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Dealing with a car accident is daunting. Eames Law Group makes it easy.
Are you unsure what to do after you’ve been injured in an accident?
Worried you’ll receive medical bills related to an accident that wasn’t your fault?
Has your case been going on so long it’s causing you financial and emotional distress?
Struggle with a lack of communication on what is going on with your case with your current law firm?
Denied surgery or any other pertinent medical treatment to recover fully?
We help car accident victims throughout the Chicagoland area get the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.
After a car accident, physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial strain can quickly become overwhelming. When the medical bills pile up, debt collectors begin to call, and negotiating with the insurance company has gotten you nowhere, it can seem like your life is falling apart. Eames Law Group are Chicago car accident lawyers who actually care. We help victims throughout Illinois put their lives back together when the aftermath of a crash begins to take its toll.
Let Us Protect Your Right to Recovery
Without protection from an experienced car accident attorney, your rights as a victim are in jeopardy. Developing a clear understanding of relevant laws, applicable claims types, and the legal proceedings that may follow is hard enough, but when you are distracted by your physical and mental recovery, experienced insurance adjusters, and the other side’s legal team, winning an appropriate settlement can be almost impossible. Let our professionalism, persistence, and superior legal skills guide you through this difficult time. We’ll help you:
- Get access to the medical care you need to recover
- Navigate the injury claims process
- Gather evidence like witness statements, photographs, videos, and police reports
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Pursue your case in court if necessary
Understand the Road to Recovery After a Crash
The road to financial recovery after an accident is filled with hurdles. Liability must be determined. Damages must be calculated. Evidence must be gathered. And that’s just the beginning. Once all of those steps have been completed, you’ll have to argue your case with insurers, at fault parties, and their attorneys.
Determining Liability After a Crash
Although determining liability in some accident cases may be cut and dry, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, thorough understanding of the laws, the ability to interpret police reports and medical records, and even accident reconstruction may be necessary to accurately assign fault. In some situations, multiple parties may play a role in causing an accident. Responsible parties may be other drivers, companies, manufacturers, property owners, and even government entities.
In most car accident cases, damages are paid by an insurance company. Payouts can come from a combination of:
- The at fault driver’s liability policy
- Third party insurance coverage (trucking companies, manufacturing companies, employer coverage, etc.)
- Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Calculating Accident Damages
Car accident damages are based on economic impact as well as personal suffering. It’s typically pretty simple to calculate damages like past medical bills and lost income, but evaluating the cost of future medical care and lost earning potential is often complicated. Sometimes, expert testimony is necessary to sort out the true value of your injuries.
Determining the value of personal suffering can be even more complicated. Assigning a dollar amount to permanent physical impairments, emotional distress, or the loss of a loved one is never an exact science. To obtain a fair settlement, you’ll need a professional on your side who will demonstrate the impact your accident has had on your life.
If the behaviors that caused your injuries were particularly egregious, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages that are designed to compensate victims for their losses, punitive damages are imposed to punish the wrongdoer.
Don't Wait Too Long to Pursue Your Claim
While the vast majority of car accident cases in Illinois are settled through negotiations with insurance companies, it can take months and even years to resolve a claim. In the meantime, the two-year timeframe to file a lawsuit continues to creep towards the deadline. If the statute of limitations expires while you’re busy negotiating with the insurer, you will lose your right to recover for good.
At Eames Law Group, we’ll make every attempt to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If the need to file a lawsuit arises, however, we’ll push your case all the way to a jury’s verdict to ensure your compensation is congruent with your losses.
Shocking Illinois car accident statistics
The state of Illinois has seen alarming statistics regarding car accidents in recent years. In 2022, the state witnessed a total of 1,280 traffic fatalities, marking a 4% decrease from the 1,334 deaths recorded in 2021, but still significantly above pre-pandemic levels. Cook County, in particular, reported over 159,000 motor vehicle crashes and had the highest number of deaths by car accidents in the entire state, with 285 fatalities. It was also found that out of the 1,151 fatal crashes in Illinois during 2022, 190 involved pedestrians, 166 involved semi-trucks, and 146 led to 1,269 fatalities. These statistics underscore the critical need for road safety measures and responsible driving practices in Illinois.
Common Car Accident Causes
Car accidents continue to be a significant concern across the United States, with several common causes contributing to these unfortunate incidents. Among the leading causes, distracted driving takes the top spot.
- Distracted Driving: This is when drivers divert their attention from the road, increasing the chances of accidents. Distractions could include eating, using a phone, or adjusting the radio. It’s believed to contribute to around 52% of car crashes.
- Texting While Driving: This specific form of distracted driving contributes to over 1.3 million accidents annually in the U.S. Alarmingly, almost a third of Americans admit to this dangerous practice.
- Bad Weather Conditions: Failing to adapt to poor weather conditions can lead to accidents. Diverse weather patterns like heavy summer rains and winter blizzards pose additional challenges in Illinois. However, bad weather doesn’t excuse negligent driving.
- Drunk Driving: On average, 28 people die daily in the U.S. from DUI-related accidents. In Illinois, nearly a third of fatal crashes involve alcohol use.
- Drugged Driving: The rise of legal marijuana and the ongoing opioid crisis have increased drugged driving accidents across the U.S.
- Driver Fatigue: Lack of sleep can quadruple the crash risk, similar to driving drunk. It’s estimated that drowsy driving contributes to 6,400 deaths annually in the U.S.
- Speeding: This factor contributes to about a third of all motor vehicle deaths. Driving too fast for conditions in urban areas like Chicago causes 40% of all deadly car accidents.
