Have you been injured in an auto collision in Chicago? Were you left with unanswered questions about who was responsible for your accident, whether it could have been prevented, and who will compensate you for your injuries, financial losses, and worries? You’ve come to the right place for answers.
At Thomas Law Offices, we’re here to assure you that with the help of a Chicago car accident lawyer from our firm, you and your loved ones can find the path to recovery.
Our law firm has proven time and time again that we have the skills needed to take on complex personal injury cases and win. With access to nationwide resources, we are committed to helping families in Illinois who have suffered due to the negligence of others. If you believe another party caused the crash or are dealing with an unfair insurer, reach out to us. Your path to justice starts here.
Illinois Car Accident Facts
You are more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident in Cook County than anywhere else in Illinois. With 127,261 accidents in 2020 alone, Cook County is consistently the most dangerous county for drivers in our state.
Let’s take a closer look at 2020 crash statistics for all of Illinois:
- There were 246,752 total accidents.
- More than 52,090 crashes involved at least one injury, and another 1,088 caused fatalities.
- 19.7% of fatal crashes involved drunk driving.
- The majority of auto accidents took place on dry roads.
With more than 10,487,000 registered motor vehicles and over 8,794,000 licensed drivers, there are a lot of people on Illinois’ roads. We want everyone to be safe, so always wear your seat belt, follow the rules of the road, and never drive after drinking alcohol.
Most Dangerous Roads in and Around Chicago
From dealing with narrow lanes and heavy traffic to navigating one-way roads and multilevel streets, driving in the Windy City is a challenge for even the most experienced driver. Although a car crash can occur virtually anywhere and at any time, there are some stretches of road and interstate that are more dangerous than others.
The following are among the deadliest stretches of roadway in and around Chicago:
- Ashland Ave. – from W. 74th St. to W. 47th St.
- I-57 – from exit 353 to exit 348
- Lake St. – from N. Cicero Ave. to N. Sacramento Blvd.
- SR-42 Harlem Ave. – from W. 34th St. to W. 63rd St.
- I-55 – from exit 287 to exit 292B
- I-290 – from exit 15A to exit 21B
- I-80 – from exit 134 to exit 127
- I-94 – from exit 56B to exit 62
- 87th St. – from S. Lafayette Ave. to S. Pulaski Rd.
Our role as Chicago car accident attorneys is that of constant, steadfast, and reliable legal representation. We know what auto accident victims and their families have been through before they ever reach out to us, and our goal is to provide unrivaled guidance and assurance during what is otherwise a difficult period of time.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one, you have rights. For a free consultation to discuss how an auto accident claim can help you meet your post-accident needs, please contact Thomas Law Offices as soon as possible.
Causes of Most Chicago Auto Accidents
It’s a simple fact that human error is the reason most car accidents occur. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 94% of reported car crashes are caused by driver error. As personal injury attorneys, we have repeatedly seen how many Chicago car accident cases can be traced back to another driver’s negligent, reckless, aggressive, or wrongful behavior.
The typical motor vehicle accident case may include one or more of the following causal factors:
- Drugged or drunk driving
- Distracted driving (especially using a handheld device)
- Reckless driving
- Driving too fast for conditions (even if below the posted limit)
- Tailgating (driving too closely)
- Changing lanes without signaling or checking blind spots
- Failing to stop at red lights or stop signs
- Driver inexperience
Correctly identifying the cause of your accident is key to recovering full and fair compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. However, what few people may realize is that there may be more than one at-fault party and as such, more than one auto insurance company that you need to file a claim with.
Potential At-Fault Parties in a Personal Injury Claim
A car accident case may involve just one or multiple liable parties. The following are just a few examples of possible parties that can be held at fault for a car crash.
- The other driver
- A vehicle or auto parts manufacturer
- A government entity responsible for road upkeep and repair
- An at-fault party’s employer
- Other drivers on the road
Every person, group, organization, or business listed above should have insurance coverage intended to cover the cost of a car accident settlement.
Determining Fault in Chicago Car Accidents
Car accidents in Chicago can be complex, requiring auto accident lawyers to take an in-depth and multi-faceted approach to determining liability. With every case we take on, we conduct a thorough investigation to prove that the following four elements of negligence are present:
- The at-fault driver (the defendant) owed the victim (the plaintiff) a duty of care.
- The defendant breached their duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care resulted in the accident and the plaintiff suffering harm.
- The harm the plaintiff suffered resulted in verifiable losses.
Accident victims have a right to recover car accident compensation that fully addresses the totality of their losses, including lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and more.
