When an accident victim suffers injuries in a car crash that was not their fault, they or their attorney can file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. In some cases, State Farm provides insurance coverage for the at-fault driver.
In State Farm cases, our law firm takes a very aggressive stance. We take this position because, in many instances, State Farm and its adjusters are extremely difficult to work with, frequently undervalue car accident claims, and offer accident victims as little monetary compensation as possible to settle.
We believe State Farm takes this approach for several reasons. First, like many insurance companies, State Farm uses a computer program that essentially spits out a settlement number based on an accident victim's claimed injuries and other circumstances surrounding their accident. Consequently, most adjusters use this low settlement number as the starting point for their negotiations.
Also, as a large insurance company, State Farm primarily has its own financial interests at heart when settling, negotiating, and litigating personal injury cases. They do not want to expose themselves any more than they possibly have to, and they want to offer car accident victims as little monetary compensation as possible.
Insurance companies like State Farm take this approach to try and avoid significant financial settlements and other payouts to accident victims. After all, the more money they pay an accident victim in damages, the less they can keep for themselves.
Our experienced team of Chicago car accident attorneys has developed a very proactive approach when dealing with State Farm. If you suffered injuries in a recent car accident that involved a State Farm insured, we can file a personal injury claim and begin aggressive negotiations with adjusters on your behalf. However, litigation in the court system becomes necessary in many State Farm cases.
Our legal team welcomes the opportunity to litigate your case in court – and, if necessary, take your case to trial – to obtain the best possible result for you.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer, please contact our office to learn more.
Legal Burden of Proof in a Car Accident Claim
In any car accident claim, the injured victim has the sole legal burden of proof. In fact, the at-fault driver does not need to prove anything in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
First, the accident victim must establish that the other driver owed them a legal duty of care. In most car accident claims and lawsuits, this legal element is already present since drivers have an affirmative duty to drive carefully and safely at all times and to abide by all prevailing traffic laws and regulations.
An accident victim must show that the at-fault driver made a mistake while behind the wheel, often by violating one or more traffic laws.
Next, the accident victim must show that the subject accident occurred because of the other driver's duty-of-care violation, leading to their injuries.
Proving these legal elements is often an uphill battle, especially where State Farm
insures the at-fault driver's vehicle. In fact, in many situations, State Farm will look for any excuse to deny the accident victim's personal injury claim or otherwise try and limit the monetary compensation they owe the accident victim.
Our legal team can help you prove the various legal elements of your car accident claim or lawsuit by retaining experienced and qualified experts to testify in your case.
For example, we can obtain an accident reconstructionist who can review the accident circumstances with you, go over police reports and eyewitness statements, and render an objective opinion about how the accident occurred and who caused it.
In addition to testimony from an accident reconstructionist, we can obtain testimony from a medical expert in your case. A medical expert, such as a treating medical provider or other healthcare professionals, can establish the causal relationship between your claimed injuries and the subject car accident.
Also, depending on the circumstances, a medical expert can establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent. Unlike most injuries that improve with time, a permanent injury will likely affect an accident victim for the rest of their life. Some permanent injuries, such as spinal cord damage and paralysis, may cause the accident victim to experience ongoing symptoms, pain, and suffering every day going forward.
Common Car Accidents that Lead to Personal Injuries
Different types of car crashes can lead to severe injuries. In most cases, these accidents result from driver negligence of some kind.
Common car accidents include:
- Head-on collisions, where the fronts of two vehicles hit one another while they are traveling in opposing lanes
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle traveling in another lane but in the same direction
- Rear-end accidents, where one vehicle hits the back of another car, usually because of an abrupt traffic slowdown where the at-fault driver was speeding
- T-bone collisions, or broadside accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle, typically at a traffic intersection where the at-fault driver does not yield the right-of-way to the other vehicle at the proper time
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents that a State-Farm-insured driver caused, you should retain experienced legal counsel right away in your case.
Our team can review your legal options and promptly file a claim with State Farm. We can then handle all settlement negotiations and other communications with State Farm on your behalf.
Negligence that Leads to Car Crashes
In most instances, car accidents directly result from negligent actions and inactions by other drivers.
First, some car accidents happen when people drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol intoxication seriously contributes to many vehicle crashes because it often leads to physical symptoms and mental impairments.
