Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

Knowledgeable Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Fighting for You!

 
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When to get a lawyer for a car accident

At Malman Law, whether your case involves small-scale damage, catastrophic injury, or even a tragic loss of life, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to effectively pursue your claim. Call today and get our Chicago car accident lawyers fighting for you!

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should:

  • Get medical treatment. Even if you do not feel hurt, you may have injuries that require prompt medical attention.
  • Take photos of your injuries, your vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and the scene of the accident.
  • Write down the names and contact information of everyone at the scene, including the other drivers and any eyewitnesses.
  • Avoid speaking with the insurance companies, and never sign anything without first talking to an attorney.
  • Contact one of the best car accident attorneys in Chicago as soon as possible.

What to do after a car accident?

When you are in a sudden car wreck, the hours and days afterward can be confusing and stressful. You might be dealing with doctors, pain, and other effects of your injuries, and you might be unsure of what else you need to do. The easiest thing to do in this situation is to seek help and guidance from an experienced car accident lawyer from a trusted Chicago, IL personal injury law firm. This prevents you from guessing and puts your future in the hands of a professional who has helped many people in your situation before.

Auto accident lawyers can help car accident victims take the necessary steps to protect their rights. First, you should make sure that you report your accident in line with the requirements in Illinois. Reporting is mandatory if there were any injuries, deaths, or property damage over $1,500. Then, you might need to contact one or more insurance companies, depending on your situation. It is always wise to have your car accident lawyer contact insurers for you to ensure you do not accidentally say the wrong thing. Your lawyer can then assess your legal rights and options moving forward.

Perhaps the most important thing you should do as a car accident victim is to seek immediate medical attention. Many injuries are not visible or obvious following a crash, so you should undergo a medical evaluation as soon as you can just to be safe. You might feel confused and disoriented, assuming that it is “normal” following a traumatic event. In reality, you might have a traumatic brain injury that needs to be diagnosed and treated by professionals.

Once your health is stabilized enough, then you should seek out the right legal representation from a car accident lawyer you can trust. Never wait to do this, as the right lawyer can determine whether there are any additional steps you need to take to protect your rights.

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What to do after a car accident that was NOT your fault?

If the collision was the fault of another driver or party, you definitely want to consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Once your health is stable, set up your free consultation to discuss your right to fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

In many cases, injured victims can file claims with the liable party’s insurance companies or file a car accident lawsuit following car crashes that were not their fault. It is critical to have the right legal representation before and during this process to protect your legal rights. These rights include obtaining compensation for all of your injury-related losses.

For example, if you suffered injuries in the car wreck, you might be facing:

  1. Medical bills
  2. Lost wages
  3. Future medical expenses

Families who lose loved ones in fatal car crashes might have losses due to wrongful death. An experienced car accident lawyer can assess your losses and determine the best path to achieving fair compensation for you from the liable parties.

How to prove you are not at fault after a car accident?

In order to obtain the financial recovery you deserve for severe injuries or wrongful death following a car crash in Chicago, IL, you will need to provide adequate proof that someone else was to blame. Insurance companies will not simply accept the word of injured victims regarding liability, and they instead require evidence to support your claim. This is something you want a personal injury law firm handling for you.

Evidence can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the crash. If the person who caused your accident was drunk driving, evidence might include:

  1. Police and arrest reports
  2. Witness statements
  3. Record of a subsequent criminal conviction of driving under the influence (DUI)

While these might apply to a drunk driving accident, the evidence can vary if the at-fault driver was distracted, speeding, driving a commercial truck, or other situations. Your auto accident lawyers will identify the evidence you need to prove fault in your injury claim.

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 25 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases.

STEVE J. MALMAN
Founding Attorney

How long after a car accident can you file a claim?

Under Illinois law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a legal claim. While two years may seem like a long time, in reality, the statute of limitations can sneak up on you before you know it. In addition, it’s a good idea to retain an attorney and start your claim as soon as you can after an injury-causing car wreck.

Waiting to retain an attorney can hurt your chances of getting the compensation you deserve in several ways. Two of the most important include:

  1. Any delay can result in the loss of evidence that you need to win your case. For example, if the damage to a vehicle involved in the accident establishes that the other driver caused the wreck, that damage may be repaired within a couple of weeks. Fortunately, an attorney can take steps to ensure that evidence is preserved.
  2. While you are unrepresented, you may engage in communications with the insurance company yourself. If you do not have experience handling car accident claims or an extensive knowledge of Illinois personal injury law, there is a chance that you could do or say something that will hurt your ability to obtain the full and fair value of your claim.

