If you or a family member was injured in an automobile crash, you may be seeking the services of a law firm who has experience litigating and settling car accident cases. You’ve come to the right place! Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is successful in resolving car accident cases in Chicago and across Illinois—for maximum value.
From the time a crash occurs, our office works to secure the evidence necessary to provide you with the best financial recovery that the law allows. We appreciate the impact an auto accident has on your physical, emotional and financial health. When you retain our law office, you can be assured that your case is getting handled by a competent car accident attorney who has your interests first and foremost.
Over the past decade, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has recovered over $250 million on behalf of clients, including people injured in car accidents.
Chicago Car Accident Lawyers who Know the Law & True Value of Your Case
Many attorneys market themselves as ‘experts’ in handling auto accident claims. Illinois does not designate areas of expertise for attorneys, but we believe that the consistent results achieved by attorneys as Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC make our office the attorneys best positioned to represent you or a family member after a serious crash.
What You Need to Know About Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Law to Protect Your Rights
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) data, in 2017 311,679 automobile collisions occurred on Illinois roads and highways. Moreover, 93,517 people were injured, and 1,090 people killed in these collisions. Collectively, the economic impact of car accidents on individuals and society is substantial. The National Safety Council estimates that car accidents in the United States caused $413.8 billion in damages, including loss of life and productivity.
Illinois law allows a person injured in a car accident to pursue the individual or corporation responsible for the collision to recovery financial compensation for their injuries and damage to their property. (See 625 ILCS 5/)
Damages in auto accident cases are comprised of economic and non-economic compensation. Economic compensation refers to tangible past and future expenses related to ambulance bills, hospital bills, surgical bills and subsequent physical therapy. Economic damages also cover lost income due to the inability to work after an accident. Non-economic damages are subjective in nature and cover the pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement resulting from an accident.
In the case of a family who has lost a loved one in an Illinois MVA collision, the law allows the family to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who caused the crash. Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the surviving family members may recover compensation for grief, sorrow, loss of financial support and loss of companionship
Comparative Fault in IL Auto Accidents
While you may never have stepped foot in a law school to study torts and the concept of ‘comparative fault’, if you are involved in a car crash in Illinois, the concept will apply to you. Have no fear, the concept is not as complicated as some would make it out to be. Under Illinois’ modified comparative fault law, a person injured in a crash can pursue a cause of action against another driver as long as their own responsibility for the accident is less than 50%. If an injured parties’ fault is over 50%, the doctrine of comparative fault would bar a recovery.
When applied to personal injury cases involving car accidents, the doctrine of comparative fault reduces the value of a case by the party’s contributory fault. For example, in a case of a person with a $1,000,000 case who was deemed to be 20% responsible for the accident, the award would be reduced by $200,000 resulting in a net award of $800,000.
Auto Insurance Companies: A Player in Every MVA Case
Every motor vehicle accident case involves an insurance company for the driver or the company that they work for. As a person injured in an auto accident, it is important to recognize that the interests of the insurance company for the party who caused the crash are contrary to yours. They simply want to pay as little as possible to resolve your case.
Insurance companies have adjusters whose job is to get injury cases resolved as quickly as possible for as little money as possible. While the adjuster may appear friendly and concerned about your situation, remember their job is to save the company money.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys have experience dealing with virtually every major auto insurance company and knows the in’s and out’s of their claims handling process. We also, handle auto accident cases involved un-insured and under-insured motorists, where we pursue claims against your own insurance company.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience resolving car accident cases with auto insurers including:
We urge every person injured in a car accident case, to discuss their situation with an attorney before speaking to an insurance company representative.
Car Accident FAQs
After representing over 2,000 people injured in auto accident cases, we not only have a good understanding of the claims handling process, we also know the common concerns faced by individuals and the people who care about them.
Can I Settle my Car Accident Case in or Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
The answer depends on many factors, including the liability aspects of the car accident case; the severity of injuries; medical testimony to support injuries; and the degree of permanency related to the injury.
While some cases can be resolved directly with an insurance company, others must be litigated for the victims to recover a full and fair settlement. Frequently, insurers make offers to settle quickly to reduce their exposure. A tangible offer may be tempting, particularly if you face imminent bills and expenses. However, accepting this is rarely in your best interest. Once a case is settled with a signed release, you can never recover any additional monetary damages—regardless of how severe your injuries are or become.
What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Lawsuit if I was Injured in a Car Accident in Chicago?
In general, Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for the filing of personal injury cases (including car accident injury and wrongful death lawsuits) and a five-year statute of limitations for property damage. Situations involving an injured minor or a municipal defendant can alter the statute and may require either the filing of a notice provision or filing of a lawsuit in a shorter period of time.
Does Illinois Require Drivers to Have Insurance?
