Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit

A motor vehicle accident lawsuit is often necessary to recover damages after an accident. A car accident lawyer can help victims file a lawsuit and pursue damages against the negligence parties that caused the accident.

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What Are the Elements of a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit?

The category of motor vehicle accident lawsuit is by far the most common type of personal injury case pending in our court system today. This is not surprising, given that every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is involved in a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Except in those states where legislation eliminating fault as an issue has been passed (no-fault laws), a motor vehicle accident lawsuit is typically governed by the law of negligence. Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances.” A failure to use reasonable care is considered negligence. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay for any damages, either to a person or property, caused by his or her negligence. The injured party, known as the plaintiff, is required to prove that the defendant was negligent, that the negligence was a proximate cause of the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you must not hesitate to seek legal counsel from a car accident attorney experienced in automobile accident cases in order to best protect your interests in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

Fault

As with other types of accidents, figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was negligent. In many cases, your instincts will tell you that a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rule or rules that person violated. Fault issues can be complicated, and an experienced attorney will look to a number of sources, such as police reports, state traffic laws, and witnesses, to help you determine who was at fault for your accident.

Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • disobeying traffic signs or signals;
  • failing to signal while turning;
  • driving above or below the posted speed limit;
  • disregarding weather or traffic conditions;
  • failing to drive on the right side of the road; and
  • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Causes of Automobile Accidents

A driver may also be liable for an accident due to his or her intentional or reckless conduct. A driver who is reckless is one who drives unsafely, with “willful and wanton disregard” for the probability that such driving may cause an accident. A driver could be found reckless, for example, if he or she drives in a threatening or harassing manner out of “road rage” and causes an accident. (Criminal charges will also stem from such behavior). Road rage is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”

Statistics compiled in 1997 by NHTSA and the American Automobile Association showed that almost 13,000 people had been injured or killed since 1990 in crashes caused by aggressive driving. According to a NHTSA survey, more than 60 percent of drivers consider unsafe driving by others, including speeding, a major personal threat to themselves and their families. About 30 percent of respondents said they felt their safety was threatened in the last month, while 67 percent felt this threat during the last year.

Traffic safety and law enforcement organizations are renewing efforts to identify and penalize aggressive drivers-those who speed, tailgate, zip from lane to lane, flash headlights in frustration, and engage in other dangerous driving practices. The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as a progression of unlawful driving actions such as:

  • speeding-exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions;
  • improper or excessive lane changing;
  • failing to signal intent;
  • failing to see that movement can be made safely; or
  • improper passing-failing to signal intent, using an emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder.
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Our Attorneys Have Recovered Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on Behalf of Our Clients

Our Chicago trial lawyers have developed a reputation for taking on some of the most challenging personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Illinois – and winning. We have recovered hundreds of millions in settlements and verdicts for our personal injury and medical malpractice clients.

$1.75
Million
Woman Rear Ended by a Truck Ankin Law recovered $1.75 M for a woman who was rear-ended by a semi-truck.
$225,000
for a client who injured his foot while jumping into a moving vehicle. 2023.
$550,000
for a client who received a herniated disc in an auto accident. 2023.
$1
Million
settlement for a 9-year-old girl who suffered severe burns to the forehead caused by a science experiment by her teacher during a school holiday assembly. 2023.

We handle motor Vehicle accident cases in Chicago, Cicero, Chicago Heights, Schaumburg, Joliet, Waukegan, Wheaton, Naperville, Elgin, Morton, Bartonville, Eureka, Bloomington, Galesburg, and the surrounding communities.

We Are the Accident Attorneys Chicago Trusts

Highly Recommended!!

Did an awesome job helping my Husband with his case. Very professional and always getting back to us with an answer. Karolina, thank you for all your help on always getting back to us when we had questions. Definitely will go back if I needed a lawyer again. Very patient with us and did not pressure us at all!

~ Leslie

Ankin Law is one law firm that I would recommend anyone to use for cases of injuries. They are very thorough when working on your case and very professional. Their legal assistant Alex Quigley is a very polite and a pleasant person to work with. She is very thorough, very professional and very patient. If there were any problems that came about with your case, she would be right on it, and she would get the matter resolved. She cares about her/their clients, and she does her all to make you feel comfortable working with the law firm. Alex, continue to do what you do.

~ Sherry

I was told to go to Ankin Law because they were the best, and they truly did not disappoint! Upon getting in contact with Ankin, I was introduced to one of their OUTSTANDING employees, Kat McHenry. Kat helped me get all the information I needed regarding my insurance issue and has helped me immensely with a plan to move forward. I would recommend both Kat McHenry and Ankin Law to anyone I know. Thanks for being so amazing!

~ Nicholas

We are your voice when you or your family member suffers a personal injury or wrongful death caused by someone else.

Avoiding an Accident

If you are confronted by an aggressive driver, the NHTSA recommends that you take the following actions:

  • Get out of the way: first and foremost, make every attempt to get out of his or her way.
  • Put your pride aside: do not challenge the aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
  • Avoid eye contact: eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
  • Avoid gestures: ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
  • Report serious aggressive driving: you or a passenger may call the police, but, if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.

If you are unable to avoid an accident, you should contact an attorney and ask about a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

Frustrated man inside his car.

Drunk Driving

Every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, over one million people were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes. In a lawsuit arising from a drunk driving accident, in addition to the intoxicated driver being held liable for the injuries he or she caused, a bar or social host may be liable for damages if they served an obviously intoxicated guest, who then drove and caused an accident. The fact that the person who served the intoxicated driver alcohol may be held liable does not relieve the intoxicated driver of liability, however. Experienced personal injury attorneys are aware of the many laws governing legal responsibility and can help you identify who might be held responsible for your injuries in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, including people or businesses you may not have considered.

Accidents that are Not Caused by the Drivers Involved

In certain cases, accidents are caused by factors unrelated to the conduct of any particular driver. For example, an automobile accident may occur due to a defect in someone’s automobile. In such a case, an automobile manufacturer or supplier may be responsible for injuries caused by a defect in the automobile under the law of product liability. A product liability suit is a lawsuit brought against the seller of a product for selling a defective product that caused physical injury to a consumer or user. If a manufacturer of a product creates a defective product-either in designing, manufacturing, or labeling the product-the manufacturer is liable for any injuries the product causes, regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent. In this case, you would pursue a product liability lawsuit instead of a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

Another example of a situation where a driver may not be at fault for an accident is where a mechanic fails to properly repair a vehicle, and the failure causes an accident. In such a case, the person who improperly repaired the automobile, and his employer, may be liable for the injuries sustained under the theory of negligence.

Other factors, such as poorly maintained roads and malfunctioning traffic control signals, can contribute to cause an accident as well. Improper design, maintenance, construction, signage, lighting or other highway defects, including poorly placed trees and utility poles, can also cause serious accidents. In cases such as this, government entities may be potential defendants. Special rules apply to claims and lawsuits brought against governmental bodies, however, and good legal advice is critical to preserving and winning such claims. Although a case against the government is different from a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, a car accident lawyer can help you determine your next step.

Conclusion

In all of the above cases, it is essential that accident victims take prompt measures to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and have physicians or other expert witnesses thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you have been a victim of an automobile accident, do not hesitate to call upon personal injury attorneys who are skilled and experienced in motor vehicle accident cases to assess your situation and determine the best methods to move forward with your motor vehicle accident lawsuit, so you obtain any compensation available for the damages you suffered.

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