Motor Vehicle Accidents
Managing the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident is a long and often frustrating process. The financial burden imposed by the costs of medical care, repair bills, and lost wages may be significant. Unfortunately, depending solely on an insurance company for help may leave you feeling even more alone and confused. The injury lawyers at Leopold & Associates have fought for the rights of Chicago residents for over 30 years. We can advise you on whether you may have a claim and guide you through the legal process if you do.Filing a Negligence Claim for Compensation
Lawsuits arising out of car crashes typically seek to recover compensation from the at-fault driver for the injuries and property damage caused by his or her negligence. To establish liability in such cases, four elements must be proven. First, there must be a legal duty that is owed by the defendant. In car accident cases, this duty requires exercising reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle. Second, the defendant must have breached that duty to the victim, which means that he or she failed to adhere to the appropriate level of care while driving. In Illinois, the violation of a statute or ordinance enacted for the protection of human life or property is sufficient evidence of negligence. Third, the defendant’s negligent conduct must have caused the injuries for which the victim seeks to recover compensation. Finally, it must be shown that the victim suffered quantifiable damages.
Damages in Illinois personal injury actions are subject to limitations based on the contributory fault of those who caused the damage. Contributory fault is a legal term for assigning fault, such as negligence or assumption of risk, to the plaintiff in causing the injury. For example, in situations when the actions of both parties led to a motor vehicle collision, damages are apportioned to the percentage of fault that each party is to blame. Generally, as long as you are 50 percent or less responsible for causing the accident, you will be able to recover compensation. However, the amount of economic or non-economic damages awarded from a lawsuit may be reduced in proportion to the amount equal to your share of responsibility for the accident. 735 ILCS 5/2-1116.
Another important legal aspect to keep in mind is the statute of limitations, or the law that dictates the timeframe in which a suit may be brought. In Illinois, the victim of a car accident generally must file any personal injury claim within two years after the date of the collision. However, Illinois law creates a number of extensions that toll the statute of limitations time period. Nonetheless, if the lawsuit is filed outside that time period and no exceptions apply, the claim may be dismissed and the right to compensation permanently barred. 735 ILCS 5/13-202.Legal Representation for Chicago Residents Injured in Motor Vehicle Collisions
It is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after a collision, when the details of the event are fresh in your mind. At Leopold & Associates, our car accident attorneys represent injured individuals throughout the Chicago area, including in Des Plaines, Evanston, Skokie, and other Cook County communities. To discuss your case directly with an attorney, contact us by phone at (312) 781-6212 or online. We can investigate the details of your situation and help you vigorously pursue any compensation that may be appropriate.