If you have been in a vehicle crash, the ramifications could feel overwhelming. Healing your body and getting your car back on the road but might be your primary concerns, but you also might be worried about who is responsible for paying for your losses. You could be wondering the best way to proceed.
Deciding to work with a Madison County car accident lawyer is a good move that helps ensure that your accident claim is handled in the way that is most protective of your rights. Bringing a seasoned personal injury attorney onboard early in the process could lead to better results in the long run.
At-Fault Driver is Responsible for Damages
In the State of Illinois, the driver who caused an accident is liable to others who sustained losses because of it. Drivers might be at-fault if they disobeyed traffic laws or were driving a vehicle that was unsafe because of poor maintenance or mechanical defect.
A police report can provide important information that helps determine fault. Other evidence that could offer clues to who was at-fault in a crash includes:
- Location and severity of damage to the involved vehicles
- Skid marks
- Debris patterns
- Witness statements
- Video footage from dash-cams and surveillance cameras
- Black boxes, if available
Many accidents are not solely the fault of one driver. When two or more parties bear responsibility for a wreck, insurance companies try to allocate fault between them. Under Illinois law, an injured person who bears more than 50 percent of the fault cannot collect damages for their injuries. The attorney for an injured driver who might be partially responsible for a collision could investigate the crash and collect evidence proving that the injured driver was not primarily to blame, thus preserving their right to collect damages.
Insurance Coverage Could Affect Damages
Like most states, Illinois requires drivers to carry liability insurance. 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes § 5/7-601 mandates minimum coverage of $25,000 for injuries or death of one person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. All policies sold in the state include uninsured motorist coverage with the same limits as the underlying policy. Drivers can purchase uninsured motorist coverage with higher limits for an additional premium.
Sometimes an at-fault driver’s coverage does not adequately compensate an injured person for their losses. At other times, the at-fault driver’s insurer might not make a reasonable offer. In either case, the injured driver might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Plaintiffs should consider whether a lawsuit is likely to yield collectible damages. Insurers will not pay more than the coverage limits, so if a damages award exceeds the at-fault driver’s coverage, the plaintiff will need to collect from the driver’s personal assets. A seasoned legal professional could investigate all potential sources of insurance coverage that might help the plaintiff obtain fair and appropriate compensation for their injuries.
Prompt Action Preserves Rights
Illinois allows injured people two years from the date of their accident to bring a lawsuit seeking damages. Although most car accident claims settle before the injured person brings a lawsuit, it is important to keep the two-year deadline in mind. The threat of a lawsuit often acts as an impetus for insurers to offer a reasonable settlement, but when the threat is no longer viable, they lose any incentive to deal fairly.
In general, the earlier an injured person begins working with a professional advocate, the stronger a case is likely to be, and the better their negotiating position. A knowledgeable accident attorney could investigate a crash and secure important evidence showing how the accident happened and who was to blame. They also could help an injured person calculate their damages and fight for an amount that will provide appropriate compensation for all their losses.
Turn to a Committed Attorney to Handle Your Vehicle Accident Claim
If you have been in a wreck you are probably feeling a lot of stress. Do not add to it by dealing with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers whose sole job is to pay you as little as possible. Team up with a wise professional who will take that burden off your shoulders and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
A Madison County car accident lawyer can best protect your rights if they are involved from the beginning of the case. Call today to schedule a consultation.