The Best Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago

After being involved in a car crash, knowing who to contact for help can be a difficult choice for many accident victims and their families. At Injury Law Support, our team have been connecting accident victims to trusted lawyers since 2009 and can help connect you to a licensed, local car accident lawyer that has experienced handling car accident claims in Cook County. There are no upfront fees for this service and after speaking to a lawyer from our network, there is no obligation for you to proceed with a lawsuit if the lawyer determines that you have a case.

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Table of Contents

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

If you have suffered injuries or financial losses in a car crash that was caused by another motorist, you likely have a case worth exploring. If it can be established that the other party owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, and that error resulted in your injuries or losses, you may have a strong case for seeking compensation. For clarity, “duty of care” is the responsibility that drivers have to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly, thereby avoiding harm to others on the road.

It is also important to consider the extent of damages sustained in the collision. This includes not only physical injuries but also financial losses that may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. The severity of your injuries and the impact they have had on your life will play a significant role in determining the potential value of your case.

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How Much Financial Compensation Can I Recover From a Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit?

Compensation recoveries from most car accident cases fall between $5,000 to $100,000 however, every case is different and the amounts can vary greatly depending on the specifics of your accident and resulting injuries. Based on available data (not all information from lawsuits are made public), approximately 50% of injury cases are valued at $10,000 or less. If we review the different areas where compensation may be available, this can help to provide you with an estimate for each potential area for recovery:

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses can range from a few thousand dollars for minor injuries to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for severe injuries requiring extensive treatment and long-term care. On average, medical expenses in car accident cases typically fall between $10,000 to $100,000.
  • Lost Income: Lost income compensation typically covers wages lost during recovery from the accident and any future earnings lost due to permanent disability. As the income from occupations can vary greatly – for example, a Doctor is likely to lose more income in a month compared to a restaurant server – the recoverable amount is often very specifically determined by the occupation of the injury victim, the time expected to be out or work – perhaps even to never be able to return to work – and, if the person may not be able to fully return to their prior occupation as a result of the injuries they have received in the collision.
  • Property Damage: Property damage compensation covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other property damaged in the accident. The amount depends on the extent of the damage and the value of the property involved. In the instance of car repairs, they usually begin at $5,000 for fender benders and can exceed $60,000 based on the value/age/make/model of your vehicle and the extent of the damage. The higher amounts are often due to vehicles being unrepairable and needing to be compensated for full replacement.
  • Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium compensation is awarded to compensate for the loss of companionship, support, or intimacy with a spouse or family member due to the accident. Compensation recoveries can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Punitive Damages: Punitive damages, if awarded, are intended to punish the at-fault party for extreme negligence or intentional misconduct. The amount of punitive damages is typically determined by the severity of the wrongdoing and the financial status of the defendant. Punitive damages can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, although they are relatively rare and are subject to statutory limits in some jurisdictions.
  • Pain and Suffering: This can be difficult to determine as everyone experiences pain in different levels and, there is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering damages however, to provide a general overview, pain and suffering damages in car accident cases typically span from $1,000 for minor injuries like lower levels of pain and discomfort to $50,000 or more for injuries that may include long term disability and extensive physical impairment.

It’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and the actual amount of financial recovery in your case may vary based on the specific circumstances and the skill of your legal representation.

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Is There a Limit To The Amount of Financial Compensation I Can Recover in Illinois?

In Illinois, there is no statutory limit to the amount of financial compensation you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit, including those related to car accidents. Unlike some states that impose caps on certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering or punitive damages, Illinois law does not place a specific ceiling on compensation awards.

Important Note: While there is no predetermined limit on compensation, the practical constraints of insurance coverage and the defendant’s ability to pay may indirectly influence the final amount awarded. Therefore, consulting with a qualified Chicago auto accident lawyer is essential to understand your rights and pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.

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Is There a Time Limit To Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit in Cook County?

Yes, there is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for filing a car accident lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois. In most cases, the time limit to file for personal injury claim that was caused in a car accident is two years from the date of the crash. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Failing to file within the statute of limitations can result in your case being dismissed by the court, and you may lose the opportunity to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving minors or instances where the injury was not immediately apparent.

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How Long Does It Take To Resolve a Car Accident Lawsuit in Cook County?

Several factors can influence the timeline of a car accident lawsuit, including the complexity of the case, the extent of the injuries involved, the number of parties and witnesses, and the court’s docket schedule. Additionally, factors such as pre-trial negotiations, discovery process, motion hearings, and potential appeals can also impact the duration of the lawsuit.

