Have You Suffered Injuries in a Chicago Car Accident? Call Abels & Annes Today
Our state has registered 11.5 million registered motor vehicles and licensed about 9.2 million drivers, most of them in the Chicago area. Our Chicago car accident lawyers know that with so many drivers, collisions will happen here. The state logs over 300,000 car accidents each year.
The reality is that nearly everyone will be in a car accident at some point in their life.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Chicago car accident due to a negligent driver, contact the experienced Chicago Personal injury accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C.
Abels & Annes, P.C. Has Experience Assisting Car Accident Victims
Bear in mind that obtaining help from a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer may be critical. This is especially true after a serious injury.
If you delay too long in pursuing your claims or fail to fully understand your damages, important evidence may vanish. You can lose valuable compensation that you need to pay for your recovery.
We know that when you have serious injuries, you cannot carefully and immediately assess the cause of the accident and gather information. It is even harder to handle the insurance carriers.
Let our Chicago auto accident attorneys at Abels & Annes shoulder that burden for you.
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Our Chicago Car Accident Results
Here is a small sample of our case settlements from car accident claims:
- $3 million for a motorist who died due to a driver making an illegal u-turn
- $905,000 for a passenger that sustained neck injuries and had to undergo surgery after a single-car accident
- $460,000 after a Chicago area driver failed to yield coming out of a stop sign, hitting our client’s vehicle. The plaintiff had to undergo surgery to repair a lumbar disc injury.
- $600,000 in a wrongful death auto accident, where we obtained an insurance policy limits settlement of $500,000, plus $100,000 from our client’s auto policy due to a second defendant that had no auto insurance.
- $200,000 in an accident settlement for injuries due to a DUI motorist.
- $220,000 in a policy limits UM claim settlement for two minor children in a north suburban Chicago car accident.
- $250,000 policy limits settlement for a Chicago area resident. The plaintiff needed surgery for a disc injury.
We invite you to call us today about your Chicago car accident to see if we can help you the way we have so many of our other clients.
Car Accident Risks in Chicago
Whether you drive downtown or in the suburbs, you encounter accident risks everywhere. Chicago’s many congested highways clog with impatient drivers who tend to ignore traffic laws to get to their destinations faster. Often, they end up causing more delays due to crashes.
We regularly see accidents on:
- Kennedy Expressway
- Eisenhower Expressway
- Tri-State Tollway
- Veterans Memorial Tollway
- Stevenson Expressway
- Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway
- Chicago Skyway
- Dan Ryan Expressway
- Kingery Expressway
- Edens Expressway
Some locations off the highway with regular crashes include:
- Western Avenue at Peterson Avenue
- La Grange Road at I-80 westbound ramp
- Kedzie Avenue at Belmont Avenue
- Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue
- Cicero Avenue and 127th Street
- Lincoln and Clark
- Milwaukee Avenue
Whether your accident happens on I-80 or a residential street, you can suffer serious injuries and losses. You want a lawyer who knows Chicago car accidents handling your case.
The High Cost of Chicago Auto Accidents
A serious car accident will significantly derail your life and might change it forever.
Even minor car accidents can seriously shake your life up. You’ll have to deal with the stress of talking to your own insurance company, getting your car repaired, dealing with the opposing insurance company, missing work, and more. And that’s not even dealing with injuries resulting from the car accident.
When car accidents result in serious injuries, the impact is much higher in all areas of your life. This can include stress, financial burdens, ongoing medical care, and mental anguish.
A bad car accident injury will not just result in expensive emergency care or a lengthy hospital stay. It can have tremendous financial and physical impacts.
A serious injury may keep you off work for an extended time. Or, it might even make it impossible for you to return to your job.
You may require long-term care, such as costly homecare from a professional caregiver or therapist. Further, you may require expensive medical equipment. Finally, you may even suffer a permanent disability. For example, if the accident causes traumatic brain injury or a debilitating spine injury.