Yes. Illinois requires all drivers to carry liability insurance coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident, as well as $15,000 for property damage. A driver failing to furnish such insurance coverage may have their license suspended. Illinois also requires that all drivers have uninsured motorist coverage equal to your policy's injury liability coverage.
What Needs to be Proved to win a Car Accident Case in Chicago?
To win your auto accident case involving personal injuries or wrongful death, there are certain things you must include in your initial lawsuit for it to be legally sufficient. If the driver or owner of the car was negligent, you need to show that: the defendant owed you a legal duty; breached that duty directly; and legally caused your damages. Additionally, you’ll want to consider whether a third-party, such as a bar that served alcohol to the driver who hit you, might also bear some responsibility.
Illinois has adopted a modified comparative fault doctrine. The damages you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are 20% at fault for a car accident, you can recover 80% of the damages to which you are entitled. If you are more than 50% at fault, you will be barred from any recovery.
Consult with a Chicago car accident lawyer for free. Our attorneys will evaluate your case, collect evidence, negotiate with insurers, and build a case for trial.
How Much Money is my Car Accident Injury Case Worth in Illinois?
Illinois jury awards and settlement amounts tend to be modest on average. But they can be large, depending on what happened. Recent big cases in the state include a $2,450,000 award (Knee Injury); a $3,000,000 award (Wrongful Death); a $15,833,238 award (Brain Damage); a $1,155,000 award (Herniated Disk); and a $15,700,000 award (Facial Injury).
For example, consider one case that recently settled for $1,850,000. A driver hit a pedestrian in her early 70s. She suffered a head wound, memory loss, and issues with her gait. On top of that, she racked up close to half a million in medical bills. The driver was working for a large insurance company at the time. When the woman sued the driver, she claimed he was working at the time, allowing her to seek compensation from the company. The defendant settled to avoid a large verdict from a sympathetic jury.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
In order to recover compensation from another driver, you—the injured person—has the burden of establishing that their negligence was a cause of the collision. Below are some common causes of auto accident cases involving injuries or death.
Speeding means both driving faster than a posted speed limit as well as driving too fast for road conditions. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounts for 26% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions.
Drivers today have more devices and technologies to divert their attention from their driving than ever. According NHTSA, looking at a text while driving can divert your attention for 5 seconds, the equivalent of travelling the length of a football field at 55 mph. The agency estimates that 3,166 people were killed in 2017 due to driver distraction.
- Alcohol & Drug Use
The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that more than 10 million people admitted to driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. Teens have higher accident rates than older drivers. Per the CDC, drivers 16 to 19 years old are three times more likely to die in a car crash than drivers over 20.
Sleepiness also makes drivers worse. A 2014 AAA study found that fatigue contributed to 21% of all fatal traffic accidents on U.S. roads. USA Today reported that nearly 1,500 drivers flee the scene of fatal crashes each year. Failure to see others also kills. Many accidents occur when drivers don’t check their blind spot or fail to spot other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Bad Weather
Common weather hazards include: heavy fog, which impairs visibility; snow and ice, which impairs directional control and creates special problems on bridges and elevated roads; rain and flooding, which obviously makes roads slippery but also reduces visibility conditions and creates conditions for hydroplaning; and morning and evening glare, which leads to dangers such as sun blinding.
- Man Made Hazards
Inaccurate or incorrect signage can influence drivers and place construction workers and travelers in perilous positions. Relatedly, malfunctioning traffic lights increase the risk of intersection collisions. Construction zone errors endanger passing motorists and workers. This can also include automobile products liability cases where a part of a vehicle was manufactured improperly.
Injuries Associated With Auto Crashes
While some injuries sustained in an accident are readily apparent, others may not be diagnosed at the scene. Consequently, if you are involved in a collision and feel like something ‘may not be right’ it is advisable to get medical attention as soon as feasible. Timely medical attention can be helpful in diagnosing an underlying injury as well as documenting your condition for use in insurance settlement negotiations or at trial.
Below are some common injuries related to auto crashes:
- Back & Neck Injuries: The impact from a collision can put tremendous forces on cervical and lumbar vertebrae. In some instances, the disc can be damaged, sometimes referred to a herniation.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A sudden jolt from a crash can cause a skull fracture, contusion or bleeding on the brain. Any injury to the head in a collision can have a lasting impact.
- Joint Damage: Pain and stiffness are common complaints raised by many people following a crash. The underlying condition may be damage to a joint such as a hip or shoulder.
- Broken Bones: High impact and rollover collisions may exert incredible force on bones. Fractures to tibia, fibula, femur, sternum and ribs are common.
- Burns: While many people think of burns related to a gas explosion, other burns may result from air bag injuries, battery explosions and other chemicals released during a crash.
- Death: Over 37,000 people lose their lives in auto crashed each year. Sadly, auto-related fatalities continue to be a leading cause of death of people under 20-years-old.