However, most cases are resolved one year after the date of the incident.

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What If The Other Driver Has No Insurance – Can I Still Recover Compensation?

If you’re involved in a car accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation through other avenues. Some options to consider include:

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. It can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.
  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Similarly, if the at-fault driver has insurance but their coverage isn’t enough to fully compensate you for your damages, you may be able to file a claim under your underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are insufficient to cover your losses.
  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: If neither of the above options is available or sufficient to cover your damages, you may have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver. However, it’s important to consider whether the driver has the financial means to pay a judgment if you win the lawsuit. In many cases, uninsured drivers may not have significant assets to satisfy a judgment, which can make this option less viable.
  • Asset Search: Your attorney can conduct an asset search to determine if the uninsured driver has any assets that could be used to satisfy a judgment. If the driver owns property or other valuable assets, you may be able to pursue compensation by placing a lien on those assets.
  • Negotiation: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate directly with the uninsured driver for a settlement. However, success with this approach depends on the driver’s willingness and ability to pay out of pocket.

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How Can A Lawyer Help To Win My Case?

A lawyer can significantly enhance your chances of winning your case by providing invaluable assistance in several key areas including:

  • Legal Expertise: Lawyers have a deep understanding of the law and legal procedures relevant to your case. They can navigate the complexities of the legal system, ensuring that your case is presented effectively and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Case Evaluation: Lawyers can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, helping you understand the likelihood of success and potential outcomes. They can identify key legal issues, gather evidence, and develop a strategic approach to maximize your chances of winning.
  • Investigation: Lawyers can conduct thorough investigations to gather evidence to support your case. This may include obtaining police reports, interviewing witnesses, gathering medical records, and consulting with experts to build a compelling argument on your behalf.
  • Negotiation Skills: Lawyers are skilled negotiators who can engage with opposing parties, insurance companies, and other stakeholders to reach a favorable settlement. They can advocate for your interests and work to secure the compensation you deserve without the need for a trial.
  • Courtroom Representation: If your case goes to trial, lawyers can provide vigorous representation in court. They can present evidence, question and cross-examine witnesses and, argue in a persuasive manner on your behalf to convince judges and juries of the merits of your case.
  • Legal Strategy: Lawyers can develop effective legal strategies tailored to the specific circumstances of your case. They can anticipate potential challenges and obstacles and devise proactive solutions to overcome them.
  • Emotional Support: Dealing with legal matters can be stressful and overwhelming. Lawyers can provide valuable emotional support, guiding you through the process, answering your questions, and offering reassurance during difficult times.

Overall, hiring a lawyer can be instrumental in winning your case by leveraging their legal expertise, negotiation skills, and advocacy on your behalf. They can provide comprehensive support and representation to help you achieve a successful outcome.

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How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago?

Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. However, the final cost of hiring a car accident lawyer in Chicago can vary depending on various factors, including the complexity of your case, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, and the fee structure they use.

In most instances, the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the settlement or award you receive, often ranging from 33% to 40% of the total, recovered amount. This percentage is usually negotiated with the lawyer upfront to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Important Note: You may also be responsible for other case-related expenses – court filing fees, expert witness fees, and costs associated with obtaining medical records or conducting investigations. Some lawyers may cover these expenses upfront and deduct them from your settlement or award, while others may require you to pay them as they arise. It is important to discuss these areas with your lawyer before signing up for representation to ensure that you absolutely understand your financial commitment.

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Can Hiring a Lawyer Help Me To Recover More Compensation In My Car Accident Lawsuit?

Yes, hiring a lawyer can significantly increase your chances of recovering more compensation in your car accident lawsuit. The goal of insurance companies (which is who will ultimately be responsible for paying any damages) is to accept premiums and not pay out on any claims. Their obligation is to shareholders, not to customers and their first offer to settle a claim is often SIGNIFICANTLY below what a case is truly worth.

Car accident lawyers know this and are experienced in navigating the legal process and advocating for their clients’ rights to ensure they receive the maximum compensation they deserve.

Important Note: Most cases are resolved via a negotiated settlement. On average, less than 5% of all personal injury cases go to trial -trials are time consuming and expensive for all parties involved. Both the lawyers for the insurance companies and the lawyer(s) representing the plaintiff(s) know this and therefore, are motivated to resolve a claim without going to trial.

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What Types of Injuries Can Be Sustained in a Car Crash?