If you were injured in a crash, speak with an experienced car accident lawyer today about how you can preserve evidence that will help prove negligence in your insurance claim.
Common Types of Auto Accidents in Illinois
There are as many different types of car accidents as there are drivers on the road. No two accidents are exactly alike, and everything from the size of the vehicles involved to the speeds both were traveling at, the angle at which it occurred, and the location of the crash can determine the type of a given accident.
When assessing a crash, insurers and anyone involved in the insurance claim creation process will look at the type of accident which occurred to figure out what both drivers were doing in the moments leading up to the crash, who was likely at fault, and what other factors may have played a role. What injuries car accident victims suffer from are also heavily influenced by the type of wreck.
Here are some of the most common types of car accidents that occur in and around Chicago:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone (broadside) collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Blind spot accidents
- Rollover accidents
Keep in mind that you can suffer severe injuries even if the accident type you were involved with isn’t typically considered to be all that serious. Whatever you do, don’t let the insurance company determine how injured you are or what your claim is worth.
When your recovery and financial stability is on the line, work with the Chicago car accident attorneys who care. Contact Thomas Law Offices for a completely free case evaluation today.
What if I Was the Victim of a Hit-and-Run?
It’s illegal to leave the scene after an accident, but this happens with surprising frequency. If you were a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be feeling confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do next.
Although the state of Illinois is an “at-fault state” when it comes to car accidents, there are situations in which you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. Anyone that has been injured in a hit-and-run or who was injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist may turn to their own car insurance coverage for compensation.
What if I Suffered Injuries in a Rideshare Accident?
In busy cities, rideshare accidents are also more common than many people believe. Don’t count on rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft to do the right thing after an accident, though. At every turn, these companies and their insurers will do everything in their power to limit your right to compensation.
The Chicago car accident lawyers of Thomas Law Offices don’t let them get away with it. We arm every one of our clients with the knowledge and support they need to assert their rights after a car wreck.
How To Talk to the Insurance Company
After a crash, you will need to notify your own auto insurance company of what happened. You have only a limited time to do this, so be sure to check the details of your policy. However, this isn’t the only insurer you’ll be dealing with—the other driver’s insurance company will also have questions for you.
As car accident lawyers, we cannot stress enough how important it is to understand how to talk to a car insurance company. You must remember that these are huge, profit-minded corporations that do not have your best interests in mind. No matter how kind or polite the adjuster you speak with may seem, never forget that the insurance company is not on your side.
Follow our recommendations whenever you have to interact with an auto insurance company:
- Always stick to the facts of the case and what you know to be true.
- Avoid speculation, even if the insurance adjuster asks questions like, “What do you think happened?”
- Don’t disclose details of your injuries when their extent and severity may not be clear yet. Say that you’re seeking care with a doctor and move on.
- Never provide your medical records to an insurance company.
- Never give a recorded statement, especially soon after the crash when details are still coming to light.
Every time you speak with the insurance company, note down the date, time, person you spoke with, and what you discussed. Keep this information in a safe place so that you have an accurate record of everything that has been said.
However, the most effective way to assert and protect your rights with the insurance company is to work closely with an experienced car accident attorney. In most cases, they can take over all communications with the insurer on your behalf.
How a Chicago Auto Accident Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
When a driver, vehicle or auto part manufacturer, employer, or other person or entity acts negligently and causes a car accident, the victim has a legal right to recover compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and other related damages. But who protects your rights when the big insurance companies are trying to wrongfully lay the blame at your feet?
At Thomas Law Offices, our attorneys are united by a single goal—to stand up for crash victims as they seek to settle car accident claims. In all that we do, we pride ourselves on being relentless and immovable legal advocates. We do this by taking a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to every case we handle.
As a car accident law firm, you can expect the attorney you work with to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf by:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your crash and identifying all at-fault parties.
- Collecting and analyzing all relevant evidence, including pictures and videos taken at the accident scene.
- Accurately valuing the worth of your claim by totaling all economic and non-economic losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, auto repair bills, and more.
- Filing a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance companies.
- Negotiating for a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
Know that your personal injury attorney will be by your side throughout this entire process. This means that if we cannot secure the best possible settlement through negotiations, we will not hesitate to file a car accident lawsuit, taking your case to court to demand that the insurance company pay what you are rightfully owed.
Common Chicago Car Accident Injuries
An auto collision can leave a victim with injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic. The type and extent of a car accident injury will vary considerably depending on the type and severity of the collision, the speed at which the impact occurred, and the sizes of the motor vehicles that were involved. For example, severe injuries may be more likely to occur in pedestrian accidents than in collisions between two similarly sized motor vehicles.
