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A typical car accident in DuPage County

Just one of the 20,000 crashes each year

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It's 5:15 p.m. on a mostly sunny Wednesday. Dave and his wife Lori head out in their Mitsubishi Outlander to meet friends in Bloomingdale to belatedly celebrate Lori's 27th birthday. As Dave brakes for a stop sign, the driver of a Dodge Caravan plows into them from behind.

Lori is bleeding and dazed, and Dave is having trouble breathing. At the hospital, Dave is diagnosed with chest contusions from where he struck the steering wheel. He will be sore for weeks and miss a few days of work but he will make a full recovery. Lori is treated for lacerations on her head and arms and is diagnosed with a concussion. Two days later, she is back to see the doctor for whiplash symptoms. Six months later, the headaches have subsided and her neck pain is gone, but Lori still fatigues easily and has trouble concentrating. She has missed a total of 8 weeks of work from her job and their bills are piling up.

Actually, there is no "typical" accident

The fictional account above was created from Illinois Department of Transportation crash data for DuPage County. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of car accidents happen in daylight, on dry roads, at a controlled intersection on city streets. The most common scenario is a rear-end collision involving two passenger vehicles. Obviously, people of all ages get injured, but the largest segment of vicims are in their 20s and 30s. For whatever reason, Wednesdays and Fridays have the most accidents, and the p.m. rush hour is prime time for collisions. About 1 in 4 traffic crashes result in some injury, and 1 in 20 crash victims suffer incapacitating or fatal injuries.

Every accident is unique. The injuries. The damages. The circumstances. The insurance coverage. The impact on your life. Insurance adjusters will consult their charts for the type of injury and perhaps make a settlement offer (on the low end of the spectrum). Your compensation should reflect the actual harm you suffered, not an insurance company's "suggested" payment.

The facts are crucial. Perhaps the woman who hit Dave and Lori was texting while driving, or intoxicated. Maybe her brakes were worn, or the sun was in her eyes. What if she's 100 percent at fault but carries minimal auto insurance? What if a bystander says that Dave cut her off? There are dozens of important details that may matter in your ultimate compensation. One mistake or oversight can seriously hamper your case. On the other hand, locating a key witness or asking the right questions might turn things in your favor.

What's important in YOUR accident?
An experienced personal injury attorney like Mark Maritote will be able to establish liability, identify all applicable insurance and hold the negligent parties and their insurance companies accountable.

If you are are injured in a car accident, it may not match any of the "typical" scenarios mentioned above. All the more reason to hire solid legal representation.

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