In addition, with all the sophisticated equipment on modern cars, a greater percentage of vehicles get totaled in accidents—nearly 20 percent, by some estimates. When this happens, the cost of repairs is more than the vehicles are worth.
As a result, many accident victims can expect to temporarily lose their cars. Further, they may need to take on the additional stress of purchasing another one.
Consequently, even car accidents with injuries that you can fully recover from can be financially devastating. And not just to you, but to family members and others that may rely upon your financial support.
What should I do after a car accident?
- Call the authorities and make a police report. Do not let the other driver talk you into skipping this important step. It can lead to issues later on.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Take good photos of the other side’s I.D. and insurance information. Some police departments will not make this information publicly available on the police report. For example, the Illinois State Police heavily redact their police reports.
- Take down witness information. Independent witness testimony can be critical to your case.
- Take photos of the accident scene and the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles.
- Seek medical attention. If you have injuries, go to the emergency room or seek medical care as soon as possible. You could have sustained far more serious injuries than you realized. Further, a long gap between an accident and medical treatment can make it difficult for your lawyer to prove that your injuries are related to the accident.
- Contact our Chicago auto accident attorneys ASAP. The sooner you have an attorney, the sooner they can start protecting your legal rights. Also, call a lawyer before you talk to any auto insurance carrier. They will often try to take a statement from you, which can be used against you later.
- Medical expenses, like hospital visits, doctor appointments, physical therapy, ambulance fees, etc.
- Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental anguish for which a person can seek compensation in a lawsuit.
- Lost income from missing work after a serious injury, one of the most financially damaging aspects of a car accident.
What Can I Get for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering compensation (and all non-economic compensation) varies greatly depending on the details of your case. To determine this number, your auto attorney will look at how much your quality of life has changed from before and after your accident. The greater the change, the greater compensation you can receive.
For example, if you can no longer pick up your grandchild or drive your children to school, these will qualify as a change in your standard of life. Pain and suffering is often the focus of negotiations and can be worth significant money, depending on the severity of your injuries. You can read more about calculating pain and suffering here.
You may recover the damages caused by a car accident. However, to get what you deserve from your injury claim, don’t delay. Get help from a legal professional. Get started today by contacting the Chicago car crash lawyers at Abels & Annes.
New Technology is Helping to Reduce Auto Accidents And Injuries in Chicago
Automobile manufacturers continually innovate and install new and improved safety devices every year. There are better designs for roads, intersections, and traffic lanes. Local governments across Illinois are passing and more vigorously enforcing more restrictive drunk driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving laws.
New technologies are helping drivers to avoid some auto accidents and injuries. These include:
- Blind spot detection
- Backup cameras
- Lane departure warnings
- Self-driving abilities
- Advances in road designs
But countervailing factors may arise for every innovation and improvement that reduces the benefits of these developments.
How Often Do Car Accidents Happen in Illinois?
In a recent year, there were approximately 312,000 car accidents in Illinois. This represents an increase of nearly 7,500 from the previous year.
When calculating these figures daily, there are about 855 accidents every day in Illinois alone.
Chicago’s Overall Driving Score
In a list of 100 cities ranked best to worst to drive in, Chicago ranked in the top ten worst cities. The Windy City came in 94 out of 100, with the hundredth spot being the worst. For comparison, Oakland, California, was worst at #100, and Lincoln, Nebraska, was best at #1.
This list evaluated four main areas that comprise their ranking:
- The cost of car ownership and maintenance
- The amount of traffic and quality of infrastructure
- Overall safety
- Access to vehicles and maintenance
This low rating is partly due to Chicago’s poor infrastructure, traffic congestion, poor safety overall, and a high cost of vehicle ownership.
This data provides important insights into what it’s like to drive in Chicago. Let’s look at some other statistics that focus on some specific issues related to Chicago car accidents.
Accidents Involving Injuries
According to the most recent data from the state Department of Transportation (IDOT), nearly 67,000 car accidents injured people in one year in Illinois.