The sooner you reach out for legal help, the sooner your lawyer can begin working on your case. The process can start with gathering evidence and investigating your accident, and it can lead to the filing of a car accident insurance claim or even a lawsuit in civil court when necessary. This is all time-consuming, so you want to give your attorney as much time as possible to protect your rights.

Reasons why you should be entitled to compensation after a car accident

As a victim of a Chicago car accident, there are several potential reasons why you may be entitled to financial compensation. The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential grounds for filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver:

Serious injuries from car accidents

Car accidents can cause extremely serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. In many cases, these severe injuries can leave victims with substantial medical bills and long-term disabilities that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, under state law, victims can pursue compensation for their future medical expenses in addition to their current losses.

In cases involving serious injuries and long-term injuries, it is extremely important for victims to retain a car accident to represent them to make sure they get the full value of their claims. Some other examples of serious car accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Facial injuries
  • Neurological injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Traumatic amputations

As a victim, it’s important to keep in mind that the more serious an injury, the more your claim may be worth. This fact, in turn, means that insurance companies are more likely to fight claims involving serious injuries. As a result, you should retain a car accident lawyer as soon as you can after an injury.

Car Accident Statistics in the U.S.

Infographic on car accidents in the US

How much can you get for your car accident injuries?

The amount of financial recovery in a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim can vary widely. If you needed an initial emergency room visit and a few physical therapy appointments, your claim might be worth a few thousand dollars. On the other hand, if you suffered catastrophic injuries that leave you with permanent disabilities, your recovery will be much different.

Serious injuries can lead to lost wages if your injury keeps you away from work for any period of time. Some injuries might prevent you from ever working again, which can result in substantial future lost earnings. These can be challenging to calculate, and the right law firm will have the resources to determine how much you will lose over your working life.

In addition, many injuries can require ongoing medical care and treatment – sometimes for the rest of your life. If your treatment will continue after your claim is resolved, you should seek all the compensation you need to cover all of your future medical expenses. Your attorney might utilize a medical expert to estimate how much your future medical bills will be worth.

You can also seek compensation for intangible damages that do not have standard calculations or dollar amounts. These can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Permanent injuries and disabilities
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Mental trauma

It is critical to keep in mind that the insurance company handling your case will do everything it can to settle your case for as little as possible. In fact, they will deny your claim entirely if they can find any plausible way to do so.

You might think you can save money by trying to handle your claim on your own, but this is rarely the case. Having the right lawyer can often mean the difference between obtaining full compensation and having to cover many of your losses out of pocket. The best way to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation to which you are entitled is to retain an attorney who understands how insurance companies work and can take steps to protect your rights. Call Malman Law today and schedule a free consultation!

How Much Am I Entitled to Recover For My Car Accident In Chicago?

While the amount you are entitled to recover will depend on the scope of your losses, many car crash victims are surprised to learn just how much they have lost as a result of their collision-related injuries. If you contact the negligent driver’s insurance company directly, they will try to get you to settle for far less than you are owed.

In fact, both the other driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company may try to get you to sign waivers that prevent you from securing just compensation. You should not sign anything until you speak with a car crash attorney at Malman Law about your case.

How can a car accident lawyer at Malman Law help me win my case?

Our law firm possess several attributes that are unlikely to be possessed by anyone but a highly trained professional:

Evidence collection: The most difficult part of winning a case is assembling admissible evidence. In some cases, this evidence can be surprisingly difficult to come by – the testimony of a credible expert witness concerning the amount of the victim’s future lifetime medical expenses, for example. A good car accident attorney deeply understands the intricacies and byzantine corridors of the Illinois Rules of Evidence.

Bargaining skills: Since most car accident cases are resolved through settlement, a reputable Chicago car accident attorney needs negotiating skills in order to stand toe-to-toe with professional insurance company executives who negotiate claims for a living. Not every attorney can do this, but the injury lawyers at Malman Law can.

Information processing skills: A good attorney will gather as much information as he or she can concerning the case, looking for nuances to exploit. The correlations and implications arising from a large volume of information can be immense, and a auto accident attorney needs the ability to “juggle nine balls at one time” to plan and execute an effective case strategy.

Persuasion: Ultimately, the outcome of a case comes down to persuasion – can you, or can you not, persuade the judge or jury that you are right? Persuasive ability arises partly from experience, and partly from an intimate familiarity of every strength and weakness of the client’s case. At Malman Law, our car accident defense track record speaks for itself.

