Illinois Accident And Lawsuit Attorney Legal Overview
In the first five months of 2012, there were 315 fatal auto accidents reported in Illinois. More than 15 drivers and passengers were killed in third week of May alone. On May 12, 2012, traffic on the Interstate 57 at Mattoon in Coles County, Illinois, remained obstructed for several hours following a fatal accident involving a bus carrying the band and crew of singer Justin Moore and two other cars. Within a week of the incident, 14 people, including a teen and four moms, lost their lives in car accidents across the state. A collision between a school bus carrying 33 six-grade children and a tractor trailer near Litchfield on 14 May caused by speed and distraction by drivers resulted in injury to nine. On May 20, the Chicago Tribune reported death of two men and a woman in three fatal auto accidents in the Cook County.
Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics
- Car accidents in Illinois claim at least one life and injure 10 others every hour.
- According to the 2010 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics released by the state Department of Transportation, there were 289,260 car crashes in the state resulting in 88,937 injuries and 927 deaths, including 115 pedestrians.
- One in every 10 licensed drivers was found to be involved in car crashes.
- There were 792 traffic accidents and two deaths in the state every day in 2010.
- The mileage death rate in the state stands at 0.88.
- The annual economic loss due to car accidents is estimated to be over $5 billion.
- Alcohol consumption is the reason for more than 40 percent of accidents while a quarter of all auto accidents occurred at intersections.
- Passenger cars are found to be involved in 78 percent of accidents while trucks are reported in about 15 percent.
- About 57 percent of Illinois auto accidents were reported from cities and towns.
- The fatality rate is the highest in the 15-25 age groups.
Illinois Auto Accidents: Counties and Causes (2010 Figure)
Cook County accounted for 137,391 auto accidents and 236 deaths, the highest in the state, in 2010. DuPage, Will, and Lake Counties also registered more than 10,000 crashes while the numbers crossed four digit figures in Champaign, Kane, Lake, Winnebago, Sangamon, Peoria, Madison, St. Clair, and McHenry Counties. Among the cities, the highest number of auto accidents was reported from Chicago followed by Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, and Springfield.
About 53 percent of car accidents in Illinois occurred after drivers lost control of vehicles and veered off the roads, and intersection crashes were reported for 25 percent of accidents. Stationary objects, such as road-side trees, were found to be involved in 27 percent crashes. About 40 percent drivers involved in accidents had a higher alcohol and drug level in their body. Roll over, head-on collision, and read-end crashes contributed over half of the fatalities while defective vehicle design, distracted drivers, overspeeding, and driver behavior resulted in everyday crashes.
Common Illinois Accident Injuries and Damages
- Death on the spot or in the hospital due to accident or related injuries.
- External or internal brain and head injuries leading to concussion, psychological trauma, and other injuries.
- Neck, spinal cord, and back injuries causing strain, pain, disk problem, fracture, etc.
- Face injuries, bruises, and dental fracture necessitating cosmetic surgery.
- Psychological and emotional distress disrupting normal life.
Victims can file personal injury lawsuits with the help of Illinois accident attorneys and seek damages on the following grounds:
- Wrongful death and injury
- Physical and financial losses
- Punitive damages
- Loss of wages and income because of accident injury
- Present and future medical treatment cost
- Vehicle repairing expenditure
Illinois Auto Accident Lawyer: Process of Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits
- In Illinois, one is allowed to seek auto accident compensation in one of the following three ways.
- File a claim with own insurer. Your insurance company will seek subrogation claim from the insurer of the at-fault party.
- Seek claims directly from the insurance provider of the at-fault driver.
- Sue the at-fault driver by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Illinois auto accident lawsuits can be filed seeking compensation from those responsible for accident or their insurance companies. It involves the following stages:
- Pre-Litigation Stage: Contact any experienced Illinois accident lawyer and inform him about details. Your authorized attorney compiles all reports, info, injury assessment, and damage estimates and gives notice to the defendant seeking damages for his fault. If the defendant accepts his fault and agrees to pay the compensation, your accident attorney facilitates the payment process.
- Litigation Filed:
- Your Illinois accident lawyer files a civil lawsuit for personal injury caused by the accident. The process follows the following steps.
- Filing: Illinois accident lawyer formally files the auto accident lawsuit and a notice is issued to the other party.
- Discovery: Illinois accident lawyers representing both parties make their own investigations and share findings, including accident details, witness names, and injury reports.
- Filing for Summary Judgment: Either of Illinois accident lawyers can ask the court for a summary judgment based on their findings. It is up to the judge to accept the request or set the date for trial.
- Trial and Examination: The court hears the arguments in the light of evidence presented and cross examination of the witnesses.
- Award and Settlement
- Court Award: The court delivers the judgment based on various principles, such as comparative fault, principles of jurisprudence, and law of the land, and awards reasonable compensation.
- Settlement: Both parties can settle the case out of court at any time based on mutual consent. An expert Illinois accident lawyer can assure you better terms and conditions leading to a good settlement.
- Mediation: The court can order third-party mediation to explore early settlement possibilities before the accident injury lawsuit enters the trial phase.
Illinois Accident Lawsuit: Statutory Regulations
- Illinois State laws prescribe the following mandatory provisions for filing car accident lawsuits.
- Accident lawsuits with damages not exceeding $10,000 can only be filed in small courts.
- The statute of limitations prescribes a two-year time limit for filing personal injury lawsuits caused by car accidents.
- The statute of limitations for filing property or vehicle damage claim is five years following the date of accident.
- For accident lawsuits involving government vehicles, the time limit varies between 30 days and 180 days depending on accident circumstances and responsibility of state employees. A separate form is available to notify and pursue legal claims against the government agencies and employees.
Comparative Fault Rules in Illinois
Compensation awarded in an Illinois accident lawsuit takes into consideration the modified comparative fault principle. The award is reduced by a percentage equal to the fault of the victim and the defendant pays the rest of the amount. However, if the plaintiff is found to have more than 50 percent responsibility for an accident, no compensation is granted.
Illinois Accident Insurance
- Illinois follows the at-fault insurance system.
- The insurer of the person legally responsible for the accident pays compensation to those who suffered injuries and property damages due to the accident.
- The state law makes it mandatory for drivers to have liability insurance with the following minimum coverage.
- $20,000 for any death caused by an accident.
- $40,000 for injury or death to two or more persons due to an accident.
- $15,000 for any type of damage to property due to the accident.
- The state law also require every car insurance policy to include Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
Illinois Seat Belt Law
All drivers and passengers in a car must wear seat safety belts.
With effect from January 1, 2012, all passengers in a car irrespective their seat must fasten seat belts.
Children below 8 years must be fastened with lap and shoulder belts and those above 40 pounds and 8 years and travelling on the back seat must wear a lap belt.
The driver is responsible for adherence of seat belt policy by passengers up to 16 years of age.
Passengers above 16 years are responsible for following the mandatory seat belt policy on their own.
Illinois Auto Accident Lawsuits
In August 2011, a McHenry County jury ordered the defendant to pay $1.275 million to the family of a 25-year-old women killed in a head-on collision. Two Cook County men got $3.5 million in October 2011 in an accident lawsuit settlement. Both men were struck down by a bus while crossing a traffic signal. In April 2011, family of a motorcyclist fatally knocked down by a car won $1.25 million in compensation.
In April 2009, an Illinois man who suffered brain injury in a car accident caused by drunk driving won $575,000 in damages. In July 2011, a personal injury lawsuit filed in Belleville, Illinois, involving an uninsured motorcycle accident resulted in $130,000 compensation for the plaintiff.