Common car accident injuries can include some of the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal organ damage
- Back and chest injuries
- Soft tissue damage
Serious car accident injuries can progress rapidly, so it is crucial for anyone who has been involved in a wreck to undergo medical assessment as soon as possible. You should be checked out by a doctor even if you are not experiencing severe pain.
Don’t let worries about future medical expenses stand between you and the care you need. Car accident victims are entitled to recover compensation for care and treatment related to their injuries.
The Mental Health Impact of Motor Vehicle Accidents
The mental and emotional impact of being involved in what should have been a preventable motor vehicle crash cannot be understated. According to WebMD, as many as 33% of all car accident victims may develop related mental health disorders that last for at least one year following the crash, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Vehicle- and travel-related phobias
Just like with a physical injury, those impacted by lasting mental anguish, emotional trauma, and mental health disorders need the right care and support to realize the best possible recovery. If you’ve experienced any of the above after being involved in a crash, our car accident lawyers urge you to prioritize yourself and your mental well-being by scheduling an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist.
Compensation Available in Car Accident Cases
As car accident lawyers, we know that we cannot undo the harm that you’ve already suffered. What we can do, though, is fight for your right to maximum compensation.
But what does maximum compensation really mean? In a car accident case, the goal of compensatory damages is to make the victim “whole” again. The settlement you are awarded after an accident cannot be considered to be full and fair unless it fully addresses your losses in a way that allows for you to be made whole.
Compensatory damages for a car accident injury fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages compensate you for your direct and indirect financial losses related to your crash, including:
- Missed paychecks
- Loss of future earnings or reduced earning capacity
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Transportation costs to medical appointments
- Auto repair bills
- Property damage for valuable items damaged in the wreck
- Domestic services
Non-economic damages compensate you for all the non-financial ways your life has been affected by the accident, including:
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Lasting pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of society, companionship, or consortium
- Loss of reputation
Your right to fair compensation is on the line after an accident—don’t let anyone tell you that you are owed anything less than what you need to be made whole again. If the other driver or their auto insurer is disputing your right to compensation, contact the Chicago car accident lawyers of Thomas Law Offices as soon as possible. We’ll stand up for you when it feels like no one else will.
The Role of Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit
Should your claim be heard in court before a judge and jury, there is the possibility that you will be awarded a third type of compensation. Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are only awarded when it is shown “by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s conduct was with evil motive or with a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and with a conscious indifference to the rights and safety of others.”
For this reason, punitive damages are relatively rare in car accident cases.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Chicago
Immediately following a motor vehicle wreck, your body may be in a state of shock. It’s important to remain calm and take the following steps:
- Call 911 and ask that an officer be sent to the scene
- Allow emergency responders to evaluate your condition and transport you to the nearest hospital if necessary
- Move your vehicle to the side of the road (if safe to do so)
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, including damage to vehicles, driving conditions, and any apparent injuries
- Speak with witnesses and get their contact information
- Seek medical care at an emergency room or with your regular doctor
- Report the auto accident to your insurer
- Schedule a free consultation with a team of Chicago car accident lawyers
Remember, what you do after a crash matters. If you fail to seek timely medical care, don’t document the accident scene, or don’t take statements from witnesses, the insurance company for the at-fault driver could twist your actions to mean that you are not seriously hurt or were, at least in part, responsible for the crash.
When Should I Hire a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer?
The best time to hire a lawyer was as soon as you realized you couldn’t go up against the insurance company on your own. The next best time is now.
The main reason that time is of the essence is that vital evidence can disappear. It’s not usually possible to obtain photos of the accident scene or get an eyewitness’ testimony weeks or months after the crash. Gathering and preserving evidence is a critical and time-sensitive part of a car accident lawyer’s work.
We encourage you to come to us for help no matter where you are in the process of your injury claim. We have started work on crash injury cases at all stages of the process and achieved winning outcomes for our clients. Our team of Chicago car accident lawyers is confident that our competence, experience, knowledge, and results-driven focus can work for you in any situation.
Still not sure if you need legal representation for your claim? We recommend working closely with Chicago auto accident lawyers any time that you:
- Have suffered severe, traumatic, or catastrophic injuries
- Are dealing with significant financial losses
- Are not being treated fairly by the insurance company
You can also meet with a car accident lawyer at Thomas Law Offices free of charge to learn more about what we can do and how we can help.
The Statute of Limitations in a Chicago Car Accident Claim
A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to take legal action after an accident. If your lawsuit is filed past the time frame dictated by the statute, your case will likely be dismissed by the court.
