Car Accident Liability
Car Accident Liability Decatur
Car accidents happen every day in Illinois. While most are minor fender-benders that result in few or no injuries, some are more serious in nature. They may cause broken bones, head trauma, paralysis, amputations and mobility issues. They can even cause death.
A serious car crash can be a huge financial loss to a family. A mother who is seriously injured cannot earn money to support her family. A stay-at-home father who is killed in a crash is no longer around to take care of the kids and house, so his spouse must now pay someone to perform housekeeping and child care services.
The good news is that if a third party caused the accident and subsequent injuries, then you can file a lawsuit against them and recover compensation for damages. Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. They may also involve emotional damages that are hard to value, such as pain and suffering, loss of support and loss of enjoyment of life. Damage awards are based on the severity of the injuries. Major injuries often result in higher medical bills and longer recovery periods. If the person suffers a lifelong injury, they may be able to receive millions of dollars in a settlement or award.
However, the only way an injured person will receive compensation for a car accident injury is if they meet two conditions. First, they must make sure to file a claim in a timely manner. In Illinois, a person must file a claim within two years of the accident. If they go even one day past this deadline, then they are barred from any recovery. Therefore, time is of the essence.
The other condition is that they cannot be more than 50% at fault for the crash, under Illinois’ negligence laws. The state operates under comparative negligence laws, which means that a person’s award is reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a person is awarded $100,000, but they are 25% at fault for the crash, then their award is reduced by 25%, or $25,000. They would receive $75,000 instead of $100,000. However, if their liability in the accident is 51% or more, then they are considered to be primarily at fault and they would receive nothing, no matter how injured they are.
How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident
Determining fault in a car accident requires a significant amount of evidence. A person cannot simply claim that the other party was at fault. A lot of money is at stake, so there needs to be clear proof.
After a car accident, it is always a good idea to remain at the accident scene until police arrive. A police officer can investigate the accident scene and look for clues as to what happened and who was at fault. The officer will complete a police report that includes all the details and the officer’s opinion of who was at fault. If there were any witnesses, the police officer will want to talk to them to get their account of what happened.
In some cases, the officer may issue a citation, particularly if there was evidence that one of the parties was engaging in automobile negligence or doing something illegal, such as speeding, driving recklessly or running stop lights or stop signs. If one of the drivers appears to be intoxicated, the officer can administer sobriety tests and test the person’s blood alcohol content for proof of intoxication. This would be a good indicator of liability, and it would be hard to challenge this in court.
While a police report is substantial evidence most of the time, it can be difficult to get one person’s side of the story if they are seriously injured and have to be transported to a hospital before police arrive.
Insurance companies will look at several factors to determine fault. These factors may include drivers’ admissions, police reports, citations, signs of negligence and location of vehicle damage.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Decatur
Car accident law can be complex. Without witness accounts, it can be hard to determine who is at fault for a crash. Lawyers must look for evidence to help prove their case.
Have you been involved in a car accident? If so, the experienced lawyers at Patel Law can help prove your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (217) 384-1111 or filling out the online form.