Every year, thousands of car, truck, motorcycle, and other types of vehicle accidents occur in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois. Some are fatal, while others leave victims with debilitating and/or life-long injuries. The vast majority of vehicle accidents are the result of someone’s negligent, careless, or reckless driving.
If you are injured as a result of a vehicle accident, you have the right to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries and losses. If you successfully prove that the driver was negligent and caused your injuries, you will be entitled to compensation. However, retaining an experienced and effective personal injury attorney is critical for the success of your case and to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our legal team is dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve after a vehicle accident. The first step is to get in touch with us to discuss your situation.
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Reasons to Hire a Chicago Vehicle Accident Attorney
Studies have proven that victims of vehicle accidents recover significantly more compensation when they are represented by an attorney than trying to manage their accident claim on their own. Our team of legal professionals can provide you with effective and aggressive representation designed to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation. Some of the functions we perform include:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident
- Consulting with experts from various fields including medical experts, engineers, accident reconstructionists, vocational and economic experts, and life care planners
- Ensuring that all documents are filed properly and on time with the appropriate entities
- Investigating all potential defendants, insurance policies, and avenues of recovery
- Corresponding and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
- Preparing and presenting a persuasive case in court, arbitration, or mediation
- Negotiating and resolving any health care or other liens related to your case
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we believe an immediate and thorough investigation of every accident claim must be conducted. We will work to ensure that no important evidence is destroyed or lost during our investigation. We encourage you to get in touch right away to ensure we can protect the available evidence.
Some of the evidence we collect for a vehicle accident case may include:
- Crash or accident report from the responsible police department
- Photos of the accident scene
- Video surveillance of the accident from nearby businesses or red-light cameras
- Photos of damages to vehicles
- Statements from witnesses
- Information from an event data recorder or “black box”
- Driver cell phone records
- Manufacturer recall or other records
- Truck driver logs and electronic logging device data
- Medical and employment records
As mentioned above, we also use the services of qualified experts in order to prove who caused the accident, what injuries were caused by the accident, the future medical care required and the expected cost of future medical expenses due to the injuries, and the reduction in lifetime earning capacity as a result of the injuries.
When you hire our team, you will find that our goal is to obtain and present the evidence required to establish a strong personal injury claim in order to secure maximum compensation. We promise aggressive representation against the at-fault parties and insurance companies and, if necessary, strong prosecution of the case in court to ensure you are compensated for all accident-related injuries and damages.
Types of Vehicle Accident Cases We Can Handle
Our attorneys have decades of experience and expertise in handling many types of vehicle accident cases.
Some of the types of vehicle accidents we handle include:
- Car and motor vehicle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Taxi or rideshare accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Scooter accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Public transportation accidents
What to Do When Dealing with the Insurance Company
It is important to remember that even if the insurance adjuster seems friendly and helpful, their job is to minimize the amount paid for your claim. Because of this, we strongly suggest that our clients avoid talking to the insurance company directly. It is very important that you do not sign or say anything that may impact your ability to recover compensation after a vehicle accident.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we will conduct a full review of your case to determine the extent of your losses. This will help us determine the value of your vehicle accident claim. Once all the evidence is gathered, we will negotiate with the insurance company or take your case to court to help you receive the maximum recovery.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive from an Illinois Vehicle Accident Claim
The specific amount you can recover from your Illinois vehicle accident claim depends on the facts of your case, the legal issues involved, and insurance coverage. Some of the types of damages we can help you recover include:
Compensation for Medical Bills
All related past and future medical costs that you incur due to treatment required for your injury, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, assistive devices, rehabilitation, and medication, are included.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Compensation for the pain and mental anguish that you experience because of your vehicle accident can be recovered.
Compensation for Lost Income
All the past and future wages that you lose due to your injuries will keep you from being able to work and earn money to pay your expenses, and care for your family can be recovered. The compensation can include income, benefits, commissions, and bonuses.
Punitive damages are designed to punish someone for egregious misconduct in addition to normal damages. It is often awarded in drunk driving cases and cases involving other reckless behavior.
Damages for Wrongful Death
If you have a family member who passes away because of a vehicle accident, it may be possible to recover for all related medical costs, pain, and suffering by the decedent, as well as:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Funeral and burial costs
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Common Injuries in Illinois Vehicle Accidents
The injuries you sustain in a vehicle accident can vary greatly, and no two accident victims have the exact same injuries or outcome. While this is true, some injuries are commonly seen in vehicle accidents. These include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Vehicle accidents are the primary cause of TBIs. These injuries occur when the brain is damaged by a blow to the head or piercing injury. Every year, over 50,000 people die as a result of TBIs in the U.S., with another 80,000 to 90,000 experiencing some type of long-term disability.
Spinal Cord Injuries and/or Paralysis
The impact of a collision and torque applied to your body can result in a long-term disability because of a spinal cord injury. If your spinal cord is damaged, it may cause partial or total paralysis under the level where the injury occurred.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries are the most common injuries sustained in vehicle accidents. Many people do not realize that these injuries can occur even at low speeds with or without a seatbelt. Sometimes, the signs or symptoms of neck or back injuries are delayed not noticeable immediately after an accident. Neck and back injuries may include tendon, ligament, and muscle injuries, disc injuries including herniated or ruptured discs, and fractured vertebrae. Frequently, disc injuries cause compression on the nerves in the spine, which can result in radiating pain, numbness, and tingling down the arms or legs. Neck and back injuries often require physical therapy, injections, and sometimes surgery. The pain and disability caused by a serious neck or back injury can be life-long and very substantial.