Emergence of Uber & Lyft in Car Accident Litigation
Between 2015 and 2018, the number of ride hailing trips taken within the confines of the City of Chicago has grown by 271% and the total miles traveled has grown by 344%. According to a report issued by the City, there are 25,807 ride hailing trips taken each day during the morning commute alone. Put another way, ride hailing and rideshare programs offered by Uber and Lyft have literally exploded in their popularity.
In some circumstances, the ridesharing companies will assert that the drivers are not covered under the corporate insurance policies due to their ‘contactor’ status. The Chicago car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are familiar with these arguments and are effective with resolving personal injury claims related to passengers and other motorists related to Uber and Lyft vehicles.
Before you consider speaking with a representative from Uber or Lyft, we invite you to consult with our office where we can advise you of your legal rights and options.
Steps to Take After a Serious Car Accident
There is no way to prepare for an automobile accident! Unfortunately, the actions (or inactions) you take after a collision can impact the final outcome of your case. In order to present the most favorable results, take these steps:
Call Your Insurer as Soon as Possible, but do not Admit Fault
If you wait too long to tell your insurance company what happened, you may be denied compensation or the path to obtaining compensation could be harder. Never admit fault, even if pressed to make a statement declaring your responsibility. Be honest about the facts. But be a journalist—do not editorialize.
Report the Accident
Alert the police about the accident. Relay the facts and only the facts—again, do not editorialize—to the officer. Ask for a copy of a police report or how to obtain a copy after it is filed.
Motorists who cause injury or death or damage in excess of $1,500 must submit a report to the Illinois Department of Transportation as soon as possible, and no later than ten days after the crash.
Individuals must also report crashes using the Illinois Traffic Crash Report form (Police Report) or the Motorist Report form (Motorist Report). Additional information is available from Division of Traffic Safety website on how to obtain and file the appropriate forms.
Get Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
Even if you do not have any visible injuries, consult with a physician. You may be unaware of injuries due to a state of shock or concussion.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver
Trade your telephone, address, insurance carrier, full legal name, license plate number, and additional contact information with all other drivers involved in the crash.
Document Anything You Remember About the Accident
Write down what you saw and heard while the event is fresh on your mind. If you’re too hurt to write, ask someone you trust to transcribe or record your account.
Take Photographs of the Scene & Vehicle Damage
Photographs help insurance adjusters investigate. They may also be helpful to a jury if your case goes to trial.
Interview Witnesses About the Accident
Record their accounts. Note that almost every smartphone has a recorder function for a maximum of 8 minutes per segment, so you can easily record witness observations on your smartphone.
Discuss Your Case With a Qualified Car Accident Lawyer
Do not go it alone. An experienced law firm can protect your rights to obtain fair compensation.
Most Dangerous Chicago Intersections for Automobile Crash Injuries
Below are the 10 most dangerous intersections according to reported injuries from 2015 through 2019. Intersection collisions can be especially dangerous as the force of impact from vehicles traveling in perpendicular directions at high speeds can result in serious injuries to the occupants.
|Intersection:||Number of Injuries:||Neighborhood:|
|Lake Shore Drive & East 57th Drive||50||Chicago IL 60615 (Hyde Park)|
|South Stony Island Avenue & E 79th Street||46||Chicago, IL 60617 (Stony Island)|
|South Stony Island Avenue & e 95th Street||37||Chicago, IL 60617 (Stony Island)|
|South Cicero Avenue & West 76th Street||35||Chicago, IL 60459 (burbank)|
|South Cicero Avenue and West 57th Street||33||Chicago, IL 60638 (Garfield Ridge)|
|South Halsted Street and West 95th||27||Chicago, IL 60628 (Pullman)|
|South State Street & East 63rd Street||26||Chicago, IL 60637 (Woodlawn)|
|West 87th Street & South Lasalle Street||26||Chicago, IL 60652 (Ashburn)|
|North Lake Shore Drive and East Oak Street||25||Chicago, IL 60611 (Streeterville)|
|South Stewart Avenue & West 84th Street||23||Chicago, IL 60620 (Auburn Gresham)|
Our Chicago car crash attorneys know the above intersections well and use aerial maps and video reconstruction to demonstrate how a collision occurred and the sight lines drivers see as they approach. Regardless of where your auto accident occurred, we are ready to implement the same trial techniques to prepare your case.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Car Accident Attorney Near You
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to holding negligent drivers accountable to the fullest extent of Illinois law. Our goal is to make shoulder some of the burden that accompanies a car accident so you can focus on your health and wellbeing.
Regardless of where you live, our attorneys and investigators can come to a location that is convenient for you. We will come to your home or hospital if you are unable to come to our downtown Chicago office. Contact our office today and discuss your legal rights and options.
This page is updated December 12, 2019.