Often, the victims of Chicago car accidents are not sure of the rights they possess. They may wonder who is liable for their damages or whether they are entitled to payment for the harm they suffered. These are common questions asked of personal injury attorneys in the city because until an accident happens to someone, they may be unaware of the process.
So how exactly does a claim for injuries from a car accident work? First, it is important to know that the state where the crash happened matters. In Illinois, victims who are hurt in a collision are protected by state laws which enable them to seek relief. A civil claim for damages can be brought, if a victim chooses to do so, against anyone or any entity responsible for the damages. Typically, that can include an at-fault driver, the owner of an at-fault car, a corporation that owned the vehicle or employed the at-fault driver, a city or municipality that is to blame for roadway conditions, a company that negligently built or serviced a car or portion of the vehicle, or even a victim’s own insurance company.
These claims typically are available regardless of the outcome of a police investigation and regardless of the outcome of any traffic tickets. In practice, this means that even if a responsible driver is not cited for her conduct in a crash, that driver can be held financially liable for the monetary damages of a collision even though she escapes a traffic charge. If a driver is cited and found not guilty in a traffic court, that driver, too, can be liable for the monetary harm done in a crash.
Next, it is important to understand that while the rights of victims are protected, those victims must act within a certain time period or they will lose the ability to recover. Known as the statute of limitations, it can vary depending on who is involved in a collision and therefore it is a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney or other experienced professional to ensure that you are covered. Even if you were hurt badly, you will not be able to get relief if you do not act within the statute of limitations.
Once you begin the process of a civil claim for your personal injuries, it may be a quick process or one that can stretch on for years. It will depend on whether an at-fault individual or insurance company takes responsibility for the crash and accepts your claimed damages or whether there is disagreement about responsibility and value of your case. You may be able to settle your claim without filing a law suit or a law suit may be necessary before the resolution of your case can happen.
If a law suit is filed, your claim may or may not proceed to trial. If a trial happens, the debated issues in your case will be decided in court and the amount of money you receive, if any, will be determined there as well.
This bare-bones explanation may make a personal injury action seem relatively straight forward but in reality, these cases are often complex, filled with complicated legal issues and they can be difficult to resolve. If you were involved in a car accident in Chicago and you were injured, working with a skilled attorney can help you every step of the way so that you will get the relief you deserve, and not just what an insurance company wants to pay you.
If you have questions or if you need help, know that the legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to offer you a case consultation about your crash. There is no cost to you, no obligation on your part, and everything discussed in the consultation will be kept confidential. Further, if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf and we will advance all expenses related to your case.
If tragedy has affected your life, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us fight for the relief you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Chicago Parents are Failing to Replace Car Seats after Crashes, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published January 25, 2016.