Broken Bones and Fractures
It is not uncommon for vehicle accident victims to sustain fractures to wrists, arms, knees, legs, ankles, ribs, and other areas. The severity of fractures can vary from a simple break (non-displaced) to more complex and compound fractures that may require surgery with implanted hardware.
A shoulder injury may be caused by force absorbed by bracing the hands against the dash or steering wheel during an accident. Commonly seen shoulder injuries resulting from vehicle accidents include dislocation, tendinosis, rotator cuff tears, and labral tears. The more serious shoulder injuries may require surgery.
An accident victim’s knees may be injured by impacting part of their vehicle during a vehicle accident. Knee injuries may also occur if the knee is turned or twisted quickly during an accident. Common knee injuries include fractures, torn ligaments, torn meniscus, damaged cartilage, and bruising. The more serious knee injuries often require surgery.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
Wrist or hand fractures, tendon tears, ligament tears, and wrist strains can occur in a vehicle accident due to bracing the hands on the steering wheel or dash. Depending on the severity, wrist injuries may require surgery.
If your accident forces your body into an object, you may experience damage to your internal organs. In this situation, internal bleeding is not unusual and will require immediate medical treatment.
Scars and Facial Injuries
A facial injury can be caused by broken glass or if your head and face collide with the windshield, dash, steering wheel, side window, or any other hard surface. Sometimes, serious and permanent disfigurement can occur. Many facial injuries will also require surgery and may leave you with scarring.
During an accident, the damage to the vehicle may cause it to ignite, which could cause burns. Your skin may also come in contact with hot fluids, chemicals, steam, airbags, or other surfaces, causing burns. Severe burns may require skin grafting or surgery.
Limb Loss or Amputation
A toe, finger, leg, arm, or another appendage may be severed as a result of a vehicle accident. These body parts may also be injured to the point where they need to be surgically removed. Injuries of this type will of course have permanent disabling effects on the vehicle accident victim.
Ankle and Foot Injuries
Ankle, feet, and toe sprains, strains, and fractures can occur in a vehicle accident. These types of injuries are particularly disabling because they can substantially limit the victim’s ability to walk.
Bruises and Lacerations
Flying objects, torn sheet metal, and broken glass can cause lacerations. Bruises are caused by an impact to your body by an object. You may also experience road rash if dragged across pavement or concrete. Lacerations may require surgery and may result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
If part of your body is caught in between two objects during a vehicle accident, a crush injury may occur. Lacerations and bruising may occur, or in more serious situations, damage to the bones, muscles, organs, and tissues.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Strains, sprains, and other damage to ligaments, tendons, and muscles are very common in vehicle accidents. These are often long-lasting and painful injuries.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
While many vehicle accidents cause physical injuries, they frequently also cause emotional and psychological injuries. For example, you may develop severe anxiety (especially when traveling in a car), depression, or PTSD. If this occurs, it can have a profound impact on your life and well-being.
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Illinois Vehicle Accident Claim FAQs
While a lot of the questions people have about vehicle accident claims are answered above, you may have additional questions about your particular situation. Some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions can be found here.
How do you cover the cost of a lawyer?
At our law firm, attorney fees are on a contingency basis and are paid from the settlement that we help you receive for your accident claim. The fee is paid at the end of the case and only if you receive compensation. We do not get paid unless and until you do, and you never have to pay for our services out-of-pocket.
How much time do you have to file a vehicle accident claim in Illinois?
In Illinois (like all states), you must file your legal claim within a certain time period, called the statute of limitations, after being involved in a vehicle accident. The amount of time you have to file depends on the type of claim you have. Generally, your accident claim must be filed within two years of the accident or your family member’s death. If the accident involves a local or state government agency, you have just one year to file your accident claim. If you fail to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations period, you will lose your ability to receive compensation under the law. Therefore, it is important to contact us without delay after being involved in a vehicle accident.
Can you receive compensation if you are partly at fault for the accident?
Even though your negligence may have partially led to a vehicle accident, it may still be possible for you to recover damages. The amount that you can recover depends on your percentage of fault.
Based on Illinois’s modified comparative negligence law, it is possible to recover damages if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident and the injuries you suffered. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
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How long will it take to settle your vehicle accident claim?
Each case is unique, and the time frame is based on numerous factors, many of which are unknown at the beginning of the case. Therefore, there is no way to predict how long an individual claim will take. Resolution of the claim cannot begin until your medical treatment is completed or, if your injuries are permanent, when the injuries are medically stabilized and fully known. Sometimes, cases can be settled in a matter of months; however, other cases may take several years to conclude, especially if the case must be taken to court.
Contact Our Legal Team for More Information About Your Vehicle Accident Claim
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and are considering filing a claim to receive compensation, we recommend that you contact us right away. Our team will review and investigate the facts of your case and get to work right away to build a strong case. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation.