Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago Helping Accident Victims When They Need it Most
A car accident is a nightmare none of us want to experience. Unfortunately, that nightmare becomes a reality for thousands of Chicago drivers every single year. Car accidents can change your life in the blink of an eye. While automobiles have gotten safer over the years, they’ve also gotten faster and bigger. Even after taking all possible precautions and practicing defensive driving, someone else’s mistake or recklessness can leave you or your family member injured, hospitalized, or worse, all while being left with potential medical bills.
From distracted and drunk driving to icy streets and potholes, Chicago motorists deal with many hazards. If you get injured because of a car accident, you’re not alone. You likely have thousands of questions about what to do next.
Your life could look completely different after your car accident. You may need physical therapy with injuries that may or may not fully heal. You might have hospital bills and other long-term expenses that affect your family’s financial future. Your insurance company might give you a hard time or cover less of your costs than you’d expected. You may even be grieving the profound loss of a family member because of a car accident.
While a lawsuit can never make up for your loss, the law has ways to “make you whole” to the fullest extent possible, as if the car accident never happened. That means paying for any expenses, hospital bills, lost wages, and pain you’ve suffered as a result of your accident.
At Kramer Injury Law, we’re passionate about our clients. No case is too small. Car accidents can be devastating, even if it’s just a fender bender or your car wasn’t totaled. You may not realize the full severity of your injuries until you get a medical assessment. While the bills are stacking up, you may have to fight your insurance company every step of the way. Let us fight for your rights while you take the time to recover.
Our personal injury law firm is here to help you get what you’re owed to the full extent of the law. You have rights both as a driver and as the holder of your car insurance policy. At Kramer Injury Law, our award-winning legal team works tirelessly to make sure you’re covered and to get your life back on track as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Without a lawyer on your side to look out for your interests, any settlement offer you receive for your car accident is likely to be a lowball offer. Insurance companies–whether yours or another driver’s–want to pay you the least amount they can get away with. Kramer Injury Law LLC will fight for you to get you what you’re fully owed under the law in your car accident lawsuit. Don’t settle for less than you’re owed. Call our Chicago car accident personal injury lawyer now at (312) 775-1012 for a free case consultation. You may also request a free case evaluation online.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Chicago?
Your actions immediately after a motor vehicle accident are extremely important. At the accident scene, you may be disoriented, especially if you’ve hit your head. The rush of adrenaline might make you overlook your injuries. You may forget details of the accident shortly after it occurred. If you’ve been in a car crash, there are steps you should take, including the following:
- Check for Any Immediate Injuries
- Get Medical Attention and Treatment
- Document Evidence of the Accident
First, check on your condition and anyone else in the car. If you can, make sure the drivers and passengers in other cars are also okay. Exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers in the crash. Call 911 to get police or medics to the scene if necessary. An officer who witnesses the scene can help establish what happened. You can file a police report with the officer at the scene or later at the police station.
Right now, you shouldn’t worry about whether you can afford a lawyer or not. That’s why at Kramer Injury Law LLC, we often take personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay us unless we recover damages for your injuries. Let our car accident lawyer fight for you.
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
No matter how safely engineered a car may be, the physics of today’s high-speed, congested roads can still cause catastrophic injuries when car accidents happen. Car accident victims have a wide list of potential suffered injuries.
You may be tempted to skip going to the doctor to save time or money after your accident, especially if you feel okay. This would be a mistake. Many car accident injuries are latent, which means they might not show up and get your attention until weeks or months later.
It’s critical to your potential car accident claim to get examined by a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. You can document your injuries and start a treatment plan to recover. A personal injury lawsuit can help cover the cost of your medical bills, especially if your accident wasn’t your fault. The at-fault party in a car wreck can be held liable in personal injury cases.
Car accident injuries fall into two categories:
- Impact injuries: such as hitting your knee on the dashboard; your head on the side window of your car; fractures or torn ligaments from the force of the other vehicle colliding with you; and
- Penetrating injuries: such as lacerations, abrasions, cuts, and scrapes caused by shattering glass or loose objects sent flying inside the car.
The most common types of car accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries: like muscle sprains, partial ligament tears, and tendon damage
- Broken ribs or bones: these might require surgery, collar bone fractures caused by a seat belt are common
- Whiplash: to your neck or back, where your muscles and ligaments are suddenly stretched from the force of the collision, suffering micro-tears in the tissue
- Stress on the spine: damage to surrounding soft tissue, like a bulging or herniated disc or inflammation from vertebral spine fractures. Sometimes broken vertebrae occur.
- Cuts and scrapes: can cause blood loss and require stitches to repair, leading to disfiguring scars
- Head injuries: the sudden force of the collision can cause scrapes, bruising, fluid or tissue damage inside the skull, concussions, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), traumatic brain bleed, subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, brain hemorrhage, or brain damage
- Chest injuries: including bruises, contusions, lung collapse, internal hemorrhaging, rib fractures, sternum fractures, other internal injuries, and bleeding
- Limb injuries: to your arms and legs from the impact, including collar bone fractures, Superior Labrum tears, torn ligaments, and torn tendons
- Knee injuries: like contusions, ligament tears, or patellar (kneecap) fractures from hitting the dashboard
In a worst-case scenario, someone close to you may have died in a car crash. In such a case, your estate could file a lawsuit for wrongful death. If you wait, you may run out of time to file a personal injury lawsuit under the Illinois statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is 2 years from the date of the car accident. If you wait long enough that you pass the statute of limitation, you may lose the chance to get compensated for your injuries.
