Chicago Car Accident Attorney
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is the leading personal injury law firm in Chicago. Our trial lawyers represent the injured in car accident cases resulting in serious injury. To us, any injury requiring medical treatment is serious. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have an extensive record of successful settlements and verdicts.
When choosing a Chicago car accident attorney, your decision is important. It is vital that you evaluate the experience and success rate of the lawyer or law firm. As trial lawyers, our approach to a car accident case is comprehensive. We treat our cases as if they are going to trial.
While many lawyers avoid the courtroom, our automobile accident attorneys are confident, professional, and prepare injury cases for civil trial. This approach, along with our reputation for achieving high-value settlements and verdicts makes the “other side” sit up and listen – they know we mean business.
Why Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is Different
- Our Chicago trial lawyers are responsible for historic or record-breaking victories, including what was the largest verdict in Illinois history for a personal injury claim.
- We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no out of pocket costs for our clients.
- We have significant experience handling car accident cases in Chicago and understand how to handle even the most complex cases.
- Our Chicago car accident lawyers pursue the maximum compensation possible in every case.
Chicago Car Accident FAQs
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago?
The optimal time to retain the services of our legal team is directly after the accident, but this is not always possible. A seriously injured person may spend weeks in the hospital, possibly unconscious, in pain, or undergoing treatment. This is the time for the close family to step in and connect with our Chicago auto accident lawyers. The evidence that supports a successful lawsuit must be gathered and preserved – a case becomes more difficult when vital evidence has been destroyed or lost. The bottom line is, the sooner you connect with us the better – for you.
Why Should I Hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates?
There are many law firms who act on behalf of the injured in car accident cases. Every law firm varies in its approach, as does every Chicago car accident lawyer. Some of the points that make Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates the correct choice include our extensive trial experience. We have achieved what was the highest personal injury verdict in Illinois history, along with record verdicts in:
- Back injury
- Neck injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain injury
How Long Does the Car Accident Lawsuit Process Take?
The process of seeking justice through the civil court system requires time. While drivers in Illinois are required to carry car insurance, some types of injuries result in damages that exceed the limits on a driver’s auto insurance policy. To predict the length of time required to resolve your case requires an in-depth evaluation of the facts.
Many car accident cases can be settled outside of court – but even that process can be lengthy, particularly in cases of serious or fatal injuries. We urge you to call our Chicago car accident lawyers at once, so we can review the details and give you a realistic estimate of the time it will require to resolve it. You can be confident our litigators will be pushing forward with your case and will not accept efforts to delay from an insurance company.
How Much Is My Car Accident Injury Claim Worth?
The value of your car accident injury claim hinges on the total amount of your damages, but the amount you receive may not be exactly how much the accident cost you, for better or worse. Depending on how the accident happened, any comparative negligence you bear, and the actions of the defendant leading to the accident, the compensation you receive may fall short of the total amount of your damages or exceed the total of your economic damages.
To calculate how much your car accident injury claim is worth, start by assessing your total economic damages resulting from the incident. Economic damages are generally the easiest to prove in any car accident injury claim. Retain copies of all invoices, bills, and receipts for anything related to your car accident after the incident.
If a defendant caused a car accident with your vehicle and is responsible for your injuries, the defendant is liable for any and all medical treatment you require. Your medical expenses can include hospital bills, ambulance fees, and all other expenses related to your medical care, but only those resulting from the injuries from your accident.
A car accident may cause a severe injury that prevents you from working for an extended time. You may develop permanent damage that prevents you from working in the future. You may secure compensation for lost future earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from resuming work or working at all after your injury.
The defendant is liable for the damage to your vehicle, so repair or replacement costs will likely form a sizeable portion of your overall economic damages.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you gather the materials necessary for proving the extent of your economic damages, but this may not be the full extent of the compensation available to you.
The court will also award pain and suffering compensation to a plaintiff who suffered physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish due to a defendant’s actions. The amount received varies based on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, the manifestation of any permanent disability, and the plaintiff’s quality of life following his or her recovery. More damaging injuries and those that cause permanent damage generally lead to the most pain and suffering compensation.
A plaintiff’s attorney may call on expert witnesses to help justify a plaintiff’s claimed damages. For example, if a plaintiff developed a permanent disability as a result of the defendant’s actions, an expert witness can provide professional insight into the plaintiff’s lost earning capacity and potential for future medical complications. Expert witness testimony bolsters a plaintiff’s credibility.
In rare cases, a jury will award a plaintiff punitive damages to further compensate a plaintiff when a defendant’s behavior exceeded the scope of typical negligence. Punitive damages may also come into play if the defendant was engaged in any criminal activity at the time of the accident, such as fleeing from police or driving under the influence. Punitive damages exist to punish a defendant’s wrongdoing, and the amount awarded depends on the severity of the defendant’s behavior and his or her financial status. Wealthy defendants face much higher punitive damages than defendants with minimal assets.
All car accident injury claim plaintiffs should remember that Illinois state law upholds a comparative negligence statute. This means a plaintiff’s recovery could diminish if he or she bears any partial liability for causing the accident. In Illinois, a plaintiff can still recover compensation as long as he or she is less than 50% at fault for causing the accident in question, but the plaintiff will lose a percentage of the case award equal to his or her fault percentage.