The most common injury-causing accidents were rear-end collisions, with 19,990 injuries. Rear-end accidents were most common at stoplights or in heavy traffic. The second most common type of injury-causing accident was ‘turning accidents’ with 12,472 injuries. And turning accidents most commonly occur when a person fails to yield to turn left.
For comparison, car accidents injure three million people every year in the United States. Of these injured, about two million of those people experienced permanent injuries because of the accident.
Fatal Car Accidents
In the most recent data available, Illinois saw over 1,370 car accident fatalities in one year.
These deaths represent over one percent of all traffic accidents that occur. This low percentage is seemingly good news. However, 1,000 people dying in car accidents every year is still devastating.
The majority of fatal crashes in Chicago occur on state roads. The second most common is city streets. County roads and interstates took third and fourth place for road types where fatal accidents occurred.
Many fatal accidents were caused by a collision with a fixed object, like a tree or guard rail. Other common reasons include cars hitting and killing pedestrians, head-on collisions, and turning accidents.
Accidents Involving Children
Motor vehicle accidents are among the top causes of death to children in the US. Each year, around 700 children under age 13 die in car accidents. Another 100,000 children suffer injuries.
Of the children who die in car accidents, 33 percent were improperly secured in a car seat or not wearing a seatbelt. According to studies and tests, had drivers properly secured those children, they would have had a much better chance of surviving the collision.
A seatbelt reduces a child’s risk of injury or death by 71 to 82 percent. The use of a booster seat can reduce the risk even more. Children ages four to eight who are properly sitting in booster seats are 45 percent less likely to suffer serious injuries than children wearing a seatbelt alone.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Ten percent of drivers in Illinois admitted to using their phones while driving. This includes using their phone at red lights and stop signs, which is still dangerous because it takes away a driver’s attention to the road around them.
As the data above pointed out, distracted driving is a serious issue in the U.S. In one year, 2,800 people died and over 400,000 suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents.
Distracted Teen Drivers
Distracted driving is even worse for teen drivers.
In a survey of high school students, the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 38 percent of high school students had texted or emailed while driving at least once in the past 30 days.
They also found that students who used their phones while driving were more likely not to wear a seat belt, more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking, and more likely to drive after drinking alcohol themselves.
Drunk Driving Accidents
When you look at the data collected about accidents in Illinois from 2018, you can see that drunk driving is a serious problem. Out of the reported 951 fatal Illinois car accidents, 27 percent involved alcohol.
Drunk drivers are also much more likely to kill another driver in an accident than themselves.
Common causes of auto accidents can include:
- Speeding: Driving over the speed limit is one of the most common causes of car accidents because speeding drivers have less time to react to changing circumstances. A sudden slow down, a pedestrian stepping into the road, or a little bit of black ice can all turn a speeding car into a serious hazard.
- Driving too fast for conditions: Not adapting your speed to changing weather conditions—like rain, snow, and ice that frequently strike Chicago—is one of the most common causes of car accidents. When the weather can create severe hazards, drivers must stay aware of road conditions.
- Chicago heavy traffic: Heavy traffic creates more accidents for obvious reasons. More people on the roads means more opportunities for driver errors and negligence. People also tend to get bored or aggravated in heavy traffic, bringing out the worst in drivers.
- Chicago distracted driving: Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can mean you travel hundreds of feet without realizing it. No matter the reason, distracted driving is always serious and always dangerous. If a driver needs to do something that will just take a few seconds, they should pull over to complete that quick task.
- Texting while driving in Chicago: Texting while driving is probably the most common type of distracted driving. It is a huge problem and causes thousands of accidents in Chicago and other parts of Illinois each year.
- Online browsing: Browsing the internet while driving is unsafe and careless. Reading the news or looking up a quick fact takes a driver’s eyes and mind off the road, which can easily cause an accident that injures or kills someone.
