The High Cost of a Waukegan Auto Accident
Car accidents can be life changing. The more severe your accident is, the more likely it is to have a large impact on your life. The high cost of car accidents doesn’t refer to just the monetary value, but the way in which car accidents can affect your entire life.
You may spend a long period of time recovering from your injuries or learning how to adjust to a new way of life. Also, car accidents often cause a significant amount of emotional trauma and stress that can put a significant strain on your life and relationships.
Along with the high emotional cost of car accidents, there is of course, the high monetary cost. Even minor injuries can leave a person with significant medical bills and other expenses. In fact, the average cost of an emergency room visit in 2017 was $1,389.00. This is just for the initial hospital visit and does not take into account future visits, advanced diagnostics and medical treatments, and follow up visits.
The more severe your injuries are, the more expensive your medical bills will be. All of this combined can create a situation that is emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
I was injured in a Waukegan car accident. Now what?
If you were injured in a car accident in Waukegan, Illinois, chances are you are worried about your injuries, stressed out by the medical bills, and wondering what you should do next. Well, if the car accident caused you to suffer injuries, or if a fatality was involved, the next thing you should do is contact a Waukegan car accident attorney. Hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your claim is the best way to make sure that your case is handled properly and that you get the compensation that is owed to you. The experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes are available 24/7 to answer any questions and to help you understand your rights and options.
How Often do Car Accidents Happen in Illinois?
According to the Illinois Government Crash Report, there are roughly 312,000 crashes involving motor vehicles each year in Illinois. Of these accidents, nearly 67,000 led to injuries and another 1,000 led to a fatality.
What Are Common Causes of Waukegan Car Accidents?
Car accidents can be caused by any number of scenarios but there are a few that are more common than others. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Driving too fast in poor weather conditions
- Pileups caused by snow or ice
- Heavy traffic
- Distracted driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Texting while driving
- Browsing the internet or using social media while driving
- Using a GPS
- Driving while drunk
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or medications
- Running red lights
What should I do after a Waukegan car accident?
After you get into a car accident there are a few key steps you should follow. Obviously, if you are rushed to the hospital you won’t be able to follow these steps, but that is okay. Your health always comes first. If you are able to stay at the scene, follow these steps.
The first thing you should do is call 911 and make a police report. Don’t let anyone talk you out of filing a police report because it can be incredibly important when filing an accident claim. A police report acts as credible evidence of what was the cause of an accident, and not having a report could cause issues later on.
Next, you should exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
You should also take as many pictures as possible. Take pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle(s) involved, the scene of the accident, and your injuries.
It’s also important to gather the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident. It is also a good idea to ask them to stay and speak with the investigating police officer if possible.
After calling the police, gathering as much evidence as possible, and collecting witness information, you should receive medical attention immediately. Even if you aren't sure if you’re seriously injured, it’s important to at least get checked out since the shock and adrenaline caused by the accident can cover up some types of injuries.
Finally, before you speak with your insurance company or begin the claim filing process, you should contact a Waukegan car accident attorney. Speaking with an attorney before speaking with any insurance company is important in protecting your case. The at-fault party’s insurance company may try to tempt you with quick cash, or trick you into signing something that can damage your case. Speak to an attorney first to avoid any of this.
What Damages Can I Get Compensation for After a Car Accident?
The most common damages one can pursue after a car accident is medical expenses. This can include surgery costs, ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospital stays, visits with your primary care physician, seeing a specialist, physical therapy appointments, and more.
You can also pursue any wages you may have lost while you were out of work and any wages you may continue to lose because you can’t return to work. Missing work while recovering from an injury is extremely common when a victim physically can’t return to work, or because they need to go to an appointment during work hours.
Non-economic damages are another form of damages that you can seek after an accident. This includes things like pain and suffering, along with compensation for loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and permanent disability or disfigurement. Pain and suffering is calculated based on the amount that your life has changed because of the accident and your injuries. The more your quality of life has changed because of your accident and the more serious the injuries, the more compensation you’re likely to receive.
How Much is my Car Accident Worth?
Of course, the value of your car accident claim depends greatly on the facts of your case but there are some common factors that can help you to understand how your case will be valued. Those factors include:
- Liability. If your accident clearly occurred because of someone else’s negligence, your case’s value will be higher. If you were partially at-fault, this may negatively affect your case. Illinois is a comparative negligence state, which means that if the accident is determined to be partly your fault you could have your damages reduced. If the accident is determined to be over 50% your fault, you cannot pursue any damages.
- Insurance. Unfortunately, you can usually only get compensation up to the amount of coverage there is available. If the at-fault party has insurance limits of $100,000, your compensation amount usually won’t be more than that. Of course, this all depends on the insurance plan the at-fault party holds. If your damages go above the other party’s limits, you may be able to seek compensation from your own underinsured policy, if you have one.
- Damages. Obviously, the more you have in damages, the more your case is worth. Since the whole point of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for damages, this will obviously affect how much you can recover. The more serious your injuries are and the more suffering the accident caused, the more you will be entitled to.
- Number of parties involved. If your accident had more than one liable party (known as third-party claims) you could be able to get more compensation because there might be more insurance coverage to pursue.
- How much your life has changed because of your accident. The amount your accident has affected your life can greatly affect the value of your claim. If you will recover from your injuries in just a few weeks, you will probably receive less compensation than somebody who will never walk again. This concept is most often known as pain and suffering and it is an important element to understanding the value of a claim beyond just economic damages.
There are a variety of injuries that can result from auto accidents, such as:
- Broken bones. Broken bones are sometimes very easy to treat, but they are not always so simple when it comes to car accidents. Sometimes car accidents cause people to suffer multiple broken bones or severely crushed bones, which can be complicated, painful, and extremely costly to treat.
- Back and neck injuries. Back and neck injuries are a common result of car accidents because of the force exerted during the collision. The spine is extremely sensitive to stress, and nothing puts stress on the spine like a car accident.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head is struck or penetrated with great force, which is common in car accidents. TBIs from vehicle collisions can be as minor as a concussion, and range to the much more serious like brain death, coma, or death.
- Lacerations. Deep cuts and scrapes are common during car accidents in which metal and plastic is torn. Lacerations often cause scarring and can be at risk of infection.
- Shoulder injuries. A shoulder injury, such as a torn rotator cuff, can be extremely painful, debilitating, and may limit movement for a significant period of time. Shoulder injuries can require injections, surgeries, and possibly leave a victim with life-long movement issues.
- Burn injuries. Burns injuries can occur during a car accident from both a fire or from airbags deploying. When a person is severely burned due to a car accident, it can create lasting injuries and pain that can severely impact a person’s life negatively.
- Wrongful death. If someone you love dies as a result of a car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf to recover compensation for pre-death medical bills, funeral costs, and damages like lost income.
If you or someone you love has been injured or was killed due to a negligent car accident, contact Abels & Annes to speak to one of our experienced attorneys. We can help you by dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf, negotiating for a high settlement, and by taking some of the strain off you. Our hope is that you can rest a little easier while you recover knowing that a passionate and experienced law firm is working with your best interests in mind. For more information, please contact us online, by using our chat option below, or by calling us at 855-529-2442.
Abels & Annes, P.C. (Waukegan Office)
404 W Water St Suite 100
Waukegan, IL 60085