What Types of Damages are Awarded in Car Accident Lawsuits?
Damages are the law’s way of compensating you for harm or injury you suffered because of someone else’s actions. Usually, damages in car accident cases involve money.
In Illinois, personal injury lawsuits typically include two main categories of damages and sometimes three:
- Compensatory, Economic damages cover the out-of-pocket costs you’ve suffered as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage. They also cover future out-of-pocket damages like future medical expenses, caretaking expenses, and inability to continue working.
- Non-economic damages compensate you for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability/loss of normal life, increased risk of harm, disfigurement, and shortened life expectancy.
- Punitive damages are rare and require court approval, but these punish the responsible party for especially bad conduct to deter them and others from repeating the offensive and reckless behavior. In Illinois, you can get punitive damages if the responsible party’s actions were intentional, malicious, reckless, or done with “outrageous disregard or indifference” to the safety of others. An accident involving a DUI can result in punitive damages to the harmed party.
So how do you calculate damages for your case? If your personal injury claim ends up going to trial, a Chicago jury would consider the “nature, extent, and duration” of the injuries you’ve suffered in each of the categories. Many of the damages, like past and future medical expenses, past and future emotional distress, etc. have a separate line on the verdict form for the jury to assign a specific value to your case. When negotiating a settlement, even if your case doesn’t go to trial, the amount you can expect to receive will be based on the same factors.
The compensatory damages you receive could include:
- Property damage to your car.
- Economic losses to cover lost earnings and future earning capacity if you become unable to work because of your accident. This also covers other costs you’ve suffered in the aftermath, such as rental car fees, repairing your car, or buying a new car.
- Medical expenses such as ambulance fees and all past, current, and future medical costs related to the treatment of your injury.
- Non-economic damages cover “pain and suffering,” emotional distress, and the other more intangible aspects of life that have been taken from you as a result of your injury.
If your loved one has died in an auto accident, you may have a claim for wrongful death.
You don’t want to fall into the trap of accepting a quick settlement offer shortly after your accident. Insurance companies usually lowball their first offer, hoping you’ll take it. This is especially true if they know you do not have a lawyer, research indicates that attorneys will receive up to 300% more value by retaining a qualified personal injury attorney. In other words, you should always consult a lawyer to get a better idea of where you stand before signing a settlement. The difference could mean hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars if you have a catastrophic injury.
A Chicago personal injury lawyer can review your car accident and give you a realistic idea of what to expect. Your attorney may even uncover rights for you that you didn’t know you had. Call the Kramer Injury Law Chicago offices now at (312) 775-1012 to get a free consultation. You may also request a free case evaluation online.
What is the Proper Legal Process After a Car Accident?
Once you contact a local personal injury attorney about your case, you can start the process of filing a lawsuit or responding to a settlement offer you’ve received. There is a legal process involved after an accident occurs.
- Documentation and Investigation
- Settlement Negotiations
- Filing a Lawsuit and Preparing for Trial
- Going to Trial in a Personal Injury Case
- Contingency Fee Arrangements in Car Accident Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits are deeply fact-dependent. The outcome of your case depends on the circumstances of your car accident. Who was at fault? Was anyone driving recklessly or under the influence? Did the road have active construction or any other obstructions at the time? Do you share the responsibility, or is the accident another driver’s fault?
As a result, solid evidence is critical to establishing the facts of your case. The documentation process starts immediately at the scene of your auto accident. You should document everything about your accident in detail as soon as possible while the scene is fresh–photos and videos of the scene as well as eyewitness accounts and their contact information.
Car accident lawyers will investigate critical pieces of evidence to back up your case. This could involve subpoenaing and tracking down medical records, electronics or phone logs, video footage from nearby businesses, and other relevant documentation.
The stronger your body of evidence, the better position you hold in settlement negotiations. At Kramer Injury Law LLC, we prepare every case as if it’s going to trial–even if it never does. In fact, the stronger your case is in settlement negotiations, the less likely it is to ever go to trial.
Our lawyers track down all the evidence we need to make the strongest case from the beginning. When negotiating with insurance companies, the better you can show your likelihood of success in court, the more likely they are to settle for the amount you deserve. We work hard so that you can recover and move on as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Car accident attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay any upfront costs or hourly fees. Instead, your lawyer collects a percentage of your total settlement as their fee.
This arrangement gives accident victims the ability to hire an experienced car accident attorney without having to worry about how they will afford legal representation. If you don’t receive a settlement, you also don’t owe your lawyer anything.
Kramer Injury Law LLC is dedicated to getting our clients the full and fair settlements they deserve–no matter how long it takes or how complex the case may be. We are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary, and we will fight for every penny you are owed.
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Contact Kramer Injury Law LLC today at (312) 775-1012 for a free consultation. We will review your case and advise you of all your available legal options so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your family. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing and moving forward.