At Clifford Law Offices, our Chicago car accident attorneys represent those who have been injured or lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents. We can help you seek a result that covers not only medical expenses but also provides necessary ongoing support for you and your family in the aftermath of an accident.
Our Chicago auto accident lawyers take the time to clearly explain your legal options suffering a serious injury in a Chicago vehicle accident. When you schedule a free consultation, we will discuss your case via phone, at our local office, or during a visit to your home or hospital room – whichever is most convenient for you. Together, we can determine the next steps for fair compensation.
Why Choose Our Car Accident Attorneys?
If you or a family member have suffered an injury after a car accident, consider our firm because:
- We are an award-winning, nationally recognized law firm who has obtained more than $4 billion on behalf of our clients.
- We have decades of experience handling Chicago car accident cases. Because of our extensive experience, we have the experience to handle nearly every situation involving personal injury – no matter the circumstance.
- Our law firm is different; we know how to address your case efficiently and compassionately to help you receive the maximum possible compensation for your case.
- We treat our clients as if they are family, listening to their case and fighting for their rights, just like we would for our spouses, children, and siblings.
- We are responsive. When you work with our firm, you receive responsive communication through the entire case. Our clients can expect responses from all calls, emails, and other forms of correspondence.
- Our reputation as trustworthy car accident lawyers gives your case immediate weight. Other attorneys routinely send us their most complex cases, confident that we can provide effective counsel to these clients.
We know that this is a difficult period for you, so we take the time to analyze your case, provide you with customized advice, and answer any questions that you have. This includes questions specific to your case, as well as common auto accident-related questions such as:
- What Should I do after a car accident?
- What Are the Stages of a car accident lawsuit?
- Who will pay for my car repairs?
- Will the other driver have to pay my medical bills?
- Do I have a strong case if I decide to pursue a lawsuit?
- Should I sue the other driver?
- What does my insurance policy cover?
- What happens if an insurance company wrongfully denies my claim?
- The other driver was driving above the posted speed limit / drunk driving / distracted drving / texting and driving / driving dangerously when he or she caused the accident – does that affect my case?
A History of Success in Car Accident Cases Throughout Chicago
Our injury lawyers have been representing victims of serious automobile accidents in Chicago and throughout the nation for more than 30 years. The combined experience of our personal injury team amounts to hundreds of years of personal injury and wrongful death casework and has resulted in numerous favorable outcomes for our clients, including:
- A $22.7 million verdict for a widow whose husband was killed by a speeding truck driver with drugs in his system. The $10 million award for grief and sorrow equals a Cook County record for this category. (Attorney: Kevin Durkin)
- A $25.9 million verdict against Yellow Cab on behalf of a man who suffered a permanent brain injury (Attorney: Robert Clifford)
- A record $24.1 million verdict for an 8-year-old Chicago boy for injuries he suffered when a Chicago Transit Authority bus struck him in a school crosswalk (Attorneys: Robert Clifford and Kevin Durkin)
- A $2.8 million settlement for a 16-year-old who suffered a traumatic brain injury when a bus struck the vehicle in which he was riding as a passenger (Attorneys: Robert Walsh and Craig Squillace)
“I was always very impressed with each of the firm’s attorneys’ professionalism in handling such difficult cases, and their hurting clients. I can’t say it was easy for me to answer the phone and hear a crying client on the other end. But, I will always remember the feeling of actually being a part of a system that was helping victims who couldn’t help themselves.” – K.K.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Charge?
Our car accident attorneys handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless we successfully resolve your case, you will not pay anything for our time. If we do obtain a financial settlement or verdict on your behalf, we will deduct our fees directly from the award based on an agreed-upon percentage. That way – win or lose – you never pay for an attorney out of pocket.
We are upfront and honest about how much we charge for services because we do not believe in hidden fees or surprise add-ons at the end of the process.
Though hiring our firm won’t cost you anything unless you receive compensation, not hiring an attorney might cost you a fair settlement. Almost all car accident claimants in Illinois will recover greater compensation amounts with a Chicago car accident lawyer representing them. In fact, insurance companies often offer higher settlements as soon as they discover a claimant has hired a lawyer.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
If you are in a car accident, you may initially feel flustered or scared, but it is important to try to remain calm and remember that this is the best time to capture information about the motor vehicle accident. Here is a checklist that you can place in your glove compartment for easy reference if an accident occurs.
- Call the police so you have an official report of the accident
- Take photographs of all cars involved and of the following:
- License plates
- Intersection (if applicable)
- Traffic signals
- Street signs
- Collect contact information from all parties involved:
- Name, address, phone number (and/or photo of driver’s license)
- Insurance information (or photo of insurance card)
- Collect contact information of any witnesses:
- Name, address, phone number
- Collect contact information of the police officers on the scene:
- Name and precinct
- Take notes, including:
- Description of accident
- Damages to vehicles, people or objects
You’ll then want to report the accident to your insurance company. They may have many questions and/or ask for a statement from you so have your notes accessible and be prepared to spend a good amount of time on the phone with your insurance company.
Key Steps Involved in Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit
You file a complaint.
Car accident lawsuits are considered civil cases, and those normally start with the victim filing a claim or petition with the local court. The complaint outlines any allegations against the other person as well as any money you may be entitled to. Once the complaint is filed, the lawsuit officially begins.