- GPS: Sometimes, finding a place on your phone’s map app is necessary, but it can also be dangerous. If you need to find your route, pull over to set the GPS so you can arrive at your destination safely.
- Chicago drunk drivers: Driving while drunk decreases reaction time and increases the likelihood of accidents. Driving while intoxicated is a common cause of car accidents that result in fatal injuries. As we mentioned above, driving drunk is way too common in Illinois and around the country and is something we need to end as a society. Hopefully, the rise and expansion of ride apps and public transportation can help us greatly reduce the problem of drunk driving.
- Chicago drugged drivers: Drugs can cause blurred vision, slow reaction times, confusion, and other impairments. With Illinois legalizing recreational marijuana and Chicago the home to 17 dispensaries, we must not let drugged driving become as much of a problem as drunk driving.
- Chicago red lights: Drivers may run a red light or stop sign because they think they can get away with it or because they’re in a hurry or are just selfish. As you can probably guess, red light accidents are some of the worst since drivers are moving full speed when they hit another car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
Vehicle accidents will continue to happen no matter the effort to protect drivers and passengers from accidents and injuries.
Thankfully, most vehicle accidents are relatively harmless, like fender benders in parking lot accidents. Further, some only cause minor injuries. But at the other extreme are serious accidents that cause catastrophic injuries. And even worse, sometimes bad crashes result in death.
When you sustain an injury or lose a loved one, call our Chicago car crash lawyers. We can ensure you can recover fully from your loss.
Causes of Accidents by Percentage
Data on the exact cause of a car accident is not easy to collect. If you ask two people what caused the car accident, you’ll likely get two different answers. However, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) surveyed more than 5,000 collisions over 2.5 years and came up with the best estimates we have for the causes of car accidents.
They found that the top reasons for car accidents were:
- Driver inattention and distracted driving – 41 percent
- Driver decision (speeding, illegal maneuvers, etc.) – 33 percent
- Overcompensation of the vehicle – 11 percent
- Fatigued driving – 7 percent
- Other driver errors – 8 percent
There are a variety of injuries that can result from auto accidents, such as:
- Broken bone injury accidents. When a fracture is more serious, it can require surgery to repair.
- Back and neck injuries. These are often soft tissue injuries that resolve with therapy. However, sometimes accident victims sustain herniated discs that may need injections or surgery.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Whether mild (like a concussion) or severe, TBIs can require years of medical care. They may also cause brain death, vegetative states, comas, and even death.
- Lacerations. Sometimes accident victims sustain large cuts that require stitches or staples and often leave disfiguring scars.
- Shoulder injuries, such as a torn rotator cuff or a torn labrum. These injuries often require surgery.
- Burn injuries. This can result from fire, but it can also come from airbags. Our office has seen significant scarring from airbag injuries.
- Death. Tragically, hundreds of people die every year in Chicago area auto accidents.
What Factors Affect My Settlement?
Determining how much compensation you should expect from your settlement can be difficult since the amount depends heavily on the facts of your case. An experienced Chicago car accident attorney will calculate your economic and non-economic damages. They can also help you make the right decision on when to settle or take your case to court.
Your attorney’s job is to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf until they obtain a top offer from the insurance carrier. If that offer is fair, you settle. If not, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
Factors that affect settlement value include:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The available insurance coverage. If the driver has little to no insurance, it’s much harder to receive a high settlement from them. If the driver has no or minimum insurance, the case may have to rely on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for compensation.
- Whether liability is clear or contested. For example, the other party may not dispute liability in a rear-end accident but might in a red-light accident.
- If your accident had more than one liable party (third-party claims)
- If the at-fault party acted with gross negligence when operating their motor vehicle
- Your total medical expenses and other losses, such as missed income from work.
- Your ability to return to work
- The change in your quality of life before and after your accident
- Your out-of-pocket expenses
Contact our law firm if you’d like more information about the possible value of your case.
Are Many Drivers Uninsured or Underinsured in Chicago?
