago’s roads are not only beautiful but also incredibly dangerous. The city features multiple highways threading through its streets, and downtown areas suffer from high congestion. It’s very likely that you, or someone you know, will be in an accident in the Windy City. So it’s essential that you understand the laws surrounding Illinois car accident, as well as how you can receive justice if you were injured in a car.
The laws around car accident in Chicago are comprehensive regarding every component of driving
It is important to acknowledge that several laws concern car accidents in Chicago. These laws primarily focus on prevention and the protection of those who have been injured. For example, Chicago requires everyone in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt at all times. And to not drive distracted by texting while operating a vehicle. Others include requiring all drivers to carry insurance, as this can ensure that victims are compensated should they be struck by the driver.
If an accident does occur, there are further laws to ensure that the incidents are reported in a timely manner. And that injured parties file a lawsuit within a reasonable amount of time. Illinois laws mandate that accidents be reported to the police within ten days of the incident, and that personal injury lawsuits be filed within two years of the incident.
These are relatively straightforward, but when a case actually goes to trial. It can get more confusing, as Illinois has a comparative fault law paired with a modified comparative negligence law.
Laws around comparative fault allow injured parties to sue even if they were partially to blame
Comparative fault is used to determine fault for an accident and then compensate victims accordingly. This rule comes into play when both parties were somehow negligent and therefore had a role in causing the accident.
Both parties involved in the accident are assigned different percentages, adding up to 100%. And then they can be compensated in relation to how negligent they were. For example, if the plaintiff was 10% at fault, and the defendant was 90% at fault. Then the plaintiff can receive 90% of the damages they would receive if they had no fault at all. It can be confusing to determine percentages for fault; this is why, should you decide to go to trial, a Chicago car crash attorney can explain to you how much fault the judge is likely to assign to you. And therefore how much your compensation will be lowered.
This rule doesn’t just determine how much you can be awarded, but also if you can be awarded anything at all. Under Illinois Car Accident laws called modified comparative negligence. If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, you can’t recover damages: you’re considered too negligent to be awarded anything. This may also encourage the other party to counter-sue you, as it’s now clear that you were more at fault than they were. This is why it’s essential that you speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as an accident happens. So that they can advise you on next steps, including whether to file a lawsuit.
A personal injury attorney is your greatest advocate if you’ve been injured in a car crash
As soon as you’re able to, you should speak to a law firm experienced in car accidents. So that they can assist you in deciding the best way forward. There’s a variety of different ways that a lawyer can help you throughout this process, far more than just representing you in court.
Firstly, a lawyer can speak to third parties on your behalf, including insurance agencies and the other driver. So that you don’t have to worry about accidentally damaging your own case. Insurance companies want to limit how much they assist a victim so as to spare their bottom line. And they may pressure you to accept a lower settlement than you actually deserve. Because lawyers have a wealth of experience in speaking to insurance companies, they can determine a fair settlement.
Because they have experience in cases like yours, a lawyer knows that you’ll likely need future medical assistance. And that you may not be able to work for a time; they’ll factor this into their settlement negotiations, so that you can be assured that your settlement will cover everything you may need, now and in the future.
If you’re not able to come to an agreement, the lawyer will develop a solid case to present in the courtroom. Including medical records, witness statements, and even accident reconstruction specialists. They know exactly what evidence you’ll need to prove your case. And they can gather a variety of different sources to support your claims.
While understanding the laws around Illinois car accident is essential for any responsible driver. Only a personal injury lawyer has the experience to skillfully apply these laws when seeking justice for your accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, even if you were in some ways responsible, you should always talk to a lawyer. Who can help you develop an action plan to move forward and receive the compensation you deserve.