- Following Too Closely: Often referred to as “tailgating,” this practice significantly increases the risk of accidents as drivers may not have enough time to stop. Rear-end collisions, often resulting from tailgating, represent about 29% of all U.S. crashes.
- Drag Racing: Illegal street racing in big cities poses significant risks to participants, other road users, and pedestrians. Since it’s illegal, obtaining compensation from standard sources like insurance can be challenging.
- Mechanical Failure: Car defects like misaligned steering columns, faulty brakes, or worn-out tires can cause accidents. Victims could seek damages from the manufacturer or distributor if a mechanical failure contributes to an accident.
- Disregarding Traffic Control Signals: Ignoring traffic signals is a common cause of serious accidents, especially at intersections. A study found that running red lights caused about 51% of fatal intersection accidents.
- Not Yielding the Right of Way: Even without traffic signals, failing to give way to oncoming traffic can be dangerous. The NHTSA reports that around 7% of all fatal car and truck accidents involve a driver failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Improper Lane Usage: Hasty attempts to overtake another vehicle or drifting across the center line can lead to devastating head-on or sideswipe collisions.
- Reckless Motorcycling: Motorcyclists are often guilty of improper lane usage. They may weave between lanes and overtake larger vehicles, but this behavior is risky due to the vulnerability of motorcyclists in crashes and their shorter stopping times.
- Mistakes in Construction Zones: Ignoring markings and devices in construction zones can endanger drivers, passengers, and workers. If misplaced road markers or equipment cause an accident, the victims may sue the responsible parties for damages.
- Negligent Truck and Semi-trailer Drivers: Large trucks and semi-trailers can cause serious injuries even at low speeds due to their size. If a negligent truck driver causes an accident, multiple parties may be held liable, including the vehicle owner, transportation company, and goods owner.
- Careless Interstate Driving: The lack of traffic signals and regular interstate stops can lead to inattention and careless driving, a recipe for potentially devastating high-speed accidents.
- Inexperienced Rideshare Drivers: The rise of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft has led to an increase in relatively inexperienced drivers on the road, which can result in dangerous accidents. The financial responsibility in such accidents can be ambiguous due to rideshare companies classifying drivers as independent contractors.
- Inexperienced Young Drivers: Teenage drivers, due to their inexperience and tendency to engage in risky behaviors like texting and speeding, are responsible for a disproportionate number of car accidents. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distraction was a factor in 58% of crashes involving teen drivers.
What should you do after a car accident?
After a car accident, it’s important to stay calm and follow these steps:
- Check for injuries: The first thing you should do is check if anyone is injured. If so, call 911 to get an ambulance and police on the scene.
- Move to a safe area: If possible, move your car to a safe, well-lit place nearby, preferably a public one where others can see. If you can’t move your car, keep everyone from oncoming traffic.
- Call the police: Even in minor accidents, it’s essential to have an official report for insurance purposes. The police will also help secure the scene and investigate the cause of the accident.
- Exchange information: Collect the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle information. Also, note the location, time, and conditions during the accident.
- Document the accident: Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, any injuries, and the overall scene. These may be crucial for your insurance claim or any potential legal proceedings.
- Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. They will guide you through the process of filing a claim.
- See a doctor: Even if you feel fine, it’s good to get checked out by a doctor after an accident. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent.
- Get legal advice: It is always recommended to talk to an attorney about your accident, even if you don’t think you’re entitled to anything. You can always get a free consultation with Eames Law Group to see if you have a claim!
Car accident injuries
- Whiplash: One of the most common car accident injuries, whiplash occurs when the neck and head are suddenly forced backward and forward, putting the cervical spine through rapid motions and extreme stresses. This can result in muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: These can include herniated discs, fractures, and spinal cord damage. Such injuries can cause pain, limit mobility, and, in severe cases, lead to paralysis.
- Head and Brain Injuries: Car accidents can cause concussions, contusions, or traumatic brain injuries if the head hits a part of the vehicle during the crash. Symptoms can range from headaches and dizziness to cognitive problems and loss of consciousness.
- Bone Fractures: The impact of car accidents can break bones, particularly ribs, legs, arms, ankles, and wrists. Some victims may also suffer a broken pelvis.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These are damages to the body’s connective tissue, which include muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sprains, strains, and bruises account for many soft tissue injuries in car accidents.
- Scrapes and Cuts: Loose objects inside the car can become projectiles during a crash, leading to scrapes and cuts. While these are generally not life-threatening, they require medical attention to prevent infection and other complications.
- Psychological Injuries: Car accidents can also lead to emotional distress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental health impacts should be addressed alongside physical injuries for comprehensive recovery.
How long does it usually take to settle a car accident claim?
The timeframe for settling a car accident claim can vary considerably based on numerous factors, such as the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and the clarity of fault. On average, auto accident settlements occur within nine to eighteen months. But in many cases, particularly minor injuries, car accident victims can settle their insurance claims with their carrier within a few weeks of the crash. However, in more complex cases or those involving severe injuries, it could take a few months to a year to settle, and if a lawsuit becomes necessary, it may even take a few years.
Need An Attorney For Your Car or Truck Accident?
Attorney Brent Eames is a compassionate advocate for his clients and is experienced in securing top verdicts, awards, and settlements on behalf of injured workers and accident victims.
Before you talk to anyone, you should call our office and schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers to determine your rights and to ensure that your case is set up to receive the maximum compensation that you may be entitled to under law.