Although many people believe they can rely upon insurers to provide adequate compensation, this is not always true.
Under Illinois law, a motorist only needs to carry:
- $25,000 of liability insurance for the death or injury of an individual
- $50,000 of liability insurance for death or injury total per accident
- $20,000 of property damage insurance
Many people show more responsibility and purchase insurance coverage above these limits. However, your accident may involve one of the less responsible motorists. If so, the other driver’s insurance company may cover only a very small portion of your damage claims.
Even worse, despite the mandatory insurance law, some Illinois drivers refuse to buy car insurance. A study undertaken by the Insurance Research Council estimates that one in eight drivers across the nation has no insurance. Similarly, estimates for Illinois have the ratio of drivers without insurance at 15 percent.
What if I Have an Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
Let’s say you are in a car accident. Further, the at-fault driver has minimum or no auto insurance. In this case, there can be too little or no insurance coverage from the at-fault driver to cover the claim.
Your auto insurance may include Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Here, your lawyer can pursue an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim against your auto policy (UM or UIM claims).
With this type of claim, your own auto insurance company will step into the shoes of the uninsured or underinsured driver and pay on the claim. And, as many people can attest, recovering from your insurer can sometimes be as difficult as recovering from another party’s insurer. On the other hand, UM and UIM claims often settle quickly. Further, you can sometimes collect more money while spending less on costs.
This is where the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes can help. If you suffer an injury in a car accident due to a negligent driver, our Chicago law firm is ready to handle all of your concerns.
This includes evaluating and investigating issues such as:
- Who is at fault
- The amount of insurance coverage available to pay on the claim
- Calculating your out-of-pocket expenses, like medical care and lost income
- Determining your non-economic costs and long-term needs
Our car accident lawyers handle UM and UIM claims regularly. They are very common.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Accident Lawyer?
Injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no fee unless you win your case. You pay no money upfront. The lawyer charges a percentage of the money they collect from the auto insurance carrier.
Many car accident lawyers advance the costs of court filing fees, court reporters, and expert witnesses. The lawyer gets reimbursed for these costs from your settlement.
The process can seem daunting for someone who’s never been a party to a car accident lawsuit. An experienced Chicago attorney will help you understand the car accident claim process and keep you up to date with what’s going on in your case.
Immediately after the accident, gather as much evidence as possible. This may not be possible if you must go straight to the hospital. If so, have someone you trust at the accident scene take photos and gather information for you.
Collect pictures and video (of the scene, your car, the opposing car, and your injuries) and any contact information of witnesses. Exchange information with the other drivers in the accident and call 911 to file a police report and, if necessary, request an ambulance.
Receiving medical treatment for your injuries is one of the most important steps after a Chicago car accident. Any delay in receiving medical treatment may look suspicious to the court or insurance companies—not to mention further complicate your injuries—so get treatment as soon as possible.
Be sure to do what your doctors tell you to do and follow up with any recommended specialists. Keep any medical bills you receive.
After the crash, you’ll want to begin looking for an experienced car accident attorney near you. Find someone who has experience working with your specific type of case and has experience winning trials and getting large settlements. We think you’ll find such a lawyer here at Abels & Annes, P.C.
Your initial meeting or phone call with a car accident attorney is a free consultation to go over your case. You won’t have to pay anything at this time, as most car accident lawyers only charge a fee if you win your case.
At Abels & Annes, you pay us nothing until we win your case. If there is no monetary recovery, you do not pay us anything.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company
Your lawyer will file a claim with your car insurance company so that you can pursue an uninsured, underinsured, medical payment, and/or property damage claim, if necessary. Your attorney can seek compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your insurance carrier, depending on the situation.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you and ask for a statement and a signed waiver in exchange for quick cash. Don’t give them a statement, sign anything, or accept any money without speaking to your attorney first. This applies to your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Please let your car accident lawyer handle the insurance adjusters.
