Our Peoria Car Accident Lawyer is Here to Help
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, then you might be entitled to compensation under Illinois law. Auto accident litigation is not always as straightforward and uncomplicated as it might appear upon initial impression. As you begin to investigate the accident, there’s a good chance that you’ll discover facts and legal issues that throw a “wrench” into your understanding of the case. Here at Parker & Parker, we understand just how complex and overwhelming a car accident claim may be. If you’d like to learn more about your options and how a Peoria car accident lawyer can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the complications that you’re likely to encounter as you progress through auto accident cases.
Illinois Car Accident Facts
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 312,988 crashes involving motor vehicles in Illinois in 2019. Injury crashes accounted for 20.4% of these crashes (63,834), while fatal crashes (938) accounted for less than 1.0% of these crashes.
Other interesting facts about car accidents in our state include:
- Crashes involving an A-injury [incapacitating] accounted for 12.3% of injury crashes.
- Crashes involving pedestrians accounted for 1.5% of overall crashes.
- Crashes involving bike riders accounted for less than 1.0% of overall crashes.
- Crashes involving speed accounted for 33.4% of overall crashes, 39.2% of fatal crashes, and 37.6% of injury crashes.
- Crashes involving motorcycles accounted for less than 1% of total crashes, 14.6% of fatal crashes, and 3% of injury crashes.
- Crashes involving tractor-trailers accounted for 3.8% of overall crashes, 10.7% of fatal crashes, and 2.8% of injury crashes.
- Crashes occurring in work zones accounted for 2.1% of total crashes, 3.0% of fatal crashes, and 1.9% of injury crashes.
- Crashes involving deer accounted for 5.2% of overall crashes in 2019.
- There was an average of 1.1 deaths per fatal crash.
- 79.6% of fatal crashes occurred on dry roadways.
- 49.7% of fatal crashes occurred during daylight hours.
Should You Hire a Peoria Car Accident Lawyer?
Not every accident leads to a legitimate car accident case. First, you must establish that another driver was at fault for the accident. In negligence cases, fault refers to the breach of the appropriate duty of care; specifically, breach of the duty to drive as a reasonable driver would. Running a red light, for example, is a breach of the duty of care.
Second, you have to show that the breach caused injury or harm to you or your property and that the injury or harm has caused you to suffer damages; e.g., repair bills for your car, medical expenses, or loss of work, to name a few. Fault includes both acts and failures to act, and can involve negligent, intentional, unlawful, and/or reckless conduct. A Peoria car accident lawyer at Parker & Parker can help you understand whether you have a legitimate claim or not.
How Much Money Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
The value of your car accident claim will vary based on a number of factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries
- Number of parties involved
- Vehicle repairs
- Other types of property loss; e.g., damage to items in the car
- Lost wages due to time missed at work
- Medical bills
- Worker’s compensation claims
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Whether the driver was an uninsured motorist
- Whether it was a drunk driving accident
How Does Fault Affect Your Car Accident Compensation?
To determine your total amount of damages, we start by adding up the total financial compensation you are owed for the various types of damages discussed above. Some types of damages are simple to put a value on, such as reimbursement of medical bills. Other types, such as pain and suffering, are more difficult to place a value on; it comes down to a judge or jury, who may look at factors such as the severity of your damages, the severity of your injuries, and the impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones.
However, in Illinois this total may be barred or reduced if you were partly at fault. Under Illinois’ Contributory Negligence Rule, found under code section 735 ILCS 5/2-1116, injured parties may recover damages only if they are less than 50% at fault for the damages. If so, under Illinois’ Comparative Fault Rule, the total amount recovered may be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault assigned to the injured party.
For example, if the other driver is determined to be 60% at fault and you are determined to be 40% at fault, you can collect for your damages because you were less than 50% at fault. However, the other driver’s insurance company might only offer to pay for 60% of your damages. Thus, if you received $100,000 worth of damage, you may only be able to recover $60,000.
A Peoria car accident attorney at Parker & Parker is among a group of talented negotiators and can help you manage your expectations and negotiate the best settlement package available.
What to Avoid After a Car Accident
After a car accident, there are many people telling you what you should do: exit your vehicle and help anyone, including yourself, who’s been injured, contact law enforcement, exchange information with the other driver, collect witness information, take pictures and gather any other evidence, report the accident, and contact a Peoria car accident lawyer at Parker & Parker, even before speaking with your insurance company.
However, there is also a list of things you should not do after an accident, including:
- Leave the scene of the accident. This may cost somebody their life and lead to criminal charges against you.
- Ignore your injuries. Your health comes first.
- Admit fault. Never admit fault or even say things like “I’m sorry.” These may be viewed as admissions of guilt.
- Speak to any insurance company without a lawyer. Contact a Peoria car accident attorney at Parker & Parker first.
- Enter into any quick settlement agreement with an insurance company.
- Provide a written statement to your insurance company or allow yourself to be recorded.
- Discuss the accident with any other party.
- Allow anyone to access your medical records.
- Post anything about the accident on social media.
- Lose your cool.
Identifying Responsible Parties
In auto accident litigation, there may be several third-parties — not just the driver — who can be held liable for your injuries. Potential third-party defendants include, but are not limited to:
- Property owners
- Public entities (i.e., the city, School District, etc.)
- Product manufacturers (i.e., an airbag manufacturer)
- Distracting pedestrians and/or passengers
- And more
For example, if you get into a car accident due to a defective traffic light, then you might have a right of action against both the defendant-driver and the city for failing to inspect and repair those traffic lights.
Common Auto Accident FAQs
Am I Eligible for Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are intended to discourage others from engaging in similar conduct to that of the defendant.
Punitive damages are only infrequently awarded, though when they are, the total damages in the case can skyrocket (as the amount of punitive damages is calculated by multiplying the compensatory damages by three to seven times). To qualify for punitive damages, you must be able to show that the defendant engaged in willful, malicious and/or egregious conduct.
What Happens if I am Partly to Blame for the Accident?
If you are partially at-fault for your own injuries, then you can still recover damages — this is known as “pure comparative negligence.” You cannot be prevented from suing and recovering damages even if you are 99 percent at-fault. It’s important to note, however, that your maximum recoverable damages will be reduced in accordance with your contribution of fault.
Suppose, for example, that you are injured in an auto accident and suffer total losses of $100,000. If the court finds that you are 60 percent at-fault, then you may still proceed with the lawsuit and recover damages, but you will be limited to a maximum $40,000 compensatory damages award.
What Happens if Multiple Cars Were Involved in the Car Accident?
If you’ve been harmed by multiple defendants, then you may be able to secure your damages in full from one or more of the defendants.
Illinois applies a modified form of “several liability,” which allows you to sue and recover your damages in full from a single defendant, even if they are only partially at-fault. The Illinois modified rule does establish a minimum fault amount; however, it is capped at 25 percent, so each defendant’s contribution of fault must be carefully considered when strategizing for litigation.
Contact a Peoria Car Accident Lawyer at Parker & Parker for Immediate Legal Assistance
Here at Parker & Parker, our team is standing by to provide assistance. We are committed to client-centered service, and as such, it’s important to us that we clarify complex legal issues and guide you through the auto accident claim process in a way that allows you to make informed decisions about the case at hand, and how you’d like to approach it.
Ready to speak to one of our experienced Peoria auto accident attorneys about your case?
Call us at 309-673-0069 or send us your details to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to working with you.