When an auto collision occurs, it doesn’t just cause vehicle damage or personal injury. It can feel like your life is more wrecked than your car. You should be able to focus on you and your loved ones recovering from the crash. Instead, you face the stress of dealing with insurance companies and figuring out how you’re going to pay all the bills, at a time when you may not even be able to work. As an experienced Decatur car accident lawyer, I can help relieve you of those burdens. Our injury attorneys can explain your legal options and fight for your rights to make sure that you’re treated fairly, so that you can get back to your family and life.
Do I have a case?
We call them auto “accidents”, but when a car or truck crash happens, it’s usually because someone blew it. Someone was careless or reckless, inattentive or distracted, maybe even impaired by drugs or alcohol. If laws were broken, the criminal justice system can hold them accountable for that. But what about when a driver’s negligence leads to incredibly expensive damages or, worse, to devastating injuries or even death. Even relatively minor car wrecks can result in thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars of losses — property damage, medical expenses, lost work and income, additional living expenses, and the cost of pain, suffering, and life altering changes. You expect insurance to cover your losses, but some ignore the law and drive without it [internal link to uninsured motorist insurance is possible]. And, even when there is coverage, you may be finding that it can be very difficult to deal with insurance companies to get what you deserve to cover your losses. Insurers will naturally always try to make the best case that results in the least payments. A skilled car crash attorney can help you through the process by immediately preserving all of the evidence, thoroughly investigating the case, gathering all the police and accident reports, consulting with any needed experts, and determining the responsible parties for all of your losses. You really need a knowledgeable and experienced auto accident lawyer in your corner to fight for your rights.
Illinois Car Wreck Facts
The Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) regularly compiles and updates the Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics. A recent review of their statistics indicates that injuries were caused in over 20% of crashes involving motor vehicles in Illinois, with fatalities occurring in almost 1,000 of them. Unfortunately, driver factors were responsible for a great many of these. For example, speeding accounted for about one third of overall crashes, and even more of the fatal crashes and injury crashes. Other factors that play a significant role in causing motor vehicle wrecks include:
- distracted driving
- driver fatigue
- drunk driving
- drug impaired driving
- road and highway safety issues and hazards
- vehicle malfunctions, such as defective or bad maintenance of equipment like lights, signals, brakes, tires, etc.
- reckless and aggressive driving, such as failing to yield, disobeying traffic signals, unsafe passing, tailgating, and improper lane usage
A knowledgeable and experienced Decatur Illinois injury attorney, working for you as early as possible, will help you determine the responsible party and get just compensation for the negligence.
Automobile Accident FAQs
What should I do after a car accident?
You did your best to deal with the immediate aftermath at the scene. What comes next?
- Certainly report the accident to your insurance agent promptly, especially if injury was involved. But remember that insurance companies and adjusters have a goal to minimize any claim payments. Never admit fault or give a written or recorded statement to any insurance provider without legal advice from your own attorney, who is the only one that will truly act in your best interests.
- Get all the medical care you need to recover. Don’t let the fear of costs, or uncertainty about who will be responsible for payments, keep you from getting the proper evaluation and treatment. Get evaluated as soon as possible after the accident and follow the medical advice you’re given.
- Keep track of every provider you see so that your attorney can completely account for all of your economic losses. This obviously includes ambulance services, emergency rooms, hospitals, and physicians. But don’t forget providers of things like dental work, rehabilitation and physical therapy, chiropractic care, psychological treatments, visiting nurses and home health aides, etc. Document expenses for things like pharmaceuticals and medical equipment like braces, crutches, canes, wheelchairs, etc.
- Keep track of all your other economic losses related to the accident — lost work or wages, expenses for services you would have usually done yourself and now can’t, such as pet care, lawn care, household cleaning, etc. Record expenses related to car rental and replacement or repair of the damaged auto or other property.
- A common mistake is to try to have all medical care billed primarily to the other party’s insurance company. In general, it’s best to provide your own health insurance information as the primary insurer and have them billed directly. This will usually result in a better net recovery to you when your case settles.
- But, don’t make the biggest mistake of all. Avoid the natural temptation to sign for a settlement quickly, but prematurely — before you’ve given time for injuries, damages, and losses to become apparent, and for their eventual outcome or resolution to become clear. Insurance companies will often quickly offer a sum of immediate cash to get you to sign a settlement to resolve the case. Consulting with an experienced Decatur IL auto accident lawyer will almost always result in negotiating a better settlement for you.
What kind of damages can be recovered?
A skilled personal injury attorney is critical to ensuring that you recover for all of the damages allowed under Illinois law. These include:
- of course, the cost of any property damage
- the value of any wages, profits, earnings, or benefits you lost because of the accident or are likely to lose in the future
- the expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, or services you have received or are reasonably certain to need in the future
- if there is evidence that life expectancy has been shortened by the injuries, this has been recognized as a separate compensable damage
- the cost of care-taking expenses or other necessary help resulting from the injuries, now or in the future
- compensation for “loss of normal life”, things you can no longer do — any temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy your life, including the ability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life
- reimbursement for current or future disabilities resulting from the accident injuries
- compensation when the injury puts you at an increased risk of future harm
- disfigurement is recognized as a separate element of damages in Illinois when scarring or other kinds of disfiguring injuries occur.
- compensation for pain and suffering you experienced because of the injuries
- an award for emotional distress caused by the injury
- If, God forbid, you lost a loved one, you’re entitled to compensation for the wrongful death caused by the responsible party.
What can a Central Illinois car accident lawyer do for you?
You can see that dealing with the aftermath of a car crash is complicated, and you already know that it’s stressful. Don’t deal with the insurance companies by yourself. You have enough to do to make sure that everyone gets well and back to as normal a life as possible. I know the law and have experience negotiating with the insurance companies. I will carefully listen to you to evaluate your situation, so that I can gather the evidence, prove fault, gather all the documents to fully assess your damages and losses, build your case, make your claim, and successfully resolve it in your favor. This can usually be done without going to court; most often, I can negotiate for you to get a fair settlement on your behalf.
How much will it cost to get representation by a legal professional?
I usually represent clients in these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no charges to you upfront and that I’m only paid from the settlement if and when there is a successful recovery for you. That means that you can afford to get the representation you need to go up against the insurance companies and their legal teams.
A Decatur Car Accident Attorney is Here to Help
Call now for a no-cost initial consultation. The sooner you contact me, the faster I can get to work for you and let you get back to your life.