Regarding physical symptoms, alcohol intoxication can lead to blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness. Intoxication may also cause drivers to become confused and experience delayed reflexes and reaction time while driving. Consequently, a driver impaired by alcohol may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid causing a severe traffic accident.
Drivers who drive over the legal limit may also be subject to a criminal conviction for DUI – or driving under the influence. In addition to potential monetary fines, jail time, and other criminal and administrative penalties, offending drivers may also incur insurance rate increases. They may also have to pay civil damages through their insurance company if they cause an accident that leads to personal injuries or property damage.
Next, some car accidents result from road rage and other reckless driving maneuvers. Many drivers are in such a hurry to get ahead of other vehicles that they willfully disregard traffic laws and regulations. For example, an angry driver might tailgate another vehicle, cut another vehicle off in traffic, or fail to use their turn signal appropriately, resulting in severe injuries and damages.
Car crashes may also happen when drivers fail to use their rearview and side view mirrors while driving – or while backing out of a parking space. When a driver fails to use their mirrors or backup camera, they may not notice a pedestrian or vehicle behind them, bringing about a crash that leads to serious physical injuries and property damage.
Traffic accidents can also happen when drivers fail to watch the road attentively or engage in distracted driving. Drivers can become easily distracted when they program a GPS navigation system, roughhouse with vehicle passengers, adjust the volume on their stereo system, or make a phone call without using a hands-free Bluetooth device while driving. These activities can divert a driver's attention from the road and onto something in their vehicle, leading to a traffic collision.
Finally, some crashes occur when drivers violate other standard traffic laws, such as speeding, failing to use their turn signals when executing a turn or making a lane change, and failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at traffic intersections.
Traffic law violations and other reckless driving maneuvers can lead to serious traffic accidents – especially when a driver repeats these violations repeatedly.
If you suffered injuries in a recent vehicle accident that a State-Farm-insured driver caused, you should have skilled and aggressive lawyers on your side every step of the way. Our legal team can help you file your claim against State Farm and work to maximize the monetary damages you receive, either through the financial settlement negotiation process or litigation in court.
Some of the most common injuries that car accident victims suffer include:
- Soft tissue whiplash injuries to the neck and upper back
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Open lacerations that require stitches
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal organ injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Full and partial paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries, including vertebrae fractures
When State Farm is involved in a personal injury claim, it usually programs the injuries and medical costs into a computer program, producing an arbitrary settlement number. However, in almost all situations, this proposed number is far below the actual value of your case.
Consequently, it will take an experienced personal injury attorney to aggressively negotiate with a State Farm adjuster and ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Our legal team can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and threaten them with litigation if the adjuster refuses to compensate you appropriately.
Steps in the Claims Process Where State Farm is Involved
When State Farm is the at-fault driver's insurance company, our legal team can tailor its approach to help you maximize and recover the full monetary damages you deserve.
Specifically, we can:
- Investigate the circumstances leading up to your accident
- Gather the necessary documents to file a personal injury claim on your behalf
- Handle all written and oral communications with State Farm adjusters
- Negotiate with settlement adjusters on your behalf, and if necessary, threaten them with litigation
- Litigate your case to an efficient resolution in the court system
If settlement negotiations are not fruitful in your personal injury case, we can take your case to a civil jury trial in the court system. At a jury trial, the jury must decide all disputed issues in the case, including the monetary compensation that State Farm must pay you.
As an alternative to a civil jury trial, we can pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options with State Farm, such as mediation or binding arbitration. For example, if we agree on binding arbitration, a neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence we present and decide your monetary damages.
Recoverable Monetary Damages in a Car Accident Claim Involving State Farm
Victims of car accidents may be eligible to recover various types of monetary damages, depending upon the severity of their injuries, the extent of their medical treatment, medical costs, and other accident-specific losses.
We can help you recover monetary compensation for:
- Related medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lifetime care costs
Talk With a Knowledgeable Chicago Car Accident Attorney Right Away
If you sustained injuries in a recent car accident that a negligent driver caused, you must have skilled legal representation in your corner during every stage of your case.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we can help you every step of the way and work to maximize the total monetary recovery you receive in your State Farm car accident claim or lawsuit.