Car crashes can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles involved, the use of safety equipment, and the point of impact. Some common types of injuries sustained in car crashes include:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck that happens when the head is forcefully jerked backward and then forward, causing strain on the neck muscles and ligaments.
  • Fractures: Broken bones are quite common in car accidents, especially in the extremities (limbs) and torso. The force of impact or the deployment of airbags can cause bones to fracture upon contact.
  • Head Injuries: Head injuries range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can result from the head hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or window during a crash. Even minor head injuries can have long-term consequences if left untreated.
  • Back Injuries: The impact of a car crash can cause various back injuries, including strains, sprains, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and even paralysis in severe cases.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma from an auto accident can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, bleeding internally and abdominal/torso injuries. These injuries may not be felt or know immediately and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, contusions, and sprains, are common in car crashes due to the sudden acceleration and deceleration forces exerted on the body during impact.
  • Emotional Trauma: Car crashes can also result in emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event like a car crash can have long-lasting effects on mental health.
  • Fatal Injuries: In the most tragic cases, car crashes can result in fatalities. Fatal injuries may occur instantly upon impact or as a result of complications from injuries sustained in the crash.

Important Note: Even if injuries seem minor, some injuries may not be immediately apparent and can worsen over time if left untreated. It’s important to seek medical advice after a crash and, to contact a lawyer about your potential claim.

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Does Financial Compensation Change Based on The Type of Injury?

Yes. Financial compensation in car accident lawsuits can vary based on the type of injury sustained by the victim. The amount of compensation awarded is typically determined by factors such as the severity of the injury, its impact on the victim’s life, and the extent of the medical treatment required. Some injuries may result in higher compensation amounts due to their long-term effects on the victim’s physical and emotional well-being, while others may lead to lower compensation amounts if they are less severe or have shorter recovery periods.

For example, catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, or permanent disfigurement may result in higher compensation amounts to account for long-term medical care, loss of earning capacity, and diminished quality of life. On the other hand, minor injuries such as whiplash, strains, or sprains may lead to lower compensation amounts, primarily covering medical expenses and temporary pain and suffering.

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What Type of Car Crashes Produce the Most Serious Injuries?

Head-on collisions are among the types of car crashes that produce the most serious injuries. These accidents occur when the fronts of two vehicles collide, often resulting in severe outcomes due to the force of impact. Head-on collisions can cause catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, multiple fractures, internal organ damage, and even fatalities. As these types of injuries often have significant recovery periods – if at all – the opportunity for significant financial compensation is often available.

Side-impact collisions (T-Bone) – where the side of one vehicle is struck by the front or rear of another vehicle and, “rollovers” – when a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof – often create a high risk of injury. Broken bones, head trauma, chest injuries, whiplash, spinal cord injuries and more can often be sustained by vehicle occupants in thee types of crashes. Much like head-on collisions, injuries from these types of crashes can require significant medical and rehabilitation costs therefore providing an opportunity for a significant compensation recovery to help relieve the burden of costs associated with these services.

Accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists are also known for causing serious injuries due to the minimal amount of protection available. Common injuries in these types of accidents include fractures, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.

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What Are The Most Dangerous Intersections in Chicago?

In Chicago, several intersections are considered among the most dangerous due to factors such as heavy traffic volume, complex layouts, inadequate signage, and high rates of accidents. Some of the most notorious intersections in Chicago include:

  • Lake Shore Drive and North Michigan Avenue: This intersection, located in the heart of downtown Chicago, is known for its heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Accidents often occur due to congestion, aggressive driving, and pedestrians crossing against traffic signals.
  • West Fullerton Avenue and North Western Avenue: Situated in the Logan Square neighborhood, this intersection sees a high volume of traffic from multiple directions, leading to frequent accidents, especially during rush hours.
  • West North Avenue and North Cicero Avenue: Located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, this intersection is known for its complex layout and heavy traffic flow, contributing to a significant number of accidents each year.
  • West Roosevelt Road and South Pulaski Road: Situated in the Lawndale neighborhood, this intersection experiences a high number of accidents, often involving speeding vehicles and drivers failing to yield at traffic signals.
  • West Division Street and North Ashland Avenue: This intersection, located in the Wicker Park neighborhood, is notorious for accidents caused by drivers running red lights, making improper turns, and failing to yield to pedestrians.
  • West Madison Street and South Western Avenue: Situated in the Garfield Park neighborhood, this intersection sees a high volume of accidents due to its proximity to the Eisenhower Expressway and frequent congestion.
  • South Lake Shore Drive and East 47th Street: Located in the Kenwood neighborhood, this intersection is known for accidents involving merging traffic from Lake Shore Drive and local streets, as well as speeding vehicles.