In most cases, Illinois state law allows only two years from the date of a car crash to take legal action. This means that if the insurance company drags settlement negotiations out using its arsenal of tricks and tactics, you may ultimately be disqualified from filing a car accident lawsuit.
However, there are some exceptions that may give your attorney more time to handle your case. For this reason, it’s important to meet with a law firm as soon as you can following your accident. We’ll make sure that all matters are completed within the mandatory deadlines so that you don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve.
How Long Does the Car Accident Claim Process Take in Illinois?
It can take some time to settle a car accident claim. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it could be months or years until an outcome is reached. These types of timelines can seem worrisome when you’re hurt, out of work, and watching bills pile up. The need to resolve a claim in a timely manner is one that we are sensitive to, and we don’t take any action that extends this timeline without a valid reason.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are not known for playing fair after car accidents. They know that you only have a limited amount of time to take action, and the more they throw lowball offers your way, the more likely you are to start to believe that is what you are actually owed.
Don’t let the statute of limitations or approaching deadlines push you into accepting a settlement offer that does not fully address everything that you’ve been through since the wreck.
Instead, contact Thomas Law Offices as soon as possible. As a car accident victim, your focus should be on your own health and recovery. Let an experienced representative handle the legal side of things so you can devote your time to what’s most important in your life.
Chicago Car Accident FAQs
Our clients always come first here at Thomas Law Offices. Our dedication to those we serve starts before we ever embark on a formal attorney-client relationship. We are proud to provide a no-cost legal consultation to car crash victims and their families. This meeting does not create an obligation to hire our law firm.
During our first meeting, we will strive to answer any and all questions that you may have for us. As a courtesy, we have also provided brief answers to some of the following most frequently asked questions about car accidents.
What if the Driver Who Hit Me Was Uninsured?
Auto insurance isn’t optional in Illinois—it’s mandatory. Vehicle owners are required to maintain the following minimum amounts of liability coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident
- $20,000 for property damage
Not everyone follows the law, though. If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other losses by filing a claim with your own insurer.
Do Most Car Accident Cases Go to Court?
The vast majority of car accident claims are resolved without anyone ever having to step foot in court. Instead, most victims can reach an agreeable resolution through negotiations.
When reaching a settlement that fully addresses everything that you’ve been through and lost is simply not possible, that is when it’s time to go to court.
Taking an auto insurer to court without the legal backing of a car accident lawyer is not a good idea, though. You need the backing of someone who understands the legal system inside and out if you want your case to stand up before a judge and jury.
What if the Insurance Company Says I’m Also at Fault?
So the insurance company says you’re partially to blame for the crash, does that disqualify you from securing compensation? The good news is, maybe not.
Illinois’ comparative negligence laws allow for the idea that two parties can both play a role in an accident, while still allowing for the individual who was least at fault to secure compensation for their injuries. So long as you are deemed to be less than 50% at fault for the wreck, you are still entitled to compensation.
Keep in mind that your total award will be proportionately reduced by your percentage of fault, though. This means that if you were awarded $10,000 for an accident in which you were 20% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by $2,000, bringing your final compensation to $8,000.
Never allow a big auto insurer to decide your percentage of fault for a crash. Instead, work with a car accident attorney to protect and preserve your right to compensation.
Life in Chicago, IL
Life in Chicago, IL is quite unlike anywhere else in the United States. As the third biggest city in the country, the Windy City is home to vibrant art communities, a thriving food and restaurant scene, and a musical history like no other. We are a true melting pot of culture and arts.
Unlike other big cities, we are unique in our love for nature and the outdoors, boasting more than 600 parks, 500 playgrounds, 307 sports fields, 80 swimming pools, and countless beaches and lakefronts. Spending a day outdoors in Chicago isn’t hard when we have Millennium Park, Grant Park, Lincoln Park, and so many more that are just a walk or train ride away.
Home to eight major league sports teams, Wrigley Field, United Center indoor arena, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, UIC Pavilion, Toyota Park, and Wintrust Arena, there’s a little something for every sports fan.
Thomas Law Offices is proud to serve the wonderful people of Chicago and Cook County.
Speak With a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today
At Thomas Law Offices, our car accident attorneys are on your side. We have the experience, background, knowledge, and expertise that your case deserves. We will fight for your right to recover compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses, and we’ll make sure that you’re treated as fairly as possible by the insurance companies.
You are not alone in this. As a personal injury law firm, we will be by your side through every step of the legal process.
Don’t let the clock run out on your right to hold a negligent driver accountable for their actions. Speak with a Chicago car accident lawyer at no cost and no obligation when you schedule a free consultation with our office. Contact us today.