Illinois: Contributory Fault and Car Accident Cases
To file a successful claim or lawsuit, the fact of negligence must be established. Every case is different. Proving negligence may be as simple as a criminal conviction for DUI, or it may be much more complex. The at-fault driver is likely represented by an insurance company lawyer. It is not uncommon for their defense lawyers to attempt to reduce the amount in compensation paid. Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes, the concept of “contributory fault” affects every car accident and involves investigating the actions of both drivers.
While one driver may be at fault, the other driver may have made some driving error that contributed to the accident, and the amount paid will be reduced by the percentage of fault. Simply, if one driver was 80 percent at fault, and the other 20 percent at fault, the compensation will be reduced by 20 percent.
Professional Resources for Car Accident Cases
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we have the resources to properly handle complex car accident claims in Chicago. These resources include highly-professional, experienced accident investigators to assist in proving fault in cases of serious injury. Medical and financial experts provide crucial information to determine the level of compensation to pursue. All aspects of the accident must be evaluated, including the accident scene, the condition of the vehicles, along with interviewing eyewitnesses. An evaluation of the long-term impact of the injuries in financial terms is necessary for determining the damages to pursue. The need to take immediate legal action cannot be overstated. We urge to you connect with our firm without delay, so our Chicago car crash attorneys can get to work.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Vehicle accidents can cause serious injuries to any area of the body. Some of the most common injuries sustained include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back or spinal cord injuries
- Disfiguring injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Emotional anguish
Limited Time to File a Lawsuit in Civil Court
It may be difficult to consider the legal implications of a car accident, particularly if you suffered serious or life-threatening injuries. In Illinois, the statute of limitations restricts the timeframe under which a lawsuit can be filed. You have two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. To file an insurance claim (typically a first step in seeking full compensatory damages), the claim must be filed within a few weeks. A lawsuit in civil court must be filed within two years. In cases of wrongful death, the Illinois statute of limitations allows for one year from the time of death to file a lawsuit.
Chicago Car Accident Statistics
Chicago is one of the largest cities in America, and the most congested. The Illinois Department of Transportation issues “Crash Facts,” revealing the staggering numbers of serious or fatal car accidents. Some of the statistics include:
- 11,490,301 registered vehicles in Illinois
- 9,081,841 licensed drivers
- Crashes (1 recent year) 313,316
- Injuries (1 recent year) 92,675
- Fatalities (1 recent year) 998
With 858 total traffic crashes occurring per day, 10 people injured, and three killed per day, car accidents occur at a staggering rate in Illinois. A large majority of car accidents occur in urban areas. The breakdown of types of accidents are as follows:
- Rear-end accidents: 90,955
- Turning-related collisions: 48,891
- Sideswipe same direction crashes: 29,989
- Sideswipe opposite direction accidents: 3,597
- Angle collisions: 30,939
- Vehicle overturns: 4,019
- Collision with a fixed object: 33,853
There are many other types, but these are the most common accidents in which a driver or passenger is seriously or fatally injured. Cook County is the location of the largest percentage of car accidents in the state, with 155,935 car accidents, 221 fatal crashes, and 29,414 fatal crashes in the most recently reported year.
When a Life is Forever Changed After an Auto Accident
Many car accidents in Chicago result in injuries that will impact the life of the victim forever. Paralysis, a brain injury affecting physical and cognitive abilities, permanent disfigurement, and other serious injuries may make it impossible to earn a living. The damages pursued in your case will reflect both economic and non-economic losses:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of quality of life
- Permanent impairments
- All medical costs (past, current, and future)
- Pain and suffering
The Civil Lawsuit Process for Car Accidents
When a case proceeds to civil court, it has several phases:
- Case Preparation: This process involves the sharing of information about the case, such as medical records, accident scene investigation information, witnesses who observed the car accident, and other data.
- Negotiations: Typically, an effort to resolve the case out of court will be required. This is the part of the process in which a settlement agreement may, or may not, be reached.
- The Trial: All trials are governed by the rules of evidence. The judge makes decisions about what evidence can be presented. Witnesses are called to give evidence. In car accident cases, this may include eyewitnesses to the accident, medical experts, financial experts, and accident investigators, among others. Each side has the opportunity to question these experts.
- Jury Deliberation: After lawyers on each side have finished presenting their case and the trial concludes, the jury must then decide whether the defendant (the at-fault party) was responsible for the harm caused to the plaintiff, and the amount of damages they believe should be paid to the plaintiff (the injured person).
The Civil Jury
The jury in a civil trial is given specific instructions to follow in coming to a verdict and compensation. The damages must include compensation for the emotional disturbance accompanying the injuries. We do not compromise in protecting the legal right of our clients to recover fair and full compensation, whether at trial or in negotiations. We protect the interests of the people we represent at every phase of the process. Our Chicago car accident lawyers are committed to pursuing the maximum damages in negotiations or at trial. As trial lawyers, we have extensive experience in case development and presentation; our record of achieving high-value settlements and jury awards has led to our reputation as the leading car accident lawyers in Chicago.
Call Us Today
We urge you to connect with our experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today. The earlier our trial lawyers get involved, the better for you or your loved one. Call us today to schedule a free case consultation.