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Can I Still Recover Compensation If I Was Partly At Fault?

Yes. You can still recover compensation if you were partly at fault in a Chicago car crash. Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still seek compensation as long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident.

However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault and the total compensation awarded for your damages is $100,000, you would receive $80,000 ($100,000 minus 20%).

It’s important to note that insurance companies and legal teams may try to shift more blame onto you to minimize their payout. That’s why it’s crucial to have a skilled car accident attorney on your side. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Chicago and believe you were partially at fault, Injury Law Support can connect you to a local, vetted accident lawyer to help you seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation.

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If I Have a Prior DUI Conviction – Can That Affect The Outcome of My Case?

Yes, if you have a prior DUI conviction in Chicago, it can significantly impact the outcome of your current case if alcohol or substance use is involved in the car accident. A prior DUI conviction may be used against you to establish a pattern of behavior, potentially influencing how the court perceives your credibility and responsibility for the accident.

Having a prior DUI conviction may lead to increased scrutiny from insurance companies and opposing legal teams. They may argue that your past behavior demonstrates a disregard for traffic laws and public safety, which could affect the compensation you’re entitled to receive.

A skilled accident lawyer will be able to discuss these topics with you and work towards a strategy that can potentially offset this additional scrutiny and, provide an opportunity to recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your auto accident lawsuit.

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The At-Fault Driver Was Driving a Truck – Can That Make a Difference To My Lawsuit?

Yes. If the at-fault driver was driving a truck, it can potentially make a significant difference to your lawsuit. Truck accidents often involve unique legal and logistical considerations compared to accidents involving smaller vehicles, which can impact the outcome of your case.

Several factors make truck accident lawsuits distinct:

  • Severity of Damages: Due to their size and weight, trucks can cause more extensive damage and severe injuries compared to passenger vehicles. This can lead to higher medical expenses, longer recovery times, and greater financial losses for the victims.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to strict federal and state regulations governing driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, hours of service, and cargo securement. Violations of these regulations can serve as evidence of negligence, potentially strengthening your case.
  • Multiple Parties: Truck accidents often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, vehicle manufacturer, cargo loaders, and maintenance contractors. Determining liability and pursuing compensation may require navigating complex legal relationships among these entities.
  • Insurance Coverage: Commercial trucking companies typically carry higher insurance coverage limits than individual motorists to protect against potential liabilities. This can provide greater financial resources for compensation but may also lead to more vigorous defense strategies by insurance companies.
  • Evidence Collection: Investigating truck accidents may involve gathering extensive evidence, including driver logs, maintenance records, electronic data from onboard systems, and eyewitness testimonies. Proving negligence and liability may require thorough analysis of this evidence, which can be challenging without legal assistance.

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How Can I Start The Legal Process After Being Injured in a Chicago Auto Accident?

There are specific steps you can take to start the process of seeking compensation and resolving your case:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety are the top priorities. Even if you don’t believe your injuries are severe, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, and a medical evaluation can document any injuries and provide necessary treatment.
  • Report the Accident: If law enforcement did not respond to the scene of the accident, report it to the Chicago Police Department or the Illinois State Police as soon as possible. Having an official accident report can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect as much evidence from the accident scene as possible, including photographs of vehicle damage, skid marks, traffic signs, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses, if available, as their testimonies can support your case.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance provider promptly. Provide them with accurate details of the incident but avoid admitting fault or making speculative statements. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and may offer coverage for medical expenses and vehicle repairs.
  • Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer: Consider seeking legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago. They can offer invaluable guidance on your legal rights, assess the strength of your case, and advise you on the best course of action for pursuing compensation.
  • Document Expenses: Keep detailed records of all accident-related expenses, including medical bills, vehicle repair costs, rental car expenses, and any other out-of-pocket costs incurred due to the accident. These records will be essential for calculating the total damages in your case.
  • Avoid Discussing the Accident: Refrain from discussing the accident or posting about it on social media. Statements made to insurance adjusters or on social media platforms can potentially be used against you during the claims process or litigation.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Attend all follow-up appointments and follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan diligently. Failure to adhere to medical advice can be used by insurance companies to dispute the severity of your injuries or the necessity of certain treatments.

At Injury Law Support, we can connect you to a local, qualified car accident attorney in Chicago, so that you can initiate the process of pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses. Our service is free – fill out and send the “Free Case Review” form on this page and a local lawyer will contact you to learn more about your potential case. It’s free to use our service and your initial call with the lawyer is also free and no obligation.

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