Find a trustful car accident attorney near you

If you have been involved in an accident, and you find yourself looking for a car accident attorney near your location, that has the experience and knowledge of representing car accident victims, Malman Law is your first option.

Call today for a free initial case evaluation.

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205 W. Randolph St., #610,
Chicago, IL 60606

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Know Your Rights!

RESOURCES LIBRARY

Most common questions for car accidents in Chicago

Answers to some of the most common personal injury questions we’re asked.

What if the accident was partly my fault?

Even if the car accident was partly your fault, this doesn’t mean that you automatically lose your case. Under Illinois comparative fault principles, as long as you were 50 percent or less at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages (though they will be reduced). How much they will be reduced by depends on the extent of your fault. If the court decides that you were 25 percent at fault, for example, it will calculate your damages as it would if you were not at fault, and then subtract 25 percent from the total.

As an example, if you are involved in an auto accident in Chicago that causes you $100,000 in damages and causes the other driver $50,000 in damages, and if the court rules that the other driver was 75 percent at fault and you were 25 percent at fault, the court will calculate your damages as follows: [$100,000 – (25 percent times $100,000)] = ($100,000 – $25,000) = $75,000. The other driver will be entitled to nothing, since he or she was more than 50 percent at fault.

What if the defendant was driving on a commercial licence?

Many truck accidents in particular involve drivers using commercial driver’s licenses. This could affect your case in two ways – (i) how easy it is to prove the other driver’s fault, and (ii) who you can sue for damages.

If the commercial driver had been drinking alcohol prior to the accident, you could use this against him or her, even if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC ) was lower than the legal limit for non-commercial drivers (most drivers are subject to a legal limit of 0.08 percent, while commercial drivers are subject to a legal limit of 0.04 percent). Once it is established that the driver’s BAC was at least 0.04 percent and that this level of intoxication was a substantial cause of the accident, you could use negligence per se principles to have him or her declared automatically negligent.

Regardless of whether or not the commercial driver had been drinking, if he or she were liable for the accident and had been driving as an employee in the line of duty, you can usually sue the company for all of this liability. This could be important if the driver lacks the financial means to pay a judgment.

Should I give a statement to the insurance company?

You may be required to provide a certain amount of cooperation to your own insurance company. You are not obligated, however, to provide any kind of statement to the other driver’s insurance company, and you are not obligated to turn over your medical records. You should consult with your attorney before even providing a statement to your own insurance company.

Remember that when you are making a claim, the insurance company is your adversary, even your own insurance company, since they make money by maximizing their intake from premiums and minimizing their payment of claims. Further, insurance company adjusters, whose job it is to save their employers money, are experts in asking questions in a manner so as to induce you to make statements that they can use against you later – by denying liability altogether, asserting that the accident was partly your fault, or minimizing the amount they have to pay out on your claim.

What happens if the insurance company denies liability in a car accident claim?

It is routine for an insurance company to deny liability, even when the driver they insured is liable. In fact, you can expect an initial denial of liability in all but the most clear-cut cases of liability, such as when the police report clearly indicates that the other driver was at fault. Treat a denial of liability like an initial bargaining position – as the starting point of negotiations, not the end. As long as you have a good Illinois car accident attorney on your side, there is no reason why an initial denial of liability couldn’t mature into a generous settlement offer down the road.

Can I recover from emotional distress?

As long as you can prove a physical injury, you should be able to recover for “pain and suffering,” which is based on the amount of physical pain that you suffered. In cases of serious injury, the amount you recover for pain and suffering could end up to be far more than the amount you recover for medical bills. Other types of intangible non-economic damages, such as mental anguish damages, might apply if you suffered a serious debilitating injury. If you suffered no physical injury, however, you cannot recover for these types of damages, no matter how badly the accident “shook you up.”

Will a DUI in my car accident decide the case?

Not necessarily, but it might. Only an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago can answer this question. The key issue when a DUI is involved is whether or not the vehicle accident was actually caused by the DUI. If you were intoxicated while driving the speed limit and a speeding driver rear-ended you, for example, it would be difficult for the other driver to argue that your DUI actually caused the accident. If the court rules that the other driver’s speeding rather than your intoxication caused the auto accident, the other driver will be liable to pay you damages, while you will be liable for nothing (except perhaps a DUI charge).

The principle of causation applies no matter how the accident happened – a defendant’s misconduct will not give rise to liability unless it actually causes an accident.

What if I settle in my car accident?

In fact, most car accident cases are resolved through out-of-court settlements (usually with an insurance company). The problem is that adequate settlement offers usually don’t come quickly, and settlement offers that come quickly are usually inadequate. In many cases, you might have to file a lawsuit in order to pressure the other side to issue an adequate settlement offer.

