Frequently Asked Questions about Motor Vehicle Accidents
Q: Can I recover even if the accident was my fault?
A: Whether you can recover if the accident was your fault depends on the laws of your state. Some states do not consider fault with regards to some damages, and in those states, some of your economic losses may be paid by your own no-fault policy. Other states consider fault, but you may still be able to recover for your injuries, even if the accident was partially your fault. However, in that case, you may be required to prove that the other party’s fault was greater than yours or to reduce the amount of your compensation by your percentage of fault.
Q: Who can I sue to recover my damages?
A: In some cases, an accident victim may be able to sue parties other than the at-fault driver. For example, if the at-fault driver did not own the car, the car’s owner may also be liable for your damages. If the at-fault driver was impaired from consuming too much alcohol, you may be able to bring a “dram shop” complaint against a business that served alcohol to the driver even though he was visibly impaired. In some cases, you may be able to bring an action against another party, such as an automobile manufacturer or construction company, if a defect in the vehicle or the roadway caused the accident. If the accident involved a tractor-trailer, the driver’s violation of rules and regulations may be the basis for a lawsuit against the driver or his or her employer.
Every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related automobile crash.
If someone has caused an injury or damage to property through a motor vehicle accident, the Illinois personal injury attorneys at Ankin Law Office LLC, can help you recover physically and financially. Recovering lost wages, medical expenses, and money owed to you for pain and suffering is best left to a lawyer who knows the specific legal landscape of auto accidents.
You have taken an important step towards recovering from a motor vehicle accident. Now let Ankin Law Office LLC walk you through your legal rights in a free confidential consultation. Our attorneys give straightforward legal advice and a clear understanding of the legal steps we will follow. We represent people throughout the Chicago and Peoria areas, including Cicero, Chicago Heights, Schaumburg, Joliet, Waukegan, Wheaton, Naperville, Elgin, Morton, Bartonville, Eureka, Bloomington and Galesburg.
Motor Vehicle Accidents – An Overview
Cases arising out of automobile accidents are 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), these cases are 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 personal injury attorney experienced in automobile accident cases in order to best protect your interests.
Generally, an individual injured in an automobile accident may bring a claim or lawsuit to recover the actual expenses associated with property damage and medical costs, economic damages, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. Litigation involving motor vehicle accidents can be extremely complicated. Retaining an experienced lawyer familiar with motor vehicle accident damages will place you in the best position to receive the recovery that you deserve.
Do call your agent as soon as a covered event takes place. As soon as you get home from the car accident, or even before you go to the doctor, call your agent.
Do review and understand your coverage before talking to your insurer or your agent. Read the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections of your policy in particular.
Many drivers ignore motor vehicle insurance requirements, cannot afford to purchase insurance, or carry insufficient insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is a form of insurance that pays for bodily injury that results from an accident with a driver who is legally responsible for the injuries, but has no liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage pays for bodily injury that results from an accident with a driver who has liability insurance with limits that are lower than the injured party’s underinsured motorist coverage limits. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is important that you contact an attorney at an experienced personal injury law firm immediately so you do not waive valuable legal rights.
The laws of the state in which the accident occurs determine who pays for the damages from an automobile accident. Basically, in a no-fault insurance state, fault is not placed on either party, and each driver generally submits a claim to his or her own insurance company instead of establishing blame. Many states, including Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and others, have some form of no-fault insurance laws. No-fault auto insurance is widely misunderstood, and is applied differently in every state that offers it. If you are in an automobile accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury firm to discuss how the relevant state law views fault and to determine how fault or no-fault laws may affect your right to recover damages for injuries.
If you are involved in an automobile collision, stop. Most states require an individual not to leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one, without first stopping to see whether there are damages or injuries. A person may be criminally prosecuted for leaving the scene of an automobile accident.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Resource Links
Federal Trade Commission
Provides consumer education materials on automobiles.
Federal Citizen Information Center
Features consumer information on cars.
Insurance Information Institute
Includes information on auto safety, auto insurance, teen drivers and more.