Once you hire a lawyer, they will investigate the case, looking at liability and your medical records. During pre-litigation, your attorney will reach out to any healthcare providers to obtain your medical records or gather other documents like the police report. Once your injuries heal (or you reach maximum recovery), your attorney will collect your medical records and bills.
Once your lawyer gathers all necessary evidence and you reach maximum recovery, your attorney will submit a settlement demand to the insurance company. Hopefully, the insurance company will make the first offer in a reasonable time, and negotiations will begin. These negotiations will go back and forth until the insurance company refuses to offer a higher amount. If you and your attorney agree on this settlement and accept the offer, your case will settle and stay out of court.
However, if the settlement offer is not sufficient, it will be time to move forward with filing a lawsuit. You and your attorney should carefully consider this decision.
Deciding to settle your case can be difficult, especially if the settlement doesn’t seem fair. Your attorney can help you make this decision and guide you on your choices. Please note that approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases settle pre-trial, but that does not guarantee that yours will. Thus, you will want a lawyer who will prepare for trial while they negotiate a settlement.
Discovery for Trial
If you file a lawsuit, a period called discovery begins. During this time, both sides may further investigate the case. The parties may request documents or ask questions of the opposing side. The attorneys on both sides will want to take depositions. This is where the attorneys ask the other parties or witnesses questions on the record with a court reporter present.
Lawyers may ask doctors, police officers, or anyone else involved in the case questions about what occurred. Your car crash attorney will prepare you, help you understand what to expect, and represent you at your deposition.
Mediation and Pre-Trial Conferences
Before the trial date, there can be an opportunity for mediation or a pre-trial conference in an attempt to settle. For example, in mediation, a mediator will speak with both parties and attempt to agree. They have no power to force the parties to settle but can help get both sides to agree on an outcome. Many cases often settle during mediation after a lawsuit is on file.
If mediation and all other negotiations fail, your case may go to trial. In a trial, both sides may argue their case and present their evidence. The judge or jury will then hear each side’s case and decide how much compensation you should receive.
How Much Time Do I Have to Sue?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years in most car accident cases. However, shorter one-year deadlines apply to certain defendants, such as municipalities.
Further, minors with injuries from accidents typically have two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against most defendants. But again, there are shorter exceptions.
You must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Otherwise, you cannot pursue the case in court or recover any damages. Finally, do not wait until the last minute to find an attorney. Most lawyers will not take a case that is too close to the statute of limitations.
Chicago Car Accident FAQs
What if my car accident injuries are permanent?
Some people suffer life-altering injuries in crashes, as they have permanent impairments. If you will never recover from your injury, it can keep you from working, require ongoing medical care, and prevent you from your usual daily activities.
Car accident claims involving permanent injuries require skilled legal assistance. These claim values are often much higher, and many future and intangible losses are challenging to prove. Our attorneys represent clients with catastrophic injuries and successfully obtain full compensation for people with permanent impairments.
What if my loved one died in a crash?
Many car accidents are fatal, and this tragedy can leave you and your family with emotional and financial losses. Our firm regularly handles wrongful death claims for surviving families following fatal crashes. We can help with the compassion and dedication your family deserves in this difficult time.
Who is at fault for a single-car accident?
Sometimes, only one car is in a crash. This is common when a car rolls over, runs off the road, or hits a stationary object. If you are a passenger in a car and suffer injuries, the driver’s insurance should cover your losses. If you are the driver and believe you did nothing wrong, we can evaluate whether someone else might be liable.
Did someone else run you off the road? Did your car malfunction and cause you to lose control? These are questions we will examine to advise you of your rights.
Our Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help You
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident, or someone you love tragically died, let the car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes help you assess and understand your rights and potential remedies. Further, we can help you obtain the compensation you need to recover fully.
The car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes have experience representing Chicago drivers and passengers who suffered injuries in car accidents. We will independently investigate your accident and do what is necessary to help you recover. This allows you to concentrate on the important and difficult tasks of healing and getting your life back in order.
Free Consultation With a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575
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