Car Accident Attorney in Hanover Park, Illinois
An old Navy saying warns that “a collision at sea can ruin your entire day.” That saying could easily be modified to “a collision with another vehicle can ruin your entire day.” You could face property damage to your vehicle, become injured yourself, or in a worst-case situation, someone may lose their life. When you leave your home for business or pleasure, you certainly have no expectation that you’ll end up in a collision.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than two million people nationwide are injured each year from motor vehicle accidents, and 32,000 lose their lives. Also, according to The Zebra website, which tracks insurance and auto statistics, only 32 percent of all drivers in the U.S. have never been in an accident, meaning that more than two-thirds have.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Hanover Park, Illinois, or worse, had a loved one lose their life, contact the car accident/personal injury attorney at Maritote Law.
Even if the at-fault driver has adequate insurance, navigating the claims process can be strewn with obstacles thrown your way by the responsible insurance provider. Let us handle your claim and fight for the just compensation you deserve, or if necessary, take the matter to court, especially if it involves a wrongful death.
Maritote Law also serves clients in areas neighboring Hanover Park, including Cook County, Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, and Rosedale.
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Liability for Auto Accidents in Illinois
Illinois is an at-fault auto accident state. This means that the person who causes the accident is responsible for compensating for any property damage, injuries, or fatalities that result. Illinois is also a state that recognizes comparative negligence, which means both drivers may share part of the fault.
In an at-fault state, you have three options for seeking compensation for damages, injuries, and losses resulting from someone else’s actions. You can make a claim with your own insurance provider, who will then seek a subrogation claim from the at-fault driver’s insurer. You can also make a claim yourself against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Finally, you can file a lawsuit to recover for personal injury or even wrongful death, as well as for property damage.
If you do file a claim with either insurer, at some point—generally right away—the insurer for the at-fault driver will have one of their claim adjusters contact you. If you’ve never dealt with a claim adjuster, realize this: they are out to get you to say or agree to something that they can then use to limit their payout or deny your claim entirely.
Because of their subtle tactics, you may admit some fault in the accident or agree with some statement the adjuster makes, and suddenly your settlement just went down, or maybe even flew out the window.
Illinois Insurance Requirements
Illinois has basic auto liability insurance requirements known as 25-50-20. The 25 stands for $25,000 in liability coverage for injury or death you cause to one person, and the 50 is for $50,000 in liability coverage for injury or death you cause to all persons. The final 20 is for $20,000 in property damage insurance. Note that the basic policy only covers property damage, injury, or death that you cause to other drivers. It doesn’t cover you.
To cover yourself, you can purchase collision coverage. To cover injury to yourself and your passengers, you can purchase a Medical Pay (MedPay) rider. Illinois does, however, recommend that even those with basic auto policies also purchase uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These policies can help pay for damages and injuries if the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage or no coverage.
Comparative Negligence in Illinois
Illinois adheres to the legal standard known as modified comparative negligence, or fault. This means that both the driver who struck you and you yourself can be adjudged a percentage of the fault. This sounds like it only applies in court cases, but claim adjusters also rely on this standard in reaching their settlement figures.
Here’s how comparative negligence works. Say you’re driving along the highway and you slam on your brakes because an animal rushes in front of your car. The driver behind you, who was following too closely, then rams into your rear, causing you neck and spine injuries. This seems like a clear-cut case of the other driver’s negligence, but wait. Your brake lights were malfunctioning and never came on to warn the following driver.
As a result, the jury or claim adjuster sets your percentage of fault at 25 (or higher or lower). Say you’re seeking $50,000 for combined medical expenses, losses, and property damage. You can recoup only 75 percent of that amount since you’ve been judged to be 25 percent at fault.
Modified comparative negligence is also known as “the 51 percent rule,” because if your fault rises above 50 percent, you cannot collect anything and may be on the hook for compensating the other driver.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Illinois
Both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits face a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois. The personal injury clock starts ticking on the date of your injury. For a wrongful death legal action, the starting point is the date of death, which may be later than the injuries that resulted in death. Under Illinois law, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of another party's "wrongful act, neglect, or default."
The standard for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is that, had the person lived, he or she could have initiated a personal injury lawsuit. Illinois law requires that the personal representative named in the person’s will (also known as an executor of the estate) should file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If there is no will or no one so named, then the court will appoint someone, often a family member. When the judgment is reached, the settlement naturally goes to the family, starting with the surviving spouse and children.
Car Accident Attorney in Hanover Park, Illinois
It’s not advised to deal with insurance claim adjusters on your own. Let our legal team at Maritote Law pursue your claim. We will also examine the details of what happened in the accident, and if a lawsuit is warranted, we will launch the necessary legal action and fight aggressively for your just compensation. Reach out immediately. Your first consultation is free.