There are two common tactics that you need to watch out for: (i) allowing yourself to be seduced by a quick but low settlement offer, and (ii) allowing the other party to trick you into missing the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit. Indeed, you might be forced to file a lawsuit in order to beat the statute of limitations deadline. Remember that a settlement agreement can be reached at any time prior to the final verdict (even five minutes before!). This is why it’s imperative that you have an experienced Chicago car accident law firm on your side.

If the other driver in a car accident was uninsured, will my statement affect my claim?

It depends. If you have uninsured motorist coverage (not required in Illinois), then it simply means that you will have to make your claim against your own insurance policy. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, you could end up with a problem. You will likely have to sue the other driver directly, and there is no guarantee that the other driver will possess the personal resources to pay out your claim.

Of course, you might get lucky if you were hit by a commercial driver – if the other driver was an employee of the company he or she worked for (rather than an independent contractor), you will probably be able to sue the employer. You can speak with one of our experienced car injury lawyers today to find out for sure.

Why is it important to visit the doctor after a car accident?

Skipping a doctor visit could cost you a lot of money in the long run if it turns out that you really were injured after all. In many cases, a car accident injury will be latent, meaning that you may not experience any immediate symptoms. If you turn out to have been injured later, it will hurt your case that you did not go immediately to the doctor to document your injuries while they were still fresh.

What are the components of a car accident claim
in Chicago?

Illinois courts are authorized to award three different types of damages: Economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

  • Economic damages are the easily countable portion of your recovery – medical bills, lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses, for example.
  • Non-economic damages are awarded for psychological or intangible losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, as a result of permanent debilitation. Non-economic damages often greatly exceed economic damages.
  • Punitive damages are awarded in a small minority of cases in which the defendant acted intentionally or willfully (rather than merely negligently). Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, rather than to compensate you for your losses. That doesn’t mean you don’t get to keep the money, however.

Is the Rear Driver Always At-Fault for an Accident?

In many rear-end motor vehicle crashes, the rear driver is to blame for the accident. Nevertheless, the rear driver is not always at fault in a rear-end crash. The lead driver or another car could cause a rear-end wreck.
The leading vehicle may be responsible for damages stemming from the crash when:

  • The lead driver’s negligence caused the accident.
  • State law reduces the lead driver’s power to recover damages from the trailing driver.

The driver of the vehicle that rear-ends a leading car will usually be partially negligent. Every driver has a duty to trail other cars at a secure distance that changes depending on the speed limit, highway conditions, and other elements.
The driver of the car that gets rear-ended may be considered negligent when:

  • The lead driver unexpectedly goes into reverse.
  • The lead driver suddenly “brake checks” the trailing driver for no reason.
  • The lead driver operates their car without hazard lights or without pulling over despite the car having an apparent issue, like a flat tire or transmission problem.

Can a Company Be Liable for My Car Crash?

An employer can be held accountable when the negligence of its employee causes a car crash, and the accident happens in the course of the employee’s employment. This is known as vicarious liability. If a corporate entity owns the vehicle that caused the collision, the company might be vicariously liable for other parties’ injuries.
Further, if a worker was “on the job,” the company could be held liable for damages stemming from a wreck even if the employee owns the vehicle, under the principle of respondeat superior.

Can I Handle My Own Injury Claim With an Auto Insurance Company?

Some disputes with your auto insurance company can be resolved with straightforward communication between you and the provider. Nevertheless, some disputes will require legal action. Each state has various laws concerning filing suits against auto insurance providers.
It is essential to use a lawyer to file a valid claim, as it is challenging to win against an insurance provider since they have a lot of money and influence backing them up. When an insurance company refuses to pay for an auto insurance claim, it is best to have a lawyer on your side.

How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

The amount of your recovery hinges on the amount of damage you incurred and the extent to which you can demonstrate that the injury was someone else’s fault. Recovery for personal injury is often divided between injury to persons and injury to property. The dollar amount of your damages is the sum of all losses incurred due to your injury. This includes physical damage to your property and physical and emotional harm to you.
When figuring this damage, courts assess the cost or value of:

  • Physician bills
  • Emergency transportation
  • Medicines
  • Treatments
  • Permanent physical disability or disfigurement
  • Earnings loss due to missed days or compromised performance
  • Incapacity to take on future work due to injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • The effect of the damage on your emotional or mental health

The court may also award punitive damages, which function as a penalty to the offender, over and above the substantial value of the loss incurred.