Chicago is well known for the amount of crashes that happen along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway and 290 because it is such a busy city. Traffic accidents aren’t limited to cars however, the large bus system and extensive use of the Metra, the widespread train system, has caused congestion, confusion and accidents in the city for years. If you are in need of a Chicago car accident lawyer to represent you in and out of court, there are many qualified professional lawyers to choose from.
If you are involved specifically in a car only crash you will want an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle accident law as they will also know the intricacies of dealing with insurance agencies, coordinating personal injury settlements, and may be able to use their expertise to get you financial compensation where it is appropriate.
You should choose a car accidents lawyer near you that you can meet with in person and who makes you feel comfortable about your situation. You will not want to choose a lawyer who is too far from your location as you may have to visit with them to discuss your case or deliver documents or evidence they need.
The statute of limitations in Illinois for traffic accidents seeking compensation on behalf of personal injury is only two years according to 735 ILCS 5/13-202. This means that in order for a case to be heard in court, it must be filed before two years from the exact accident date. However, if you are filing for a lawsuit over vehicle or property damage, the statute of limitations allots for five years time from the accident. If you are involved in a car accident with a vehicle which belongs to the government such as a bus, park grounds truck, or police car the statute of limitations is reduced to only one year in Chicago. Similarly if a child under the age of 18 is involved with a traffic accident, they would have until the age of 20 to file a suit, unless the local government is involved, then they would have until their 19th birthday regardless of how soon within a year that date may fall. The
While a case does not have to be filed immediately following an accident, it is best if an attorney is at least consulted as to whether a case should be filed or if the evidence necessary for a future case has been collected within three months. It may take a few months to build an effective case or to discover medical, personal, or employment issues as a result of a car accident so maintaining well kept and organized records from the very beginning is imperative to winning your case.
The outcome of your legal situation heavily depends on what both parties are saying in the accident report taken by the Chicago police while they are at the scene, so communication about what was said with your chosen lawyer is crucial. Misrepresenting any fact of the case such as speed, direction, witnesses or other persons present will not help the attorney to win your case in good faith.
Most Common Car Accident Areas in Chicago
While the number of commuters into Chicago is on the rise, so is the number of dangerous intersections within the city. In 2014 alone, 78% of pedestrian related accidents occurred within 125 feet of an intersection. It was also found that the majority of crashes occurred between 3pm and 6pm, the time when most residents are out of their houses and active around the city.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the three most dangerous intersections for car accidents in Chicago are as follows:
- Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue
- Western Avenue and Peterson Avenue
- Kedzie Avenue and Belmont Avenue
These areas should be approached with caution due to their dangerous history. Car accidents can happen at any time of day in any location, so careful driving is the only preventative measure available.
Common Types of Car Accidents in Chicago
There are many types of car accidents that can result in the need for a lawyer and each case will be unique. A local auto accident attorney can help to discover who is responsible, whether insurance policies will pay for your losses, and what you can expect to recover in damages if the accident was someone else's fault.
Some attorneys may specialize in uninsured motorists, recovering property damages, defective car products or hit and run situations so asking about these types of specializations and being honest about the details of the accident during your consultation is important. If the car was not defective, hiring a lawyer who specialized in defective cars will not be as well equipped to handle your case.
In Chicago the largest number of accidents are caused simply by negligence of one party to pay attention to the road. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of the largest in the Chicago area, takes in many new patients every day as a result of car accident related injuries across the city.
Low Speed Impact Accidents: These types of accidents occur when one or more parties are going under 10mph. These accidents usually have little medical repercussions but can result in great property damage and shaken nerves.
Front Impact: A front impact accident occurs when the front of a vehicle comes into contact with a stationary object such as a fence, telephone pole, or animal. These accidents are caused by a variety of factors and can happen at all times of day in all kinds of road conditions.
Rear End: This is the most common type of accident around the Chicago area, and it happens when a driver is impacted on the rear end of the vehicle. Rear end impacts accounted for approximately 30% of crashes in 2014. In 2014 the Illinois Department of Transportation estimates that there were about 85,000 of these accidents, with the next most common type of crash having only half of the number of accidents.
Turning: There are many accidents involving the turning of a vehicle where they proceeded when they did not have the right of way. In these cases the person making the turn is almost always at fault and it is extremely difficult to prove otherwise.
Parked: When a car is parked, it still may not be safe from car accidents. In Chicago many accidents occur while a driver is attempting to parallel park along the street or fit his or her vehicle into a small area between cars. These accidents also commonly occur when there is ice or snow present and the car is not able to stop in the right amount of time.
Side Collision: Accidents involving side collisions can be some of the most dangerous auto accidents as they often result in serious medical issues. These accidents occur when the side of a vehicle is impacted by another vehicle of some kind.
Motorcycle or Truck Related: When a vehicle other than a car is involved in an accident, a special attorney may be brought in as a specialization. Attorneys who specialize in truck, bicycle, or motorcycle related accidents often have experience with specialists who can better determine fault outside of the usual car accident scenario.
This list is not meant to be comprehensive, only a way to help you find the right lawyer for your case. Speaking with an attorney about his or her experience with handling your type of case can help you to pick out the most qualified lawyer.
Types of Recoverable Damages from Car Accidents
There are two types of damages that can be recurred if your car accident case is taken on by a lawyer: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to damages that have a concrete value associated with them and require a monetary cost to replace. These damages can include:
- Medical Rehabilitation
- Lost wages or loss of future earnings
- Loss of home services
Non-economic damages refer to the types of damage that are intangible and do not have a concrete cost associated with them. These types of damages can include:
- Loss of a companion
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental or emotional distress
If you are unsure about the type of damage you have incurred, ask your lawyer about the options and they will advise you. Choose a traffic accident lawyer who can fight for you and get you the help you deserve, no matter what type of accident it is.