Be aware that you normally have a set time period in which you can file a claim. This is called the Statute of Limitations, and it varies from state to state. You will need to check with your Chicago auto accident attorney to determine how long you have from the date of the accident to file a claim.
The defendant answers the complaint.
Once served a copy of your complaint, the at-fault party — that is, the defendant — has a set amount of time to answer it. They may admit the allegations or deny them. Their response could also include a counterclaim, which would detail how you potentially played a role in the accident and are responsible for your own injuries and losses.
The defendant can also make several motions, including a motion for a change of venue, a change of judge, or even a motion to dismiss.
The lawsuit enters mediation phase.
A judge may order you into a mediation, where you and your attorneys meet with the defendant and their attorneys. Talks are moderated by a neutral third party who mediates and guides the conversation, trying to arrange an agreement between the two parties, such as a settlement.
The case goes to discovery phase.
In the event that a mediation doesn’t work, the lawsuit then enters into discovery. Here, lawyers from both sides of the case investigate the details of the accident. That might include reviewing documents or speaking with witnesses. All information gathered during this phase is shared between the two legal teams. This process typically takes at least a few months, sometimes longer, depending on the scope of the case.
The trial begins.
When a lawsuit goes to court, both parties present their claims. Witnesses are questioned and evidence is examined. At that point, the jury must reach a verdict. While many of us envision drawn out, TV-drama-style courtrooms when we hear the word “trial,” in reality, those involving car accident lawsuits are usually resolved within a day or two. At the end of the trial, both parties will have the option to appeal the verdict.
How Long Do I Have to File A Claim in Illinois?
In the State of Illinois, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for injuries. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it applies to injuries when the other driver is at fault or if there is another factor (like a manufacturing defect) that causes the injury. Note, however, that when the accident involves making a claim against a local public entity or one of its employees (such as a school bus driver), the statute of limitation drops to one year from the date of the accident.
All that said, no two car accidents are alike, and some circumstances could mean you have less than two years, while others give you more than that time frame. It all depends on the details. This is why it’s so important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, so they can help you determine the time frame with which you’re dealing and make the best possible claim.
To avoid some of this confusion, we strongly suggest seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if it’s just for minor things like headaches or joint pain. As Hon. Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) noted in a recent interview, “Having a physician diagnosis and treat your injuries and prepare the required medical charts provides the evidence that you were truly injured.” He also noted that getting professional medical advice and care can be for your peace of mind and well being — two things you’ll definitely want at your side when you start to work on filing your claim.
Chicago Car Accidents Statistics
In 2018, there were 118,304 motor vehicle accidents in the city of Chicago, 123 of those crashes involved at least one fatality, while 21,881 involved at least one injury. While these collisions occur all over the city, a high percentage of car accidents occur on a handful of streets. In fact, five Chicago streets had more than 2000 car accidents occur on them in 2018: Western Avenue with 3,335, Pulaski Road with 2,826, Ashland Avenue with 2,667, Cicero Avenue with 2,455 and Halsted Street with 2,283.
Illinois Car Accident Laws
During your initial consultation, one of our attorneys will explain your options and what the law requires from you, including:
Deadline for filing a case
In Illinois, you have two years from the date of your collision to file a personal injury claim with the civil courts, or two years from a loved one’s date of death if you wish to file a wrongful death car accident claim. Missing your deadline generally equates to forfeiting your right to file a claim for compensation. However, the law does have contingencies. Talk to our firm to discuss whether they exist in your case.
Fault car insurance laws
Illinois is a fault, or tort, insurance state. This means all involved parties in a collision will look to the at-fault party for recovery. As a victim, you and your attorney will determine who was at fault for your crash and file a claim with that party’s insurance company.
Some car accident cases involve the negligence of more than one party. Under Illinois’ car accident laws, if you (the claimant) are 50% or less at fault for the collision, you will still be eligible for financial compensation. If you are more than 50% at fault, however, you will lose your right to recover damages. Hiring an attorney can help you prove the other party’s majority share of fault.
Determining Negligence and Liability
Obtaining a car accident settlement or verdict is not a guarantee. Financial recovery hinges on establishing proof of someone else’s fault for your accident and injuries. An insurance company and/or a judge must have proof that the defendant committed the negligence that caused your crash. To establish proof, document your injuries, gather evidence at the scene (if possible and if you are able), and work with an attorney to build a strong case.
The following four elements are necessary to prove liability for a car accident in Illinois:
The defendant owed you a duty of care.
The defendant breached his/her duty of care to you.
The breach of duty caused your car accident.
You suffered damages in the collision.
Determining liability often takes the experience and resources of an established firm. For instance, the other driver may be mainly at fault, but other parties could share liability. For example, a seatbelt manufacturer may be partially liable for your spinal cord injury if a defective seatbelt opened in a collision and worsened your injuries. Discuss your case with the car crash injury lawyers at Clifford Law Offices for help determining liability and fault.
Contact Us Now for a Free Car Accident Case Review
The experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Clifford Law Offices are ready and waiting to take your call. We can help your family maximize financial recovery and move forward. Call (312) 899-9090 or contact us online today for your free legal consultation.