With a population of about 2.7 million people, Chicago has some of the busiest traffic in the country. Major expressways like the Edens, Stevenson, Eisenhower and Illinois Tollway run through the city to the suburbs These roadways in Chicago and Cook County contribute greatly to Illinois traffic statistics. Nearly half of all Illinois traffic accidents occur in and around Chicago.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 998 people died on Illinois roads in 2015. Most of those fatalities occurred in urban areas, and 239 of them occurred in Cook County. Those represented 24 percent of the statewide total. An Illinois Department of Transportation study makes it safe to say that well over 100 pedestrians die every year in Chicago.
Being involved in a serious car accident is a traumatic experience. The types of accidents can involve:
- Rear-end impacts
- Broadside impacts
- Head-on impacts
Even with crumple zones, seat belts and air bags, just about any impact has the potential of seriously injuring somebody. In fact, motor vehicle accident cases probably represent the most common negligence cases filed at the Richard J. Daley Center and the outlying Cook County district courthouses.
What is negligence?
When somebody is negligent, they fail to use ordinary care. They don’t use that same degree of care that an ordinary reasonably prudent person would use under the same or similar circumstances. The most common types of negligence on the road involve:
- Driver error like following too closely or failing to yield the right-of-way
- Distracted driving such as using a cell phone or navigational device while driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Drunk driving
How do we prove negligence?
When we want to prove that somebody was careless and negligent, we have to prove certain elements. Those elements are:
- That a duty of care was owed to our injured client
- There was a breach of that duty
- The breach of duty caused our client’s injuries
- Our client suffered legally recognized damages
It’s not unusual for an insurance company to allege that you were partially at fault for an accident. That’s known as comparative negligence, and Illinois is what’s known as a modified comparative negligence state. You can still receive compensation for your injuries if you were 50 percent at fault for an accident, but the percentage of negligence attributable to you will be deducted from your gross award. For example if you receive an award of $100,000, but you were determined to be 30 percent at fault for the accident, your net award would be $70,000. If you’re determined to be 51 percent or more at fault, you receive nothing.
Insurance companies are increasingly difficult to deal with. A common strategy is to delay processing of a claim and then deny it altogether. That forces lawsuits, and then the insurer will complain about jammed up court systems, litigious Americans and personal injury lawyers. Then they go down to Springfield and lobby legislators for tort reform and damages caps that operate in their best interests to increase profits.
Never give an opposing insurer a statement
Common car accident injuries
Just about any part of your body can be injured in a car wreck. Some of the most common ones are:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hyperextension and hyperflexion injuries to the neck
- Lower back injuries
- Fractured legs, ribs, arms, hands and ankles
- Knee injuries
- Damage to internal organs
The statute of limitations
Every state has its own statute of limitations that sets a deadline for when a personal injury case must be filed. Illinois requires these types of lawsuits to be brought within two years of the date of an accident. Failure to file within that two year period will forever bar you from proceeding further. If it’s a case against the City of Chicago or another governmental entity, the limitations period could be even shorter with specific notice requirements too. Talk to us right away. Failure to comply with those notice requirements can operate to result in the dismissal of your lawsuit.
No two cases are the same, no two clients are the same, and no two injuries are the same either. That’s why every case in our offices gets individual personal attention. If you or somebody close to you was seriously injured in an auto accident in or around Chicago or anywhere else in the State of Illinois, you’ll want to contact our offices right away. We can thoroughly evaluate the facts and evidence. We can even interview any witnesses for purposes of establishing that a negligent driver caused your accident and injuries. Our objective is to obtain full and fair compensations for victims of car accidents who have been seriously injured. Contact us right away after any accident for a free consultation and case evaluation. There are no legal fees until such time as we obtain compensation for you.